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Employee Ownership Canada: Where Success is OWNED!

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Board of Directors 

Rachel Bachmann
Director, and Chair
Rachel Bachmann is the founder of Akiri Consultants, an employee-owned, Montreal-based management consulting firm specializing in software selection, I.T. strategy and customer journey mapping. A certified CBAP (Certified Business Analysis Professional), her vision is to make her company a leader in business analysis in Canada. Over the last 20 years, has worked mostly in the retail, manufacturing, and distribution sectors, leveraging her undergrad in Industrial Engineering and her masters in Operational Research to deliver business needs and optimize processes through technology.

She joined the ESOP Association Canada as a director in 2021 and became chair in 2022. From the start, she had planned to make her company employee-owned and joined the Association to make that happen. After some great discussions and a lot of learning, Akiri Consultants became employee-owned in 2022.

Ramy Taraboulsi
Director, and  Vice Chair

Ramy is a senior executive who has a passion for all things FinTech and AI. He has an engineering undergraduate degree combined with a diploma in higher mathematics, masters in Computer Science, an MBA, and he is also a CFA. This academic background makes him a perfect fit for teaching in Seneca’s Fintech post graduate program as well as in Schulich’s MBA program. Ramy has been the lead researcher on multiple fintech applied research projects and spends multiple hours per day analyzing and commenting on economic and market activities through his online articles.

In addition to his academic career, Ramy is currently holding directorship positions in multiple organizations. In the past, Ramy held multiple executive positions including chairman and CEO of SyncBASE Inc., CIO of Insurance Bureau of Canada, VP, Internet Strategy and Development, Fidelity Investments, VP, Internet Technology, Merrill Lynch and Chief Systems Architect, Mercer Human Resources Consulting. He started his career as a programmer and he still spends many long hours every week enhancing his programming skills specifically in the fields of e-commerce, Data Management, AI and Machine Learning.  Ramy has been practicing different forms of martial arts over the last 35 years and he currently actively practices Karate and Tai Chi. He speaks 6 languages, and enjoys reading, writing, traveling and playing music.

Joanna Phillips
Director, and Secretary

Joanna joined the Association in 2019 as a Board member and as Chair of the 2021 & 2022 Canadian Employee Ownership Conference. She is a Certified Human ResourcesLeader (CHRL) and Certified Value Builder (CVB) and currently works at ESOP Builders Inc. as Vice President. She holds an Honors Degree in Business ManagementSpecializing in Human Resources from Western University.

Since graduating, Joanna has worked with various companies in a wide range of industries such as healthcare, insurance, supply chain/ logistics, and marketing. She has excelled in all her roles within Human Resources and has been a trusted guide and advisor to business leaders to ensure continued success of the company. Joanna’s main areas of focus have been talent management and strategy, including succession planning, employee relations, health and safety, and disability management.

Passionate about creating ownership cultures and shared wealth on a broader level, Joanna brings a creative, modern, and focused view to ESOP design and implementation.

 John Stevens
Director, and Treasurer 
John Stevens has had a distinguished career over the past 30+ years, holding titles including Senior Vice President, President, CFO, COO, and CEO of fast-growing organizations like Nilsson Bros. Inc, Eveready Inc., NC Services Group Ltd. and ENTREC Corporation. John was also a member of the Board of Directors of Eveready Inc. and NC Services Group Ltd. John has a proven track record and 30+ years of broad experience in operations, business development, finance and accounting. 20 years+ experience at the most senior level of organizations working with private and public companies as well as companies owned by private equity. John has a passion for employee ownership, employee engagement, customer service and profitable growth. John also has extensive experience in strategic planning. During his career, John has been involved with 80+ acquisitions and is an expert when it comes to due diligence and integration. John was named a Business Leader of Tomorrow honoring Edmonton’s visionary business leaders. In 2013 and in 2015, John was named an E and Y Prairies finalist for Entrepreneur of the Year. In 2014 John was named one of the ten executives you need to know in the Oil sands by Oil sands Review Magazine.  John has volunteered his time and has been actively involved in non-profit organizations such as Prostate Cancer Canada, Kids Up Front and the Christmas Bureau of Edmonton. John was awarded the very distinguished Canada Community Advocate Award from Prostate Cancer Canada. John was very involved with Financial Executives International for over a decade including serving as the local board chair. John served a two-year term on the Petroleum Service Association of Canada board. John enjoys spending time with his four adult children, traveling, investing, NFL football and has a passion for cooking. John has attended cooking school in Italy, France, Las Vegas, Phoenix and completed the cooking boot camp at NAIT in Edmonton. John’s roots take him back to the family cattle farm north of Edmonton.  

Darryl Antel

Darryl is an Edmonton-based lawyer whose practice is focused on tax law. In particular, he focuses on businesses and their owners—whether that is a family-owned business, a professional corporation, a partnership, a farming operation or any other enterprise.
Darryl’s practice includes advising clients on tax issues and opportunities throughout the lifecycle of a business. He is experienced in a variety of areas, including internal reorganizations, purchases and sales, employee stock options, succession planning and estate planning.
Darryl’s interest in tax began while studying at the University of Manitoba, where he was recognized for his aptitude for tax law having received the ICH Wealth and Succession Prize and the Cecil Black Memorial Prize.
Darryl has continued to pursue his interest in tax law since beginning practice in 2010. He has authored papers and presented for several organizations including the Canadian Tax Foundation, the Canadian Bar Association Tax Law Section (Alberta, North) and the Legal Education Society of Alberta.

Briana Darbyshire
Briana is the Director of Payroll, Compensation & Benefits for Peavey Industries, a farm and ranch retailer in Canada.  Peavey introduced employee ownership in 2016, and Briana has been an employee owner since the inception of the program.  She is also responsible for the promotion and education of the employee ownership plan and enjoys discussing the many benefits of the program.  
Briana joined the Employee Ownership Canada Association as a director in 2023.

Tiara Letourneau

Tiara Letourneau is CEO for Rewrite Capital Advisors, a private investment and advisory firm dedicated to creating employee ownership for mid-market companies. She has extensive experience in financial strategy and innovation. Previously, she consulted at the UN’s Green Climate Fund on the design of its Private Sector Facility, which was tasked with private sector engagement in the Paris Agreement’s financial climate goals. Prior experience includes strategic consulting in Islamic banking services, microfinance, commercial and retail banking, and First Nations finance in Canada. Tiara holds a Master of Development Studies from the University of KwaZulu Natal in South Africa, and a Master of Finance from Cambridge University.

In 2010, Tiara was awarded an Action Canada Fellowship and chaired the Action Canada Task Force on Canadian Household Debt. She was also awarded a Financial Leader’s Award in 2014 from the People’s Bank of China School of Finance at Tsinghua University, Beijing. She is passionate about reducing inequality and unleashing potential among the underestimated. She is very pleased to join the ESOP Association's work of creating more employee-owners across Canada.

Patrick O'Brien

Patrick has been involved with the ESOP Association Canada since 2016 and currently sits on the Association’s Board of Directors and Membership Committee.  He is a past member and one-time chair of the association’s Conference Planning Committee as well.

Patrick is one of approximately 35 employee owners at Metcalf Archaeological Consultants. He has been a participant in the company’s ESOP since its inception in 2002, has served multiple terms on the ESOP Communication Committee, and was one of two co-trustees of the ESOP from 2008 through 2019. He also sits on Metcalf’s ESOP Administrative Committee, which is responsible for tracking participation in, and distributions from the Plan.  In his free time, Patrick enjoys volunteering, gardening, playing music, and making the best damn pizza in his hometown of Medicine Hat, Alberta.


Scott Peters

Scott Peters is the VP of Manufacturing at Selkirk Signs & Services Ltd.

Melanie Russell

Stefan Wiesen


Christine McClay
Melanie is the founder of Kalex Valuations Inc. and began professional practice in 1985, which includes several years of industry experience. Throughout her professional career she has been involved in many assignments for a variety of public and private companies of various sizes and across many industries, obtaining her training at two of the largest international accounting firms in the industry. Melanie placed second in Canada on the CICBV membership examination. She founded Kalex Valuations Inc. in 1996.

Ms. Russell has been active in teaching business valuations and related topics since 1987 at various universities and professional organizations, and runs the premiere preparatory course for CBV students in Canada taking their national Membership Qualification Examination. She has written various articles, taught professional courses and had many public speaking engagements on matters relating to business valuations and related topics.

Melanie has qualified as an expert in the areas of business/asset valuation, quantification of damages, income determination and forensic accounting. She has testified as an expert in business valuations in the Ontario Court of Justice and the Ontario Superior Court, and for the Investment Dealers’ Association and the Discipline Committee of the Institute of Chartered Professional Accountants of Ontario, as well as in alternative dispute forums.

Stefan believes in sharing. In addition to previously co-founding Intrigue Media, 12 years ago, the purpose of his new software business SensorMedia is "Prosperity for All". 
While remaining a small silent shareholder, he is proud of past accomplishments such as a successful introduction of an ESOP, registering the company as a B-corp, to name highlights. Believing that economic, personal and political ideals should be coherent, Stefan pursues this agenda of sharing as president of the Green Party in his constituency.
Having said that, originating from Germany, where 1/3 of the population experienced socialism in the GDR between 1946 and 1989, he is certain that socialism never, ever works. There is a smarter, better way to build a modern society, avoiding both cold capitalism and dysfunctional socialism. ESOP is one tool to help find that third way. Just assuring his friends in business that he will always mention that ESOPs are more profitable than other company structures:)

Christine McClay is 3rd generation in the family business. She went to school at Fanshawe College in London for Hotel and Restaurant Management but quickly realized that was not the ideal industry for her to work in. Christine applied for a job as a Service Advisor and has not looked back since. Over the years Christine has held a number of rolls in the company and took on the role of President in 2020. Christine has 2 children both of whom are keenly interested in “Business”. Her daughter is studying Business Leadership and Administration at Florida South Western and her son is a Seasonal Entrepreneur/World Traveller Christine and her husband Ryan met at a very young age while boating, a past time that there family still very much enjoys. Ryan and his Brother are business partners in transportation and logistics