The Faculty of Arts Advancement Office hosts a number of events each year. One of our most successful events is the It Starts with Arts Speaker Series, which brings alumni back to campus to speak to students about how their Arts degrees led to their current careers.

Past Speakers


Avery Palevsky, BA
President, Toulon Development Corporation

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Toulon is a private corporation that has been in business for over 50 years. It operates throughout Canada and The United States, and owns and manages commercial, residential, industrial, and retail real estate. Avery Palevsky was named President of the company in 1998 and remains in this position today. Avery has been an active member in the Montreal community and has sat on several charitable boards. Spoke at McGill October 20th, 2015.


John MacFarlane, BA, LLB
Partner, Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP      

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John advises Canadian, U.S., and international clients on corporate finance transactions and acquisitions and dispositions of domestic and international businesses. He has considerable expertise in the area of infrastructure finance and capital markets platforms, having advised on debt capital market financings for the Maritime Link transmission project, Toronto Pearson International Airport, the leading operator of electricity transmission assets in Alberta, and the Confederation Bridge linking P.E.I. and New Brunswick. In addition to transactional work, John advises senior management and boards of directors on corporate governance and public company matters and other strategic legal issues. John has served as Co-Chair of the firm’s Corporate Finance Practice Group and as Managing Partner of Osler’s Calgary office. John has also served as a member of the Securities Advisory Committee to the Ontario Securities Commission.

Paul McKeown, BA, MBA
Head of U.S. Debt Capital Markets, Scotiabank 

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Paul McKeown is the Managing Director and Head of U.S. Debt Capital Markets for Scotiabank. He has more than 15 years of experience in investment banking and has worked on the Debt Capital Markets desk in New York for the past 12 years. He joined Scotiabank in 2002 and was named the head of the desk in 2010. Paul directs a team that is responsible for all USD denominated bond issuance from the Bank’s global client base.

Paul holds a Masters of Business Administration from the University of Notre Dame and a Bachelor of Arts from McGill University. He is currently a member of the Board of Directors for Scotia Capital (USA) Inc., the Champions Committee in New York for Right to Play, and a member of the Cardinal O’Hara Society at Notre Dame. 


Monique Jerome-Forget, PhD, C.M., O.Q.
Special Advisor, Osler; Member, Board of Directors of the Bank of Canada

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Monique Jérôme-Forget is a Special Advisor in the Osler Montréal office. In 2010, she was appointed by the Minister of Finance of the Federal Government, Mr. James (Jim) Flaherty, to the Economic Advisory Council, which is made up of eleven high profile members from across Canada. Since 2013, she has served on the Board of Directors of the Bank of Canada and also chairs the Human Resources and Compensation Committee. 

She was a Member of the National Assembly from 1998 until April 2009 and served as Minister of Finance, Minister of Government Services, and President of the Treasury Board. In addition, she has been a Vice Rector at Concordia University, Assistant Deputy Minister of Health and Welfare Canada, President and CEO of the Commission de la santé et de la sécurité du travail, and Chair of its related research institute.

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