Who We Are

A photo of Manjit Singh

Manjit Singh

President and Chair of the Board, Ascend Canada / Executive Vice-President and Chief Financial Officer

With more than 25 years of finance, strategy, risk and treasury experience, Manjit has worked in financial services both in Canada and internationally. In his new role, Manjit will have responsibility for leading Sun Life’s Finance organization, including Finance, Tax, Capital, Corporate Development, Investor Relations and strategic finance initiatives including implementation of the new IFRS 17 accounting standard. He will also be a member of the Executive Team.

An active community leader, Manjit is currently the President of ASCEND Canada and is a Board Member of Trillium Health Partners.  He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Waterloo and Masters of Business Administration from the Richard Ivey School of Business. Manjit is a Fellow of the Chartered Professional Accountants (CPA) of Ontario, has earned the CFA designation, and completed the Advanced Management Program at the Harvard Business School.

A photo of Alex Peh

Alex Peh

Board Member / Vice President, Innovation, Technology & Operations, RBC

Alex is Vice President, Innovation, Technology & Operations, RBC. He is a passionate, technology-focused leader with international experience in the Payments, Digital Commerce, Software Development and Media industries. Born and raised in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, educated in Melbourne, Australia and with stints in Africa, South-East Asia, and Europe, Alexander currently serves as Vice President of Innovation & Enterprise Architecture at RBC. Prior to joining RBC, he led Market Development & Mobile for PayPal Inc. based in North America and EMEA.
An active startup advisor, FinTech investor, and entrepreneur mentor, he sits on a range of Advisory Boards including TechToronto, Symend Inc, One More Story Games, Singularity University Canada and the Canadian FinTech & AI Awards.
Reporting to The EVP of Innovation & Technology, his Group’s mandate is to be a hub within RBC that partners, experiments, builds, and delivers next-generation technology solutions across the Enterprise and lines of business.

A photo of Andrew Kwong

Andrew Kwong

Board Member / Partner, Deloitte – Risk Advisory Ontario Regional Market Leader

Andrew leads Deloitte Ontario’s Risk Advisory practice, which helps organizations understand that risk is a source of competitive advantage. By managing risk more effectively these organizations can unleash their full potential, creating and protecting value for all of their stakeholders.
With over 20 years of experience, Andrew has worked with public and private clients in banking, mining, retail and telecommunications to identify, assess and manage risk related to business processes, information technology and governance. He advises clients on how to manage risk and helps them transform their control environment leveraging analytics, automation, continuous monitoring and artificial intelligence to drive performance.
Andrew currently serves on the CPA Canada Audit and Assurance Technology Committee and he is a member of the United Way Greater Toronto Major Individual Giving cabinet.  He also served on the CPA Canada Information Management and Technology Advisory Committee and was the Audit Committee Chair for LOFT (Leap of Faith Together).

Andrew is passionate about people and believes in mentoring and giving everyone an equal opportunity to excel.

A photo of Bhavna Duggal

Bhavna Duggal

Board Member / Vice President, CFS, Investment Management Corporation of Ontario (IMCO)

Bhavna Duggal is Vice President, Client Finance Services at IMCO leading client focused strategy to transform and enhance the stakeholders’ client experience. She is also responsible to drive the execution of key strategic projects from the office of the CFO. Prior to this, Bhavna was a Partner with Ernst & Young in Toronto leading Finance function advisory services, assisting Finance Leaders drive transformation and change. Bhavna is a Chartered Professional Accountant (Ontario), with a Fellowship with the ACCA (UK) and brings over 17 years of global finance management and advisory experience across her varied work experiences in Canada, Europe and Asia.

Bhavna’s global work experience and travels include senior finance executive roles with JP Morgan Chase and Morgan Stanley specializing in their Asset Management and Investment Banking operations in Asia and Europe including Luxembourg, Ireland and England. Bhavna brings extensive public accounting and advisory experiences from her time with Deloitte in the Middle-East, and then Ernst & Young in London.

Bhavna is passionate about volunteering and giving back to the community and as a proud mother to two amazing children, she is hoping to pass those values to them. Together with her husband Jai, she has organized and run a series of fundraisers aiming to benefit different communities. These personal initiatives were core to Bhavna and Jai’s ethos of paying it forward and giving back to various communities. The fundraisers varied from raising benefits to victims of the devastating Nepal Earthquake to raising awareness and fundraising for Aboriginal Women’s shelters in Toronto.

With Ascend Bhavna currently champions and leads the Partnership team which is central to maintaining relationships with existing sponsors and partners, and bringing in new partnerships to Ascend Canada.

In her spare time, Bhavna is an avid adventurer, traveler and sports enthusiast.

A photo of Farah Qasemi

Farah Qasemi

Board Member / Partner, IBM

Farah is a Financial Services Partner in the Global Business Services (consulting) arm of IBM. She is a seasoned Clients & Markets leader having spent the last 15 years exceeding industry and account growth targets for some of the world’s leading professional services and technology power-house in Canada, US, UK and continental Europe. Before joining IBM, Farah held financial services leadership roles at KPMG Canada, CSC UK (now DXC Technology post HP merger), PwC UK and PwC Canada.

Farah has focused the last few years of her career on all things technology and cognitive (artificial intelligence, automation, etc.) enabling the world’s largest banks to meet global regulatory demands, streamline their operations, exceed growth targets, and serve employees and customers to the best of their ability. In addition to Ascend Canada, Farah sits on the board of the Empire Club of Canada, Canada’s leading and oldest speakers’ forum. Farah also sat on the United Way of Toronto GenNext board and the Campaign Cabinet for two years and is very passionate about inclusion especially as it relates to women and visible minorities — having spoken at length on both topics at industry events. Prior to financial services, Farah developed the corporate sponsorship program at her alma matter, McGill University. Farah has been a serial entrepreneur since the age of 17, and established her first company in oil and gas while still in university, supporting world players such as BP and Shell on their offshore programs.

In her free time, Farah can be found rushing to a gym class, chasing after her three year old daughter or planning travel adventures. Farah, Jahan and Ari established their home in Leslieville, Toronto, after moving back to Canada from London, UK in 2015. She speaks English, Farsi, and Hindi/Urdu fluently.

A photo of Joan Wong

Joan Wong

Board Member / Partner, KPMG

Joan is a Partner in KPMG Canada’s Deal Advisory practice, based in Toronto. Before that, she has worked in both KPMG in Hong Kong and London. Joan has been involved in the financial services community for almost 20 years. Over the last decade, she has advised on some of the prominent deals in the financial services sector across the globe. Prior to her relocation to Toronto, she was KPMG’s Insurance deal advisory lead for the ASPAC region and a member of the Corporate Finance Advisory Panel of the Hong Kong Institute of Certified Public Accountants.
Joan specializes in mergers, acquisition & divestiture related due diligence and deal advisory services especially in the Financial Services industry sector which include Insurance, Banking, Investment Management and Funds.

A photo of Naveed Irshad

Naveed Irshad

Board Member / Head of North American Legacy Business, Manulife

Naveed is Head of North American Legacy Business at Manulife. He has direct responsibility for Manulife’s closed legacy businesses in North America, including legacy annuity business, long-term care insurance and select long-duration, guaranteed insurance products. He also leads global inforce management initiatives across the organization.
He is a member of Manulife’s Executive Leadership Team. Mr. Irshad has over 25 years of industry experience and has a deep understanding of the global life insurance industry. Rejoining Manulife in 2014, Naveed was appointed as President & CEO, Manulife Singapore where he was responsible for the overall development of Manulife’s business operations in Singapore. This included key business segments – protection, retirement solutions, high net worth and wealth management – across a multi-channel distribution platform. Prior to this role, he spent three years in a key leadership position at a major global reinsurance company with a focus on business and product development globally.
Having initially joined Manulife in 1995, Naveed held a variety of business roles in Toronto and Boston. Just prior to leaving Manulife in 2011, he was the Senior Vice President, Product and Insurance Risk Management, responsible for new product and insurance risk, globally.
Naveed holds a B.Sc. in Actuarial Math from Concordia University. He is a Fellow of the Society of Actuaries (FSA) and of the Canadian Institute of Actuaries (FCIA), and is a Member of the American Academy of Actuaries (MAAA). He served as Deputy President, Life Insurance Association of Singapore; and is also a Board Member of WGI Global (promoting literacy).

A photo of Pragashini Fox

Pragashini Fox

Board Member / Senior Vice President, Thomson Reuters

Pragashini is responsible for leading Thomson Reuters combined Talent and Diversity Centres of Excellence globally, including People Analytics and Talent Acquisition efforts. She is the architect for the overall talent strategy guiding how we attract, develop and retain the best talent, grow our leaders and enable performance that reinforces the deep commitment to building diverse teams and an inclusive environment at Thomson Reuters.
Previously, Pragashini was the Vice President, Human Resources – T&O at RBC, accountable for determining people strategies and implementing initiatives to achieve strategic and operational objectives within Technology and Operations.
Pragashini holds a Bachelor of Science degree from York University and has her Certified Human Resources Professional designation.

A photo of Rani Turna

Rani Turna

Board Member / Partner, PwC

Rani is the lead Partner for the Financial Services Risk Assurance practice at PwC Canada. Rani has spent her entire 25 year career almost exclusively focused on the financial services sector, on large multi-national organizations. Rani has been involved in a wide range of consulting assignments covering risk management, compliance and internal audit. She also spent 2 years at a leading Canadian Bank as the Global Chief Compliance Officer. She has spoken at a variety of industry and client events, and has taught courses with the Global Risk Institute.

A photo of Sahezad Pardhan

Sahezad Pardhan, CPA, CA, CF

Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, Cadillac Fairview

Sahezad is currently the EVP and CFO of Cadillac Fairview (CF) where he is responsible for the leadership of CF’s Finance Function and as a key strategic business partner he directs the company’s overall financial management and oversees planning, reporting, financing, treasury, taxation and valuation for the organization. He brings a range of global experience across finance, strategy and risk, including specializing in real estate. Prior to joining CF, he was CFO of the asset management business of a leading international financial services organization. Sahezad is a graduate of the University of Waterloo where he obtained both his Bachelors and Masters degrees and holds CPA, CA, and CF professional designations. Sahezad is strong champion of diversity and inclusion and is currently serving on the Board of Ascend Canada.

A photo of Gupta Sandeep

Sandeep Gupta

Board Member / Partner, Deloitte & Touche

Sandeep Gupta is an audit partner in the New York office of Deloitte & Touche LLP. He co-leads Deloitte’s fintech audit practice. Sandeep has more than 26 years of experience serving a wide range of companies in the financial services sector including banks and finance companies, broker dealers, and asset management firms (private equity, and venture capital). He specializes in performing reviews of risk management, trading, regulatory and operations areas.

In his fintech leadership role, Sandeep serves emerging growth fintech companies across all sectors with an emphasis on the alternative lending and investing ecosystems and software and services companies disrupting the financial services industry.

Prior to his move to New York in 1998, Sandeep worked in Deloitte’s offices in Toronto, Canada, and Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, and at an accounting firm in India.

Sandeep is a Certified Public Accountant (US) and a Chartered Accountant (India).

Publications:

  • Marketplace lending 2.0: Bring on next stage in lending
  • Marketplace lenders and banks: An inevitable convergence?
  • Beyond COVID19: New opportunities for fintech companies
A photo of Shirol Liu

Shirol Liu

Board Member / Vice President, Data & Analytics Strategy & Planning, Corporate Transformation & Operations, TD Bank Financial Group

Shirol is a seasoned professional with a unique blend of experiences in data and analytics, risk management, retail channel, and project delivery. Shirol is dynamic leader with a talent in developing highly effective and empowered teams achieving unprecedented results by pushing the boundaries while aligning with TDBG’s risk appetite. A proven track record translating multiple complex problems into sustainable solutions showcased in the ability to lead large teams through transformational change. She is a two-time recipient of the Vision in Action Award and has held successively senior roles within TD over the past ten years.

Shirol is very passionate about diversity and inclusion and currently servicing on the Board of Ascend Canada and Women In Leadership committee at TD BANK.

A photo of Tzen-Yi Goh

Tzen-Yi Goh

Board Member / Partner, McCarthy Tétrault

Tzen-Yi Goh is a partner in McCarthy Tetrault’s Toronto office. His practice focuses on financial services transactions, with a particular emphasis on real estate financings, acquisitions and sales, property development and commercial leasing. Tzen-Yi also has extensive experience in the area of public offerings/private placements of commercial mortgage-backed securities and is a member of the firm’s Securitization Group. He is also a member of the firm’s Construction Law Group. Goh received his BA (Hons.) from Queen’s University in 1996, following which he spent a year in Taiwan working as a journalist at The China Post. He received his LLB from the University of Windsor in 2000, and was called to the Ontario bar in 2002.

A photo of Victor Tung

Victor Tung

Board Member /Chief Operating Officer and Head of Integration, BMO

Victor Tung is a visionary leader who serves as a catalyst for high-impact, transformative change. His influence can be felt through efforts to evolve the work environment and to prepare the workforce for the future. He is a connector, who is skilled at bridging generations. He puts people first, and in everything he does considers the experience of his team, the broader employee population and the customer.
Victor joined BMO Financial Group in 2012 as the business manager for technology responsible for Strategy, Planning and the execution of Technology initiatives. He progressively took on more responsibilities culminating in his latest executive appointment as the Chief Operating Officer and Head of Integration for BMO Financial Group responsible for the transformation of T&O to create an operating model closely aligned to business/function objectives and integrated, innovative and cost-effective information technology and operational excellence, with strategies, investment plans, operational environments and programs that effectively support aggressive growth and ensure bank/customer assets are protected.
Victor has made a lasting impression not only at BMO, but throughout the technology industry. A respected and sought-after thought leader, Victor is a member of AT&T’s Global Advisory Council, he sits on Coupa Technology’s Executive Advisory Board and is a part of the Canadian Financial Services Cyber Security Governance Council.
Victor is also dedicated to making a positive impact within his community. He is an advocate for continuous learning and established the Victor Tung scholarship which is awarded annually to a student in the Rotman School of Management, Masters in Management Analytics program. A child of immigrant parents, Victor feels compelled to give back and sits on the board of Skills for Change, a non-profit focused on supporting new immigrants. He was named Canada’s Top 40 under 40® in 2018

A photo of Vincent Lee

Vincent Lee

Board Member / Managing Director and Head of North American Institutional FX Sales, CIBC World Markets

With over two decades of experience, he leads teams in Toronto and New York servicing CIBC’s largest foreign exchange clients. Vincent started his career as an intern at TD Bank in 1994 and quickly established himself as a builder of relationships and the provider of innovative solutions. He rose through the ranks to eventually become the Canadian Head of Institutional FX Sales at TD before joining CIBC. Vincent Lee is a Chartered Financial Analyst charterholder and holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of British Columbia.
He is an active participant in visible minority, mentoring and charitable initiatives. Vincent is a husband and the proud father of two daughters. In his free time, he is an avid tennis player, skier and golfer.

Alexandra Gabura

Alexandra (Ali) Gabura

AVP, Operations

Alexandra (Ali) Gabura is a Senior Manager in Business Banking at TD Bank where she partners with business, risk and control partners across Small Business and Commercial Banking to ensure risk is being adequately identified, assessed and appropriate mitigation strategies are in place to manage current and emerging risks for the business. Alexandra has held several roles within both TD’s Canadian Personal Banking business and Internal Audit Division.

Prior to joining TD, Alexandra worked at Pricewaterhouse Coopers (PwC”) where she worked in the firm’s Audit and Assurance practice, earning her Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA, CA) designation.  Alexandra holds an Honors Business Administration (HBA) degree from Richard Ivey School of Business at University of Western Ontario.

Alexandra was recognized as MVP Operations and Volunteer of the Year for her work launching and operating Ten Thousand Coffees at Ascend.

A photo of Munawarali Najafi

Ali Najafi

VP, Operations

Ali Najafi is Director Inclusion & Development, Global Diversity at RBC. He leads the development and implementation of enterprise diversity & inclusion strategies as well as professional development initiatives, marketing and communications, and network integration and optimization efforts. He has been with RBC for over 18 years and held a variety of progressive roles within Personal & Commercial Banking. Ali is also actively involved in his community as a soccer coach for the past fifteen years, as well as being a member of his local elementary school Parent Council.

Connect with Ali: linkedin.com/in/ali-najafi-54302b43/

ashish shah

Ashish Shah

AVP, Strategy

Ashish Shah is currently a Senior Manager of National Strategy & Operations for a new service line (“Managed Services”) in KPMG’s Management Consulting practice. In his role, he is focused on establishing a growing a suite of scalable, technology solutions for clients which requires a deep understanding of strategic, financial, marketing, and product life-cycle knowledge.

With over eight years of experience at KPMG, he has held progressively senior roles spanning advisory and audit. Ashish’s offers a multi-faceted, client-oriented & financially rooted lens based on his experience in strategy execution, strategic planning, financial modelling, business cases, acquisition research, integrations, assurance, and project management. In his client service assurance role, Ashish had served clients spanning industries ranging from law & construction, to non-profits, higher education & start-ups.

Ashish holds a Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA, CA) designation, certificate in Strategy Execution from Harvard Business School Online, is Lean Six Sigma Green Belt certified in process improvement, and graduated with an Honors Bachelor of Business Administration degree from the Schulich School of Business, York University. Recognized as a two-time recipient of KPMG’s Spotlight award, ranked amongst the top deciles in the CPA exams (formerly known as the CKE & SOA), and previously earned the highest performance rating for two consecutive years, Ashish is committed to delivering excellence in all that he does.

Ashish began volunteering with Ascend Canada in 2016 on the Marketing Team and subsequently joined the Strategy Team in 2018. He has made significant contributions include leading and implementing various strategic initiatives including Montreal Expansion, Communications Strategy, just to name a few. Outside of Ascend, Ashish also supports various community initiatives which includes being a Board Director & Treasurer for Scarborough Arts, an organization dedicated to delivering innovative programs and services that enhance the cultural life of Scarborough.

A photo of Avni Shah

Avni Shah

VP, Finance

Avni Shah is a Manager at TD Bank responsible for providing specialized in-depth audit expertise, and contributing to the planning, risk assessment, and execution of audits and/or related processes in the capital markets business. In this capacity, she also leads the Market Risk Center of Excellence where among other things, the market risk scores assigned to the Bank’s businesses are assessed and calibrated. Through her involvement with the TD Securities audit analytics team, Avni has piloted various agile initiatives and led them through implementation.
Prior to joining TD, Avni spent five years with EY where she worked in the firm’s assurance practice servicing financial institutions. Avni obtained her undergraduate degree from McGill University and is a member of the Chartered Professional Accountant in Canada (CPA).
Avni was recognized as MVP Operations in 2017, and selected from the many volunteers to receive the ”Volunteer of the Year” Award during the 2018 Ascend Gala for her tremendous contributions on the Events and Operations management teams. As the AVP Finance for Ascend Canada, Avni now supports the day to day management of the organization’s funds ensuring alignment to Ascend Canada’s Vision, Mandate and Strategy.

Carolyn Ayson

Carolyn Ayson

AVP, Student Affairs

Carolyn Ayson is a Project Management Professional (PMP)®  and senior leader with experience in wealth management, capital markets, technology, contact center and enterprise project management office (PMO). She champions inclusion & diversity and in 2015, founded Speak Up at TD, the first known Toastmasters club in the Toronto area dedicated to supporting people with disabilities. A Distinguished Toastmaster, she is a sought-after speaker at corporate and community events on topics such as career development, work-life and self-advocacy.

A long-term volunteer with Ascend Canada, Carolyn started the PMO in 2015 and has been recognized with the Ascend Operations MVP award. Prior to this role leading Student Affairs, Carolyn was a relationship manager working with Ascend Canada’s corporate partners. Now partnering with students at university chapters across Canada, she looks forward to the opportunity to impact the next generation of business leaders.

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Dominique Villanueva

VP, Student Affairs

In this role, Dominique has developed, launched and led the national program for Pan-Asian students.
Dominique is a business strategist with entrepreneurial spirit. She is experienced in strategy development, product management and execution across multiple products and segments. Dominique has deep experience across financial services and brand consulting and has transitioned into the blockchain space to participate in the startup ecosystem.
Dominique is an advocate for diversity and inclusion having served as a champion for visible minorities, women, and youth initiatives. She has been a volunteer with Ascend since inception in 2012.
Connect with Dominique: linkedin.com/in/dominiquecv/
A photo of Hardeep Saund

Hardeep Saund

VP

Hardeep is the Head of Process Excellence in RBC Insurances Transformation Team. Hardeep leads RBCIs Process Excellence, Business Process Management and Strategic Analytics practice areas. He has over 10 years of experience in leading and executing cross functional teams within various Financial, CPG and Manufacturing Companies across North America. Hardeep is both a Professional Engineer and Certified Six Sigma Black Belt and holds an MBA from the Rotman School of Business. Hardeep is the Co-Chair of the Centennial Gala Foundation – an organization dedicated to recognizing and honoring excellence through youth scholarship and education programs. Hardeep was also a senior member of the TD South Asian Diversity Council and a mentor for TRIEC.

A photo of Julie Park

Julie Park

VP, Finance

Julie Park is currently a Director at Manulife Financial. She is responsible for providing accounting and capital advices to global investment units on the application of various accounting standards and capital guidelines and transaction structures that optimize the accounting and capital results for the company. Prior to joining Manulife in 2013 from Ernst & Young, she was a Manager in the Assurance Services group focusing on Asset management and banking / capital markets. Julie is a Canadian Chartered Professional Accountant and holds an Honours in Mathematics and Master of Accountancy from the University of Waterloo.

A photo of Ka Yan Ng

Ka Yan Ng

VP, Communications

As VP Corporate Communications, Ka Yan Ng has overall responsibility for Ascend Canada’s communication strategy and tactical approach. She leads a small team that produces the Annual Report, the soon-to-be-relaunched newsletter, and provides editorial support for marquee events and programs.
Ka Yan is passionate about telling a purposeful story to engage readers and help them connect the dots. She has extensive experience in internal and executive communications, and media relations. At RBC, she is a Senior Manager with the RBC Corporate Communications team. Prior to joining RBC, she was a financial journalist.
She has been an active Ascend volunteer since 2016, providing communications counsel and support for the annual Ascend Canada Leadership Awards, annual Fall Conferences, and the Catalyst and Ten Thousand Coffees initiatives. In 2018 she received the MarComm MVP Award for her contributions as a volunteer.

Karthik Kannan

Karthik Kannan

AVP, Marketing & IT

Karthik has over 10 years of marketing, product management and strategy experience in Canada and internationally. In his role as Senior Marketing Lead at Stericycle he is responsible for leading the administration, optimization and expansion of marketing automation and process development.
Karthik’s been a volunteer with Ascend Canada since 2019. He supports Ascend Canada’s digital marketing from member registration to mass communication. He also supports community initiatives in Toronto as an advisory board member of: Victoria Shuter Non-Profit Housing Corporation that supports poverty alleviation through affordable housing and First Stage Child Care Centre that supports early childhood development through four licensed child care centers.

Connect with Karthik: linkedin.com/in/karthikkannan-ca/

keting cao

Keting Wong

VP, Strategy

Keting Wong is currently the Associate Vice President of Enterprise Change Management Strategy and Analytics at TD Bank Group.  She is responsible for setting the enterprise change strategy to advance the change management capability, knowledge, and competencies across the organization.  Additionally, she works closely with various key stakeholders across the enterprise to develop robust reporting and drive data to insights for senior leaders. Keting has been with TD for over fourteen years and has held progressively senior roles in Retail Banking, Phone Channel, Corporate Human Resources, Personal Banking Delivery Excellence businesses.

A photo of Maisie Ho

Maisie Ho

VP, Events

Maisie is a senior manager in EY’s financial services assurance practice in Toronto, with over ten years of experience in the insurance sector. In addition to her client serving role, she is the Canadian representative on the steering committee for EY’s Pan Asian Professional Network.
She has a Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of Toronto, Mississauga, and is a Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA, CA). In addition to being the VP of Member Programming for Ascend Canada, Maisie is an alumna of and volunteer with the Air Cadet program.

A photo of Margarita de Guzman

Margarita de Guzman

VP, Volunteer Engagement and Marketing

Margarita is an Associate Vice President at TD Bank and has diverse leadership experience in risk consulting and internal audit. She started her career at Deloitte, where she earned her Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA, CA) and Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA) designations.
Margarita is passionate about strategy setting, innovation, and talent management. Within TD. She currently serves as the Global Lead for the Audit Division’s Employee Engagement Council, participates in various mentorship programs, and is an active member of the TD Finance Indigenous Peoples committee. She has also participated in Inclusion and Diversity panel discussions for International Women’s Day and the TD Finance Mentorship Program.
Margarita obtained her graduate and undergraduate degrees from the University of Waterloo. In her spare time, she enjoys fitness, dining, cooking, and travel.

A photo of Numaan Butt

Numaan Butt

VP, Governance

Numaan Butt is Vice President, Head of the Business Line Accounting And Reporting at TD Bank Group. Numaan leads a team responsible for general ledger and financial reporting for various business lines including Mortgages, Credit Cards, Treasury and Balance Sheet Management and Wholesale Bank. Prior to TD, Numaan spent fours years with Deloitte & Touche LLP where he worked in the firm’s assurance and advisory practice. Numaan is a Chartered Professional Accountant in Canada (CPA).

Christina Ma

Christina Ma

Co-VP, Students Chapter

Christina Ma is a Portfolio Management Assistant at RBC PH&N Investment Counsel. She works closely with her Investment Counsellor to provide strategies that help meet clients’ overall financial objectives including investment management and wealth planning. Christina started her career in Investment Banking Operation with J.P. Morgan Singapore in 2009. Prior to joining RBC PH&N Investment Counsel in 2017, she spent two years with RBC Dominion Securities as an Investment Advisor Associate. She is a graduate of the University of British Columbia with a Bachelor of Arts (Honors) with Major in Economics and Minor in Commerce. She holds CIM®, PFP® and QAFP™. Christina has been an Ascend member since 2019 and serving as a volunteer supporting the Vancouver Student Chapter since 2020.

Connect with Christina:   linkedin.com/in/christina-jie-ma

Conrad Rego

Conrad Rego

Vancouver Strategic Council Member

A partner in the Real Property & Planning Group in Vancouver, Conrad’s practice is focused on all aspects of commercial real estate, with a particular emphasis on real estate financing. He is known for his solutions-oriented approach to complex acquisition, disposition, and lending transactions. Conrad regularly represents a broad range of clients including significant institutional and private landlords, developers, investors and lenders on a variety of residential, commercial, mixed-use and comprehensive projects. Clients appreciate his responsiveness, breadth of experience, and strong leadership skills, each of which he uses to swiftly close deals without sacrificing quality. Conrad has been lead transaction counsel on many sizable and complex syndicated financing and other real estate transactions for key lender, investor and developer clients.

An active member of the community, Conrad is on the Board of Directors of NAIOP (Vancouver Chapter) and a Past President and a current Strategic Advisory Council member of Ascend Canada (Vancouver Chapter). He is also a member of the Federation of Asian Canadian Lawyers (BC), the Real Property and Banking Sections of the Canadian Bar Association, the Vancouver Bar Association, and the Law Society of British Columbia. Conrad obtained his BA in History and Economics from the University of British Columbia in 2001 and his LLB/JD from the University of British Columbia in 2004. He was called to the British Columbia bar in 2005.

Connect with Conrad: linkedin.com/in/conrad-rego-8478122

A photo of Constance Chow

Constance Chow

Co-VP Marketing

Constance Chow is a regional marketing manager at KPMG Canada, leading marketing initiatives and campaigns for a number of industries and functional groups. She is experienced in professional services marketing covering event and content marketing, communications as well as digital promotion. Prior to KPMG Canada, Constance spent several years at PwC Canada and Deloitte providing marketing support to various practice groups including China Business, Advisory and Enterprise Risk Services. Constance has international work experience having worked in Hong Kong, Shanghai and Toronto. She holds a B.Comm from the University of British Columbia and an MBA in International Business and Marketing from Schulich School of Business, York University.

Connect with Constance: linkedin.com/in/constancechow

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Fornia Lau

VP Events

Born in Hong Kong and raised in Vancouver, Fornia graduated from UBC Sauder School of Business (Finance Major) and developed into a versatile business professional with a diverse set of skills and experience ranging from financial marketing, events planning, project management to business development.  She is a proven leader in planning and hosting large-scale financial conferences for both institutional and retail focus of more than 500 attendees. Fornia is the Regional Director, Online Brokerage & Digital Wealth at Aviso Wealth. She also previously worked at a financial marketing firm and at a major Canadian bank in both personal banking and online brokerage divisions. She is also passionate in supporting non-profit organizations and led various campaigns for BC Children’s Hospital, United Way, and S.U.C.C.E.S.S during her tenure with past employer.

Connect with Fornia:  linkedin.com/in/fornia-lau-b21bb226

Geraldine Tagle

Geraldine Tagle

Co-VP, Students Chapter

Geraldine Tagle is a Marketing Manager at KPMG with expertise in events and sponsorships. In her role, she oversees the marketing and communications plan for a variety of the firm’s practice lines, delivering integrated marketing campaigns to strengthen the KPMG brand and support relationship development. Prior to joining KPMG, Geraldine had roles at the British Columbia Institute of Technology and the Chartered Professional Accountants of BC where she focused on student recruitment and promotion. Geraldine is an alumna of Simon Fraser University’s Beedie School of Business.

Connect with Geraldine: linkedin.com/in/geraldinetagle/

Grant Damery

Grant Damery

Vancouver Strategic Council Member

As Managing Director, Enterprise Private Clients, Grant works with among some of RBC’s most complex clients and their families to provide a single gateway to RBC to create a seamless, integrated, and holistic UHNW experience. He navigates across global jurisdictions and works in partnership with RBC relationship professionals across business lines to bring clients the depth and breadth of RBC expertise and solutions. Grant acts as a steward and advocate on his client’s behalf by reinforcing the client’s best interests and a seamless “One RBC” experience.

Grant began his career in equipment leasing sales before co-founding Qualica Financial Group Inc. in 2000, serving as President and CEO. MCAP Leasing acquired Qualica in May 2006 and RBC subsequently acquired MCAP Leasing in 2010, rebranding it RCAP Leasing. As a member of the executive team, Grant served as the Vice President, Vendor Financial Services Canada responsible for the overall sales strategy, execution and results. Most recently, Grant served as the Vice President, Commercial Financial Services, responsible for the Commercial Banking business in Vancouver specializing in serving Supply Chain, Retail, Hospitality, Mining and Construction clients in addition to the Public Sector and Not-For-Profit markets in British Columbia.

Grant is active in the community. In addition to his support for Covenant House Vancouver, BC Crisis Centre and Coast Mental Health, he currently serves as a Co-Executive Chair for the Mosaic Employee Resource Group in British Columbia and is a member of the Advisory Council for Ascend Canada’s Vancouver Chapter.

Connect with Grant: linkedin.com/in/grant-damery-35b08a1

Ivy Chen

Co-VP, Marketing

Ivy Chen is the Marketing Coordinator, Digital & Advisory at KPMG Canada. With her digital and events & sponsorship expertise, Ivy assists and supports the marketing team and various portfolios to drive business development. Ivy graduated from Simon Fraser University with a bachelor’s in Communication & Interactive Art Technology and a minor in publishing. Before joining KPMG, Ivy worked at Progressive Housing Society, a registered non-profit charity that provides support services to adults living with mental health issues or facing homelessness. There, she focused on marketing and building brand awareness.

Connect with Ivy: https://www.linkedin.com/in/chen-ivy/

Jeffery Cho

Jeff Cho

Co-VP, Sponsorship & Membership

Jeff is a Manager in PwC Canada’s Private Company Services practice. With more than five years of experience working closely with a variety of businesses in the private company and technology space, he has developed strong professional relationships with clients of a diverse background, experience and industry as a trusted tax advisor. Jeff has been involved in a wide range of consulting and compliance assignments covering domestic Canadian and cross border taxation. Jeff is passionate about people and mentorship. He continues to coach team members at PwC and shares his professional journey with his high school through its annual career speaker series.

Connect with Jeff: ca.linkedin.com/in/jeffreywcho

Jenny Li

Jenny Li

Vancouver Strategic Council Member

Jenny Li is a partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP (PwC).  She has about 20 years’ experience in advising Canadian businesses expanding globally especially into the United States and increasingly foreign businesses entering the Canadian market through either organic or acquisitive growth. Her clients include businesses and business owners in real estate, retail, resources (mining, forestry, agri-food), technology, and healthcare. Jenny is passionate about diversity and community involvement.  She’s an active mentor both within and outside of PwC. She has been on the board of many not-for-profit organizations including Elektra Women’s Choir and InspireHealth.

Connect with Jenny: linkedin.com/in/pwcjennyli

Jerry Wei Ascend Canada

Jerry Wei

VP Mentorship

Jerry is an Area Sales Manager for Mobile Investment Consultants with CIBC, he leads a team of investment consultants that help Canadians achieve what is important to them through an in-depth discovery process and a holistic approach to financial wellbeing. Jerry and his team work closely with the branch banking team to bring the best of CIBC to all clients. Jerry has over 12 years of experience in a variety of leadership and advisory roles. Prior to joining CIBC, Jerry was with TD Bank where he held progressive roles with the retail channel. Some of his accomplishments include launching the first Mobile Investment Consultant team in BC and recipient of multiple performance leadership awards. Jerry is proud to lead the Mentorship Committee with Ascend Vancouver Chapter. He has a passion for helping people overcome the difficult points in their career by sharing his personal experiences and offer words wisdom to help people discover their own path forward.

Connect with Jerry: linkedin.com/in/jerry-wei-267b1493/

Joanne Sun

Joanne Sun

Vancouver Strategic Council Member

Joanne Sun is a Tax Partner at BDO and currently leads BDO’s Global Employer Services group in the Western Region and is the Leader of BDO’s Immigration Services practice in Canada.  She has over 20 years of professional experience assisting employers in managing the Canadian and U.S. tax issues arising from the cross-border movement of its employees, consultants, directors, and executives.  She partners with Global Mobility, HR, Legal, Tax, and Finance teams in a wide range of industries, including financial services, mining & natural resources, engineering & construction, and technology & life sciences sectors.  Joanne also has extensive experience in executive compensation matters (equity compensation) and expatriate policy design and implementation.

Joanne joined Ascend in 2013, and was one of the founding members of Ascend Canada’s Vancouver chapter.  She is passionate about people development, and sparking new ideas with diversity.  She has participated in a number of premier leadership programs, joined various Diversity & Inclusion employee community groups, and has actively mentored many employees in the organizations that she worked for over the years.  In 2018, she proudly served as a mentor to emerging leaders in Ascend Canada’s Mentorship Program to share her personal experiences and help her mentees develop professionally to their full potential.  Today, she continues to serve on Ascend’s Strategic Advisory Council (Vancouver Chapter) along with our Vancouver Chapter President and many of the chapter’s founding members.

Joanne is a graduate from the University of British Columbia.  She earned her CPA, CA designations in both B.C. and Quebec, and has also been admitted to practice before the United States IRS.  In her spare time, she can be found working out in her pandemic-home gym, exploring new Asian fusion recipes, and treasuring time with her blended family.

Connect with Joanne: linkedin.com/in/joannesun/

A photo of Kerby Sit

Kerby Sit

Vancouver Chapter President, Ascend Canada

Kerby joined RBC PH&N Investment Counsel in 2010 and specializes in discretionary investment management working with high net worth individuals, corporations and not-for-profits. Prior to her current position, Kerby spent five years at a national brokerage firm where she worked with high net-worth clients. Kerby graduated with Honours in Finance from the University of British Columbia and became a CFA Charterholder in 2009. She was involved with the UBC alumni group and served as Director of Corporate Partnerships on the committee of Sauder Business Club of Vancouver. Currently, she is on the steering committee of Mosaic B.C. at RBC, which is an employee resource group that supports the success of visible minorities and newcomers to Canada across RBC.

Connect with Kerby: linkedin.com/in/kerbysit

priyanka mathur

Priyanka Mathur

VP, Operations & Finance

Priyanka Mathur is a Manager within Business Consulting practice at Ernst and Young LLP. She has over 7 years of progressive experience assessing technology risk frameworks such as COBIT, SOX, and SOC reports at diverse public clients. Before moving to Ernst and Young, Priyanka was a technology consultant at Accenture for 4 years. She is an active member of ISACA, Vancouver Chapter and is a Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA). Priyanka holds a Bachelor of Technology in Computer Science from Mody University, Rajasthan, India and Masters in Engineering Management for University of Maryland, Baltimore County, U.S.

Connect with Priyanka:  linkedin.com/in/priyanka-m-bb2b0060/

Rex Chan Ascend Canada

Rex Chan

Co-VP Sponsorship & Membership

Rex Chan is the Client Relationship Manager for Group Retirement Services at Canada Life supporting the BC market.  He focuses on servicing and growing Canada Life’s  group retirement program by working closely with sponsorships and partners to ensure the health, mental and financial well being of Canadians are sought after.  Rex began his career in the financial industry over 20 years ago and has held a variety of roles in retail banking, management, business banking, sales leadership and coaching.  He has been an Ascend member since 2012 and served as VP Mentorship supporting the Vancouver Chapter’s Mentorship program in 2018 – 2020.  As of 2021, he was appointed as Co-VP for Sponsorship and Membership for the Vancouver Chapter.

Connect with Rex: linkedin.com/in/rexchan1

Sanj Rana

Sanj Rana

Vancouver Strategic Council Member

Sanj Rana is a Vice President of Human Resources at TD Bank.  In this role, he leads the people and talent mandate for the Risk Management function –  which includes a portfolio of colleagues that provide strategic advice and credible challenge to enable sustainable growth within the Bank’s risk appetite.  In addition to his role at TD, he also proudly sits on the Strategic Advisory Council for Ascend Canada – a not-for-profit group that works with Canadian organizations to develop and advance Pan-Asian talent.

Before TD, Sanj was a Consultant with Deloitte, where he held progressively senior roles within their Human Capital practice.  In this role, Sanj worked with clients from various industries across North America, including: Luxury Retail, Public Sector, Oil & Gas and Professional Services.  Sanj holds a Master of Business Administration from University of Saskatchewan and a Bachelor of Business Administration from Simon Fraser University.

Connect with Sanj: linkedin.com/in/sanj-rana-0733aa45

Shen Lo

Shen Lo

VP, Volunteer Engagement

Shen Lo is a Senior Manager in KPMG’s Risk Consulting practice in Vancouver, specialized in the financial services sector. Shen is specialized in helping clients in risk management while steering through transformative change and assisting clients in designing and implementing controls for new services, processes and technologies. Shen has more than 10 years of processional experience gained through public practice in Vancouver and Toronto, in Bank of Montreal’s Global Asset Management division in Toronto and at Royal Bank of Canada. Her experience comprises providing external and internal consulting, assurance, and management services, primarily to financial services companies. She serves as the VP Volunteer Engagement for the Vancouver chapter since 2018.

Connect with Shen: linkedin.com/in/shen-lo-702a9679/