STAFF AND BIOS

Slide 1
O&A Team

Leadership Team

Michael Owen

Michael T. Owen

CEO

Mike oversees all operations of the firm and developed our consolidated service model.  Mike has over 35 years of experience in the industry and previously held an Executive Vice President position at a major consulting firm.  There he noticed ongoing service limitations and identified an opportunity to create his own service-driven firm.  Mike’s focuses are key account management, business partner, and vendor relationship management.  

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 Third Party Administration

As Team Lead for the Administration Division, Alexandria Quirouette oversees the Benefits Specialists responsible for all employee support. Alex is responsible for ensuring we are delivering outstanding client service experiences while maintaining a high-performing team of dedicated O&A benefit specialists.  Alex completed her studies in Psychology at the University of Western Ontario & went on to complete her Life License, Mutual Fund License & Group Benefits Associate Designation through Dalhousie University. With over 12 years of experience in Benefit & Retirement Plan consulting & HR, Alex holds employee & employer experience primary in her development of O&A Administration processes.

Celine Blakely

Céline Blakely

Accounting and HR Manager

Céline is the Accounting Manager for Owen & Associates and started in August 2020. She brings over 18 years of experience in Accounting and Human Resources having worked in various industries. Céline is passionate about and dedicated to her work and cares a great deal about the O&A Team.  Céline enjoys spending time with family and friends ATV’ing, hunting, and camping in her spare time and has a fondness for True Crime.

Marketing and Renewals Team

Cassandra Price

Cassandra Price

Senior Benefit & Retirement Analyst

Cassy is originally from the East Coast of Canada having grown up on the highest tides in the world, her interest to see the world and all its natural wonders was developed early on. 

Cassy has travelled to countless countries which afforded her the opportunity to immerse herself in a variety of cultures and truly see the forest for the trees. She is very outdoorsy and adventurous; her passions include activities such as hiking volcanoes and the deserts and kayaking anywhere there is water.  

Cassy is a key contact for financial analysis of group benefits and retirement plans and keeps her finger on the pulse of the latest and emerging benefits trends in Canada. Cassy is also highly engaged with clients in helping them develop global policies for ancillary benefits such as maternity and parental leaves, EFAP’s, PTO and other leaves.

Kaycie Sjodin

Kaycie Sjodin

Senior Benefit & Retirement Analyst

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.   

Evelyn Cribari

Evelyn Cribari

Senior Benefit & Retirement Analyst

Evelyn joined Owen & Associates in May 2022 as a Senior Benefits & Retirement Analyst. She brings more than 20+ years of Group Benefits and Retirement experience. Evelyn earned a CEB designation through Humber College in 2002 and went on to attain the CEBS designation in 2010 through Dalhousie University.

Originally from Sudbury, after graduating from college she moved to Toronto for approximately 13 years where Evelyn met her spouse and had a family. In 2008, Evelyn and her spouse decided to move to Sudbury to raise their children and be closer to family.  

Evelyn enjoys cooking for crowds of people, organizing fundraising events for her children’s schools, hockey team, and dance studio. In her downtime she can be found taking a walk, reading a book, or just hanging out with her family.

Shashi Thiagarajah

Shashi Thiagarajah

Senior Benefit & Retirement Analyst

Shashi was born on one of the most beautiful Islands called Sri Lanka (formerly known as Ceylon) which is situated in the Indian Ocean. She emigrated to Canada soon after the civil war had started in Sri Lanka. She carries the best of both countries’ cultures. She Loves Canada and proudly calls it her home. In the past three decades, she has worked in the Canadian Banking Industry on Custody Operations and moved on to HR Consulting and Group Retirement. Shashi joined Owen and Associates in May 2022 to broaden her knowledge in Health Benefits and to service her clients which she is very passionate about.    

During her spare time in the summer, she enjoys traveling with her family, fishing, hiking, and gardening.  She loves being outdoors and has (finally) learned to ride a bike during the Pandemic. Therefore, Biking is now added to her leisure activities. Being ‘Bored’ is a word she hardly uses as she has too many hobbies on the go. Mainly, the ones to name are making Stained Glass Abstracts and Suncatchers for windows, Bead Crochet, Yarn Crochet, Sewing, and making Plant Hangers. She is also savvy in the garden and grows most of her vegetables for summer consumption. She makes sure her family gets at least 5 months of organic food. YouTube is her favorite teacher as she learns a lot about arts and crafts.   Her favorite TV shows are Forensic files, Crime scene, and any DIY shows. 

Kari Suosalo

Kari Suosalo

Senior Benefits & Retirement Analyst

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.

Robyn Montie

Robyn Montie

Benefits & Retirement Analyst

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!

Jay Sharkey

Jay Sharkey

Bio coming soon.

Third Party Administrators

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.

Carrie Fretz

Carrie Fretz

Benefits Specialist

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!

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. 

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.

Victoria Knodel

Victoria Knodel

Senior Benefits Specialist

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.

Chantal Masselin

Chantal Masselin

Benefits Specialist

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. 

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.

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.

Tina Polem

Tina Polem

Benefits Specialist

Having worked numerous years in Human Resources, with private and public organizations, Tina joined Owen & Associates, in the dead of winter and during a pandemic, in 2021; to be a Benefits Specialist. She holds a degree from Mount Saint Vincent University and is an East Coaster through and through. 

Tina can be heard throughout the office when she laughs, and her Newfoundland accent will make an appearance when she is having fun with her co-workers.  Having moved to the land-locked province of Ontario with her family, 2 dogs, and a cat, the salt air is still in her blood, but going to Blue Jay’s Baseball games makes it worth it.  Affectionately called “Work Mom”, by some staff, Tina can be found giving advise on pension, benefits and everything else in between!!

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.

Lindsay Swiderski

Lindsay Swidersky

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.

Maryse Wood

Maryse Wood

Auditor

Maryse joined the O&A Team almost in early 2021 after Pandemic circumstances lead her to make some big life changes that brought her closer to family and a new career!  Who knew she’d also find a family within O&A!

As the in-house Auditor Maryse ensures the quality of standard and accuracy of our service and support to continuously offer the cutting edge, expert service we are known for!  She has over 20 years of customer service experience, account management, inside sales, quality control, and even had the blessing of owning her own Yoga studio for a decade pre-pandemic!  All these stories help her in her current role immensely.

When Maryse is not at work you can certainly find her by the water, on her paddleboard, in the trails hiking, biking, and exploring, and of course stocking up her fridge and pantry by visiting all the local farms, specialty stores, and food booths this gorgeous area has to offer which feeds her true passion of cooking and creating healthy eats.  

Maryse looks forward to learning and growing in this industry, and getting to know everyone much better to create meaningful connections in the following years to come.

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