Register Now

Dr. Donna Finley

Senior Drucker Fellow & President, Finley & Associates

Domain Expertise:

Strategist, Governance, Engagement Strategies & Leadership Development

As a proven strategist, successfully leading restructuring and transformation initiatives, Donna has a solid reputation for governance expertise and training, organizational and individual capacity building, and strategy. With over 40 years of business experience, Donna’s passion and ability to quickly synthesize information and create integrated solutions has earned her high praise from Boards and Senior Management teams of corporate, private, and non-profit organizations alike. She has held many internal and external transitional leadership positions and led consulting engagements in multiple sectors across Canada. As the driving force behind several large-scale organizational transformations in different sectors, Donna has led the redesign of governance structures, business models and processes that position organizations and Foundations to achieve sustainable impact.

Donna has been an innovator and leader in the Family Office sector for over 25 years. Working with families from $20M to $2B to create strategies for: succession planning; policy development; administrative and governance structures; family retreats; effective family communication and engagements; education plans; operational strategies; Foundation strategy; Advisory Board establishment and leadership development.

Donna is a noted speaker, a pragmatist, author of multiple academic articles and co-author of a textbook on strategic planning. She is a regular lecturer at the Peter Drucker School of Management in Southern California, where she co-developed and lectures for a course “Managing Your Family Business”. Donna currently sits on the Queen’s University Faculty of Arts & Science Dean’s Council and University of Calgary’s Senate.

•    CMC, Certified Management Consultant

•    Drucker Senior Fellow, Drucker School of Management

•    PhD (Knowledge Management), Interdisciplinary Studies, University of Calgary and SSHRC Doctoral Fellow

•    MBA (International Strategy), IMD, University of Lausanne, Switzerland

•   BA (Life Sciences), BEd (Math & Science), Queen’s University



•       Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) Doctoral Fellowship (May 2009 – April 2011). University of Calgary.

•       Queen Elizabeth II Doctoral Scholarship (2009). University of Calgary.

Declined in favor of SSHRC.

•       Queen Elizabeth II Doctoral Scholarship (2008). University of Calgary.

•       Alberta Premier’s Award of Excellence for work in partnership with the Alberta Agricultural Products Marketing Council on the Agricultural Industry Governance Review. Bronze medalist (2009).

•       The City of Calgary Community Achievement Award (Education) for innovative Public-Private Partnerships. Nominated by Calgary International Language Foundation (2005).

•       The Conference Board of Canada’s Global Best Award for partnerships in Business and Education. Nominated by Calgary French & International School (2004).

•       Award of Distinction, National Post Awards for Business in the Arts for work with the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra (2003)


More about Donna’s family:

One of her great grandfathers – Rudolph Clarke was the General Manager of the Bank of Montreal, while the other one – Philip S. Ross – was a founding member of The Association of Accountants in Montreal, first to become incorporated in Canada, later becoming the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Quebec. Phil Ross and George A. Touche founded Touche Ross & Co, which developed into one of the “Big Eight” accounting firms globally and today is known as Deloitte. Philip was one of the first 30 people elected to the Canadian Business Hall of Fame in 1984. Other notable family figures include Sir John Kennedy, Chief Engineer of the Montreal habour commission; Howard Ross, Chancellor of McGill University; Billy Bishop, Canadian WWI flying ace; Major Eric B. Finley MC, initial inductee into Canada’s Hall of Valour; Dr. Alan Finley, awarded US President’s Citation for Outstanding Humanitarian Service; Sir Herbert Ames, knighted for his service as financial director of the League of Nations; Sir William McKie, Organist and Master of the Choristers at Westminster Abbey knighted for his music at Queen Elizabeth’s marriage, coronation, and funeral; and, Hartland Finley, decorated WWII RCAF Squadron leader and initial inductee into Canada’s Hall of Valour. Most recently, several family members have been awarded the Order of Canada including Gerald Finley; Brian Finley & Donna Bennett; and Paul Ross.