Elevate Your Mind


Blair is a many-time corporate director, CFO, author, speaker, educator, innovator, and thought leader. His educational videos of accounting and finance have millions of views on YouTube. He has spoken and provided keynotes at national conferences from New York to Toronto.

He co-hosts CPA Canada’s podcast series: “CPA Success Podcast.” He works with businesses to try out theories and practices developed both in the academic and real world. He then shares these experiences and stories with others of what works, what doesn’t, and what was learned. He is the author of The Illiterate Executive: An Executive’s Handbook for Mastering Financial Acumen.

Francis Fong joined CPA Canada as Chief Economist in February 2017. Francis was previously director of economic risk and senior economist at TD Economics, where he oversaw risk activities including internal and regulatory stress testing. He has also conducted numerous reports on a variety of social and economic issues, including immigration, youth unemployment, income inequality, financial markets, and labour market issues. Francis holds a master's degree in economics from Queen's University and a bachelor's degree in economics from the University of Western Ontario.
Merge Gupta-Sunderji turns managers into leaders. A highly-respected leadership expert and newspaper columnist, Merge gives people specific and practical tools to achieve leadership and communication success. Over 69,000 managers in eight countries have attended her fun, content-rich keynotes and facilitated workshops. A leader at one of Canada's premier oil and gas companies and a Board leader at a Credit Union for a combined total of over 17 years, Merge offers a unique blend of realism and humour that consistently engages and entertains her audiences! Previously, she was the well-known voice behind the national CBC radio column The Softer Side of Business. She’s an award-winning author, writing for many well-known publications, including regular columns for The Globe & Mail and Canadian Accountant, and the very popular Merge’s Monthly Mega Minute. Her first book titled Why Does the Lobster Cast Off Its Shell? is now in its third edition, and her newest book Generations Exposed – Unexpected Insights Into the People You Work With is now in its second printing. She is the author of over 130 articles in a wide variety of publications, and for ten years was the author of a long-running column in CGA Magazine.
Esther’s consulting work helps organizations build the capability and commitment of their people to achieve breakthrough results. She is experienced in designing and delivering learning based systems and interventions that change skills and attitudes. Leadership development, thinking training, customer service, change management, and culture assessment are her particular specialties. She has designed and delivered training in over 50 different content areas.

Esther’s experience includes over 30 years of consulting, specializing in human resource development. She has worked with clients in a wide range of industries including oil and gas; three levels of government; professional firms; construction and transportation companies; electric utilities; high tech companies; and non-profit agencies.

Esther received Bachelors of Arts and Education degrees from Queen’s University in Kingston Ontario. She also holds a Master of Adult Education from St. Francis Xavier University and is a Chartered Professional in Human Resources (CPHR).

Shawn Kanungo is a strategist who operates at the intersection of creativity, business, and technology. He has been recognized nationally and globally for his work in the innovation space after 12 years of working at Deloitte. Shawn's mandate at the firm was to help corporate executives better understand and plan for the opportunities and threats associated with disruptive innovation.

Now, as General Partner of Queen & Rook Capital, Shawn is focused on applying exponential technologies and new business models to mature businesses. He is a practitioner who has worked hand-in-hand with hundreds of organizations on their journey to digital transformation, and he has adopted the concepts of behavioural economics, user-centered design, crowdsourcing, artificial intelligence, drones, and film to help create world class client experiences.

Shawn's work and interviews have been featured in Forbes, The Globe and Mail, The Guardian, CBC, and CTV. In 2016, he was recognized as Avenue magazine's "Top 40 Under 40". He spoke at TEDx in 2017, and was named to Inc's "100 Most Innovative Leadership Speakers" in 2018. His podcast, The Remix with Shawn & Wang, can be currently found on iTunes, Google Play and Stitcher.

Jen is a partner with Executive Finance and a Board member at the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board.  She is a dynamic financial professional with over 25 years of experience in public practice, academia, government, and industry.  Jen is the co-host of CPA Canada’s podcast series: “CPA Success Podcast.” Jen brings a broad skill set and experience in all key facets of an organization, including operations management, strategic planning, business development, finance, accounting, investor relations, human resources, and project management. Jen’s career epitomizes the diverse experiences and roles that CPAs play in industry – from financial to operational leadership. 

Garth Sheriff is the founder of Sheriff Consulting (sheriffconsulting.com). Garth has worked as an assurance professional and learning provider for over 15 years. He has prepared and trained CPAs for key changes to the profession, including internal control documentation (SOX), Canadian Auditing Standards (CAS) and Canadian Standards on Review Engagements 2400 (CSRE 2400). He earned a Master of Accounting and a Bachelor of Arts (Honours - Accounting) from the University of Waterloo, Canada. He is a member of the Chartered Professional Accountants of Ontario (CPAO), American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) and the Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA). Garth has also acted in various stage and film productions. He is a graduate in improvisation from The Second City and a member of ACTRA (the Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists).
Jeffrey D. Sherman is CEO of Terragram Investments Ltd. and has over 25 years experience as a corporate director and executive in real estate, high tech, biotechnology/medical, financial services, and business services. From 2012 to 2017, he was CFO of Atrium Mortgage Investment Corporation (TSX:AI) where he helped take the company public and grow its assets from $180 million to over $600 million. Mr. Sherman is a popular presenter, and a frequent course director and course author for many organizations, including provincial CPA associations across Canada. He has written many magazine articles and over twenty books including: Canadian Cash and Treasury Management, and Financial Instruments: A Guide for Financial Managers (published by Thomson-Reuters/Carswell), as well as Finance and Accounting PolicyPro (guide to governance, procedures, and internal control), and Strategy and Planning Toolkit for Small and Medium Businesses (all published or co-published by CPA Canada). Mr. Sherman has a B.Comm from Rotman Commerce (University of Toronto) and an MBA from the Schulich School of Business.

Duncan Stewart helps you get ahead of the trends. Currently the director of Technology, Media, and Telecommunications (TMT) research for Deloitte Canada, Duncan is a globally recognized expert on the forecasting of consumer and enterprise technology, media, entertainment, and telecommunications trends. He also regularly presents on marketing, consumer trends, and the longer term TMT outlook, and assesses the how technological, demographic, and regulatory changes can impact business strategies.

Duncan has 29 years of experience in the TMT industry. He is a member of Deloitte’s national TMT executive team, and co-author of Deloitte Global Research’s annual Predictions Report on trends in TMT. As an analyst and portfolio manager, he has provided research or made investments in the entire Canadian technology and telecommunications sector, and won the Canadian Technology Fund Manager of the Year award in its inaugural year. In his time as an investor, he deployed a cumulative $2 billion of capital into global TMT markets, for both public and private companies.

Duncan has a high-profile media presence and is frequently interviewed on technology, media, and telecommunications issues. He has been a technology columnist for The Globe and Mail, CBC Radio, and The National Post.

He is a CFA charterholder and also holds a B.A. in Political Science from the University of British Columbia.

A full day at Elevate Your Mind may qualify for up-to 5.75 hours of Continuing Professional Development (CPD). Please note that CPAs are individually responsible for determining how many CPD hours are gained at events, based on their level of knowledge and the applicability to their current situation.

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