Our Team

Team Bios

Ronald N. Stern, LL.B.


Mr. Stern is the founder and President of Stern Partners. He practiced law for approximately 15 years as a partner of a leading Canadian law firm, with an emphasis on corporate and commercial law and various social interest matters. Since 1989, Mr. Stern has devoted his full time to the management of his business interests.

Mr. Stern is involved in all aspects of Stern Partners’ activities and acts as the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer for some of the group’s operating companies.

Mr. Stern serves, or has served, on a variety of corporate and community boards, including the Vancouver Airport Authority, the Vancouver East Cultural Centre, the Vancouver General Hospital and University of British Columbia Hospital Foundation, the Vancouver Symphony Society, the Canadian Council for Israel and Jewish Advocacy, and Science World British Columbia.

Honourable Jacob (Jack) Austin, P.C., O.B.C., Q.C.

Senior Advisor - International

Mr. Austin has been active in both private and public life. He received his law degree from the University of British Columbia and Harvard Law School and practiced law in Vancouver for over 20 years in trade and commercial law, particularly in relation to China, South Korea and Japan.

In public life, Mr. Austin served as Deputy Minister of Energy, Mines and Resources, Canada, and Chief of Staff to Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau. After his elevation to the Senate, he served in the Canadian Cabinets of Prime Minister Trudeau and Prime Minister Paul Martin.

From 1993 to 2000, Mr. Austin served as President of the Canada China Business Council and from 2000 to 2003 as Deputy Chairman. He assisted in the building of a close relationship for Canada and China in commercial development.

After leaving the Senate in March 2007, Mr. Austin became a special advisor to Stern Partners. He is also Honourary Professor in the Institute of Asian Research at the University of British Columbia.

Mr. Austin was made a member of the Order of British Columbia in 2010, received The Simon Fraser University Distinguished Community Service Award in 2011, and the LL.D. (Hon) from the University of British Columbia in 2011. He also holds the Order of the Aztec Eagle, which is Mexico’s highest award to a non-Mexican citizen. In 2014,  Mr.  Austin was appointed as a Member of the Order of Canada.

Yvonne Barbosa, B.Com., C.P.A., C.A.

Director, Tax

Ms. Barbosa graduated from the University of British Columbia where she received her Bachelor of Commerce degree. She then joined KPMG where she earned her Chartered Accountant’s designation.

Ms. Barbosa joined Stern Partners in 2002 as Tax Manager. She provides both tax compliance and advisory services to the tax team, as well as to the various companies in the Stern group.

Her responsibilities include preparing and reviewing various tax reporting forms and returns, assisting the team with external tax audits and performing research and analysis of tax planning issues impacting the group’s companies.

Andrew Bull, J.D.

Associate General Counsel

Mr. Bull joined Stern Partners in 2020. Prior to joining Stern Partners, he practiced business law with a focus on mergers and acquisitions and corporate matters, first at a large national law firm and later at a boutique M&A law firm.

Mr. Bull advises the group on the full range of legal matters, including financings, mergers and acquisitions, commercial matters and dispute resolution.

Daniel Cairns, C.F.A.

Vice President

Mr. Cairns joined Stern Partners in 2013. He is actively involved in acquisitions, reorganizations and ongoing business-related matters for the group’s companies.

Prior to joining Stern Partners, Mr. Cairns completed a Master’s degree in philosophy at the University of Oxford, as well as a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Western Australia.  Mr. Cairns is a CFA charterholder.

Nigel Cave, B.Com., L.L.B.

Senior Vice President & General Counsel

Mr. Cave joined Stern Partners after five years as the Vice Chair of the British Columbia
Securities Commission, where he was responsible for leading the tribunal function of
the Commission as well as providing direction on a variety of significant local and
national policy projects. Prior to joining the Commission, Mr. Cave was a partner at a
Vancouver office of a major national law firm, where he was the leader of that office’s
Capital Markets group. He practiced business and securities law across a wide range of
industries with a focus on mergers and acquisitions, corporate finance, corporate
governance and capital markets activities.

Mr. Cave joined Stern Partners as Senior Vice President & General Counsel January 2,
2020. In addition to advising on legal matters for the group, he will be assisting with
acquisitions and financings, and the full range of on-going business matters for the
group’s companies.

Daniel Cho, C.P.A., C.A.


Mr. Cho joined Stern Partners as Controller in 2021. He oversees financial reporting, accounting, and related internal controls functions for the group’s companies.

Prior to joining Stern Partners, Mr. Cho worked at a leading independent Canadian investment firm.  Mr. Cho obtained his Chartered Professional Accountant designation articling at a Vancouver-based CPA firm where he provided accounting, assurance, tax, and business advisory services to privately-held companies in various industries.

Neil de Gelder, Q.C.


Mr. de Gelder joined Stern Partners as Executive Vice President in 2005, and is involved in all aspects of the group’s activities.  Prior to joining Stern Partners, he practiced law with a leading Canadian law firm for almost 25 years, with a focus on mergers and acquisitions, financings, corporate governance and financial services matters.

Mr. de Gelder is a past Executive Director of the British Columbia Securities Commission. He also serves, or has served, on a variety of corporate and community boards, including the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia, Pan American Silver Corp., Discovery Fund (VCC) Ltd., the Vancouver Board of Trade and the Vancouver Art Gallery.

Norm Drewlo, C.M.A.

Vice President

Mr. Drewlo is an accountant with a broad financial background and extensive operational experience. He has approximately 20 years of experience as a senior executive in various distribution companies in the energy equipment, wire, cable and data products industries.

In 1983, Mr. Drewlo assumed the position of Controller at Gas Equipment Supplies (which was acquired by Stern Partners in 1992), a distribution company of propane and natural gas equipment. He subsequently held various senior management positions, including President, and helped create National Energy Equipment, which is now part of the Stern Partners group of companies.

Mr. Drewlo joined Stern Partners in 2004 as Vice President, and is involved with special projects and acquisitions and divestitures. He also assists with the financial and operational activities for some of the group’s companies.

Abhishek Gudgila, B.B.A., M.B.A.

Manager – US Tax

Mr. Gudgila joined Stern Partners in 2022.  Prior to joining Stern Partners, he worked with the US tax team at KPMG, working on various US tax compliance projects for KPMG clients with cross border tax implications.  Prior to that he worked with the international tax team at Deloitte.

Mr. Gudgila graduated from the University of Pune where he received his MBA majoring in finance.

Shamsh Kassam, C.P.A., C.A.

Chief Financial Officer & Senior Vice President

Mr. Kassam graduated from the University of British Columbia with a Bachelor of Commerce degree and obtained his Chartered Accountant designation while articling with KPMG. In January 1993, he joined WIC Western International Communications Ltd., which was a leading communications, broadcast and entertainment company. He held various positions, including Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, and was involved in its acquisitions and divestitures, including due diligence and financing.

After the division of WIC’s assets as a result of a take-over, Mr. Kassam worked for CanWest Global Communications Corp., which acquired the television assets of WIC, and subsequently also acquired the Southam newspaper assets.

Mr. Kassam joined Stern Partners in 2002, and is currently Chief Financial Officer & Senior Vice President.  In addition to supporting the financial and operational activities for some of the businesses controlled by Stern Partners, he oversees treasury functions, risk management strategy, and the group’s insurance and benefits programs, and assists with corporate development.


Rosanna Lau, C.P.A., C.A.

Tax Senior Manager

Ms. Lau graduated from UBC with a Bachelor of Commerce, and joined KPMG after graduation where she obtained her Chartered Accountant designation and her In Depth tax certification. During her time at KPMG, Ms. Lau focused primarily on Canadian accounting and tax matters for individuals and owner-managed businesses.

Ms. Lau joined Stern Partners in 2020 and provides Canadian tax compliance and advisory services to the tax team.

Ian Luo, C.P.A.

Associate Vice President

Mr. Luo joined Stern Partners in 2023, where he works closely with other team members on M&A transactions and provides support to operating companies across various assignments and corporate initiatives.

Before joining Stern Partners, Mr. Luo was part of the KPMG Deal Advisory group and worked in both the Corporate Finance team (middle-market investment banking) and the Transaction Services team (buy-side assistance), where he provided merger, acquisition and divestiture advisory services. Prior to KPMG, Mr. Luo was a Senior Associate at PwC, where he led assurance engagements for multiple clients, with a focus in the mining, logistics, and transportation sectors.

Mr. Luo holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics with a Business Minor from Simon Fraser University and is a Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA).

Peter Roberts

Vice President, Technology

Mr. Roberts has worked with a number of the Stern entities as a consultant over the past eight years, before joining Stern Partners in 2017 as Vice President, Technology. Mr. Roberts will continue to advise the group’s operating companies in developing their technology strategies as well as supporting major IT initiatives across the group.

Mr. Roberts has over 25 years of experience as a senior technology executive with a background in systems integration, consulting, service delivery and general management, and has worked in a variety of industries including pulp and paper, energy, retail, utilities and public-sector.

Mr. Roberts has worked with multi-national corporations including Methanex, SK Group (Korea) and Spectra Energy and has held senior management positions with ISM, TELUS and Sierra Systems.

Caroline Sanche, B.B.A., C.P.A., C.A.

Vice President, Taxation

Ms. Sanche graduated from Simon Fraser University with a B.B.A., majoring in marketing and finance. After working for two years in industry utilizing her marketing degree, Ms. Sanche joined KPMG where she obtained her Chartered Accountant designation along with a specialization in Canadian taxation.

Ms. Sanche worked in public practice as an Associate Partner, leading the Credit Union tax practice, as well as providing tax and accounting services to financial institutions, real estate, hospitality and owner managed businesses. Since 2010, Ms. Sanche has assisted private, not-for-profit and charitable entities in senior financial roles. She has experience in Canadian taxation, US taxation, International taxation, business development and planning, financial reporting, financial advisory services and corporate structuring.

Ms. Sanche joined Stern Partners as Director of Taxation in 2012. She is responsible for Canadian and International tax compliance for the group’s companies, as well as providing tax accounting and planning assistance.

Linda Wong, B.B.A., M.B.A.

Tax Specialist

Ms. Wong graduated from Capilano University with a Bachelor of Business Administration, specializing in Accounting. She also holds a Masters of Business Administration in Technology Management from the University of Phoenix. Ms. Wong has several years of experience working in a large service company as a Senior Tax Accountant, focusing on U.S. and Canadian tax compliance.

Ms. Wong joined Stern Partners in 2008 as a Tax Specialist. She is responsible for the preparation and filing of Canadian tax returns for many of the group’s companies.

Ellie Zhao

Ms. Zhao graduated from Simon Fraser University with a Bachelor of Arts, majoring in sociology and from the University of British Columbia with a Diploma of Accounting. Ms. Zhao started her career in Canadian taxation at Deloitte, working on various tax compliance and advisory projects for private enterprises and public corporations.

Ms. Zhao joined Stern Partners in 2022, providing Canadian tax compliance and advisory services to the tax team.