The Institute

Board of Trustees

Chair – Stephen MacEachern, CFP, CLU, CH.F.C., CHS – Halifax, NS

Stephen MacEachernStephen has owned and operated Stephen MacEachern Insurance & Financial Services since 1997. His earlier 10 year career in the hospitality industry was an ideal foundation for his work as a financial planner and chartered financial consultant. Attention to detail, compassion, empathy, and a conservative behavior in complex situations are hallmarks of his current popularity with clients in the practice. He is capably supported by a team of administration, technical and underwriting specialists, from various insurers, whose teamwork and follow-through are setting new standards of service excellence in building lifetime relationships with the expanding client base.

Stephen is a past treasurer and Past President of Advocis Nova Scotia and served on the local board for over ten years before joining the Institute Board. He received his CLU in 2004 and was the Dunstall Medal winner for Nova Scotia attaining the highest provincial mark. In 2005 Stephen entered the EMBA program at St. Mary's University and completed his Masters Degree in 2007.

Stephen is also a Past President of the Armdale Kiwanis Club, and is currently treasurer of the Metro Executive Group and the Spryfield Lions Rink Society.

Past Chair – Jennifer Tweddle, CFP, CLU, CHS, TEP – Edmonton, AB

Jennifer TweddleJennifer's specialty is working with and developing insurance advisors to best serve their clients. She has sound knowledge of tax policy, and is skilled in business succession principles, and best practices for estate and financial planning. She is known for capturing an intimate understanding of the client's big-picture needs and using that understanding to provide context for key, relevant facts and thereby crafting solutions which are tailored, effective and manageable.

Beginning in individual insurance sales, Jennifer's career has included senior marketing roles with PPI Financial Group and Manulife Financial. She joined CIBC working with high net worth clients preparing complex estate and financial plans. Returning to her roots, Jennifer joined ivari in 2016 to coach insurance advisors and help them build their practices.

Born and raised in Alberta, Jennifer spent her under-graduate years at the University of Prince Edward Island. After a career of moves across the country, she now lives in Calgary.

Jennifer's industry involvement includes: The Institute (CLU) since 2005, Advocis (TFACC Board and Edmonton chapter) and the Planned Giving Board of the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT). She remains a long standing member of Advocis, Financial Planners Standard Council (FPSC), and the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP).

Vice Chair – Ejaz Nadeem, MA, CFP, CLU – Hamilton, ON

Ejaz NadeemEjaz Nadeem is Managing Director of Wealth Management at FirstOntario Credit Union in Hamilton, Ontario. With over 24 years experience in the Wealth Management Industry, Ejaz has a passion for helping individuals realize their dreams of financial success and independence. He specializes in developing successful sales people, leading sales teams to outperform, managing distribution channels and developing strategic relationships.

Ejaz entered the financial services industry in 1990 through London Life's University Training Program in Edmonton, Alberta. In 1993, he joined Prudential of America as a Sales Manager in the Edmonton office. He also served on the board of directors of Edmonton Life Underwriters Association from 1991-1994 where he was the Editor of ELUA magazine.

In 1995, Ejaz moved to Saskatchewan to help credit unions establish their wealth management distribution system, including life insurance, mutual funds and securities, through Credential Financial Inc., a credit union system owned wealth management dealer. Ejaz' success in Saskatchewan resulted in his appointment and move to Ontario in 2001 as Regional Vice President, Sales and Distribution for Ontario and Eastern Canada. He left Credential in 2009 to join FirstOntario Credit Union as Managing Director of Wealth Management.

Ejaz is an Advocis member since 1990. He currently serves on the boards of directors of GAMA International Canada, Advocis Greater Hamilton Chapter and Canadian Association of Gift Planners (CAGP) Golden Horseshoe. Ejaz is also a member of Hamilton-Burlington United Way Campaign Cabinet.

Besides a Masters degree in Economics from University of Alberta, Ejaz has completed Levels I and II of the CFA program, and holds CFP and CLU designations. Ejaz lives in Ancaster, Ontario with his wife and three children.

Secretary – John W. Hamilton, CLU, FEA, CPCA – Toronto, ON

John HamiltonJohn is responsible for managing the existing agency Business, including the insurance support distribution team (Estate Planning Specialists) that supports Canadian Wealth Management's client facing professionals. His team works closely with the Wealth Management Services Business in providing Wealth Preservation and Wealth Transformation solutions using tax effective Life Insurance products.

Prior to joining RBC Wealth Management Financial Services Inc. in October 2002, John held various business development, distribution and operational roles at RBC Insurance and its' legal entity subsidiaries from 1996-2002.

Prior to joining RBC Insurance, John held various sales, relationship management and operations roles at Royal Trust. He began his financial services career in 1980 when he joined London Life Insurance Company.

John has bachelor's degrees from the University of Western Ontario and Laurentian University and has also completed the executive program at the University of Western Ontario Ivey Business School. He also has a Chartered Life Underwriter designation, passed the Canadian Securities Course in 1987 and achieved the Certified Senior Advisor (subsequently renamed Certified Professional Consultant on Aging) designation in 2005. He is a 2011 graduate of the Family Business Centre at the UBC Sauder School of Business, and was recently awarded the Family Enterprise Advisor (FEA) designation.

Treasurer – Maria Carrick, CLU, CHS, CPCA – Vancouver, BC

Maria CarrickMaria has been in the financial services industry since 1991. She started her career with a major insurer learning all the administrative functions of the company while developing her education through LOMA courses. Her organizational and marketing skills are now applied at one of Canada's leading national insurance marketing organizations. Maria is currently Sales Director for BC at PPI Solutions.

Maria works closely with advisors to identify and help them achieve their strategic goals. She is a strong supporter of ongoing professional development and mentoring new advisors. Her industry experience is complemented by a strong academic background and supported by CLU, CHS and CPCA designations.

Over the years, Maria has volunteered for various Advocis initiatives in Vancouver. Together with Advisor Group, she was instrumental in organizing “Investing in You”, a women financial advisors conference in Vancouver in 2011 and 2012. She was appointed to the CLU Institute Education Committee in 2014. Maria is an active volunteer with the Vancouver Symphony and a supporter of SPCA and Habitat for Humanity.

Trustee – Sara La Gamba, CFP, CLU, CHS, TEP, EPC – Toronto, ON

Sara La Gamba Sara is President at King Financial and Benefits Inc. She became a financial advisor in 2009 after graduating from the University of Western Ontario with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science. Her passion for financial planning goes hand-in-hand with her strong desire to help her clients achieve their financial goals.

She joined the business 8 years ago with Freedom 55 Financial as a Financial Security Advisor. She became President of King Financial and Benefits Inc in 2012. Learning has been a life-long process for Sara and education continues to play an integral role in her professional journey and development. She also holds the CHS (2011), CFP (2014), CLU (2014), and TEP (2016) designations.

Sara is a proud and enthusiastic member of Advocis. It's a membership she holds with great pride since the time she joined the association in the early days of her career. During that time she began volunteering with The Institute of Advanced Financial Education and currently is the Ontario Central Quarterback as well as a member of a number of committees. She is very active in her local Advocis chapter, joining the board in 2012 and serving as Toronto Chapter President from 2015-2017.

Trustee – Izumi Miki McGruer, CFP, CLU, CH.F.C, CHS – Vancouver, BC

Izumi Miki McGruer After graduating from the University of British Columbia in 1990 with a BA English Literature and subsequently successfully establishing her financial advisory practice in Vancouver with London Life, Izumi entered the London Life Management Program. Izumi's current Managing Director responsibilities are aligned with the Vancouver Georgia and Vancouver Island Financial Centers of Freedom 55 Financial. Izumi is a past president of the Advocis Greater Vancouver Chapter, a past director on the National Advocis-The Financial Advisors Association of Canada board and is past Chair of the National Advocis Chapter Leadership Council. On the Institute for Advanced Financial Education, Izumi currently serves on the Ethics and Practices committee. Locally, Izumi is co-Chair of the Advocis Estate Planning Conference 2017and is a working member of the Strategies for Success Conference committee. Further to her professional association involvement, Izumi has been a volunteer mentor with the BCIT Financial Planning Program since 2000. She is also on the Forum Editorial Advisory Board for Advocis. Further to her industry volunteer involvement, Izumi is a voting member of the Insurance Council of British Columbia, she serves as a director on the Vancouver Kiwanis Music Festival Society, she is a University of British Columbia Arts Mentor Program mentor and was a nominee in 2013 for the YWCA Women of Distinction award. Izumi believes strongly that "privilege comes with responsibility" and that our role as financial advisors puts us in the uniquely privileged position of having the opportunity to make a significant difference in the lives of others. Therefore, her volunteer involvement with Advocis and the other organizations she remains committed to represents an opportunity for her to participate and contribute to the responsible stewardship of our industry as well as the community she lives in on behalf of the clients and advisors she serves.

Trustee – Brent van Ryzewyk, CFP,CLU,CH.F.C.,CHS – Mississauga, ON

Izumi Miki McGruer Brent is seasoned financial services veteran with over 34 years of professional advisory, practice, and agency management experience. His advisory team is specialized in advanced estate and tax planning techniques, family and business succession, sponsored and association benefit plan design and administration, as well as retirement income and asset protection strategies.

Brent has held executive leadership roles, as well as senior regional field management positions representing national public insurance corporations, investment banking institutions, as well as privately held financial advisory services corporations.

In addition to his professional designations, he has been a career long member of Advocis, since 1984, CALU, The Conference for Advanced Life Underwriting and The Institute for Advanced Financial Education, The Financial Planners Standards Council, and The Million Dollar Round Table and The Canadian Institute of Certified Executor Advisors.

Brent is continuing to serve as a general Board Member, and was previously the Past President of the Board of Directors for the Advocis Peel/Halton Chapter in 2009-2010. Additionally, he is has served as a member of the national Chapter Leadership Council for Advocis, with responsibilities for the Central Ontario region as well as the CLC Liaison to The Institute and as Chair of the Finance committee. Brent continues to serve as a Board member of the Estate Planning of Mississauga since 2008 where he recently completed his second two year term as President.