Alumni Association Board of Directors

group photo of the board members

Front row: Shaunt Tokmakjian, Elizabeth Rody, Hugo Martin
Second row: Valérie Gervais, Carole Theauvette 
Third row:
John Gitas, Sharon Wong, Emma Bédard, Elias Hage, Claudette Commanda, Philippe Beaulieu, Jaime Seidner
Absents: Alexandra Bissinger, Habiba Chakir, Rajinder Narula, Fares Elsabbagh

If you wish to communicate with the Board, contact alumni.president@uOttawa.ca


Elizabeth Rody, BA ’83

President of the University of Ottawa Alumni Association since 2015 and member of the Board of Governors since 2017

Elizabeth Rody has more than 25 years’ experience in protocol and international and interparliamentary affairs. Chief of protocol for the Parliament of Canada from 2014 to 2017, she currently does consulting work in the field of international relations and protocol.


Philippe Beaulieu, BSocSc ’91, MBA

Entrepreneur

Philippe Beaulieu is president of Celcius22, a consulting firm focused on SME strategy and international sales development; co-founder of DoggyDay, a Montreal-based service chain in the pet industry; and co-founder of LetsShare, developers of a software app targeting early-age education centres.   Philippe lived over 25 years abroad, including in the United States, Spain, France, Germany, Brazil and the Ivory Coast, and dedicated most of his early career to implementing and managing the international operations of technology companies.


Alexandra Bissinger, BASc ’09, MEng ’13

Team Leader of Programs, Defence Construction Canada

During her time at uOttawa, Alex Bissinger was actively involved with Engineers Without Borders and volunteered for many Faculty of Engineering events. Ms. Bissinger is a Team Leader with Defence Construction Canada, on rotation between Chilliwack and Comox. On the weekends, you can find her hiking, biking or surfing in Tofino!


Habiba Chakir, PhD Medicine '03

Senior evaluator for bio-therapeutic drugs and gene therapy products at Health Canada

At Health Canada, Dr. Chakir is responsible for the in-depth evaluation of the scientific information that biopharmaceutical companies provide when  marketing their therapeutic products in Canada. She has extensive experience with non-profit organizations, such as the Ottawa Diplomatic Association (ODA) and  Mercy Ships. Fluent in French, English and Arabic, Dr. Chakir has travelled and lived in different countries but now calls Ottawa home.


Claudette Commanda, LLB '97

Claudette Commanda is an Algonquin from KITIGAN ZIBI ANISHINABEG First Nation located in the province of Quebec.  Claudette is an alumni of the University of Ottawa Faculty of Common Law and Faculty of Arts. 

She has dedicated the last 30 years promoting First Nations people, history, culture, language, traditional knowledge and rights in various capacities:  University of Ottawa student, professor, member and chair of the aboriginal education council; and in the public forum via speaking engagements.  She was most recently appointed as the first “Elder in Residence” for the Faculty of Law, University of Ottawa; and to the University of Ottawa Board of Governors.  


Valérie Gervais, BA '08

Valérie Gervais is a communications and public affairs consultant with over 14 years of experience with government, political, health care and non-profit organizations. Her areas of expertise include corporate communications, media relations and issues management. In March 2017, she started ValGervais Communications, to work with organizations and individuals committed to making a difference in the world. Prior to that, Valérie served as press secretary to the minister of justice and attorney-general of Canada and as senior communications adviser for the House of Commons. She holds a bachelor’s in journalism from the University of Ottawa as well as a broadcast journalism diploma from La Cité.


John Gitas, BSc ’00, BA ’01

Managing Director, Life Sciences Advisory Services, KPMG LLP, New York, NY

Since joining KPMG in 2011, John has concentrated his efforts in the areas of sales and marketing compliance, contract compliance, health care compliance, risk assessments for clinical/medical and sales/marketing departments, and investigations and litigation support.  Prior to joining KPMG, John spent over a decade with a global contract research organization where he provided leadership in the delivery of global clinical development services and was involved in drug development from Phase I through Phase IV clinical trials.


Elias Hage, BCom ’07

Entrepreneur

Elias Hage is the founder and CEO of App8 Inc. and a proud University of Ottawa alumnus who received a BCom with a specialization in accounting from the Telfer School of Management. Since graduation, he has received his CPA-CA, CISA and PMP professional designations. He spent over ten years providing assurance and consulting services in business transformation, process improvement and risk, before embarking on the entrepreneurial route. Elias is fond of the Ottawa community and keeps in touch through volunteer activities. He has served on the local leadership council for Autism Ontario, been a guest lecturer at the University of Ottawa and volunteered for various local charitable organization.


Hugo R. Martin, LLL '96

Hugo R. Martin holds a certificate in law and a licentiate in law from the University of Ottawa. After becoming a member of the Quebec Bar, he started his practice. He has worked as a lawyer for over 20 years, currently with his own firm, martin.legal.  In addition to his practice in commercial litigation, he has also made the most of his uOttawa education through business activities in areas as varied as the food industry and media. His membership on the board of the University of Ottawa Alumni Association (governance committee) and the Montreal regional alumni council allows him to give back to his alma mater. Hugo R. Martin encourages other alumni to get involved in association activities as he has.


Rajinder Narula, BASc ’80

Entrepreneur

Rajinder Narula is the founder and CEO of InCa Synergies. For over ten years, he has focused on accelerating Canadian Technology Solutions entry into the Indian market and spends half his time in that region. Mr.Narula has helped launch numerous start-ups and altogether, has secured over $40 million in early and mid-stage funding for his start-up, TenXc Wireless and others. He has also organized mergers and acquisitions between Canadian and Indian firms. Mr.Narula is also the co-founder and a charter member of the Ottawa chapter of TiE (the Indus Entrepreneur), a global organization focused on fostering entrepreneurship through mentoring, networking and education. He is also co-founder of the Maharaja’s Ball, an Ottawa-based charity.


Jaime Seidner, BSocSc ’94

Partner, PwC Canada - Tax Services, Customs and International Trade

Jaime Seidner has over 25 years of experience in a range of positions within government, a "Big 4" accounting firm, consulting and law firm, and in indirect tax, customs and export controls positions. He specializes in customs and export controls compliance planning and duty-saving strategies. He regularly advises on the customs impact of matters concerning accounting, transfer pricing and taxation. Mr. Seidner also consults extensively on Canadian non-resident importer issues, customs appeals, customs audits, seizures and ascertained forfeitures, voluntary disclosures/entry corrections, import admissibility, U.S. customs issues and matters concerning excise. In addition to his vast experience in Canada, Mr. Seidner has worked on a wide range of customs projects in the United States, Mexico, Latin America, Europe, Australia and Asia.


Carole Theauvette, BSocSc ’79, MA ’83

As a senior public sector executive for over 25 years, Carole has acquired a wealth of experience, including positions in a Crown corporation, provincial government, a national association and a variety of federal departments and agencies. At the international level, she has represented Canada in multilateral organizations, namely with the United Nations’ World Food Program, and has also led humanitarian and commercial missions to numerous countries in Africa, Latin America and Asia, and participated in various summits (G7, la Francophonie and the Commonwealth). Ms. Theauvette is currently an executive coach with the Public Service Commission and has undertaken some consultancy work. She continues to actively volunteer for various organizations.


Shaunt Tokmakjian, JD ’14

Shaunt Tokmakjian is a proud young alumni of the University of Ottawa, who currently works in downtown Toronto at TELUS Business Solutions as the Contracts Manager for National Wireless Contracts. In this role, he is responsible for providing legal and business advice on contract risk. He also develops custom forms of agreement for business, enterprise and government clients, negotiates with internal and external stakeholders, and ensures compliance with corporate and legal policies. During his time as a student, Shaunt Tokmakjian co-founded the Strokes for Stroke Charity Golf Tournament and the Business Law Clinic at the Faculty of Law.


Sharon Wong, BSc ’92, MIR ’96

Consultant

Sharon has over 25 years of marketing experience in consumer and technology industries, ranging from start-ups (including VeriFone acquired by HP, Portal acquired by Oracle, and VeriSign acquired by Symantec) to major corporations, such as  IBM, Procter & Gamble, Thomson Reuters, and Intuit. Currently, she is a marketing consultant for LinkedIn. Sharon is the American founder of The Shoebox Project for Women's Shelters, and volunteers at OneWorldTraining for non-profits, the uOttawa Regional Council, and as a mentor for women in business and STEM. An Ottawa native, Sharon currently resides in the San Francisco/Bay Area.

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