About us

 

Our History & Mission

Imagine stepping into your local liquor store to pick up a bottle of wine, only to find that a mere three options were available on the shelves — generic French red, random Spanish white and a rosé of unknown origin (perhaps from Bordeaux?). In 1973, the founders of Opimian didn’t have to imagine. This was the reality of the wine selection in Canada.
 
Our British-born founders took a close look at the wines offered at the liquor boards and compared it to what they, as well-travelled wine lovers, knew was available worldwide. They noticed a large gap there, one that needed to be filled; and that’s exactly what they pledged to do. Ever since that day, we have been living by this commitment.
 
We work directly with some of the best winemakers in the world to find compelling wines we want to share. These wines are tasted and handpicked by our Master of Wine Jane Masters and curated to your taste; thus ensuring that every Opimian member, no matter where they are in their wine journey, will discover wines perfectly suited to their interests.
 
Sharing is caring, as we all know. We care for our members just like we care for family — with an extra glass always on hand. That’s why we strive to make things as simple and seamless for them. Our community of wine lovers has strong ties that stretch across the country, from coast to coast to coast. And what we share among ourselves goes beyond wine: it’s the product of a deep passion and long-lasting relationships with winemakers all over the world.
 
 

 

Management Team

Guy Parent, CPA, CGA - General Manager
 
Guy brings a wealth of executive experience in business and the not-for- profit sector. In the past 15 years he has held executive positions with professional associations as varied as those representing university alumni, engineers, and insurance brokers.
 
Guy served as General Manager of Regroupement des cabinets de courtage d’assurance du Quebec (RCCAQ), the professional association of insurance brokers and brokerage firms that seeks to promote and defend the socio-economic interests of its members. As General Manager, Guy supported the RCCAQ’s strategic planning and managed all operations including the organization’s outreach efforts. Guy’s business experience includes being Vice-President, finance and administration for LCC Vins & Spiritueux, the fifth largest wine and spirits agency in Quebec, where he established a human resources management framework and restructured all accounting activities. 
In his thirty-year career, Guy has gained vast experience in business strategy, accounting, human resources, marketing, communications and member/customer and government relations.  Guy is a member of the Order of CPA – Quebec and CPA – Canada. He is a Board member and Treasurer of CPPAD, a coalition that seeks to promote the insurance professions. He is also a Board member and finance committee chair of On the Tip of the Toes Foundation, a foundation that seeks to help young people living with cancer.
 
Anna Tarzia Zappia - Wine Sourcing & Logistics Manager
 
Since 1979 Anna has been a staple of the Opimian management team. She understands the need for a respectful and personal relationship with those who craft the beverage of the gods that is so dear to us. Opimian’s continued growth and selection of future wine producers will rely heavily on her intimate understanding of the wine industry ecosystem and her broad knowledge of wine as such.
 
 
Hugues Clément - IT Manager
 
Before devoting his work full-time to Opimian, Hugues served for seven years as IT Director at Philippe Dandurand Wines Ltd. During that time Hugues gained important experience in managing IT projects related to the wine business. Throughout the years, Hugues has managed his way through all possible IT positions. He started as a database programmer at Vidéotron Telecom Ltd. but quickly moved to team leader and database administrator at TouchTunes Digital Jukebox Inc. He acquired a lot of skills in managing teams and complex IT projects for rapid growing businesses as demonstrated between 2003 and 2010 at Garda Security Group where he managed multiple IT integrations when the company entered the aviation service market.
In his twenty-year career, Hugues has gained vast experience in business intelligence (BI), third-party software integration and software design which has allowed him to implement tailor-made solutions for each organization that he has worked for.
 
 


Governance - Board of Directors

Opimian is governed by a Board of Directors representing different parts of the country as well as a president, vice-president and treasurer. They dispatch stewardship responsibility according to the governance documents, available below. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to communicate with head office.
 
 
Paul Reimer, Calgary, AB - President & Chair
 
Paul Reimer has been a member of Opimian since 2004 and joined the Opimian board in 2012.  He has been the Board’s Vice President since 2014 and currently chairs the Governance and Nominations Committees.  Paul retired from a 35-year career in the oil and gas industry in 2014. Prior to retirement Paul was Senior Vice-President of Marketing, Transportation & Power at Cenovus Energy Inc.  During his career he held board positions in numerous Canadian and International companies and partnerships.  Paul received a Bachelor of Applied Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from University of Waterloo in 1981 and a Master of Business Administration degree from University of Calgary in 1997.  He is a life member of the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Alberta.   In addition to being wine enthusiasts, he and his wife Brenda enjoy travelling, golf, cycling, and x-country skiing.
 
 
Lois-Anne Brebner, Almonte, ON - Past-Chair & Director
 
Lois-Anne Brebner is the Past President and Chair of the Board of Directors, having served as President and Chair from 2014 until the 2018 AGSM.  Prior to joining the Board in 2009, Lois-Anne and her husband Lee were Area Representatives for Halton/Niagara.  Lois-Anne spent over 20 years in senior management positions in the telecommunications industry.  Upon retirement from her position as Assistant Vice-President, Government Relations, Bell Canada, Lois-Anne launched a successful management consulting business specializing in government relations, marketing communications, and strategic planning. She has extensive experience on not-for-profit boards, including: appointed by the Minister of Education to the Ontario Parents’ Council; Director of the Agricultural Leadership Trust of the University of Guelph/OMAFRA; Chair of the Eastern Ontario Selection Committee, Advanced Agricultural Leadership Program; Director of Public Affairs Association of Canada.  Lois-Anne has completed the requirements for the Advanced Certificate in Board Governance from the OHA Governance Centre of Excellence as well as the Leadership Certificate for Hospital Board Chairs. Lois-Anne is a past Chair of the Carleton Place and District Memorial Hospital.
 
 
Neil McClughan, Regina, SK - Vice-President & Director
 
Neil and his wife, Ellen, joined Opimian in 1995 and were immediately hooked with Opimian, attending events and ordering wines, eventually becoming Area Representatives for 5 years and establishing renewed interest in local events and growth in membership. Neil is currently President and CEO of Saskatchewan’s partner in Canada’s national research and education network, connecting research, education and innovation Members across Saskatchewan to Canada’s national network. Recognized for delivering results and in creating high-performing teams, Neil has extensive senior management and leadership experience encompassing business strategy, operations, organizational effectiveness, customer focus, and partnerships. His experience is garnered from his current role as CEO and over 5 years in the management consulting industry as well as 31 years in the telecom industry leading complex international, national, and provincial teams and programs. On a more personal note, Neil and his wife Ellen both have a passion for wine and food, regularly enjoy entertaining, and Neil has achieved the 2nd level Sommelier certificate from the International Sommelier Guild.
 
 
Barry Wilson, Nepean, ON - Treasurer & Director
 
Barry Wilson is a Chartered Professional Accountant and Chartered Accountant with almost 30 years of senior finance and operations experience in both the private sector and the not-for-profit sector. He is an alumnus of Coopers & Lybrand Chartered Accountants (now PricewaterhouseCoopers) where he practised insolvency in his final five years with the firm. Barry has extensive experience in the areas of corporate governance, finance and treasury, risk management and business operations. He has held Chief Financial Officer and Vice President, Finance and Administration positions in various private sector companies in the technology, printing, media and industrial sectors, as well as in not-for-profit sector companies, both government-funded and non-government funded. As a consultant, Barry has also assisted start-up companies to get off the ground by putting in place solid systems of financial control and key financial performance reporting. His experience with building budget and forecasting models, and raising both debt and equity financing, helped them to grow sales to eventually become acquisition targets. Barry has been a member of Opimian since 2008.
 
 
Terrence Hutchinson, Saint John, NB - Secretary & Director
 
Terrence Hutchinson, Q.C., is a native of Saint John, New Brunswick and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree (Economics) from Carleton University and a Bachelor of Laws degree from the University of New Brunswick. Terry was called to the New Brunswick Bar in 1978 and received his Queen’s Counsel designation in December 2000. Terry’s 25-year practice of law has primarily focused on corporate and commercial law, representing local, provincial, national and international clients in matters including among others, financing, mergers and acquisitions, private equity financing, start-ups, reorganizations, regulatory matters, succession planning, and general legal advice to SME owners and management. Terry frequently advises businesses with respect to governance and board of director issues. Terry is actively involved in community, national and international associations and serves as a Director of Destination Marketing Organization (Saint John Tourism), Director and Vice-President, Turnbull Nursing Home, Director and Past President, Fernhill Cemetery Company.


Directors

 
 
John Birdgeneau, Calgary, AB
 
John Birdgeneau is the retired Vice-President of Technology at Nexen Energy ULC. John’s 35-year career in the energy industry included a progression of technical and leadership responsibilities involving strategy, capital budgets, operations and new technologies with Imperial Oil, Numac Energy and Nexen Energy.  On an industry scale, he was a member of the Shareholders Steering Committee, Strategy and Governance Sub Committees for COSIA, a collaborative technical innovation alliance. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Geology from McMaster University and is a member of the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Alberta. Originally from St. Catharines Ontario, he has lived in Calgary since 1979 and enjoys skiing, hiking and travelling the world. John and his wife have been members of the Opimian Society since 2009.
 
 
David Conway, St. John’s, NL
 
David Conway is a lawyer and wine enthusiast from St. John’s, NL. He and his wife Courtney served as Area Representatives for over seven years, during which time they were married and started a family. David is currently the chair of the NL Labour Relations Board. Prior to this, he practised in the fields of labour law and administrative law. David graduated from McGill University (B.A., Economics) and the University of New Brunswick (LL.B.), before being called to the Ontario Bar and the NL Bar. David has appeared at all levels of court, including the Supreme Court of Canada. He has presented educational seminars to various groups throughout Canada, is an instructor in the NL Bar Admission Course, and has instructed at Memorial University of Newfoundland. David has significant experience in working with not-for-profit organizations and he has served on various boards. David and his wife Courtney both share a love of wine, dining, travel and being parents to their two wonderful daughters.
 
 
Carol Fitzwilliam, Montréal, QC
 
Carol A. Fitzwilliam is the retired founder of Fitzwilliam Legal Recruitment and Fitzwilliam Third Sector Recruitment, two Canadian executive search firms dedicated to the legal profession and not-for-profit sector, respectively. She has served as a director of several non-profit organizations, including the International Women’s Forum, YWCA Canada, YWCA de Montréal and Centennial Academy. She is currently Chair of the Governance Committee of the Board of Directors of the Société du Palais des congrès de Montréal, a provincial crown corporation and Past Chair of the Board of Directors of Masters Swimming Canada. Ms. Fitzwilliam holds an undergraduate degree in English and French literature from Sir George Williams University and a law degree from Université de Montréal. She is a retired member of the Quebec Bar, a certified director (ICD.D) and a member of the Institute of Corporate Directors.
 
 
Twyla Laakso, Calgary, AB
 
Twyla has been a professional communicator for more than three decades and has provided strategic communication services for some of the most well-known brands in Canada including Suncor Energy, Colliers International, Air Canada and Fairmont Hotels (as Canadian Pacific Hotels & Resorts). She holds professional accreditation from the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) and is certified in the Prosci method of change management. Prior to launching her own enterprise more than a decade ago, Twyla served in senior management roles directing corporate communications functions. In the years preceding her corporate work, Twyla worked as national account director for several highly regarded advertising agencies including TBWA Chiat Day and BBDO. In her current role as principal of TLCommunications, Twyla enjoys exercising her experience and skills for the benefit of clients who require strategic planning and communications activities directly aligned with organizational goals. Twyla believes serving as a Director with Opimian will allow her to unite her professional experience with her personal passion for great wines and gourmet cookery and she looks forward to making a meaningful contribution to the Society.
 
 
Stan Thompson, Whitehorse, YT
 
Stan Thompson earned a CPA/CA designation in Ontario with Thorne Riddell, a predecessor of KPMG, and has been an Opimian member for more than 30 years. His 35+ year work experience is primarily with Consumer Packaged Goods and Resource companies in Canada. Currently CFO & VP Corporate Services for Northwestel in Whitehorse, Yukon, a telecommunications company serving Canada’s three northern territories including northern BC and Alberta, Stan also served as President of a Consumer Health products company and as CFO in Consumer Products and Pulp and Paper companies in Ontario and BC. Stan serves as a Board Member and past Chair of the Whitehorse Chamber of Commerce. He also serves as a member of the Board of Management for the CRA where he is a member of the Human Resources, Service and Audit committees representing the Territories.
 

2017 Strategic Planning Session

Opimian's Board of Directors met in August 2017 in a Strategic Planning Session.
Click here for the summary output from that session.

 

Opimian Bylaws

Opimian is run based on a set of Bylaws most recently amended in 2017.  A complete set including the 1973 Letters Patent is available below.

1973 Letters Patent

Opimian Bylaws as of June 2017

 

Board Term of Office

Adopted by the Board June, 2017 

A. Board Member Term of Office

The term of each Board member shall be for one year. No member shall serve for more than six consecutive one-year terms.

B. President Term of Office

Notwithstanding the above, the term of the President is up to four consecutive years.

C. Past-President Term of Office

The term of the Past-President shall be for one year immediately following their term as President.

 

Opimian Committees

Click on the link below to view and print the pdf. 

Audit Committee

Governance Committee

Nominations Committee

HR Committee

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