Theo Keramaris VP, Deal Advisory – Infrastructure Investments, KPMG
Theo was a participant in the 2014 Toronto Homecoming. While he was living in London, the dilemma of continuing to live there vs. moving to Toronto was a frequent topic of conversation with his wife, Susan who is Canadian, and their Canadian friends. The challenge of making useful connections and exploring attractive opportunities in Toronto from a distance was always the element that separated the theoretical conversations from a realistic action plan. Toronto Homecoming came to fill this void and provided a platform for making the transition. During the 2014 event, Theo met KPMG and he continued the dialogue with the company after he returned to London. Two months later he received an offer to join the Infrastructure Advisory practice of the firm and he relocated to Toronto in February 2015. Theo has spent more than 5 years with the Energy team of NBGI Private Equity in London and prior to that he was for 3 years with NBGI’s Investment Banking team. His international investment experience is a valuable asset at his current position at KPMG’s Infrastructure Advisory, as a major part of his role is assisting Canadian funds investing in international assets. Born and raised in Greece he first came to Toronto to pursue an MBA at Schulich School of Business in 2003. He used Toronto Homecoming as an anchor event for expanding his professional and business school network. He finds that Toronto Homecoming is a great event for focusing attention and connecting expats with a large number of first-tier employers but it is also up to the participants to make the most out of it. “With careful preparation and some luck the idea of moving to Toronto can soon turn into reality”.
Courtney Rivington, Senior Manager Accounting, Nymi Inc.
Courtney worked for a decade in Toronto as an accounting professional in the mining industry when she decided to move to the UK to seek broader horizons. After completing her MBA at the University of Oxford with a focus in innovation and social enterprise, family called her home and she attended Toronto Homecoming in 2014. The tech startup stream was particularly interesting to Courtney as she hoped to pursue her passion in innovation and the event provided ample opportunity to mingle with some of the cities most up and coming startups. She accepted a position with Nymi Inc. in late 2014 and is already back playing hockey and enjoying Toronto’s amazing food scene.
Neena Sonik Senior Manager, TD
Neena has spent more than a decade living and working abroad, with stints in the United States, Australia, and Europe. Shortly after beginning her career as a Chartered Accountant, Neena accepted an opportunity in London with Ernst & Young. Her work involved leading projects to advise corporate and private equity clients on a range of business decisions, such as M&A transactions and corporate restructuring. It also included overseeing financial planning, analysis and reporting as part of the team responsible for restructuring Nortel businesses across Europe. It was through the transatlantic connections between her team working with Nortel in London and a co-founder of Toronto Homecoming working at Nortel in Toronto that Neena was introduced to Toronto Homecoming. After a long absence from Canada and her family in Toronto, Neena decided to return home. She attended Toronto Homecoming and met the TD recruiter at the event which directly led to her new role. “Toronto Homecoming is a valuable avenue for connecting with the local market.”
Cameron Webb Senior Zone Venue Logistics Manager, Toronto 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am Organizing Committee
With a degree in International Business & Supply Chain Management and an interest for global experiences, Cameron left Canada in 2005 to pursue a career within the field of Supply Chain Management in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Cameron was fortunate enough to land senior roles on three prestigious construction programs while in Dubai; the world famous Palm Jumeirah Island, the World Islands Project, and Saadiyat Island. Little did Cameron know but the love of his life, Laurel (who originates from Toronto) and he would meet at the Wakeboard School in Dubai and ended up having their two kids while in Dubai. However, Canada called and hence Cameron’s attendance at Toronto Homecoming 2013. Toronto Homecoming was the networking event needed to gain a foothold in the competitive Toronto job market. Toronto Homecoming enabled Cameron to gain insight into Toronto and how the job market operates which allowed him to quickly pitch in a focused manner attracting interest from several corporate partners in attendance, one of whom was Dr. Catherine Chandler-Critchlow of the Toronto Financial Services Alliance. Catherine quickly realized his large scale project management experience would lend itself to the Toronto 2015 Pan Am Games and immediately set foot to put Cameron into the right channels and subsequent interviews. Cameron believes it was the awareness gained through one of the seminars included at Toronto Homecoming which allowed him to effectively execute while meeting with corporate attendees and the various recruiters involved. Now back home in Toronto Canada, Cameron is the Senior Zone Venue Logistics Manager – Athletes Village for the Toronto 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am Games while in his last semester of an MBA through the University of Manchester, Manchester Business School.
Siddharth Nanda Financial Risk Management Advisory, KPMG Canada
Having lived, studied and worked in six countries over his career, Siddharth found himself increasingly drawn to Toronto where his extended family live. In 2013, he and his wife made the decision to move to the city permanently and found that Toronto Homecoming was the perfect catalyst to help make this goal a reality. By that point, Siddharth had spent more than a decade abroad. He studied economics at the University of Texas at Austin and earned an MBA from The University of Chicago Booth School of Business. His career in finance had taken him to the US and UK, first with JP Morgan and then Goldman Sachs. Siddharth and his wife attended Toronto Homecoming 2013, and the event helped them both make valuable connections with passionate Torontonians who were looking to support individuals with aspirations of moving to the city. The event also made it possible for them to discover some of Toronto’s exciting neighborhoods value the diversity and appreciate the opportunity of being in a world class city while still being able to pursue challenging careers and being close to family. Soon after the event, Siddharth met with KPMG partners to whom he was introduced to by the Toronto Homecoming network. He was offered a role within KPMG’s Financial Risk Management Advisory practice, which he accepted and transitioned to in November 2013. “The role is a great match for me personally, where I am able to immediately leverage my experience at GSAM and international background. It is a fantastic team and I believe I did not have to miss a step while furthering my career in Toronto” Siddharth appreciates the fundamental developments that Toronto has gone through during the last 14 years. “It is a much more vibrant city, many more restaurants, great art scene, busier public transportation and construction as far as the eye can see. The city’s distinctive social fabric is the same, and that is definitely worth moving here for!”
Jennifer Simon Director of Business Planning, Canada Pension Plan Investment Board
Over 10 years ago, Jennifer Simon moved to London to pursue a Masters degree at the London School of Economics. After graduating, she worked for a number of global banks and hedge funds in valuation and process control roles. After several years of living and working London, Jennifer and her husband decided that it was the right time to move back to Toronto with their young children. They felt Toronto would be a great place to advance their careers and raise their family, as well as being one of the most culturally vibrant and economically sound cities in the world. Jennifer recognized that her life and career, as well as Toronto, had developed considerably during her 10 years in the UK, and was looking for ways to re-orient her personal and professional life to Toronto. Conversations from the UK with Canadian friends, former colleagues and recruiters were certainly a helpful start, but “Toronto Homecoming, in a very focused, relevant and intense way, helped shift my thinking and focus in the right directions.” She cites the LinkedIn session as being particularly helpful in connecting with local employers and recruiters. Homecoming also gave her British husband a better appreciation of the Toronto job market, and a chance to connect with Canadian companies who valued his international professional experience. They relocated to Toronto this past summer and are both happily settled and employed. Jennifer now works as a Director of Business Planning with the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board.
Alexandra Stewart Executive Director, W. Garfield Weston Foundation
After growing up in Toronto, Alexandra Stewart left the city to attend Yale University, where she graduated with a B.Sc. with distinction in Neuroscience (Computer Science and Biology). Upon graduating, Alexandra joined McKinsey & Company in Washington D.C.. After finishing the analyst program, she joined Tribute Entertainment Media Group as VP, New Business Development. Alexandra went on to complete her MBA at Harvard Business School. Leaving Harvard, Alexandra returned to McKinsey’s New York City office and concurrently served as an Advisor to Tribute providing strategic support. Alexandra left McKinsey to return to Tribute as COO. Alexandra and her husband Roger attended the 2011 Toronto Homecoming event, taking advantage of the opportunity to meet fellow Torontonians, make some new and valuable connections, and reconnect with the various aspects this diverse city has to offer. Through the Toronto Homecoming network, Alexandra was offered a role with the W. Garfield Weston Foundation. Alexandra joins an organization founded by the Westons, one of Canada’s most famous and successful entrepreneurial families. The Foundation directs its donations to specific organizations in the fields of education, land conservation and science in Canada. The role also has aspects in NYC, offering Alexandra and Roger the best of both worlds! Alexandra is thrilled by the quality of life here, from summers in Muskoka to easy access to public golf courses. She and her husband Roger also began eating and drinking their way around the city. [Shama Ahmed]
Paul Sturgess Managing Director, Strategy and Business Development, Manulife Asset Management
Paul left Toronto to pursue an Honours BA in Economics at McGill. After completing his undergraduate education in Montreal, Paul set out for the United Kingdom, where he completed his MSC in the Political Economy of European Integration at the London School of Economics before being recruited by KPMG’s Corporate Finance group. Based in London and then Paris, Paul led engagements for a roster of international clients in the context of acquisitions, joint ventures and corporate restructurings. The MBA program at New York’s Columbia University brought Paul back across the Atlantic in 2006, and upon graduation he joined the renowned management consulting firm Booz & Company in their New York office. Working again with a wide range of major companies, Paul advised financial institutions in operating model redesign, growth strategy development and market entry strategy. At the time of Toronto Homecoming 2011, Paul had begun networking for the next step in his career, with an eye to returning to Toronto, where many of his friends and family continue to live. “I was interested in the taking the next step forward in my career, and while it was my intention to return to Toronto eventually, I did not want to be forced to pass up a better opportunity elsewhere.” Around this time, Paul had his first interview with Manulife for a compelling role in strategy and business development, a role he was offered and accepted. Paul is satisfied that he could take the next step forward in his career while returning to his Toronto home. Paul noted that “There are a lot more people out on the streets downtown, on the subway. It’s a much busier city than when I left.” And on other changes to the city that interest the holder of a Diploma in Wine & Spirits? “The wine and food scene has improved greatly. I have a huge list of restaurants in neighbourhoods across the city that friends and family have recommended to me that I am slowly working my way through.”
Sarah Rea Corporate Social Responsibility, Meridian
Sarah Rea left Toronto to pursue her undergraduate degree at Harvard University. Work and research took her to Chile, Puerto Rico and California, and she returned to our multicultural city with an entrepreneurial spirit and passion for social and environmental issues she honed while abroad. Leaving Harvard, Sarah and her partner Jim set their sights on the San Francisco Bay Area. For Sarah, with a passion for social and business innovation, the area was at the leading edge of the corporate responsibility and cleantech industries. For Jim, a software engineer, it was home to stellar software start-ups. Sarah worked in the sustainability office of Alameda County government, managing corporate responsibility, green building and clean transportation projects including the launch of the Bay Area EV Corridor, the region’s electric vehicle charging network. Shortly before the inaugural Toronto Homecoming event in 2010, the couple had made the decision to transition to Toronto to enjoy the company of their families in Toronto and Cleveland. The Toronto Homecoming event proved to Sarah that they had made the right decision. She was building Sustera, her independent consulting practice, and the program introduced her to fellow Torontonians who had enjoyed similarly enriching international experiences and felt the same draw to their hometown. The participants shared a desire to apply their global frame of reference in Toronto; to collaborate with and improve upon best-of-class examples found here and abroad. In Fall 2010, Sarah joined client Sears Canada in new business development as Product Manager, Home Energy Efficiency Services. Since 2013, she has managed Corporate Social Responsibility for Meridian, Ontario’s largest credit union. As a volunteer, she advises entrepreneurs through MaRS Discovery District and serves on the Riverdale Farm Stewardship Group committee to support Toronto’s oasis in the city. [Larry Chan]