The Master of Financial Accountability (MFAc) program, housed in the School of Administrative Studies, continues to attract top industry leaders as faculty. In 2016, the program hired more than 20 new and returning instructors who bring unique perspectives to serve the program’s growing number of students, all of whom are in careers relating to corporate governance. Since its inception in 2009, its student population has grown from 20 to 80.
“Financial accountability is a major area of public concern. From executive compensation and income distribution to gender representation on boards to whistleblowing practices, the concerns are central to our public life. My hope is that a combination of academic rigour and practical experience offered by the program’s faculty will further inspire our already motivated students to contribute to excellence in the field,” says Ananya Mukherjee-Reed, dean of the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies (LA&PS).
The new instructors “are all highly accomplished, subject-matter experts,” says Professor Richard Leblanc, MFAc’s director. “They are highly respected by their peers, have excellent national or regional profiles, diverse or global experience, and a proven track record of accomplishment and real-world application.”
Carmelina DiMondo is one of Leblanc’s newest hires. She is a lawyer who spent 15 years working in the City of Toronto Auditor General’s Office. As the former Assistant Auditor General of the Forensic Unit, she provided executive level expertise on matters relating to ethics, disclosure of wrongdoing, audit and investigations.
“Students enrolled in MFAc, will undoubtedly be faced with ethical issues and dilemmas during their careers. Honing their ability to apply academic knowledge of ethical principles is crucial to developing effective ethical decision-making skills,” says DiMondo. “I am skilled at tackling sensitive and often controversial issues, with a unique blend of expertise and progressive management experience in a complex government environment.“
She will be co-teaching Corporate Responsibility and Ethics in the Winter 2017 semester with Ruvani Shaubel, a Chartered Professional Accountant with a specialization in forensic and investigative accounting. Shaubel also worked for the City of Toronto since 1989, including working as the Director of Internal Audit from 2006 to 2014 during the challenging Rob Ford era and its controversial issues.
“As one of four Ethics Champions for the City, I acted as a subject matter expert in formulating the e-learning training on ethics and the whistle-blower policy. I was also the point person for employees seeking advice on potential conflicts of interest. I was responsible for enhancing management’s understanding of ethical practices by providing high quality and timely consulting services,” says Shaubel. Undoubtedly, students will benefit greatly from the practical experience Shaubel brings.
The combination of academics and business leaders provides a distinctive experience and diverse wealth of information to students.
“The benefit is that the academics bring proximity to the literature, curricular rigour and empirical evidence. The business leaders bring diverse company and client experiences, often across several industries, real-world context and application. It is the best of both worlds,” says Leblanc. “The principle that guides our hiring choices is to have a full bench of MFAc instructors who have been ‘in the room,’ as I call it. I want the program to be as practical and applied as possible.”
Tony Stanco is a returning instructor who teaches Synthesis of Theory and Practice in Accountability and Governance. As an instructor, his expertise draws from having worked as a chief audit executive for more than 25 years at various publicly traded companies and public issuers. Additionally, he has advised for-profit and not-for-profit companies as a Senior Director at PwC.
“With industry expertise at a senior level, I can speak to the challenges and opportunities at companies, such as Toronto Hydro, Sears and AT&T Canada, as well as how various industries are changing,” Stanco says. “My class is designed for experiential learning and this program offers ‘real life’ experiences from those who have lived it in the organizations they have worked for. I am happy to mentor and provide networking assistance to students who are looking for that next career opportunity.” He describes his students as possessing “a high level of enthusiasm and willingness to learn.”
Hari Panday, president and CEO of investment banking firm PanVest Capital Corporation, has also taught in the program and is looking forward to working again with York students in his course Introduction to Accountability and Governance.
“We have a program that is anchored in quality of learning. It gets students comfortable with topics that appear murky before they enter the classroom,” says Panday, who draws from his “business experience dealing with healthy and not-so-healthy domestic and international companies — bankruptcy situations, for example — located in Canada, the U.S., Europe and India.” He adds that his students participate “in a vibrant and interactive way, supported by examination of important developments and case studies involving well-known companies.”
The MFAc program, says Leblanc, is geared towards students who are already leaders serving on or reporting to boards or who provide assurance functions — directly or indirectly — to boards and board committees.
Upon graduation from the Master of Financial Accountability, “our graduates are board-ready and normally seek positions in risk, compliance, audit, secretarial, actuarial, compensation, legal or ethics assurance functions within companies,” Leblanc says.
The following is a list of returning and incoming MFAc faculty members: