Emerging Leaders Program Fall 2023 Speakers

Rita Achrekar headshot

Rita Achrekar

Executive in Residence

Rita Achrekar is an accomplished financial services leader with nearly 30 years of experience in global capital markets, risk management, governance, and business transformation.

Ms. Achrekar held several senior executive positions at Scotiabank. As Senior Vice President – Compliance Transformation, she spearheaded an enterprise-wide program to modernize compliance risk management across four business lines and 30 countries.

As Senior Vice President – Corporate Credit, she was responsible for a USD 300 billion credit portfolio covering public and private companies and was involved in several M&A transactions globally. In the aftermath of the global financial crisis, she was appointed Senior Vice President – Trade Floor Risk Management, and executed a mandate to strengthen the governance and market risk oversight of Global Capital Markets businesses across North America, Latin America, Europe and Asia Pacific.

Prior to joining Scotiabank in 2000, she held senior treasury and trading roles with American Express Bank and ING Bank in Mumbai, India.

Ms. Achrekar has significant governance experience through her work with Scotiabank’s board and Scotiabank subsidiaries across 50 countries.

In 2015, Ms. Achrekar was appointed to the board of Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC) and served on the Finance, Audit and Risk Committee. In 2018, she was appointed to the board of Canadian Investor Protection Fund (CIPF) where she serves on the Industry Risk Committee and the Governance, Nominating & HR Committee. Ms. Achrekar was a board director of Scotia Commodities Inc.

Ms. Achrekar is a passionate advocate for diversity & inclusion and for over 15 years has contributed to related committees at Scotiabank. Her community involvement includes United Way, Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council, Shaughnessy School Association and serving as an adjunct professor at a business school.

Ms. Achrekar holds Bachelor of Technology (Electrical Engineering) from Indian Institute of Technology, Mumbai; MBA (Finance) from Jamnalal Bajaj Institute, Mumbai University and Advanced Management Program (AMP) from Wharton Business School. She was awarded the Financial Risk Manager (FRM) designation by the Global Association of Risk Professionals.

Antoine Avril

Executive Vice-President and Chief Risk Officer, Desjardins Group

Antoine Avril serves as Executive Vice-President and Chief Risk Officer for Desjardins Group. He was appointed Executive Vice-President and Chief Risk Officer and a member of the Executive Management Committee in March 2023. As the Chief Risk Officer for the Group, Mr. Avril is responsible for group-wide integrated risk management, including strategic, operational and financial risks (credit, market, insurance).

Antoine Avril joined Desjardins in 2010 and held leadership positions in both the business lines and risk management.  Notably, he was Head of Loan Structuring and Syndications, Co-Head of Corporate Banking, Head of National Accounts and Real Estate Financing, and Chief Credit Officer. 

Prior to joining Desjardins, Antoine worked in Canada and Europe in a variety of capital markets and risk management roles within the banking industry.

Antoine holds a M.Sc. in Management and Regulation of Risk from the London School of Economics and Political Science and a MSG in Finance from Université Paris IX Dauphine. 

Sonia Baxendale, President and Chief Executive Officer, Global Risk Insititute

Sonia Baxendale

President and Chief Executive Officer

Sonia Baxendale is a highly respected executive who has more than 20 years’ experience in senior leadership roles in the financial services industry. Ms. Baxendale serves on the Board of Directors for a number of Canadian and international corporate and not-for-profit organizations. As the President and CEO of GRI, Ms. Baxendale leads the premier risk management organization for the financial services industry globally.

In this role, Ms. Baxendale brings together leaders from industry, academia and government to focus on emerging risk management issues. The global pandemic has brought to the forefront a confluence of domestic and global concerns – geopolitical tensions, climate change, systemic racism, social and economic disparities. Under Ms. Baxendale’s leadership, GRI has stepped up to develop strategic research and education. She has brought together experts from across the country and the globe to focus on long-term, sustainable solutions for Canada’s economic recovery.

In addition to her role with GRI, Ms. Baxendale is a Director on the Board of Laurentian Bank, Foresters Financial, RSA Group PLC, and The Bank of N.T. Butterfield & Son Limited. She is Chair of the Board of SickKids Foundation and a member of the Board of Trustees for the Hospital for Sick Children.

Prior to joining GRI, Ms. Baxendale was President of CIBC Retail Markets where she led Retail and Wealth Management businesses. Ms. Baxendale played a key role in developing strategy and direction for CIBC and held various leadership roles including Senior Executive Vice-President, CIBC Wealth Management, Executive Vice-President, Asset Management, Card Products and Collections, and Executive Vice-President of Global Private Banking and Investment Management Services. Prior to CIBC, Ms. Baxendale held various positions with American Express Canada and Saatchi & Saatchi.

Ms. Baxendale is a graduate of the University of Toronto, where she was named University of Toronto, Victoria College Alumni of Distinction in 2017. She was named one of the “Top 100 Most Powerful Women in Canada” for three years in a row and then joined the ranks of the Top 100 Hall of Fame in 2010. In 2000, she was recognized as one of Canada’s Top 40 Under 40.

Anthony Peccia

Executive in Residence

Anthony Peccia is a highly respected expert in the field of risk management and capital markets, with a distinguished career as a senior executive and educator. He has held key Managing Director positions at several leading global banks, including Citibank, CIBC, BMO, and RBC, where he was responsible for chairing the Risk Committees and the Cyber Risk Committees and for overseeing the management of credit, market, liquidity, operational, and pension fund risks. He has led the creation and management of new departments, including those focused on Market Risk, Operational Risk, the Option Hedging Group, Strategic Investment Group, and Treasury Strategy Group.

Mr. Peccia has held leadership roles in asset liability management, capital market financing, corporate insurance, structured derivatives, and securitization at several global banks, and as a consultant has provided expert consultation to major international banks in the development of risk management frameworks and strategies. He started his career as a US equity trader at a major asset management firm.

He developed the first industry operational risk measurement model and founded the Industry Working Group on Operational Risk, which included 15 of the largest global banks. The group provided consultation to the Basel Committee as it developed a regulatory approach to operational risk management, and most of its recommendations were incorporated into Basel II.

Mr. Peccia is also an accomplished educator, teaching advanced risk management and financial innovation MBA-level courses at leading universities and executive programs in Canada, the US, the UK, Italy, and China. He has published articles and chapters on risk management and is a frequent keynote speaker at major risk management and fintech conferences. He has also produced two conferences on Machine Learning Startups and Innovation in Financial Services.

He holds an MBA and MSC in Theoretical Physics


Michael Stramaglia headshot

Michael Stramaglia

Executive in Residence

Michael Stramaglia was appointed as the Global Risk Institute’s first Executive in Residence in January 2014. He is the President and Founder of Matrisc Advisory Group Inc. (a risk management consulting firm) and serves as Program Director for the SEEC Centre of Excellence in Governance, Risk Management and Control at the Schulich School of Business.

He is currently an independent corporate director for the Equitable Bank, the Economical Insurance Group, Foresters Financial and Munich Re Canada. He also serves as an independent member of the Province of Ontario Internal Audit Committee.

Mr. Stramaglia has over 30 years of professional and leadership experience, including over 10 years with Sun Life Financial (SLF) where he served as a member of the International Executive Team and led the development of one of the insurance industry’s leading ERM practices as Executive Vice-President and Chief Risk Officer for SLF’s global operations. He joined SLF in 2002 following its acquisition of Clarica, where Mr. Stramaglia held the position of Executive Vice-President and Chief Investment Officer and was also head of the International Reinsurance Business. Prior to joining Clarica, Mr. Stramaglia worked for over 13 years with the Canadian operations of the worldwide Zurich Financial Services Group, where he held a number of senior executive positions including Chief Actuary, CFO and President & CEO of the Zurich Life Insurance Company of Canada.

He has also provided interim senior executive services, and his mandates in this area have included serving as Co-Interim President & CEO of an international life insurance and asset management organization and an extended consulting assignment serving as the acting Chief Risk Officer for one of Canada’s largest credit unions.

Mr. Stramaglia is a Fellow of the Society of Actuaries, Fellow of the Canadian Institute of Actuaries and Chartered Enterprise Risk Analyst. He holds the ICD.D designation from the Institute of Corporate Directors and an Honours Bachelor of Mathematics Degree from the University of Waterloo.

Lois Tullo headshot

Lois Tullo

Executive in Residence

Lois Tullo has been an Executive in Residence since January 2017. She is a Canadian expert in the research and management of non-financial risk. She is CRO & CCO at Novera Capital Inc. Novera Capital is a Virtual Currency capital firm focusing in the area of providing liquidity to the market through synthetic derivatives. She has been teaching risk management and financial services at the Schulich School of Business for the past 22 years at the executive, MBA, and undergraduate level.

She is the author of “Back to the Future: 2007 to 2030”, “The Global Risks and Trends Framework” and “Risk Management – Canadian Best Practices, How did they get there?” Schulich has awarded her the John Peace Prize for outstanding contribution to teaching.

Ms. Tullo was previously CRO & CCO at Smart Contracts Capital Inc. and BlockMine Development Inc. SSC/BMD was developing a blockchain platform to issue Regulated Security Tokens (STO’s). She was CFO at CIBC Finance Inc, responsible for Finance, Treasury, HR and interim risk management. Director of HR, Finance and Business Process Redesign at Unitel Communications. She was a management consultant at Nolan, Norton Canada/KPMG where she consulted on the link between business strategy and information technology architecture. Ms. Tullo worked in Ethiopia with Food for the Hungry, a relief and development organization. At TCPL, she provided systems design and data analysis.

Ms. Tullo is a CPA, C.A. and she articled with Clarkson Gordon Toronto (E&Y) and PWC in Calgary, she has an EMBA from Ivey School of Business, a B.Comm from the University of Saskatchewan, and holds her C.C.O and ICD.D designations. Ms. Tullo is currently the Chair of Urban Promise, JLT & Associates, vice chair of The Richview Residence Foundation, and a former board director for Jameson Bank, The Boulevard Club, and the Girl Guides of Canada.