The

Ampersand

HUMANIS BLOG

November 1, 2020

What Leaders Look Like – The Ampersand November 2020

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

Not sure about you, but I’ve recently been digesting Alberta’s Recovery Strategy, a bold blueprint to get us out of the glue. With the triple whammy of COVID-19, an economic downturn reminiscent of the 1930s and the collapse in energy prices, there’s not much that hasn’t been thrown at us. The report opens with a line from Alberta country star, Brett Kissel, that is apt for our times: “tough times don’t last, but tough people do.”

The strategy is audacious – and it needs to be. Its goals are to create tens of thousands of jobs by launching a massive $10 billion infrastructure program. The multiplier effect of these investments will stimulate work in those areas most vulnerable like small business, hotels and restaurants, goes the thinking.

This is a great start, but the question is Will it be enough, or will we need more than just ‘tough people’ to emerge from these tough times?

I ask this question because I was struck by a Harvard Business Review study on the future of leadership and how we are developing leaders. Here we are launching all of these ambitious initiatives, initiatives which, at the end the day, must be led by leaders, but the study basically said the way we are developing leaders is at least a generation behind from where we should be. That’s thirty years. Basically pre-Internet. You know what they say, you can’t bring a floppy disk to a gun fight. Or something like that.

According to the study, the leadership development industry is in a state of upheaval. Organizations are spending billions of dollars but are increasingly frustrated with the results. A full 50% of senior leaders indicated that talent development efforts didn’t adequately build critical skills or capabilities.

The challenge, according to Chief Learning Officers, is that most programs focus on strategy development and finance, while not paying enough attention to building strong relationships, communicating effectively or enhancing our emotional intelligence—in other words, the people part.

Working at a firm whose tagline is We Know People, one of the most rewarding parts of our job is working with, and for, so many great leaders. Ultimately, it is leaders who retain us, and it is leaders we seek out. Though we immerse ourselves in the language of leadership and we are trained to identify, assess, and advance leaders, most of our pedagogy is by osmosis; you spend enough time around leaders, and you get good at spotting them.

So, what does leadership look like? Let’s start with the Merriam Webster definition:

What Leaders Look Like - The Ampersand November 2020 • Image 1

Okay, but not once have we been retained by a client to find them “a leader who has the capacity to lead.”

“Adam, we need your team to find us a CEO!”


“Great, what are you looking for?”

 

“A leader who has the capacity to lead.”

Leadership is much more than simply “the capacity to lead” or merely “holding the office or title of Leader.”  I can hold a baseball and have the title of Pitcher.  That doesn’t mean I can pitch.

The foregoing more accurately defines the floor, not the ceiling, and that is likely at the root of leadership’s current PR problem.  As we await this week’s ultimate leadership selection process — the US election — the ceiling has become the floor.  As Ezra Klein noted after mid-October’s duelling townhalls between Trump and Biden:

“This was, again and again, Biden’s point: The words of the president matter. The behavior of the president matters. The comportment of the president matters. The example of the president matters. Biden talks policy often and reasonably well, but he hasn’t been putting on a clinic in wonkery; he’s been putting on a clinic in decency. And it matters. It shouldn’t — decency should be table stakes, too unremarkable to mention — but right now, it does.”  Replace ‘president’ with the word ‘leader’ and you have another, better, starting point: decency.

Humanity would be another. If there’s one word resonating with leaders and organizations today, it’s humanity. With the rise of social enterprise, call for social justice, heartbreak that has arisen from the pandemic and economic challenges that have hit the world hard, the need for leaders to embrace the core virtues of decency and humanity has never been greater.

Because decency and humanity are foundational elements of leadership, when assessing true leaders, I for one am unable to separate the message from the messenger.  A leader of decency cannot espouse wholly indecent ideas.  Bad ones, okay.  Ones with which I disagree, fine.  But abhorrent, debasing, inciting ideas?  That’s when, quoting Merriam Webster, a leader no longer has the capacity to lead.

Spotting great leadership in today’s extraordinary environment is made all the more difficult. With utmost respect to those leaders who came before us, that cohort referenced in the Harvard Business Review of 30 years ago, who wax nostalgic as they show off their scars — the early 80s, the 18% interest rates, the NEP, the $12 oil, the uphill walk to school – both directions! — a veritable Greatest Hits 8-track overplayed on local radio these days — this is different and it requires a different type of leader.  “A mere flesh wound,” as the Black Knight in Monty Python and the Holy Grail of 30 years ago might say, compared to the stresses placed on the leaders of tomorrow entrusted with leading us out of our current predicament.

Very few of us have been through a Pandemic and those who were around during the Spanish Flu of 1918 did not have to contend with the unyielding noise of the Internet, or traverse the information divide, the politicization of health directives and directors, sift through wild conspiracies and retweets of posted, then censored, YouTube videos.  Mind you, with over 500 million infections worldwide during the Spanish Flu, compared to 1/10th that amount so far this time around, it’s fair to say that being uninformed was considerably more fatal than being misinformed.

The question remains: in a world of misinformation where do we look for inspiration? What does great, aspirational, leadership actually look like? Decency and humanity will only take you so far.

No longer can we look where we once did when even the Leader of the Free World, as is often called the US Presidency, has – for now at least – forfeited its right to be the “shining city upon a hill whose beacon light guides freedom-loving people everywhere” as Ronald Reagan once gushed

On this side of the border, at the risk of speaking ill of my current joint venture partner, it must be said that Prime Minster Trudeau isn’t proving much of a beacon either. Scandal and obfuscation aren’t the hallmarks of leadership I seek (though I do appreciate the help with the rent!).

No, my definition of leadership isn’t partisan. It’s not about party or policy. It’s about personal integrity and basic civility. Leaders with decency compel people to follow, rather than coerce them to. I’ve always thought the best leaders know the outcome they’re trying to reach; the magic is in making others feel it was their idea.

So, where does that leave us? We’ve determined that looking to the senior most reaches of our current political landscape for leadership inspiration is futile.  If not up, then where must we look to find these elusive traits?

Seeing as 2020 is the year of everything going pear shaped, I propose that the entire notion of followers and leaders be turned on its head.  In many cases, it’s the followers who are leading.  Take this list – one of dozens like it that appear in your browser when you search “qualities of a leader” and apply them to the follower instead, as I’ve done here:

  1. Honesty and integrity – When no one’s watching you work from home.
  2. Confidence – To thrive in a new medium and environment.
  3. Inspire Others – By working doubly hard to prove to your leaders that you can be trusted to deliver and set the example for others to follow.
  4. Commitment and Passion – When the daily perks of the workplace – the lattes, the after-work drinks and the gym membership – are replaced by stripped down essentials of simply doing your job.
  5. Good Communicator – Through the screen of your laptop to convey your point.
  6. Decision Making Capabilities – Absent the ability to pop into the neighbouring office or a chance encounter in the kitchen.
  7. Accountability – To deliver without anyone looking over your shoulder.
  8. Delegation and Empowerment – In a remote and isolated environment where traditional hierarchical dynamics shift and change.
  9. Creativity and Innovation – In a static and paralyzed world.
  10. Empathy – For allowing everyone to feel the way they feel on any given day.
  11. Resilience – Like, duh.
  12. Emotional Intelligence – To ‘read the room’ when you’re not in a room.
  13. Humility – To quietly accept the fear and uncertainty of the path ahead.
  14. Transparency – To openly accept the fear and uncertainty of the path ahead.
  15. Vision and Purpose – Without which you may as well just pack it in.

My point is this:  perhaps we should stop looking up for inspiration and look around instead. Each individual taking care of themselves and their neighbours. Instead of leading by decree, we lead by example. With decency and humanity. And isn’t that at the very core of our prairie ethos?

After all, we’re seeing amazing local, grassroots leadership right here in Alberta. The latest being to trial a pilot project that will relax the quarantine requirements of international travellers entering Canada using rapid COVID-19 testing at airports and border crossings. From expanded fibre optic infrastructure and 5G tower capabilities from Canmore to Cold Lake; companies like Absorb Software, an award-winning, cloud-based learning management system for businesses; and ATTAbotics, a TIME Magazine Best Inventions of 2019 company that’s reinventing the supply chain; or Kudos, leveraging the power of employee recognition and feedback to help organizations reduce turnover, improve culture and boost performance.  It’s the ideas of Alberta that are 30 years out-dated, not the ideas in Alberta.

Which brings us back to Alberta’s Recovery Strategy.  Though it’s a bit early to crow about our handling of the crisis as though it is behind us, I agree with this statement from the Report in describing Alberta’s relative success thus far, as I think it succinctly captures the essence of leadership I’ve been struggling to define:

That is a testament to the culture of personal responsibility and care for others that is hard wired into this province. It is also due to our culture of enterprise, from the brilliant public servants who started stockpiling medical supplies before the world was aware of a pandemic; to our laboratory scientists who planned ahead to deliver the highest per capita level of testing in the world; to the charities and businesses who found innovative ways of helping the vulnerable; to the countless random acts of kindness shown to neighbours and strangers alike.”

Far be it from me to disagree with the big brains at Harvard but I’m not convinced today’s leaders truly are 30 years behind.  The ones in Alberta certainly aren’t. I just think great leadership is harder to spot amidst the dense fog of the day. But fog lifts and when it does, a new type of leader will emerge. One where decency and humanity are too unremarkable to mention.

At our firm, we are working hard to envision that leader and to create a made-in-Alberta response to leadership’s future needs. We’ve already started a series of conversations about what’s going well – and not so well – as we contemplate new ways to identify and support those leaders.

When we are retained by leaders to find and support leaders, we usually get it right. Let’s hope our friends to the south do, too.

Regards,

Adam

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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

ASSOCIÉ-DIRECTEUR
M. Yanouk Poirier cumule plus de 25 ans d'expérience professionnelle et il a dirigé avec succès de nombreuses missions de recrutement exécutif, de conseil en leadership et de recrutement de membres de conseils d'administration pour des PME, de grandes entreprises nationales et internationales.

Très impliqué, M. Poirier siège aux conseils d'administration de Penrhyn International, du Club St-James de Montréal et de la Fondation du cancer du sein du Québec. Il est également mentor et gouverneur pour l'Université de Sherbrooke. Yanouk se décrit comme un homme de famille, un père, un entrepreneur et un connecteur. Il croit profondément que nous pouvons changer le monde un leader à la fois et que nous avons la responsabilité de redonner à la société.

Titulaire d'un MBA de l'Université de Sherbrooke, Yanouk détient également un post-MBA axé sur les grands enjeux stratégiques mondiaux. Il est également certifié en coaching exécutif (ACC) par l'International Coaching Federation.
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

ASSOCIÉE-DIRECTRICE
Depuis plus de 20 ans, Cynthia Labonté assiste des conseils d'administration et des dirigeants d’entreprises dans la gestion complète des processus de recrutement de cadres exécutifs. Auparavant, elle a dirigé une équipe en recrutement de cadres au sein d’une importante firme de consultation stratégique au Canada.

Elle a réalisé à bien, plus de 350 mandats de recrutement de cadres exécutifs pour des entreprises et des firmes réputées dans les secteurs manufacturier et industriel, de la distribution, du commerce de détail, des services professionnels et des organisations à but non lucratif. Son esprit entrepreneurial et son sens des affaires, lui permettent de reconnaître la culture unique et d’analyser le leadership requis afin de répondre aux enjeux d’affaires de ses clients.

Mme Labonté est membre d’EntreChefs (réseau de plus de 2000 membres d’entrepreneurs au Québec). Cynthia est très impliquée dans la communauté philantropique de Montréal et participe activement à des conseils d’administration et de nombreuses causes locales.

Elle est titulaire d'une double diplomation MBA de l'Université Paris-Dauphine et de l'ESG-UQAM.
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 est consultant en recherche de cadres exécutifs.

Avant de se joindre à Humanis, Robin a travaillé comme consultant, puis directeur chez un acteur important en recrutement exécutif ou il a œuvré dans des secteurs variés tels que les services professionnels, les technologies ou le secteur manufacturier.

Auparavant, il a travaillé dans diverses organisations en Europe et au Canada, dans des fonctions liées aux ressources humaines et au recrutement.

Durant son temps libre, Robin est très impliqué dans sa communauté. Il est membre du conseil d’administration de la Société Économique de l’Ontario et du conseil d’administration de l’Alliance Française de Toronto.

Il est également un grand amateur de sports de combats qu’il aime pratiquer ou simplement regarder, après un bon diner avec ses proches.

Robin Ferré est titulaire d'un baccalauréat en droit et d'une maîtrise en ressources humaines.
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

CONSULTANTE
Maria Icaza vient de Mexico et possède plus de 13 ans d'expérience en recrutement de cadres. Elle collabore en continu avec les associés pour le recrutement de cadres supérieurs dans les secteurs manufacturier et distribution, de la vente au détail, des services professionnels et des OBNL. Elle a surtout travaillé sur des mandats au Canada et au Mexique, elle a aussi effectué quelques projets en Europe et aux États-Unis.

Elle a d’excellentes aptitudes relationnelles et sait naturellement attirer des talents de haut niveau. Outre sa passion pour les relations interpersonnelles, elle s’épanouit en apprenant sans cesse. Engagée auprès de la firme, elle comprend le marché des talents et carbure travail d’équipe.

Elle possède un baccalauréat en marketing de la Universidad del Valle de Mexico.

Maria est parle couramment l’espagnol et l’anglais et améliore son français de façon intensive!
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

COORDONNATRICE DE PROJETS
Stéphanie œuvre en communications et en recherche depuis plus de 10 ans. Toujours à l’affût du mot juste, elle se spécialise en rédaction, en traduction et en révision. Elle a également à son actif plusieurs mandats de recherche de candidats. Son sujet de prédilection reste l’humain : l’exploration du potentiel de celui-ci la fascine.

Véritable caméléon, elle navigue au sein d’industries variées et côtoie tant des profils exécutifs qu’artistiques. Sa force réside dans sa curiosité ainsi que son sens de l’écoute de ses collaborateurs.

Titulaire d’un baccalauréat en Lettres modernes de l’Université de Lorraine (France), elle accorde une place importante à la bonification de ses connaissances linguistiques et littéraires. Sensible à l’art sous toutes ses formes et créative, elle tire son inspiration de ceux qui osent sortir du lot.

Mère de deux jeunes enfants, l’éducation et l’ouverture sur le monde restent au cœur de ses priorités. Dans ses temps libres, rien ne la ravit plus que de recevoir à sa table des personnes authentiques et ricaneuses.
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

CONSULTANT SENIOR
Le parcours de Richard Bélanger en tant que gestionnaire de haut niveau lui a permis d'accompagner plusieurs types d'entreprises dans divers secteurs d'activité, principalement en recherche de cadres mais aussi dans leur processus de planification de la relève.

Son expérience de plus de 25 ans dans le domaine du recrutement exécutif a été acquise au sein de sa propre firme ainsi qu’auprès d’une importante firme canadienne de consultation stratégique et de recherche de cadres.

Richard a été président d’une filiale au sein d’un important détaillant et distributeur dans le domaine des produits de consommation et de vente par catalogue au Canada.

Il siège sur différents conseils d’administration et a développé un réseau enviable basé sur ses valeurs personnelles qui sont l’authenticité, la rigueur et le sens de l’éthique. Ses compétences relationnelles et sa capacité d’écoute active combinées à son courage managérial lui permettent de s’assurer de la compréhension des besoins de sa clientèle.
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.