Events at UBC Sauder

Getting Through Unstable Times | Panel Discussion


Getting Through Unstable Times | Panel Discussion Replay

Video thumbnail for Getting Through Unstable Times | Panel Discussion Replay

Whether you have faced unexpected changes in your career journey or are simply feeling uncertain about the future, you are not alone. Regardless of what stage you are at in your career, the current situation has led to unprecedented challenges for us all.

Starting a new job at the World Trade Centre during 9/11. Entering the job market in a new city in the aftermath of the 2008 Financial Crisis. Welcoming your newborn the day of the 1987 stock market crash. Establishing your career in consumer goods on the heels of the 2000’s tech bubble crash.

Hear first-hand experiences from resilient UBC Sauder alumni across North America who have faced uncertainty and navigated to success. From being named one of Canada’s Most Powerful Women: Top 100TM by WXN, to being recognized as one of the top 50 most influential Albertans, these experienced alumni will share personal stories and lessons as we navigate this challenging period together.


Event details

Date: Tuesday, June 2, 2020
Time: 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. (PDT)
Location: Zoom Webinar


Karen Adams  (MBA 1993)
President & CEO Fundserv Inc.


Karen graduated from Sauder back in 1993 before it was Sauder!

She is the CEO of Fundserv, the technology platform and settlement engine at the heart of the Canadian investment industry. Karen was recognized in 2017 as one of Canada’s Top 100 Most Powerful Women by WXN and was voted CEO of the Year by Wealth Professional in 2019.

Karen spent most of her career overseas including Mumbai, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Beijing, Seoul, Dubai and London. Her first CEO role was with HSBC Jordan where she took the reins of the bank just as the global financial crisis hit in September 2008. Fundserv is her 4th career CEO role, contributing to her reputation as a change leader adept at managing large technology transformation projects.

Karen did a double major in Mathematics and Economics at Queen’s University before seeing the light and moving West to do an MBA in Vancouver. She and her husband Weston now have two kids at Queen’s who will hopefully go to UBC next...

UBC Sauder Alumni Panelists:

Alice Chacon (MBA 2010), Toronto
Director, Chequing Products at CIBC

Alice M. Chacon is a Product Management leader and UBC Sauder MBA alumna born in Caracas, Venezuela. She began her career as a journalist, writing about the changing political situation during the Chavez government. In a first career transition, she moved to Communications, leading employee communications for a local TV station, RCTV, and then for PepsiCo Foods in Venezuela. Her UBC Sauder MBA provided an opportunity to pivot into a new career in Product Management. After finishing her MBA in 2009, she moved to Toronto, where she faced the challenge of looking for work in the aftermath of the 2008-2009 recession.

Alice joined the CIBC Deposits team in early 2019 and is currently Director of the Chequing and Debit team, leading a team of Product Managers that focus on developing new products and executing on growth strategies for the hero products: The Smart Account and Smart Plus.

On a personal side, Alice has two children and enjoys biking, reading and traveling. She gives back by coaching and supporting new immigrants and fellow Sauder alumni moving to Toronto.

Rick Grafton (BCom 1977), Calgary
CEO at Grafton Asset Management


Rick Grafton is the Co-Founder, Chief Executive Officer of Grafton Asset Management. He has over 35 years of investing experience and has completed over $22 billion of energy investment transactions in a career that has successfully spanned recessions and unstable times. He has been a founding shareholder and board member of many leading, high-growth energy companies including Northrock, Amber Energy, Pacalta and Athabasca. Mr. Grafton has been recognized as one of the top 50 most influential Albertans. He is an active philanthropist in children’s education, athletics and the arts. He is an avid sportsman and enjoys fishing, cycling, shooting and golf. He has been married for 35 years and has three children.

Albert Pho (BCom 2003), San Francisco
VP Global Strategic Planning | Corporate Strategy at Salesforce

Albert is an early stage angel investor and Vice President in Salesforce’s Global Strategic Planning / Corporate Strategy group. Prior to Salesforce, Albert held monetization strategy leadership roles at Linkedin and started his career on the heels of the 2000’s tech bubble crash in the Consumer Goods industry. In 2009, upon completion of his graduate studies post-financial crisis, he transitioned to Management Consulting with Booz & Co., advising companies on corporate growth and transformation. A graduate of the 2003 UBC Sauder BCom class, Albert is also an alumnus of the class of 2009 from Kellogg Northwestern University’s MBA program. He currently resides in San Francisco, California.

Maili Wong (BCom 2001), Vancouver
Senior Portfolio Manager, Executive VP at Wellington-Altus Private Wealth

Maili Wong, named one of Canada’s Most Powerful Women: Top 100TM by WXN, is a Senior Portfolio Manager and Executive Vice-President at Wellington-Altus Private Wealth.

Maili shares her personal story of resilience and lessons learned during her nearly two decades of international investing experience in her Amazon #1 Bestselling book, Smart Risk: Invest Like the Wealthy to Achieve a Work-Optional Life, as well as in her powerful Tedx Talk.

Maili’s uncommon wealth management style has garnered her a position on Business in Vancouver’s “Top Forty Under 40” list. Her work is recognized in media, including a feature in the commemorative book Canada 150 Women. Most recently, she was named one of B.C.’s Most Influential Women by BC Business. She served a full term on the Real Estate Council of British Columbia, serves as a professional Board Member of the UBC Portfolio Management Foundation, and co-Chairs the annual “Up the Down Market” Gala. Maili also created and funded the University of British Columbia “Maili Wong Scholarship in Finance.”

Wellington-Altus Private Wealth is a member of the Canadian Investor Protection Fund (CIPF) and the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC).


If you have any questions about this event or would like more information please contact Amadon Coletsis.