Board of Directors

Ian Sherman


Partner, Tax Practice Market Leader, EY

Ian Sherman is a Tax Partner in the EY Ottawa Office with over 30 years of public accounting experience. He manages the Ottawa Office Tax Practice of over 80 professionals and is a Tax Account Leader coordinating and facilitating services to many of EY’s local and multinational clients in several industry sectors.

Ian coordinates and supervises EY’s tax services to numerous companies including Canadian corporate tax compliance and planning; tax accounting advisory services; mergers, acquisitions and divestitures; corporate tax structures; tax controversy; SR&ED; transfer pricing; and commodity taxes.

Ian was an Instructor for the CPIA Canada In-Depth Income Tax Course for over 10 years. From 2007 to 2011, Ian was Chair of the CICA Tax Course and Chair of its Tax Education Task Force. Ian is currently the Immediate Past Chair of the CPA Canada Income Tax Education Committee.

Mischa Kaplan


President & Co-Owner, Cardinal Research Group

Mischa Kaplan is the founder and CEO of Cardinal Research Group, a boutique advisory, research and training firm focusing on organizational design, family business planning, and leadership development for SME owners. An experienced small business owner and investor, Mischa is the former president of the award-winning Rainbow Foods, a natural products retailer now in its 40th year of serving the Ottawa community.

As an expert in SME management, Mischa also serves as a part-time professor in the School of Business at Algonquin College, where he has taught marketing management, entrepreneurship, and corporate sustainability. He holds an undergraduate degree from McGill University, a master’s degree from Queen’s University, and is currently completing an executive master’s degree in global management at the London School of Economics.

As the former chair of the West Ottawa Board of Trade, Mischa is actively involved in economic development advocacy at both the local and provincial levels. He is a frequent media commentator, and his writing has appeared in the Ottawa Citizen, Ottawa Business Journal, Maclean’s, Canadian Business, and the Montreal Gazette, as well as a variety of trade magazines. Part of the 2016 Forty Under 40 cohort from the Ottawa Chamber of Commerce and Ottawa Business Journal, Mischa was also selected as part of the 2017 Young Entrepreneurs’ Alliance G20 delegation to Germany, where he helped to advocate globally for a G20-wide common framework for encouraging entrepreneurship amongst member nations.

Mischa is the proud father of three young daughters, and lives in the Stittsville neighbourhood of Ottawa.

Joelle Hall

JOELLE HALL – Vice-Chair

Associate Investment Advisor, Richardson GMP

In working with business owners, professionals and families, Joelle Hall has leverage has more than 20 years of professional accounting and tax experience to help clients develop financial plans to allow them to spend their time and money by investing appropriately while protecting their wealth from undue risk and an excessive tax burden.

Joelle is a Certified Investment Manager and Chartered Professional Accountant and holds an MBA from the University of Toronto and a BA (Hon) in Economics from McGill University.  Prior to turning to wealth management, Joelle enjoyed advising multi-nationals on their intercompany pricing structures as a partner with KPMG LLP. She was recognized by the business community as one of Ottawa’s Forty Under 40 in 2011.

Joelle believes in being active in the community, having served on the Board of Dress for Success Ottawa until 2018, after co-founding it with a group of like-minded women in 2010.  She was also the Vice-Chair and Treasurer of the Board of the Orleans Chamber of Commerce, prior to the consolidation with the Ottawa Board of Trade.

When she is not advising clients, Joelle enjoys spending time with her husband, Kevin, and her three children, Derek, Sascha and Heidi, usually in a hockey arena or on a soccer field. She also enjoys cooking, wine, Ultimate Frisbee, biking, golf and European crime series on Netflix.

Lynn Johnston

LYNN JOHNSTON – Corporate Secretary

Senior Business advisor, TD Bank Financial Group

Born and raised in a business for self family in the agricultural industry, Lynn Johnston has a natural passion / Interest for entrepreneurs.

Lynn has been working with entrepreneurs for 37 years making their ‘business dreams come true’!! 10 years with BMO and most recently 27 years with TD Canada Trust.  She has enjoyed learning and being engaged in industries of all sorts!

Lynn met her partner in life 27 years ago on the squash courts in Prince Edward County (where she was born and raised). They are blessed with two boys – their 21 year old playing division 1 hockey at Lake Superior State University in northern Michigan in his junior year and their 22 year old at Queens commerce in his 3rd year. In the winter months you may find them on a mountaintop skiing or a curling rink. Their summers are on the golf course or at their beloved family cottage on Ahmic lake.

Lynn very much enjoys her work with the Chamber of Commerce which has encompassed over 25 years with Brockville, Smith Falls, Perth and most recently the West Ottawa Board of Trade. She looks forward to the challenge of working through the merge of the two chambers to ensure the future success and growth of the new  organization.

Ruby Williams


Partner, Deloitte.

Ruby Williams, CPA, CA, CBV, CFA is a Partner in the Ottawa office of Deloitte. LLP. Ms. Williams has over fifteen years of experience providing auditing, accounting and financial advisory services working with a diverse range of clientele including the federal government, municipalities, high-tech, owner-managed enterprises, public and not-for-profit organizations.

Since 2003, Ruby has been specializing in corporate finance and mergers & acquisitions (M&A) advisory services for both private and public companies in connection with M&A, divestitures, financial reporting, estate planning, corporate restructuring and litigation support.

In addition, Ruby was also involved in a number of Initial Public Offerings (IPO) and other private equity financings, providing valuation and transaction services.

Ruby has also played a key leadership role developing, strengthening and leading Deloitte’s Mergers and Acquisitions practice in the National Capital Region.

Further, Ruby has been involved in the Hong Kong Canada Business Association Ottawa as a member of the Board of Director and as the Past President of the association. Through her volunteering services, Ruby has led the organization in promoting bi-lateral trade between Canada and Hong Kong and through Hong Kong to the rest of Asia. The organization continues to provide resources and support to help Canadian / Ottawa businesses excel internationally.

James Baker

JAMES BAKER – Director

Managing Partner, Keynote Group

James Baker is CEO and co-founder of Keynote Group. Keynote is an award-winning headhunting and HR consulting firm that supports organizations with their talent attraction, development and retention needs. Since launching in September 2015, Keynote Group has garnered extensive recognition for their unique talent solutions, most recently gaining plaudits as Ottawa’s Fastest Growing Business for 2018. Originally from England, James and his wife Donna relocated to Canada in 2006 as part of a team to launch a global recruitment business in Ottawa. After that build out he helped expand a Canadian owned firm across Eastern Canada ahead of co-founding Keynote Group. On a personal level he is a proud recipient of ‘Young Entrepreneur of the Year’ for 2017 and was recognized as one of Ottawa’s Forty Under 40 Award in 2012. James sits on the advisory board for Family Enterprise Xchange and is a former board member of the West Ottawa Board of Trade.

Craig Bater

CRAIG BATER – Director

A proud resident of Orléans and Ottawa for more than 38 years.

One of the founding partners of Augustine Bater Binks LLP, a local litigation law firm. More than 35 years of experience in business and commercial law and litigation. Recently retired from full time practice and litigation.

An active member of local Chambers of Chamber for more than 30 years. including many years being a director of both the Orleans and Ottawa Chambers.

The Ottawa Board of Trade’s nominee to the board of directors of the Ottawa International Airport Authority, also serving on the Airport’s Governance committee, Chair of the Infrastructure and Environment committee and interim Chair of the Board during the summer of 2017.

Active member of the Institute of Corporate Directors.

Served on the boards of numerous community based non-profit and charitable organizations, often as Chair of the Board or other governing body.

Priya Bhaloo


Vice President, TAG HR

Priya Bhaloo is Vice President of TAG HR and Chief Operating Officer of Sterling Global Management. Priya is also the President of the Ottawa Chapter of the Association of Canadian Search, Employment and Staffing Services (ACSESS) and an active member of the National Association of Canadian Consulting Businesses (NACCB). Priya also holds a seat on the Temporary Help Advisory Committee with the Federal Government’s procurement branch. Priya has also served as a member of the Women’s Business Network’s executive for 3 years and currently volunteers with the executive in an advisory capacity. In 2018, Priya was recognized as a recipient of the city’s esteemed Forty Under 40 award.

After graduating from the University of Ottawa in 2003 with a Bachelors of Commerce with a major in Finance and minor in Management Information Systems, Priya joined The Associates Group as an HR assistant. Priya learned about every facet of the business over the next few years and eventually was named Vice President of the consulting firm in 2013. The Associates Group, now known as TAG HR, is a leading provider of workforce solutions to both public and private sector clients across Canada. Helping clients build strong and successful teams that ensure top results, TAG HR specializes in Information Technology and Professional Consulting.

Priya also started Sterling Global Management (SGM) in 2011, a full-service firm that offers bid response and consulting services to multiple industries. SGM offers training, courses, and proposal coordination services to clients allowing them to achieve results required to remain competitive in today’s market. Both SGM and TAG HR’s critical success factors have always been: nurturing and cultivating relationships with its clients. Their corporate mantra is that customer services exceeds all else.

Priya Bhaloo was born and raised in Ottawa, and continues to call the nation’s capital her home along with her husband and two children.

Dirk Bouwer

DIRK BOUWER – Director

Partner, Perley-Robertson, Hill & McDougall LLP

Dirk Bouwer is a Partner in the Business Law Group at Perley-Robertson, Hill & McDougall LLP, the largest independent full service law firm in the National Capital Region.

Dirk obtained his law degree from McGill University and has been practising business law in Ottawa for more than 20 years, focusing primarily on mergers, acquisitions, corporate finance and commercial transactions.

Dirk has successfully assisted many clients spanning various industry sectors to complete their business purchase and sale transactions, financing transactions (debt and equity) and corporate reorganizations. Dirk is also a Canadian Registered Trade-mark Agent and provides advice and assistance to his clients in regard to trade-marks, corporate and business names.

An active and dynamic member of the business community, Dirk is a Past President of the Kanata Chamber of Commerce (2003-2004). Born in Pretoria, South Africa and raised in New Brunswick, he obtained his undergraduate degree at St. Thomas University in Fredericton. Dirk is a soccer enthusiast, having played in University and at the national level. Today, he continues his passion for the game by coaching his kids. Dirk lives in Carp with his wife and four children.

Michael Crockatt


President and CEO, Ottawa Tourism

Michael is a recognized leader in tourism and aviation in Canada. Prior to joining Ottawa Tourism, Michael served as Senior Vice President with InterVISTAS Consulting, where he was responsible for the firm’s airline, air service development, and tourism practices in Canada. Michael has over 15 years experience at the management level with two of Canada’s major airports, the Winnipeg Airports Authority and the Ottawa International Airport Authority.

Michael is very active within the tourism industry and other business groups. He is a Board member with the Ottawa Chamber of Commerce, and with the Ottawa International Hockey Festival, and serves as a member of the Program Advisory Committee for the Bachelor of Tourism & Hospitality Management Degree Program at Algonquin College. He has also been a Board member with the Ottawa 2017 Bureau, Invest Ottawa, the Tourism Industry Association of Canada (TIAC), Ottawa Tourism, and Ottawa’s Tourism Development Council.

In 2017, Michael was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society. He is a recipient of the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal, recognizing his contributions to Canada. Michael’s business leadership and volunteerism has been formally recognized by a broad range of stakeholders, such as Airport Business Magazine, the Ottawa Business Journal, and Ottawa’s own tourism industry.

Michael has a Master’s degree in Geography from the University of Manitoba and he is a Certified Barbecue Judge.

Wayne French


Director of Public Affairs, Waste Management of Canada Corporation

Wayne French has been a businessperson in the Ottawa community for fifty-four years. A corporate controller with M Loeb Ltd, Senior Vice-President, Blue Line Taxi (30 years) and currently Director of Public Affairs for Waste Management of Canada (16 years). He was born raised and educated in the Ottawa area, and has been very active in the community:

  • Past chair and Director of the Ottawa Tourism and Convention Authority.
  • Past Chairman of the Good Shepherd Parish Council and co-chair of the building fund.
  • Director on The Ottawa Congress Centre Board (Shaw Centre) for over 13 years.
  • Past adjudicator on the Ontario License Appeal Tribunal.
  • Director/Secretary Treasure on the Algonquin College Board. For six (6) years.
  • 1st Vice Chair of the West Ottawa Board of Trade.
  • Director on the Management Board of the Carp Road BIA.
  • Past Chair, Mont Ste Marie Golf Club.
  • Member of the Kiwanis Club of Ottawa since 1987. Director and President –Elect for 2015-16. Inducted into the Legion of Honor for 30 years of service to the community.
  • Past Chair and Trustee of the Kiwanis Medical Foundation.
  • Past President of the Ottawa Executive Association.
  • Advisor to the Ottawa Cancer Foundation.
  • Chair of the Board of the Ottawa Community Housing Foundation.
  • Choir director at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church.
  • Recipient of the State Farm Good Neighbour Award (2015)

Wayne has been married to Firma, his friend, partner and soul mate for fifty-one years, with three children, six grandchildren two step grandchildren, and two great grandchildren.

“The two most important days of my life was when I was born and the day I found out why?”

Cyril Leeder

CYRIL M. LEEDER – Director

CEO, Myers Automotive Group

An FCPA and former President of the Ottawa Senators, Cyril Leeder was one of the original founders of the NHL franchise for Ottawa in 1990. Cyril has also been a major force that helped secure the rights to host the 2009 IIHF World Junior Championship, the 2012 NHL All-Star Weekend and the 2013 World Women’s Hockey Championship and a number of other major events. Cyril was inducted into the Ottawa and Brockville Sports Hall of Fames, has been awarded Tourism Leader of the Year and in 2008 Cyril was honoured as the Business Person of the Year at the Ottawa Business Achievement Awards. He was recognized with an EY Community Builder Award at the 2015 EY Entrepreneur Awards.

Cyril is active in a number of local community and charitable initiatives including; Hydro Ottawa, McMaster University, The Ottawa Community Foundation and The Ottawa Hospital’s President’s Breakfast.

Mark Nisbett


Director of Sales & Marketing, Brookstreet Hotel

Mark Nisbett is the Director of Sales and Marketing for Brookstreet Hotel and The Marshes Golf Club, an independent Four Diamond Hotel and conference centre in West Ottawa – Kanata. Mark has held senior sales and marketing positions in the hospitality industry over the past 20 years, including Starwood Hotels and Resorts, and Ottawa Tourism prior to joining Brookstreet in 2010.

Mark has been active with a variety of associations as committee and/or board member over the years, including Toronto Tourism, Ottawa Tourism conventions committees, OTMPC, HSMAI and Meeting Professionals International to name a few.

Mark is the immediate past chair of the West Ottawa Board of Trade.

Robert Rheaume


Partner, Assurance Practice Leader, BDO Ottawa

Robert Rhéaume is an Assurance Partner with more than 30 years of public accounting experience. He is the Partner responsible for the St. Laurent Office and a member of the executive committee for the National Capital Region.

He is a trusted advisor for owners of private enterprises and executives of not-for-profit and public sector organizations in the National Capital Region. Robert sits on BDO’s National Not-for-Profit & Education Industry Group.

Robert provides accounting, assurance, taxation and advisory services to small, medium sized businesses, not-for-profit organizations, pensions plans and unions. Robert brings extensive experience to his clients both from being a professional advisor and an individual that has spent part of his career in the private sector. His private industry experience supplements his knowledge base and allows him to provide advice that is tailored to the need of the stakeholders.

Robert is also a Board member for a number of not-for-profit organizations in Ottawa, including his recent appointment as the Treasurer of Kids Up Front Foundation Ottawa.

Robert is active in the community and currently is passionate about raising funds for United Way Ottawa and the Ottawa Sleep Out for Youth of Youth Services Bureau of Ottawa. You can also find him indulging in gardening and playing with his grandchildren outside of his hectic schedule.

Andrew Scott


Owner, Pita Pit Ottawa

I have been in business for 10 years and in that time have grown my business from $270,000 in sales to nearly 2 million. I’ve also grown from 5 employees to nearly 50. I started with one location in 2007 and have since grown to 3 across the city with plans to open up 9 more in the next 10 years. Not only this but I also serve on our franchise’s national marketing council, overseeing and providing feedback on all marketing initiatives nationwide.

I am responsible for many roles including marketing, business development, event organization, human resources, financial controls and public speaking. However my main focus now is on setting a clear direction for the company and coaching our management team to achieve those goals. My favorite element though is marketing strategy. I absolutely love finding ways to improve our awareness and create new raving fans.

I strive to do this is surprising and unexpected ways and by immersing ourselves in the local community. Whether it be through 1-1 connections, networking, and community events or through traditional or social media marketing, I absolutely love getting my hands dirty and seeing results. After all, you don’t increase from $270,000 to $2 million without an excellent marketing strategy and the execution skills to follow through.

Greg Skotnicki


President, Market Maker AG

Greg spent his high school years in Ottawa and returned 10 years later after having graduated from RMC and earning an MBA from Queen’s University. In Ottawa he saw a hidden gem with the potential to be a first class city, and so he decided to launch his entrepreneurial career here. In the past two decades, Greg founded an alternative healthcare clinic, helped launch the Maverick Volleyball Club, played an integral role in building biotech start-up Ionalytics, and as its president, turned Manderley Turf Products from a struggling business into Canada’s largest sod supplier and one of Canada’s 50 Best Managed Companies. Today he is president of Market Maker Ag, a start-up company with the vision to strengthen Canada’s agriculture industry.

Amanda-Lyn Smith


Co-Owner, The Massage and Treatment Clinic

A Registered Massage Therapist, Co-owner and founder of The Massage and Treatment Clinic, established in 2003 at the age of 22.  The clinic has distinguished itself by focusing on chronic pain and integrating other complementary health professionals by providing a diverse health team, demonstrating growth with every year since inception, the clinic expanded locations in 2015.  Amanda’s Clinic has won the Consumers Choice Award in 2008 and 2009, enjoying a great reputation in Ottawa’s Health Community.

Along with managing the clinic continuing her hands on education and seeing clients Amanda has dedicated herself to the business community, by Chairing the Orleans Chamber of Commerce Economic Development Committee and becoming a board director in 2013-2016.  During this time she helped contribute to bring LRT not just to Orleans ahead of schedule but to extend to Trim station, she helped Launch two successful “Orleans for your Business” magazines, organize two Economic Symposiums in the East end along with local federal, provincial and municipal Debates as well as facilitating an Economic Development Strategic Plan for East Ottawa funded by a grant through the City of Ottawa.

When the opportunity presented itself to be a board director again particularly during a period of merger with the Chambers, Amanda did not hesitate, she was excited to take on the role as a provisional director from Orleans in the newly merged Ottawa Board of Trade to help represent small business owners in the underrepresented Health field, and unify the city’s business community to effectively create balanced prosperity citywide.

Amanda has developed a passion for Economic Development and business advocacy and is excited to apply this to her new expanded role.

Amanda is a winner of the Health Professional of the Year award in 2017 with the Business Excellence awards.  Amanda’s motto is “Live as if you were to die tomorrow, Let everything you do be done as if it will make a difference”

Wendy Trudel


Community & Employer Outreach, CERC

With a unique combination of over 20 years’ experience in the High Tech sector and Social Services, Wendy Trudel is actively involved with outreach and job development at the Community Employment Resource Centre (CERC), promoting the government-funded Employment Ontario program in the National Capital Region. She also manages CERC’s marketing initiatives and facilitates various social media and networking workshops/events.

As a seasoned Business Development Professional and Registered Social Service Worker, Wendy helps to cultivate employment opportunities in our community by building strategic partnerships and engaging employers, community members, and organizations to maximize local talent and government funding to support economic growth. She also advocates for people of all ages who are looking for employment and provides career mentoring and Ottawa labour market insight to promote long term sustainable employment. With a no-nonsense, but empathetic approach, she empowers others with skills, resources and connections to find and sustain meaningful work.

Wendy is also an active member of various not-for-profit organizations, including the Ottawa Local Employment Planning Council’s (LEPC) Executive Steering Group, and the International Talent Acquisition Centre’s (In-TAC) IT Workplace Advisory Committee. In her spare time she is involved in supporting youth addiction programs and advocating for various mental health initiatives. She likes to encourage healthy living and has been known to sign up for half marathons and fun group activities in the spur of the moment.

Shelley True


President, TRUEdotDESIGN

As the founder of Ottawa-based marketing firm, TRUEdotDESIGN, Shelley True and her team provide game-changing strategic vision and results-driven branding and social media services to their client base. Comprised largely of the property development, construction industry, architecture and interior design fields, Shelley’s clients benefit greatly from her killer combination of seasoned expertise in the building industry and her enviable business instincts.

In 2015, she took the bold step of acquiring the award-winning Ottawa-based firm Avenue Design and has successfully merged the two companies under the TRUEdotDESIGN brand. Building on two decades of experience, she seamlessly integrated the culture, approach, mission and values of both firms – no small feat!

Known as a natural connector, Shelley is a champion of women entrepreneurship and a strong believer in the power and importance of mentorship. Shelley sits on the West Ottawa Board of Trade, as well as the Board of Directors for the Annual Women in Business Conference, and is the co-founder of FORE-Play for Charity, a women’s golf tournament that connects women leaders in the building industry, while raising funds for Women for Mental Health, a philanthropic program at the Royal Ottawa Foundation for Mental Health.

Jorge Useche


VP, Ottawa Specialized Commercial Markets RBC

As Vice President Commercial Financial Services at RBC, Jorge Useche leads the Technology, Supply Chain and Retail teams in the Ottawa region. Jorge joined RBC nine years ago and has had progressively senior roles in the areas of Private Banking, Mutual Funds Business, Risk Management and Commercial Banking.

Prior to this position, Jorge worked as a senior consultant for IBM, PWC and other reputable companies and prides himself in helping clients transform their businesses. Jorge is an Industrial Engineer and holds an MBA from Queen’s University. He recently moved to Ottawa with his wife Beatriz, and two children and they are excited to discover all that this great city has to offer. Originally from Colombia, Jorge enjoys travelling and has had the opportunity to visit countries across the Americas, Europe and Asia.

Rob White

ROB WHITE – Director

Principal, Red Chef Ventures

Robert White, CPA CA CMA is an independent adviser to and investor in startup software companies. Robert is Chair of the Board of Cliniconex Inc., a company delivering patient engagement solutions to the healthcare sector. He is a member of the Board of LiveQoS, a company focused on the delivery of software defined wide area network solutions. He is a member of the Board and Chair of the compensation committee for Pythian Group, a global provider of professional services. Robert is a strategic advisor to Ottawa based Member365 and Mindbridge AI.

Robert has over 20 year of experience in software industry finance and M&A. Previously he led M&A globally for IBM’s analytics business closing over a dozen acquisitions which include Toronto based Varicent Software, Clarity Systems, and Algorithmics. Robert has also closed a number of divestitures. Previously Robert led the post-merger integration of Ottawa based Cognos into IBM. Robert started his software career with Ottawa based Object Technology International where he was Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operating Officer. Robert focuses his volunteer time on causes supporting education and entrepreneurialism.

Robert is Chair of the Board of the Ottawa Network for Education, an organization which works with education, business, government and community partners to develop programs that enrich public education in Ottawa. Robert is also a member of the boards of the Ottawa Chamber of Commerce and Invest Ottawa. Robert is a member of the Dean’s Advisory Board at the Telfer School of Management.

Robert holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of Ottawa. He graduated magna cum laude in 1992. Robert was awarded the Trudeau Medal by the University of Ottawa in 2014 recognizing his contributions to the school and his community. He was admitted to membership of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Ontario in 1993. He was admitted to membership of the Society of Management Accountants of Ontario in 1994.