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Alumni Spotlight: Catching Up with Karen Rowe

CPP Investments tenure: Joined in June 2013 and left five years later in June 2018. Worked out of the Toronto office as Managing Director and Head of Investment Finance.

Famous for:  Championing a culture of continuous improvement (don’t be afraid to make mistakes,  learn fast and move forward) within the investment finance team; extending the finance function to Luxembourg and Hong Kong; and creating an innovation lab for employees to generate ideas, test and build solutions.

Current situation: Chief Financial Officer at CIBC Mellon, a Canadian company focused on the investment servicing needs of Canadian institutional investors and international institutional investors into Canada.

Established in 1996, CIBC Mellon employs over 1,300 people in Canada and currently has more than $1.8 trillion of assets under administration.

Can’t stop reading about: Everything! I’m a voracious reader, so almost everything I get my hands on. My favourite reads include The New York Times (app), Financial Times (app) and The Economist (online); and anything that feeds my passion for travel and learning about other cultures.

People aren’t paying enough attention to: Poverty (both locally and globally, our society needs to do more to address it); board diversity (more than a gender equity discussion, it’s about bringing together people with different backgrounds); and mental health (we need to continue to change the stigma attached to it).

Podcast/Long read obsession: My go-to podcast is The New York Times’ The Daily, for news and current affairs, along with the BBC’s Desert Island Discs, an entertaining and often inspiring look at the type of music well-known people would choose to have if cast away alone on a desert island.

2019 #Goals: I’ve started running again and pushing myself to be at the starting line for the Sporting Life 10K in May. I used to run 5K regularly (before I had kids!) and want to take it a bit further (literally).

Favourite Guiding Principle: Partnership: I’ve always been a big believer in “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” Identifying and bringing in the right partners and involving them in the process early on – as well as constant communication – are the keys to success.

CPP Investments tenure: Joined in June 2013 and left five years later in June 2018. Worked out of the Toronto office as Managing Director and Head of Investment Finance.

Famous for:  Championing a culture of continuous improvement (don’t be afraid to make mistakes,  learn fast and move forward) within the investment finance team; extending the finance function to Luxembourg and Hong Kong; and creating an innovation lab for employees to generate ideas, test and build solutions.

Current situation: Chief Financial Officer at CIBC Mellon, a Canadian company focused on the investment servicing needs of Canadian institutional investors and international institutional investors into Canada.

Established in 1996, CIBC Mellon employs over 1,300 people in Canada and currently has more than $1.8 trillion of assets under administration.

Can’t stop reading about: Everything! I’m a voracious reader, so almost everything I get my hands on. My favourite reads include The New York Times (app), Financial Times (app) and The Economist (online); and anything that feeds my passion for travel and learning about other cultures.

People aren’t paying enough attention to: Poverty (both locally and globally, our society needs to do more to address it); board diversity (more than a gender equity discussion, it’s about bringing together people with different backgrounds); and mental health (we need to continue to change the stigma attached to it).

Podcast/Long read obsession: My go-to podcast is The New York Times’ The Daily, for news and current affairs, along with the BBC’s Desert Island Discs, an entertaining and often inspiring look at the type of music well-known people would choose to have if cast away alone on a desert island.

2019 #Goals: I’ve started running again and pushing myself to be at the starting line for the Sporting Life 10K in May. I used to run 5K regularly (before I had kids!) and want to take it a bit further (literally).

Favourite Guiding Principle: Partnership: I’ve always been a big believer in "the whole is greater than the sum of its parts." Identifying and bringing in the right partners and involving them in the process early on – as well as constant communication – are the keys to success.

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