ABOUT US

Providing the highest standard of service and delivering excellence in professional development.

WHAT WE DO

Cambridge forums are the apex of professional development.

We create and host specialized meetings where only the most accomplished legal advisors and senior executives are invited to share their experiences and learn from each other.

Most of Cambridge’s customers are regular speakers at the leading industry conferences. They are generous in sharing their knowledge with others. But where do they go to learn?

Cambridge was founded to provide unique learning opportunities for the most seasoned experts in specific specialty areas. These experts don’t need to learn the law; they know it. What they do need is the opportunity to explore the gray areas where there is no clear-cut answer, and where their clients will expect a recommendation. Who better to go to than your peers to explore possibilities and test hypotheses?

Since 2004, Cambridge has hosted more than 300 forums across Asia, Europe, and North America. Our team works with senior advisors to create meetings that deliver real value to each participant. The proof is that people return year after year to reconnect with their peers, gain fresh perspectives, and expand their professional circles.

  • Senior Management

    Seasoned leaders with a wide range of expertise and experience.

  • Rob Ross
    Rob Ross Chairman

    Rob has been working in the professional development field since 1979, when he founded Insight Information Inc. Since then, he has been active in developing various conferences, seminars, as well as interactive television and publishing projects. In 2004, Rob founded Cambridge Forums Inc. to meet the professional growth needs of top-tier professionals and was instrumental in developing the exclusive forum format. Today, as Chairman of the firm, Rob focuses on strategy and spearheading new forums. In his spare time, he spends as much time as possible at his country home north of Toronto with his wife and four adult children.


  • Rob Ryan
    Rob Ryan Chief Executive Officer

    Rob has an MBA from the University of Toronto and is both a CA and CPA. He has decades of experience in senior management positions for both private and public companies and was the co-owner and COO of one of Canada’s largest conference providers. Rob’s diverse background spans executive education, defense, technology, media, and entertainment. His area of expertise lies in guiding companies through periods of turnaround or rapid growth. Outside the office, Rob is a fitness enthusiast with a passion for the outdoors through all four seasons.


  • Karen Darnell
    Karen Darnell President

    Karen has decades of experience in a variety of operational roles across industries such as training and talent management, recruiting, corporate events, hospitality, retail. A seasoned mentor who leads by example, she stays sharp with ongoing executive development through the Queen’s Smith School of Business. Karen oversees the day to day operations of Cambridge Forums Inc., including all aspects of forum development, administration, sponsorship, customer experience and onsite logistics. In her spare time, Karen enjoys cooking, traveling and spending time with friends and family.


  • Jessica Baker Ellis
    Jessica Baker Ellis Managing Director, Program Development

    Jessica has a Bachelor’s Degree from McMaster University in Art History, Criticism and Conservation. A seasoned event and marketing manager, she has executed live engagements globally in the legal, technology, financial, not-for-profit and consumer products industries for many of the world’s leading organizations. Prior to joining Cambridge Forums, Jessica worked in conference management, specializing in executive events for C-Suite executives, Board members and VIP clients. A fluid communicator, Jessica utilizes her leadership skills and passion for creating flawless participant experiences as a Forum Director, focusing on programs in private wealth and antitrust. A food & wine aficionado, Jessica is also accredited with the Wine and Spirit Education Trust (WSET) Level 2 Award in Wine & Spirits. When she’s out of the office, Jessica enjoys hot yoga, skiing and travel.


  • Varugis George
    Varugis George President, Cambridge Executive Connections Inc. A Cambridge Subsidiary - Cambridge Executive Connections

    Varugis has over seventeen years of experience producing and managing conferences for corporate executives, government officials, and professional advisors. He was appointed President of Cambridge Executive Connections (CEC), a subsidiary of Cambridge Forums Inc., in 2019. CEC offers sophisticated learning and networking experiences for private clients, family offices, institutional investors, as well as governance and corporate leaders from around the world. Along with the flagship Forums, CEC builds Communities for members to engage and develop meaningful connections with peers globally. As President and Senior Forum Director, Varugis is responsible for the overall strategy, growth, and delivery of all services under the CEC banner.


  • Kristina K. Govan
    Kristina K. Govan Managing Director, Program Development

    Kristina is a graduate of the University of Toronto and is accredited as a Certified Meeting Professional (CMP), a globally recognized badge of excellence in the meeting and event industry. Prior to joining Cambridge Forums, Kristina worked for the Toronto International Film Festival where she successfully planned and hosted events for high-level donors, corporate clients and film stars. Outside the office, Kristina is passionate about learning new things, being outdoors, trying new cuisines and exploring the world one country at a time.


  • Lisa Nichols
    Lisa Nichols President & Director of Litigation Programs A Cambridge Subsidiary - Cambridge Forums Litigation Series

    With two decades of senior management experience, Lisa built her career within the luxury market in Toronto. She began in special events and quickly moved into sales and marketing for leading companies such as the Four Seasons and The Park Hyatt. Lisa is best known for cultivating a division of high-end real estate rentals within Toronto for the television & film industry by establishing a client list of Academy Award winners through her work with top real estate developer Minto.


     


    Since joining Cambridge Forums in the fall of 2014, Lisa’s leadership abilities and strong business acumen have made her an excellent fit for working with the North American and International litigation programs. In January of 2018, Lisa was appointed President & Director of Litigation Programs for Cambridge Forums Litigation Series Inc., a subsidiary that focuses specifically on litigation Forums. To view the full Forum offering, please visit: www.cambridgelitigation.com


  • Forum Team

    Our Forum Team work closely with our Steering Committees and forum participants to ensure success from start to finish.

  • Forum Directors

    Forum Directors work with Steering Committees to develop and plan each forum, as well as oversee the details of the meeting.

  • Shona Fox
    Shona Fox Forum Director

    Shona graduated from the University College Dublin with a Bachelor’s Degree in English and Spanish. She has a background in medical, insurance and financial administration. In her spare time, Shona loves to travel and enjoys planning trips all around the world.


  • Mandy Howarth
    Mandy Howarth Associate Forum Director

    Mandy is a graduated law clerk and has experience working within both the legal and oil & gas industry. She was an exchange student in 2006, through Rotary International, to Brazil and is fluent in Brazilian Portuguese. Mandy has returned to Brazil on many occasions to assist in the opening of a private English school and had the privilege to volunteer as a teacher within the school for six months. In her spare time, she enjoys learning other languages and spending time with her dog, Gus.


  • Shannon Moore Lewis
    Shannon Moore Lewis Director, Sponsorship & Salons

    Shannon has a Bachelor’s Degree in History and Classics from Queen’s University. She has 10 years of experience working in events and hospitality, including organizing international scientific and patient conferences for non-profit organizations and international sporting events, including the 2014 U-20 FIFA Women’s World Cup and the 101st Canadian Football League Grey Cup. Shannon leads the sponsorship department at Cambridge Forums, working with Forum Directors and sponsors to develop curated opportunities for each Forum. Additionally, she leads the direction on Cambridge Salon events, sponsorship, and development.


  • Emma Phillips
    Emma Phillips Senior Forum Director, Financial Services Lead Cambridge Executive Connections Inc.

    With over 25 years of experience, Emma is a dedicated experiential marketing leader with the ability to manage the entire project lifecycle, from conception and budgeting to execution and post-event analysis. Emma has demonstrated success in planning and orchestrating high-visibility events across target markets including clients, stakeholders, executives, and employees. Emma’s areas of expertise include managing the customer experience, client retention, and relationship management, meeting logistics, organization and execution as well as cost and budget control, contract negotiations and vendor relations.


  • Kate Ross
    Kate Ross Forum Director

    Kate has a background in social services where she treated youth with complex mental health and addictions issues. Her role involved developing detailed, treatment-focused program plans and seeing them through to completion. Kate brings many years of experience in the service industry to her role at Cambridge Forums. In her spare time, Kate enjoys good food and wine, all things true-crime related, and dance parties with her kids.


  • Forum Coordinators

    Forum Coordinators work with our participants to ensure their experiences are seamless.

  • Miruna Brincoveanu
    Miruna Brincoveanu Senior Client Experience Specialist Cambridge Executive Connections Inc.

    Miruna holds a Bachelor of Management and Organizational Studies, specializing in Marketing & Consumer Behaviour from Western University. From launching Toronto-based community festivals to organizing and participating in international tradeshows, Miruna has gained invaluable experience in all aspects of event management, sales, and marketing. In her current role, she focuses on organizing forums that deliver a personalized, valuable client experience. In her spare time, Miruna enjoys staying active and traveling the world.


  • Emma Cowie
    Emma Cowie Forum Coordinator

    Emma has a Bachelor’s Degree in History from York University and a Diploma in Event Management from George Brown College. Previously, Emma worked for several notable arts organizations such as the Toronto International Film Festival and the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. Emma has had the opportunity to individually and cooperatively produce a broad spectrum of events; from intimate dinners with exclusive access to high-profile artists to keystone brand events and industry conferences. Outside the office, Emma enjoys traveling, crafting, baking, and discovering new brunch spots.


  • Manuela Downey
    Manuela Downey Senior Forum Coordinator

    Manuela holds an Honours Bachelor Degree in Business Administration and a Diploma in Event Planning from Ryerson University. She has led a successful career in the continuing education field as an Event Planner/Coordinator, using her multifaceted skill set to pull together hundreds of events and manage her own firm. Outside of the office, Manuela is a proud mother of three daughters and enjoys travelling and exploring new sights.


  • Alejandro Duran
    Alejandro Duran Senior Forum Coordinator

    Alejandro has many years of experience in the hospitality and corporate meetings industry and holds a university degree in Hotel Management. His career in corporate event planning started while attending university in Margarita Island, Venezuela. He is fully bilingual, speaking both English and Spanish. In his spare time, Alejandro enjoys practicing yoga, biking around Toronto, and travelling around the world to learn what makes each culture unique.


  • Raluca Franciuc
    Raluca Franciuc Forum Coordinator

    Raluca is a former “Big Four” accountant turned corporate event planner with over 7 years’ experience in client services. She graduated from York University with a Bachelor of Business Administration as well as completed courses at Humber College as part of the Event Management graduate program. Raluca is a detail-oriented professional who enjoys planning and executing events and creating memorable experiences for her clients.


    Outside the office, Raluca loves activities whether she is going to a yoga class, adventuring around Toronto, or planning her next snowboarding trip out West.


  • Natalia Perruzza
    Natalia Perruzza Manager, Forum Coordination

    Natalia holds Bachelor’s Degrees in History and Communication Studies, with a postgraduate in Project Management. Prior to joining Cambridge Forums in 2015, Natalia worked at TD Canada Trust and Accenture, specializing in client relations and project development. She excels in working with distinguished clientele and thrives in the social environment afforded by her role in Forum Coordination. Outside of the office, Natalia finds pleasure in traveling the world and immersing herself in different cultures, art and history.


  • Helen Poirier
    Helen Poirier Director, Forum Coordination

    Helen holds a First Class Honours Bachelor’s Degree in International Tourism Management from Sheffield Hallam University. She also holds several professional certifications, such as the Certified Meeting Professional (CMP) accreditation. Helen has extensive experience in all aspects of event management, sales, and marketing. Her work experience includes senior-level coordination, management, and sales for high-profile events such as the Toronto International Film Festival and the Asian Film Summit. In her spare time, Helen enjoys traveling, experimenting with new recipes, and spending time with her family.


Questions?

Connect With Us Today

Please contact us if you have any questions or would like more information about our forums.

Heather Beamish

Telephone

+1 416 703 1577 x.265

Email

[email protected]Email Heather

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