News > 2024 > BBA student from the School wins CEOx1Day program

BBA student from the School wins CEOx1Day program

Paired with the CEO of FinDev Canada

April 4, 2024


On March 27, Alex-Luca Khalil Marino enjoyed the unique experience of spending a day shadowing Lori Kerr, CEO of Development Finance Institute Canada (FinDev Canada).

The Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) student from HEC Montréal was one of the 30 winners from Canada – including 5 from Quebec – who were part of the CEOx1Day program, organized every year by the executive recruitment firm Odgers Berndtson.

After undergoing a rigorous application process, the winners were selected for their positive involvement in the community, their determination to develop leadership abilities, and their excellent academic record.


Discovering Lori Kerr’s leadership

In addition to a one-on-one meeting and lunch with Lori Kerr, Alex-Luca Khalil Marino met the entire FinDev Canada team and discussed with several executives including the Vice President of Investments, the Vice President of Strategy and Engagement, the Head of Legal Affairs and Vice President of Operations, and the Director of Strategies and Impact Outlook.

Alex-Luca Khalil Marino, baa student of HEC Montréal

What were your expectations before meeting Lori Kerr?

“I was hoping to gain some insight into the day-to-day life of a CEO of a large company. I thought I would encounter a very bureaucratic structure since this is a government agency. But I was pleasantly surprised to discover an almost startup-like atmosphere where each individual is extremely involved and versatile. The frequent interactions and the open and collaborative workspaces were inspiring and offered a refreshing perspective. It was amazing!”


What surprised or impressed you the most about Lori Kerr’s career or personality?

“Her incredible kindness. Ms. Kerr is an extremely humane and empathetic leader. Despite the large size of her team, she is able to forge a personal bond with each of its 100 members, regardless of their roles. She has succeeded in creating a team that is not only extremely competent, but also mobilized and grateful to be part of the organization. I really hope that I’ll be able to recreate a similar dynamic with my own teams one day.”


What topics did you discuss with her?

“We talked a lot about her leadership style and experiences, and this gave me a clearer understanding of how she mobilizes and empowers her teams. She also touched upon the different power dynamics she has to deal with simultaneously (e.g., the federal government, the board of directors, etc.). It was very instructive to see how all these stakeholders collaborate and communicate with one other.”


What advice would you like to live by?

“Ms. Kerr spoke to me about the importance of not getting lost in work and maintaining a work-life balance. A CEO has to shoulder a great burden and it is easy to get engulfed in all the responsibilities. I hope that in the future, I’ll be able to strike a healthy balance between my passion for work and other aspects of my life.”


What is your best memory of this experience?

“My lunch with Ms. Kerr! We went to a restaurant and chatted at length about our lives, experiences, and ambitions. We were able to talk about things other than work and I could get to know the person better, not just the CEO.”


How has this experience influenced your outlook of your own professional career?

“This experience made me realize that the reality of associations is an excellent preparation for the reality of the working environment. I co-chair HEC Montréal’s Club d'entrepreneurs YEP, and I have been able to make many connections between Ms. Kerr’s reality and my personal experiences at YEP. This proved to me that my years of student involvement have been an excellent investment in my professional development and have provided me with real experiences and practical skills.”


Find out more

CEOx1Day Competition Canada

Development Finance Institute Canada (FinDev Canada)