Tobin Ansong

Product Manager

Tobin Ansong is a Product Manager at Zensurance. He works with software engineers and software designers to launch software solutions for the small business insurance industry.

Mr. Ansong is the founder of the Professional Advisory Council of the Dalhousie Economics Department and serves as its chairman. The council aims to provide a channel that will keep alumni connected and engaged.

Mr. Ansong is the co-founder of the Canadian Institute of Human Capital and serves as its CEO. The CIHC provides innovative thinking from the perspective of young professionals by introducing high school students to various career options in technical fields. By exposing high school students to career paths in software engineering, product management, data science, etc., we can help them future-proof their careers.

Mr. Ansong earned a Bachelor of Science in Economics from Dalhousie University and a Master of Finance from Queen’s University. He also holds the following certifications: Charted Financial Analyst, Financial Risk Manager, Charted Alternative Investment Analyst, Derivatives Market Specialist, and Professional Scrum Master I.

Tobin Ansong
Sarah Burns

Sarah Burns

CEO & Founder

Sarah Burns is a PhD at the University of Oxford who studied as a 2016 Rhodes Scholar. Her research focused on how to ethically and sustainably contribute to private sector development in post conflict Africa and specializes in the contributions of FDI and local SME’s to this process.

For her research, Sarah lived and worked in Liberia and Sierra Leone, two of the most challenging countries in the world to conduct business in. After her experiences working with entrepreneurs and impact investors across the African continent, she realized that there was a significant gap in the current financing structure.

Sarah developed Nia Crowdfund as a solution for financing small and start-up businesses in Africa who are struggling to find catalytic capital ($100k to $1m). Using a combination of financial instruments that work well in Africa and the growing interest in both impact investing and equity crowdfunding, Sarah has built a platform that connects these investors to excellent opportunities.

Prior to Sarah’s study in the Master’s and PhD at the University of Oxford, she worked as a Researcher for the Bank of Canada after completing her Honours in Economics at Dal.

Conor Beer

Associate with Blueprint

Conor is an Associate with Blueprint, a non-profit research organization based in Toronto that generates and uses evidence to drive social change and improve lives. At Blueprint, Conor leads large-scale research initiatives across a range of social policy domains, including employment and training, social assistance and community justice, working primarily with government and not-for-profit clients. His current portfolio includes supporting the design of a Universal Basic Income in Nunavut, developing cost-measurement strategies for innovative employment programs funded by the Future Skills Centre, and using data to support the iterative design of new approaches to soft skills training with WorkBC.

Prior to joining Blueprint, Conor worked for the Government of Ontario in the Ministry of the Attorney General and Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities. With the government, Conor worked primarily in strategic policy development, supporting the design of several high-profile government initiatives, including Ontario’s approach to the legalization of cannabis, Ontario Justice Centres, and a range of programs intended to improve outcomes in the apprenticeship system.

Conor holds a BSc. Hons in Economics from Dalhousie, and an MSc in Economics and Philosophy from the London School of Economics and Political Science.

Conor Beer
Simon Bourgeois

Simon Bourgeois

CEO at Humi

Simon is the CEO at Humi, Canada's leading all-in-one HR, Payroll, and Insurance software provider. In his role at Humi, Simon helps oversee all functions of the business, from sales and marketing through to product management, software engineering, insurance, legal, finance, and operations. Headquartered on the waterfront in Toronto, Humi employs over 150 employees spanning Vancouver to Halifax.

Prior to Humi, Simon was a co-founder and the President at OneLocal, a B2B technology company building marketing automation tools for brick and mortar SMBs. Both Humi and OneLocal participated in the #1 ranked global startup accelerator program, Y-Combinator, and have raised significant venture capital. Simon also spent several years working in finance, pursuing a CFA, and publishing institutional equity research at Canada's largest private investment bank.

Colin Charlton

Sustainability Consultant

Colin is a consultant at McKinsey & Company, a global management consulting firm. Based in London, UK, Colin works within McKinsey’s Sustainability Practice, where he is passionate about providing insight and advice to clients on a range of topics, including industrial decarbonization strategies, the role of regulations in supporting the energy transition, and how firms can capture premia by creating green businesses.
Prior to McKinsey, Colin worked as an Economist within the Economic Analysis Directorate at Environment and Climate Change Canada, where he specialised in conducting cost-benefit analysis for environmental and climate change regulations. Colin first began his career as a Research Assistant in the Financial Stability Department at the Bank of Canada.
Colin holds an MSc in Environmental Economics from the London School of Economics and Political Science, and a BSc (Hons) in both Economics and Environment, Sustainability and Society from Dalhousie University.

Zac Chartier

Zac Chartier

Vice President at BDA Partners

Zac Chartier is a Vice President at BDA Partners. Since joining BDA in 2016, Zac has advised a range of clients on M&A transactions across industries. He has worked in BDA’s Shanghai office and is currently based in New York. Prior to joining BDA, he worked at Hawkbridge Capital Partners in both Toronto and Shanghai as an Investment Banking Analyst, where he worked on cross-border transactions between Canada and China.

Zac holds a Joint Honours degree in Economics and Mathematics with a minor in Chinese Studies (BSc) from Dalhousie University, an MA in Economics from University of Toronto, and is a CFA Charter holder. He is fluent in English and proficient in Mandarin.

Josian Edmond

Associate Director

Josian is a dedicated leader in the field of health data and analytics, with over 11 years of experience in designing and implementing data-driven strategies to improve quality of care delivered to Canadian. As her career progressed, Josian has developed a reputation for being a results-driven leader who is committed to using data and analytics to drive innovation, improve patient outcomes and reduce variability in care. Currently, she is the Associate Director, Data and Analytics, Centre of Excellence at Canadian Blood Services, an organization that ensures Canadian patients have reliable access to safe, high-quality blood, plasma, stem cells, and organs and tissues.

Benjamin Evans

Benjamin Evans

Lead Data Scientist

Benjamin Evans studied at Dalhousie from 2005-2009, two-time DUESA president and graduated with a combined honours in economics and mathematics. Subsequently he was an intern at the Bank of Canada where he worked on DGSE models.
He then moved further east to Toronto where we completed University of TorontosMaster of Mathematical Finance program, including an internship at CPPIB quantitative equities group.

After graduation he continued in the “quant” investing space working at RBC Global Asset Management. Subsequently he joined Quandl, now per of Nasdaq where he develops alternative data products to be used by investors“.

Sam Kirsh

Tax Analyst (Transfer Pricing)

Sam Kirsh holds a Honours Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Dalhousie University and a Master of Arts in Economics from the University of Toronto. While at Dalhousie, he was awarded the Anonymous Prize in Economics and Honours Thesis Prize for thorough analytical research papers. Following the completion of his graduate studies, he began working in the Transfer Pricing department at Grant Thornton in Toronto, specializing in multinational tax and financial agreements. Outside of work, Sam enjoys exercising, wilderness camping, and walking his dog Scout.

Sam Kirsh
Nicholas Li

Nicholas Li

Assistant Professor

Dr. Nicholas Li is an Assistant Professor at Toronto Metropolitan University whose primary research and teaching fields are development and empirical trade. His research has been published in top journals like the American Economic Review, Review of Economics and Statistics, Journal of the European Economic Association and Journal of International Economics and has been featured in policy-centric forums like the Canadian Federal Budget, CD Howe Institute, Ideas4India, VoxEU, Cato Institute, Wall Street Journal, and major Canadian newspapers.

Dr. Li’s research focuses on how trade and other market frictions affect prices, product variety, and household welfare. One strand of research explores how trade and competition affect retail and manufacturing firms in North America. Another strand explores issues related to household welfare in India including measurement of food consumption and the effects of anti-poverty policies on production and markets.

Prior to joining Toronto Metropolitan University, Dr. Li was an Assistant Professor at the University of Toronto and Visiting Fellow at Yale University. He received a PhD in Economics from the University of California, Berkeley, an MA from Queen’s University, and a BA from Dalhousie/University of King’s College.

Layla Lin

Financial Analyst & Investment Analyst

Layla Lin was graduated from Dalhousie University with a master degree in Economics. She was awarded the U.I.G. Rao prize for the highest GPA in MA core classes. She then worked at the Grandtag financial as a financial advisor and completed LLQP license. She then After this position, worked as a staff analyst at the Vtech technology Canada. During this time, she worked through CFA and CSC licenses. Since then she has worked as a financial analyst and investment analyst in Vancouver.

Layla Lin
Logan Li

Logan Li

Senior Analyst

Logan Li is a senior analyst on the Investment Operations team at the University of Toronto Asset Management Corp. (UTAM), which is the investment manager for the University of Toronto’s Pension, Endowment, and short-term working capital assets. He works with his team on the implementation, ongoing production and development of UTAM’s new system. He also helped his team build automation and data visualization tools with his programming skills.

Logan graduated from Dalhousie University with a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics and Economics. He took several machine learning courses from the University of Toronto School of Continuing Studies. He obtained his CFA charter in 2019.

Chayanika Lutes


Chayanika Lutes is an economist working at Statistics Canada in the Public Sector Statistics Division. Her subject matter focuses on Government Finance Statistics and Public Sector Debt Statistics.

Born and raised in Winnipeg, Chayanika graduated with a Bachelor of Commerce (Honours) in Finance and International Business from the University of Manitoba. She completed her graduate studies at Dalhousie University with a Master of Development Economics. At Dalhousie, Chayanika was very involved in the Graduate Economics Students Association and served as VP Finance in her first year and President of the Association in her second. She also completed a semester of her degree through the exchange program offered by the Dalhousie Economics Department at the University of International Business and Economics' International MBA program in Beijing, China.

Chayanika’s work experience extends over many sectors. In addition to her current role as a federal public servant, she has worked in policy at the municipal level, in data and analysis for a foundation in the not for profit sector, and as an economist in forest products for a multinational corporation. She now works in Ottawa, where she lives with her husband and two sons.

Chayanika Lutes

Justin Mayne


Justin graduated with a B.Sc. combined honours in mathematics and economics from Dalhousie in 2014. After receiving an M.A. in economics from UBC in 2015, and after completing the second year of a Ph.D. in economics at UBC, he withdrew to pursue law school. Justin received his J.D. from the U of T Faculty of Law in 2021, and joined the law firm of Stikeman Elliott LLP as an articling student, pursuing a career in competition law.

jmayne blakes
Julie Melanson

Julie Melanson

Senior Quantitative Analyst

"Julie Melanson is a senior quantitative analyst at TD. She leads model monitoring and analytics for Machine Learning models used for retail credit risk management. This work involves collaborating with machine learning scientists and validators on establishing performance monitoring metrics, analysing model performance, as well as presenting results to key stakeholders.
Prior to her current role, Julie participated in TD’s Quantitative Associate Rotational Program (QARP). The program provides Associates the opportunity to gain comprehensive experience developing, validating, implementing, and managing quantitative models throughout 4 rotations in various departments within the bank. Rotations include TD Economics, Model Validation, Collection Strategy and TD Asset Management.

Before joining TD, Julie worked at Public Safety Canada as a Policy Analyst and at the Bank of Canada as a Research Assistant. Julie graduated from Dalhousie University with a BSc honours degree in Economics and Statistics at Dalhousie University, where she was co-president of DUESA in her final year. She also obtained an MA in Economics from University of Toronto. "

Chenlu Shao

Senior Economist

Chenlu Shao is a senior economist working at Nova Scotia Department of Labour, Skills, and Immigration. She provides research and analysis on various labour market issues and help inform programs and policy-making decisions. She manages an annual household survey that monitors Nova Scotians' activities and intentions in the labour market. Chenlu also leads Nova Scotia Community Data Consortium with a network of over 20 provincial governments, municipal governments & non-profit organizations across Nova Scotia.

Prior to working for the Province, Chenlu worked as a research analyst at Nova Scotia Business Inc. and conduct trade market intelligence reports to assist Nova Scotia firms expanding in the foreign markets. She also worked at Dalhousie University as a research assistant for various projects.

Chenlu was born and raised in Shanghai, China. She moved to Halifax in 2013 and obtained an MA in Economics at Dalhousie University. She enjoys street dance and currently teaches at a local dance studio in Halifax.

Chenlu Shao
Leonie Van Haeren

Leonie Van Haeren

Associate, Law Student

Leonie van Haeren holds a Bachelor of Science in Economics with a minor in Law and Society and a certificate in Intercultural Communication from Dalhousie University, where she graduated with First Class Honours. Leonie also holds an M.A. in International Affairs from the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs at Carleton University.

Following her graduate degree, Leonie held a variety of employment positions in the public service. These include positions with Natural Resources Canada, the Embassy of the Netherlands in Australia, Global Affairs Canada, the International Development Research Centre, and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. Currently, she is pursuing her JD degree at the University of Ottawa.

Leonie is originally from the Netherlands and moved to Canada in 2008. She has since lived where university and work took her including periods overseas to teach English in rural areas of China in 2010, an exchange semester in New Zealand in 2013, and a placement with the Embassy of the Netherlands in Canberra, Australia in 2015/16.

David Wishart

David Wishart

Director, Applied Liquidity Research

David Wishart leads the Liquidity Parameterization team for Royal Bank of Canada’s Corporate Treasury. In his role, David researches the behavior of RBC’s products and clients in order to help the bank optimally structure its balance sheet against a range of stress scenarios and risk factors. Since 2007 he has held progressively senior roles in the banking industry across sales, risk management, and treasury.

Writing under the pen name David Donaldson, he is also a published author of the thriller ‘We Follow the Dying Light’.
David received his MA in Economics from Dalhousie University in 2011 and Bachelor’s of Business Administration from Bishop’s University in 2007. David is also a CFA Charterholder.

A Maritimer at heart, David now lives with his family in the Toronto area. In his spare time David enjoys blundering his pieces in chess, board games, creative writing, and a good book.

Victor Yang

Senior Director

Victor Yang is a Senior Director with Canada Life’s Mortgage Investments division. In his role with Canada Life, Victor is responsible for originating commercial mortgage investment opportunities in Alberta and British Columbia for the company.
Prior to Canada Life, Victor worked at Canadian Western Bank’s Edmonton real estate team as an account manager, where he focused on real estate development and construction financing in Edmonton region.
Victor holds an MA in Economics from Dalhousie University and is a CFA Charter Holder.

Biography - victor yang
Masha Zhddanava

Masha Zhdanava

Senior Economist

Masha Zhdanava is a senior economist in the Montreal office of Analysis Group, one of the largest international economic consulting firms. Masha specializes in the application of statistical methods in the field of health economics. Her role is to lead teams in designing, conducting and publishing studies on the use and effectiveness of treatments, cost of illnesses,and epidemiology.She works with a variety of data, including health insurance claims, electronic medical records, and data collected via online surveys. Her research in a wide range of therapeutic areas, including depression, schizophrenia, asthma, psoriasis, and oncologyhas been presented at conferences and published in journals including the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, the Journal of Affective Disorders, BMC Psychiatry, Allergy & Asthma Proceedings, and Clinical Therapeutics among others.

Masha was born and raised in Minsk, Belarus. She earned an honours degree in international economics from the European Humanities University and worked in government relations in Moscow for several years afterwards. She entered the MA program in economics at Dalhousie in 2011 focusing on labour and health economics and applied econometrics and graduated in 2013. Masha is fluent in Russian and English, and after many years in Quebec has a good command of French.