18th Annual Top 50 CEO Awards

18th Annual Top 50 CEO Awards

Roger Howard
Regional President, RBC, Atlantic Canada
(Halifax, N.S.)

“My goal for the next five years is simple: continue to win”

Banking on Success Roger Howard oversees the sales and market management of RBC’s business in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland and Labrador. This includes setting the direction, developing strategy and managing overall performance and delivery of RBC’s products and services to more than 800,000 personal and business clients in the Atlantic Provinces. He’s happy to do it. After all, under his direction since 2014, RBC’s East Coast revenues have grown by 9.5 per cent over the past three years. Customer satisfaction is also up by as much as 15 per cent.

Innovation is Profitable Technology, Howard notes, is disrupting many businesses and none more than those in the financial services industry. The key to remaining relevant, he says, lies in innovation. As a result, RBC Atlantic has deployed teams dedicated to ensuring that it is at the forefront of payment innovation in the Canadian marketplace and is consistently coming out with new products and services.

Keeping it Honest Howard is categorical about the leadership standards of his craft: “In the banking industry, leaders have access to and a certain level of influence or impact over their clients’ finances. Therefore, conducting yourself ethically, with integrity is paramount. In fact, I believe that the way in which you achieve something is even more important than what you achieve.”


Terry Hussey
CEO, Vigilant Management
(Paradise, N.L.)

“Focus on helping people become better versions of themselves”

Constructing Better Solutions Terry Hussey’s business passion is vigilant – literally. The name of his firm says all that needs to be said about him. The firm he co-launched in 2012 is a construction project firm dedicated to eliminating inefficiency in the bricks-and-mortar trade. As he says, traditional approaches to project delivery expose owners to cost and schedule overruns. These risks are directly addressed by using an Owner’s Project Management firm (such as Vigilant), which delivers jobs on time and on budget. He may be right. Although his company posts annual revenues under $5 million, the annualized growth rate over the past three years has been 234 per cent. That’s with a mere 13 employees in 2015.

Owner is Owner Hussey explains his business approach simply: “The construction industry has been doing business the same way since its inception. The Vigilant model changes everything by giving the owner direct, independent management, giving them more control over their project, by adding an extra level of expertise.”

Erecting the Foundation The future, for Hussey, has to do with opportunities. Over the next five years, he hopes to grow his company by 20 per cent annually, establish new offices, obtain partnerships with “key client groups” and, generally reinvent the way construction management is conducted in Newfoundland and Labrador. No task is too small, after all, in the construction trade.


Jessie Inman
CEO, Confederation Centre of the Arts
(Charlottetown, P.E.I.)

“Tenacity and patience make a winning combination; nothing is impossible”

Culture Becomes Her Jessie Inman takes her responsibility as the head of the venerable Charlottetown Centre of the Arts with all the seriousness of a professional stage actor: The show must go on. Under her direction, the Centre raised $7 million in capital funds in 2012-13, and another $5 million in 2013-14 and 2015-16 for a multi-year renovation to its 1,100-seat theatre. She was also instrumental in helping raise more than $2 million for the Centre’s Foundation in 2014 and 2016. Over the past year, she has worked to make progress toward several strategic goals, including cultivating relationships across Canada with other leading arts organizations.

Staging Innovation Principles Inman is almost finished overseeing a major renovation of the Centre’s main theatre. In the process, she says, “we found innovative solutions to consolidate funding sources and institute state-of-the-art enhancements. We were successful in securing multi-year funding from federal and provincial governments requiring innovative cooperation on all levels.”

Leading Behind Footlights For Inman, organizational leadership is both inclusive and democratic. It has to be, as she spends much of her time reminding major government funding bodies about the importance of arts and culture to the broader economy and society. “I am very goal oriented,” she says. “In keeping with my leadership style to stay on task, we can claim many solid achievements.”


Guido Kerpel
VP Operations, New Castle Hotels and Resorts
(Halifax, N.S.)

“Loyalty is the one value that has trumped any other throughout my career”

Hospitality as Bedrock Guido Kerpel is clear about what motivates him as the Atlantic regional honcho (since 2006) of one of the major hotel chains in Canada and the United States: He “enjoys both the interaction with his team and customers.” For more than 26 years, New Castle Hotels and Resorts has operated upscale properties in North America. Under his executive direction, Kerpel sets the long-term strategy for the Canadian and Northern U.S. operations, a portfolio that includes such assets as the Westin Nova Scotian, the Hampton Dartmouth, Residence Inn Moncton and the Algonquin Resort in St. Andrews, N.B. The three-year revenue growth rate since 2013 has hovered between five and nine per cent.

Leader as Concierge Leadership for Kerpel is about daily, weekly, monthly goal setting: “My style is managing outcomes. I give my team rope to work with and give people room to move. We monitor progress on a (regular) basis and provide feedback or adjust the goals, if needed.”

Room for Growth The five-year future for New Castle in this part of the world is all about expansion. The challenge will be to stay creative, especially when addressing emerging hospitality options, such as Air B&B and Expedia.com. Capitalizing on the relationships Kerpel has built with his customers will define the room for corporate growth.


Roger King
President, Supplement King Canada
(Dartmouth, N.S.)

“I need my decision makers to embrace the philosophy of thinking into the future”

Building Business Muscle Roger King’s Supplement King is a national franchisor of sport-nutrition supplement retail stores that serves a specialty market within the larger nutritional health supplements market. Since 2006, the owner-operator has grown his company to the point where he now currently licenses, supplies and supports 14 franchisees, and oversees 22 franchises in six provinces. Currently posting revenues of more than $20 million a year, the company’s three-year revenue growth rate now approaches 40 per cent. As King says, “We have become a sport-nutrition supplement store poised to service 80 per cent of the Canadian market: 18 to 45 year-old men and women who want to perform at their best.”

Training for InnovationKing is now sourcing a Canadian production facility as his main supplier. This will, he says, reduce supply chain risks; decrease the cost of goods sold; ensure new revenue streams from a new distribution business; and strengthen both supplier and franchisee confidence and relations.

Leading from Strength King says “positivity” gets results. His leadership principle is straightforward: “I built this company by believing in my vision, my abilities and by staying positive that success would come. And it did. I surround myself with can-do people who can spot potential and champion its implementation. This shared mindset fosters success and a healthy work environment. Honesty, transparency pays.”

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