Board of Directors
Mr. Jeff Brown – Chair of the Board
CFA, CPA, CMA, MBA, CFP
With more than 15 years of financial services experience, Jeff Brown is Meridian’s Vice President, Community Banking. In this role, Jeff oversees the overall Member experience, sustainable operations and community engagement in Meridian’s Urban Markets. Prior to this role, Jeff was Meridian’s Vice President of Delivery Initiatives and Business Integration and was responsible for the development and execution of Meridian’s Small Business, Agency and Broker strategies. Under his leadership, positive gains were made in Meridian’s Small Business portfolio, Member satisfaction and employee engagement.
Previous to his time at Meridian, Jeff held a variety of roles at CIBC including roles in the bank’s Business Banking, Wealth and Commercial Divisions. Jeff graduated with his MBA from Laurier, and holds the Chartered Financial Analyst, Chartered Professional Accountant and Certified Financial Planner designations.
Mr. Farhad Sethna – Board Vice-Chair and Chair of the Human Resources & Compensation Committee
MBA, CPA, CA, CFA, CHRL, C.Dir
Farhad is the Vice-President, Corporate Services at Shepherd Village, a healthcare facility in Toronto. He is responsible for a multitude of functions including Finance, Human Resources, Information Technology, Marketing and Administrative Services. Farhad has held senior roles in the healthcare industry over the last 15 years at a hospital and organizations serving seniors and disabled individuals.
A strong proponent of giving to the community, Farhad is on the board of the Alzheimer Society of Ontario and prior to that was the Chair of the Alzheimer Society of York Region. He has also completed a 4 year term as Treasurer of Art Starts, a community based arts organization and was actively involved with the 100th Toronto Scout Group.
Mr. Andrew Gall – Board Member and Chair of the Finance & Audit Committee
FCPA, FCMA, MBA, C. Dir, A.C.C, CM&AI
Andrew Gall is the former Vice President of Operations with the Chartered Professional Accountants of Ontario and was responsible for Finance, Information Technology, Facilities, and Administration. Previous responsibilities included human resources, governance and risk management.
Andrew is a Chartered Director (C. Dir) and Audit Committee Certified (A.C.C.). He also has earned the Certified M&A Integration credential.
Andrew’s previous experience is in the pharmaceutical, construction and not-for-profit health care industries. He has more than 20 years of experience in general management, finance, business development, strategy, governance and risk management.
Mr. Ben Earle – Board Member and Chair of the Governance & Nominating Committee
With more than a decade of experience in not‐for‐profit and charity management, Ben Earle works with directors and senior management teams in the community services sector to enhance and improve governance and operations processes, manage change and transitions, cultivate and improve stakeholder relations, and develop growth opportunities. With 10 years of experience in the settlement services sector, he held senior roles in community development and operations management, culminating in the role of Executive Director of the primary immigrant serving organization in Durham Region. He has developed extensive governance experience through multiple board roles, including four years as a Public Interest Director with the Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council, where he had two terms as Chair of the Human Resources and Compensation Committee.
Currently Ben works as a freelance management consultant in the non-profit-sector, providing support to multiple organizations in the areas of transition management, organizational development, research and analytics, and business development.
Mr. Epsit Jajal – Board Member and Finance & Audit Committee Member
Mr. Jajal brings 20+ years of experience leading technology, finance, consulting teams and business operations across a range of industries including banking, insurance, mining, construction, telecom, high tech, retail, energy, and government. Mr. Jajal has worked with several global organisations including Deloitte, RBC, and Blue Circle, leading innovative and strategically important technology-based operational improvements.
He is a versatile and collaborative professional with globally recognized academic credentials in business (MBA from Ivey School of Business), finance (CPA, CMA) and outsourcing (Certificate from Rotman School of Business). Mr. Jajal also devotes time via local charitable organisations, to coaching and mentoring internationally trained executives and professionals who have recently moved to Canada.
Ms. Jillian Siskind – Board Member and Governance & Nominating Committee Member
Jillian is Senior Counsel at Tarion Warranty Corporation. Previously, Jillian worked as counsel for the Ministry of Labour, the College of Physicians and Surgeons and the Department Justice in criminal and provincial offences prosecutions as well as in administrative hearings and civil matters. Jillian was also the Senior Advisor to the Attorney General of Ontario as well as Senior Advisor responsible for public safety, corrections, emergency management and policing matters for Ontario’s Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services.
In a volunteer capacity as the past President of Canadian Lawyers for International Human Rights (CLAIHR), Jillian provided leadership to this national organization and spoke extensively in the media raising awareness of human rights and justice issues. Jillian has a B.A. from Simon Fraser University, an LL.B/J.D from the University of Ottawa and an LL.M from the University of Toronto.
Mr. Desmond Alvares – Board Member and Finance & Audit Committee Member
MBA, MBCS CITP, CPA, CMA
Desmond has experience in Business, Project Management, Finance and IT Management in senior leadership roles in Canadian and International Wealth Management and Retail banks, provided insight and understanding of compliance rules for all levels in the Industry. Desmond held various senior positions at KPMG, TD Wealth, CIBC, IFDS, Capital One and UBS Private Banking in the Investment, Finance and Risk Management divisions as business analyst, Director and Project Manager.
In addition to being a Chartered Professional Accountant, Certified Management Accountant, he is a Chartered IT Professional (CITP) with the BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT.
Ms. Pamela Wong – Board Member and Human Resources & Compensation Committee Member
CPA, CMA, MBA
Pamela Wong is Assistant Vice President, Corporate Strategy at Manulife, where she supports the CEO and the Executive Committee in developing Manulife's global strategy. Prior to her current role, Pamela was based in Hong Kong for four years, first managing the Company's M&A activity and strategic initiatives across Asia, and then heading up strategic development and communications for Manulife Hong Kong's individual insurance operations. Prior to joining Manulife, Pamela worked in the consumer packaged goods industry at Kraft Foods and Maple Leaf Foods.
Pamela holds a BA in Honors Economics and Political Science from Western University and a MBA from the Ivey Business School at Western University. She is also a CPA, CMA.
Mr. Robert Murison – Board Member and Finance & Audit Committee Member
B. Comm, MBA, CPA, CA, CMA
Robert Murison is an honors’ graduate of the School of Business at Queen’s University and holds a Master of Business Administration from Wilfrid Laurier University. Robert is multi designated earning both his Chartered Accountant (CA) and Certified Management Accountant (CMA) designations. After spending 5 years in public accounting with Price Waterhouse Chartered Accountants Robert has three decades of experience in a number of industries in positions that have included Cost Manager, Manager of Financial Planning and Analysis, Operations Controller, Divisional Controller, Corporate Controller, and Chief Financial Officer. Since 2000, Robert has also been very active in the Education sector teaching financial and management accounting for the Society of Management Accountants and at several universities.
Mr. Adnan Masood – Governance & Nominating Committee Member
Adnan Masood has over 20 years of financial business experience in both the public and private sectors. Adnan is currently working as a Project Coordinator with the Building and Development Branch of Ontario’s Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing. In this role, Adnan is responsible for overall management and oversight of financial, HR and operational matters. Through his career in the Ontario Public Service he has held various positions of increasing responsibility regarding financial oversight, accountability, business management and risk mitigation.
Mr. Masood has a master’s degree in Financial Accountability (MFAc) from York University. In addition, he also holds an MBA in Finance and Accounting from the School of Business and Commerce, Preston University and bachelors of commerce (B.Com) from the University of Punjab.
Ms. Anum Kazi – Governance & Nominating Committee Member
Anum Kazi is an international student and a recent graduate with a Masters of Financial Accountability (MFAc) from York University. She worked in financial services for a year internationally which sparked her curiosity to learn about financial accountability and the stewardship that shapes the corporate world. Corporate governance has been the focal point of her studies for the last two years during which she was also getting accustomed to the cold weather and Canadian humbleness, the latter she values greatly.
Anum Kazi also holds a BS Joint Honors degree in Accounting and Finance from the Institute of Business Management (IoBM), Pakistan, year 2012.
Ms. Gouri Khorana – Governance & Nominating
Gouri Khorana is licensed paralegal and a recent graduate with a Masters of Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Guelph. She brings with her over 9 years of legal experience working within both the public and private sector.
Gouri has recently moved to Toronto where she has started working with the College of Early Childhood Educator, holding the position of an Investigator.
Mr. Jay Adhvaryu – Finance & Audit Committee Member
Jay Adhvaryu is a dynamic high energy, results oriented senior finance professional with extensive experience in Finance and Accounting management roles. Jay is currently the Director of Finance – Financial Planning and Analysis with AIMIA Inc., in Toronto, where he provides finance planning support to the Corporate Executive team. Prior to his current role, Jay held senior management roles with Rogers Communications Inc., SSP Canada Food Services Inc., Oakville Toyota, among others. Jay is recognized as a leader and an exceptional people manager who is a skilled communicator that inspires and motivates teams to move business ahead and achieve desired results by working with leadership teams and collaborating effectively across the organization.
Jay holds a Bachelor of Commerce – Accounting Major from Ryerson Polytechnic University and is also a CPA, CMA.
Ms. Martina Wood – Human Resources & Compensation Committee Member
Martina Wood is a CPA, CMA, living in Mississauga, Ontario. She has been an independent financial and systems consultant for over 20 years, providing management expertise and a practical approach to financial management, systems, and controllership issues with a focus on policies, processes, procedures and controls. Her strong and reliable counsel has helped numerous GTA organizations in a broad range of sectors.
She has written on business and personal finance issues, and has scientific, medical, and health policy interests. Ms. Wood is most recently the author of “Smart Decisions about Breast Cancer – choices, risks, living well, preventing recurrence”, a powerful new health literacy book and toolkit for women.