Board of Directors
Amanée has been a Realtor since 2010 and obtained her FRI designation from REIC in 2016. She specializes in residential real estate and specifically, New Home Construction, with being involved in the family business Cresco. An alumna of Dalhousie University with a Bachelor of Science degree, Amanée has extensive experience in the construction business, property management and the banking industry. When not working real estate, she likes to give back to the community as a volunteer welcoming newcomers in Nova Scotia and with the Al-Rasoul Islamic Society. Amanée also has been a key player in the Urban Development Liaison for Fusion Halifax and serves on the Board of Directors with the Nova Scotia Iranian Cultural Society and the Real Estate Institute of Canada’s NS Chapter.
A strong advocate of Family Business Atlantic since 2010, Amanée has served on the Peter Wilson Dinner Committee and the Membership Committee and is a proud member of the Peer-to-Peer groups. Her personal mission statement is “To display leadership, love, kindness and help to those around me; live a balanced & adventurous life and apply ethical principles to make a significant difference & grow my family business.”
Abbass Studios began in 1946 and was among the first in the Atlantic Provinces to provide a range of photographic services that included film processing, enlargements, wedding photography, commercial photography, framing, and picture restoration.Abbass Studios was originally founded by the late Mr. George Abbass who introduced photography to two of his younger brothers, John and Tony. In 1974 the brothers made the move to expand their business by purchasing three Econo Color stores in Nova Scotia, with John Abbass Sr.’s son John helping to expand them throughout Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. John and his family are one of the founding members of Family Business Atlantic – formerly Canadian Association of Family Enterprise Nova Scotia, having served as CAFE president from October 2003-2005.He is a graduate of Dalhousie University and holds a degree in Commerce. John is involved in his community and volunteers with the Brain Injury Association, Edward House, Christmas Daddies and Children Wish of Nova Scotia. He and his wife Barb live in Bedford and are the proud parents of David and Christina.
Peapell & Associates / Supertemp
Mark holds a history degree from Dalhousie University. His professional career to date has involved working within the petroleum industry and now the Human Resources sector. Mark spent twelve years with Irving Oil Limited. His responsibilities included working with clients, on a number of significant projects, including Hibernia as well as a number of significant projects. After leaving Irving Oil, he continued to be involved with the offshore, managing a number of industrial supply companies in the Atlantic Canadian market.
Mark joined Peapell & Associates/Supertemp in 2001. Supertemp/Peapell& Associates is an independent family owned, staffing solutions provider. Supertemp is a temporary staffing provider, which specializes in providing companies and organizations with temporary staffing solutions. Supertemp specializes in office, accounting and IT support personnel solutions.
Peapell & Associates provides permanent staffing solutions, offering permanent recruiting to a wide range of companies and organizations. Since joining the firm he has assumed to the current position as President, he is responsible for growing and developing the business as well as high level recruiting and consulting.
As a founding member of the Atlantic Canada Aviation Museum, located in Halifax, NS, he has been involved with all aspects of aviation heritage. He has also presented to audiences across North America (including the prestigious Smithsonian Institute) on historic aviation and managing heritage institutions.
Mark is on the board of directors of Canadian Aeronautical Preservation Association, as well as The Association of Nova Scotia Museums which are associations that supports Canada’s Aviation Museums and Nova Scotian Museums respectively.
Michael LeBlanc is the CFO at Lahey’s Glass. He was the former Manager in Assurance – Independent Business group at Grant Thornton LLP and works diligently on managing and consulting private business in the Atlantic region. He provides clients with advice and guidance on complex accounting and tax issues, reviewing/preparing year end work (including review/preparation of financial statements, tax returns and other compliance factors), business coaching and Cloud Accounting. Over the past 12-16 months Michael has taken a lot of time to research and understand the Cloud accounting world. Through this he has taken numerous businesses from excel or desktop accounting software onto the cloud and worked directly with these clients. He has been able to help grow these businesses by increasing the client’s knowledge about financial items as well as making the bookkeeping and back end of the business much easier. Michael has had the opportunity to work with the varying industries in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Alberta with a strong emphasis on Tech, Professional services, Retail, Restaurant/Breweries, Construction & Real Estate, Manufacturing and Development and Oil & Gas. As a Manager, Michael and his team works directly with the business owners and their employees to help provide valuable advice, growth strategies, technical training and tax planning in addition to a number of other services. Michael engages with his community through participating with Junior Achievement. He visits various elementary, junior and senior high schools to teach sessions on different subjects revolving businesses and technology and evaluates student’s self-run businesses for awards and bursaries.
Blunden and Associates
Dr. Blunden recently retired as Associate Professor of Strategic Management and Family Enterprise at the Rowe School of Business, Dalhousie University in Halifax, Canada and Principal Consultant, Blunden and Associates (www.blundenandassociates.com). For over thirty years he has taught family business and consulted to family businesses. His teaching and research interests are in Strategic Management and Family Business; especially in developing the common ground between the areas and in the application of strategic management to entrepreneurial and family business contexts. Bob holds a Bachelor of Commerce from Dalhousie University, a Master of Management from Northwestern University and a Ph.D. from The University of Western Ontario.His international teaching, consulting and research activities have taken him to China, Latvia, Russia, Hungary, Jamaica and the Bahamas. His consulting activities focus on strategic planning, governance, professionalization and conflict resolution for families and family businesses. He has served on the board of directors of several small and medium-sized businesses and organizations. He is an accomplished case writer and researcher. His current family business research interests include: family business succession, the extent and nature of family business, and definition issues for family business.
Steven is Vice President & Commercial Insurance Broker at Stanhope Simpson. Prior to joining the company, Steven received his undergraduate business degree from Mount St. Vincent University where he attended classes full-time while managing the day to day responsibilities of owning and operating a forestry contracting business. Since joining the firm in 2004, Steven has worked hard to develop and grow a portfolio of complex commercial insurance and surety accounts. Steven’s experience of being a business owner in the contracting industry – and operating heavy machinery and tractor trailers first-hand – sets him apart from most brokers as it allows him to better understand and connect with his clients.
Steven is the brokerage’s primary internal technical consultant, due to his exceptional technical expertise in specialty coverages such as Professional Liability, Directors & Officers Liability and Environmental Liability. As Vice President, he is also responsible for leading all aspects related to claims resolution for the organization and oversees the junior producers, providing ongoing guidance to support the sales team as required. Steven also has his own commercial portfolio at the firm which he continues to actively grow.
Steven is involved with the Construction Association of Nova Scotia (CANS) and aside from the office, Steven spends most of his time with his family and working on completing a “seemingly never-ending” list of home renovation projects.
Ian is a Partner at BOYNECLARKE LLP and member of the Business Law Team, focusing on Labour and Employment Law. As a member of the bar in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, he has appeared before the New Brunswick Court of Queen’s bench, as well as all levels of Court in Nova Scotia. He has also appeared before various administrative tribunals in Nova Scotia such as the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Tribunal, the Labour Board and the Human Rights Commission. Ian regularly advises clients on all matters related to the workplace, from the hiring process through to termination including managing employees, employment agreements and restrictive covenants, Human Rights, employee absences and related matters. In his spare time, Ian enjoys playing the guitar, camping and spending time with his family and friends. He is conversant in Japanese and is a member of the Japanese Society of Halifax. Ian also practices Karate and is a member of the Metro Karate Training Centre in Dartmouth.
Smooth Meal Prep
Nevell Taijuan Provo left his native North Preston at age 14 to play basketball at Loyola University in Maryland. He is one of ten siblings and is an accomplished athlete who has a passion for health, fitness, and entrepreneurship. These passions have combined to create a growing and successful business – Smooth Meal Prep. Nevell and his family launched the company in 2018 while he was pursuing a Bachelor of Business Degree at Saint Mary’s University. As a busy student, he asked his mom to prepare some nutritious meals that he could quickly heat up. He and his friends responded favorably to this healthy food option and seeing a demand inspired the creation of the company. Smooth Meal Prep is a food delivery service that offers low-carb and high protein meals for fitness and health-minded people. It is ideal for those looking to lose weight, gain muscle or simply eat foods that are nutritious and accessible. The family pride themselves on providing quality meals, delivered directly to your door – saving clients time and effort.
Predictive Success Corporation
David W. Osborne is the Vice President of Predictive Success Corporation, a PI Certified Partner for The Predictive Index LLC. David’s client list includes many of Canada’s very best managed organizations.
A graduate from Acadia University, David has been identified by clients as a performance driven, persuasive and enthusiastic team leader, consultant & trainer.
David, a past recipient of HP Canada’s Super Star Program and #1 Circle of Stars at Manpower Inc., has consistently been recognized for his performance achievement by The Predictive Index LLC for more than 11 years.
David’s work earned him 10 straight selections to the President Club Award with Predictive Success since 2007. David recently earned high honors with his #1 global ranking with The Predictive Index LLC in 2016.
A resident of Halifax Nova Scotia since 1998, David is an integrated member of the Atlantic Canada business community with active involvement in the Halifax Executives Association; FBAA (Family Business Association- Atlantic); Halifax Regional Chamber of Commerce; HRANS (Human Resources Association of Nova Scotia); HRANB (Human Resources Association of New Brunswick); The Canadian Professional Sales Association; and more than 25 years as an active member of Toastmasters International.
ForwardFocus Consulting Inc.
André retired as an audit partner with PwC in 2019 and has over 35 years of experience in the areas of assurance and taxation within family businesses, privately-owned and public companies. André worked closely with his clients at PwC to assist and advise on raising capital, develop growth strategies and business plans, provide personal and corporate tax planning, estate and succession planning, reorganizations, management reviews, business transitions and exit strategies. André has successfully assisted with the acquisition and sale of over 75 companies during his career.
André recently founded ForwardFocus Consulting Inc to assist family businesses and privately-owned companies with business coaching, forward focus strategic alignment, family mentoring, governance alternatives and creating effective family advisory boards. His primary focus is preparing owners for a business transition which includes family succession planning and assisting in developing an exit strategy while building a lasting legacy.
André is a director for Halifax Port Authority, chair of the Seaport Market Committee and member of the Audit and Infrastructure Committees. He is a member of Nova Scotia’s Institute of Chartered Accountants and brings his professional expertise to his community. He is also a former director and treasurer of Alderney Landing Association.
Francesca is a Senior Accountant with MNP’s Assurance and Business Advisory Practice in the Dartmouth office. Francesca has experience in providing external audits, compliance and advisory services to a wide variety of clients in Nova Scotia. Francesca provides these services to owner-managed, small and medium sized enterprises as well as large financial institutions. Francesca received her Bachelor of Commerce degree from Saint Mary’s University in 2017. She became a Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA) in 2020. She is actively involved in the community as a member of the Italian Canadian Culture Association (ICCA) and plays Metro Senior Women’s Soccer through Suburban FC.
Marc is Founder & CEO of Strategy Up, a business strategy & management consulting and training company. He has more than 19 years of experience under his belt in building commercial strategies and assist companies in growing their revenues and comes from an operational and consulting background. Marc assumed different leadership roles with France Telecom (Orange), KPMG, Digicel, Bakcell and Cable & Wireless. Marc is an entrepreneur and a business professional.
Ron provides administrative support to Cluett Insurances financial team with servicing his own clientele. Ron is a native of Dartmouth, N.S and has worked in the insurance business for 15 years. Ron received his BA with a major in Commerce from the prestigious Mount Allison University. It was Ron’s experience at Mount Allison that he knew he wanted to be in the people business and it was when he sat with his father and discussed the family business that he knew immediately insurance would be a perfect match. In their 40th year of business Cluett Insurance is well positioned to not only grow its presence in the marketplace but to successfully transition to the next generation.
Dr. Margie Humphreys is an advisor and coach specializing in family business consulting, leadership development, and change in complex systems. Raised in a family business and educated in human and organizational development Margie has a unique ability to balance the often-conflicting demands of human interest and business imperatives. A firm believer in the transformative power of a focused conversation Margie brings a seasoned and pragmatic approach to her work—get perspective, set goals, take first steps. This approach invites people to have difficult conversations and gain new perspective while navigating challenge and change. Dr. Humphreys likes nothing more that seeing individuals, teams, families, and whole organizations move forward past their barriers towards greater success.
In 2000, Margie established Watermark Partners, a firm dedicated to inspiring innovative and transformative work places. Margie’s PhD in Human and Organizational Systems focused on her primary areas of practice: change in complex systems, family business dynamics, and leadership. Prior to Watermark, Margie held senior HR positions in financial services and health care and provided consulting services in private and public organizations internationally and across most sectors.
For almost three decades April MacLeod has provided consulting on business strategy in the education and business sector. A genuine interest in people and an ability to develop long term relationships has been the key to her success in the business community.
April is a collaborative leader with a natural ability to bring people together in pursuit of a common purpose. As a valued member of the leadership team while at Symplicity Designs she was instrumental in establishing their business in Nova Scotia. Presently she is planning the launch of a career and life readiness program for junior high students. She is also co-owner of ROCarbon Labs helping business owners reduce their energy costs and providing opportunities for them to participate in carbon markets.
April was immersed in the world of family business at a young age; her mother and step-father ran a lumber company in Shelburne and her father grew a global ambulance manufacturing company in Yarmouth. One of her first jobs out of university was to create and implement the entrepreneurship program in Nova Scotia high schools on behalf of the Centre for Entrepreneurship Education and Development. For the past ten years she has worked closely with her husband on a number of initiatives that included business development, planning, strategy, and process improvement.
She is a volunteer with the Canadian Enactus office where she helps secure up to 80 volunteer judges made up of local entrepreneurs and business leaders for their regional competition, has offered mentorship and support to young entrepreneurs from Futurpreneur, Saint Mary’s and Dalhousie University, was an Advisory Board Member with the IWK Foundation, and is currently Programming Chair with the Family Business Association. She is passionate about connecting people to help them be more successful and loves contributing new ideas and strategies.
She is on LinkedIn and would love to connect.
Michelle is proud to have worked for 20 years with family businesses from across the Maritime region – helping them to address entrepreneurial challenges which are continually affected by our changing economic times. She understands the needs of entrepreneurs, and has organized signature fundraising events, sponsorship campaigns and event planning for the Canadian Association of Family Enterprise – which evolved to become Family Business Atlantic in 2016. Before beginning Write 4–U Communications in 1998, she worked in the Communications and Fundraising Departments for the Nova Scotia Division of the Canadian Red Cross Society for nine years. She is a proficient conference coordinator, having managed the IWK’s Health Centre’s International Forum for Pediatric Pain on its bi-annual conference, and was the lead media relations director for the national Heart and Stroke Foundation’s annual conference. As an Association Management leader, Michelle is a team player and works closely with staff and volunteers to build capacity and sustainability for organizations and businesses. She thrives in helping to facilitate and direct initiatives within organizations and works best in fast-paced and changing environments. She holds a Bachelor of Public Relations Degree from Mount Saint Vincent University and has taken the Business Family Foundation’s Road Map Facilitator Training Course and CAFE’s Family Council Program. She resides in Dartmouth Nova Scotia with her husband Doug Conrad – who are proud parents to daughter, Taylor, and son, Liam.
Communications & Membership Coordinator
Amy is a graphic designer and the founder & force of Pixels & Pieces Design. She holds a graphic design diploma, a Bachelor of Arts and has a Masters of Science in Publishing. She received her Project Management Professional designation in 2019. She works to empower small businesses and offers full service graphic design services. Amy has worked with government organizations, academic institutions, non-profits and new & established small & medium sized businesses. She lives in Dartmouth with her husband David and their chocolate lab Rocky.