June 1, 2019

Paws for Thought – Mid-September Newsletter

Paws for Thought

As most of you devoted readers have probably noticed by now, it’s become something of a rite of passage (or, as I have come to think of it, a ‘hazing ritual’) for the newest team member to write a post for the firm blog to introduce them to the PCo. world. Shortly after I started at the firm at the end of July, Adam casually mentioned to me in passing that my number was up in mid-September and that I was free to write about ‘anything that I want’. On the heels of this woefully ambiguous guidance, I found myself sifting through the blog archives in the hopes of sparking some inspiration. Unfortunately, this exercise had the unexpected effect of triggering immediate and enduring mental paralysis. Over the past few weeks, I’ve hemmed and I’ve hawed, I’ve typed and I’ve deleted, I’ve laid up at night agonizing over what to write about. Finally, at the eleventh hour, my fiancé threw me a life preserver and suggested I write about a topic that is such an obvious source of thought leadership inspiration I could scarcely believe I overlooked it myself: our ancient dog, Gus. So without further ado, allow me to introduce you to my muse. 

Gus (a.k.a G-Unit, G-Force, G-Bear, Gustopher Robin, Constable Splinter and, in more formal settings, Sir G. Wirebottom) is a rescue dog. He spent the first five years of his life chained to a pole in a backyard in the ‘hood where he was neglected to the brink of death. He’d never even been to the vet let alone for a walk. And, perhaps worst of all, he went by the name Chucky. Clearly, an intervention was in order. Thankfully, he was confiscated in the nick of time by the authorities and, to cut a long story short, eventually ended up in my loving arms.

I adopted Gus four years ago this November and since then ole G-Bear has become a bit of a rags to riches story as he hammers through his bucket list: he now spends his summers hiking his paws off in the Rockies or posing like a hood ornament perched on the end of my parents’ boat; he went on an ‘exchange’ with me to London for two years and has now racked up more airmiles than all my grandparents combined; he summitted the highest mountain in Wales and England; he’s taken in Viking battle reenactments at ruins across Blighty; got inked (not as hardcore as it may sound since his tat is in his ear for ID purposes but still…); undergone a ‘gender reassignment’ of sorts; did a Jack the Ripper walking tour in London’s Eastend; commuted on London’s infamous Tube and taken scenic boat tours down the Thames; and, his crowning moment on planet earth to date, met Ricky Gervais on the streets of London. He has become, in short, a well-rounded and cultured citizen of the world and thus more than qualified to share some of his life advice with others. Here are Gus’s best pearls of wisdom as they pertain to search, business, and life in general:

Don’t Let Your Past Dictate Your Future

To say Gus was in the gutter for the first five years of his life would be a wild understatement. I’m sure he spent many a cold and lonely night chained to that godforsaken pole certain that this was to be his lot in life. And yet, against all odds, he broke free and now, let’s face it, it’s only a matter of time before he’s in talks for his own reality TV show.

You needn’t look far to see comparable examples of two-legged tycoons who rose up from the ashes in their careers. Consider Donald Trump, for instance: he’s gone bankrupt four times and yet he remains the man with the worst hair on the face of the planet one of the wealthiest and most powerful businessmen in the States. Similarly, Walt Disney was fired from his first job because – are you ready for this? – ‘he lacked imagination and had no good ideas’. He then went bankrupt a handful of times for good measure before building the empire that is Disneyland. JK Rowling was a single mom on welfare contemplating suicide before she penned her first novel in the Harry Potter series (which, by the way, was rejected by 12 different publishing houses before it was finally given the green light). Now she’s the UK’s bestselling living author with sales in excess of £238 million. Not bad for someone who was told to keep her day job when she was shopping her book. Even the beloved Colonel Sanders himself was barely scraping by at 65 with only a welfare cheque and a secret recipe for fried chicken to his name. Fortunately for The Colonel, he caught on to the power of franchising in the nick of time and morphed his secret recipe into the global fast food giant we know as KFC before dying filthy rich at the ripe old age of 90. The take-home pearl here – however trite it may seem – is that you should never let where you are now define where you’ll go tomorrow.

Greet Each Day with a Wagging Tail 

One of my absolutely favourite things about Gus is that he wakes up each and every day with a wagging tail for no obvious reason. He doesn’t care if it’s (hypothetically) snowing in September or if he’s having a good hair day or what he’s got in his bowl – he just wakes up overjoyed to be drawing breath with his people surrounding him. He’s such a happy soul that it’s virtually impossible not to let some of his happiness rub off on you.

Turns out, ole Gus who has never worked a day in his life is onto something that’ll help us out professionally. Jessica Pryce-Jones, author of Happiness at Work and CEO of iOpener says, “Happiness at work is closely correlated with greater performance and productivity as well as greater energy, better reviews, faster promotion, higher income, better health and increased happiness with life. So it’s good for organizations and individuals, too.”  Sheila Madden, Executive and Career Coach and an Organization Effectiveness Consultant adds: “You must decide ahead of time to be happy no matter what situation arises. Circumstances don’t determine your happiness, you do. Stay mentally focused and do not let yourself become distracted by the outside situations that you face. When your team sees you happy, determined to not let anything ruin your day, your optimism or your impact, they will learn to do the same. This will create resilience, confidence and, ultimately, more success. It will change you, your team and your workplace, forever.”

The application here is obvious: be happy. Not only will you, er, be happy which should be reward enough in itself but you’ll actually achieve more and get ahead faster at work. Win-win.

You Can Teach an Old Dog New Tricks

Gus didn’t have a single party trick in his repertoire when I first adopted him and within a week, he had mastered the ambidextrous paw shake (and for those of you with dogs, you’ll know this is quite an advanced move for a senior). In retrospect, I think I may have trained him a little overzealously as he has since expanded his tricks to include a move we call ‘the air jab’ (i.e., volunteering to shake a paw when there’s no hand out to receive it) if he thinks it might win him a scrap of anything edible.

At any rate, Gus is in good company. A surprising number of today’s household names didn’t find their best tricks until later in life: Julia Childs was a bored ex-pat housewife who couldn’t boil an egg until she enrolled at Le Cordon Bleu at 37; Ronald Regan spent the first part of his adult life in Hollywood before wading into the swamp of politics at 55; even the great Adam Pekarsky didn’t break into the world of search until he was over 30. And of course we can’t forget the poster girl of professional late bloomers, Grandma Moses, who didn’t pick up a paintbrush until the tender age of 75 then went on to become one of the most iconic American artists in history. The point: it’s never too late to reinvent yourself. Period.

Be Loyal

This is a pearl that needs little explanation as everyone knows that ‘Stand By Your Man’ is the soundtrack of every good dog’s life. There is simply no other creature that does loyalty better. But loyalty in human life isn’t such a cut-and-dried concept as we’re often faced with competing loyalties when it comes to our careers. Interestingly, a 2013 Michigan State University study concluded that it literally pays to be loyal in the workplace as loyal employees actually come out ahead in their T4s. Susan Linz, the lead author of the study and a professor of economics tidily summarized the study’s findings as follows: “We know that firms realize financial gain from loyal workers, but we wanted to know if they share those benefits with the workers. And among the more than 650 workplaces included in our study the answer is yes, they are sharing the wealth.”

I humbly suggest we extend this concept of workplace loyalty to include previous employers and employees. It’s in your best interests to show loyalty even after you’ve moved on because you never know when you might need to draw on previous employers’ support again, even if only for a simple reference. And bosses, don’t forget this one cuts both ways. If people move on for the right reasons they can still be powerful marketing tools for your business so don’t burn bridges while licking your wounds.

So, be loyal. Not just because it pads your pockets but also because, in the words of legendary LA Dodger’s manager Tommy Lasorda, “you give loyalty, you’ll get it back”.

Don’t be Scared to Fail Now and Again

Gus is a walking gong show. He’s accidentally dunked himself in the Thames (three times) then gone into what can only be described as an aquatic seizure because he thinks he can’t swim, he’s been suctioned out of gooey mud pits up to his neck, slipped off bridges and belly flopped into streams, been lost twice, done random face plants on the sidewalk – the list is embarrassingly long and I’ll spare him the humiliation of full disclosure. Suffice it to say, he struggles to make it through a single day without some kind of an epic fail. Yet despite his never ending missteps, he’s proven to be utterly unflappable and immune to fear of failure or ridicule. They call it ‘dogged’ determination for a reason.

Here again, the history books are peppered with examples of biped legends who started out as shockingly dismal failures. Thomas Edison’s teachers wrote him off as a dud before he turned around and got unceremoniously canned from his first two jobs for being a deadbeat. He apparently had equal amounts of time and determination on his hands as he then went on to take 1,000 cracks at the light bulb before finally getting it right. Steven Spielberg was a high school dropout that got turned away from film school three times; John Grisham’s first novel was rejected by 16 agents and 12 publishing houses; both Bill Gates and Steve Jobs dropped out of college in favour of the school of hard knocks; Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team – the list is long, star-studded, and in a strange way, kind of encouraging. Imagine what the world would be like if they’d all thrown in the towel at the first stumbling block. I’d be sitting here in the dark pecking away on a typewriter, for one.

We live in a world that worships the illusion of perfection and disdains anything that falls short of it. Our society teaches us to see failure as a sign of weakness and inadequacy and not as the occasional byproduct of challenging ourselves. But I think we’ve got it all backwards. I think we should see failure as a sign of strength because it means you were willing to stick your head above the parapet and take the risk in the first place; it’s the weak ones who are too scared to even try.

If you live a big life, you’re going to make big, fat mistakes now and again and you’re going to have those days where you take a page out of Gus’s book and do a random face plant on the sidewalk. It’s inevitable.  So learn to embrace the glorious highs and crushing lows of the whole journey and take comfort in the knowledge that if you keep dusting yourself off and getting back up, you’ll get there eventually. The Queen of Bouncing Back, JK Rowling herself, said it best: ‘It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all, in which case you have failed by default.” I think we all owe it to ourselves to live lives that are bigger and better than failure by default.

So there you have it folks, Gus’s five bones worth of advice. I hope you found some meat on at least one of the bones worth savouring. As we go to print, he still has some availability for weddings, keynote speaking engagements and bar mitzvahs next year so book early if you’re interested. You can also join him online for his free monthly webinars at or follow him on Twitter @feeltherealgforce. As for me, I’ve got to excuse myself to go return a few calls from the  networks…

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Lyndsey Dangerfield was a Principal with P&Co. from July 2016 to March 2016 before very selfishly falling in love with a Brit and then moving to London to get married and start a family. Damn Millennials. 

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Since 2007, Caroline has founded three companies in the healthcare sector. In 2016, Edelman, a global leader in communications and public relations, acquired her agency SIXDEGRÉS, a company specializing in medical communications and health marketing.

Throughout her career, she who acts now as Senior Stretegic Advisor at Humanis, has collaborated with over 50 major companies and associations for strategic national or international projects in the fields of life sciences, pharmaceuticals, health technology, and innovation.

She stands out for her strategic vision, collaborative leadership, and ability to achieve concrete results, which has earned her a finalist spot for the prestigious Quebec Businesswoman Award. Frequently sought by the media as an expert, she comments on entrepreneurship and business.

Caroline holds a bachelor's degree from the University of Sherbrooke, with a concentration in microbiology, a certificate in marketing, and an Executive MBA from the University of Quebec in Montreal.

An athlete, she advocates for a healthy work-life balance, which she believes is essential for happiness and success in business.


As a Senior Strategic Advisor at Humanis Montreal, Hooman leverages his extensive experience and cross-industry credentials to assist premier organizations in identifying and connecting with high-performing executives. His role involves bridging these high performers in his trusted network with opportunities that align with their culture and aspirations, ensuring successful placements and long-term success.

With over 25 years of experience at top international consulting firms, he has advised senior executives and delivered complex global transformation efforts for CFOs and Treasurers. His expertise spans business transformation, enterprise systems selection, implementation and integration, financial planning, and reporting. He has worked with dynamic global companies across various industries including asset management, banking and financial services, insurance, real estate, and high-technology manufacturing.

Hooman owns a CMA-MBA in Accounting, Management and Finance from UQAM, and a Bachelor's degree in Accounting and Management Information Systems from McGill University. His personal and academic journey has taken him across multiple continents, allowing him to become proficient in French, English, and Spanish, and conversant in Italian and Farsi. He is a proud and present father of three, and cherishes spending time with friends and family, engaging in active sports, and sharing sharp opinions on politics, economics, and life outlooks.


Adam is the Founding Partner of Pekarsky & Co., the predecessor firm to Humanis, and has been recruiting executives and advising Boards for nearly 25 years.

A writer, sessional instructor at the University of Calgary, and frequent speaker, Adam has achieved success as a member of the management team of a national law firm, a partner in a global executive search firm and, once upon a time, a practicing lawyer. Formerly, Adam was a Client Partner in the Calgary office of Korn/Ferry International.

Adam holds a law degree from the University of Alberta and completed his undergraduate studies at Tufts University in Boston where he attained summa cum laude distinction for his undergraduate thesis.

Adam spent six years on the Board of Directors of Tourism Calgary, eight years on the YMCA of Calgary Board and is currently chairing a Camp Chief Hector Capital Campaign raising $17m. He also serves on the Board of Directors of the Calgary Municipal Land Corporation and chairs the HR Committee.


Cameron is a Partner at Humanis and brings more than 15 years’ experience within executive search. His experience extends to recruiting senior talent across corporate services and operations within oil and gas, oilfield services, financial services, manufacturing, real estate and construction, as well as non-profit.

He began his search career in Sydney, Australia, joining a leading international firm straight out of university.

In 2010, Cameron moved to Calgary spending more than 6 years within the retained search practice of a national integrated talent development firm, recruiting permanent roles across numerous functions and industries, as well as leading the firm’s interim search practice. In 2017, he joined Pekarsky & Co., Humanis Calgary’s predecessor.

Cameron is active in the community volunteering his time with numerous charitable organizations including The Calgary Stampede’s Courtesy Car Committee and the Executive Committee for The Top 7 Over 70 Awards Program.

Once active in Calgary’s rugby and cricket scene, now Cameron spends most of his time enjoying the outdoors and spending time with his wife and three kids.


As Managing Partner of Humanis, Calgary, Ranju leads the management and operations of the office and executive searches with an expertise in C-Suite and for-profit Board searches. She leads the firm’s Diversity & Inclusion initiatives and is a member of the Americas Council for the Association of Executive Search Consultants, a global association leading the search industry in best practices and innovation. Ranju’s Board involvement includes her current role as Vice-Chair for the Calgary Convention Centre Authority, and past Chair of the Calgary Immigrant Women’s Association Board. She was honored to be awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Platinum Jubilee Medal (Alberta) in 2022 and acquired her ICD.D designation in 2023 from the University of Toronto Rotman School of Business.

Ranju joined the firm in 2009 with a 16-year career in environmental sciences. Previously, she was the Senior Vice President, Corporate Services for an organization with remediation and reclamation services and teams across Western Canada. Ranju acquired her Bachelor of Science and Graduate degree in Environmental Toxicology from Simon Fraser University and enjoys international travel as well as spending time outdoors.


Susie joined Humanis in 2016. She brings a diverse background in the recruitment, healthcare and professional services industries. Susie draws from her past experiences as an entrepreneur, Chartered Accountant and Registered Nurse to bring both technical and business understanding to each client engagement.  

As a CPA herself, Susie naturally leads the majority of the firm’s senior level finance and accounting searches. Over the past few years, she has also enjoyed leading the annual Board recruitment for a number of vital not-for-profit organizations serving diverse communities across Calgary. Susie is known to her clients and candidates for her dedicated professionalism, business acumen and expertise in matching talent to client needs.  

Prior to joining Humanis, Susie worked as a Search Manager with a national search and consulting firm where she specialized in placing finance and accounting leaders.   

After completing her Business degree, Susie worked with KPMG Calgary where she obtained her Chartered Accountant designation.
Susie Besler


Neel is a Research Associate with Humanis where he brings a global perspective into the firm’s research initiatives and specializes in market research across various industries. Originally from Tanzania, Neel holds a degree in Bachelor of Management from the University of British Columbia.

Neel initially gained experience as an Analyst with a marketing agency. He holds an EKT-Interactive certification in Oil and Gas, Renewable Energies, and Hydrogen Energy. Additionally, he possesses an Executive Research Certificate from the Association of Executive Search and Leadership Consultants.

Neel resonates as a third-cultured kid and values cultural diversity at his core given his upbringing living in East Africa. He actively contributes to community development, serving as an alumni advisory member for the UBC Afro Caribbean Association to continue his efforts in promoting cultural understanding.

Intrigued by architecture, he capitalizes on his artistic intuition by exploring oil on canvas or using Sketch Up. Tennis, sailing, boxing, and soccer are where Neel channels his competitive spirit.


Kate is a Consultant with Humanis Talent Acquisition & Advisory and executes on various searches within the legal, not-for-profit, marketing & communications and professional services sectors, among others.

Prior to joining the firm, Kate worked as a purchaser for a local equine retail company where she was a key component to the buying team as well as assisting in all aspects of customer service.

Kate holds a Bachelor of Communication & Culture from the University of Calgary. In a previous life, Kate was a competitive showjumper and coach. She competed across Western Canada and worked with amateur riders in developing their skills both on and off the horse.

Outside of work, Kate is an avid distance runner, beginner surfer and travel enthusiast. When she’s not embarking on a new adventure, she can be found with her nose in a book and loves to travel back home to Calgary as often as she can to visit friends and family.


Kiara is the Director of Marketing & Administration at Humanis Talent Acquisition & Advisory, driving dynamic strategies across social media, website, events, and our widely read blog, The Ampersand. As a co-host of The Ampersand: Unplugged podcast, Kiara explores issues that impact human capital and, more broadly, the human condition. With a solid foundation in marketing strategy through her diverse previous roles, Kiara has spearheaded the marketing function of Humanis including refining brand identities, developing targeted campaigns, and implementing innovative digital marketing initiatives to drive engagement and growth.

With a BBA in Marketing and Finance from Mount Royal University, including a transformative study abroad semester in Australia, she elevated her expertise with an MBA from the University of Calgary in 2023.

Beyond the boardroom, Kiara energizes her life with fitness classes and travelling. Her passion for exploration extends to immersing herself in new cultures, savoring cuisines, exploring stunning views, and connecting with diverse people worldwide.


Breanne Giasson is the newest addition to the team at Humanis Talent Acquisition & Advisory as our Office Administrator, providing administrative support to all team members.

Before joining the firm, Breanne gained experience working in office settings to advance her skills in administrative support and also worked in customer service.

With a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from Mount Royal University, Breanne graduated on both the Dean’s and President’s honour rolls, showcasing her dedication to academic excellence. During her studies, Breanne developed and honed her writing, editing, and research skills, which will be valuable assets in her role here at Humanis.

Breanne’s passion for social issues, both on local and global scales, drives her to make a positive impact in the world through her work and personal life.

Outside of work, Breanne is an avid reader, TV enthusiast, and pop culture aficionado. She enjoys spending time with her family and friends and taking her dog (“son”), Arnold, on walks.


Erin is a Senior Consultant at Humanis where she leads executive search mandates across a wide variety of industries and functional roles. As a lawyer herself, she brings expertise in legal executive search. She also routinely leads executive searches across the not-for-profit, tourism & hospitality, professional and financial services, utilities and energy industries, among others. Prior to joining Humanis, Erin was a corporate lawyer at one of Canada’s most prestigious national corporate law firms. She was called to the bar in 2015 and remains a member of the Law Society of Alberta.

Erin is a lifelong learner and spent the better part of a decade in post-secondary education. She holds a and a Juris Doctor from Osgoode Hall Law School at York University. As part of her studies, she spent time living abroad in France, India, Italy, Israel and Hong Kong, and brings connections and friendships from all around the globe. Erin has also invested in continuous professional development, completing a Certificate in Executive Research from the Association of Executive Search Consultants (AESC), the international body that sets the standard for the executive search and leadership consulting profession. She is also part of the Humanis leadership development team, and is certified to administer and use Hogan Assessments, a leading series of psychometric assessments, in both the search selection and leadership development contexts.

Before Erin entered the professional world, she grew up on the family grain farm outside of Kindersley, Saskatchewan. To this day, picking rocks for hours on end on the back of her dad’s pickup truck remains the hardest “job” she has ever held. She takes that prairie work ethic into each search and leadership consulting mandate she takes on, leaving no stone unturned. Erin is an active member of her church community and has volunteered for many years as a Mentor for internationally trained lawyers with CRIEC, the Calgary Region Immigrant Employment Council. When Erin is not on the hunt for an organization’s next leader, she can be found spending time with friends and family, adventuring in the mountains, or researching the latest health study.


Rachel is a Research Associate with Humanis. She provides support throughout the search process by sourcing suitable candidates and researching revenant information from salary insights to market trends across a variety of industries. 

Joining in early 2024, Rachel brought three years of contingent recruitment experience with her. Working with both general contractors and owners, she successfully executed various searches in the civil construction sector. Prior to recruitment, Rachel also spent close to four years in logistics and supply chain working for a third-party company. 

Outside of work, Rachel volunteers with the Calgary Drop-In Center. Additionally, she has an interest in interior design. Rachel enjoys getting creative and exploring the elements that create beautiful and functional spaces.


For over 15 years, René has been trusted by countless private sector organizations with the task of overseeing full-cycle executive search mandates. He is passionate about the recruitment industry and is actively involved in every aspect of the search process, including business development, research, interviewing, candidate assessments, and client management. René has placed top executives for leading organizations in a variety of industries within the Western Canadian market. He believes in the value of his client partnerships and strives to ensure that every client experience is a positive and memorable one.

René holds a BA with a Psychology major from the University of Alberta. He most recently sat on the boards of Alberta Forward and the Edmonton Ski Club, and is the past Vice Chair of Kids Up Front Edmonton. He donates his time to youth leadership initiatives in his community, and outside of work can be found on a ski hill or relaxing at the lake and spending time with his wife and two daughters.


Max boasts over a decade of expertise and experience in executive recruitment, corporate sponsorship, and business and relationship development – during which he has amassed in-depth knowledge of North America’s corporate and sporting landscape.

As a former three sport varsity athlete, Max was able to bring the corporate and sporting worlds together through earning an MBA with an emphasis in sports management from Griffith University – which led to a position in Corporate Partnerships with the Edmonton Oilers.

Max then began his executive search career at Conroy Ross Partners with a focus in finance, sales, and marketing. After leading the Canadian operations of SRI, a global boutique recruitment firm focused on sports, media, and entertainment, Max co-founded the Toronto-based leadership development company Won for All.

In addition to sharing his passion for staying active with his daughters Stella and Ada, Max also sits on the board of Luge Canada.


Diane is a proven and genuine leader with over 30 years of leadership experience. As Managing Partner of Humanis, Edmonton Diane manages all corporate functions, including finance and accounting, marketing, IT, legal, and privacy, while overseeing the achievement of the firm’s annual strategic plan.

Before joining Humanis, Diane spent a decade as the Chief Administrative Officer for a national HR talent management firm, playing a strategic operational role that saw the organization grow and be successfully acquired during her tenure. She also spent 20 years in various senior management positions in lending and finance with one of the Top 5 Canadian banks.

Diane is closely involved with the Edmonton community and actively participates in numerous local causes. She previously served as the Chair of Fundraising for the Festival of Trees Foundation and is a longstanding member of the Medical Admission Review Group at the University of Alberta, where she conducts reviews and interviews for medical school admissions during the annual admission cycle.


A Partner with Humanis Edmonton, Raj brings over a decade of search related experience. He began his career in recruitment in 2012 working for a global firm specializing in the placement of senior-level accounting, finance and business systems professionals on a project and interim basis.

Managing the consulting practice in Edmonton, Raj was able to provide companies with cost-effective project-based resource solutions and staff augmentation services to meet project needs in areas including accounting, finance, interim management, business systems, audit & compliance, taxation, treasury, and operations management. His experience extends to recruiting senior talent across corporate services and operations within oilfield services, financial services, manufacturing, real estate, construction, and non-profit.

Raj serves as a Board member for the Junior Achievement of Northern Alberta, YMCA of Edmonton, and Free Play for Kids.

Raj holds a Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Alberta with a Major in Accounting.

Outside of work, he spends most of his time with his wife Pam and their two boys, Arryn and Naiyan.


Nathan is a Research Coordinator at Humanis Advisory and a proud graduate of the University of Alberta. While obtaining his Bachelor of Commerce Degree, Nathan began working as a recruiter at a Canadian bank where he developed a passion for building relationships and growing his network.

You will often find Nathan enjoying all the thrills that Edmonton has to offer. Whether that be cheering on the Oilers or biking through the river valley, Nathan is an advocate for the city. His world revolves around sports, including hockey, golf, and football. He channels this competitive spirit through his work, as Nathan carries his values of teamwork, dedication, and a relentless pursuit of success in every project he takes on.


Meet Stephanie, your dedicated guide in the world of talent acquisition. With a passion for connecting great individuals and companies, she brings a wealth of experience as a registered professional recruiter. Stephanie has cultivated robust relationships with candidates and hiring managers across diverse fields, utilizing her expertise in sourcing, selection, behavioral interviewing, salary negotiations, onboarding, offboarding, and relationship management to turn our clients' corporate visions into reality.

Stephanie is a dynamic individual who understands the importance of weaving personal passions into her professional journey. She values the human side of the business, making the search process efficient and enjoyable.

Beyond the professional realm, Stephanie is a firm believer in the balance between work, family, and enjoyment. You'll find her unwinding in the great outdoors through camping, skiing, and hiking with family. Committed to making a positive impact, she dedicates her time to volunteering for the Canadian Diabetes Society and has served as the treasurer and fundraiser for sport clubs and served on many community initiatives.


Madison Bessette serves as a Research Coordinator at Humanis Advisory. Madison is currently studying in the Bachelor of Commerce program at the University of Alberta where she is majoring in accounting and minoring in finance. Her passion for learning and connecting with others is what has driven her towards the talent acquisition space, where she strives to broaden her knowledge on all things search.

In addition to her academic activities, Madison engages in a variety of extracurricular activities on campus. As the President of the Business Speaker Series Club and the Director of Marketing for the Venture Capital and Private Equity Club, Madison values the opportunity to connect with her peers and make meaningful connections. In her free time, Madison unwinds by participating in hot yoga and indulging in fantasy novels.


Jamie is a Research Associate at Humanis Talent Acquisition & Advisory. Her expertise is in mapping markets, developing and implementing candidate research and outreach strategies, building talent pools, and fostering relationships. She takes a special interest in curating positive candidate experiences and inclusive and accessible hiring practices.

With a BA in Psychology from the University of British Columbia, she brings to the firm nearly a decade of experience in global executive search in the international non-profit and humanitarian sector, including UN agencies, development banking, and environmental and sustainability organizations. For three years, she ran her own business coaching and guiding senior-level candidates through their job searches.

When she’s not at work, Jamie enjoys third-wave coffee, writing, gardening, and horror movies. In a previous life, she traveled to over 35 countries and lived and worked/volunteered in Australia, New Zealand, India, Thailand, Kyrgyzstan, and the United Kingdom.


Mr. Yanouk Poirier has over 25 years of professional experience and has successfully led numerous missions in executive recruitment, leadership consulting, and board member recruitment for SMEs, large national and international companies. Highly involved, Mr. Poirier sits on the boards of Penrhyn International, Club St-James in Montreal, and the Quebec Breast Cancer Foundation. He also serves as a mentor and Governor for the University of Sherbrooke. Yanouk describes himself as a family man, a father, an entrepreneur, and a connector. He deeply believes that we can change the world one leader at a time and that we have a responsibility to give back to society.

Holder of an MBA from the University of Sherbrooke, Yanouk also holds a post-MBA focusing on major global strategic issues. He is certified in executive coaching (ACC) by the International Coaching Federation.


For over 20 years, Cynthia Labonté has been assisting boards of directors, corporate executives and public organizations in the complete management of executive search processes. Previously, she led a team of senior managers and consultants at a major Canadian strategic consulting and executive search firm.

She has successfully completed over 350 executive search mandates for leading companies and firms in the manufacturing, industrial, distribution, retail, professional services and not-for-profit sectors. Her entrepreneurial spirit, business acumen, rigor and analytical skills are essential attributes that enable her to recognize the unique culture and needs of organizations, and to analyze the leadership required to meet her clients' business challenges.

Ms. Labonté is a member of EntreChefs (a network of over 2,000 entrepreneurs in Quebec). Cynthia is very involved in Montreal's philanthropic community, actively participating on boards and in many local causes.

She holds a double MBA from Université Paris-Dauphine and from ESG-UQAM in Montreal.


Robin Ferré is an executive search consultant.

Prior to joining Humanis, Robin worked as a consultant and then as a director for a major player in executive search in Canada, where he worked in a variety of sectors including professional services, technology and manufacturing.

Prior to this, he worked in various organizations in Europe and Canada, in human resources and recruitment functions.

In his spare time, Robin is very involved in his community. He is a board member of the Société Économique de l’Ontario and the Alliance Française de Toronto.

He's also a big fan of combat sports, which he likes to practice or simply watch after a good dinner with his loved ones.

Robin Ferré holds a bachelor's degree in Law and a master's degree in Human Resources.


Maria Icaza is from Mexico City; she has more than 13 years of experience in executive search. She has collaborated with partners on senior management roles up to C-Suite positions in the manufacturing, consumer, retail, pharmaceutical, industrial and professional services industry. She has been working in Mexico and Canada, nevertheless she did some assignments in Latin-America, Europe, and in the United States.

She has strong interpersonal skills and naturally attracts high-caliber talents. Besides her love for connecting with people, she aims to learn new things every day. Committed and devoted to the firm, she understands the talent market and thrives from being part of a team.

She has a Bachelor’s degree in Marketing from Universidad del Valle de Mexico.  

Fluent in Spanish and English, and in French (in development).


Stéphanie has been working in communications and research for over 10 years. Always looking for the right word, she specialized in writing, translating, and proofreading. She has also worked on many search mandates. Her favourite topic remains human beings: exploring their potential fascinates her.

A true chameleon, she has worked within various industries and still deals equally with executive and artistic profiles. Her strength lies in her curiosity and her listening skills towards her collaborators.

She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Modern Literature from Université de Lorraine (France) and attaches great importance to improving her linguistic and literary knowledge. Sensitive to art in all its forms and creative, she draws inspiration from those who dare to stand out.

A mother to two young children, education and openness to the world remain at the heart of her priorities. During her free time, nothing pleases her more than to welcome at her table people who are authentic and have a great sense of humour. 


Richard Bélanger is a senior consultant who has extensive experience in high-level management which has allowed him to support several types of businesses in different industries and sectors, mainly in executive search but also in their succession planning process.

His experience of more than 25 years in the field of executive recruitment was acquired within his own firm as well as with a major Canadian strategic consulting and executive search firm.

Richard was President of a subsidiary of a key retailer and distributor of consumer products and catalog sales in Canada.

He serves on different Boards of Administration and has developed an enviable network based on his personal values which are authenticity, rigor, and a sense of ethics. His people skills and his ability to actively listen combined with his managerial courage allow him to ensure that the needs of his customers are understood.
Richard Bélanger


Mackenzie Boessenkool is a Research Coordinator at Humanis Advisory and a graduate of the University of Alberta, where she studied Psychology and Economics. Combining her knowledge in these fields, Mackenzie dives into talent acquisition, focusing on the human aspect being the process.

Beyond her professional role, Mackenzie enjoys sports, live music events, exploring Edmonton’s various cultural offerings, and is always looking for a new experience to try. She finds joy in connecting with her community and has a genuine interest in people. Mackenzie is dedicated to fostering meaningful relationships and strives for success every step of the way.