Canada’s 2020 CIO of the Year: Finalists Revealed

By Evelyn Howat
Four categories, nine Canadian IT leaders - who will come out on top? We take a closer look at the finalists...

Presented by CanadianCIO in partnership with the CIO Association of Canada (CIOCAN), the awards program recognizes Canadian technology leaders who have demonstrated business and technological vision, entrepreneurship, a capacity to drive transformation and an ability to drive value. The awards will be presented during ITWC’s Digital Transformation Week conference on July 16 during a session dedicated to the CIO perspective.

Over the past 90 days, nominations have been open for the award. Finalists were carefully selected from this list and scrutinised by a panel of judges:

  • Jim Love, CIO, ITWC
  • Gary Davenport, Past President, CIOCAN
  • Mark Bryant, CIO, PCL Construction
  • Johanne Duhaime, Vice President – Information and Communications Technologies at Hydro-Québec
  • Philippe Johnston, Director General, Digital Services Directorate, Transport Canada
  • Helen Knight, Principal, Helen Knight Consulting
  • Humza Teherany, CIO and Chief Digital Officer, Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment
  • Shari Wallace, CIO, City of Burnaby 

 The selected finalists are now asked to provide letters of recommendation, demonstrating their accomplishments. Winners of the award will be chosen based on these letters and their original nomination submissions. 

 “We were impressed by the quality of the nominations from across Canada. It shines a light on the fact that CIOs are playing a critical business role in the success of their organizations.” - Gary Davenport, judge and CIOCAN’s past president 

The finalists revealed

The four categories are: private sector, public sector, non-profit sector and next-generation leader.

Private sector:

  • Jamshid Rezaei, CIO, Mitel. The secret to Rezaei’s success is his ability to turn “more” into “less.” He transformed the company’s operations by consolidating a myriad of systems into single platforms now used by all employees around the world.
  • Pierre Bonin, Vice-President & CIO, Videotron. In the past year, Bonin successfully implemented two new customer services after convincing his company to choose disruption over incremental change. In a short time, this has produced a better customer experience, higher revenues, fewer call centre calls and simpler business processes.
  • Marco Trecroce, CIO, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts. As the first ever CIO for the Four Seasons, Trecroce has taken the hotel chain’s IT from the dinosaur age to a “Digital Genius” ranking by Gartner in the past 10 years. During this time, the IT team delivered more than 110 global projects, improving guest satisfaction scores on the digital experience from three to 81 per cent.

Public Sector:

  • Kalyan Chakravarthy, CIO, Region of Durham. After joining the region as CIO, Chakravarthy quickly developed a new five-year road map, Digital Durham 2023. In just 18 months, he has fully moved the region from legacy systems to Office 365 and Windows 10, and led several innovative projects. This has already saved the region hundreds of thousands of dollars and countless hours.
  • Samantha Liscio, Chief Technology and Innovation Officer, WSIB. Over the last 18 months, Liscio has led a transformation to build a robust technology infrastructure and a client-focused operating model. This made it possible for the WSIB to seamlessly move 4000 employees from 16 offices to working from home within a week after the COVID lockdown. 

We interviewed Samantha Liscio in July’s edition of InsurTech Magazine, read the full interview here and read the full report on WSIB here.

Non-Profit Sector:

  • Ricardo Basnayake, Board Director, MNS Malton Neighbourhood Services. Basnayake had the foresight to champion cloud and remote working strategies in his organization. As a result, the number of remote workers grew from 2 to over 100, and they didn’t miss a beat in delivering valuable community services when the pandemic hit.
  • Thomas Wardman, Vice President, Digital Transformation & CIO, The Royal Conservatory of Music. Over the last two years, Wardman has led a bottom-up technology transformation of this 135-year-old organization. His initiatives have saved costs, while boosting revenue and musical creativity.

Next Generation Leader:

  • Noman, Ahmed, Director of Technology, PACE Technical. Ahmed is a trail blazer for an IT service provider that supports over 70 small and medium-sized businesses. His ideas to revamp the company’s processes and cyber security strategy led to a 98.95 per cent customer satisfaction rating over the last year.
  • Ivan Yao, Manager, Program Effectiveness, Workplace Safety and Insurance Board. Known for having a unique combination of leadership, business and technical skills, Yao led the team that digitized workplace safety in just 80 days. On top of all that, his team says he’s funny. 

 “It’s more important than ever before to celebrate the incredible IT leadership we have in Canada. These men and women have seen us through some monumental challenges and are now taking centre stage in the management of their organizations.” - Jim Love, ITWC CIO 

 All will be revealed at a special virtual reception held as part of ITWC’s Digital Transformation Week 2020, each of the winners will receive entry into the CanadianCIO Hall of Fame. 


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