Posted on April 3, 2019 | Updated at 4PM

FinDev Canada announces appointment of its Board of Directors

(Montreal, QC) – April 03, 2019

FinDev Canada – a wholly-owned subsidiary of Export Development Canada (EDC) – is pleased to announce the appointment of its first official Board of Directors. 

“We welcome these Directors who now comprise the first official Board of FinDev Canada, which I’m proud to say is gender balanced,” said Mairead Lavery, President and CEO of EDC and Chair of FinDev Canada.  “Together, Board Directors bring the international experience, skills and expertise needed to help FinDev Canada achieve its mission to support the growth and sustainability of private businesses in developing countries. In doing so, FinDev Canada can help strengthen those economies, create jobs, and reduce poverty,” 
Gender issues and women’s economic empowerment are the focal point of FinDev Canada’s activities.  “Our Board will help support FinDev Canada’s passion for building a dynamic and innovative development finance institution that will drive impact, especially for women.  In fact, we have placed the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal 5 – Gender Equality – at the center of what we do,” said Mr. Paul Lamontagne, Managing Director of FinDev Canada.

“We welcome our new Board appointees, but at the same time we express our gratitude to those past and present members of the EDC Board of Directors who served in an interim capacity on the FinDev Canada Board, and provided the necessary leadership during the past year since the organization’s inception,” added Ms. Lavery. 

Board appointees include the addition of four independent Board Members as noted (**) in the list below.

Board of Directors (see biographies attached)
1.    Mairead Lavery, Board Chair, Ottawa, Ontario
2.    Mimi Alemayehou, Dakar, Senegal**
3.    Pierre Boivin, Sainte-Foy, Quebec
4.    Albert Essien, Accra, Ghana**
5.    Anne Gaboury, Quebec, Quebec**
6.    Karna Gupta, Oakville, Ontario
7.    Paul Lamontagne, Managing Director, Montreal, Quebec
8.    Elliot Lifson, Montreal, Quebec
9.    Karen MacWilliam, Wolfville, Nova Scotia
10.    Andrea Stairs Krishnappa, Toronto, Ontario
11.    Jeffrey Steiner, Toronto, Ontario**.

About FinDev Canada

The Development Finance Institute Canada Inc., operating under the FinDev Canada brand, is a Canadian institution dedicated to providing financial services to the private sector in developing countries with the aim of combating poverty through economic growth by focusing on three main themes: economic development through job creation, women economic empowerment, and climate change mitigation. The Development Finance Institute Canada Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of Export Development Canada (EDC). Find out more about FinDev Canada here.

For more information, please contact:

FinDev Canada
Angela Rodriguez
Tel : 514-673-7154


Export Development Canada
Simon Forsyth
Tel: 613-598-3852

Biographies of FinDev Canada's Board of Directors

Mairead Lavery 
Board Chair
Ottawa, Ontario

Mairead Lavery joined Export Development Canada in 2014 as Senior Vice-President for Business Development. From day one, she has been a passionate promoter of the Crown corporation and Canada’s exporters. Appointed President and CEO on February 5, 2019, Mairead is determined to see EDC help thousands more Canadian companies “go, grow and succeed internationally.” Prior to EDC, Mairead held numerous executive roles at Bombardier. During sixteen years, she managed large and complex portfolios, including Finance, Strategy, Business Development and Business Transformation. Since coming to EDC, her focus has been on expanding the Crown corporation’s impact on behalf of Canadian exporters by understanding their needs and championing their objectives here in Canada and in markets around the world.  Mairead is committed to social and environmental responsibility, addressing in particular the challenges of climate change, human rights and gender equity. She also believes in the imperative of a diverse and culturally inclusive workforce. Mairead is also the first woman to occupy EDC’s chief executive role in its 75-year history.  A native of Northern Ireland, with a degree in Management and Accounting from Queen’s University Belfast, Mairead is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Ireland. In 2015, shortly after joining EDC, Mairead experienced another very personal and proud landmark when she became a Canadian citizen. 

Mimi Alemayehou 
Dakar, Senegal

Ms. Alemayehou is Managing Director and a member of the Board of Directors for Black Rhino Group (, an investment platform focused on the development and acquisition of energy and infrastructure assets across Africa. Prior to joining Black Rhino, Ms. Alemayehou was the Executive Vice President of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), the development finance agency of the U.S. Government, which provides loans, guarantees, and insurance to catalyze foreign direct investment and private equity into emerging markets. Ms. Alemayehou was appointed to the post by President Obama and confirmed unanimously by the full Senate. During Ms. Alemayehou’s tenure from 2010 to 2014, OPIC’s portfolio grew by more than 24 percent to $18 billion and the corporation’s Africa portfolio tripled to nearly $4 billion. Previously, Ms. Alemayehou was appointed by President George W. Bush to serve as the United States Executive Director on the Board of Directors for the African Development Bank (AfDB). In this role, Ms. Alemayehou was the senior U.S. Treasury Department official in Africa representing the United States on policy and development issues across the continent. Ms. Alemayehou received a Distinguished Honor Award for her outstanding service from then-United States Secretary of Treasury, Henry Paulson. Ms. Alemayehou was appointed by President Obama to serve on the United States President’s Advisory Council on Doing Business in Africa and has served in that role since 2016.

Pierre Boivin
Sainte-Foy, Quebec

Pierre Boivin was appointed to EDC’s Board of Directors in June 2018. He is currently a partner in the Business Law Group, National Leader of the Africa Group, and Mining Group Leader for the Quebec Region at McCarthy Tetrault LLP, a Canadian law firm. His practice focusses on mergers and acquisitions, private equity and related commercial matters in Canada and internationally. He is a member of various associations, including the Canadian Bar Association, the American Bar Association and the International Bar Association. Mr. Boivin is also Vice-Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Canadian Council on Africa, as well as a member of the Board of Directors of CPCS Transcom Limited and NSIA Participations, a financial institution based in the Ivory Coast as a nominee of the National Bank of Canada. He is also a graduate of the Institute of Corporate Directors. He has appeared repeatedly over the years as a leading Canadian lawyer notably in the mining sector of Who’s Who Legal Canada, in the fields of mining, electricity, oil and gas and corporate mid-market in the Canada Legal Lexpert Directory, as well as in the Lexpert guide to the leading Cross-Border Corporate lawyers in Canada, in Lexpert’s Special Editions of the Leading Canadian Lawyers in Global Mining and Canada’s Leading Energy Lawyers, and in Chambers Global in the field of Energy and Natural Resources: Mining Foreign Experts (Canada).

Albert Essien
Accra, Ghana

Albert Essien provides Consultancy and Advisory work to business especially in banking and finance. Currently, he is the Director on the Board of Old Mutual Ltd in South Africa.  Mr Essien is the Chairman for the Endowment Fund of the College of Physicians and Surgeons Ghana, and the Ghana Stock Exchange. He did serve as a Senior External Advisor for Mckinsey & Co.  In a career spanning more than 20 years, Mr. Essien has held a number of key appointments in the Ecobank Group, including Regional Head for the Rest of Anglophone West Africa (including Guinea Conakry but excluding Nigeria) and the Eastern and Southern Africa (ESA) regions. He joined the Corporate Banking Department of Ecobank Ghana in 1990 where he held many positions including Deputy Managing Director (2001), Managing Director (2002). He spearheaded Ecobank’s expansion into the Eastern and Southern (ESA) region, culminating in the establishment of subsidiaries in 7 countries (Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi, Zambia, and Malawi) and a Representative Office in South Africa. He assumed the role of the Group Chief Executive Officer in March 2014.  Albert Essien has a degree in Economics from the University of Ghana (graduating in 1979) and is an alumnus of the Executive Development Program of INSEAD (France/Singapore). He is also an honorary fellow of the Chartered Institute of Bankers, Ghana. Albert Essien won ‘African Banker of the Year’ at the 9th African Banker Awards in May 2015, in recognition of his contribution to best practices in African banking. Mr Essien was awarded the Chartered Institute of Marketing ‘Marketing Man of the Year’ 2005 and “Lifetime Achievement Award" at the Ghana Banking Award in 2015. He is a World Fellow of the Duke of Edinburgh International Award Foundation.

Anne Gaboury
Quebec, Quebec

Anne Gaboury brings with her over 20 years of experience in the development of inclusive and blended finance. In particular, she was head of Developpement International Desjardins (DID) from 2002 to 2018. This organization promotes the development of inclusive financial systems by using three major strategies: capacity development, debt or equity investment, and the implementation and management of operations of financial institutions specializing in the financing of entrepreneurs. DID's mandates, carried out in partnership with a wide variety of financial institutions, ministries and investors, are currently being deployed in more than 30 countries.  Ms. Gaboury has served on the Advisory Council of Findev Canada, on the Board of Directors of the Institut Quebecois des Hautes Etudes Internationales de l’Universite Laval, and chairs the Strategic Steering Committee of the Agence Universitaire de la Francophonie (AUF). She has also served on the Board of Directors of the Canadian Council for Africa (CCAfrica) and has chaired the Development Committee of the International Federation of Cooperatives and Mutual Insurance companies (ICMIF).  Her training in psychology (M.Ps.), business management (MBA) and governance (C.Dir.) enriches her professional experience with a multidisciplinary vision.

Karna Gupta 
Oakville, Ontario

Karna Gupta was appointed to EDC’s Board of Directors in June 2018. He has more than 35 years of industry experience in the technology sector, and his expertise and accomplishments span across North American and international business domains. Most recently, Mr. Gupta served as President and CEO of ITAC. His previous roles included CEO and a member of the Board of Directors of Certicom Corp, President of the Billing Division at Comverse Technologies, Chief Marketing Officer for Comverse Americas, President of Sitraka Mobility, and several executive positions with Bell Canada, including Vice President, Product Development and Management. Currently, he serves on multiple Boards, including as an Independent Director at Kloudville & Baylis Medical and as Chair of the Board at Voti Inc & VentureLab. Mr. Gupta holds a Master of Business Administration degree in Marketing and Finance from Concordia University in Montreal, Quebec. He is also a recipient of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal.

Paul Lamontagne
Montreal, Quebec

Paul is a social entrepreneur who brings a passion for making an impact in the world. He has extensive experience in banking, private equity, venture capital and impact investing, and a reputation for building strong teams and achieving results. Previously, Paul was Executive Investment Partner at Capafrica, a Canadian private equity group that invests in renewable energy, infrastructure and telecommunications in Africa. Before his role at Capafrica, Paul was Head, Africa & Middle East, Global Banks at the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC). Paul served as founding CEO of Enablis Financial Corporation, where he pioneered a new model for impact investing in early-stage small and medium-sized enterprises in South Africa, Kenya and Tanzania. Paul holds a Bachelor of Arts from McGill University and an MBA from the Institut d’Etudes Politiques de Paris.

Elliot Lifson
Montreal, Quebec

Elliot Lifson was appointed to EDC’s Board of Directors in March 2012. Mr. Lifson is Vice-Chairman of Peerless Clothing Inc. He is President of the Canadian Apparel Federation, and in addition to his duties with the Federation, he is a member of the Board of the Apparel Manufacturing Institute of Quebec. As well, Mr. Lifson is Past Chairman of the Board of the Montreal Board of Trade and he currently sits on the Board in an advisory capacity. He also sits on the Quebec Government Committee, Export Quebec. Mr. Lifson sits on the Board of many charitable institutions and currently serves as Professor at the Desautels Faculty of Management at McGill University and has received its distinguished teaching award. He is a recipient of the 2012 Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal. Mr. Lifson was also recognized in November 2017 with a Senate of Canada 150th Commemorative Medal. He is a graduate in Law from the Universite de Montreal and a member of the Quebec Bar. He received his MBA from the Ivey School of Business, University of Western Ontario.

Karen MacWilliam
Wolfville, Nova Scotia

Karen MacWilliam was appointed to EDC’s Board of Directors in June 2018. With 32 years in the insurance and risk management fields, Ms. MacWilliam has held positions as an insurance underwriter, insurance broker, and corporate risk manager in both Vancouver and Edmonton. She has also operated a successful consultancy since 1998, with operations across Canada. Ms. MacWilliam is a former Director of Habitat for Humanity Nova Scotia, the B.C. Society of Fellows of the Insurance Institute of Canada, and the BC Risk and Insurance Management Association. She has taught risk management at Dalhousie University, Simon Fraser University, and the University of Northern British Columbia, and has appeared as an expert witness with respect to matters pertaining to insurance and risk management in the Courts of B.C., Alberta, and Nova Scotia. A native of Vancouver, B.C., Ms. MacWilliam holds a B.A. in Economics from the University of British Columbia and holds her CIP and FCIP designations from the Insurance Institute of Canada and a CRM designation from the Global Risk Management Institute. 

Andrea Stairs Krishnappa
Toronto, Ontario

Andrea Stairs Krishnappa was appointed to EDC’s Board of Directors in June 2018. As the General Manager of eBay Canada & Latin America, Ms. Stairs Krishnappa leads the strategy and operations across 27 countries for one of the world’s largest online marketplaces. She is responsible for delivering buy- and sell-side services and for overseeing of eBay’s Canada & Latin America functions, including marketing, product management, business development, and public and government relations. Previously, Ms. Stairs Krishnappa was the managing director of eBay Canada, Canadian head of marketing, and was instrumental in launching eBay’s French-Canadian website. Ms. Stairs Krishnappa sits on several boards including Canada’s National Ballet School, Toronto Region Board of Trade, and Ontario’s Panel for Economic Growth & Prosperity. After receiving a BA from McGill University, Ms. Stairs Krishnappa obtained JD and MBA degrees from the University of Toronto. She is also the recipient of the Women’s Executive Network’s Canada’s Most Powerful Women: Top 100 Award, in the Corporate Executive category.

Jeffrey Steiner
Toronto, Ontario
Mr. Steiner was a member of EDC's Board of Directors from 2010 to 2018. He is the CEO of New Franchise Media Inc., a film & television development company. Previously, Mr. Steiner served as President and Chief Executive Officer of the Toronto Economic Development Corporation (TEDCO), and three years as a board member of the Alcohol & Gaming Commission of Ontario. Mr. Steiner currently serves as Co-Chair of the Canada-UAE Business Council. He is actively involved in the Start-up community leading Angel Investors Ontario and is a member of the Young Presidents' Organization (YPO), the Law Society of Upper Canada, and the Institute of Corporate Directors having earned an ICD.D corporate governance designation. Mr. Steiner also serves on various boards of Canadian mining and technology companies listed on the Toronto stock exchange.