Your 2023 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!
CLU CHFC CHS
Corry Collins CLU CHFC CHS started his insurance practice in 1986 at the age of 24. He is an Honour Roll member of MDRT and has served many times as Chair for MDRT and Advocis committees and boards alike. He has been an invited speaker in 10 countries, has been a professional emcee for international conferences and has spoken at MDRT on 7 occasions. His insurance practice is focused on the needs of physicians. Corry and Susan live in Halifax.
Matt is a leader in the behavioral insurance and wellness-linked insurance space. He brings his passion for helping consumers live longer, healthier, and better lives to the broader insurance industry by leveraging technology, IOT, distributor/consumer experience, and wellness. As Head of Behavioral Insurance Enablement, he is responsible for leading global behavioral insurance initiatives across the organization including go-to-market strategy, distributor/customer success, and ensuring that each of the global markets in which John Hancock/Manulife operates has a consistent message with the behavioral insurance solutions the company provides. In these efforts he works with John Hancock Vitality in the United States, Manulife Vitality in Canada, and ManulifeMOVE in the company’s Asia markets. During his over 18-year tenure at John Hancock, he has held several roles within the organization - including managing some of John Hancock’s largest distribution relationships. Matt was one of the first to work on the John Hancock Vitality solution in advance of its launch April of 2015. From there, he helped introduce the product to the brokerage market and spent several years in the field wholesaling and providing leadership and distribution strategy for John Hancock Vitality. In 2022 Matt worked alongside Manulife to expand the Vitality offering in Canada. He has been critically involved in the organization’s integration of health, wealth, and wellness strategy-management. Matt joined John Hancock shortly after the company’s merger with Manulife Financial in 2004, after beginning his insurance career at another Boston area insurance carrier in 2002. Matt provides insights and market perspectives to both internal and external stakeholders, and regularly speaks on behalf of the company at industry, media, and thought-leadership events. He takes a “human first” approach to business challenges and focuses on both distributor and customer success. Matt is an agile and energetic presenter and speaks regularly on at industry and financial sector events including the Financial Times, LIMRA, Insurance Innovators International, Insuretech Insights, DIGIN, Advancements with Ted Danson, and Finseca. As a life-long Massachusetts native, Matt lives in Somerville with his husband and rescue dog. Matt graduated from Stonehill College in Easton, MA with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration and in Computer Information Systems. Matt holds his life, health, and FINRA Series 6 and 63 securities licences. He also is involved with several equality-focused non-profits in the Boston and New England area
Rod Burylo, is Board Advisor and Manager, Capital Markets for Pinnacle Accounting and Finance. He has worked throughout the financial services for a wide variety of companies in roles that include CCO, CFO and Director. For over 30 years, Rod has been designing and delivering continuing education as a writer and speaker on the topic of business ethics and professional responsibility for several designation and registration categories, including CPA, CFP, PBA and IIROC. He is a 2004 Canadian Advisor of the Year Award winner, 2019 Champion of Financial Literacy Award Finalist, and author of three books, including The Wealthy Buddhist (2019). Rod also consults to boards and leadership teams on topics that include governance, communications strategy, and regulatory compliance. He has served on the board of public and private companies, as well as professional associations and not for profits, including the National Exempt Market Association, Foundation for the Advancement of Entrepreneurship, and the Public Business Accountants Society.
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.
Greg started in Human Capital and Operations Management almost 25 years ago and since then has worked across a broad range of industries and organizations, from startups to national companies, private and public sector, in both unionized and non-unionized environments. His past roles in both Operations and Human Resources Management have given him extensive experience working with business owners in assessing current operational strengths and weaknesses, and implementing solutions designed to improve their people, policies and processes.
Greg has held his national certification as a Chartered Professional in Human Resources since 2001 and is a member of the Chartered Professionals in Human Resources of Nova Scotia. He also holds his Masters of Science in Applied Psychology (Industrial/Organizational) from Saint Mary’s University in Halifax.
Greg maintained a part-time faculty position at Saint Mary’s University in the Department of Psychology from 1995-2017 where he has taught courses in Industrial/Organizational Psychology, Training & Development and Social Behaviour. As well, Greg has the privilege of serving as the Chair of the Board of Directors for the Ward 5 Neighbourhood in Halifax’s north end, a not-for-profit that provides a wide range of programs for seniors and children as well as operates the St. Marks’ Food Bank.
Greg is the founder and president of Anchor Integrated Business Solutions, a management consulting firm focusing on small businesses and their teams. Anchor’s mission is to provide a full range of customized management consulting services in order to allow their clients more time to effectively focus on the day-to-day working in and growing of their business.
People. Processes. Policies.
CFP, CLU, CH.F.C., CHS
Eric started his financial services career with London Life. After an initial period as a representative; he went on to three separate management careers. Since January 2001 he has been an independent producer and principal of Lidemark Financial Group Inc. Eric is a Past President of the Advocis Greater Vancouver Chapter (2005) and as Treasurer worked on the integration of CAIFA Vancouver and the BC Chapter of the CAFP into Advocis Greater Vancouver. Eric was elected to Chapter Leadership Council in 2006 and served as Chair for 2011/2012. His second stint with the Institute was from 2012-2017. Since 2017, Eric has served on the TFAAC Board. Eric proudly chaired the inaugural Strategies for Success Sales Conference for Insurance and Financial Advisors in Vancouver in 2015. Eric received his CLU designation in1983 and was the Dunstall Medal award winner for BC. He was President of the BC Mainland CLU Chapter in 1988 – 1989 and won the DeHaerne Award that year for best chapter. Eric is a season ticket holder for the BC Lions and watches most Blue Jays games. He plays in a pool league during the winter. And golfs all-year round. The goal of breaking 100 is occasionally realized. Eric and his wife Jackie enjoy travelling and have thankfully and gratefully been able to get away to many interesting international locales on a regular basis for these past few decades. They have one son, Kevin. In business and in life, Eric has tried to live by his 3 R’s: Reliability, Responsibility and Respect.
Before founding Naviguide, Jay had many careers. Jay managed retail stores and movie theatres, worked with a circus, drove courier trucks, ran the commercial sales department for MEC (when it was growing 40% per year) and spent many years selling enterprise level IT systems and support services. Just prior to entering the insurance world, he was an elementary school teacher. Jay joined the insurance industry in 2002 following the diagnosis of his wife’s brain tumor (when she was just 29 years old). Following the life lessons the brain tumor brought Jay’s mission became: Helping others avoid the financial and emotional issues that come from illness & injury. Jay owned Marathon Benefit Corporation, (specialists in group benefits and business insurance solutions) in Calgary from 2004 to 2017. He moved to the Comox Valley on Vancouver Island with his new wife, Jane, and opened Naviguide in 2017. Jay is a co-founder of National Group Benefits Meeting (NGBM). NGBM is a free platform dedicated to helping brokers who sell group benefits become top advisors. Jay is also a very active member of the Canadian Group Insurance Brokers association. In his spare time, Jay is very physically active. Jay spends his summers running or riding his mountain bike on the trails in and around Cumberland. He also loves kayaking & riding his motorcycle. In winter, he can be spotted skiing up on Mount Washington.
CFP, CLU, CEA, CHS, FMA, TEP
In her Calgary based practice, Affluence Partners, Stephanie specializes in succession and retirement planning for families with Canadian Controlled Private Corporations. Her consultative client experience is designed to uncover the unaddressed and often hidden complexities involved in owning a family business through self-discovery. Once all the ‘cards’ are on the table, Stephanie then provides tailored guidance and advice structured around the client’s value system.
Stephanie believes that being a life-long learner is critical to providing timely and relevant advice sought by her clientele. Stephanie’s strategies reflect her formal education and have strong roots in math and science. She enjoys working with families seeking to increase intergenerational wealth.
Robert Gignac is the owner of Rich is a State of Mind, focusing on personal and financial development. A sought-after speaker at seminars across North America, Robert writes articles on personal and financial development issues. He is the host of the Money, Motivation & More podcast and hosted the WE DIGITAL personal finance show “WE Talk Money” from 2018 to 2020.
He is perhaps best known as the author of the best-seller “Rich is a State of Mind” a novel which examines personal finance as seen through the eyes of a humorously dysfunctional family. Robert has been a student of the financial planning process (and client of the financial industry) for over 30 years and his personal mission is to encourage people to take control of their personal finances to create a “Richly Imagined Future”. Robert has shared this message with over 120,000 financial professionals across North America from large industry conferences to smaller client receptions and events.
Robert had the honour of speaking at MDRT Global 2022 in Sydney, Australia and 2023 marks his third appearance at Banff School. He was happy to celebrate his honeymoon with us in 2013 and this year is very happy to be celebrating his 10th anniversary with us.
VP, Chief Underwriting Officer, Head of Propositions, Claims & Underwriting
SCOR Global Life, Canada Branch
Prior to joining SCOR in 2018, Jennifer spent over 20 years with multiple direct insurance companies. She has experience in Life, Critical Illness, Disability and Long-Term Care underwriting and has held various roles in Underwriting Operations, Corporate Underwriting Policy, Audit, Risk Management and Claims.
Jennifer oversees the Claims & Underwriting teams, accountable for strategy and operations in the Canadian Market. As part of the leadership team, she is also responsible for client relationship management and supporting clients in their quest to improve the customer experience.
She is very active in the Insurance community with a particular passion for education and training. She is a current member of the Academy of Life Underwriting (ALU), the Past Chair of the Canadian Institute of Underwriters (CIU) and the Chair of the Canadian Reinsurance Conference (CRC). She attended the University of Waterloo (French), Laurier University (Business) and in 2014 went back to school and obtained her MBA from Rotman School of Business, University of Toronto.
Jennifer has 1 son, 3 teenage stepdaughters and 2 dogs, and likes to keep busy. When she’s not working or over-volunteering her time, Jennifer enjoys traveling, exercising and reading a good book, sometimes even uninterrupted!
Conor Cunneen – IrishmanSpeaks is an award winning business speaker and humorist whose mission is to Improve People, Performance & Productivity – with a Smile.
This Chicago based Irishman (with a brogue to prove it) is a former VP Marketing who has worked in Ireland, UK and USA on brands as diverse as Heineken, Hellmann’s, Lipton tea and his favorite - Murphy’s Irish Stout!
His unique ability to provide a creative humorous approach to complex business issues has resulted in clients from Harley-Davidson to Helsinki, from Memphis to Madrid.
Conor is a:
Fellow of the Marketing Institute of Ireland.
Author of five books including two on Mark Twain.
Recipient of the Presidents Gold Medal for Volunteer Service for the work he does with the unemployed.
Winner Chicago Humorous Speaker of the Year for – would you believe – a speech on Customer Service in San Quentin Jail.
He likes to play Metallica loud. His wife does not like him to play Metallica loud!
Dr. Sanjay Tolani
Over the last decade, Dr. Sanjay Tolani has mentored over hundreds of thousands of financial advisors on how to do customized financial planning as per the requirement of their clients through his own community: Sanjay Mentoring Family.
He is also a 19-year member of the Million Dollar Round Table – The Premier Association of Financial Professionals, with 2 Court of the Table, 15 Top of the Table honors, and 7 years platinum dragon.
He became the youngest member in 2003 at the age of 19 and then qualified as the Youngest Life Member in 2012 at the age of 28. He also became the Youngest Managing Director of an Insurance Brokerage in the Middle East.
Senior Sales Consultant, Living Benefits - RBC Insurance
I’m a wife and proud mother of 2 wonderful little boys – age 8 and 4 – who have taught me to be more patient, open, silly, to find the perfection in imperfection, the power in being yourself, and that we can learn from everyone and any situation.
While I originally started off in the world of accounting, I very quickly realized that it wasn’t for me when I found the insurance industry and fell in love with the meaning of what we do every day – helping and protecting families.
When I think about how I got into this industry, it was simply because I overheard a conversation and wanted to learn more about finance and insurance for myself, to make sure I was going to be OK. That was over 20 years ago now when I started my career as an insurance advisor. There wasn’t any special reason why I got into this industry, but what kept me here were all the stories of how Insurance saved people and families. But the stories were always someone else's stories...until they weren't any more. Until the stories started to move closer to home and became personal, happening to friends, family, and people I love and care about, and then even my own family. I'm passionate about my career, and I continue to stay because if I can positively influence, even in a small way, multiple advisor's – who are ultimately each working with many clients – that means more people are getting the protection they need and deserve.
My experience allows me to identify with advisors and the many challenges & opportunities they face with their clients. I love finding solutions to address advisor challenges, all while maintaining a focus on the final customer – their clients.
I get to apply my love for helping and teaching in a way that I believe makes a difference to others, and that’s something I am super proud of. I have always been enthusiastic and passionate, and now I have the opportunity to let my enthusiasm and passion flow every day, because I love what I do!
Ross Vanderwolf, CFP, of Brisbane, Queensland, Australia, was the 2019 MDRT President - the first MDRT Executive Committee Member, and President from the Southern Hemisphere.
He is a 35-year MDRT member with 21 Court of the Table and 12 Top of the Table qualifications.
Ross is a Platinum Knight of the MDRT Foundation and is currently serving as a Trustee on the Board of the Foundation.
In addition to extensive volunteer service to MDRT, the MDRT Foundation and the Australian Financial Services profession, Vanderwolf is the Joint Principal of Rothgard Financial Partners – a full service financial planning and advice practice, and is the recipient of multiple awards for excellence in the industry and is constantly voted one of Australia’s Most Trusted Financial Advisers.
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.
Reena is the co-founder and CEO of Willow End-of-Life Education and Planning, co-author of 7 Tools for Making Sense of Life & Death—the workbook and self-study online program—and co-creator of a licensing program called the Willow EOL Educator® Program. Willow creates heart-centered, inquiry-based tools, curriculums and learning opportunities to fill the gap in conventional end-of-life planning. Reena and Willow EOL Educators® help people explore The Reality of Their Mortality® so that they can live their remaining days or decades with intention and purpose. Willow's tools are foundational, and can be used throughout the world by the general public, for staff learning and development, and to enhance professional development and training for end-of-life practitioners and professionals.
Reena is a graduate of the Beyond Yonder Virtual School of Community Deathcaring in Canada, taught by ten experts on grief, disposition, rituals, body care, advance planning, being with the dying, and funeral alternatives. Reena’s educational background also includes courses in communication and conflict resolution, and degrees in architecture and international affairs. Before Willow she created and led Peace it Together, which brought Palestinian, Israeli and Canadian youth together for dialogue, filmmaking and community engagement. Her work was published in the New York Times, Globe and Mail, and Readers Digest.
When not working, you can find Reena doing something in nature, meditating, or finding other ways to turn her curiosity into creativity.
Find Reena or Willow on these social media channels:
Ariana Kane is currently a National Sales Director for Humania Assurance and has been licensed in both Securities and the Insurance Industry since 2004. She is a mom of 3, former University athlete, Psychology major, avid yogi, and outdoor enthusiast. She is passionate about sales in how it ‘solves and serves’ and in teaching advisors to level up their skills, confidence, connection and capacity. She's a certified sales trainer in Business Development, High Performance Coaching, the Psychology of Sales and the 'what would this look like if it were easy' strategy.