GAMA Board of Directors


GAMA International Canada's volunteer Executive Committee and Board of Directors are comprised of leaders in the financial services industry. Click on the title to view biography.

Contact for information



Peter Gillespie
Freedom 55 Financial
2 Sheppard Avenue E, Suite 600
North York, ON M2N 5Y7
Tel: (416) 250-5520 x 291

Peter Gillespie

Pete joined London Life as a financial security advisor in 1992. He enjoyed his time as an advisor, and decided to enter management in the spring of 1999 as a manager of new representative development. He has taken on roles of increasing responsibility and is currently Regional Development Manager in the Toronto Financial Centre with a team of over 20 advisors.

Pete thoroughly enjoys recruiting and introducing the career to potential candidates, as well as consulting with senior advisors to take their practices to greater levels of success. He was actively involved in the development of Freedom 55 Financial's economic grower process, a fact finding process designed for younger clients. He is a multiple time recipient of GAMA's agency builder awards. Pete is a proud member of Advocis and GAMA, and enjoys learning from fellow leaders, particularly at LAMP, GAMA’s annual leadership conference. He has been a featured speaker at LAMP on the subject of recruiting.

A graduate of the University of Western Ontario (BA Economics) and York University (MBA), his fondest education memories belong with his high school, Brebeuf College in North York, where he is involved with the alumni association. Pete is active in the community with a number of local charities, and recently passed 175 aphaeresis donations with Canadian Blood Services.

Pete enjoys spending time at the cottage and at the farm in Shelter Valley with his beautiful wife of 21 years Mary, and their two sons, Bobby and Tommy.

First Vice President

Ted Girard, CFP, CHS, CLU
Sun Life Financial
1900-5775 Yonge St.,
North York, ON M2M 4J1

Ted Girard

Ted Girard is a financial centre manager with Sun Life Financial in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. He's been the leading partner there for two-and-a-half years. Prior to leading his current operation in North York, Ted led the Hamilton-Burlington Financial Centre for three years. Ted has been with Sun Life Financial for just about 14 years, having been an advisor, sales manager, associate manager, regional manager (Ottawa and Atlantic Canada) and senior associate manager prior to having had an opportunity to lead an operation.

He obtained a CFP designation in 2007 and most recently a CHS designation in 2013. Ted is a perennial recipient of the GAMA Canada Agency Achievement Award, National Management Award, and Agency Builder Award. The North York Financial Centre has 47 Advisors, 5 Managers and 4 financial centre staff. Under Ted's leadership, the North York Financial Centre has won a multitude of awards including 2014's Sales Force Leader award for being the top net gain office in Canada, as well as the most health sales active office in Canada in 2014 as well. The management team in North York prides itself on sustained advisor growth and development.

Past President

Shawn Bellefeuille, CFP, CLU, CHS
Desjardins Financial Security
880 Lady Ellen Place, Suite 200
Ottawa, ON K1Z 5L9
Tel: (613) 829-7874 x 236

Shawn Bellefeuille

Shawn started his career as an advisor with Clarica in Ottawa in 2002. In his first year he was awarded the Rookie of the Year in his region. In 2006, he joined Desjardins Financial Security Independent Network as an associate advisor qualifying for the Network’s Sales Conference that year. In 2008, Shawn was promoted to Sales Manager at the DFSIN Ottawa Financial Centre. In that first year Shawn qualified for the Sales Conference as a sales manager. In 2011, Shawn was promoted to Associate Branch Manager.

Shawn has helped recruit and develop one of the top young teams of advisors in his company, with five advisors qualifying for the Network's prestigious Recruits Conference, 3 qualifying for the company's sales conference and 2 MDRT (Million Dollar Round Table) qualifiers. The management team was rewarded in 2010 and 2012 when they were named Financial Centre of the year across Canada.

Shawn is married with 4 children and lives just east of Ottawa.

"Being involved with Gama Canada is an honor for me. This business has been so good to me. I love to give back and help leaders excel at what they do. We are in the best business and it is a privilege to tell as many people as we can about this Great Career."


Ali Pahlavani, MBA, CFP, CHS
Desjardins Financial Security Independent Network
880 Lady Ellen Place, Suite 200
Ottawa, ON, K1Z 5L9
Tel: (613) 829-7874 x 264

Ali Pahlavani

Ali is a business development executive with over 15 years of experience in helping build winning organizations. He is also an entrepreneur and has built three businesses from conception to profitability since 1994. In addition, he specializes in customizing and integrating financial advisor management and training systems for the financial services industry. Through his different roles, Ali has seen business from many angles; founder, investor, advisor, leader, lecturer and researcher.

Ali started his career in financial services in 2007 with Combined Insurance. He was awarded as the top sales manager in North America in a sales force of over 3100 agents in 2010 and top sales manager in Canada in 2009. In 2011, he managed a block of business with over 17,500 clients and achieved 93.7% growth in sales, year over year, in a region with $12 Million premium base. He joined Desjardins Financial Security Independent Network (DFSIN) in 2012. As a member of the leadership team, he currently oversees the growth of DFSIN's business in Ottawa.

Ali has an MBA (Master of Business Administration) from Carleton University, which he finished in 2008 at the top of his class. He also has a Bachelor's degree in Civil Engineering (1996) and a Master's Degree in Geotechnical Engineering (1999).

Some of Ali's industry related volunteer work includes serving on the board of directors of Advocis (Ottawa Chapter) and GAMA International Canada, contributing to Forum magazine, and teaching Life License Qualifications Program (LLQP) for Advocis. Ali is also active in the community as a Rotarian and through his involvement with a number of local charities.

When he is not working, Ali enjoys spending time with his wife, Hedieh, and his two children. He is also an avid traveller and has been to many countries in Asia, Middle East, Europe, Africa and America. At some point he used to travel for business or leisure over 180 days a year.

Special Projects Director (Independent Channel)

David Stewart, TEP
Financial Horizons Group
112-22 Frederick St.
Kitchener, Ontario N2H 6M6
Tel: (519) 742-4474 ext. 251

David Stewart

Upon graduating from Laurentian University in 1987 David was recruited as an agent for Prudential of America where he experienced success as a leading rookie in Sudbury, Ontario. In 1989 David was approached by the company to begin his career in Sales management. David led sales teams in Sudbury, Thunder Bay and Oakville.

In 1995, David joined Wise Riddell Financial Group as a Brokerage Manager making partner in 1998. Under his leadership David developed a boutique approach to helping advisors work with the affluent market. In 2005 David was appointed as the Vice President of Sales for Performins Canada and in 2010 was appointed to President and COO of the company.

David through his experience has learned how advisors needs work and has worked diligently to build processes, systems and support within an MGA environment to help advisors support the truly important people their clients. Knowledge, Passion, and Commitment to Success are the drivers that David brings to all that he does.

He is actively involved in Advocis as a past chapter president, a member of CALU, sits on the Board of CAILBA, also is a standing member of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners.

Now David works as the Executive Vice President, National Sales and Training for Financial Horizons Group. David is married to his wife Maggie and they have four children and three grandchildren.

Special Projects Director (Independent Channel)

Anthony Bosch, CFP, CLU, CH.F.C., CHS
Hub Financial
8171 Ackroyd Rd #3000
Richmond, BC V6X 3K1
Tel: (604) 249-3566

Anthony Bosch

Tony has been an insurance professional for over 20 years.  As a Million Dollar Round Table (MDRT) qualifier in his first year, Tony proved that a deep care for his clients and a thorough planning process were the right ingredients for success as a financial planner.

Management came calling quickly and Tony became one of the most sought after sales managers in Canada.  An excellent trainer and relationship builder, he has directly crafted the careers of many of the top life insurance planners in the lower mainland area of British Columbia.

With the industry move to independent distribution in the year 2000, Tony spearheaded the formation of Complete Brokerage Services Inc., a boutique Managing General Agency which is Canada's only independent training ground for new insurance planners.  As President, Tony drives the CBS vision of realigning financial expenditures with core values to ensure that planners have the right tools to bring this message to their clientele.

Tony is a board member of International China Concern where he gives his time to ensure that Chinese abandoned disabled children have a shot at a brighter future.  He is also a 20 year member of Advocis.  Tony's hobbies include hockey and water skiing. He lives in Vancouver BC.

Marketing & Communications Director

Jason McMahon,CFP, CHS
Freedom 55 Financial
255 Dufferin Avenue, T-380
London, Ontario N6A 4K1
Tel: (519) 435-4914

Jason McMahon

Jason began his career with Freedom 55 Financial in 2008 as Financial Security Advisor and held that role for approximately 2 years, before being appointed to the role of Director, Business Development in Peterborough, ON. Jason previously held various management roles within General Motors, and spent time teaching at Durham College, in Oshawa, ON, as well as teaching grade school in Lilliesleaf, Scotland.

Jason graduated with his Honours, Bachelor of Commerce Degree in 2002 from the University of Windsor, attained his Masters Degree in 2006 and achieved both his CHS and CFP designations in 2014. He is a part of GAMA International, and a member in good standing with the Ontario College of Teachers.

Jason has a passion for recruiting and developing talent, and he is looking forward to the next chapter in his career; working with Field Management across Canada.

Membership & Development Director

Todd Hynes, CFP, CHS
5000 Yonge Street
Toronto, ON M2N 7J8

Todd Hynes

Todd began his career in the Life Insurance business as an Agent in the Toronto sales office of the Prudential Assurance Company of England in 1983. Following 10 years in the field Todd joined the Head Office of Crown Life to work in Training and Development, Advanced Marketing and Field Technology.

In 1998 he joined Sun Life of Canada in their Toronto headquarters to build their National Accounts and Brokerage operations and in 2002 he was appointed Vice President of Wholesale Distribution. At just 37 he was one of the youngest VP appointments in the company’s history. During his time with the organization he served in a number of executive positions.

Todd returned to the field as General Manager in the ivari London Company office in the spring of 2009 and later took on accountability for the Ontario Region. In 2013 Todd was asked to take on the leadership of the Convergis program.

Today as Vice President of Convergis at ivari, Todd is responsible for the sales and business development strategic direction efforts for the Convergis, Company Offices and Business Insurance Solutions teams across Canada. Together they work closely with distribution partners to deliver the Convergis and Transamerica experiences to independent advisors across the country.

Professional Development Director


Member at Large

Jonathan Schjott, CFP, CLU, CHS
Sun Life – Branch 3 Hamilton-Burlington
393 Bay St N
Hamilton, ON L8L 1M9


Jonathan began his career with Sun Life in 2006 after having studied Economics and Business at the University of Calgary and also competing at a high level as part of the University of Calgary Swim Team.

From 2006 – 2009 Jonathan was an advisor at Sun Life's Ottawa Central Financial Centre. In 2009, Jonathan moved to Hamilton and joined the Management Team at the Hamilton-Burlington Financial Centre. Jonathan was Sales Manager & Associate Manager and had the opportunity to lead this branch as Financial Centre Manager from 2013 to 2015. During Jonathan's time in Hamilton, The Hamilton-Burlington office grew to 42 Advisors – achieving net gain in 2012 (+7), 2013 (+4) & 2014 (+2) – and qualified for Convention 2013 and 2014.

In July, 2015, Jonathan moved into the Regional Manager role, also with Sun Life, taking on a new challenge to help the Ontario Central Region achieve great heights.

Jonathan is married to Miranda Schell, a Pathologist at Hamilton Health Sciences. They live in Hamilton with their two Bernedoodles, Alfie & Clara.

Member at Large

James Wingrove, CLU, CH.F.C.
The Co-operators
130 Macdonell St.
Guelph, ON N1H 6P8


Jim Wingrove is Vice President of Agency Distribution and Sales Support for The Co-operators. Having been with the company for 30 years, he has progressively held more responsible positions. Jim began his career as an Advisor in Fredericton, N.B., and subsequently moved into various Field Leadership positions. While serving as a District Manager for eight years, Jim led his district to achieving Regional Builder Status consecutively during the duration of his role and achieved Executive Builder status four years in this position.

Since moving to Head Office in 1997, Jim has held various positions within the Agency department. Jim's department has responsibilities for agent and field manager recruiting, selection, contracting, training and development, Wealth and Estate Planning support, licensing and retail market conduct. Jim acts in the capacity as the advisor's liaison and is actively involved chairing Agent Advisory Committees.

Jim is actively involved with affiliated committees and organizations. He serves as Chair of the Distribution and Intermediaries Committee for the Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association (CLHIA). He is also an active member of LIMRA's Multi-line Exclusive Distribution Committee, where he has previously served as Chair. Jim participates as an active member of Advocis and GAMA.

Jim holds a Chartered Life Underwriters designation (CLU), a Chartered Financial Consultants Designation (CH.F.C.) and LIMRA's LLIF designation.

While residing in Guelph, Jim spends his free time with his wife Sandy and their two children Katelyn and Nicholas. Being active in the community is very important to Jim, spending endless hours over the past 42 years refereeing hockey. If you can't find him at the office or at home you are likely to find him at the local hockey rink.

Director GAMA International Canada

Celia Ciotola
390 Queens Quay, Suite 209
Toronto, ON
M5V 3A2
Tel: 416.342.9857

Celia Ciotola