2017 Rising Stars Award Winners


Michael Acedo, Open Text Corporation

Michael Acedo is General Counsel – Corporate at Open Text Corp. Within weeks of joining Open Text, Acedo helped lead the successful execution of its inaugural $800-million offering of high-yield notes. His primary responsibilities at Open Text are legal in nature, plus he works closely with his colleagues in finance, treasury, tax, investor relations and human resources to ensure that relevant business considerations are carefully taken into account in all legal decisions. In honour of a close friend who passed away from ALS, Acedo and others organize an annual golf tournament, which has raised both awareness and funds (over $75,000 to date) for the ALS Society of Canada. Acedo also sits on the organizing committee for Lucky Ball, an annual charity gala that benefits the Fort York Food Bank and has generated close to $160,000 since its inception five years ago.

Carrie Aiken, Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP

Carrie Aiken practises income tax law at Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP, where she focuses on advising and planning the tax aspects of domestic and international transactions, including M&A, corporate reorganizations, divestitures and investments by private-equity and pension funds. She advises international companies and state-owned enterprises looking to invest, commence or acquire business operations in Canada. She also advises public corporations, trusts and investment funds in connection with a wide range of public share and debt offerings. Throughout 2014 and 2015, Aiken co-chaired the firm’s Calgary student committee and was responsible for all student recruitment and matters relating to students throughout their articles. She is past president and former director of the Canadian Petroleum Tax Society and an active and contributing member of the Canadian Tax Foundation. Aiken is involved in broader community initiatives through pro bono work with the Calgary YMCA. She passionately supports Ovarian Cancer Canada and has recently been appointed to its Board as a Director.

Afshan Ali, CIBC

Afshan Ali is Senior Counsel at CIBC. Her nominator wrote: “Afshan has worked in a lead capacity on some of CIBC’s most important litigation and regulatory matters. Perhaps most significantly, she led the representation of CIBC internally in the regulatory proceedings that resulted in CIBC’s $73-million no-contest settlement with the Ontario Securities Commission of allegations that clients had been charged excess fees. To date, this settlement is the largest in the industry when compared to those reached by other bank-owned and independent dealers who have settled the issue, an indication of its significance, complexity and importance to CIBC.” She is the current President of the Board of the Barbra Schlifer Commemorative Clinic, having served on the Board for six years in various capacities. Under the guidance of the Board, the Clinic participates regularly in groundbreaking litigation.

Sherri M. Altshuler, Aird & Berlis LLP

Sherri Altshuler is a partner at Aird & Berlis LLP, in which she is a member of its Capital Markets; Corporate/Commercial and Mining Groups as well as a member of the firm’s Capital Pool Company, Startups and Cannabis Groups. Her practice is focused on M&A, corporate reorganizations, public and private financings and ongoing corporate and commercial matters. She has developed specialized expertise in capital markets transactions, including advising real estate investment trusts with respect to board governance, securities and financing matters. She has been on the Board of Directors of The Arthritis Society (Ontario) since 2012, and she is on the organization’s Nominating Committee and All-In for Arthritis Poker Gala Committee. Altshuler was a Board Member of the Ontario Spondylitis Association and the Canadian Spondylitis Association. She chairs an annual event with PwC for Holocaust Education Week. She is also involved in Women in Capital Markets and Women Lawyers of Interlaw.

Jennifer A. Archer, Borden Ladner Gervais LLP

Jennifer Archer is a partner in BLG’s Corporate Commercial Group. She is the firm’s client team lead for BC Hydro, which she works with on a variety of matters, including complex supply and outsourcing arrangements, electricity purchase agreements, load displacement agreements and various procurements, including those related to the Site C Clean Energy Project. Site C, with a cost estimate in excess of $8 billion, is a third dam and hydroelectric generating station on the Peace River in northeast BC. She has volunteered her time to assist with the organization of the YWCA Women of Great Distinction Awards, and in 2017 participated as a judge for the Association of Women in Finance PEAK Awards. Archer is actively involved in the Next Leaders Council of the Business Council of British Columbia, the Vancouver Board of Trade and the Vancouver Chapter of Associates for Corporate Growth. She was an Adjunct Professor at the University of BC Faculty of Law (2010 to 2014) where she co-taught a class on corporate matters.