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
330 University Avenue, Suite 110
Toronto ON M5G 1R8
Tel: (416) 552-5801

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 Director, Practice Development in the Toronto Central Financial Centre with a team of over 35 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 200 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 24 years Mary, and their two sons, Bob and Tommy.

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."

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.

Marketing & Communications Director

Jason McMahon, B. Comm, M.Sc., CFP, CHS
Freedom 55 Financial
1223 Michael St North, Suite 300
Ottawa, ON K1J 7T2
Tel: (613) 748-3455 x522

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.


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.

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.

Membership & Development Director

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.

Member at Large

Susan Gagnon, LL.B., PI. Fin.
Desjardins Financial Security
1, Complexe Desjardins
Montreal, QC H5B 1E2
Tel: (514) 350-8700

Susan Gagnon

Susan Gagnon learned to sell before learning to walk. She has been with Desjardins Financial Security since 2003. Susan began her Desjardins career heading the education and training team in sales-savings for groups and businesses. Since 2008, she has been the Desjardins Financial Security regional sales manager for the groups and businesses part of the Wealth Management and Life and Health Insurance Executive Division.

As well, Susan has been the director of the training and skills development team since 2013. Her mandate is training the Desjardins Canadian advisor network, to develop the potential of leadership, coaching sales skills and business best practices.

Prior to joining Desjardins, Susan was an institutional advisor for 16 years with Caisse Insurance and Annuities, in the Estrie region of Quebec. She holds both a business management certificate and a bachelor of law from Laval University.

Member at Large

Abbie MacMillan
Great West Life
255 Queens Ave, T165
London, ON N6A 4K1
Tel: (519) 435-7567

Abbie MacMillan

Abbie MacMillan marks her twenty-sixth year with Great-West Life in 2018. In May 2017, she was appointed vice-president, Freedom55 Financial. Prior to that, she served as vice-president sales, employee benefits; and as vice-president, sales & marketing centres in the GWL product distribution organization.

Abbie started with Great-West Life in 1992. Between 1992 and 2013, she held various field positions in the Great-West distribution world, focused mainly on sales leadership and advisor coaching in Mississauga, Ont.; the Fraser Valley, B.C., and London, Ont.

In 2014, Abbie was recognized by the Insurance Journal as one of 50 Women of Influence in the life insurance industry. She is a certified Jack Canfield Success Principles trainer, obtaining her certification in 2011. Abbie holds a bachelor of business administration with a marketing major from Brock University.

A native of St. Catharines, Ont., she is passionate about personal development and travel. When she isn't working, Abbie is busy learning something new or planning her next adventure. Her latest goal is to master the game of golf.

Member at Large

Chris Paterson
5000 Yonge St. 8th Floor
Toronto, ON M2N 7J8
Tel: (416) 883-5824

Chris Paterson

Chris entered the industry in 1995 to satisfy his curiosity and learn about a diverse industry that has a positive impact on the lives of clients. He worked in all of the various advisor support roles with one of North America's largest financial services companies. Chris helped build the organization’s MGA channel into its largest channel. He ultimately led a multi-channel national wholesaling team of 30 specialists. His team doubled the number of advisors selling living benefits insurance to 14,000 from 7,000 over two years.

Chris has been an advisor; consulted in the private wealth management industry; and has been an advanced case consultant for high-end financial professionals.

Chris currently manages a cross-channel team of specialists. They enhance the work of traditional wholesalers and recruiter-coaches by offering tools, resources and training that focuses not on product, but on the advisor-client relationship and the advisor–"Sales/coach/marketing rep" relationship. As well, the team of specialists uses behavioural science to drive results rooted in personalized business plans.

Chris has been an insurance columnist for, a Rogers Media financial industry website. He is a highly respected member of Advocis and CALU. Chris has sat on national committees for both organizations. He is a former president of the Advocis Halton-Peel chapter. In his spare time, he has served as a board member for numerous charities/non-profits. He has also coached baseball and T-ball throughout Ontario, with his teams winning regional and provincial championships.

Chris lives in Oshawa his wife Susie and sons Finlay, Miles and Henry. He is an avid fan of sports, music, and literature; and loves to travel.

Director GAMA International Canada

Celia Ciotola
10 Lower Spadina Ave, Suite 600
Toronto, ON
ON M5V 2Z2
Tel: 416.342.9857

Celia Ciotola