Breanna Richard was born and raised in Calgary. So how did she end up earning a Bachelor of Commerce degree from Dalhousie University in Halifax, N.S.?”
“I have some French-Acadian blood in my veins,” she said. “Also I fell in love with Halifax.”
The 2020 Rising Star recipient is also a pragmatist and Dalhousie offered her an opportunity to earn a degree in a co-op program, allowing her to work while studying. It also offered her the opportunity to pursue an international exchange program at the Copenhagen Business School through Dalhousie’s Centre for International Trade and Transportation, and to become a business strategy delegate at the World Model UN Conference in Singapore.
Breanna has carved out an impressive career in the corporate world after graduating from Dalhousie in 2011. Breanna started her career in the non-profit sector where she worked as a program co-ordinator, and in community relations for the Werklund Foundation Empowering Minds, a charity that delivers teen empowerment programs to youth.
Subsequently, for more than four years, the 2020 Rising Star worked in FirstEnergy Capital’s acquisition and divestitures group, remaining with that company as it completed its merger with GMP Securities, a leading global energy investment bank.
Breanna then moved on to work in mergers and acquisitions for consulting firm Deloitte Canada, where she was promoted to senior manager, a role she held for about three years. While at Deloitte, Breanna specialized in delivering post-merger integration and separation advisory services to clients while working closely with executives to plan and execute complex mergers, acquisitions and carve-outs.
She then moved ‘in-house’ to become senior manager, strategic initiatives for Gibson Energy Inc., a client of hers while at Deloitte.
Through her consulting career, Breanna had always driven improved efficiencies into major projects by thinking like an entrepreneur, so it was natural when Breanna, along with her friend and business partner, founded a start-up e-commerce business, which is set to launch later this year.
“I’ve always wanted to pursue my dream to start a small business,” she said. “Once fully launched, profitable and I have fully integrated a new management team, I plan to move into an advisory role as a founding investor, and will transition back to the corporate world where I believe I could add value to a larger organization,” she said.
Her work in the energy industry was a logical move for the young Calgarian.
“My father worked as a highly successful and well-respected executive in the energy industry, so it runs in my blood. I’ve always seen and been inspired by the incredible entrepreneurial spirit and resilience of this city – even now. I’m proud to be Calgarian and to participate as part of the positive energy that lifts up this city” she said.
The Rising Star said she has been very fortunate to have been mentored by many excellent leaders during her career. And now she is performing a mentoring role herself, including being a Haskayne School of Business lecturer on post-merger integration in 2019.
Despite what she recognizes is currently a difficult environment for the energy sector, she remains an optimist, which she credits with growing up in Calgary.
Breanna believes the Canadian oil and gas industry will continue to play a vital role in the world’s energy economy well beyond the next decade, and that the industry itself will play a leading role in funding the development and growth of renewables, clean energy, all with a greater focus on ESG.
“My entire career has been built around being flexible and open to new opportunities for growth,” she said.
In addition to her work with youth at the Werklund Foundation, Breanna has been involved with several organizations including the Down Syndrome Resource Foundation and The Big Give Project and the Lunchbox Theatre.