2022 Faculty

2022 Faculty

Your 2022 Faculty

The Advocis Banff School has always been known for its amazing Faculty. Did you know that in the 66 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!

Caron Czorny

Caron retired in June 2016 as Vice President, Business Development at BMO Life Assurance Co.  But she couldn’t stay retired, so she became a consultant and then COO of a national MGA in May 2019, retiring from that in July 2021.  She has also been a speaker, a strategic advisor and the first and only female emcee of Banff School in 2017. We are thrilled to have her back as our 2022 Emcee!

Caron was national chair of The Institute for Advanced Financial Education (formerly the CLU Institute) from 2010-2012, and then Chair of Advocis in 2015-2016.  She is currently serving as President of her local Advocis Chapter, and on 2 other volunteer boards.  She really doesn’t understand retirement!   

Prior to joining BMO Insurance, Caron held various senior executive positions in the financial services industry, including that of Executive VP & COO of an MGA based in Montreal. 

Fluently bilingual in English and French, she has been involved in municipal politics, since she was an elected Councillor of Wentworth-Nord, Québec from 2005 – 2009.

Caron is dedicated to supporting growth and professionalism in the financial services industry. She was named as one of the 50 Women of Influence in Canada's Life Insurance Industry by the Insurance & Investment Journal in 2014.

Caron holds the FLMI, CLU, CH.F.C., CHS, EPC, and CEA designations.  She also held the CFP designation from 1996-2020, and the ICD.D designation from 2014-2021.  Caron has a keen interest in Seniors Rights, and obtained a Certificate in Gerontology from Ryerson University in 2015.

Caron and her husband, Michael moved to Collingwood, Ontario 6 years ago.  They enjoy all that life has to offer there, including skiing, biking, golf and recently pickleball!  They are the proud grandparents of 10 grandchildren. 

Warren Macdonald

Warren Macdonald’s life’s boundaries were redefined in April 1997 with his accident on North Queensland’s (Australia) Hinchinbrook Island. Climbing to the Island’s tallest peak, he became trapped beneath a one-ton slab boulder in a freak rock fall. Two days later he was rescued, only to undergo the amputation of both legs at mid thigh.

Just ten months later, he climbed Tasmania’s Cradle Mountain using a modified wheelchair and the seat of his pants.

In February 2003, he became the first double above-knee amputee to reach the summit of Africa’s tallest peak, Mt Kilimanjaro (19,222ft).

Warren’s bestselling book, “A Test of Will” was the subject of the “Trapped under a Boulder” episode of the Discovery Channel series “I Shouldn’t Be Alive”.

Warren has appeared on numerous news and current affairs programs, including “Larry King Live”, “The Oprah Winfrey Show”, and “The Hour” with George Stroumboulopoulos.

He lives in the Columbia Valley in BC with his partner Margo Talbot.

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Jamie Golombek

Managing Director, Tax & Estate Planning

CIBC Private Wealth

Jamie Golombek is Managing Director, Tax & Estate Planning with CIBC in Toronto. As a member of the CIBC Private Wealth team, Jamie works closely with advisors from across CIBC to support their clients and deliver integrated financial planning and strong advisory solutions. He joined the firm in 2008 after 12 years with a global investment company, where he was involved in both internal and external consulting on all areas of taxation and estate planning. Jamie has also worked for Deloitte’s as a tax specialist in the Toronto office, where he specialized in both personal and corporate tax planning.

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.

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 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.

Jamie is a past chair of the Investment Funds Institute of Canada’s Tax Working Group as well as a member of CPA Ontario, the Illinois CPA Society, the Estate Planning Council of Toronto, the Canadian Tax Foundation and the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners.

Jamie also teaches an MBA course in Personal Finance at the Schulich School of Business at York University in Toronto.

Jim Pittman


MDRT - Past President

Insurance Consulting Services Inc. - President

Building upon his extensive insurance career, Jim Pittman founded Insurance Consulting Services, Inc. (ICS), in 2000. For more than 40 years, Jim’s philosophy has been to educate his clients, helping them make informed decisions about their risk management issues.

Jim is one of a handful of Licensed Insurance Consultants in the State of Oregon. In 2009, Jim was honored with the prestigious Bud Horn award from the Oregon Association of Insurance and Financial Planners. This award is presented periodically to a professional who has shown dedicated commitment and has made a significant positive impact on the insurance community.

Jim has been a sought after speaker, both domestically and internationally, for lawyers, CPAs, financial planners, and other industry groups on the structure and proper use of life, disability, and long-term care policies.

Jim graduated from the University of Oregon and received his MS in Tax and Financial Services from The American College in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania. He is the past President of The Estate Planning Council of Portland, The Portland Chapter of CLU and ChFC, The OHSF Foundation Advisory Board, and he has served on the Planned Giving Committees of The Oregon Ballet Theatre and Loaves and Fishes.

Jim lives in Portland, Oregon, and has been married to his wife Karon since 1970. They have three grown children: Cameron, Morgan, and Reagan. Jim and Karon enjoy skiing, running, traveling, and spending time at the Multnomah Athletic Club. Jim is particularly involved in bicycling and can often be found riding his bike many miles from home.


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Dave Patriarche

Mainstay Insurance Brokerage Inc. - President

Dave Patriarche founded Mainstay Insurance Brokerage in 1996 as a one-person shop specializing in providing employee benefits to small businesses in the Greater Toronto Area. Mainstay has grown substantially and now has clients across the country, including Canadian subsidiaries of U.S. based organizations.

Dave is a strong believer in continuing education and recognized the need for the group insurance industry to broaden its efforts in this area. In 2003 he started a small networking group, which evolved into regular breakfast meetings across the GTA, then into regular educational seminars.

He founded CGIB, the Canadian Group Insurance Brokers, an organization dedicated to supporting networking and continuing education for the group insurance industry. He is an accomplished speaker both with CGIB and at other industry events across the country. Dave has worked “behind the scenes” to support and act as an expert witness in cases involving employee benefits and is often chosen as the “go-to” expert for others in the business.

Helen Hirsh Spence

CEO/Founder Top Sixty Over Sixty

After devoting thirty-five years to increasingly senior leadership positions in both the public and private education sectors, Helen embarked on a journey of social entrepreneurship. She saw how ageism was impacting Boomers and how the upcoming demographic shift would affect Canada’s social and economic fabric. As a result, she founded Top Sixty Over Sixty which provides thought leadership, consulting and training on age inclusion and diversity. 

Helen publishes articles, speaks at conferences, and organizes workshops and events to promote a reframed narrative of ageing.Throughout her career, Helen has successfully led seminars, corporate retreats, workshops and addressed audiences worldwide. She has a proven record in designing state of the art, original programming rooted in research and in practice. Her deep understanding of how ageism impacts individuals, communities and economies is gaining traction and having an increasing impact on diversity strategies in the workplace.


Russell Shaw

Senior Director, Life and Living Benefits Underwriting and Operations

RBC Insurance Company

As the Senior Director of Individual Underwriting, Russell Shaw is responsible for the risk decisions for all fully underwritten CI and DI business at RBC Insurance in addition to having overall responsibility for the individual insurance operations.

Like many professionals in the insurance industry, underwriting was not his first career choice.  After graduating from the University of Toronto with a Bachelor’s degree in Criminology, Russ worked with, “youthful offenders” at a detention and custody facility with a longer term vision of pursuing a career in the field of probation and ultimately law school.  Four years later, he found himself in search of new challenges and in 1998, took a job as an underwriting trainee with Paul Revere/Provident, now RBC Insurance.  He has occupied several roles within the RBCI organization in Underwriting, Corporate Underwriting, “subject matter expert” for a large scale project, and most recently, Senior Underwriting Director.  Russ is very active in the underwriting community and is a past board member of the Canadian Institute of Underwriters and the Canadian Association of Living Benefits Underwriters.  He currently co-chairs the Canadian Living Benefits Seminar board of directors.

When he’s not working, Russ enjoys traveling, cycling, golfing and snowboarding.

Angelina Hung


Insurance and Tech Nerd

With over 15 years experience in the financial services, marketing and tech industry and having earned CFP, CLU, CHS and EPC designations, Angelina works closely with financial advisors to provide them with professional in-depth insurance and investment content combined with the latest digital marketing strategies to help them grow their business. 

Because of this unique background, her company Financial Tech Tools can save an advisor a minimum of 40 hours of time when putting together a website, content, email and social media strategy.

She was also featured as one of the top "50 Women of Influence in Canada"​ in The Insurance and Investment Journal.

Website: financialtechtools.ca

LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/angelinahung

Facebook: facebook.com/FinancialTechTools/

Twitter: twitter.com/Tweets4Finance


Jack Shaffer


Corporate and Personal Estate Planning Specialist

Jack was born and raised in Vancouver and graduated from the University of British Columbia in 1967 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics. Soon afterwards, he entered the life insurance industry with London Life.   Since that time, he has been an agent, general agent, manager, advanced case consultant and independent broker. He has been a Life and Qualifying Member of the Million Dollar Round Table with several qualifications at the Court of the Table and Top of the Table. He attained his CLU in 1979 and his CH.F.C. in 1989.  Jack is also a graduate of the Family Enterprise Advisor program given by the Sauder School of Business at UBC.

For the first 15 years of his career, Jack operated as a general practitioner focusing mainly on working with young professionals.  Since then he has specialized primarily in the corporate insurance market.  Today, in addition to his private practice, he acts as a consultant working with other financial advisors assisting with more complex individual and corporate estate planning cases. 

During his many years in the insurance industry Jack has lectured extensively to professional groups including the B.C. Institute of Chartered Accountants, as well as individual accounting and legal firms. He has also addressed several insurance industry meetings in both Canada and the U.S., including the Million Dollar Round Table, Top of the Table and the Conference of Advanced Life Underwriting.

Website: jackshaffer.com

Doug Dvorak

Doug Dvorak is the Founder & Managing Principal of The DMG International, a worldwide organization that assists clients with sales productivity training other aspects of sales and marketing management. Mr. Dvorak’s clients range from entrepreneurs to fortune 500 companies including, IBM, Marriott, Subway and Unilever, just to name a few.

Mr. Dvorak has delivered over 2000 customized sales training keynotes, presentations and workshops on over 5 continents in 107 countries to over 1 million people and growing.  He has also earned an international reputation for his powerful sales training, educational methods and motivational techniques.

His background in sales, leadership, management and customer experience and loyalty has allowed him to become one of world’s most sought after speaker, trainer and consultant. This vast experience has helped him shape and determine his philosophies on success which he now shares annually with thousands of individuals through keynote presentations, syndicated writing, television, seminars & 8 bestselling books.

Mr. Dvorak is a certified sales trainer, management consultant and corporate humorist. Mr. Dvorak holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Administration and a Master of Business Administration in Marketing Management.  However, Mr. Dvorak’s sense of humor is no less refined, as he is a graduate of the Player’s Workshop of the Second City, one of the oldest and most prestigious improvisational comedy schools in the world.

Mr. Dvorak’s dedication to success & sales excellence led him to be named one of the “Top Ten Sales Professionals in America” by Personal Selling Power Magazine.  In August 2014, Doug was inducted into the Motivational Speakers Hall of Fame.  Only 68 other Motivational Speakers have been asked to join this prestigious society.  Other luminaries include, Zig Ziglar, Ronald Reagan, Dr. Wayne Dwyer, Bill Clinton, as well as many other business, civic & political dignitaries.  Mr. Dvorak’s vision & leadership were recognized when he was honored with introduction into several prestigious National & international Who’s Who organizations, including: Who’s Who in Professional Speaking.

Mr. Dvorak is an active member of the National Speakers Association & is also a Certified Speaking Professional (CSP) the highest earned designation from the National Speakers Association (NSA).  Mr. Dvorak has served as an Advisory Board Member of “Best Buddies International, Inc.", which is dedicated to enhancing the lives of people with intellectual disabilities.

Twitter:                twitter.com/salescoach1064?lang=en
Facebook:           facebook.com/doug.dvorak.92
Instagram:          instagram.com/doug_dvorak_speaker/
YouTube:             youtube.com/user/dougdvorak
LinkedIn:             linkedin.com/in/doug-dvorak/

Christine Perry

Christine Perry is a partner in Gowling WLG's Toronto office.

Christine's practice focuses on domestic and cross-border tax and estate planning for high-net-worth individuals, including trust taxation, personal tax planning, asset protection, insurance planning, estate administration, and tax dispute resolution. Christine is licensed to practice law in both Ontario and New York.

She has rich experience in immigration and emigration tax planning, as well as with matters involving foreign ownership of Canadian and US property.

Christine was the recipient of the 2012 Widdifield Award for excellence in legal writing in the area of trusts and estates law. She has written several articles featured in the National Post, Investment Executive and Estates, Trusts and Pensions Journal . She has also appeared as a guest speaker on the CBC Radio program The Current.

Dean Delpeache

For the last decade Dean has been focused on talent management and creating frameworks of equity for organizations. Through his consultancy, Strasity, he helps organizations design strategic frameworks focused on Diversity, Inclusion, Belonging and Equity (DIBE). Dean is also a Professor and Program Lead of the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in the Workplace program at George Brown College, and is a global conference speaker, delivering talks and workshops to both students and industry professionals. His passions for talent and DIBE have led him to become a vocal advocate for creating equitable workplaces.  Dean possesses a Masters in Human Resources Management (HRM) and is completing his PhD In HRM from York University, and has completed a Certificate program in Leadership and Inclusion at Centennial College.

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/deandelpeache/

Website: https://www.strasity.com/

Brent Rathgeber

Alberta insurance Council - In-House Council and Director of Policy

Brent was born in Melville, Saskatchewan in 1964. After graduating from Melville Comprehensive School in 1982, he obtained a Bachelor of Arts in Public Administration and Bachelor of Law degree from the University of Saskatchewan.

Brent began his legal career in Calgary, articling with Milner & Steer (now Dentons LLP). Thereafter, he practiced law in Red Deer as a litigator with Sisson Warren Sinclair. In 1994, Brent moved to Edmonton where he specialized in litigation.

Brent entered public life in 2001 when he became MLA for Edmonton-Calder.

Brent was elected to the 40th Parliament of Canada on October 14, 2008. He was re-elected as the MP for Edmonton-St. Albert in the 2011 election. Shortly after assuming parliamentary duties after the 2008 election, he was appointed to the House of Commons Standing Committees on “Justice and Human Rights” and “Public Safety and National Security”.

After leaving politics, Brent retooled his legal skills and studied to become a Mediator, Collaborative Lawyer and Arbitrator. He holds several professional designations in Alternative Dispute Resolution, putting his ADR skills to work with Brent Rathgeber Arbitration and Mediation.

In 2018, Brent was appointed as the first ever Ethics Advisor to the City of Edmonton, providing ethical, legal and Code of Conduct advice to the elected members of Edmonton City Council.

In 2019, Brent was hired by the Alberta Insurance Council (AIC) as In-house Counsel and Director of Policy. In February 2021 Brent was promoted to Chief Operating Officer & General Counsel. AIC is the regulator for all insurance intermediaries in the Province of Alberta.

Brent currently sits on the Northern Alberta Business Incubator (NABI) board. He is also a member of T8N 100 Men, raising money for worthy charities in St. Albert and the Sturgeon Region. He lives in Edmonton with his spouse Katrina Black. In his spare time, he enjoys sports, fitness, music, reading, and writing.

Joanne Abram


Alberta Insurance Council - CEO

Joanne Abram commenced with the Alberta Insurance Council (AIC) in 1989 when the AIC began operations. The AIC is the industry funded regulator responsible for administering the province’s insurance laws in respect to insurance agents, brokers and adjusters. As CEO, Joanne is responsible for a staff of 25 employees located in offices in both Edmonton and Calgary. She provides leadership in the establishment and implementation of the mission, principles and values of the organization and the setting and implementation of annual strategic goals, objectives and priorities. She works with one governance and three quasi-judicial boards responsible for the qualification, licensing and market conduct of insurance intermediaries in Alberta.

Denika Heaton

BBA, Juris Doctor, TEP

AVP Regional Tax, Retirement & Estate Planning Services, Wealth

As a Regional Assistant Vice President (Wealth), Tax, Retirement & Estate Planning Services, Denika provides estate and trust planning services and tax consultation to advisors, their teams, and business partners throughout the Prairie Provinces and in British Columbia.

Denika joined Manulife in 2017. Prior to that, Denika was in private practice. She practiced as a tax, trusts, and estate lawyer with a cross-border tax law firm and represented high-net-worth individuals, entrepreneurs, and owner-managers. Denika focused on succession planning, often with cross-border tax implications. Denika received a Bachelor of Business Administration, with a specialization in accounting and taxation. She holds a law degree (JD) and is called to both the Alberta and Nova Scotia Bar. She received her Trust & Estate Practitioner designation and has also completed the Chartered Professional Accountants In-Depth Tax Course (Part I, II, and III). Denika is a member of the Law Society of Alberta, the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners, and the Canadian Tax Foundation.

Education: Juris Doctor (Laws), University of New Brunswick (2012); Trust and Estate Practitioner full member with Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (awarded designation in 2016); Parts I, II, and III Chartered Professional Accountants (CPA Canada) In Depth Tax (completed in years 2016, 2017, and 2018 respectively)

Amanda McCloy


Director, Individual Insurance Sales

Amanda McCloy is a Director of Individual Insurance Sales at Manulife in Edmonton.  She started her career at Manulife 12 years ago back in Waterloo, Ontario and moved to Edmonton back in July of 2017 to take on a field role of working with Financial Planners to help them incorporate insurance into their business. Her goal is to bring honesty and integrity to each and every interaction with her advisors. Shortly after joining Manulife she discovered her passion for life insurance and knows personally just how it can make the hardest times in life just that little bit easier by helping to relieve financial stress that families experience after the death or an illness of a loved one. In addition, she brings a thirst for expanding knowledge and technical skills and achieved the industry recognized CFP,CLU and TEP in short order. She is very involved in the financial planning community in Edmonton. She is currently the VP of the Edmonton Chapter of Advocis and is on the board of STEP Edmonton and regularly takes part in the Estate Planning Council. In her spare time she recently joined the board and planning committee for Edmonton International Cat Festival.

Laura Yost

National Director of Retail Accounts, Individual Insurance Canada

Laura Yost is the National Director of Retail Accounts for Individual Insurance. In this role, Laura is responsible for the support and execution of the retail accounts strategy. Laura’s main goals are to help our Distribution partners grow their insurance sales and build positive working relationship between their firms, our sales teams and Manulife.

Laura has enjoyed a very successful career at Manulife since joining in May 2012, resulting in progressive career promotions and multiple Emerald wins. Laura first started as an internal wholesaler on the Affinity product line & transitioned the life & living benefits side in 2013 Supporting Western Canada. In 2014 she transitioned to an external wholesaling role in the Life & Living Benefits area in Toronto. For the last 8 years she worked across a variety of firms & areas in the GTA, most recently working with our National Account firms downtown.  These experiences were very beneficial as she learned how many advisors and Distribution partners operate, what they find valuable & insights into their business. Laura’s insight along with her enthusiasm for the business has been a benefit to the clients she works with and her sales team.

In her role Laura consistently demonstrates strong leadership qualities and an ability to develop creative strategies to help advisors grow their business. Her advisors consistently praise her for the value she brings and the work ethic, passion and style she employs. 


  • BBA – Wilfrid Laurier Univeristy
  • LLQP
  • Emerald Award Winner: Manulife Top Generalist External Wholesaler 2015 & 2020
  • Graduate: Manulife Wholesaler Development Program 2013


  • In the past Laura both swam and coached swimming competitively. She still maintains a passion for fitness, as well as enjoys travelling and spending time at the cottage.

Catherine Wood


Chief Strategy, Product and Marketing Officer, Coast Capital Savings

Catherine is Advocis Nationals incoming Chair for 2022/2023. Catherine is passionate about improving diversity of thought and equity for those with disabilities + women + minorities, emerging technologies and elevating financial literacy.  This passion shines through Catherine’s various roles in the financial service industry and volunteer work supporting these groups.

Catherine currently works for Coast Capital as their Chief Strategy, Product and Marketing Officer. Catherine has been instrumental in establishing Coast Capital’s social purpose strategy, member experience, marketing + brand, and product portfolio. She brings over 20 years of financial service experience, including senior roles at Qtrade, TD Bank, and Assante and was the Chief Marketing and Innovation Officer for Aviso Wealth. Catherine currently serves as a Board Member of Advocis and Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital.

Catherine was named as one of Canada’s Most Powerful Women in 2017 and 2016 as well as one of the Top 50 Wealth Professionals in Canada and one of the Top 50 Women in Life Insurance in years prior.

Catherine holds a Master of Business Administration and a Master of Information Studies, both from the University of Toronto, as well as an Honours Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Mass Communications from York University.

Peter Boys


Certified Agricultural Farm Advisor

Peter was raised on a mixed farm in Wiltshire, England, and moved to Canada in 1970.   For his first 27 years in Canada, he worked in a variety of positions in the farm equipment business, including as a partner in a farm dealership in Grande Prairie.  He started his career in the financial services industry in 1997, and is now in his 25th and final year in the business. 


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