Event Image Details - multi_panelists
Monday, February 27, 2023
12:00 PM
 - 1:00 PM
Online only.

Employee Ownership Trusts

Christine Cooper (BMO), Tim Masson (Raise Recruiting), Cindy Turcot (Gardener’s Supply Company) & Chad Friesen (Friesens Corporation) moderated by Matthew Mendelsohn (Boston Consulting Group).
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Canada is undergoing the largest wave of business owner retirements in its history, with over $2 trillion in business assets projected to be sold over the next decade.

The federal government is considering a way to seize on a golden opportunity to build economic resilience throughout this transition by adopting one of the most popular business succession tools available in the U.S. and U.K.: Employee Ownership Trusts.

​Join Canadian Club Toronto on February 27 for a timely discussion with forward-thinking executives on the international experience of Employee Ownership Trusts and how government and the private sector can work together to build better economic outcomes for workers and communities. This panel will be moderated by Matthew Mendelsohn (Senior Advisor, Boston Consulting Group) and will feature:

  • Christine Cooper – Executive Vice President and Head, BMO Commercial Bank, Canada
  • Chad Friesen – CEO, Friesens Corporation
  • Tim Masson – Chief Steward & CEO, Raise Recruiting
  • Cindy Turcot – CEO & President, Gardener’s Supply Company


*The link for the livestream will be provided closer to the event date*


Christine Cooper 

Executive Vice President & Head, BMO Commercial Bank

Christine Cooper is responsible for the strategic growth and leadership of BMO Commercial Bank, Canada – a dedicated team of over 2,000 people committed to growth through best-in-class relationship management while sustaining top-tier customer loyalty. This team provides mid-market and upper mid-market companies with a single point of access to financial options with an integrated suite of commercial debt products, M&A advisory, mezzanine finance & equity, treasury & payment solutions, and deposit products and services.

With over 30 years of experience in finance, Christine has a proven record of success in the retail, commercial, and corporate areas. Christine joined BMO in 2006 and has held executive positions across Canada including: District Vice-President – New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island; Personal & Commercial Banking, Regional Vice-President, Corporate Finance Division – British Columbia and Senior Vice President, Corporate Finance Division.

Christine is a founder and executive sponsor of BMO Mosaic, an enterprise-wide resource group dedicated to including, connecting, developing, and supporting employees who are visible minorities in Canada.   Christine serves as a Board Member for The Fraser Institute, a member of the Board of Governors, Canadian Charter for Business of the Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award and is a patron emerita for World Vision Canada (past Board Member and Chair of the Audit Committee). She is also involved in various community volunteer work.

Christine holds a BA, an MBA and is a Fellow of the Institute of Canadian Bankers. Christine was previously named by WXN as one of Canada’s Top 100 Most Powerful Women.

Tim Masson

Chief Steward & CEO, Raise Recruiting

A self-professed tech-nerd and Great Lakes surfer, Tim is the Chief Steward & CEO of Raise Recruiting (formerly Ian Martin Group).

Raise’s purpose is to “connect people in meaningful work” so that more people who love their jobs are changing the world for the better. The company, a Certified B Corp, has grown three-fold during Tim’s time as CEO, ranked #2 on Canada’s Best Workplaces, and is a leading designer/adopter of a self-management operating model.

Through this work, Tim has developed a passion for helping 20th century companies navigate the change required to move into the 21st century of disruptive innovation, stakeholder returns, and self-management.

Cindy Turcot

CEO & President, Gardener’s Supply Company

Cindy Turcot is CEO and President of Gardener’s Supply Company (GSC) headquartered in Burlington, Vermont.  GSC is the leading online retailer and cataloger of gardening products and has four retail garden centers.  GSC started its ESOP in 1987 and became 100% ESOP owned in 2009.  Cindy has been with GSC since its inception and has had many roles including CFO and COO.  She has played a key role in creating the company’s unique and innovative management style that reinforces the emphasis on a triple bottom line – people, profit and planet.  GSC is a B Corporation and a For Benefit Corporation.  Cindy was a key player in the transition from the founder to the ESOP and is a driving force for a strong employee ownership culture. Nationally, she is a sought after speaker on ownership culture, open book/participatory management and trustee/board practices.

Cindy is currently Chair of the Employee Ownership Foundation, past Chair of the national ESOP Association and past President of the New England Chapter of the ESOP Association.  In addition, she was the founding Chair of the Vermont Employee Ownership Center (VEOC) and is currently the Treasurer.  Cindy also serves on the Board of Directors of three ESOP owned companies.


Chad Friesen

CEO, Friesens Corporation

Chad Friesen is the CEO of Friesens Corporation, an employee-owned company that helps others share their best story with the world. They serve the trade book, yearbook, packaging, and self-publishing markets. The company has been in business for 116 years and the 650 employee-owners are mostly located near Altona, MB (pop. 4,600) with another 100 remote staff working across Canada and the United States. Friesens produces over 30 million books each year destined for readers across North America.

While he shares the namesake, Chad is not related to the original Friesen family. He started his career with Friesens Corp. in 1993 and in many ways is himself a product of the company having worked on press, binding lines, service, project management, marketing, sales management, and general management. In total he has been with Friesens for 23 years along with a 5-year career as Vice President of Red River Mutual.

Chad holds an ICD accreditation through Rotman, a Certificate in Management from U of Winnipeg, a Business Diploma from Robertson College, and a Graphic Arts Diploma from Red River Community College. He sits on the Board of Red River Mutual and the Manitoba Business Council and was a founding director of SEED in the RPGA (a regional economic development organization).

Chad and his wife Gina live on an acreage outside of Altona, MB. His passions include travel and community service. He is also in the process of restoring a 1946 ford pickup and recently purchased a CNC machine with the goal of stretching the technical side of his brain. Other interests include woodworking and spending time at the family cottage.

Matthew Mendelsohn

Senior Advisor, Boston Consulting Group

Matthew Mendelsohn is a strategic advisor, public policy entrepreneur, board director and public sector executive. He works at the intersection of strategy, policy, implementation and impact. He is currently a Visiting Professor at Toronto Metropolitan University and a Senior Advisor to BCG’s Global Public Sector Practice.

He has served as a Deputy Minister in the federal and Ontario governments, and was the founding Director of the Mowat Centre at the University of Toronto, a public policy think tank. Previously, he was a tenured professor in the Department of Political Studies at Queen’s University and has been a board member for organizations that build community well-being, healthy democracy, and economic and social inclusion.

He spends his time working on democratic resilience, community economic development, governance, institution-building, social impact — and playing any sport that his body can handle. He lives in Toronto with his wife, children, and schnoodle.