Business Uniting For A Thriving Mississauga
THE LAUNCH OF MERG
Even with a mask, you will no doubt recognize our illustrious MBOT Chair and partner with Speigel, Nichols, Fox - Susanne Balpataky, MBOT President & CEO - David Wojcik and MBOT V.P. Government & Stakeholder Relations - Brad Butt.
You might have also spotted Jim Molyneux, MBOT Past Chair and Regional Managing Partner of MNP.
Smiling behind their masks are Dr Alexandra Gillespie, the new Principal of UTM, Jane Chung, President of Astra Zeneca, John McKenna, President of McKenna Logistics, Paul Meo, President & CEO of NTN Bearing Corporation of Canada, Sam Sharma, President of Crown Group of Hotels, Bree Ranieri, CEO CoTalent Corporation and me, Ellen McGregor, CEO of Fielding Environmental.
So why did so many business leaders gather? To launch MERG - pronounced with a soft “g”.
MERG stands for the Mississauga Economic Recovery Group.
WHAT'S MERG ABOUT?
It began - as all great ideas do - with a conversation. At the beginning of April this year, David Wojcik posed this question to me,
“What can MBOT do to help Mississauga businesses recover from the impacts of COVID?”
He went on to say, “We should form a group of senior business leaders from various sectors of the Mississauga business community to think through the impacts of COVID-19 on the various sectors and more importantly, what can be done to mitigate and reverse the effects”. He then asked for my help, which immediately triggered a passion within. After all, my business had been substantially impacted and not in a good way even though Fielding had been characterized as “essential”. I could only imagine the impact on business owners who had been forced to close. With a sense of urgency, MBOT needed to show strong leadership underpinned by well thought out disciplines with an outcomes focus. In late April, the approval was given by the MBOT Executive Committee and MERG was created.
We began to brainstorm objectives at a 40,000 foot level. We knew we needed data from Mississauga businesses. Data that would lead to advocacy work - with the City, the Region as well as the Provincial and Federal Governments. But more than that, in order to really help Mississauga businesses, we needed data that would trigger actions to leverage capabilities unique to Mississauga. For instance, the creation of new talent pools or alternative access points to capital. The creation of new programs or collaboration opportunities to reduce costs. We knew that quantifiable, accurate, timely data could spearhead powerful actions to help companies recover and exceed pre-COVID measures.
With objectives clear in mind and a “working” Charge in place, our minds turned to the “How”.
HOW WILL MERG HELP?
With grey haired experience, we knew what we wanted to avoid. Both of us had been on panels whose work had been thwarted by bureaucracy, misunderstanding and divergent agendas. Both of us had felt the frustration of having recommendations filtered through sub-committees and governing committees - seeing recommendations diluted, mis-actioned or worse, simply ignored. We knew we needed a construct that would be nimble and impactful - lead by senior business leaders who could engage resources and commit their organizations to advance the work of MERG.
Our solution was to create a panel whose members would have 3 roles:
(1) To be part of an oversight committee
(2) To lead a group of companies within their sector
(3) To ensure their own organization provided input to questions they would ask of others
Panel members would ensure that companies from all across Mississauga would be engaged to share facts and ideas. The Panel would then mine data and make recommendations to MBOT for actions, advocacy, and communication. The construct - albeit one that places weighty responsibilities on panel members - is elegant and empowering.
MERG is truly MBOT’s grass roots initiative lead by top talent - done right - and it will be will serve as a recovery model for every city across Canada.
Stay tuned for updates as MERG helps Mississauga businesses “E-MERG“ stronger.
Ellen McGregor, CEO Fielding Environmental
Chair of MERG (Mississauga Economic Recovery Group)
MEET THE PANEL
Speigel Nichols Fox LLP
Susanne is an experienced commercial litigator and employment lawyer who has practiced at Speigel Nichols Fox LLP since joining the firm in 1991. Susanne also has extensive expertise in employment law acting for both employers and employees. Her prior experience working at the Ontario Human Rights Commission has proved invaluable in acting for employer respondents in human rights complaints.
President & CEO
Mississauga Board of Trade
David is a seasoned business professional and consummate entrepreneur with 40 years experience in a variety of industries. Prior to the Board of Trade, David was the CEO of EKNA Production House a digital asset management company and producers of broadcast television shows. David was also the executive producer and host of BiZ TV Canada, a business show designed for SME business owners and on the cutting edge of internet TV. Biz TV Canada was broadcast on CHCH nationally, Global and CBC affiliate stations and streamed daily via Financial Post Entrepreneur & Toronto Star on-line.
Ellen McGregor is the principal owner and CEO of Fielding Environmental - an award winning clean-tech company specializing in chemical and refrigerant recovery to produce high quality recycled chemicals. Committed to serving the peak of the waste management hierarchy, Ellen trade marked the phrase Cradle to Cradle® long before the words had market meaning. She is a champion for innovation believing that Canada can and should be the world’s leader in resource recovery.
Bree is a consultant, facilitator, and coach with more than 20 years of experience working with businesses of various sizes and scale. Bree has worked with her clients as a coach and a trusted advisor to leaders, demonstrating business outcomes in large scale projects such as M&A, scale for growth initiatives, and organizational design. Bree has a B.S. in Business Administration from the University at Buffalo and a M.B.A. from Canisius College in Buffalo, New York. She is a Certified Coach with the International Coach Federation and a Certified Team Coach with Renewal Associates.
Sector Leader –
Life Sciences & Health Care
Ms. Chung is a proven business and people leader with nearly twenty years of experience in the North American biopharmaceutical industry. With a strong focus on driving a culture of employee empowerment and engagement, Ms. Chung came to AZ Canada after playing a critical role in building and leading the company’s rapidly expanding Oncology franchise in the U.S. Most recently, she served as Vice President and Head of AstraZeneca’s U.S. Immuno-Oncology Franchise, where she was accountable for all aspects of marketing and sales of the company’s Immuno-Oncology medicines.
Sector Leader –
Hospitality, Tourism, Entertainment & Retail
Crown Group of Hotels
Sameer helped create and grow his family business as Director of Crown Group of Hotels, which owns and operates multiple hotels under internationally known flags such as: Marriott, Hilton, InterContinental Hotel Group and Choice Hotels. Today, Crown Group of Hotels employs over 300 people having established itself in a very short period taking its Hotel’s portfolio from under $10 million 6 years ago to over $150 million. Crown Group of Hotels currently operates in: Mississauga, Brampton, Ottawa, Barrie, Burlington & Sarnia. He was the recipient of the award for “Young Entrepreneur of the Year 2017” by the Indo Canada Chamber of Commerce and Mississauga Board of Trade where he now sits on the Board of Directors.
Sector Leader –
Transportation, Logistics & Supply Chain
McKenna Logistics Centres
John is the third-generation owner and president of McKenna Logistics Centres. He has also served on the board of the International Warehouse Logistics Association and its Canadian Council. John is a part-time professor at Humber College in the faculty of business and the supply chain management program. He also advises the CEO of Trillium Health Partners and is a member of the Interim Governing Council for Mississauga’s Ontario Health Team. John received his MBA from Ivey Business School. In 2015 and was awarded Business Person of the Year by
the Mississauga Board of Trade.
Sector Leader –
Financial & Professional Services
Regional Managing Partner
For more than 30 years, Jim has worked with clients in a variety of industries and in both the public and private sectors, delivering the services needed to make informed decisions. He has experience with Canadian and U.S. reporting issuers as well as with large private concerns. As Regional Managing Partner, Jim helps support key industries within the Peel Region, including real estate and construction companies, private enterprise, professionals, food and beverage processing, manufacturing, credit unions and private equity firms. Jim has served on the Mississauga Board of Trade board of directors since 2015, including being on the executive since 2017 and Chair in 2019.
Sector Leader –
Manufacturing (Advanced & Traditional)
NTN Bearing Corporation of Canada
Paul (Paolo) Meo is President and CEO of NTN Bearing Corporation of Canada, overlooking both the sales and manufacturing operations headquartered in Mississauga, Ontario. Meo is a graduate of York University’s Schulich Executive Program, and the CMOE (Centre for Management & Organization Effectiveness). Meo started his career with NTN 37 years ago, playing a pivotal role in NTN's continuous growth and expansion in the Canadian bearing market. Meo's company vision is "to transform into Canada’s leader of the Ultimate Bearing Experience." Founded in 1918, NTN is one of the world's largest producers of premium quality ball and roller bearings, long recognized for the most stringent quality standards in the industry.
Sector Leader –
Education & Not for Profit
Dr. Alexandra Gillespie
Principal - University of Toronto Mississauga
& Vice President - University of Toronto
After completing her BA (Hons.) in English at Victoria University of Wellington, Gillespie attended Oxford’s Corpus Christi College where she earned an MSt and DPhil. She went on to a Research Fellowship at Balliol College, Oxford, and a Library Fellowship at Darwin College, Cambridge, before coming to UTM as a professor of English in 2004. Since then, she has directed numerous projects of national and international significance, shaping educational policies, priorities, and practices as Chair of UTM’s Department of English & Drama; as an early member of Toronto’s Initiative for Diversity & Excellence; as the first Director of the Jackman Humanities Institute’s Digital Humanities Network; and as UTM’s Vice-Presidential Special Advisor in Research.