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Alberta G. Cefis

Former Executive Vice-President & Head, Global Transaction Banking

BA'75, MBA'79


Alberta Cefis is an experienced global leader and C-suite executive, having served as a top executive with 34 years in the financial services industry managing complex businesses across continents and client segments. She has served on numerous financial industry committees and forums across borders, and has been frequently interviewed and written on topics of interest. She has broad experience as a Board Director on private, association, profit and not for profit Boards.

Alberta worked for two of Canada’s leading banks, and amongst the largest banks in the world by market capitalization – Scotiabank and Royal Bank of Canada. Her work has spanned portfolios that have included: global transaction banking; retail and business banking; automotive lending; wealth management; risk management; strategic planning and organizational development; acquisitions and merger management; operations and service delivery; and, marketing. She has managed sizeable businesses with $100+ billion in both loans and deposits, and billions in revenue; her portfolio scope has included managing offices, staff and customers in 58 countries across the world. In her last position (prior to retirement), Alberta was Executive Vice President & Head, Global Transaction at Scotiabank, responsible for managing cash management, liquidity solutions, electronic banking, trade finance, and correspondent banking. The mandate included: global product management; pricing; operations; a specialized salesforce providing coverage to multinational, corporate, commercial, government, and financial services clients worldwide, and across all industry sectors. Previous to this, Alberta was Executive Vice President, Retail Lending Services & Insurance, and President & CEO Scotia Mortgage Corporation. Alberta was on several senior internal committees including: the CEO’s Executive Management, Asset/Liability, Deposit Steering, Strategy Development, and Payments; she served as Co-Chair for Scotiabank’s Advancement of Women Steering Committee, and as Executive Champion for Scotiabank Pride (in support of the LGBT community).

Alberta’s has substantial experience with Boards, industry associations and forums, and many community initiatives. Currently, she serves as a Director on the following Boards: McGill University's Desautels Faculty of Management Advisory Board; The Shaw Festival; the National Theatre School of Canada; The Italian Chamber of Commerce of Ontario; Alcemon, and Acmon. Other significant roles on Boards include: Opera Atelier (a baroque opera company) where she served as Chair of the Board (from '03-'12), as well as Director (’97-‘12); Member of the Cabinet for the Sunnybrook Cancer Research Centre Campaign (from '07-'10); the Visa International Board (from '04-'07), where she also served on the key Transition Governance Committee, which was charged with taking Visa public through the IPO process; Director of the Visa Canada Association Board (from '99-'07); and, Director of the Scotia Mortgage Corporation Board (from '99-'06). Other key external industry roles include: Member of BAFT’s Transaction Banking Global Leaders Committee (’12-‘14); Chair of the Chip Executive Council (a financial services industry committee that championed the migration to chip technology in Canada - from '00-'06); and, Member of the National Advisory Committee for the United Nations' 2006 World Urban Forum.

Alberta was named to The 25 Most Powerful Women in Banking (yearly from '10-'14, and in '08) and to The 25 Women to Watch (in '09) by American Banker and US Banker. She was the recipient of numerous distinctions and awards, including: the Distinguished Payments Professional Award (in ’14), by the Women In Payments Group; The International Alliance for Women (TIAW) World of Difference 100 Award (in '10), honouring 100 females from around the world, for her contribution to the economic empowerment of women; named Canadian Woman Leader of the Year (in '07) by the Federated Press; inducted into "The Hall of Fame" of Canada's Top 100 Most Powerful Women (in '07), and prior to this, named to Canada's Top 100 Most Powerful Women List (yearly from '03 to '06) by the Women's Executive Network; recipient of the National Opera Directors' Recognition Award (in '09) from Opera.ca, for exemplary leadership on behalf of an opera company and the community it serves; recognized with the President's Award (in '06) from the Italian Chamber of Commerce of Ontario, honouring individuals for business excellence. She was profiled in the following books:  “Portraits of Canadian Women Who Inspire” (in ’13); and, “Celebration - 32 Inspiring Women of Italian Origin” (in '06). Alberta co-authored the book:  “The Truth About Mortgages – How To Make The Most Of Your Borrowing Power”, aimed at empowering customers in their decision making; she has also given many interviews and written articles related to financial services, global trends, and women in leadership roles. She has always worked passionately to further the advancement of women.

Alberta is multilingual (four languages) and multicultural; she has travelled and worked around the world; she graduated from McGill University with both a Bachelor of Arts, Joint Honours degree in Political Science & Italian Literature, and a Master of Business Administration. She is an avid traveler, a patron of the arts, a practitioner of many sports, and is married.

Specialization by geographical area: 
International Advisory Board