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Board of Directors

Being a Board Member for the Association of Women in Finance is a rewarding opportunity for any woman in finance wishing to obtain Board experience. The Association's Board positions are dynamic in nature and require the ability to work on several projects simultaneously, including assisting other Board members when called upon. These positions require energy and a positive attitude, as well as a time commitment. And what do volunteer Board members get in return? Involvement in a high caliber organization, an opportunity to develop professionally by taking on projects outside one's normal scope of work, lifelong friendships and valuable business networks. This is also a chance to give back to your community!

If you would like further information about the AWF, please contact us by by email. Please include your name, telephone number and e-mail address to enable us to connect with you.

The AWF's Board of Directors is currently comprised of nineteen volunteer directors. They are:

Elly Seddon, Partner, Financial Services Group, Borden Ladner Gervais LLP
President

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Elly is a Partner in the Financial Services Group at Borden Ladner Gervais LLP. Elly focuses her practice on debt financing, commercial lending and bankruptcy & insolvency.

Elly has been involved in large corporate finance transactions, including multi-jurisdictional lending transactions and syndicated loan transactions, as well as small- and medium- market lending transactions, with particular focus on asset-based lending, real estate financing and film financing. She has also been involved in various insolvency-related matters, including restructurings, bankruptcies and receiverships under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act and the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act. 

Elly has held the position of President since 2021. Previously, Elly held the position of PEAK Marketing & Communications Director (2016-17), PEAK Chair (2017-18), Events Strategy (2018-19), Vice Presiden (2019-2021).


Emily Kerr, Vice Presiden, Business Banking, Bank of Montreal
Vice President 

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Emily is Vice President, Business Banking at Bank of Montreal where she leads a team of relationship managers serving the small business segment across the Greater Vancouver market.  Emily is known for consistently delivering an exceptional client experience and business results through a team of highly motivated sales professionals.  Prior to joining BMO, Emily held client facing and leadership roles with RBC Commercial Financial Services.  Her experience spans pharmaceuticals, consumer packaged goods, and financial services.  

Emily holds a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from Queen’s University and a Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) from Simon Fraser University). Emily is known as a change leader and advocate for diversity and inclusion. Outside of work, Emily enjoys golf, running, and music. Emily also serves in a volunteer capacity on the Board of Directors of Small Business BC as Vice-Chair.


Clare Gaster, Senior Manager, KPMG LLP
Treasurer

Clara_Gaster_EDITED.jpgClare is a Senior Manager with KPMG and works in the Enterprise Audit department.  Clare manages a portfolio of audit clients and delivers audit services to private companies across a range of industries from start-up technology companies through to large industrial manufacturing clients. Clare joined KPMG in 2000 and transferred from the UK to Canada in 2017.

Clare is a Chartered Accountant and holds a First Class Honors degree in Accounting and Financial Management. 

Clare has held this position on the AWF Board since 2018.


Jill Pereira, Partner, McMillan LLP
Governance/Secretary

Pereira_Jill_2.jpgJill is a Partner in the Financial Services Group of McMillan LLP and is the practice group leader for the firm’s Vancouver office.

Jill's practice focuses on a wide variety of debt financing transactions, quasi debt/equity investments and private equity. She also advises clients on general banking and treasury matters and a wide range of corporate, commercial, regulatory and compliance issues.

Jill is committed to being an engaged member of the community in which she works, and is actively involved in various mentorship programs as well as partnering with clients involved in pro bono work and other socially responsible projects. 

Jill has held this position on the AWF Board since 2019. 


Candice Hartwell, CPA, CMA  - Vice President, VEER Business Advisors
Golf for Good

Candice_Hartwell_Edited.jpgCandice is an award winning accountant and Vice President of VEER Business Advisors.  Her focus at VEER is on exit planning and sell-side advisory for small- to medium-sized business owners.  Alongside her team, she helps business owners identify and manage the unique strategic, financial, emotional and structural implications of business transitions in a wide array of industries, working with business owners to ensure an amazing exit from their business. Previously, Candice worked as a commercial lender at the Business Development Bank of Canada. She also has experience working in Government, operations, and marketing-related roles.

Candice holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree (Honours) from the Sauder School of Business and is a Chartered Professional Accountant, earning the Certified Management Accountant’s Silver Medal for British Columbia in 2015.

Candice has held this position on the AWF Board since 2019. 


Catharine Sloan, Director, Upper Mid Markets, Bank of Montreal
Events Strategy and Communication

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Catharine Sloan is a Director on the Canadian Commercial Banking Team at BMO. She specializes in assisting mid-size commercial clients with their lending and banking needs. She has been in banking for over 10 years. In her spare time she enjoys hiking, fiction, and travelling.

This is Catharine’s frst year as Director of Strategic Communications on the AWF Board.


Dayna Hui, CPA, CA, Partner, Assurance, PwC LLP 
Scholarships & Bursaries 

Dayna Hui Photo Dayna Hui is a Partner in PwC Canada’s Financial Services Assurance practice working in the Vancouver office. Since joining the firm in 2001, she has developed extensive practical experience and professional knowledge working in the asset management, pension and benefit, and insurance industries.

Throughout her professional career working with PwC in Canada and the Cayman islands, Dayna is focused on providing assurance solutions over financial reporting and reports on controls at service organizations of asset managers and investment funds, pension and benefit plans, and insurance entities. 

This is Dayna's second year on the AWF Board in this position. 


Bina Bawa, Director, Corporate Client Group, RBC
Alumni and Strategic Engagements   

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Bina is a Director with RBC's Corporate Client Group in Vancouver.  Bina works with executive management from a diverse group of corporate clients to help them achieve their companies' strategic goals by delivering comprehensive tailored financial solutions.  

Prior to her role on the AWF board, Bina volunteered as the Chair of the Board of Directors for a non-profit society that provides life skills training programs for youth aging out of foster care.  She is also a mentor with Women in Capital Markets and Simon Fraser University's Beedie School of Business.

Bina holds a Master of Business Administration and Bachelor of Arts from Simon Fraser University.  She is an avid runner and loves hanging out with her husband and two little boys.

This is her fourth year on the AWF Board. 

Vivian Lee, Managing Director & Team Lead, Corporate Finance, BMO
Sponsorship

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Vivian is a Managing Director & Team Lead for Diversified Industries with BMO Corporate Finance Division.

Prior to joining BMO, Vivian worked at various financial institutions domestically and internationally in Singapore.

Over the course of her career, Vivian has worked with various industry segments, actively providing solutions and sound financial advice.

She is active in the Vancouver downtown market place as part of the RMA Vancouver Chapter Board member, RMA Women’s Committee and previously held the position of PEAK Vice-Chair (2017-18) and PEAK Chair (2018-19) on the AWF Board. Vivian has held the Events Strategy position since 2019. 

In her spare time, Vivian competes in triathlons and is an avid reader.


Vanessa Luu, Mentor & Facilitator, Co-Founder of GenCore Leadership
PEAK Chair  

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Prior to developing GenCore Leadership, Vanessa was the Marketing & Events Director at Genesa CPA Corp., an entrepreneurial services accounting firm. At the boutique firm, Vanessa led a unique marketing vision focused on sharing stories about the humans behind the businesses. In creating this space for others, she discovered her passion in helping others speak their truth. In 2018, she founded Connecting Curious Minds; a leadership conference that brought together entrepreneurs and professionals who strived to make an impact beyond the walls of business. The conference was a space where leaders embraced their truth through powerful and vulnerable storytelling, breaking stereotypes of corporate environments. The curiosity of her unique journey as a woman of colour led her to develop programs that allow others to step into their powerful and unique self. She is now the mentor, facilitator and co-founder of GenCore Leadership, and hosts an online interview series called Contextually You.

Previously, Vanessa held the position of PEAK Marketing Director (2018-19), PEAK Vice-Chair (2019-21). This is Vanessa's first year as PEAK Chair. 


Juliet Zhu, Associate, Large Corporate, HSBC
PEAK Vice-Chair

Board Member/Juliet_Zhu_Headshot_Cropped.pngJuliet is an Associate with the Large Corporate Banking Group at HSBC where she provides financing and banking solutions for a diversified portfolio of large public and private companies headquartered in BC. Juliet previously worked with the Commercial Real Estate Group at HSBC. 

Juliet completed her Bachelor of Commerce (specialize in Finance and International Business) at the University of British Columbia Sauder School of Business.

Outside of work and AWF, Juliet is a Jazz Dancer and Piano Player. She also currently serves on the Young Professional Board of Ballet BC and is a passionate supporter of the Fine Arts community in Vancouver.

This is Juliet’s first year on the AWF Board in this position as Peak Vice Chair.


Stephanie Devine , Investment Advisor, RBC Dominion Securities
PEAK Sponsorship

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Stephanie is an Investment Advisor at RBC Dominion Securities, where she works with a select number of high net worth clients and families.

Stephanie specializes in investments and wealth management for cross-border clients, providing guidance to dual citizens, international corporations, and professional athletes. She believes in a comprehensive wealth approach, leveraging RBC’s extensive resources to deliver tax efficient investment solutions and financial planning to clients.

Originally from Saskatoon, SK, Stephanie moved to Montreal to pursue a degree in Economics at McGill University. Stephanie is dedicated to volunteering for a number of local charities, and takes an active role mentoring young women in finance.

This is her first year on the AWF Board.


Charlene Joanes, Associate Lawyer - Real Estate, Corporate & Banking, Gowling WLG
PEAK Nominations

Board Member/CJ_Bio_Photo.jpgCharlene is an associate lawyer in the Real Estate, Corporate & Banking group at Gowling WLG. Charlene helps her clients overcome challenges with a systematic and determined approach, reaching goals for her clients in the most practical and efficient way to grow their business.

With a strong work ethic and unique ability to connect with people, Charlene assists with real estate and corporate commercial transactions, corporate structuring, financing or re-financing.

Charlene completed her Bachelor of Arts and Applied Sciences (2010) at Simon Fraser University and Juris Doctor (2016) at the University of British Columbia.

This is her third year on the AWF Board.


Prianka Pillay, CA (SA), Manager, Audit, EY LLP
PEAK Marketing

Board Member/ey-prianka_pillay_Portrait.jpgPrianka is a manager in audit at EY. She is involved with leading annual audit engagements in the public and private sector.

Prianka has recently moved from EY Johannesburg (South Africa) to EY Vancouver. She holds a master’s degree in accounting from the University of Witwatersrand as well as a chartered accountant qualification from South Africa.

This is her third year on the AWF Board.


Marine Wolff, Manager, Financial Planning and Analysis, GCT Canada
Events Director, Major Events

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Marine is a Manager, Financial Planning and Analysis at GCT Canada in Vancouver where she is in charge of budgeting, reporting and operations financial support. She collaborates with the business leaders to improve profitability of the terminals and manage capital investment projects.

Prior to this role, Marine has worked as a CFO for construction companies and has held various finance and project management roles at Eli Lilly and Company after starting her career as an auditor for KPMG.

Marine has a Master in Business and Finance, a Lean Six Sigma black belt designation and speaks French, English, Spanish and German. She is passionate about travelling and discovering new cultures, which has led her to move from France to several European countries, to the Caribbean and now to Vancouver, where she enjoys golfing, hiking and skiing.

This is Marine’s first year on the AWF Board.


Maria Moisseeva, Senior Relationship Manager, Bank of America
Events Director, Fireside Chats 

Board Member/Maria_Crop.jpgMaria Moisseeva is a Senior Relationship Manager with Bank of America’s Global Commercial Banking Group focused on helping public and private companies achieve their growth and financial objectives. She advises on a suite of comprehensive financial solutions and partners with clients to assist with international expansion plans, improving operational efficiency and mitigating risk exposure.

Prior to joining Bank of America, Maria spent 10 years working in Commercial Real Estate field in Greater Vancouver covering areas of investment sales, financial analysis and underwriting, as well as origination and structuring of complex mortgage investments.

Maria is an active volunteer in the community and is passionate about helping other women succeed in the field of finance. She previously served on the Board of CREW Vancouver (Commercial Real Estate Women) and is currently volunteering with Catalyst Community Development Society, a not-for-profit developer building affordable communities in BC. 

 


Karen Sawatsky, CPA, CA, Partner, PwC LLP
Events Director, Fraser Valley

Karen_S.JPGKaren is a Partner in the assurance practice at PwC LLP where she delivers commercial focused services to a wide range of businesses and organizations. Her experience includes public and private companies, as well as public sector and not-for-profit organizations. 

In addition to delivering high quality and efficient assurance services, Karen also advises on technical accounting issues under IFRS, ASPE, PSAS and ASPNO. She has extensive experience advising clients undergoing complex transactions as well as providing insight on a wide variety of taxation, internal controls, governance and process improvement issues.

Karen is also actively involved in practice leadership where she has led business transformation initiatives focusing on quality and efficiency optimization. She's led teams focused on student recruiting, staff performance and development, and Women In Leadership initiatives. This is Karen's fourth year in this position on the AWF Board.