18th Annual Top 50 CEO Awards

18th Annual Top 50 CEO Awards

Darrell Kuhn
President & CEO,Community Credit Union of Cumberland Colchester Ltd.
(Truro, N.S.)

“It is imperative that organizations exist to create better communities”

Communities Build Wealth DJ (Darrell) Kuhn continues to stickhandle the fortunes of the community credit union he has run since 2008. Since then, he has managed to maintain a type of progressive leadership that has produced tangible results in western Nova Scotia. With annual revenue of under $5 million in 2015, the credit union has managed to grow its yearly takings. In 2013, its bump amounted to 12 per cent. In 2014, its revenue growth was 18 per cent. (It led the region in lending expansion.) In 2015, that performance improved to 24 per cent. (It led in deposit increases.) Says Kuhn: “A leader today must be the primary ‘change champion’.”

Rolling up Sleeves Kuhn’s five-year plan is every bit as ambitious as the man, himself. He intends to grow the size of credit-union membership by 50 per cent; grow revenues by 50 per cent; and to create new products and services to support these and other competitive, innovative approaches to community banking, lending and investment.

Grassroots Innovation Works For Kuhn, innovation must play an integral role in daily community operations. From the creation of a wealth-management purchase strategy to establishing a “Women in Excellence” entrepreneurial sponsorship fund, this dedicated local banker is all about building economic capacity in the neighbourhoods and backyards of his business.

Ashwin Kutty
President and CEO, WeUsThem Inc.
(Halifax, N.S.)

“It is the tenacious few that should explore entrepreneurship”

Communications with Gusto Ashwin Kutty runs his marketing and communications firm from the heart of downtown Halifax. WeUsThem is an independent, award-winning, full-service marketing, communications and public relations agency. It also maintains a strategic management consulting arm that provides consulting advice on education, healthcare, technology, organizational management, change management and design thinking. Employing up to nine people at any given time, it earns annual revenue of under $5 million on a three-year growth rate (since 2013) of between 15 and 20 per cent.

The Career Explorer Kutty says that he has been an “explorer in his career”. The unknown has fascinated him. He notes his firm is recognized around the world for its products: “What more could you ask for than to have work you have done for your clients be exposed to 138 countries?” What more, indeed? He adds: “We have done so in Atlantic Canada with talent and expertise that proudly lives and works here.”

Growth is Inevitable For Kutty, the future is about business expansion. As he says, “We need to continue growing though we need to do so at a pace that keeps up with the needs being identified by our clients.” In the next five years, he says, WeUsThem should be “at three times our talent strength and our annual revenues should be in high eight figures.”

Dr. Ramona Lumpkin
President and Vice-Chancellor, Mount Saint Vincent University
(Halifax, N.S.)

“Without passion for mission, work is empty and meaningless”

Making a Difference Ramona Lumpkin, who joined the Mount in her current capacity in 2010, now leads over 600 faculty and staff in delivering an academic “excellent” experience to over 4,000 students from over 50 countries around the world. In this role, she has coordinated the development of the Mount’s new five-year strategic plan, Mount 2017: Making a Difference, and the execution of the university’s most ambitious capital campaign to date, Project TWENTY12, which raised over $12 million in 20 months. These funds will go toward constructing the Margaret Norrie McCain Centre for Teaching, Learning and Research, a building that celebrates the role women play in shaping society. Over the past three years, revenue growth at the university has advanced by three per cent.

Innovation is Urgent Lumpkin does not buy the perception that universities change at a glacial pace; in fact, she thinks the reverse is true. The Mount was, for example, the first university in Atlantic Canada to offer televised courses, which gave way in time to online delivery.

Purposeful and Engaged Lumpkin defines her leadership style simply. She works to set a clear direction for her organization. “I’ve learned that a leader can’t do much alone,” she says. “Not only must she be engaged but she must extend that practice of purposeful engagement throughout the organization.”

Allan MacIntosh
President, Marco Group of Companies
(Dartmouth, N.S.)

“Leadership cannot be taught; it can be learned through coaching and mentoring”

Building Strong Bones Allan MacIntosh has occupied the helm of one of Atlantic Canada’s leading construction management firms since 2003. Under his guidance the company (involved in the commercial, industrial, institutional, and retail sectors as project managers, general contractors and developers, and with offices in St. John’s and Dartmouth) currently operates in all four Atlantic provinces as well as Alberta. Employing 90 people and posting 2015 revenues of $100 million (or above), the Marco Group has registered a 10 per cent, year-over-year, growth rate over the past 36 months.

The Creative Constructor MacIntosh insists that his industry must apply innovative solutions to problems, if only because no single project is the same as any other. In this regard, he says, “Marco is at the forefront of these sweeping changes and is certainly leading the charge in Atlantic Canada.” Indeed, MacIntosh sees a direct correlation between the rate of adoption of new technology (and) “our competitiveness as a corporation.”

Bold and Respected MacIntosh is confident that over the next five years, the firm will become the biggest construction and development company in Atlantic Canada. “We are well on our way to that now,” he says. “We are changing the way construction companies do business and defining a new level of customer service in this industry.”

Travis McDonough
Founder & CEO, Kinduct Technologies
(Halifax, N.S.)

“I encourage people, then I get out of their way; it’s OK to make mistakes”

Making People Better Travis McDonough, a Halifax native, grew up with a love of fitness and sport. Today, he runs a company that employs 40 people, earns annual revenues under $5 million, yet has posted a three-year growth rate of 66 per cent. Specifically, Kinduct develops health, wellness, and human performance software that focuses on user engagement, data collection and measurement with the goal of “making people better”. His business purpose over the next five years is “to be the dominant force and market leader in the health and human performance industries and, in so doing, have 10 million users.”

Fit for Business McDonough’s approach immerses itself in “innovative thought”. This has involved “creating a new market and mindset”. He adds: “Having the ability to accurately identify who is at risk of a given injury or disease can allow for an informed intervention to take place.” Part of this innovative work is correlating data across human health and performance results to help them be, in effect, the best and healthiest they can be.

Man in Motion Though only three years old, McDonough’s company has already secured license agreements with many of the world’s largest health, fitness, military and professional sporting organizations. And as one of only 10 participants in a recent LA Dodgers Accelerator Program (resulting in a pending investment partnership with a global technology giant), it looks like he is just getting started.

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