2019 Faculty

2019 Faculty

Your 2019 Faculty

The Advocis Banff School has always been known for its amazing Faculty. Did you know that in the 65 year history of the Advocis Banff School that we've never paid any of these amazing folks? 

They come out and speak of their own accord because they believe in the school, and they believe in supporting those Advisors who are willing to invest in themselves by attending. 

This year's Faculty is another amazing lineup of experts. Get ready to learn and be inspired!

Rick Forchuk


Distribution Consultant, Empire Life

Rick entered the life insurance business as an advisor in Edmonton in 1971 after working in radio, television and newspapers.  An MDRT producer, he then occupied roles as sales manager, branch manager, National Director of Training and Management Development, Vice-President, Retail Insurance Distribution for Canada, and is currently Distribution Consultant working through the new regulatory, market, and distribution challenges in the current business environment.  Rick is a regular contributor as a speaker to industry and non-industry events throughout Canada and the U.S.  His industry involvement includes a two-year stint as president of the Manager’s Association of Financial Advisors of Canada (MAFAC) and he was Chair of the Canadian Life and Health Association’s Sub-Committee on Agency Regulation.  He also sits on the CLHIA Steering Committee on MGA regulation.

Rick lives in the beachfront community of White Rock, BC, and maintains a toe-hold in the media with daily commentaries on radio stations from Victoria to Southwestern Ontario.  He has been married to Betty, a grief counselor and personal trainer, since 1967.  They have one daughter and two grandchildren.

Joanne Abram

Chief Executive Officer of the Alberta Insurance Counsel

Joanne is Chief Executive Officer of the Alberta Insurance Counsel. She started with the Alberta Insurance Council (AIC) in 1989 when the AIC began operations. As a crown controlled agency the AIC is the industry funded regulator responsible for administering the province’s insurance laws in respect to insurance agents, brokers and adjusters.  The AIC issues over 60,000 Certificates of Authority each year to 35,000 individuals and businesses.  The Councils establish educational standards and conduct over 6,000 examinations per year for individuals wishing to enter the profession.  As C.E.O. Joanne is responsible for a staff of 22 employees located in offices in both Edmonton and Calgary, dealing with all aspects of licensing and regulatory compliance for insurance intermediaries. 

Joanne is the founding Chair of the Canadian Insurance Services Regulatory  Organization (CISRO) and Chaired the CISRO committee responsible for the development of the first Life License Qualification Program. She continues as a member of several CISRO Committees including the Executive Committee.

Jamie Golombek

Managing Director, Tax & Estate Planning - CIBC

Jamie Golombek is Managing Director, Tax & Estate Planning with CIBC in Toronto. As a member of the CIBC Financial Planning & Advice team, Jamie works closely with advisors from across CIBC to support their clients and deliver integrated financial planning and strong advisory solutions.

He received his B.Com. from McGill University, earned his CPA designation in Ontario and qualified as a U.S. CPA in Illinois. He has also obtained his Certified Financial Planning (CFP) and Chartered Life Underwriting (CLU) designations.

Jamie is quoted frequently in the national media as an expert on taxation, writes a weekly column called “Tax Expert” in the National Post, has appeared as a guest on BNN, CTV News, and The National and has been a regular personal finance guest on The Marilyn Denis Show.

Jamie is a recipient of CPA Ontario’s Award of Distinction, which honours those CPAs who have made an early impact, bringing distinction to themselves and to their profession through leadership and achievement in their professional, community and/or personal lives.

Perry Monaco

Head of Customer Success – Canada and New Business LinkedIn

Perry Monaco leads the Customer Success Organization in Canada for LinkedIn, as well as a team of CSMs focused on CS activity in a pre-sales function in the USA. His teams work with talent acquisition departments and companies building social media recruitment strategies while focusing on the end user to manage retention, customer experience, and account growth through customer success planning. Perry was one of the first 4.5 million members of LinkedIn and was previously a recruiter before helping to build the CS practice at LinkedIn. Perry currently resides in the Greater Toronto Area with his wife and three children.

Micheline Varas


Micheline joined Customplan Financial in 1994 where she is both a Senior Partner and an independent advisor. Micheline works in conjunction with several insurers and their respective underwriters and is a consulting resource to financial advisors, large institutions, individual and corporate clients. She has grown her practice and that of others by specializing in collaborative work opportunities. Her focus is to structure and deliver creative, cost and tax effective risk mitigation solutions and concepts.

Micheline’s extensive experience in Living Benefits enabled her to be the first recipient of the GBDS (Group Benefits Disability Specialist) designation in Canada, and one of the founding moderators for the Canadian Initiative for Elder Planning Studies. She currently heads Customplan’s Living Benefits’ Division. A Top of the Table (MDRT) member, Micheline has many industry and non-industry publications, holds various training and educational events and has been a speaker at numerous international congresses (inclusive of The Million Dollar Round Table and Top of the Table conferences). In 2014 Micheline was named one of 50 Women of Influence in Canada’s insurance industry.

Bill Beausay

Bill Beausay (Bo-say) is the former Director of Research and Development at the Academy of Sports Psychology, author of nearly 20 books including 3 national best sellers with worldwide circulation over 1 million copies, and creator of MindRev™ Labs. Bill did his Doctoral work at the University of Toledo and spent 10 years in a professional clinical practice before becoming a writer and international speaker on how to do more, make more and be more. He has spoken for dozens of Fortune 500 firms and has been featured on radio, newspapers, television, and magazines coast-to-coast. Bill is a pilot, scuba diver, skier, adventurer and grandfather of 9.

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Karen Cutler


VP & Chief Underwriter Individual Insurance

Karen has been with Manulife since 2006 as head of underwriting for individual life and living benefits. Karen is responsible for managing a team of highly skilled professional underwriters, and direction of underwriting philosophy. Since joining Manulife, Karen has implemented many industry leading underwriting developments including fluid free Accelerated underwriting, reduced evidence requirements and insuring people who are HIV positive. She works closely with pricing, product and advanced analytics teams to drive improvements in underwriting processes and the customer buying experience

Karen is active in the insurance industry having spoken at a number of industry meetings in Canada and the US including CALU. She was the 2014 Chair of the Canadian Reinsurance Committee and is an active member of the CLHIA Committee on Underwriting Issues.

Before joining Manulife, Karen was Chief Underwriter at Swiss Re for Canada and the Caribbean and led several global projects including manual and underwriting systems development.

Mark J. Hanna


Mark Hanna is the Founder and President of Hanna Insurance & Financial Solutions, Inc., an Executive Benefits and Financial Services firm specializing in integrated retirement and compensation solutions for executives and high net-worth professionals.

A 41 year veteran of the financial services industry, Mark is recognized internationally for professional and industry accomplishments. Most recently, Mark served as the 2017 President of the Million Dollar Round Table (MDRT). A 31-year MDRT member, Mark holds 3 Court of the Table and 19 consecutive Top of the Table honors and served as Chair and Divisional Vice President of Top of the Table in 2007.

Mark’s professional experience is extensive, having served on many local, state and national boards of directors, including as President of the Golden Gate and East Bay Chapters of the Society of Financial Service Professionals (FSP), President of the San Francisco chapter of the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors (NAIFA)> Mark also served on the National Board of Directors of The Society of Financial Service Professionals and as a State Trustee of NAIFA—California.

Mark and his wife Barbara have four grown children, three grandchildren, and reside in Marin County California.

Wayne Cotton


Wayne struggled for several years before deciphering the “growth code” for his career. Over the following 10 years he was able to 10X his revenues, but did that in only one-tenth the time. That’s a hundred-fold change in productivity.

Wayne’s five Principles of Growth™ helped him develop a seven-figure personal income while working only 65 selling afternoons a year in his practice. He qualified for MDRT, Court of the Table or Top of the Table for 21 of his 28 years as a financial advisor.

Wayne converted his personality-driven practice to a process-driven business that was sizable, scalable and salable. To the surprise of many, he activated his succession plan in 1996 and sold his financial services business a month before he turned 50.

While he was still building his financial practice, Wayne delivered two main platform talks at MDRT annual meetings. Before long, he became a sought after industry speaker and delivered over 1000 industry talks and workshops covering 16 countries worldwide.

Based on requests from advisors, Wayne built training programs and published the Cotton System that helps advisors find and select the right new clients. He also created productivity systems to help field leaders improve their results in recruiting, selection, induction and production. In the 90’s those systems were implemented with 33 life insurance companies throughout Canada, Australia and the USA.

At the 2013 MDRT annual meeting, Wayne delivered a 90-minute Top of the Table Focus Group session called “The Pathway to Freedom™. He spoke about using key principles to create a business model that delivers more money, time and mental freedom.

Wayne now conducts 3-day Pathway to Freedom™ Retreats, coaching seasoned advisors on his growth formula to help them achieve a 7-figure personal income while taking 180 days off each year for their personal lives.  

Wayne and Brenda, his wife and business partner live in the Okanagan Valley in BC.

Brad Brain

B.A. (Economics), CFP, R.F.P., CLU, CH.F.C, CHS, CIM, FCSI, TEP

Brad Brain has been serving clients for more than 25 years with multi-disciplinary expertise. Brad is nationally recognized for his expertise in retirement income planning.  Brad has helped to author the Certified Financial Planners qualification exam, and has appeared as an expert witness on poverty reduction strategies for the Parliament of Canada. For nine years Brad served on the Insurance Council of BC, the insurance regulator for the province of British Columbia. Brad belongs to a number of industry committees including the Advocis Provincial Advocacy Committee for British Columbia. He has shared his thoughts on financial planning at the Canada Sales Congress, Advocis Okanagan School, Advocis Atlantic School, CALU, and the Million Dollar Round Table. A career highlight was speaking to an audience of 15,000 financial professionals on the Main Platform at the 2018 MDRT annual meeting in Los Angeles. He is the author of Prosperity: Making Smart, Strategic Decisions about Money.

Betty Forchuk

Betty’s adult life was pretty ordinary as a homemaker and mother, until she became a charter member of the White Rock Hospice Society in her BC home of White Rock, and spent the next 14 years at the bedside of the dying, in effect, building long-term relationships with short-term people.

As a Hospice worker, Betty counseled the living and comforted the dying, often leaving the warmth of her own bed in the middle of the night when a call came that one of her patients was not likely to make it until dawn.  Working with surviving families after the death of the patient, she was often, like many in this profession, mentally wounded from the constant pain.

Physical exercise was an outlet, a way of easing that burden, and she became actively involved in personal development.  After 14 years in a hospital environment and three more years doing private grief counseling by referral, she chose to go back to school on two fronts:  she secured a college diploma in family counseling, which led her to work with troubled teens, and also took courses to become a personal trainer. 

She is an in-demand speaker, particularly to women’s groups, and has appeared on radio and television in various capacities.

Betty and Rick have been married since 1967, have two daughters, three grandchildren and continue to live at the West Coast in White Rock, BC.

Brad Hyde

Vice-President, Advanced Sales

As Vice-President, Advanced Sales for PPI Advisory, Brad is responsible for providing product and technical support to financial advisors working in the business owner, family enterprise and high net-worth market. His role is to utilize a team-coordinated approach by ensuring business synergy and collaboration between all parties including PPI, the Insurance Advisor, and Professional Advisors including Accountants and Lawyers to provide practical solutions for the client.

Brad joined PPI in 2016 with over 25 years of experience in the Life Insurance and Investment industry. Prior to joining PPI, he spent 14 years in Alberta building a successful advanced marketing practice that supported advisors’ sales efforts in the areas of succession and estate planning for business and farm owners.

Brad has an Honours Business degree in Finance and Marketing, and holds various industry designations including,  Certified Financial Planner (CFP), Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU), Certified Health Insurance Specialist (CHS) and Elder Planning Counselor (EPC). Brad is a member of the Conference for Advanced Life Underwriting (CALU) and currently serves as a Board member on the Edmonton Estate Planning Counsel.

Herb Huck


Vice-President, Advanced Markets, BMO Life Assurance Company

Herb has been actively involved in the life insurance industry for over 30 years and has an accounting background.  He has spent most of his career working in the insurance sales and management fields holding positions in Finance, Advanced Marketing, Distributor Relationships, and Product and Business Development.  Herb has also been very active in industry associations over the years. He has represented the industry through both the CLHIA and CALU and worked closely with a number of committees dealing with government agencies and regulators. Herb has been a featured speaker at various industry events and written articles on insurance estate planning matters. More recently, Herb assumed the role of the inaugural chairperson for the National Advisory Committee of the Canadian Executor Advisor Network as well as sitting on the not-for-profit Board.

Todd Hirsch

Vice President and Chief Economist of ATB Financial. 

For over 20 years, Todd has worked as an economist at numerous organizations including the Canadian Pacific Railway, the Canada West Foundation and the Bank of Canada. For almost a decade, Todd taught economics at the University of Calgary. He released his third book, Spiders in Space: Successfully Adapting to Unwanted Change, in 2017. He holds a BA Honours in Economics from the U of Alberta, and an MA in Economics from the University of Calgary.

Todd has served on the University of Calgary Board of Governors and is the chair of the Calgary Arts Academy. He also currently serves on the boards of the Glenbow Museum and the Alberta Ballet.

Abe Toews


Abe is a Chartered Financial Consultant with Beyond Wealth Management in Regina specializing in business transition planning.  He has been associated with Beyond Wealth since January 2012. Before that he was the President of his own firm, StoneCreek Financial Group started in 1999 after a 15 year career in agency management with Mutual Life of Canada and Great-West Life. He ended his management career as the Regional Director for South Saskatchewan with Great-West Life. He holds the CFP, CLU, CH.F.C., CHS and ICD.D designations. Abe has completed the ICD – Rotman Directors Education Program. He is an active member of CALU, Kingdom Advisors, Canadian Association of Farm Advisors and the Institute of Corporate Directors.

Abe is the Past Chair of the Board for The Caring Place, Past President of the Manitoba Chamber of Commerce, the Wascana Country Club and the Life Insurance Managers Association of Canada now known as GAMA Canada. He has served as the President of the South Sask & Brandon Advocis chapters.

Abe is the Chair of the Advocis TTFAC board and has also served as the Vice Chair, Treasurer and Secretary of the board.

Wayne H. Wiebe

Beginning his career with Great West Life as a Career agent in 1981 an opportunity to lead and educate presented itself in 1987 when he joined Manulife as a disability and small group specialist.  This role was an opportunity to work with Manulife’s career advisors supporting disability income concepts and small group benefit solutions.

Recognizing in 1990 an opportunity to become an independent advisor and provide broader product solutions as well as grow his business.  Over the next 10 years while growing his individual practice Wayne became increasingly focused on the opportunities in the small business market and developing benefit plans for small businesses using private health services plans.

In 2000 Wayne established Wessex Financial Inc., at which time he developed a strategic alliance with a well-known general insurance agency in Calgary. This alliance presented opportunities for mutual cross marketing and for Wayne to transition to larger group opportunities.

Wayne believed strongly in the value of self-funding health and dental programs using private health services plans and this belief lead Wayne to aligne with a large third-party administrator and he began marketing Administrative Service Only (ASO) plans for groups over 25 lives. 

In 2007 while dealing with a CI claim Wayne discovered a major disconnect in the claims process. As a matter of necessity over the next year Wayne’s role evolved from that of an advisor to an advisor, advocate and claims specialist. Having developed a passion for CI, believing everyone should have it, Wayne saw the need for defining and redefining the CI claims process.  This allowed him to be able to manage expectations through the process, allowing the claimant to focus on their health and physical recovery.  Since 2007 Wayne has personally handled every CI claim from submission to personal delivery of the cheque. This brand and unique approach has earned Wayne the reputation as the go to guy for CI claims, and is considered by his clients and many in the industry as a CI and claims specialist.

Robert McCullagh

Robert started his career in the financial service industry over 30 years ago. In 1999 Robert became an independent broker with Benefit Planners Inc. and has built a successful practice of individuals and families as well as business owners and entrepreneur clients. His range of expertise includes wills and estate planning, powers of attorney, trust, tax planning strategies, insurance, investments, succession issues and employee benefits while providing recommendations to achieve overall goals and minimize tax. In 2011, Robert invested in and acquired his partners practice. For 18 years starting in 1997, Robert taught the CFP program and other financial planning courses at Mount Royal University and the University of Calgary.

Industry involvement is very important to Robert who has held several positions within the local Calgary Chapter of Advocis since 1992, including being President in 2004. Robert was an active member of the TFAAC Board of Directors and was Chair of the Board in 2011. He is a past chair of the Advocis Banff School, a member of CALU (Conference of Advance Life Underwriters) and the MDRT (Million Dollar Round Table) as a Life and Qualifying member.

Currently, Robert is Alberta PAC Co-chair. He is also the Chair of the National Legal & Regulatory Policy Committee.

Karl Krokosinski 

Karl Krokosinski has been in the financial services industry for over 45 years. A life and qualifying member of the Million Dollar Round Table for 37 years with 24 Court of the Table and 22 Top Of The Table honours. He is also an Excalibur Knight of the Canadian Million Dollar Round Table Foundation ( CMDRT). He also served on the board of CMDRT. Currently a Voting member of the Insurance Council of B C.

A noted speaker, Karl has spoken on 5 continents at industry non industry symposiums and was the longest standing moderator of the Life Underwriters Association now known as Advocis. He has addressed universities, charities, trust departments, professional associations and even grade 4 students. Professionally, he concentrates on sophisticated estate planning techniques for both business and individuals, and is a trainer and educator of insurance professionals and financial advisors. Karl was one of the original 7 founding managing partners of the national producer group called Equinox Financial Group Inc., and was awarded the managing partner of the year 3 times. Karl is the CEO and cofounder of Customplan Financial Advisors Inc, the largest Independent financial advisory firm in the GVRD (Greater Vancouver Regional District) He has recently completed his 114th associate transition plan. Karl was also a founding member of the Canadian Association of Independent Life Brokerage Agencies.

Karl is a past president and chairman of a credit union and was the past president of the West Vancouver (Sunrise Rotary Club) earning the prestigious Paul Harris Fellow Award. He was a sessional instructor at Mount Royal University for many years in marketing and professional salesmanship and when he had a few days became a ski instructor. He has sat on boards of Public and Private companies as well as a few charitable foundations. Karl is a mentor and coach to many people in our industry and, many outside our industry. Karl believes in “Paying it Forward”.

He can be reached by email at Karlk@customplanfinancial.com

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