Eric Brat, MBA
Director of the Alphonse and Dorimène Desjardins International Institute for Cooperatives

Holder of an MBA from Columbia University in New York and a graduate of the Solvay Business School in Brussels, Eric Brat is an Associate Professor and the Director of the Alphonse and Dorimène Desjardins International Institute for Cooperatives at HEC Montréal. He is a CFA and member of the Chartered Financial Analyst Institute. During his career, he has worked for Credit Suisse Group, Oliver Wyman and Accenture. From 2002 to 2016, Eric Brat was a senior partner at the Boston Consulting Group, initially in the Paris office, then at their Montreal office, which he founded in 2012. He was responsible for the strategic and organizational transformation of insurance companies. He was also a professor at Paris-Dauphine program at the Centre des Hautes Études d’Assurances (CHEA). He speaks French, English and Dutch.

Marie-Josée Lapointe, MBA, Eng., Adm.A.
Administrative Director

Holder of a Bachelors of Mechanical Engineering from McGill University (Canada) and an MBA from HEC Montréal, Marie-Josée coordinates the activities of the Alphonse and Dorimène Desjardins International Institute for Cooperatives and the Cooperatives Gateway (previously named International Observatory of Cooperatives). She developed the Cooperatives Gateway tool and designed the management simulation Str@tégiCA used by Crédit Agricole. Before joining HEC Montreal, Marie-Josée was a departmental head for the multinational Procter & Gamble and an associate at the strategy consulting firm Oliver Wyman. Highly involved in her community at school level, she is also a member of the Order of Engineers of Quebec and the Order of Chartered Administrators of Quebec. She speaks French and English.

Nabila Ouchene, M.Sc.
Research Officer I

Nabila Ouchene holds a Masters in International Business from HEC Montreal, specializing in marketing. Throughout her studies, she has worked in a variety of fields: in a marketing agency, in research and development at HEC Montreal, as well as at Desjardins Financial Institution. Her thesis was on the international financial crisis of cooperative banks in 2008. Her research was based on a case study which compared Desjardins Group with Credit Agricole Group. At the Institute, Nabila’s main mandate is to conduct studies on innovation in cooperatives, with a focus on international benchmarking of innovation practices in financial and mutual cooperatives. With her international journey, Nabila is passionate about foreign politics and cultures. She speaks French, English and Arabic.

Geneviève Handfield, M.S.I.
Librarian, data processing

Geneviève holds a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Université Laval, as well as a certificate in Spanish and a DESS in Territorial Planning and Local Development from UQAM. Most recently, Geneviève completed a Master’s degree in information sciences at the Université de Montréal, and this last diploma marked for her a career reorientation to become a librarian, after more than 10 years in the field of socially-minded organizations and sustainable development. In addition to her position at the Alphonse and Dorimène Desjardins International Institute for Cooperatives, Geneviève also works for the IDEOS Cluster at HEC Montréal. She speaks French, English and Spanish.

Nara Meli, M.A.
Communications Officer

Nara has a B.A. in Economics from Tufts University and an M.A. in Political Science/International Relations from New York University. Nara worked for 8 years in Washington, D.C., as a consultant for the World Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank, and took part in numerous missions in the Latin America and Caribbean region. In Montreal, Nara has worked in e-commerce and advertising as a copywriter, translator and proofreader. Nara is passionate about communications and development issues. She is fluent in English, French and Italian, and proficient in Spanish.

Alexandre Richer, D.E.C.
Documentation Technician

Alexandre holds a D.E.C. from Collège Maisonneuve and is a library technician. He is largely dedicated to the Cooperatives Gateway, where he is in charge of cataloguing and filing digitized documents. He has worked in document management and archiving within the city of Montreal, and the Ministry of Education and Higher Education. He is passionate about contemporary history and cultural heritage. He speaks French and English.

Sabrina Beaulieu, B.A.

Sabrina holds a BA in Humanities and a Certificate in Archival Science from the Université de Montréal. She has worked on a number of historical archives on cooperatives at HEC Montréal and Agropur. Sabrina is currently working at the Alphonse and Dorimène Desjardins International Institute for Cooperatives to process the archives of the International Summit of Cooperatives. She speaks French.

Ibtissam Benbrahim, B.B.A.
Research Assistant

Holder of a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration in Finance at HEC Montréal, Ibtissam is in the process of obtaining a Master’s degree in Applied Financial Economics. Ibtissam has worked in various fields: auditing and accounting at Ernst and Young and Cascades, research at the Finance and IT department at HEC Montréal, and a brokerage firm at National Bank Financial.
Her areas of expertise include financial analysis, risk management and corporate governance. Ibtissam is passionate about research, transmission and lifelong learning. At the Institute, Ibtissam’s main mandate is to build a qualitative database of digital resource materials on cooperatives and mutuals. She speaks French, English and Arabic.

Quentin Jeandeau, B.B.A.
Research Assistant

Holder of a Bachelor of Business Administration in Finance from HEC Montréal, Quentin is a candidate for the Master’s Degree in Strategy. His thesis focuses on entrepreneurship and innovation in the video game industry in Quebec. Quentin has had a wide range of work experiences, particularly in the management consulting industry at Talsom. Quentin’s main mandatewithin the Institute is the study of cooperatives by and for millennials. A French expatriate fell in love with Montreal, Quentin is passionate about travel and cultural experiences. He has an international business culture and is fluent in French and English.

Marc Belleau
Administrative Assistant

A graduate of the Montréal Conservatory of Music, Marc has worked in opera for 20 years. In 2008, he decided to make a career change and began studying at HEC Montréal in order to obtain a graduate diploma in management of cultural organizations. He also works part time for the IDEOS Pole (Development Initiative of Social Enterprises) and is the author of a research document on the evolution of public funding in the Quebec dance field from 2004 to 2008, on behalf of the Research Group on Non-profit Organizations. In addition to his work as an artist and administrative assistant, Marc teaches classical singing. He speaks French and English.


Rym Ayadi, Ph.D.
Affiliated Researcher
Honorary Visising Professor at the CASS Business School, City, University of London

Rym Ayadi holds an Ph.D. from in Economics and Finance from the University of Paris-Dauphine. She is a Research Director at the Euro-Mediterranean University of Slovenia, Founding President of the Euro-Mediterranean Economists Association and Scientific Director of the Euro-Mediterranean Network for Economic Studies. Rym Ayadi’s fields of expertise include financial institutions (with special focus on the stakeholder versus shareholder value models) and markets, financial regulation and supervision. She also has an interest in socio-economic and financial market developments.

Inmaculada Buendía Martínez, Ph.D.
Associate Researcher
Assistant Professor, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Castilla-La Mancha (Spain)

Inmaculada holds a Ph.D. in Business Administration from the Complutense University of Madrid (Spain). She is also a specialist in cooperative management and an associate professor at the University of Castilla-La Mancha in Spain. Author of numerous scientific articles, books, and other publications, she is a member of various networks and international research projects. Her international expertise both in America and in Europe allowed her to collaborate directly with several research centres in Brazil, Canada, Colombia and Ireland, specializing in the field of cooperatives. Her current interests focus on the contribution of cooperatives in local development, the policies for financial inclusion, the role of financial cooperatives in the international arena and corporate social responsibility in the banking industry. Inmaculada speaks Spanish, English, French and Portuguese

Sandra Challita, Ph.D.
Associate Researcher
Temporary Research and Teaching Assistant, Montpellier Management, University of Montpellier (France)

Holder of a Ph.D. in Management Science at the University of Montpellier and a Masters in Finance from Paris Dauphine University, Sandra is a temporary research and teaching assistant at Montpellier Management where she teaches finance, statistics and research methods. Her thesis focuses on comparing the strategies and performances of cooperatives with shareholder companies in different sectors: SMEs, the wine industry and financial institutions. She adopts an interdisciplinary perspective encompassing marketing and finance. Sandra has also participated in international academic conferences, presenting published scientific papers or those due for publication in peer review journals. Her collaboration with the IRCCF began with a research visit in 2015 and has subsequently grown stronger as a result of working on several projects with shared interests. She speaks Arabic, French and English.

Ndiouma Ndour, Ph.D.
Associate Researcher
Professor, Université Assane Seck Ziguinchor (Senegal)

Ndiouma is Associate Professor of Management Science at the University of Ziguinchor. Since 2012, he has been working there as an associate researcher at the Research Laboratory for Economics and Social Sciences. He is also Associate Researcher at the Laboratory of Finance-Control-Strategy-Organization (FOCS) of the Faculty of Economics and Management (FASEG) of the University Cheikh Anta Diop of Dakar (Senegal) since 2006, as well as at the Center of efficiency and performance analysis in economics and management (CAEPEM) at the University of Perpignan (France), since 2009. His research interests are in microfinance and socially responsible investment.

Barry Quinn, Ph.D.
Associate Researcher
Lecturer, Queen’s University Belfast (Ireland)

Barry holds a Ph.D. from Queen’s University Belfast (Ireland). He is a Lecturer in Finance at Queen’s Management School and has nine years financial services industry experience. He is also a Fellow of the University of St Andrews Centre for Responsible Banking and Finance. His main area of research is the performance measurement of financial institutions, credit unions and football teams. Barry has published research on the recent performance of the Irish credit union sector, Japanese cooperatives and technology adoption traits of the Irish credit union sector. He is currently working with a team from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on the importance of regulatory compliance and banking performance and is a Researcher for the Credit Union Advisory Committee which advises the Irish finance minister. His research output has been published in academic journals such as the European Journal of Finance, Financial Accountability & Management, Annals of Public and Cooperative Economics, International Journal of Cooperative Studies and the IMF Working Paper Series.

Harol Rey, M.Sc.
Associate Statistician
Business Intelligence Advisor, Desjardins Group (Canada)

Harol is management information analyst at Desjardins Group and associated statistician with the IRCCF. Harol has a Diploma in Statistics from the National University of Colombia and is also completing a Master of Management Intelligence at HEC Montréal. He has over ten years of experience in the development of statistical methods, business intelligence, data mining and segmentation. Previously, he worked in marketing and business intelligence research departments in large Colombian companies, in the field of telecommunications, advertising and media. He currently contributes to the analysis of US financial institutions. Harol speaks Spanish, English and French.

Élias Rizkallah, Ph.D.
Associate Researcher
Professor, Department of Sociology, University of Quebec in Montreal

Holding a Ph.D. in Psychology from Laval University, Elias is Professor of Sociology at the Faculty of Humanities of the University of Quebec in Montreal (UQAM). He is Director of Centre d’analyse de texte par ordinateur (ATO), Associate Member of the Centre for research on social innovations (CRISES), Associate Researcher at the Canada Research Chair on Globalization, Citizenship and Democracy and the UQAM, and is working in the Research Group for Structured Documents (GRDS) at the University of Montreal. His interests include the study of methods (qualitative, quantitative and mixed) employed in human and social science research, social and cultural representations, identity dynamics, social responsibility and governance of financial cooperatives, textual analysis of speech (computer-assisted) and the theory of intertextual semantics for the design of information objects. Élias has been involved for many years in the development of the Cooperatives Gateway (previously named International Observatory of Cooperatives) of the Institute. He speaks Arabic, French and English.

Jorge Ruiz, M.Sc.
Associate Statistician
Business Intelligence Advisor, Desjardins Group (Canada)

Jorge is a data scientist specializing in modeling financial data (portfolios performance, Basel II/Basel III). Being a quantitative analyst, Jorge has accumulated many years of experience in the financial sector. His professional experience also includes statistics and econometrics teaching at university level. Jorge holds an official Masters in Quantitative Finance and Banking at the University of the Basque Country in Spain, and a Masters in Economics at the Pontifical Xavierian University in Colombia. He is also graduated of the short graduate program in data analysis in business intelligence at HEC Montreal. Jorge is business intelligence advisor at Desjardins Group and IRCCF associate researcher where is dedicated to the data analysis of financial institutions. He speaks French, English and Spanish.

Thuy Seran, Ph.D.
Associate Researcher
Lecturer and Member of MRM Laboratory, University of Montpellier (France)

Holder of a Ph.D. in Management Sciences specializing in Control from the University of Montpellier, Thuy is also a graduate of HEC Paris. After working for six years as an auditor at Ernst & Young, she is currently Associate Professor and Head of the higher university degree in Accounting and Management at the University of Montpellier. Her main area of research focuses on cooperative banks. Based on qualitative methodology, these studies incorporate a triangulation of data. She plays the lead role in the analysis of the cooperative bank network as a meta-organization. She also focuses on the governance aspect of banking information systems and the role of boundary objects in the organizational control system. With a team from the University of Montpellier, she also works on the theme of developing alliance strategies related to the hybrid form of these organizations. Her work highlights the specific types of management and key methods used in reducing internal tensions over competitive strategy within hybrid networks, like the French cooperative banks. These studies also cover the management of organizational innovation around virtual teams established in these banking networks.