Geoffrey S. Belsher, LL.B
Former Co-Head of Wholesale Banking, CIBC World Markets
Geoffrey Belsher has over 30 years of experience as an investment banker and corporate lawyer. From 2009-2015 Geoffrey served CIBC World Markets as Co-Head of Wholesale Banking where he was responsible for the firm’s investment banking business, including its mergers and acquisitions, public equity and debt financing activities. In this role, Geoffrey managed approximately 500 professionals in Canada and key offices around the world. In addition to overseeing the firm’s corporate loan book, Geoffrey was responsible for the investment banking business of CIBC.
Prior to joining CIBC, Geoffrey held senior positions at a number of Canadian and global investment banks including BMO Capital Markets and Lehman Brothers Canada. During this time, Geoffrey advised on a wide range of significant domestic and cross-border transactions.
Before his career in investment banking, Geoffrey was a lawyer at a major Canadian law firm from 1984-1997 where he practiced in the area of corporate law with a focus on corporate finance and mergers and acquisitions.
Lieutenant-General (retired) the Honourable Andrew Leslie, PC, CMM, MSC, MSM, CD, MA, ICD.D
Former Commander/CEO of the Canadian Army
Andrew Leslie has been a soldier, business leader, Federal Parliamentarian and Board Director with corporate, charitable and government organizations.
His career in the Canadian Armed Forces culminated as the Commander/CEO of the Canadian Army for four years during the Afghan War, where he was responsible for the leadership of 57,000 people, their equipment, training, a multi-billion dollar budget and related equipment programs. He was also responsible for DND’s electronic warfare, cyber security and IT, managing one of the largest such budgets in Canada.
After international tours with both the UN and NATO in peacekeeping and war, he joined a large Canadian corporation as a Senior Vice President, working on network operations and cyber security with U.S. and Canadian clients. He was subsequently involved in various cyber security companies as a board director and mentor, and larger ones for corporate strategy and governance as a consultant; as well as a half dozen charitable boards. Elected as the Federal MP representing Orleans in 2015, he was Chief Government Whip and a member of the Privy Council of Canada, attending the Results and Risk Management Cabinet Committee. In January 2017, the Prime Minister of Canada focused him on Canada-U.S. relations as Parliament Secretary for Global Affairs, and he attended the relevant cabinet committee on Trade. He has spent considerable time in the U.S. and across Canada interacting with business leaders, Governors and Congress on trade-related issues.
Former leader of the largest U.N. peacekeeping team in Darfur, Sudan
Michael Gaouette has spent the last three decades working internationally as a public servant and entrepreneur. His career has taken him to more than two-dozen countries in Africa, to the Middle East, South and Central Asia and the Balkans.
For the first twenty years of his working life, Michael served in the United Nations and with well-known NGOs. During that period, he acquired a wide range of experience: leading earthquake response teams in India, coordinating humanitarian assistance in Liberia, organizing care for Kosovar refugee children in Macedonia, mobilizing food aid in East Africa, designing policing interventions in Chad, evaluating UN operations in Angola, Sierra Leone and Ivory Coast, developing global security policy for relief workers and negotiating with senior military and government officials in Europe, Africa and the Middle East. His final job with the United Nations was to lead the headquarters group that ran what was, at that time, the largest peacekeeping mission in the world, which was deployed to Darfur, Sudan.
After leaving the United Nations, Michael turned his attention to generating jobs for regular people in struggling or emerging economies. He has started two small-scale agriculture businesses – one in the Ivory Coast and one in Tanzania. Both enterprises are run with local partners and focus on creating economic stability and steady, well- paid jobs for working families.
Richard M. Wise, MCBA, CVA, FASA, FCA, CPA, CA, FRICS, CA-IFA, CFE, C.Arb
Former Partner, MNP LLP
Richard M. Wise was a partner in MNP’s Montreal office specializing in business valuation and financial litigation. He performed valuations for cross-border transactions, tax planning, shareholder and matrimonial disputes, and damage quantification. Mr. Wise writes and lectures extensively across the U.S. and Canada and has presented over 200 papers in both countries, including conferences of the American Bar Association, AICPA, NACVA, IBA, and the American Society of Appraisers (ASA), among others. He is co-author of Guide to Canadian Business Valuations.
Mr. Wise was President of The Canadian Institute of Chartered Business Valuators and an International Governor of ASA. He has been a valuation advisor to the Canadian Justice Department, the Canada Revenue Agency, the Québec Financial Markets Authority and Attorney General of Ontario. He frequently gives expert court testimony across Canada and in the U.S. and is listed and recognized as an Expert Witness in Tax Litigation by Who’s Who Legal: Corporate Tax 2015.
Mr. Wise was designated a Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA) in 1965 and elected a Fellow (FCA) in 1984. He also holds the designations of Investigative and Forensic Accountant (CA•IFA), Chartered Business Valuator (FCBV), Accredited Senior Appraiser (FASA), Master Certified Business Appraiser (MCBA), Certified Valuation Analyst (CVA), Fellow of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (FRICS), and Chartered Arbitrator (C.Arb.).
He has served on several boards and committees of professional societies and charitable organizations and was inducted into ASA’S College of Fellows in 2006. He was recently Chair of the ASA Business Valuation Standards Committee, a member NACVA’s Litigation Forensics Board and currently serves on NACVA’s Executive Advisory Board. In 2012, he was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal by the Queen, which was presented to him by the Governor General of Canada.
Hélyette Geman, MA, PhD
Director, Commodity Finance Centre, University of London & John Hopkins University
Hélyette Geman is a Professor of Mathematical Finance at Birkbeck, University of London where she is the Director of the Commodity Finance Centre and Research Professor at Johns Hopkins University. She is a graduate of Ecole Normale Superieure in Mathematics, holds a Masters degree in Theoretical Physics and a PhD in Probability from the University Pierre et Marie Curie and a PhD in Finance from the University Pantheon Sorbonne. In 1993, she became ‘Professeur Agrege des Universites’ in Management Sciences.
For the past 21 years, Professor Geman has consulted with major banks, energy and mining companies as well as commodity houses, covering the spectrum of interest rates, catastrophic risk, crude oil and electricity, metals and agriculturals. She was previously the Head of Research at Caisse des Depots in Paris. Professor Geman was the first president of the Bachelier Finance Society and has published more than 140 papers in top international finance and insurance Journals including the Journal of Finance, Mathematical Finance, Geneva Papers on Insurance, Journal of Financial Economics. In 1993 she was named Member of Honor of the French Society of Actuaries. Professor Geman’s research includes interest rates and catastrophic insurance, asset price and commodity forward curve modeling, valuation of physical assets in the commodity industry, as well as exotic option pricing for which she won the first prize of the Merrill Lynch Awards in 1995.
Her book “Commodities and Commodity Derivatives: Energy, Metals and Agriculturals”, published by Wiley Finance in January 2005, has become the reference book in the field. She edited in 2008 the book “Risk Management in Commodity Markets: from Shipping to Agriculturals and Energy” and was in 2010 the first Wilmar- International Invited Professor of Commodities Business at Singapore Management University. Professor Geman is a member of the Board of the UBS-Bloomberg Commodity Index.
Major General Freddie Valenzuela
Major General F. Valenzuela served thirty-three years in the US Army and was highly decorated for heroism and valor. He served in three combat corps and six Infantry Divisions all over the world. He commanded in the Cold War and Gulf War eras and was awarded the two highest peace-time awards upon his retirement, the Defense and Army Distinguished Service Medals.
After retirement, he continued his public service by creating an educational foundation for at-risk children and for the families of soldiers killed in the line of duty. He sits on the National Board of Directors for St. Mary’s University, TomasRivera Policy Institute, National Recreation Board of America. He is a senior consultant to the Center of Terrorism at St. Mary’s University School of Law, where he was recently named a Distinguished Alumnus. A former San Antonio Housing Authority President/CEO; he also served as Executive Director to the Housing Authority of Bexar County. He is President/CEO of M.C. Valens; a service disabled veteran owned business. Hispanic Business Magazine has named him one of the 100 most influential Hispanics in the U.S. The Valenzuela Family’s published book entitled “No Greater Love: The Lives and Times of Hispanic Soldiers” has won numerous awards and all proceeds go to the families of the 21 Soldiers he buried from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. He is the Executive Director of the Minnie Miracle Foundation and is a Consultant/Board of Director for Rush Group, LLC, Detroit, Michigan. He recently served as a Board of Director of USAA Federal Savings for 11 years, (risk/trust and credit committees), USAA USB Bank (Credit card bank/risk/compensation committees). He was also recently appointed by the President of the United States to the WWI Centennial Commission.