Advisory Council

‌‌The David Sobey Centre engages retail veterans and industry innovators on our advisory council.


Vivek Sood

Vivek Sood MBA'98 (Chair)

Executive Vice President, Related Businesses, Sobeys Inc.

Vivek Sood is Executive Vice President, Related Businesses for Sobeys Inc., a leading Canadian grocery retailer and food distributor. 

Mr. Sood is accountable for a portfolio of businesses that are not directly focused on food retailing at Sobeys Inc. These include Pharmacy, Wholesale, Convenience, Fuel, Liquor and the Big 8 beverage plant. 

Prior to this appointment, he was the leader of the Sobeys National Pharmacy Group, the wholly-owned pharmacy-focused businesses of Sobeys Inc. Vivek has been with Sobeys Inc. since 2000 having held several senior level positions in Merchandising, Treasury, Investor Relations and Corporate Strategic Planning. Prior to joining Sobeys Inc., Vivek held senior roles with Scotiabank and the Nova Scotia Provincial Government. 

Vivek serves as Chair of the Neighborhood Pharmacy Association, having previously served as Vice-Chair of the Association as well as Chair of the Association’s Finance and Audit Committee.Vivek maintains active involvement is his community as Director of Basketball Nova Scotia and the Highland Community Residential Services Foundation. He also has served as Chair of the Pictou County YMCA as well as Chair of the Nova Scotia Community College Foundation Audit, Finance and Investment Committee. 

Vivek graduated with a Bachelor of Commerce from Dalhousie University and a Masters of Business Administration from Saint Mary’s University. He received his Chartered Financial Analyst Designation from the CFA Institute in 2004.

Diane J. Brisebois

President & Chief Executive Officer, Retail Council of Canada

Diane J. Brisebois, CAE, is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Retail Council of Canada (RCC). She oversees the largest retail association in Canada serving over 45,000 retail establishments including independent merchants, chain stores, mass merchants, big box and online retailers. RCC’s membership covers all segments of the retail market including general merchandise, grocery and pharmacy.

Prior to joining Retail Council of Canada, Diane was President & CEO of the Canadian Office Products Association. She serves as a member of the Advisory Board for Ryerson University’s School of Retail Management, University of Alberta’s School of Retailing, as well as the Advisory Board of World Wildlife Federation Canada. Diane is the Chair of the Fair Factory Clearinghouse, an organization established to enable collaboration in assessing and improving workplace conditions globally, and is a member of the Stewardship Ontario Board of Directors.

Her previous board participations include Covenant House Toronto, the Traffic and Injury Research Foundation and the Canadian Society of Association Executives, and she is the Immediate Past Chair of the Executive Committee of the Forum of International Retail Association Executives (FIRAE). FIRAE represents retail associations from more than 35 countries brought together to collaborate on issues affecting the retail sector globally.

Doug Stephens

Founder and President, Retail Prophet

Doug Stephens is the Founder and President of Retail Prophet, a specialty advisory services company to the retail industry, and one of the world’s leading retail industry futurists and an in-demand retail speaker. His clients include Citibank, Air Miles, Intel, WestJet, Ace Hardware, Razorfish, and Target. He speaks widely to groups across The Americas, Europe and Australia on how megatrends in demographics, economics, technology, and media are altering consumer-brand relationships and the strategies brands and retailers must embrace to adapt and thrive. 

Prior to founding Retail Prophet, Doug spent over 20 years in the retail industry, holding senior international roles including the leadership of one of New York City’s most historic retail chains.

Doug is the author of the ground-breaking book, The Retail Revival: Re-Imagining Business for the New Age of Consumerism (Wiley 2013). He is also a syndicated retail columnist for CBC Radio. Doug sits on the advisory boards of the Dx3 Digital Conference and is the co-executive producer and presenter of The Future in Store, an original web TV production which highlights trends and technologies shaping the future of retail. In addition, Doug is the consumer technology expert for CTV’s App Central TV.

Doug's point of view on marketing and retailing is regularly featured in business media including the BBC, New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Fast Company. He speaks regularly to major brands and organizations across North and South America, Europe, Asia and Australia.

Tim Pellerin

President, Maritime Beauty Supplies

With over 24 years of experience at Coca-Cola, Kimberly-Clark, and The Clorox Company, Tim has led significant change for big brands through strategic leadership in marketing, merchandising, store design, consumer insights, digital marketing, retail operations and corporate social responsibility. Since returning to Nova Scotia, Tim served as the Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at the Nova Scotia Liquor Corporation (NSLC) where he led a multi-channel brand transformation and the highly successful commercialization strategy for Cannabis retail stores including design and construction, category team, retail team, and consumer education.

Most recently Tim was the Vice-President of PAX Labs for Canada & International, where he was responsible for linking the innovations of this iconic cannabis brand’s product team to customer and consumer-focused operations.

Tim is currently the President of Maritime Beauty Supplies, one of the most successful beauty distributors in Canada with a rich history of innovation over its 57 year history.  MBS competes throughout the Maritimes with 17 stores and a multi-channel, customer centric approach."

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Julie Toskan DLC’15

A committed philanthropist and Canadian business success story, Julie Toskan directs her strengths and resources towards nurturing positive change for Canadians.

Julie is a founding member of MAC Cosmetics, working alongside co-founders Frank Angelo and Frank Toskan at the time of the company’s inception in 1985. As head of the global marketing and public relations division, she was instrumental in the creation of the M•A•C AIDS Fund.

After M•A•C was sold to Estee Lauder in 1998, Julie dedicated herself to the practice of engaged and informed philanthropy and, in 1999, was the first Canadian to graduate from the Rockefeller Foundation’s Philanthropy Workshop. In 2001, she worked with Frank Toskan and Victor Casale to establish the Toskan Casale Foundation – a family foundation dedicated to supporting and strengthening community-based social programs and organizations.

In 2002, Julie created the Youth and Philanthropy Initiative (YPI), which combines in-class learning with community development experience to give high school students tools for understanding and engaging in philanthropic activity. Since its launch, the program has enabled young philanthropists to donate over $10 million to community-based social service charities. YPI is currently running in over 200 schools across Canada, the UK and New York City.

Julie has been honoured as the recipient of the Hadassah-Wizo Organization of Canada’s Woman of Achievement award (2007), the Association of Fundraising Professionals Greater Toronto Chapter’s Outstanding Foundation award (2008), the institute for Canadian Citizenship’s Canadian Best Practice in Civic Education award (2010), the Premier’s Award for Philanthropy in Education (2011), and the June Callwood Outstanding Achievement Award for Voluntarism (2014). In addition, the Honourable Elizabeth Dowdeswell, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, awarded Julie Toskan-Casale with the 2014 Ontario Medal for Good Citizenship. Most recently, she was recognized by Saint Mary's University with an honorary doctorate in civil law (2015).

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Louise-Anne Comeau

Louise-Anne Comeau is the co-Founder and has been the Managing Director of Comeau and Monge Advisory for over 15 years. Comeau and Monge is a boutique consultancy guiding top-tier brands and creatives through the development and launch of new product collections and branded architecture / retail roll-outs. Her company focuses on luxury & consumer goods, fashion retail, leisure, transport and consumer electronics.

She has an extensive track record of building new business and brands such as Sotheby's, Bombardier, Coca-Cola, Swarovski and various hotel developments. Often called upon for guidance and advice, Louise-Anne has spoken on topics such as corporate growth, global consumption trends, the importance of unique branding, and is a recognized expert in the business of creativity.

She obtained a law degree from the University of Toronto Law School, after graduating from the University of Ottawa with a degree in economics, where she made it onto the Dean’s List.

Louise-Anne is the recipient of numerous accolades for business initiatives including "Best of Awards" from the Financial Times, Time Magazine, Wallpaper and others.

Wanda Walkden

Chief Human Resources & Communications Officer, Staples Canada

Wanda Walkden was appointed to the role of Chief Human Resources and Communications Officer at Staples Canada in 2018. She is responsible for leading Human Resources, Internal Communications and Corporate Social Responsibility, ensuring the alignment of these critical areas supports the engagement and retention of Staples 11,000 associates. Prior to joining Staples, she was the VP, Human Resources for Lowe’s Canada. Wanda has over twenty-five years human resources experience gained in a variety of industries including telecommunications, global outsourcing and retail and has led the Human Resources function for multi-site teams based in Canada, U.S, Europe and Asia Pacific.  She received her undergraduate degree from the University of Western Ontario and is a Certified Human Resources Professional (CHRP) and a Certified Professional Coach (CPC).

Wanda’s passion for promoting and fostering inclusive cultures is evident in her roles as Co-Chair of Staples Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Council and her prior role as Regional Officer with the Network of Executive Women.

Wanda has completed the Human Resources and Compensation Committee Effectiveness (HRCCE) with the Institute of Corporate Directors. She is on the Executive for the National Board of the Celiac Association of Canada.        

Joe Jackman

Founder & Executive Chair, Jackman Reinvents

Joe Jackman is the Founder & Executive Chair of Jackman Reinvents, the world’s first and foremost reinvention company. An advisor to consumer brands, retailers, B2B companies, and private equity partners for more than thirty years, Jackman has proven invaluable to leaders intent on sharpening strategy and orchestrating insight-led reinventions of their businesses. Throughout his career as strategist, creative director, marketer, and Reinventionist, he has helped companies create the most powerful and relevant versions of their brands and businesses in record time; he is widely considered to be the leading expert on rapid reinvention.

He is the author of, The Reinventionist Mindset: Learning to love change and the human how of doing it brilliantly, launched in January, 2020.

Prior to founding Jackman Reinvents, Joe spent over 25 years consulting to and working within consumer sector businesses, acting in transformative leadership roles at iconic brands such as Duane Reade, Loblaws, Old Navy and Walgreens.