Canadian CEOs Putting University Students in the Driver's Seat for One Day

IKEA, CFL, ENMAX, PSP Investments and OMERS Ventures among companies giving students an exclusive view from the top

TORONTO, Jan. 28, 2016 /CNW/ - Some of the most recognized national and international companies are opening their doors to give third and fourth year university students a first-hand glimpse of what it takes to be a leading Canadian CEO. Championed by global executive search firm, Odgers Berndtson, the CEO x 1 Day program has selected 18 students from across the country for the unique chance to shadow some of the country's most highly accomplished industry leaders for one day.

"Each year, the CEO x 1 Day program selects Canada's most promising future leaders and provides them with an opportunity to get an in-depth look at how complex organizations work and what leadership looks like at the top," said Rob Quinn, Partner at Odgers Berndtson. "Our 2016 finalists are accomplished, driven individuals who have received prestigious awards, started their own businesses, taken on leadership roles and been involved in philanthropic initiatives – demonstrating, throughout the program, that they are on the fast track to becoming remarkable business leaders of tomorrow."

Students gain experience – CEOs gain insights & ideas

For the past three years, the CEO x 1 Day program has offered unforgettable opportunities for both students and CEOs. As a result of the program, a number of past participants have stayed connected to the CEOs and have applied the lessons they learned in the program to their budding careers. Many of the CEOs have also reported gaining valuable insights from the students, including implementing business ideas that students have shared with them.

"I am very excited to take part in a program that helps develop the future prospects of some of Canada's brightest, up and coming talent," said Stefan Sjöstrand, President, IKEA Canada. "It's a terrific way to share some of the career and business lessons I've learned along the way and also gain fresh insights into this next generation of leaders."

CEO x 1 Day recipients come from across the country and include students from Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, Montreal and Ottawa. They have been paired with presidents and CEOs from industries that range from retail and technology, to sports and government, providing an extraordinary range of experiences. Additional information on the students and CEOs can be found at To follow their experiences check out Twitter @CEOx1Day and #ceox1day.

McKinsey & Company aims to provide placement opportunities for students

This year, Odgers Berndtson announced a new partnership with McKinsey & Company designed to help more top students explore their career options and discover new leadership development opportunities. All CEO X 1 Day semi-finalists will be considered for an interview with McKinsey & Company for a summer internship or full-time placement.

What it takes to be a CEO x 1 Day

To evaluate their leadership potential, students underwent a rigorous selection process that began last October and included an online leadership assessment by Hogan Assessments and Performance Programs Inc, as well as telephone interviews with Odgers Berndtson recruiters. The selection process culminated with a half-day evaluation conducted by Odgers Berndtson and its partner, McKinsey and Company, where students went through a series of exercises and workshops to assess their interpersonal and communication skills, teamwork, problem solving abilities and resilience.

Participating CEOs and student finalists include:




University: University of Victoria

Hometown: Calgary, Alberta

Matched with: Randall MacEwen, President and Chief Executive Officer, Ballard Power Systems



University: University of British Columbia

Hometown: Windsor, Ontario

Matched with: David Labistour, Chief Executive Officer, Mountain Equipment Co-operative



University: University of British Columbia

Hometown: Regina, Saskatchewan

Matched with: Dr. Amiee Chan, President and Chief Executive Officer, Norsat International Inc.



University: University of Alberta

Hometown: Calgary, Alberta

Matched with: Myron M. Stadnyk, President and Chief Executive Officer, ARC Resources Ltd.



University: University of Calgary

Hometown: Calgary, Alberta

Matched with: Gianna Manes, President and Chief Executive Officer, ENMAX Corporation



University: University of Alberta

Hometown: Lethbridge, Alberta

Matched with: Dave Mowat, President and Chief Executive Officer, ATB Financial (Edmonton)





University: University of Toronto, Mississauga

Hometown: Mississauga, Ontario

Matched with: Allan Shapira, Managing Director, Aon Hewitt Canada



University: York University

Hometown: Concord, Ontario

Matched with: Robert Courteau, Chief Executive Officer, Altus Group



University: Ryerson University

Hometown: Vaughan, Ontario

Matched with: Stefan Sjöstrand, President, IKEA Canada



University: Queen's University

Hometown: North York, Ontario

Matched with: Jeffrey L. Orridge, Commissioner, Canadian Football League



University: Carleton University

Hometown: Ottawa, Ontario

Matched with: Stephen Rigby, President and Chief Executive Officer, Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation



University: Ryerson University

Hometown: Toronto, Ontario

Matched with: John Ruffolo, Chief Executive Officer, OMERS Ventures


University: Polytechnique Montréal

Hometown: Berthierville, Quebec

Matched with: Luc Tremblay, Chief Executive Officer, Société de Transport de Montréal



University: Concordia University

Hometown: Rosemere, Quebec

Matched with: André Bourbonnais, President and Chief Executive Officer, PSP Investments



University: HEC Montréal

Hometown: Montreal, Quebec

Matched with: Charles Guay, Executive Vice

Executive Vice President and General Manager, Institutional Markets, Manulife Canada and President and CEO Manulife Québec 



University: McGill University

Hometown: Quebec City, Quebec

Matched with: Benoit Daignault, President and Chief Executive Officer, Export Development Canada (EDC)



University: Western University

Hometown: Markham, Ontario

Matched with: Dr. Bernard Leduc, President and Chief Executive Officer, Hôpital Montfort



University: Laval University

Hometown: Quebec City, Quebec

Matched with: Daniel Jean, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Government of Canada

About Odgers Berndtson

Odgers Berndtson is a global leader in executive search with more than 200 partners in 27 countries, committed to providing an integrated approach to talent management. With a focus on industry and functional specialization, the firm specializes in recruiting, assessing and developing senior executives and board members in the private, public and not-for-profit sectors across Canada and internationally. Through executive search, executive interim and leadership assessment services, Odgers Berndtson helps its clients build world-class leadership teams.

SOURCE Odgers Berndtson Canada

For further information: Jacqueline Foley, Chief Marketing Officer, Odgers Berndtson, 416-366-1990,


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