Skip to Main Content

Business Leader Award (Toronto)

The Ivey Business Leader Award, co-chaired by Darin Deschamps, HBA ’87, and Mark Whitmore, MBA ’91, is presented annually at a black-tie dinner at Toronto's Ritz-Carlton Hotel. The Award, founded in 1991, honours individuals who have made significant contributions to the advancement of business in Canada and have demonstrated leadership in both business and their communities. Funds raised support HBA and MBA student awards through the Ivey Fund Scholars program, and have previously supported the Toronto Alumni Professorship in Business Leadership, which is currently held by Professor Glenn Rowe; the Ivey Alumni Network Toronto HBA and MBA Scholarships; and the Richard Ivey Building. 

Learn more about sponsorship opportunities.

Media Release (February 2018)

Dean Connor Named Ivey Business Leader of the Year

Dean Connor

Dean Connor, President and CEO of Sun Life Financial will receive the Ivey Business Leader Award and address Canada’s most prominent business leaders at an annual gala dinner in Toronto on November 1, 2018.

Connor, HBA ’78, is best known for his contributions to the financial industry and passion for enhancing the client experience.

“Dean Connor demonstrates the desire and commitment that help make an outstanding business leader,” said Ivey’s Acting Dean Mark Vandenbosch, HBA ’84. “I am happy to recognize and celebrate Dean’s tremendous success. He has not shied away from setting ambitious goals for Sun Life to grow and achieve financial performance targets.”

Connor serves on the Board of the Business Council of Canada and the Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association, as a Trustee for the University Health Network in Toronto, and a member of the Ivey Advisory Board and the Asia Business Leaders Advisory Council. He is actively involved in the United Way, and chaired its $105 million 2017 campaign for Toronto and York Region, as well as the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute’s $100 million Where Incredible Happens campaign.

Connor was appointed CEO of Sun Life in December 2011 and was named Top New CEO for 2014 by Canadian Business. He was recently awarded Canada’s Outstanding CEO of the Year® for 2017.

Prior to Sun Life, he spent 28 years at Mercer Human Resource Consulting, where he rose to President for the Americas.

“Dean’s leadership and vision set Sun Life on a transformative journey with client-focused digital innovation, accelerated growth in Asia, and new wealth and asset management businesses, making it the industry leader it is today,” said Mark Whitmore, MBA ’91, Co-chair, Ivey Business Leader Award. “He serves as an inspiration for the Canadian business community and we are proud to call him one of our own here at Ivey.”

Whitmore and Darin Deschamps, HBA ’87, jointly chair the Ivey Business Leader Award that will be presented at a black-tie dinner on November 1, 2018 at The Ritz-Carlton, Toronto. Proceeds from the annual event support HBA and MBA student awards through the Ivey Fund Scholars program.

Connor joins an esteemed list of past Ivey Business Leader Award recipients demonstrating leadership in both business and their communities. Please see below for past recipients of the award.

Previous Recipients