Leadership Team

The experts behind MSM Higher ED

Our Team

MSM Higher Ed is led by an international team of educators and executives with broad-ranging experience in the academic world and in business. At the helm of this organization are former leaders and directors at top academic institutions with considerable exposure to pioneering new business models and implementing systems and processes on a vast or global scale.​

Every MSM Higher Ed institution has its own academic advisory board that brings together the academic and professional experience of its members. Here, we hand-pick the best minds in the industry for their worldwide higher education perspective with a wide range of specialties. This helps us accomplish our goals and objectives for all students in the MSM Higher Ed network.

Executive Team

Dean Duperron
Chairman, MSM Higher Ed
Shawn Swail​
Chief Business Officer​
Donna Hooker
President, MSM Higher Ed​
Kalai Ponniah​
Vice President for Education Services, MSM Higher Ed
Tapas Aghera
Head Of Finance
 

MSM Higher Ed Advisory Board

Ken Burt
Arthur Coren
Stephen Murgatroyd, PhD
Jean Sprague
MJ Whitemarsh
Raynie Wood, PhD

Dean Duperron

Chairman, MSM Higher Ed

Dean has more than 34 years of experience in the education industry, overseeing a global network of campuses emphasizing the cohesiveness between academic and vocational disciplines. He has diverse business experience, spanning operations in trades, retail, wholesale, real estate investing, market investing, party and event planning, and mentoring entrepreneurs.

He successfully built two college systems including Sprott-Shaw Community College, which he bought in 1991 and transformed into a profitable operation with 29 Canadian campuses (26 in British Columbia and three in Alberta). They also founded Sprott-Shaw Degree College, now known as Ascenda College, the first private community college in B.C. to be granted the right to confer bachelor’s degrees.

Shawn Swail

Chief Business Officer

Shawn Swail is the Chief Business Officer at M Square Media, and he is responsible for coordinating with the CEO, finance head, and other leaders of the organization. He helps the team meet strategic and financial goals, ensuring the company meets federal and provincial regulatory standards. He also oversees contracts, human resources, procurement, compliance, and risk management.

Shawn has worked in the legal industry in British Columbia for 22 years. His business acumen and corporate skills in entrepreneurial ventures prove to be a strong addition to the corporate advisory team of Laul Global Ventures, as well as brands and institutions that MSM owns and operates.

Donna Hooker

President, MSM Higher Ed

Donna has worked in the international education field for 30 years and now leads MSM Higher Ed as its President. She has a comprehensive knowledge of policy and practice in the public post-secondary education system in British Columbia, Canada and worldwide. She is a past board chair for the BC Centre for International Education and has held senior management roles at BC Institute for Technology, Vancouver Community College, and most recently at Capilano University.

Donna has demonstrated excellence in leadership with a focus on international education and services marketing, as well as in her role as interim Dean of Business for 3 years at Vancouver Community College. Donna holds an MBA with a strategic focus on Services Marketing and International Education and has facilitated the professional development of others by teaching general business and service marketing in Canada as well as internationally. Donna joined M Square Media as President after having had first hand experience as an MSM client that was excellent.

Kalai Ponniah

Vice President for Education Services, MSM Higher Ed

Kalai Ponniah is a senior education management executive with more than 20 years of experience in the fields of international education and cultural exchange. He is currently the Campus Director for MSM Higher Ed member institution Eton College Canada, where he expands the college’s global presence through setting up global campuses and initiating partnerships and articulation agreements.

He was previously the Assistant Vice-President for International Education at Upper Iowa University for nearly a decade, leading him to launch operations in Asia with strategies to increase international student intake. Holding that position, Kalai was able to build extensive experience in student recruitment in China, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, India, Indonesia, South Korea, and Vietnam. As a result, he was able to increase international enrollment by 148%, leading to a 226% increase in gross revenue.

Tapas Aghera

Head Of Finance

Tapas Aghera is the Head of Finance at MSM and is responsible for creating forecasting models, assessing risk in investments, and ensuring that all accounting activities in the organization are strong, sound, and compliant with current regulations. He is a Chartered Accountant by profession with an experience of more than 10 years, including notable experience in crafting financial strategies and managing accounting teams. His career is built on a taxation background and a specialization in the compliance management of direct and indirect taxes. He is also well-versed in statutory audits, tax audits, internal audits, accounting system development, and client management. He has a track record of working with reputable CA consultancy firms and leading private organizations, equipping him with knowledge and technical capabilities in diverse sectors. He earned a CA designation from the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India in 2011 and a bachelor’s degree in commerce in 2008.

MSM Higher Ed Advisory Board

Ken Burt

Ken Burt has more than 25 years of progressive post-secondary experience in multiple provincial environments. With more than 15 years of experience as a senior executive in his field, Ken has worked hard to build himself up through the ranks. His greatest strength is perhaps his ability to build effective teams in collaborative, consultative, and unionized post-secondary organizations.

He has a successful track record of anticipating and managing environmental shifts in funding, demographics, technology, politics, and the economy. On top of being an influential communicator, he is an accomplished leader specializing in organizational development, establishing cultures of economic and environmental sustainability, and brand renewal.

His greatest accomplishment as a senior executive across all of the institutions he has worked with was being able to manage dynamic change while maintaining financial sustainability. When asked, he has always said, "It was never about the money but always about the people." Focusing on the needs of the students, faculty, and staff are some of Ken’s biggest priorities. Colleges and universities are going through very difficult times as the result of the COVID-19 virus, but those that emerge successfully from this crisis will have to keep people foremost in mind when making difficult decisions.

Arthur Coren, PhD

Dr. Arthur Coren is a Professor Emeritus and former President and Vice Chancellor of University Canada West. He also served Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU) as the Dean of the School of Business, chair of the Bachelor of Business Administration in Entrepreneurial Leadership program, Executive Director for International Education, and the Dean of Academic and Career Advancement. Dr.Coren was also an Executive Director for the Northern Telecom Institute for Excellence in Education and five-years active duty with the United States Army.

Dr. Coren has extensive experience in China and holds an appointment with Guangdong University of Foreign Studies as Visiting Professor, MBA Education Center. He led the establishment of several programs in China including 2+2 programs for KPU at Shanghai International Studies University, Guangdong University of Foreign Studies, and Beijing Foreign Studies University. He also developed and implemented joint international high school programs and worked with a number of Chinese companies, from export of agricultural chemicals to light rail and infrastructure.

He has experience in public sector and not-for-profit work as the Program Director for the Prime Minister’s Awards for Teaching Excellence in Science, Technology and Mathematics, serving as a Vice President for the Canadian Centre for Creative Technology, and leading the initiative that won a Conference Board of Canada National Business-Education Partnership Award.

Currently, Dr. Coren provides post-secondary expertise and business advice to US and Canadian universities, educational investors, and private equity firms, and credentialing agencies. Current affiliations include Board Chair for Credit Counselling Canada, Director for Asia Pacific CEO Association, Honorary Vice-President for the Canadian Chinese Table Tennis Federation, and an Associate of the Grizzly Bear Institute.

Stephen Murgatroyd, PhD

Stephen Murgatroyd is the former CEO of Lifeskills International Ltd, a UK consulting company, for five years and worked with forty of the Fortune 500 across Europe, the Middle East and Asia. He has also worked extensively with corporate and public organizations in India, Africa and Hong Kong. His clients included Barclays Bank plc, Citibank (Asia), Oracle, EDS, First Group, TESCO, Heinz and others.

Since 1972, he has worked extensively in open and distance learning at the Open University (UK), Athabasca University as well as corporate training and consulting for Axia NetMedia, The Open Polytechnic of New Zealand, Commonwealth of Learning, Hamdan Bin Mohammed Smart University of Dubai, Middlesex University. And many others.

He has advised governments on educational policy in Chile, Paraguay, UAE, Australia, and New Zealand. Most recently, he has been advising the New Zealand Open Polytechnic on its transformation agenda. In the UAE, he is working with both the Ministry of Possibilities and the Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research on the future of technology enabled learning, focusing on Smart Skills and the role of AI and augmented or virtual reality in reimagining learning.

Murgatroyd is an author of some forty books and over 200 academic papers and book chapters, an experienced broadcaster, journalist, and radio presenter. He has keynoted several conferences across Canada, the US, and Europe including World Conference of Colleges and Polytechnics, TVET in Times of Disruption–The Future of Skills, Rethinking the Future at Innovation Arabia, Learning in an Age of Digital Disruption, and The Future of Skills at the Online Learning Summit and Expo.

Jean Sprague

Jean Sprague is a certified holistic life coach and partners with clients who have chosen to make bold life changes, such as career changes, significant lifestyle changes, or embarking on new projects. She creates individualized coaching programs tailored to her clients needs.

She has experience working with post-secondary institutions in Alberta, across Canada, and the world. Sprague was responsible for the approval of programs for the purpose of providing both federal and provincial financial assistance to Alberta students. She was also involved in the licensing of programs offered by private vocational training institutions in Alberta.

Sprague was also a founding member and instructor at the Alberta Foundation for Administrative Justice, a Chair for Preventive Social Services Board for Strathcona County, and a Board Member of the Community Corrections for Women.

MJ Whitemarsh

M.J. Whitemarsh operates a family-owned consulting venture serving clients in the technology, construction and small business sectors through improved business approaches, strategic government and stakeholder relations, and project management.

Previously, M.J. served as CEO of the Canadian Home Builders’ Association of British Columbia, where she spearheaded industry-led certified education and training, implementation of green building technologies and the promotion, development and delivery management of effective industry trades training.

M.J. has chaired and participated provincially and nationally in many boards, task forces, and committees, including current board appointments as Director and Chair-Governance Committee of Island Health Authority (VIHA), Director, Technical Education and Career Council (TECC), and the BC Small Business Round Table (SBRT).

She is also a former Governor of the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT), chairing the BCIT Tributes Committee, a former Director of the Industry Training Authority (ITA), chairing the Finance and Audit Committee, former Chair of the Residential Construction Industry Training Organization, and a graduate of the Executive Marketing program, University of British Columbia (UBC).

Raynie Wood, PhD

Dr. Raynie Wood has had over 20 years of experience as a leader in post-secondary education. Since May 2017, she has served as the Dean for the School of Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) at Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT) in Calgary, Alberta.

Over this time span, Dr. Wood was in a variety of roles. Some of these roles ranged from Faculty Lead, Project Manager and Program Evaluator for the implementation of an expanded scope of practice related to the Health Professions Act, a Faculty Developer, an Associate Director for Curriculum Excellence, and an Associate Director for International Projects (working in Bolivia, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, and Mozambique).

Additionally, she taught in the Provincial Instructors Diploma Program for Vancouver Community College. She has engaged in a range of national examining board examinations and contributed as a member of a Commission on Accreditation.

Dr. Wood earned her Masters degree in Education at the University of Calgary, specializing in Adult, Community, and Higher Education. She also has a PhD in Education and Human Resource Studies, specializing in Community College Leadership. She has been involved with the PQAPA process since the fall of 2013 and has served as a Chair on a number of audit teams.