In a corporate world where big data analytics has become the next big thing, Greg Richards knows that business is still all about people and putting them in the best position to succeed.
“We can create lots of analytic stuff in organizations, but unless humans really understand how to use it and put it in play, it doesn’t do much for the organization,” says Richards, the new executive director of the Telfer School of Management’s Executive MBA Program.
“How do we as managers use these tools to make effective decisions, and how do we know that it’s actually helping us?”
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Those are just some of the questions Richards and his colleagues explore during the intensive 21-month program aimed at senior C-suite execs who are looking to “move to the next level.”
Richards, who has taught at the University of Ottawa’s business school for 25 years, says his most important tasks as the new boss include “tweaking and evolving” the curriculum to make sure it reflects what’s happening in the real world. That includes discussions around rapidly emerging technology such as AI and how it’s changing the nature of work, issues near and dear to Richards’ heart.
The 61-year-old academic’s resume includes stints as an HR consultant with the federal government and former Ottawa tech firm Cognos, which sold groundbreaking human resources management software around the world and was eventually acquired by IBM.
But teaching has always been a passion for Richards, who says he learns as much from his students as they do from him.
“One of my messages to the class is, ‘I know some things, but you guys know some things too,’ he says. “‘So between us, we’ll co-create this thing and we’ll have a lot of fun doing it.’”
Classes are deliberately capped at fewer than 40 students to ensure there’s plenty of room for that kind of dialogue, Richards explains. After learning the basics of accounting, finance and marketing, students then apply that theoretical knowledge in real-world situations. Each student must complete two marketing projects, the first one with a non-profit and the second with a Silicon Valley enterprise that’s looking to scale up.
“Everything builds on (what) happened before,” says Richards, who earned his PhD in management from Carleton University in 2003. “You learn and apply, learn and apply. From a management education perspective, it’s a great program to be working with. I’m super thrilled to be here.”
The veteran professor says Telfer’s leaders also aren’t afraid to alter the curriculum on the fly, bringing in tutors or adding extra workshops as they see fit.
“If we see that things aren’t working, we adjust it right away,” Richards says.
Launched in 1992, the Executive MBA Program has a distinguished list of alumni that includes Ottawa Hospital chief executive Jack Kitts, OBJ’s Lifetime Achievement Award winner in 2019, and Virginia Roth, a member of the class of 2012 and the Ottawa Hospital’s first female chief of staff.
Richards says the program creates bonds between classmates that are often as important to grads as the skills and knowledge they gained.
“It’s the networks that they build and the intense teamwork that they go through that builds some strong relationships,” he says. “I think that makes it a bit special for a lot of them.”
People on the move
Cameron Love has been appointed the next president and CEO of the Ottawa Hospital. Love has most recently served as the hospital’s executive vice-president and chief operating officer. Previously, he has held several leadership roles within the hospital, including overseeing the planning and building of the critical care wing at the General campus. He will replace Dr. Jack Kitts, who is retiring in June after nearly 19 years on the job.
Kevin Radford has joined the financial advisory team in Deloitte’s Ottawa office as a strategic adviser. A graduate of Royal Military College, Radford was most recently assistant deputy minister of real property services at Public Services and Procurement Canada.
Real estate lawyer Merredith MacLennan has joined Merovitz Potechin LLP. MacLennan has extensive experience in all aspects of real estate law, including freehold and condominium land development, large commercial transactions and complex title matters.
Sal Apuzzio is the new vice-president of sales at software firm Lemonade. Most recently, Apuzzio served as sales adviser for Scrimmage, following his role as VP of sales for Saba Software. In addition, he has held many sales leadership and account management positions with technology companies including IBM, Interwoven, Plumtree Software, Informatica, SilkRoad Technology and Findly.
Chris Stevens and Matthew Westphalen have been named partners at Crowe BGK. Stevens joined Crowe in 2009 and has significant experience in tax preparation, planning and compliance as well as financial reporting and small business consulting. Westphalen, who joined Crowe in 2010, specializes in assurance and advisory services for clients. He also handles income tax planning and compliance, business accounting and consulting, financial reporting and internal control and policy writing. Westphalen was previously acting controller at Allen Vanguard and did stints as senior auditor at the Big Four firms.
Vision Critical has appointed Nicole Kealey to the role of chief strategy officer. Prior to joining Vision Critical, Kealey spent eight years at SAP, where her most recent position was global vice-president intelligent enterprise and industry marketing. Before that, she spent 13 years at Adobe, where she held a variety of senior marketing roles.