Laura Wessman – Health Services Administrator, Prince George for Northern Health Authority

PFM Executive Search welcomes Laura Wessman to Northern Health Authority (NHA), one of Canada’s most innovative health care organizations, as the new Prince George Health Service Administrator, a senior leadership position with NHA where she will build both local and regional operational capacity through interprofessional/cross functional team development and the delivery of quality health services.

Laura is returning to BC from an extended term in Manitoba where, as Chief Operating Officer of the Churchill Health Centre Division of the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority, she was responsible for Manitoba’s most northern hospital and integrated health services. Prior to that, Laura was the Senior Vice President Operations at Forbes Medi-Tech, a Vancouver based biotech company with a focus on cardiovascular disease, international research and development, production and distribution.

Laura holds undergraduate degrees in Science (biochemistry) and Applied Science (chemical engineering) from the University of British Columbia, an MBA from Simon Fraser University and a Master of Science degree from the University of Edinburgh.

PFM Executive Search has a long working relationship with Northern Health and is recognized as one of Canada’s leading executive search firms. The company recently celebrated its 26th year and is known for its ability to work with a wide variety of private, public and not-for-profit organizations in identifying and recruiting senior leaders. 

Its Health Care Practice is substantial, working with Boards and Selection Committees where diverse slates of qualified candidates are brought through an open, fair and transparent proactive search process. PFM Executive Search also collaborates with its Panorama Search Partner offices and Co-Chairs the Global Health Care Practice Group.

Cedric Savineau – Site General Manager for Avcorp Industries

PFM Executive Search is pleased to announce the recent appointment of Cedric Savineau as the Site General Manager for Avcorp’s Delta, BC facility. Cedric brings over 20 years of international experience in the transport sector, heading up major programs, product development, and manufacturing organizations. He is passionate about driving innovation, transformation and performance, by creating an inclusive work environment with the teams, and collaborative partnerships with suppliers and customers. Cedric has worked with industry leaders including Westport Innovations in Vancouver and SABCA and Volvo in Europe. Congratulations Cedric!

Rafael Villarreal – General Manager, Engineering & Regional Utilities for City of Abbotsford

PFM Executive Search is pleased to announce that Rafael Villarreal will be joining the City of Abbotsford as the new General Manager of Engineering & Regional Utilities starting November 5, 2018. Rafael holds a Bachelor and Masters in Civil Engineering from the University of Los Andes Colombia; a Masters in Information Science from the University of Lund Sweden; a Master of Urban Planning from McGill; and a Master of Liberal Arts in Management from Harvard. He is a Professional Engineer, a Registered Professional Planner, and a Project Management Professional.

Rafael is joining the City of Abbotsford from the City of Kelowna where he most recently held the role of Manager of Integrated Transportation. Within this portfolio, he was also the Administrator of the Sustainable Transportation Partnership of the Central Okanagan and was responsible for leading the successful Imagine Kelowna project – the long-range strategic vision for Kelowna. Rafael’s background includes working with the City of Edmonton, the City of St. Albert and the City of Bogota in Colombia. Congratulations Rafael!

Winnie Shi – Chief Financial Officer for InTransit BC

PFM Executive Search is delighted to announce the appointment of Winnie Shi to the role of Chief Financial Officer with InTransitBC, owner of Vancouver’s rapid transit train line, the Canada Line.

Winnie joins InTransitBC from KPMG, where she spent more than twenty years in the Global Infrastructure Advisory practice, including seven years as a Partner. Winnie’s experience in Public-Private-Partnerships in Canada and internationally, along with her expertise in accounting, project finance and audit, procurement, and strategic planning, made her the natural choice for this coveted position.

In addition to her career with KPMG, Winnie is a founding member of the BC Women’s Infrastructure Network (WIN) and she regularly volunteers in the community with organizations, such as Habitat for Humanity of Greater Vancouver.

PFM is thrilled to have been selected to lead this search in partnership with InTransitBC and we wish Winnie continued success in her career. PFM Executive Search is known for its ability to work effectively with Boards and Selection Committees in the private, public and not-for-profit sectors and for its skill in recruiting talented senior leaders to executive positions.

The University of British Columbia Appoints New Vice President, Human Resources

The University of British Columbia, a global centre for research and teaching, consistently ranked among the 40 best universities in the world and the second largest university in Canada, has appointed Barbara Meens Thistle to the critically important position of Vice President, Human Resources.

With more than 62,000 students from 160 countries on two major campuses and 15,000 faculty and staff plus 300,000 alumni, UBC has an annual operating budget of $2.5 billion with more than $580 million in annual research income making it one of the top global post-secondary institutions.

Barbara Meens Thistle brings a quarter century of senior leadership experience—including at some of B.C.’s largest public sector organizations—to UBC as the new Vice President, Human Resources.

“Barbara will be a valuable addition to our executive team and I have full confidence she will be able to build on the excellent progress made by Lisa Castle, former vice-president of human resources, to make UBC a rewarding and fulfilling place to work,” said UBC President Santa J. Ono.

Meens Thistle currently holds the position of Vice President, Central Services at the Insurance Corporation of BC (ICBC) where she has responsibility for a diverse portfolio including all aspects of Human Resources. She also has extensive experience as a senior leader in the energy sector, including at Emera Inc., Nova Scotia Power, and Westcoast Energy. Together with past roles at B.C. public sector organizations including ICBC, the Provincial Health Services Authority, Powerex, and BC Hydro, Meens Thistle brings a wealth of experience in the areas of strategic planning, change management, operational excellence, procurement, health and wellness, and safety.

“I’m thrilled to accept this new challenge to lead human resources programs and services at UBC, one of the province’s top employers,” said Barbara Meens Thistle. “UBC has one of the largest workforces in British Columbia and I look forward to continuing efforts to making the university an inspiring place to work that also supports faculty and staff wellbeing, resilience and commitment.”

Meens Thistle is a long-time champion of equity, diversity and inclusion. Throughout her career, she has worked collaboratively with senior leaders and employees to create and implement relevant, aspirational and comprehensive diversity and inclusion strategies.

In 2016, Meens Thistle was voted HR Professional of the Year by the BC and Yukon chapter of the Chartered Professionals in Human Resources and is a Certified Professional in Human Resources and a Fellow in the Canadian Board Diversity Council. Meens Thistle is also an active volunteer in her community as a board director with OceanWise (Vancouver Aquarium) and with Big Sisters of BC, Lower Mainland.

UBC has consistently been recognized as one of BC’s Top Employers, as well as one of Canada’s greenest employers, best diversity employers, and top employers for young people. Additionally, people in Metro Vancouver have named the university a Dream Employer for several consecutive years.

PFM Executive Search led an international recruitment process with UBC President, Santa Ono as the Chair of the Search Committee. Our firm is a recognized leader in working within the post-secondary sector, identifying and recruiting top leaders who enhance the stature of institutions. PFM is know for facilitating inclusive search processes for client groups in the higher education sector.