Describe the role you play professionally:
As a regional sales leader with BMO’s Treasury & Payment Solutions business, I am passionate about helping our commercial clients achieve their goals by providing consultative advice which enables them to enhance their cash flow and improves operational efficiency around accounts payable, receivables, and liquidity management. I am also focused on supporting the professional growth of my team members and BMO’s aspiration to be community leaders.
What is the most challenging aspect of your job?
In the current COVID-19 environment, I’ve found the boundaries between my professional and personal life have blurred. The home office has many benefits, but it’s also been hard to disconnect at times. One of the keys to success for me has involved clearly defining boundaries. This means setting consistent work hours to ensure I have time with my lovely wife, 2 cats, and for myself. Oh yeah, and time for EMBA!
What is your biggest professional accomplishment?
I’ve worked in financial services for over 17 years and I have a lot to be proud of. That said, successfully leading a team through the year 2020 has proven to be the most challenging and rewarding experience of my career. The global shutdown in March 2020 introduced a series of challenges I had never experienced before. And while the enterprise had comprehensive business continuity plans which ensured uninterrupted service for our customers, as a leader I was faced with achieving our business plan in stressed market conditions and successfully leading, maintaining engagement, and supporting the wellness of my team in an environment that became remote overnight. And while 2020 likely has 1 or 2 surprises up its sleeve yet, I am extremely proud of what my team has accomplished this year; both in terms of our performance and the resolve we’ve demonstrated as a team. In addition to the incredible efforts of my team, I believe our success can be attributed to an increased focus on business agility, flexibility, and mental health. For example, we acted quickly to ensure employees had the technology to perform remotely, we updated or all together eliminated inefficient business processes, and found creative ways to connect and have a little fun every week.
Why did you decide to do an EMBA?
In my professional life I’ve been fortunate to experience vertical growth within a single line of business. While my career journey has developed subject matter expertise and provided advancement opportunities, an EMBA presents a unique opportunity to broaden my perspective and experience. Not only was I confident that an EMBA would transform how I do my job today, I believe that the skills acquired will prepare me for the next step in my career. Ivey’s program promised strong faculty and engaging participants which would challenge me to change the way I approach business strategy, problem solving, and leadership. Ivey’s case-based approach to learning also interested me because it immerses you in real-life business scenarios which require creative-thinking and the ability to solve problems outside your area of expertise. Today’s business world is global, fast-paced, and increasingly complex and Ivey’s EMBA offered a competitive edge.
What is the most significant thing you’ve learned at Ivey?
Being a good leader means being able to solve problems, but what I’ve learned at Ivey is that solving problems is easier when you involve the people around you. Having a program that demonstrates the value of solving problems together has had an immeasurable impact on how I lead my team and do my work. While I will come away from EMBA with a great deal of practical knowledge and skills that will help me in any role, my biggest learning has been the importance of a collaborative mindset when you are tackling issues and making decisions. Ivey’s process, including its case-based approach, team projects, and in-class dialogue has reinforced the value of fostering a strong team. While I can solve problems on my own, there is real power in seeking new perspectives and leveraging individual strengths to achieve a common goal.
What’s been the most surprising aspect of the Executive MBA journey to date?
The last time I was in school, I was finishing an undergraduate degree in History. Coming back to this environment after almost 20 years was daunting. I’ve been surprised at how easy it was to get engaged and challenge myself academically after all that time. It was made easier not just by the access to wonderful faculty and alumni but having an amazing cohort of like-minded individuals working towards the same goal as me. I’ve built a network but, more importantly, I have made great friends.
What books are on your bedside table right now?
When I am not reading about managing financial resources, strategic analysis or operations, I enjoy disconnecting and losing myself in fiction. I’ve taken to Junji Ito’s graphic novels. I love his creative short stories, they remind of the Tales from the Crypt stories of my youth. I also really enjoyed Ian Tregillis’ Milkweed Triptych. It’s a fun alternate history trilogy featuring super soldiers and warlocks. What’s not to love?? Finally, I am a bit of a photography nut and have been trying to hone my skills by reading “Leica M: Advanced Photo School”.
How do you manage stress (i.e. sports, exercise, meditation etc)?
When I am stressed, I think it’s important to take a step back and give myself time to mentally decompress and get perspective. When I am at work, that can mean a conversation with a colleague or a short walk. When I am at home, I try and tap into my creative side by taking photos or listening to music. A little wine and pizza doesn’t hurt either!
Industry: Financial Services
Managing Director, Treasury & Payment Solutions, BMO Bank of Montreal