Eight company- and shareholder-elected members make up the Calian Group Ltd. Board of Directors. The board contributes to the strategy and governance of Calian. This “Meet the Board Blog Series” profiles each board member.
Name: Lori O’Neill
Titles: Corporate Director and Member of the Board of Directors, Calian Group Ltd.
Year Joined the Board: February 2023
Lori O’Neill LinkedIn Profile
Q: Tell us a bit about your education and career history, Lori.
LO: After graduating from Carleton University in 1988 with a Bachelor of Commerce (Highest Honours), I obtained my CPA designation (Ontario Honour Roll) and joined one of the global accounting firms. My primary objective was to learn about business, not to become an accountant. I was driven to learn about all aspects of the business world and had been well advised that the CPA designation would provide that opportunity. Almost immediately, I was fortunate to work with some exceptional leaders within the firm who coached and supported me. Working with a broad client base of ambitious entrepreneurial technology companies, I enjoyed the variety of learning opportunities and rapidly joined the partnership in 1996.
As partner of a leading global professional services firm, I worked with teams of professionals serving high growth companies, ranging in size from inception to multi-billion-dollar global organizations. Over the years, I developed expertise with financing, IPO’s, M&A, corporate governance, SEC/OSC filings, complex accounting issues, US GAAP, ASPE and IFRS and, importantly, a much wider range of strategic and operational business issues faced by these companies. At the same time, I developed my own leadership skills serving in several local and national management roles within the firm and gained governance experience serving non-profit boards outside the firm. I was fortunate to be able to retire from the partnership in 2012 to continue working with high-growth companies directly through my own consulting practice and to serve on corporate boards, which was not possible while in the partnership.
Over the past decade, I have served on the boards of many publicly traded companies, privately held and not-for-profit entities. I currently serve as a member of the board and audit committee for Constellation Software and recently joined the board and audit committee of Calian Group. My previous board experiences include DragonWave, Sierra Wireless, Circle Cardiovascular Imaging, Pythian Group, Defence Construction Canada, Hydro Ottawa, Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation, University of Ottawa Heart Institute and Ashbury College.
Q: What is the single highlight of your career thus far?
LO: It is difficult to pinpoint just one. I feel fortunate to have benefitted from the advice and support of exceptional mentors. My career interest was always entrepreneurial with a strong business foundation. The highlight of my career continues to be the opportunity to work hard alongside inspiring, brilliant, dedicated and humble people with high integrity, and to continually learn from and with them on various ventures or initiatives.
Q: What led you to join the Calian board?
LO: I was approached by Calian to join the board. Anecdotally, I knew of Calian from the early 1990’s, although the company had grown and changed dramatically over the past few decades. I also knew and respected several members of the current leadership team and board. Kevin Ford, CEO, has an inspiring vision for the company. Looking at what Calian has accomplished, its strategic direction, and the leadership, I felt this would be a terrific opportunity that aligned with my goals and interests. It will be a great learning experience and opportunity for me to contribute.
Q: In what area do you think your contribution to the board will be the most impactful and why?
LO: As a new board member, I think the first priority and most important objective is to understand the organization, listen and ask questions. With this foundation, it is possible to offer a fresh perspective or new viewpoint for discussion and consideration. I bring the perspective of my past experiences, formal training, technical expertise and variety of situations I have seen in other businesses. My background has enabled visibility into many businesses, situations, issues, solutions, and from different perspectives, as auditor, consultant, board member and investor. I hope to contribute value particularly in the areas of strategic direction and financial matters as the company is about to begin the process of strategic plan renewal.
Q: If you were chatting with a new investor, what is the #1 thing you would tell them about Calian?
LO: There are interesting opportunities ahead for Calian and the company is well positioned to take advantage of them. It is a terrific Canadian company with strong values, excellent capability, and the right priorities. Calian has unique capabilities in four operating segments which makes its value proposition incredible.
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