Members of the Desautels community came together on January 27, 2012 to celebrate the recipients of the 32nd Desautels Management Achievement Awards.
Management Achievement Award
The Achievement Award is presented to individuals who serve as role models for students in their education, career, and philanthropic contributions.
Morrie Cohen (BCom’60)
President, Modico Canada Ltd., Modico Parking Inc., & Waitsfield Capital Inc.
Bertrand Cesvet (BA’86, MBA’90)
Chairman & Chief Strategist, Sid Lee
Founder & Chair of the Board, Cora Franchise Group Inc.
Lifetime Achievement Award
Each year, one individual is awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition for their exceptional philanthropic and economic impact on the Canadian economy. In addition to their achievements, their personal narrative of displaying perseverance and resilience serves as a source of inspiration for the students in attendance.
Ned Goodman (BSc.’60)
Co-founder, President & CEO, Dundee Corporations
Business leaders share success with students
On Jan. 27, students, faculty, administration, and alumni came together at the Omni Hotel for the 32nd Management Achievement Awards. The event honoured four individuals in the business world who had exemplified entrepreneurial skills, using their success to give back to the community. The event also provided a unique networking experience for those in attendance.
“It’s one of those things you can’t learn in a classroom. This is hearing [advice] from people who have done it, who have experienced it, and who have succeeded in doing it,” Keith Chan, U3 international management and chairman of the event, said.
In a brief speech, the dean of the Desautels faculty of management, Peter Todd, commented on the appropriateness of the award’s recipients, who were chosen by the student organizers. The selection aimed to recognize community entrepreneurs who would serve as a good example for other management students.
A subcommittee of the Management Undergraduate Society had been organizing this event since June. Management undergraduate students who attended the event also benefited from the presence of representatives from major Canadian companies such as Ernst & Young, Sid Lee, PWC, and KPMG.
“For students, they have a chance to meet [company representatives] and chat informally in an environment they might have not otherwise had,” Jason Paseli, a McGill alumnus now working for KPMG, said.
While the event was ideal for students to network, Samantha Butler, U3 accounting and chairwoman of the event, explained that it was designed for students to gain more than ordinary networking opportunities.
“This is business-meets-students and in a really interesting way, not just networking but having award winners share their stories. That’s not something you get with networking, where you’re trying to just sell yourself and [you can’t] just … put that aside and listen to people who made it to the top,” she said.
President and CEO of Dundee Corporation Ned Goodman, recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award, spoke about how students should proceed in the business world, showing students that success is about more than just large investments.
“There are people who say my success and career has been lucky, and they’re right, it has been lucky, but luck only comes from being associated with the right people. I have been lucky to surround myself with people who are smarter than me,” he said.
Having spent over 50 years in the natural resource investment industry, Goodman’s advice was not always specific to business.
“We live in a world that has confused regulations and rules with cultural principles,” he said. “Rules can always be bent but principles are forever … [You should] always finish what you start, when you’re riding through hell, keep riding, and never give up.”
Another award winner was Cora Tsouflidou, founder and chair of the board for Cora Franchise Group Inc. This franchise was created when Tsouflidou, a single mother, bought an abandoned diner in Montreal that later became Chez Cora.
“Cora doesn’t come from a business background but possesses a strong entrepreneurial spirit. Look [at] what she has accomplished; she has taken her passion and built a great enterprise. It gives hope to students to take what they love and run with it,” Michaela Hirsh, U1 finance and director of operations and logistics of the event, said.
Bertrand Cesvet, chairman and chief strategist of Sid Lee, was ecstatic about being able to give back to the Desautels community.
“McGill changed my life; I really think that none of what I accomplished in my life could have happened if I had picked one of the other schools I was looking at,” he said.
The event emphasized that being a successful business leader is about more than securing investments and major projects.
“The news often paints corporate executives as monsters, but there are many people who share their success and I think that undergraduate students should see that,” Hirsch said. “When you work towards something, you’re not working just for your own personal gains but for the community at large.”