10 most prominent and influential CEOs and Managing Director in Toronto’s business today
Updated: Aug 18, 2020
“Welcome to Ontario- Open For Business” reads a large blue sign as commuters on Highway 401 approach the border to enter the Province of Ontario. Previously “Yours to Discover”, the change in slogans reflects the new Progressive Conservative Governor Doug Ford’s favourable attitude towards the corporate sector, and the province’s desire to attract investors and promote the establishment of businesses of all sizes, through the implementation of progressive policies and laws in favour of further expanding its growing economy. These policies include providing extensive resources for new and/or struggling businesses, lowered restrictions on corporate activities, and of the lowest corporate tax rates in all of North America. The province’s Capital, Toronto, is also the financial capital of Canada, housing the country’s stock market (the 9th largest in the world) and comprising an astounding 20% of the entire national GDP. Needless to say, this strong financial background has cemented Toronto’s name as an important economic hub on the world stage, becoming home to, and attracting many of the world’s largest corporations. These companies have become renowned for their strong performance and profitability, and the CEOs which have led these companies to success have achieved fame-like status internationally. Below is a list to of the 10 most prominent and influential CEOs and Managing Director in Toronto’s business today. The individuals in the list compiled have established ground-breaking companies which have caused waves in their respective industries - displaying fine leadership and innovation which has set them apart and brought them great success.
1. Ferris Rafauli (Ferris rafauli design)
Ferris Rafauli is one of the most famed architectural designers in the world - and with good reason. Through his company Ferris Rafauli Architectural Design Build Group, Rafauli has designed and built homes which more resemblant of fine works of art rather than houses. His striking architectural masterpieces push the boundaries of modern construction and architecture, incorporating intricate components inspired by grand buildings and palaces across the world, as well as personal touches reflecting each owner’s individual tastes, creating truly unique, one-of-a-kind mega-mansions. Rafauli’s eye-catching has attracted a long list of celebrity clientele including musicians, actors/actresses, politicians and most notably singer/songwriter Drake (arguabky the latgest musical artist in the world) with whom he worked personally to create the Superstar’s famous “OVO Mansion” in Toronto’s affluent Bridle Path neighbourhood.
2. Ardy Khavari (8608 Capital Group)
Very few Torontonians have the level of experience or personal network the likes of which Ardy Khavari has accumulated over his many years of work and entrepreneurship across North America, Europe and the Middle East. Introduced to the world of business and finance from his adolescent years, Ardy began working as a general sales agent at the young age of 18, before building one of the largest wholesale retail travel agencies in North America. Within four years, his company was supplying 25 other agencies across the country. In the process, he accrued an extensive client base of high-net-worth individuals and corporations from the Middle East, Europe and North America. Ardy’s love for finance, and attention to detail have made him a well-known equity banker, launching a private investment banking firm, 8608 Capital Investments, a private Equity and Capital Investment firm. Multi-talented and hard-working do not even begin to describe Ardy and his approach towards his work, as he simultaneously founded and operated a Real Estate Development fund with a focus on boutique condominium, and managed a private income producing fund which he structured. Ardy’s tireless efforts and perfectionist attitude have allowed him to achieve a great amount of success at a very young age, and he is surely on track to build a large and diverse empire in the very near future.
3. Aras Azadian ( Avicanna INC.)
Aras Azadian is co-founder of Avicanna Inc. an innovative Canadian biopharmaceutical company, developing advanced natural cannabinoid solutions for medical, pharmaceutical, and dermacosmetic use established in 2016. Under Azadian’s leadership, a team of experienced executives, scientists and medical professionals have worked hand-in-hand to develop Avicanna into a large multinational corporation and vertically integrate its entire operations, from manufacturing to distribution, allowing them to expand their business and become a prominent player in the Cannabis industry. Years of work in the Oncology industry, developing numerous start-ups and providing consulting services to a range of companies have provided Azadian with considerable senior management experience in both the financial and bio-technology sectors, helping to ensure the profitability of his business while maintaining a strong devotion to corporate social responsibility and providing the marketplace with high-quality products meant to truly deliver pharmaceutical and medical benefits to their clients. Along with his endeavours in the cannabis industry, Mr. Azadian is also a board member and cofounder of the Purple Elephant, a Canadian non-profit organization devoted to increasing awareness and understanding of Alzheimer’s among younger generations. His financial background is further solidified by his education, holding a Bachelor of Economics degree from York University and an International Masters in Management degree from EADA Business School in Barcelona, Spain.
4. Frank Margani (Kingsett capital)
Frank Margani is Executive Director of Mortgage Investments for KingSett Capital, one of the largest Private Equity real estate firms in Canada. Margani has nearly two decades of experience in the real estate and development/construction industries, providing him with a deep knowledge and understanding of these fields, along with an extensive network of high-net-worth clients and institutions. Previously a Director of Mortgage Origination in the development finance group of a very notable private finance company, Margani proceeded to serve as Executive Vice President of a prominent Toronto-based private development company, where he became well-familiarized with managing and securing financing for multi-billion dollar portfolios and projects across the country. His current company, KingSett Capital, is responsible for raising over $10 Billion in equity since 2002, and owns interests in a $13.5 Billion portfolio.
5. Deborah Honig (Adelaide Capital)
Deborah Honig is a capital markets specialist with more than 10 years’ experience dealing with institutional, retail, and high net worth clients. Prior to founding Adelaide Capital Markets, she worked as an institutional equity salesperson at full-service investment banks in Toronto for 9 years. Before her career in institutional sales, Deborah was a wholesaler of hedge funds, mutual funds, flow-through funds, and other structured products to the retail advisor community. She has sold research ideas and products, created trade ideas, worked on block trades, marketed companies, conducted multi-city national and international roadshows, sold a variety of different financings, and generated new corporate finance ideas. She has been involved in more than $1 billion of capital raises over the course of her career, with a focus on small-cap growth companies in mining, healthcare, technology, oil and gas, industrials, and special situations. Her greatest strength is her ability to build and maintain strong relationships with a variety of different clients. Deborah has a B.A. (Hons) from the University of Toronto, holds the Chartered Market Technician (CMT) designation and Derivative Market Specialist designation (DMS), and is currently pursuing the Fellow of Canadian Securities Institute (FCSI) designation.
6. Anna Balinsky (KPMG lawfirm)
Internationally recognized as one of the most trusted professional services firms and one of the big 4 accounting companies, with offices in economic centres of the world, KPMG’s success has been due, in large part, to the many talented individuals which comprise its staff. At the firm’s Toronto office, Anna Balinsky consults clients on a vartiety of areas, including real estate , company structure, arranging joint ventures and even consulting international clients in the process of establishing businesses and/or investments in Canada. Balinsky’s thorough knowledge of corporate and commercial law originated with her studies, having received her B.A. form Oxford University in 2000, along with her MBA and LLB from University of Toronto in 2005. Her many expertise have been useful to a number of high-profile clients, whether individuals or large corporations, allowing them to successfully enter and navigate the Canadian markets, as well as helping domestic companies expand their operations on a worldwide scale.
7. Konata Lake ( Tory lawfirm)
Konata T. Lake is a Partner at Toronto based law firm Torys LLP, specializing in corporate law with a focus on investments and mergers and acquisitions (private and public). Konata advises strategic and financial parties in all aspects of investing and divestiture transactions, including shareholders arrangements, joint ventures, leveraged buyouts, majority and minority equity investments, co-investments and take private transactions. Konata has also advised financial institutions, governments and Canadian pension funds on complex strategic commercial arrangements and transactions. Konata spent over two years practising in New York City both in the firm’s New York office and at a large international law firm.
A three-time York University graduate with degrees in law and business administration, at the undergraduate and graduate levels
When Lake was 12, his mom, Alrica Gordon, moved him and his sister to Toronto. They settled in the Jane and Finch community and his mother got a job with Legal Aid Ontario. Lake went on to earn a dual JD-MBA from Osgoode Hall and Schulich. He launched his career in New York at Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP. Within a year, he moved to Torys LLP’s New York office. Soon after, he transferred to the firm’s Toronto office to be with his now-wife, ear-nose-and-throat surgeon Dupe Oyewumi. He now works on some of the most complex mergers and acquisitions in the country.
8. Hanna Taylor (Hotwire)
Hanna Taylor is CEO and Founder of Hotwire Electrical, a Toronto-based electrical firm specializing in both residential and commercial projects. As a female heading a company in a largely male-dominated industry, Hanna has redefined the image of women at the construction site by incorporating a strict attention to detail and dedication to completing high quality work within prompt timeframes. Her no nonsense approach to each job, coupled with a talented team of professional electricians, has ensured her success time and time again throughout all scopes of projects, from detached single-residential homes to apartments and commercial buildings. Under Hanna’s leadership, Hotwire Electrical has won countless awards and praises, including numerous Home Stars Best-Of Awards. Honesty and integrity are reflected in every aspect of her work, from the fair pricing presented to clients to the thorough safety and quality-control checks performed throughout the entire work process. Hanna’s personable attitude further adds to clients’ peace of mind, as she is often found dealing with clients on a one-to-one basis. No stranger to the many marketing opportunities present in today’s digital age, Hanna leveraged her knowledge of social media and technology to create a strong online presence for the company - yet another example of her innovative and unique approach to an age-old industry.
9. Jaclyn Genovese (Spaces By Jacflash and Fitness by Jacflash)
From fashion and interior design to fitness, Jaclyn Genovese has become one of the most prominent figures in Toronto’s social scene. Originally beginning her career in the fashion industry with her boutique “jacflash”, a famed clothing shop in Toronto’s trendy Queen Street West neighbourhood, Jaclyn quickly built a strong reputation for providing clients with excellent personal service and the most unique eye-catching styles. She used this reputation and popularity to host exclusive events at several prominent venues and clubs in Toronto, which were always packed with a-list celebrities, famous musicians, and professional athletes. Garnering the interest of many influential individuals, Jaclyn, who was given the name “Flash” because of her up-beat, high-energy personality, closed down the beloved boutique in 2014, in favour of pursuing a full-fledged lifestyle and design company, “Spaces by Jacflash”. She has been able to seamlessly transition into this industry (even winning Designer if the Year at the 2018 Notable Awards) and continue to build a successful brand, recently expanding into the fitness field as well.
10. Harley Gold (Peakhill Capital)
With more than $15 Billion financed and over 3,000 deals closed since 2005, Harvey Gold is a go-to contact for many prominent builders and high net-worth individuals across Canada and the US. With a lifetime devoted to the field of finance, Harley has forged deep-rooted ties with numerous trusted lenders (both private and institutional) across Canada and the US, allowing him to secure his clients the best rates and terms to suit their individual needs - often times arranging last-minute financing in as little as 24-48 hours. After receiving his BA from the University of Toronto, Harley continued his education at Canisius, where he received his MBA. Harley then proceeded to launch his career at CMLS, where he quickly excelled, becoming one of the firm’s top-producing lenders. After spending 11 years at CMLS, Harley began working at an American mortgage banking firm, before moving on to founding his own firm, Peakhill Capital. Peakhill Capital is a direct mortgage lender - with a focus on commercial properties - handling all steps of the financing process in-house. By launching his own firm, Harley has been able to even better accommodate his clients, having greater flexibility to work with them more closely and provide them with a greater number of options to satisfy even the most complex requirements. Through Peakhill Capital, Harley continues to expand his portfolio and network of contacts, remaining active in the real estate construction and development industry as trusted name and infallible financier.