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Join Canadian Club Toronto on April 30 to hear from Paul Desmarais III, Chairman & CEO of Sagard. Mr. Desmarais III brings with him a wealth of knowledge and experience to build a better business world as he leads the firm’s activities spanning North America, Europe and the Middle East, with assets under management of over $25B . His vision is to partner with entrepreneurs to catalyze transformation in Sagard’s investments and communities. Mr. Desmarais III will be joined in conversation by Tanya van Biesen, CEO of Women in Capital Markets. They will delve into an insightful discussion, exploring the dynamic landscape of Canadian business, leadership, and beyond.

*For virtual attendees, please note that the live stream will begin at approximately 12:40 pm ET & the link will be provided closer to the event date*


Paul Desmarais III 

Chairman and CEO of Sagard

Paul Desmarais III is the Chairman and CEO of Sagard, an alternative asset management firm active in equity, credit and real estate.

Paul has led Sagard since 2016, along with a handful of close partners bound by a common vision: partnering with entrepreneurs to catalyze transformation in our investments and communities. Sagard has experienced outstanding growth in eight years, with assets under management increasing to over $25B.

Under Paul, Sagard has built a global network of expertise that helps companies lead, embrace, and stay ahead of disruptive trends, expanding activity in North America, Europe and the Middle East. The team is behind some of the largest technology success stories in Canada such as Wealthsimple, Koho, Nesto, and Dialogue. Sagard is also behind incredible international entrepreneurial journeys such as the growth of Ceva Sante Animale, the creation of Kiloutou as a French equipment rental champion, and the creation of Alan in the insurance space in France.

Paul engages actively in growing Sagard companies. Within the Sagard ecosystem, Paul is the Executive Chairman and Co-Founder of Portage (fintech & financial services investing) and the Chairman and Co-Founder of Diagram (venture builder). Within the investment portfolios, he is the Chairman of Wealthsimple, Novisto, and Grayhawk, and a director of Nesto and Midas. Paul also sits on the board of Empower, the number two 401(k) business in the U.S.

Paul is dedicated to helping build a better business world. He is Co-Founder of the Black Wealth Club and the Indigenous Leadership Circle, where emerging Black and Indigenous leaders learn about creating wealth and networks giving them tools and resources that can be reinvested in their communities. Under Paul’s leadership, Sagard has committed to a more sustainable financial system by becoming a signatory of the United Nations Principles for Responsible Investment, enlisting as a CREO participant, and embarking on its journey to carbon neutrality. Paul was also co-chair of the Centraide (United Way) campaign in 2022 and will chair the large donors campaign for the same organization in 2024-2027.

Paul recently received the Arnold Edinborough Award for his work chairing the fundraising campaign for the Kenojuak Culture Center. He was formerly a board member of the Rideau Hall Foundation, Alpine Canada, and the Glenbow Museum. Paul also co-founded Young Canadians in Finance and co-chaired the True Patriot Love Expedition to the magnetic North Pole.

Prior to his current role, Paul worked at Goldman Sachs in the Investment Banking Division, Investment Strategy Group and Special Situations Group, Imerys S.A. in supply chain management and strategy and Great-West Lifeco Inc. in risk management. He has earned a B.A. in Economics from Harvard College and holds an MBA from INSEAD. Paul resides in Montreal with his wife and four children.


Tanya van Biesen

President & CEO of WCM

Prior to joining WCM, Tanya led the Canadian Board & CEO Practice for a global human capital firm where she focused on advising corporate clients on their most important leadership decisions.

Previously, Tanya led member engagement and operations at Catalyst, a global non-profit, focused on the advancement of women and other underrepresented groups in the workplace. In this role she was responsible for 35 team members working with over 500 companies around the world to build gender-inclusive workplaces. She was also accountable for leading and operationalizing partnerships in Latin America, the Middle East, and AsiaPac.

A passionate advocate for gender equality as a driver of economic growth and progress, Tanya is a sought-after speaker, thought leader, and architect of change. She has contributed to several research studies analyzing leadership trends and is a frequent contributor to news media on issues related to women’s advancement, leadership, and workplace equality.

Tanya is an active member of the community. She is a Member of the Culture External Advisory Committee at OSFI, Chair of the Executive Sleep-Out at Covenant House Toronto, a Member of the Advisory Board at the Smith School of Business at Queen’s University, and a Board Member of the Canadian Club of Toronto.

Tanya holds a Master of Business Administration in Management from the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management as well as a Bachelor of Commerce from the Smith School of Business at Queen’s University.