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The Radical Middle - The Ampersand July 2024 • The Ampersand July 2024 2
July 2, 2024

The Radical Middle – The Ampersand July 2024

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Dear Friends and Colleagues,

American novelist F. Scott Fitzgerald said, “The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function.” Well, that settles it, I guess.

It’s not for lack of trying.

It’s just that the opposing ideas in the world lately are a little much. A convicted felon vowing revenge by imprisoning his critics is likely to be the next US president. A war rages in the Middle East, where the attacked are attacked for fighting back. An American golfer who abandoned the PGA Tour and now gets paid $125m by the Saudis, wins the US Open to raucous cheers of USA! USA! A billionaire, the CEO of “X,” mocks democracy and human rights yet is seen as a champion of freedom by millions. Another one, the CEO of Meta, admits to spying on users, but the stock price soars as investors applaud his honesty. 

Closer to home, a city renowned for its engineering excellence in constructing some of the world’s most complex pipelines, runs low on water as it’s ‘Feedermain’ snaps in pieces, depleting reserves, quickly devolving into a communications cluster and, incredibly, though predictably, descending into a partisan bun fight. Last and, in the grand scheme, most certainly least, the past five Stanley Cups have featured a team from Florida (?!), including the heartbreaking Panthers victory last week over my beloved Edmonton Oilers. Black is white, up is down.

While I can’t explain much of what’s going on around me, a beautiful moment of clarity, actually, just a beautiful moment, occurred during the aforementioned Stanley Cup run. One that temporarily, at least, restored my faith in humans, though not quite yet in humanity. Ironic, perhaps, given that sport, no less hockey, is the last bastion (or perhaps the first), of unhinged partisanship. 

The abridged version goes like this: as lifelong Edmonton Oilers fans, my family needed to be there to take it all in. Within moments of securing a spot in the Final, we dipped into the kids’ inheritance and secured an Airbnb and tickets to games three and four. My youngest, 17, and I would attend game three on Thursday; my wife and other two, 20 and 23, game 4 on Saturday. On the Friday evening, having fallen behind 3-0 in the series and facing elimination, my wife and I decided to wander into the casino to play a few hands of blackjack. As you do.

At the table sat two rather boisterous Florida fans, one – Ryan – in sunglasses, a red Panthers visor, yellow shorts, a pink golf shirt and flip flops, a veritable billboard for the Sunshine State. The other, much younger – Greg – in a more restrained Panthers hoodie, but no less unlikeable on first impressions. Two rather intoxicated white guys from South Florida, ripping Joe Biden, lamenting downtown “Deadmonton,” and tossing $100 chips around like the “play money” Canadian currency was to them. Clichés were confirmed. Impressions imbedded. Drinks downed. Unease set in when Greg, a small stack in front of him, having made a bigger one in Crypto, delivered a flurry of zingers toward our Asian dealer, mockingly speaking Chinese at him. Or so I thought. He was most certainly speaking Chinese, but there was nothing mocking about it. Greg delivered the first of two surprises that evening when the dealer responded, and the two carried on in impeccable – I assume – Cantonese for the next several minutes.

The second was when Greg asked if I was going to the game the next night. I explained I had been the night before with my youngest, and seeing as he was in a golf tournament in Stony Plain the next evening, I would sit out game four and my wife and other two kids would get their turn. As the evening wore on, Greg from Sunrise, Florida, the Caucasian Cantonese-speaking Crypto-currency-trading story-telling gambler, was making money and giving the Dos Equis World’s Most Interesting Man a run for his. 

At one point, Greg asked for my phone number. Presumably so he could trash-talk me the next night when his team swept the series. I obliged and ignored the ‘ping’ on my phone, focusing instead on what to do with a hard 16 against the dealer’s 9.

“Look at your phone,” winked Greg, with the mischievous look of a kid who’d left a whoopee cushion under a sofa seat. I snuck a peak.

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Game 4, Row 1, on the glass. Whoopee indeed. I looked at him in disbelief. “What can I pay you?” I asked, equal parts stunned, skeptical and suspicious. “Two beers and the pleasure of your company.” The next night, rather than watching alone in a rented Airbnb, I sat on the glass with Greg from Sunrise, Florida. Immediate bonds were formed, unaided by any liquid courage (Greg waived the two-beer fee, having been overserved the night before). In our seats early, we chatted at length about friendship, fatherhood, fate, and even faith (not one of my Go-To’s at times like this, though I would soon be praying for an Oilers win). Greg has a 6-month-old and a 3-year-old and the whole dad thing has him a bit spooked, unsure exactly how it all works. I tried my best, hardly in possession of all the answers, and the young Grasshopper listened intently. He FaceTimed his wife to introduce me. Lovely woman. I met the kids, too. Then, after the first period, Greg met mine. I couldn’t enjoy this moment without sharing it with my kids. So, in the second Greg sat with Chloe and in the third, with Sammy. Needing to catch a red eye back to Miami, and the Oilers up 6-1 after two, Greg left early allowing the two kids to share the jubilant moment for the duration, banging the glass and high-fiving strangers, while my wife and I looked on from the nosebleeds, beaming at their joy and reflecting on the whole encounter.

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Our text thread tells the rest of the story.

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But that’s not the end of the story. When the Oilers eventually lost the series, not in five or six, but a heart-breaking one-goal game-seven nail-biter, the blow was softened knowing Greg in Sunrise, Florida was smiling and for having been granted this incredible family memory, not just by a team I’ve rooted for my entire life, but by a guy I’d met at the tables the night before.

And while the loss filled me with momentary sadness, the experience instilled in me a new belief in the kindness of strangers and, for a fleeting moment, the goodness of humankind. For here we were, two very different guys, separated in age by decades, living on opposite corners of the continent, rooting for opposing teams, brought together by the undeniable uniting force of hockey, booze and gambling. 

Okay, maybe that’s not the moral of the story. The moral of the story is that we’re all trying to make sense of the world around us, even as it becomes harder to understand. Whether it’s about how to be a good dad or solving the Middle East, we live in complicated times, choosing to reside in our own echo chambers to amplify our preferred narrative. Neither the “progressive” left nor the “far” right have distinguished themselves of late. In many ways, they’ve become indistinguishable. I, for one, am a card-carrying member of the Radical Middle, that 80% swath that lives in the vast expanse between the two polarized extremes.

The Radical Middle doesn’t shout, or threaten, or protest behind (or about) masks. It wants its society to function, its less fortunate looked after, its hospitals clean, class sizes manageable, roads paved, government small, taxes fair, neighbourhoods safe, and its water to come out of the tap. Its platform is based upon more kindness and less judgement. It requires us to embrace complexity rather than seeking simple answers, to listen more and condemn less. Its inspirational leader is Ted Lasso and, as with the Edmonton Oilers, its mantra is to Believe, even when you come up short.

The Radical Middle is not about complacency or inaction; it’s about pragmatic solutions and thoughtful discourse. It’s a place where reasonable and informed dialogue thrives and where understanding is prioritized over winning an argument. In the Radical Middle, compromise is not seen as weakness but as a necessary tool for progress. It’s about finding common ground and recognizing the shared humanity in each of us. 

This Radical Middle values evidence over ideology, progress over partisanship, and action over rhetoric. It demands a balance between individual rights and collective responsibilities. The Radical Middle aims to create policies that work in the real world, acknowledging that perfect solutions are rare, and that effective governance often involves trade-offs. It seeks to build bridges, not walls, fostering an environment where diverse ideas can coexist and contribute to a more harmonious society. It doesn’t mean we have to agree; certain issues of the day are quite simply unbridgeable, where there actually aren’t “fine people” on both sides but more than a few in the middle. 

Perhaps my night at the game with Greg from Sunrise, Florida was nothing more than a random encounter with an interesting guy who’d had a couple drinks, was up at the tables, had an extra ticket and preferred to sit next to a partial stranger, than a total one and not some mystical meeting meant to unearth the existential answer to world peace. Most likely, like most things, it was somewhere in the vast Radical Middle. But it did cause me to check my own biases and allow for a second opinion to trump a first impression (pun intended), as we each wrestled with some of the bigger questions we’re all trying to answer. 

Keeping an open mind, no less being willing to change it, is a lesson I’d urge our clients to consider too. Not all candidates appear to ‘meet the spec’ on first glance but if you commit with intellectual honesty and genuine curiosity, the old lesson of not judging a book by its cover sometimes holds true. Indeed, we often find ourselves advocating for the underdog, even challenging our clients to trust our judgement and their gut in considering an outcome they hadn’t initially contemplated. And if, like me, you are a card-carrying member of the Radical Middle, you will be required to confront the uncomfortable reality that navigating today’s world requires you to have the ability to hold, though not necessarily agree with, two opposed ideas in mind at the same time.

Now, can the rest of the world do that? Being the stuff of “first-rate intelligence” I have my doubts.

Regards,

Adam

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CAROLINE CHEVRIER, BA, MBA

SENIOR STRATEGIC ADVISOR
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.

HOOMAN TARAVATI, MBA, CPA, CMA

SENIOR STRATEGIC ADVISOR
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 PEKARSKY

PARTNER
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 MCDONALD

PARTNER
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.

RANJU SHERGILL, ICD.D

MANAGING PARTNER
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 BESLER

SENIOR CONSULTANT
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
403.407.1963

NEEL NANDHA

RESEARCH ASSOCIATE
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 SPENCER

CONSULTANT
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 MARIKA, MBA

DIRECTOR, MARKETING & ADMINISTRATION
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

OFFICE ADMINISTRATOR
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 HOEKSTRA, JD

SENIOR CONSULTANT
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 JANZ, BBA

RESEARCH ASSOCIATE
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.

RENÉ TARDIF

PARTNER
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 DAWSON

PARTNER
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 WHEATLEY

MANAGING PARTNER
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.

RAJ BHATTI

PARTNER
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 MAKAROWSKI

RESEARCH ASSOCIATE
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.

STEPHANIE MACKEEN

SENIOR CONSULTANT
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

RESEARCH COORDINATOR
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 PHILLIPS

RESEARCH ASSOCIATE
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.

YANOUK POIRIER

CO-MANAGING PARTNER
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.

CYNTHIA LABONTÉ, MBA

CO-MANAGING PARTNER
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

CONSULTANT
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

CONSULTANT
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 LAROSE

PROJECT COORDINATOR
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

SENIOR CONSULTANT
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
514.808.6084

MACKENZIE BOESSENKOOL

RESEARCH COORDINATOR
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.
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