For any awards, carrying out fair, consistent, and accurate judging is key to ensuring the true winners are recognized. To deliver this, we have assembled a diverse and unbiased judging panel of experts. The judges are assigned categories which reflect their expertise and are asked to recuse themselves from voting in any category in which there is a conflict of interest.
All Judges are required to sign a non-disclosure agreement for the purpose of preventing the unauthorized disclosure of confidential information. This includes the sharing of the information contained within the submission forms with any third parties and communicating with shortlisted nominees in any way.”
Link Canada: 2SLGBTQ+ Insurance network
Christopher Aloussis ( He/Him) is an insurance professional specializing in Cyber Liability, Insurance Programs and Professional Liability. Having worked for insurance companies, MGA’s, brokerages both national and independent, Christopher brings with him a deep knowledge of each step in the insurance placement process. Having been a broker for several years, Christopher understands the drive that propels brokers to continuously strive for the best coverage and price for their clients. Having the honor of working with a number of insurance companies as well as Insurtech start-ups, he appreciates the fine line underwriting teams must walk between producing business and risk management. Combining his knowledge and passion for education, Christopher has also created and lead multiple CE courses on topics ranging from cyber event preparedness for commercial business to E&O exposures for independent contractors. Christopher has also started along the path with helping to bring meaningful change to the insurance industry. This past year along with other members, Christopher participated in founding the Canadian chapter of Link: 2SLGBTQ+ Insurance Network. Link Canada is dedicated to helping bring DEI education, hiring practices and inclusive networking events to the Canadian Insurance Industry. Christopher is dedicated to helping spread the message of the strength that diversity brings to organizations and how together, we can create a better, more equitable work environment for everyone.
Co-Founder / Vice-Chair
Canadian Association of Black Insurance Professionals (CABIP)
Dionne is a dynamic leader with over twenty years of progressive experience in the insurance industry. She operates her own Consulting business, which focuses on training and development solutions for insurance professionals and is also a contracted facilitator with some of Ontario’s higher learning institutions. Dionne is a Co-Founder of the Canadian Association of Black Insurance Professionals; a non-profit organization primarily focused on Advocacy, Mentorship, Education and Networking for individuals in the insurance industry or who are looking to pursue a career in insurance. She has a strong passion for learning and sharing knowledge with others.
Dionne graduated from the University of Ottawa with a degree in Criminology and Sociology. She also has a diploma in Public & Private Investigations from Sheridan College and currently holds her Fellowship Chartered Insurance Professional designation – the highest professional designation in Canada’s Property & Casualty industry as well as her Canadian Risk Management designation.
She is a published author and in her spare time, enjoys mentoring people, giving back to the community, reading, traveling abroad, boxing, basketball and creating new experiences with family and friends.
Arbitration Director, CICMA Ontario Chapter Special Projects Director, CICMA National Chapter
Teresa has been in the insurance world since 1981. She retired in December 2020 after 30 years as the Director of Claims for OSBIE. She has obtained her C.I.P and F.C.I.P. Teresa is still actively involved in the Executives of the Ontario and National Chapters of the Canadian Claims Manager’s Association.
Canadian Association of Urban Financial Professionals (CAUFP)
Justina Ikwu is a dedicated professional with a proven track record in determining, catalyzing, and driving new strategic growth initiatives in the banking and Not-For-Profit industries. She currently holds the position of Senior Manager of Strategy and Transformation at RBC (Royal Bank of Canada), where she plays a vital role in driving the mobilization of the Technology Enterprise Operations strategy.
With her extensive experience, Justina excels in overseeing the strategic planning processes of business units, utilizing her talent for directing cross-functional teams to develop and execute strategic opportunities. She takes into account various dimensions such as channel, product, technology, and regulatory considerations. Her exceptional ability to navigate complex environments and her deep understanding of the industry dynamics enable her to create innovative solutions and drive change effectively.
Justina’s passion for self-transformation and driving change extends beyond her professional endeavors. She actively utilizes her strong interpersonal communication skills to develop and manage relationships with stakeholders across industries. Her commitment to uplifting underserved communities in Canada is demonstrated through her involvement in the Canadian Association of Urban Financial Professionals, where she serves on the Board of Directors as the President for the next two years. In this role, Justina applies her problem-solving and leadership skills to make a positive impact on marginalized communities.
Justina holds a Master of Business Administration from Queen’s University, equipping her with advanced business knowledge and strategic acumen. Additionally, she earned an Honours Bachelor of Health Sciences with a minor in psychology from the University of Ottawa. This diverse educational background contributes to her well-rounded perspective and enhances her ability to approach challenges from multiple angles.
Outside of her professional commitments, Justina enjoys staying engaged with the world around her. She spends her leisure time listening to podcasts, sourcing new music, and staying active. These activities allow her to continuously expand her knowledge, explore new ideas, and maintain a balanced lifestyle.
With her dedication, expertise, and passion for driving growth and change, Justina Ikwu is a respected professional who continues to make significant contributions to the banking and Not-For-Profit industries, as well as to the communities she serves.
Toronto Insurance Women’s Association (TIWA)
Vinita Jajware-Beatty is President of the Toronto Insurance Women’s Association (TIWA), a not-for-profit trade organization. As President, Vinita acts as a resource for the entire insurance community including brokers; underwriters; claims; actuarial; and risk management professionals. In addition to her role with TIWA, Vinita serves as Chair of Dive In Canada, a DEI initiative from Lloyds of London. As an insurance professional with a risk management and property claims background, Vinita brings over 23 years of career experience to many diversity and inclusion initiatives within the insurance industry, including chairing a Women in Insuretech and Global Insuretech conference series through the India-based organization Altaworld.
Along with her work with TIWA, Vinita is the Chief Operating Officer of Enkompass Power & Energy Corporation. A national engineering and field services firm, Enkompass has operations rooted in industries including construction; telecommunications; healthcare; manufacturing; food and beverage; pharmaceutical; mining; and insurance. Vinita is responsible for operational oversight of engineering and field services including Enterprise Risk Management and Human Resources, while maintaining a loss control engineering and commissioning professional practice.
A graduate of the University of Guelph with a Bachelors of Commerce, Vinita has since earned her certificate in Risk Management from the University of Toronto and is a designated Canadian Risk Manager through the Global Risk Management Institute and is designated as a Construction Risk Insurance Specialist through the International Risk Management Institute. Vinita also holds a Certificate in Construction Law from Osgoode Hall Law School and is designated as a Certified Marketing Specialist with the Canadian Marketing Association.
Training and Research Officer
Ontario Mutual Insurance Association
Nicole Hackney is a Training and Research Officer at Ontario Mutual Insurance Association, a part time Professor at Fanshawe College and Instructor at The Insurance Institute of Canada. Nicole has been in the insurance industry since 2011 and deeply rooted in the Mutual insurance industry. With a short start as a Front Desk Receptionist, Nicole quickly advanced to join the underwriting department where she spent 10 years as a Personal Lines Underwriter. Nicole worked on many projects including software conversions and acted as a trainer and mentor. She believes in the importance of continuing education and holds her Certified Insurance Professional (CIP) designation along with additional certifications in Risk Management, Instructor Certification Program (ICP) and In-Person and Virtual Teaching Techniques. With a passion for volunteering for non-profit organizations, Nicole is presently serving on the SWO Chapter of the Insurance Institute of Ontario, has been a mentor with Big Brothers Big Sisters and a committee member in her small town for the Parks and Recreation Committee.
Professor and Chairholder, Insurance and Risk Management
University of Calgary
Dr. Anne Kleffner is Professor and Chairholder, Insurance and Risk Management, at the Haskayne School of Business. She joined the University of Calgary in 1992. Anne received her BSBA from Creighton University, and an MA and PhD in Applied Economics and Managerial Science from The University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School.
Anne teaches primarily in the undergraduate program in the areas of risk management and commercial property and liability insurance. She also teaches in the Directors’ Education Program for the Institute of Corporate Directors Anne’s particular areas of research interest include enterprise risk management, insurance regulation, and corporate social responsibility. She has published research in Journal of Risk and Insurance, Risk Management and Insurance Review, Journal of Insurance Regulation and Ivey Business Journal.
Anne is Past President of the Board of the American Risk and Insurance Association and is a member of the Risk Theory Society. She is Past President of the Board for Calgary Meals on Wheels. In her spare time Anne enjoys hiking, running, and traveling.
Canadian Association of Financial Institutions in Insurance
Keith is Co-Executive Director of CAFII, an Association representing Canadian Banks and Insurance Companies. Keith has an extensive background in financial services, and holds a Master’s degree from the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs at Carleton University, a Master’s degree in Political Science from the University of Western Ontario, and a Bachelor’s degree (Honours) in Economics from McGill University.
Canadian Association of Managing General Agents
Steve has been a government and public affairs professional for more than 20 years. He has worked for a large Canadian bank, a foreign government, several government elected representatives. He worked for 13 years at the Insurance Brokers Association of Canada and started his own government relations firm SkyBridge Strategies, which represents segments of the insurance industry with governments. He was appointed Managing Director of CAMGA in October 2020 and has led the associations into the preeminent professional trade association shaping the future of delegated underwriting.
President and CEO
Centre for Study of Insurance Operations (CSIO)
Catherine Smola is the President and CEO of CSIO. Since joining CSIO in 2012, she has pioneered a number of key initiatives that have championed interoperability, efficient data exchange and standards infrastructure for insurance partners. Examples include the eDocs Standard, the Commercial Lines Certification Program, the INNOTECH Advisory Committee and the My Proof of Insurance solution.
Vice President Operations
Insurance Institute of Canada
Margaret Wasserman, BSc (Hons), CIP, is Vice-President of Operations for The Insurance Institute of Canada. With almost 28 years in the insurance field, Margaret has amassed a wealth of industry knowledge and experience in a variety of roles.
Margaret joined the Insurance Institute in 2012 as Director, Western and Atlantic Operations and became Senior Director, Operations in 2016. She holds an Honours Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Toronto and earned her Chartered Insurance Professional designation in 2001.
Insurance Brokers Association of Canada (IBAC)
Insurance was a frequent topic of conversation around our dinner table – as my parents bought into a brokerage shortly after we moved to Calgary from Winnipeg in 1987. Like many children of insurance brokers, I found myself in the insurance industry also. There’s no business like a family business!
I started my career at another family business, Southland Registrations, a province of Alberta registry office in 1993, beginning as a front counter clerk and working my way through various positions, culminating as Chief Operating Officer before resigning my role in 2018 to focus on my own business. I attended Mount Royal College in the CMA program in the mid-nineties both working and attending school full time about two years; ultimately, I did not complete my degree and have built my career in work experience.
In 2000 I was appointed to the board of Directors of Lundgren & Young Insurance and began looking after both companies’ financials before taking a full-time position in 2006 at L&Y as VP Finance & Administration. I hold both a Level 3 General Insurance Licence along with a Life and Accident & Sickness Licence and completed my Canadian Accredited Insurance Broker (CAIB) designation in 2008. In 2014, I purchased a 50% interest in L&Y from my parents and continued to have successive active roles at various strategic levels, before moving into the role of President & CEO in 2018. In 2021, we entered into a strategic partnership with the Excel Insurance Group, a group of likeminded, independently owned brokerages and formed Excel & Y Insurance Services under which we operate today.
I am a strong believer in contributing to your industry and community. In addition to my current role as Chair of the Board at IBAC, I currently a Governor (director) of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB). I am also a past President of the Association of Alberta Registry Agents (AARA) and the Insurance Brokers Association of Alberta (IBAA) and a former board member of the Centre for the Study of Insurance Operations (CSIO) Believe in the Gold, an Alberta charitable organization supporting families impacted by childhood cancer. I have also been named to the 2023 Insurance Business Global 100 and the Insurance Women Canada Elite women for 2022 & 2023.
I am happily married to my husband Neil and our family consists of 3 fur-babies – Rooney, Beckham and Gibbs. We are proud Calgarians – although both with Winnipeg roots and enjoy spending our time with friends and family, time at our cottage in Grand Beach, Manitoba, golfing, gaming and riding our Harleys; we are also avid travelers that are exploring the world one destination at a time!
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