STAFF AND BIOS

Slide 1
O&A Team

Our Founder

MichaelOwen

Michael T. Owen

FOUNDER

Owen & Associates was founded by Michael (Mike) Owen.

Owen & Associates was founded by Michael (Mike) Owen following his time on the carrier side of the business & with the realization that clients were underserved in the Canadian market. In his career, Mike has held various senior roles, through which he helped establish insurance businesses in the Toronto market. As a result of his experience in these areas “It was clear that the clients were underserved by both the carriers and on the consulting side of the business. Service was a key element that was missing and this was what led me to establish Owen and Associates in 1992 – a firm whose vision was to put clients first, find solutions for their issues, and do so regardless of size.”
 
Mike always saw people as one of their business’ greatest long-term investments. Specifically, regarding the strategic opportunity found in forming relationships with our southern neighbors in the United States. “We always believed that the United States is the greatest exporter of business globally.” Those relationships, paired with a strong service delivery, led to more opportunities and now O&A works through various international networks and their international relationships span 25+ years.
 
Mike approached business with a holistic technique, to act as a single point of contact for group benefits, group retirement, and third-party administration services. Through this method, our goal is to simplify the client relationship and streamline potential cross-functional enhancements and communication opportunities. As we were working with global clients, Mike recognized two reoccurring factors. First, for many clients, Canada represents a smaller population and marketplace. Second, as companies trended toward centralization of HR and administrative functions with international providers, there was a need for Canadian expertise and support.
 
Mike sadly passed away in 2022 but his vision was clear, to provide the highest level of service while taking care of our clients & their employees. Steven Owen and the O&A team continue striving toward it – not only to deliver on our commitments to our partners, clients & their employees – but also in the pursuit of Mike's legacy.

Leadership Team

Steven Owen

Steven Owen

President

Steven oversees operations management and systems.  Steven manages all departments of the business and is actively involved with many major clients.  Steven is a CPA who previously articled at KPMG and his financial reporting and process-driven background adds tremendous value and results to clients.

Ali Gulamhusein

Ali Gulamhusein

Director of Marketing & Renewals

Ali oversees the Marketing & Renewals Team at Owen & Associates. He joined the firm in 2021 having nearly two decades of experience in the financial services industry with various multi-national MGAs, consulting firms, and providers. Ali’s analytical expertise, combined with a “client-first” approach and process-driven skill set ensures exemplary service standards for our valued clients. 

Ali holds an Honours B.A. from the University of Toronto specializing in Economics and International Relations. He is fully Life and A&S licensed and is currently pursuing his GBA designation.

Alexandria Quirouette

Alexandria Quirouette

Director of Business Development

Alex is a dedicated advocate for Owen & Associates' approach to Group Benefits & Group Retirement Consulting and Administration Services. Collaborating closely with both teams, she has played a key role in shaping their philosophy and approach to delivering on promises made to clients and prospective clients. Alex's greatest passion lies in fostering a culture of care for people, ensuring that this ethos resonates throughout the organization, from the internal team to broker partners, clients, and their employees, in all their interactions.

Alex completed her studies in Psychology at the University of Western Ontario and furthered her education by obtaining her Life License, Mutual Fund License, and Group Benefits Associate Designation from Dalhousie University. With over 12 years of experience in Group Benefits & Retirement Consulting & Administration, Alex is adept at finding thoughtful solutions for a wide range of client needs.

In her personal time, Alex cherishes moments spent with her growing family.

Celine Blakely

Céline Blakely

Director of Finance & HR

Céline serves as the Director of Finance & HR at Owen & Associates, joining the team in August 2020. With a rich background spanning 23 years in Accounting and Human Resources across diverse sectors, she brings invaluable expertise to her role. Céline is deeply committed to her work and fosters a strong sense of care for the O&A Team. Outside of work, she cherishes moments with loved ones and indulges in hobbies such as ATVing, hunting, camping, and a passion for True Crime.

Kaycie Sjodin

Kaycie Sjodin

Director of Client Services

Kaycie joined the O&A team in April 2020 as a member of the Marketing and Renewals department. Coming from an account management background in the energy procurement industry, Kaycie brings 5+ years of customer service experience to her role as a Sr. Benefits & Retirement Analyst. Among her passions for a good excel formula, customer satisfaction, and solution-oriented thinking, you can also find her hanging upside on the aerial silks, cooking up a storm in the kitchen, and hiking through the trails on her 25 acres with her miniature Goldendoodle.   

OWEN & ASSOCIATES

Lindsay Patton

Director of TPA Services

Lindsay is the Director of the Third Party Administration (TPA) team for Owen and Associates and started in March 2024. Lindsay has over 13 years of experience working in TPA, and is passionate about leadership, customer service and client care. 

Lindsay loves to spend her time with her family going on adventures in the outdoors; whether that be learning how to snowboard with her children in the winter months, to camping in the summer months.

Marketing and Renewals Team

Kari Suosalo

Kari Suosalo

Consultant Team Lead

Kari has been with Owen & Associates since January 2019 with a background in account management and customer service. As a Senior Benefits & Retirement Analyst, Kari focuses on managing customer experience and success to maintain client relationships. Through critical thinking, data analysis, time management, and keen attention to detail, Kari excels at providing clients a positive experience working with O&A. While not at work, you can find Kari on the hiking trails with her Golden Retriever or with her eyes glued to a True Crime documentary.

Iulia Vajda

Iulia Vajda

Analyst Team Lead

Iulia joined O&A as a Benefits and Retirement Analyst in January 2022. With over 20 years of customer service experience, she has a passion for details and finding daily efficiencies within her role. As part of the Marketing and Renewals team, she strives to attain the best experience for our O&A clients.

Outside of work, Iulia enjoys travel, DIY home renos, baking, gardening, and outdoor activities. She and her partner Nick can be found paddleboarding on the Georgian Bay or hiking with their dog Ollie.

Jay Sharkey

Jay Sharkey

Senior Consultant

Jay has been working with Owen & Associates since February 2020.

With over 30 years in the Group Insurance Benefits world in roles ranging from Underwriter to Account Manager to National Sales Director to having his own Brokerage operation, Jay brings a wealth of experience and passion for finding the right solution for O&A’s clients.

 As a Senior Benefits & Retirement Analyst, Jay focuses on managing the client experience by ensuring that their expectations are met using critical thinking, data analysis, time management, and keen attention to detail skills.

When Jay isn’t working remotely from his home in Cambridge, Ontario, you can find him fartlek karaokeing, enjoying walks with Deirdre, maintaining his aquariums, building Adirondack chairs, or visiting his hometown in Nepean, Ontario.

Robyn Montie

Robyn Montie

Consultant

Robyn has been with Owen & Associates as a Benefits and Retirement Analyst since January of 2020 managing clients and their group benefit and retirement plans. Prior to joining the O&A team, Robyn specialized as an event coordinator organizing large-scale events both across Canada and the U.S. Her organizational abilities, time management and attention to detail coupled with her customer service skills make her the perfect fit for O&A and our clients. 

Robyn was born in Vancouver and raised in the sunny Okanagan Valley in Beautiful British Columbia. Robyn graduated from Okanagan College and went on to live and work in Vancouver where she met her partner, Matthew. They relocated to Collingwood, Ontario in the spring of 2019 and since then, welcomed their dog Jax into the family and purchased their first home. 

Aside from being highly organized and a genuine people person, Robyn thinks outside the box, loves travelling and hiking the beautiful trails Ontario has to offer!

OWEN & ASSOCIATES

Rosalyn Lukasik

Analyst

Rosalyn is currently a Benefits & Retirement Analyst at Owen & Associates working closely with the Marketing and Renewals (MARS) team.

Rosalyn completed her International Business degree at Carleton University and has fulfilled over three years working in the financial services industry in customer service and administrative roles. She is committed to completing her GBA designation and continuing to provide top-tier support to her colleagues within the MARS team.

Outside of work, she enjoys playing the guitar, baking, and planning the next travel excursion. She also loves to spend time with family and friends!

AJIdris

AJ Idris

Analyst

Bachelors in Business Administration with a minor in Human Resources from Algoma University in Sault Ste. Marie.  Prior to joining O&A, AJ worked as a licensed home and auto insurance agent downtown Toronto. With attention to detail and strong analytical skills, AJ enjoys diving deep into reports and unlocking the many mysteries within Microsoft Excel.

After leaving the big city and relocating to Collingwood in 2022, AJ is currently in the process of obtaining his CEBS designation.  An avid car fan, AJ’s hobbies are going for long drives, exploring the entirety of Ontario, enjoying good music and sometimes playing soccer whenever he get the chance.

RichaNagpal

Richa Nagpal

Senior Consultant

With 8 years of diverse experience in the benefit industry including administration, analytics, and consulting, Richa brings a multifaceted approach to client solutions. Beyond the office, Richa and her husband are avid adventurers, exploring the natural world, traveling to far-off destinations, and savoring the delights of diverse cuisines. This passion for exploration and discovery enriches Richa’s work, infusing creativity and a global perspective into every client interactions.

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Aaron Beker

Aaron brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to his role at Owen and Associates, with a background in Computer Science and a Bachelor of Information Technology from Ontario Tech University. Since joining the company in 2023, Aaron has been a driving force behind our commitment to innovation, efficiency, and continuous improvement.

With a passion for optimization and a keen eye for detail, Aaron leverages his expertise in Excel and automation to streamline processes and maximize productivity. His dedication to excellence and his love for improvement have earned him a reputation as a trusted resource within the company.

Beyond his professional pursuits, Aaron finds joy in gaming with friends, striking a balance between his love for technology and his passion for building meaningful connections.

Third Party Administrators

Victoria Knodel

Victoria Knodel

Administration Team Lead

Victoria is one of O&A’s senior employees, with 7+ years of experience in the industry at Owen & Associates.  She leads the firm’s large groups on the administration side - her role consists of overseeing and training her team in addition to conducting employee education sessions and managing the day-to-day responsibilities of her accounts.  Victoria also leads our Social Committee - planning quarterly staff appreciation events and company functions throughout the year. 

She enjoys the team collaboration, dynamic of a fast-paced environment; and strives to provide excellent customer service for her client and their employees.

She is currently in process of obtaining her CEBS designation. 

In Victoria’s spare time, she enjoys yoga, meditation, learning new baking recipes and trail rides with her dog Matsu.

Carrie Fretz

Carrie Fretz

Administration Team Lead

Carrie is a Benefits Specialist with O&A and has been with the company since early 2019. Carrie remains busy, studying for her full CEBS designation, enjoying reading all genres of books, and listening to interesting podcasts. If you are lucky to be in a call with her, her Cat Misses JoJo, will often like to make an appearance to brighten everyone's day!

Chantal Masselin

Chantal Masselin

Administration Team Lead

Chantal has been with Owen & Associates since early 2021 as a Benefits Specialist working with clients to assist them with their Group Benefit and Retirement Plans. With a background in Customer Service and Hospitality, she has many years of experience helping her parents with their family-run business. 

Born and raised in the Collingwood area, Chantal loves to spend her time with family and friends, hiking, and spends lots of time with her horses and dogs. At a young age, Chantal competed competitively in the equestrian world, travelling around Canada and the USA. 

Kelly Hopkins

Kelly Hopkins

Senior Benefits Specialist

Kelly was born and raised in Collingwood which is a Travel and Tourism town. She left Collingwood to pursue other dreams as a young adult but came back to raise her family in this amazing town.  Growing up in a tourism town lead Kelly to obtain a diploma in Hotel, Resort, and Restaurant Administration, but after a decade working in the Travel industry, she decided to make the move into group benefits and began her carrier at O&A as a Benefits Specialist in 2016.  

Kelly is one of the Senior Benefits Specialists on the O&A team and her strong customer service and communication skills, attention to overall passion for whatever she chooses to do makes her a perfect fit for our clients and their employees. There are no questions to big, small or obscure that Kelly is not willing to go the extra mile for to assist employees or her clients. 

Kelly enjoys the tropics; a day on a catamaran and snorkeling is her happy place. When back in Ontario she enjoys camping, snorkeling in her pool (to pretend she is in the tropics), rocking out to music (mostly Top 40 stuff, but is a declared Hanson fan), and most of all spending time with family.

Lindsay Swiderski

Lindsay Swidersky

Senior Benefits Specialist

Lindsay is a Benefits Specialist at Owen & Associates working in both large and small group administration.

Lindsay has been with Owen & Associates for over 2 years and is working on achieving her GBA.  

Lindsay’s hobbies are swimming and reading and she loves spending time with her family and friends.

She loves being part of the O&A team and is focused on ensuring the best client experience possible.

Rachelle Barker

Rachelle Barker

Benefits Specialist

Rachelle is a Benefits Specialist with Owen & Associates, providing excellent customer service and employee experiences for over the past 2 years by going above and beyond for her clients. Rachelle has been in the customer service industry for over 15 years by bringing value and experience to her clients with her employee-first approach.

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Sally Hamilton

Customer Service

Sally joined the Owen & Associates team in early 2023 bringing over 15 years of customer service experience to the team. Sally's attention to detail and problem solving skills allow her to ensure her clients and employees receive the highest levels of customer service and care. After studying at McMaster University, she returned home to the Blue Mountains where she can be found on her snowboard during the winter months & on the golf course each summer.

Katrina Patterson

Katrina Patterson

Benefits Specialist

Katrina is a Benefits Specialist on the Owen & Associates Administrative team. With over 10+ years of experience within the customer service industry, Katrina strives to provide exceptional customer service & knowledge to all clients & their employees. This is shown in Katrina’s approach in educating both employers & employees on their employer-sponsored group benefits and retirement plans. When Katrina is not working, she enjoys spending time with family & friends on Georgian Bay during the summer & skiing on the hills of Blue Mountain during the winter.

Ritu Muker

Ritu Muker

Benefits Specialist

Ritu is a Benefits Specialist at Owen & Associates, and works alongside the administration team; primarily focused on large groups and auditing.

Ritu is currently studying her CEBS, aiming to achieve her GBA. Ritu is hardworking and continues to show passion in learning while providing excellent organization and teamwork skills. 

Her hobbies are scrapbooking, baking, and planning/coordinating events. She also enjoys spending time with her family and friends. 

She is excited to be a part of the O&A team and is looking forward to experiencing new goals and challenges.

Stacie Rose

Stacie Rose

Benefits Specialist

Stacie is currently a Benefits Specialist at Owen & Associates. Her first exposure to administrating group benefits was in her career as a Kinesiologist. It has always been a priority for her to work in a career that represents her passion for helping others in an honest and dedicated way. She has found that at Owen & Associates. 

Providing customer service and effective communication with clients and their employees is what she enjoys most. She excels with her attention to detail in a high-volume work environment, while appreciating the productive team dynamic.

She is currently obtaining her CEBS designation and looks forward to learning as much as possible in the industry to better serve her clients. 

When not at work, Stacie is usually on an outdoor adventure with her family.

Melissa Gargaro

Melissa Gargaro

Benefits Specialist

Melissa is part of the Benefits Specialist Team at Owen & Associates. In this role, Melissa administers and manages the corporate company’s employee group benefits and retirement programs. Her person-centered approach and excellent customer care are what her clients value most about her. When she isn’t going for long hikes, playing sports, or broadening her knowledge in fitness and nutrition, you will find her working towards striving to meet her client’s needs in any way possible as a happy client is always the ultimate goal. 

Somlo, Sue

Sue Somlo

Benefits Specialist

Sue has been with O&A since October 2021 as a Benefits Specialist.

She has a unique perspective having worked a combined 36 years in the industry at a large insurance provider, a brokerage and as the in-house benefits specialist for a small construction firm.

She strives to provide the best customer service and experience for her clients.

In her downtime she can be found with her family at the hockey rink or the baseball diamond, or at home crafting surrounded by a menagerie of pets.

ToshaHarasewich

Tosha Harasewich

Benefits Specialist

Tosha joined O&A in late 2021, shortly after gaining her bachelor's degree in Political Science from Lakehead University. Her minor studies in Psychology and 10+ years of customer service experience led her to join the Owen & Associates team. As an American expat herself, Tosha thrives on assisting new Canadians with better understanding the Canadian Benefits & Retirement fields.

She recently completed her GBA 2 and is currently working towards her CEBS designation. Tosha's love of assisting others combined with her dedication to delivering effective and efficient service propels her to provide exceptional service standards to Owen & Associates clients and their employees.

When she is not working, you can often find Tosha exploring the beauty of the South Georgian Bay area- hiking, snowboarding, and exploring the beauty of the world around her. When not in nature, she enjoys peaceful time at home with her dogs, garden, kitchen and loved ones.

MichelleDecarie

Michelle Decarie

Benefits Specialist

Michelle is a Benefits Specialist with Owen & Associate since March 2022. Michelle brings 15+ years of experience in customer service and administration. Michelle is currently in the process of obtaining her CEBS designation.

In her spare time, she enjoys going to the beach, boating, rafting, gardening and spending time with her son and dog. She has a passion for cooking and creating new dishes.

Cari

Cari Vetere

Benefits Specialist

After 10+ years in administration and customer service, Cari joined Owen & Associates in 2022 as a Benefits Specialist.

By assisting with group benefits, retirement, leave policies, and disability insurance, she strives to provide a high level of service to clients and employees. In between, she is currently working towards her CEBS designation.

Outside of work, Cari enjoys spending time with family and friends in the Georgian triangle.

OWEN & ASSOCIATES

Vaden Watson

Benefits Specialist

Vaden has been in the customer service industry for over 15 years and is willing and eager to provide all his years of experience to his clients.

Currently in the process of studying to obtain his CEBS designation and wants to learn as much as possible to better serve my clients.

Vaden’s hobbies include cooking and traveling, he spends most of his time in the kitchen and loves trying new foods. Loves visiting local farmers markets on the weekends, His dreams are to visit every Caribbean Island one day.

ElizabethCarlos

Elizabeth Carlos

Benefits Specialist

Elizabeth has been working as a benefits specialist with Owen and Associates since 2022. Elizabeth is currently studying for her CEBS. Elizabeth is always striving to further her knowledge when it comes to Group Benefits and Retirement, so she can provide the best service possible to her clients.

In her free time Elizabeth enjoys reading, exploring with her two dogs, and she is always looking to take on a new hobby that interests her.

Accounting

MacKenzieEnman

MacKenzie Enman

Executive Assistant

MacKenzie joined the O&A team in April 2022 as the Executive Assistant. Her keen eye for detail and organizational skills allows her to assist all departments of O&A to ensure they run efficiently. MacKenzie is passionate about her job and is always looking to advance her knowledge and skills. Outside of work she enjoys spending time with her husband in the Muskoka’s, on Manitoulin Island, and hiking with her dog Blue.

Mae Martinez

Mae Martinez

Born and raised in the Philippines, I moved to Canada to be closer to family who moved to the States. Have a background in engineering and went to study accounting moving here to Canada to learn a different kind of math.

When not working, I love hanging with family and friends. I enjoy listening to music, movies, crossword puzzle, sudoku, billiards, karaoke (though I don’t have the voice for it) food trips and milk tea.

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