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

Elizabeth Rody, BA ’83

Chief of Protocol, Parliament of Canada

In 2004, Elizabeth Rody was named Chief of Protocol within the International and Interparliamentary Affairs Directorate at the Parliament of Canada. In this position, Ms. Rody is responsible for the success of official visits by heads of State, heads of governments, foreign ministers, speakers and all state ceremonies, national events and parliamentary conferences held in partnership with Canada’s Parliament.

Rajinder Narula, BASc ’80


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.

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.

Philippe Beaulieu, BSocSc ’91, MBA


Philippe Beaulieu is the co-founder of LetsShare, a new educational company, and is a partner in Avistra International, a consulting firm. Although he was born in Montreal, he has lived 26 years abroad and has implemented and managed the American and international operations of Canadian technology firms ranging from start-ups to companies with annual budgets exceeding $400 million. Mr. Beaulieu has several years’ experience in B2B e-commerce, and has worked with major government organizations and companies to negotiate business contracts with strategic and distribution partners in every corner of the globe.

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!

John Gitas, BSc ’00, BA ’01

Director, Healthcare and Life Sciences Advisory Services, KPMG LLP, New York, NY

John Gitas has over 14 years’ experience in advising health care and life sciences organizations. His management consulting experience is in project management, regulatory compliance, contract compliance, promotional and non-promotional activity reviews and future state process design. Mr. Gitas also has assisted clients in preventing, detecting and responding to incidences of domestic and international fraud and misconduct issues, which has led to him assisting clients in enhancing their compliance programs and controls to mitigate bribery, corruption and general fraud risks.

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.

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.

Elias Hage, BCom ’07

Manager, Advisory Services, Ernst & Young

Elias Hage is a proud alumnus of the University of Ottawa who obtained his BCom, with a specialization in accounting, from the Telfer School of Management. Since his graduation, he has also obtained the CPA – CA, CISA and PMP professional designations. He provides advisory and assurance services to clients in both the public and private sectors, with a focus on business transformation and performance improvement. Mr. Hage 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, volunteered for local charitable organizations, including United Way and the Ottawa Food Bank, and contributed to leadership seminars across the city.

Emma Bédard, BA '11

First enrolled in biosciences, Bédard discovered a passion for communications through a haphazard elective course choice. Then, the University of Ottawa’s CO-OP program opened doors to positions within the federal government, at the National Research Council and at Aboriginal Affairs (now Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada), among others. In 2013, she joined the CBC where she continues to hone the style, sharpness, clarity and emotions of her rhetoric to affect other people with her words. Now, in Toronto, she plays a leadership role in issues management, audience relations and employee communications at the public broadcaster. When she’s not at work, you’ll likely find Bédard in the water, in a campervan or lost in the woods.

Fares El Sabbagh, BCom '07

Fares Elsabbagh is a business development professional with many successful ventures in his portfolio, including expanding North America’s largest student travel company into Western Canada and expanding a design-build firm into Ottawa and Vancouver. Elsabbagh is an internationally recognized entrepreneur. He made the National Kitchen and Bath Association’s (NKBA) top 30 under 30 list in 2013, chosen from a list of applicants across the United States and Canada. As one of the founders of Canadian General Contractors Group, Fares Elsabbagh is a very dedicated and passionate person who leads a team of young, energetic individuals in the fast-paced and high-pressure design-build industry. He has grown the company to include nearly 100 employees and contractors. The company now has an annual revenue of $15,000,000.

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