Key Executives is pleased to announce The Top 25 Executives of Vancouver for 2023. Vancouver, British Columbia is one of the world’s most livable cities, with a flourishing economy and a celebrated quality of life. Canada’s fastest-growing economy, Vancouver’s GDP was CA$137 billion in 2017 according to the Conference Board of Canada, reflecting a GDP growth rate of 4.5%. Drivers of economic growth include technology, film and TV, trade, tourism, construction, and entertainment.
Canada’s gateway to the Pacific Rim, Vancouver is the country’s biggest port, and it benefits from excellent access via highway, rail, and air. One of North America’s fastest-growing low-carbon economies, green initiatives and climate action are at the forefront of policy decisions in this city that is a model for sustainable green growth. Despite layoffs in the local tech industry, total employment remains strong, according to the spring 2023 Vancouver Economy Report. Vancouver’s unemployment rate has been the lowest of Canada’s four largest cities for most of 2021 and 2022.
Foreign direct investment (FDI) in Canada in 2021 reached a 15-year high at $75.5 billion. Although the city’s FDI numbers are not available, Vancouver’s share is significant. Vancouver has the tightest major downtown office market in North America. According to CBRE, of the nearly two million square feet of downtown Vancouver office space under construction, 95.4% is pre-leased.
Among our awardees is Darren Entwhistle, the longest-serving CEO in the global telecommunications industry who is President and CEO of TELUS; Shannon Higginson
who is the SVP, General Counsel & Chief Compliance Officer of lululemon, which has 574 stores around the world; and the Vice President and Chief Technology Officer of Ballard Power, Kevin Colbow, who provides technology solutions for the leading global provider of innovative clean energy fuel cell solutions.
Please join us in celebrating the accomplishments of The Top 25 Executives of Vancouver for 2023.
1. Darren Entwistle
President and CEO, TELUS
Darren Entwistle joined TELUS in 2000 as President and CEO, and he is the longest-serving CEO in the global telecommunications industry. Under Darren’s leadership, TELUS has evolved from a regional telephone company serving Western Canada into a national communications and information technology leader. Since 2000, TELUS has generated a total shareholder return of 705 percent. This result is double the TSX’s return of 348 percent and is 699 points higher than the return from the MSCI World Telecom Services Index of 5.6 percent. In addition, throughout the past 23 years, TELUS’ enterprise value has quintupled to $72.2 billion and EBITDA has more than doubled to over $6.6 billion. During this same timeframe, the TELUS brand has increased in value from a few hundred million dollars to $10.1 billion today. It is ranked as Canada’s most valuable telco brand according to Brand Finance; the most trusted telco brand and one of Canada’s Most Authentic Brands according to the Gustavson School of Business, and as the 2021 Brand of the Year by Strategy Magazine.
Darren believes passionately that TELUS’ greatest asset is the more than 142,000 team members and retirees around the globe who comprise the TELUS family. In this regard, TELUS is consistently recognized for its global leadership in respect of team engagement and has been ranked number one in the world for a company of its size and composition according to third-party surveyor, Kincentric. This incredible level of engagement led to TELUS being the first organization ever to be inducted into the Best of the BEST Hall of Fame by the Association for Talent Development in acknowledgement of its global excellence in learning and development. Moreover, TELUS was named one of Canada’s Top 10 Most Admired Corporate Cultures by Waterstone Human Capital for three consecutive three-year award timeframes, and earned the distinction of being the sixth company ever inducted into Canada’s Most Admired Corporate Cultures Hall of Fame. In addition, TELUS was recognized as Canada’s leading global workplace by Forbes World’s Best Employers 2021, ranking first in Canada and 40th globally, amongst 750 leading worldwide brands.
2. Tim Holwill
Chief Operating Officer, Audit and Assurance, Deloitte Canada
Tim Holwill began his professional career 27 years ago. Today, he is the Chief Operating Officer of Audit and Assurance at Deloitte Canada, the brand under which tens of thousands of dedicated professionals in independent firms throughout the world collaborate to provide audit, consulting, financial advisory, risk management, tax, and related services to select clients. These firms are members of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited (DTTL), a UK private company limited by guarantee. Each DTTL member firm provides services in particular geographic areas and is subject to the laws and professional regulations of the country or countries in which it operates.
Holwill graduated from University of Cape Town with an undergraduate degree in commerce.
3. Shannon Higginson
SVP, General Counsel & Chief Compliance Officer, lululemon
Shannon Higginson is the SVP, General Counsel and Chief Compliance Officer of lululemon. She first joined the company in 2011 as VP of its legal department. lululemon is a Canadian multinational athletic apparel retailer headquartered in British Columbia and incorporated in Delaware, United States. It was founded in 1998 as a retailer of yoga pants and other yoga wear, and has expanded to also sell athletic wear, lifestyle apparel, accessories, and personal care products. The company has 574 stores internationally, and also sells online.
Previously, Higginson was a Senior Counsel at TELUS and before that an associate at Bull, Housser and Tupper. Higginson earned an undergraduate degree in law from University of Victoria and an undergraduate degree in history from the University of British Columbia.
4. Jennifer Cudlipp
Chief Operating Officer, LifeLabs Medical Laboratory Services
Jennifer Cudlipp is the Chief Operating Officer and interim Chief Financial Officer for LifeLabs. As Chief Operating Officer, Jennifer is accountable for all areas of operations including lab operations, client services, supply chain, employee health and safety and environmental sustainability, logistics and specimen management, medical science and quality management, procurement, and business continuity. In her interim role as Chief Financial Officer, Jennifer oversees matters related to finance, working closely with LifeLabs’ Board of Directors, audit committee, and executive team.
Jennifer previously held the role of Senior Vice President, British Columbia where she was responsible for developing strong relationships with leaders in the B.C. healthcare sector, government, and business community in order to drive business development and growth within the province for LifeLabs. Before joining LifeLabs, she held the position of Chief Financial Officer of BC Biomedical, where she successfully led the sale of the company to LifeLabs in 2013.
Jennifer brings to LifeLabs her many years of health care expertise, and an extensive understanding of LifeLabs as a whole. Throughout her time at LifeLabs, she has developed expertise in many different areas of the business.
5. Stephen Thompson
President and CEO, FocalPoint International
As Global President and CEO of FocalPoint, Steve Thompson oversees the company’s Business Coaching and Training operations worldwide. For 17 years Steve has enjoyed serving in the Business Coaching community, including the past 12 years with FocalPoint. He oversees a team of high-performing business coaches who serve the needs of clients worldwide. Steve and his team strive to positively influence the world’s small- and medium- sized businesses, professionals and executives to reach their goals every day.
6. Ron Wilson
President and Chief Operating Officer, Best Buy Canada
Ron Wilson is President of International for Best Buy Co. Inc. In this role, he guides the vision and strategic direction for the company’s operations in Canada and Mexico. Ron began his career at Best Buy more than 25 years ago on the front lines of a Future Shop store in Edmonton, Alberta. Since then, he has worked in numerous leadership areas of the company, including merchandising, operations, marketing, and e-commerce.
Since March 2013, Ron has overseen a strategic plan that has driven the company toward providing a seamless “Total Retail” experience for customers’ connected worlds. His leadership has been instrumental in introducing and implementing an in-store and online experience that builds long-term relationships with customers and provides excellent support and service before, during and after purchase. He continues to lead the charge through introducing innovative ideas, including the company’s recent growth into expanded product assortment online, reserve and pick-up in store program, and optimizing the company’s delivery and fulfillment systems. Most recently, he led the successful consolidation of Future Shop into the Best Buy brand.
7. Sharilyn Mason
Chief Development Officer, Earls Kitchen + Bar
Sharilyn Mason is the Chief Development Officer of Earls Kitchen + Bar, a family-run business launched by father and son, Leroy Earl “Bus” Fuller and Stanley Earl Fuller in the early 1980s. It is one of North America’s most successful independent restaurant groups, employing about 7,000 people at 69 locations from Vancouver to Miami. Earls started with a simple idea: a laid-back burger and beer joint. Earls' early success was based on innovation, the best ingredients and great service. Mason has 24 years of experience, beginning her career in 1999.
Before joining Earls Kitchen + Bar, Mason was a director of lease administration and corporate real estate at Lululemon Athletica.Before that, she was a real estate and franchise development manager at Edo Japan. Earlier in her career she worked with CBRE in its retail leasing group.
8. Bernie Rokstad
President, Rokstad Power
Bernie Rokstad is the President of Rokstad Power, a leading distribution and transmission construction company that operates across the United States and Canada. It offers a full suite of power line contracting services to its customers, including immediate emergency and storm response, distribution, transmission, live line work and much more. Rokstad has 41 years of experience, having begun his career in 1982. Before joining Rokstad Power, Rokstad was a CEO at Alteck Line Contractors.
9. John Lilleyman
Chief Information Officer, STEMCELL Technologies
John Lilleyman began his professional career 25 years ago. Today, he is the Chief Information Officer of STEMCELL Technologies, a Canadian biotechnology company that helps power leading-edge life science research around the world. Driven by its love of science and passion for quality, the company provides outstanding products, technical support, and the training needed to advance research. Scientists performing stem cell, immunology, cancer, regenerative medicine, and cellular therapy research are among those who rely on its cell culture media, cell separation products, instruments, accessory products, and services.
Lilleyman first got his start in 1998 as a support engineer at Nice Systems. From there, he went on to Enmax, before eventually rising to director of global enterprise architecture and global innovation leader at Finning International, his most recent position prior to joining STEMCELL.
10. Katherine Angus
Chief Financial Officer, JOEY Restaurant Group
Katherine Angus is the Chief Financial Officer of JOEY Restaurant Group. She first joined the company in 2007. JOEY Restaurant Group is a Western Canadian premium casual restaurant chain based in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. The JOEY chain of restaurants, founded by Jeff Fuller, is part of a larger chain of family-owned restaurants that is expanding throughout North America.
Previously, Angus was the CFO at A&B Sound. She earned an undergraduate degree in accounting and business management from Simon Fraser University.
11. Michael Steinmann
President and CEO, Pan American Silver
Michael Steinmann joined Pan American’s Board of Directors in 2016. He started at Pan American in 2004 and held progressively senior roles before being promoted to President in 2015 and President and CEO in 2016. He has also been a director of the company since 2016 and is a member of the Communities and Sustainable Development and the Health, Safety and Environment Committees.
Michael has over 25 years of experience in the base and precious metals industry. He holds a Ph.D. in Geology from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETHZ), a M.Sc. in Geology from the University of Zurich, and a Degree in Corporate Finance from Escuela Superior de Administración y Negocios, Lima.
He has extensive experience throughout South America in mine operations and project development, having participated in numerous mine construction projects from exploration and feasibility studies, through start-up and into continuous operation. He is also experienced in corporate M&A and has been involved in many capital market transactions, including placements of equity and debt, as well as numerous other exploration and business development initiatives. Michael is past President of the Silver Institute, a nonprofit international industry association that aims to increase public understanding of the many uses and values of silver.
12. Peter Hardie
Chief Financial Officer, Equinox Gold
Peter Hardie has been the CFO of Equinox Gold since August 2016. Before joining Equinox Gold, Peter was the CFO of True Gold until it was acquired by Endeavour Mining in April 2016. Peter is a Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA) with 17 years of finance, accounting, business development, government negotiation, construction, and operations experience. Before his time at True Gold, Peter spent 10 years at Nevsun Resources, where he progressed through various management positions and spent several years as Vice President of Finance and Chief Financial Officer. He was involved in financing, construction and mine start-up, operations, and government negotiations, and led all areas of finance, including treasury systems and reporting.
13. Queenie Wong
Chief Accounting Officer, Gateway Casinos and Entertainment Limited
Queenie Wong is the Chief Accounting Officer of Gateway Casinos and Entertainment Limited, one of the largest and most diversified gaming and entertainment companies in Canada. It has 29 gaming properties in British Columbia and Ontario and two additional properties in Edmonton, Alberta. Across its entire portfolio, Gateway currently employs approximately 7,000 people and features approximately 369 table games (including 30 poker tables), 14,284 slots, 95 food and beverage outlets and 564 hotel rooms. A multi-pronged growth strategy has seen Gateway diversify and expand its product offering, including developing proprietary casino and restaurant brands, dramatically improving the gaming customer experience while attracting new customers. Some of Gateway’s proprietary brands include Match Eatery and Public House, Atlas Steak + Fish and Halley’s Club. In 2022, Gateway will celebrate 30 years in the business of gaming and entertainment in Canada. Wong has 19 years of experience. She began her career in 2004.
Before joining Gateway Casinos and Entertainment Limited, she was a senior manager of the audit and assurance group at PwC. She graduated from the University of British Columbia with an undergraduate degree in accounting.
14. Kevin Colbow
Vice President and Chief Technology Officer, Ballard Power
Kevin Colbow was appointed Chief Technology Officer in March 2019. His responsibilities include research, product engineering and program management. He also provides leadership of the company’s Technology Solutions business segment, including Engineering Services and Intellectual Property licensing.
Kevin joined Ballard in 1994 and his areas of responsibilities have included research and development, product development, technology portfolio management and product management. He was Director of Research and Development until March 2010, when he was appointed Director of Product Management and Solutions Engineering with responsibility for fuel cell stack products. He joined the Ballard Executive Team in February 2014 and served as Vice President, Technology Solutions. Most recently, from February 2016 to March 2019, he served as Vice President, Technology and Product Development.
Following receipt of a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Physics from Simon Fraser University in 1986, Kevin completed a Master of Science in lithium-ion rechargeable batteries at the University of British Columbia. In 1992, he completed a Ph.D. in photoelectron and soft x-ray spectroscopy on semiconductor surfaces. Kevin has also completed the Certificate Program for Technology Management at the California Institute of Technology and has 23 patents in the area of PEM fuel cells.
16. Raman Randhawa
Chief Financial Officer, Capstone Mining
Raman Randhawa is a Canadian Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA, CA) with 20 years of financial and leadership experience in the mining industry. Prior to joining Capstone in 2018, Raman spent 13 years at Goldcorp, a Canadian based global gold producer. At Goldcorp, Raman held a series of senior management roles, including Vice President of Business Planning, Vice President of Business Performance and Reporting, and Vice President ofFinance and Operations. His background includes roles in Controllership, Treasury, and Supply Chain, in addition to leading Goldcorp’s Canadian mines from a finance perspective. He has broad management and financial experience with exposure to capital markets and corporate development. He led the development of a Global Supply Chain department and management of multi-billion dollar capital budgets. Raman started his career at the international firm Ernst and Young.
17. Joe Calvano
President, Dollar Tree Stores
Joe Calvano began his professional career 12 years ago. Today, he is the President of Dollar Tree, Inc., one of the nation’s leading value retailers. The company operatses more than 7,900 stores and 16 distribution centers across 48 contiguous U.S. states and five Canadian provinces. It hunts the world over to find the most exciting merchandise for its customers and to sell it at a great value. From party supplies and home décor to health and beauty, seasonal items, food, and so much more, it offers a huge selection of items at incredible values.
18. Mandesh Dosanjh
President and CEO, Pure Sunfarms
Mandesh Dosanjh joined Pure Sunfarms from the Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO) where he led as SVP of Supply Chain and Wholesale, overseeing all supply chain operations in preparation for the legalization of adult-use cannabis. Previously, he held executive positions at large-scale companies including Longo’s, Target, Aritzia, and Loblaws, where he engaged his leadership, operational, and supply chain expertise to reduce costs, improve efficiency, enhance reliability and service, and inspire innovation.
As cannabis became legal in Canada, Dosanjh saw an opportunity to do things differently, which is what led him to the Vancouver-based licensed producer, Pure Sunfarms. As President and CEO at Pure Sunfarms, Dosanjh is committed to building a company that continues to set an example in the industry — from product quality to consumer transparency and advocacy and building an engaged workforce.
Dosanjh approaches leadership with a focus on corporate culture, which he views as critical to a company’s long-term success. With Pure Sunfarms, he aspires to set the tone across the industry. Much of his success can be attributed to his demonstrated ability to build trust and inspire performance within the organization.
Dosanjh holds an Industrial Engineering degree from the University of Toronto and an Executive Education and Financial Literacy certificate from the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management.
19. Richard Butterworth
Chief Financial Officer, BlueShore Financial
Richard joined BlueShore Financial as CFO in 2017, and is responsible for leading the organization’s finance, treasury, legal, risk and compliance, and group businesses (Commercial Lending, Credit, Broker Services, BlueShore Capital Corp. and Leasing). He has over 25 years of business experience in finance and shared services, operations, sales and client management across a number of industry sectors, including financial services, residential real estate services, travel management services, and professional services (audit).
Prior to joining BlueShore, Richard was the COO Canada and EVP North America at Hogg Robinson Group, the EVP Canadian Operations at Brookfield Global Relocation Services, and most recently CEO and Ultimate Designated Person (UDP) at Wolverton Securities. Richard grew up in the U.K., and became a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales, and holds a B.A. Honors in Accounting and Finance from Liverpool John Moores University. Additionally, he has successfully completed the Partners, Directors and Senior Officers (PDO) course with the Canadian Securities Institute.
20. Michael Sivucha
Chief Operating Officer, Taiga Building Products
Michael Sivucha began his professional career 28 years ago. Today, he is the Chief Operating Officer of Taiga Building Products, the leading independent wholesale distributor of building materials. Taiga operates 15 distribution centers in Canada, three distribution centers in the Western USA and six reload stations in the Eastern USA — this ensures that a standing inventory (specific to each market) is always available. Taiga produces preserved lumber at three plants strategically located to service the Canadian market. Taiga also exports products into markets in Asia, Central and South America, and the Middle East.
Michael got his start in 1995 as a registered professional forester at Sivucha Forest Planning. From there, he went on to Tolko Industries. He graduated from Saint Mary’s University with an M.B.A in business management and from the University of British Columbia with an undergraduate degree in forestry and forest resources production and management.
21. David Ure
Senior Vice President, CFO and Secretary, Mercer International
David Ure has served as Senior Vice President of Finance, CFO, and Secretary of Mercer since July 2015. He was Senior Vice President Finance from 2013 to 2015 and Vice President and Controller from 2006 to 2010. David’s previous roles included Vice President, Finance of Sierra Wireless Inc. and Controller at various companies including Catalyst Paper Corp., Pacifica Papers Inc., and Trojan Lithograph Corp.. He was also Chief Financial Officer and Secretary of Finlay Forest Industries Inc.
David has more than 15 years of experience in the forest products industry. He holds a Bachelor of Commerce in Finance from the University of British Columbia and is a member of the Chartered Professional Accountants of British Columbia. He currently serves on the boards of Semiahmoo House Society and Peninsula Estates Housing Society. He is also a Director of Performance Biofilaments Inc.
22. Taylor Leigh Cannizzaro
Chief Relationship Officer, Plastic Bank
Taylor Leigh Cannizzaro creates strategic alliances generating a network to gather world resources for a new circular economy. Cannizzaro is leading impact programs to engage and amplify the world’s communities as purpose-driven leaders. She is activating the Plastic Bank’s ecosystems and the Social Plastic® revolution by creating and deepening partnerships. Cannizzaro is a dedicated activist for people and the earth. She draws on her background as a molecular-oncology scientist, activist for the oceans, public speaker, certified health coach and yoga instructor. Her leadership, management and team building skills allow her to take the most complex situations and offer simple solutions and results.
23. Becky Brauer
Co-CEO, Fresh Prep
Becky Brauer is the Co-CEO of Fresh Prep. Fresh Prep believes that the quality of clients' lives starts with the food they eat. By eating the right food, clients' minds and bodies can flourish and function to the best of their ability. The problem is: clients are too busy, don’t have time to eat well, and often resort to take-out or fast food. It is time consuming to plan, shop, prepare food, and clean up. That’s why Fresh Prep is committed to providing the easiest way for clients to access the highest quality food, every day.
Brauer has 17 years of experience, beginning her career in 2006 at Starbucks as a shift supervisor. Before joining Fresh Prep, Brauer was an account consultant and enterprise services executive at Rogers Communication. Previously, she worked in CSR and Retention at Fido Solution.
24. Susan Koch
Chief Operating Officer and VP of Accounting, Carbon Engineering
Susan Koch is a finance veteran in pre-commercial alternate energy and clean technology companies. She is a CPA, CA with more than 30 years’ experience. Prior to joining Carbon Engineering, she was CFO at General Fusion and Vaperma, and VP of Finance and CFO at Cellex Power Products. From Cellex through to General Fusion, Susan was a core team member on equity financings totaling $130M, raising funds from North American and international investors, in addition to accessing a broad range of non-dilutive funding.
25. Eric van Roon
CEO, GFR Pharma
Eric van Roon draws from his engineering and business backgrounds in the pursuit of operational excellence, business improvement, innovation and delivering effective customer-focused solutions. Over the past 25 plus years, he has held senior leadership positions in the food and sustainable utility sectors and was on the executive team that founded Corix Infrastructure where he was COO and SVP of Corporate Development.
van Roon has a passion for wellness and sustainability, which has been a common thread throughout his career. His experience comprises R&D, engineering, operations, business and corporate development and executive management. van Roon is thrilled to be working with such an accomplished leadership team, and to contribute his experience to the continued success of contract manufacturing at GFR Pharma.