We are truly grateful to have a team of amazing people, who are committed to excellence and show it every day in their work. The team at Benard + Associates has the individual and collective knowledge, experience and expertise to provide a blend of services that is truly unparalleled in the industry. In addition to being highly skilled investigators and mediators, our entire team is educated in trauma-Informed practice, mental health first aid, and diversity - equity - inclusion principles and practice.
Dean’s career is a mosaic of service, leadership, and innovation. With a professional journey spanning nearly three decades, he has become a bedrock in the fields of investigations and mediation, earning accolades across North America for his investigative prowess and significant contributions to professional regulation. Recognized for his equally dynamic contributions in workplace investigations and conflict mediation, Dean is one of the go-to experts for complex and high-profile cases. His knack for navigating the intricate dynamics of regulatory and working environments has cemented his status as a master problem-solver. More than his expertise, it’s Dean’s dedication to mentorship and education that sets him apart. He has cultivated a trove of wisdom, which he disseminates through leading his team, as well as delivering extensive workshops and seminars on everything from harassment prevention to communication finesse. Dean’s commitment to fostering growth in his field is palpable in his creative educational endeavours. He’s authored a book on the essentials of investigation, produced a wealth of resources on the Benard + Associates YouTube channel, and launched the ‘We’ve Seen a Thing or Two’ Podcast, a platform amplifying the voices and insights of fellow experts. Before founding Benard + Associates in 2004, Dean’s eclectic background as a Registered Nurse, Police Officer, and Manager of Investigations provided a unique perspective that he brings to his current roles. His academic credentials are equally impressive, with a tapestry of degrees and certificates from esteemed institutions, underscoring his lifelong pursuit of knowledge and excellence in his field.
Brenda is the role model of successful professional evolution and standout achievement, a testament to her belief in constant self-improvement and excellence. Her journey, which began as a dental assistant, has showcased a remarkable career trajectory, illustrating her innate ability to adapt and excel in diverse roles. This versatility laid the groundwork for her bold venture into policing, where her analytical prowess, keen judgment, and remarkable communication skills were utilized and further developed. Following a period of work in the insurance investigations sector, Brenda made another bold move to join the team at Benard + Associates. This marked a new chapter in her already impressive career, and she made an immediate impact in her dual roles as a regulatory and workplace investigator, demonstrating not just her investigative expertise but also her capacity to handle complex and nuanced cases. Her contribution to the organization is both profound and wide-reaching. Brenda is well known among our client base and beyond for her ability to efficiently and accurately complete 360-degree reviews on leadership. This endeavor highlights her commitment to thorough analysis and her skill in evaluating and enhancing leadership qualities, further cementing her role as a mentor and guide within our organization. The lasting impact of Brenda’s work is evident in the strong impressions she has left on those she dealt with. In many instances clients, or legal counsel who encountered her years ago continue to seek out her expertise, a powerful endorsement of the lasting positive impression she creates through her exceptional work. As the Vice President of Benard + Associates, Brenda’s influence extends beyond case work. She is integral to the operational management, client relations, and strategic direction of the organization. Her ability to nurture client relationships, combined with her strategic vision, ensures that the organization not only meets but exceeds expectations in delivering high-quality services. Brenda’s multifaceted career, marked by commendations and a track record of transformative outcomes, positions her as a paragon of excellence and a true asset to Benard + Associates. Her career journey is a narrative of relentless growth, adaptability, and outstanding achievement, making her a distinguished figure in her field.
Stefanie is the embodiment of precision and global expertise at Benard + Associates, where she applies her sharp analytical skills to navigate the complexities of regulatory investigations. Her professional journey spans across continents, having honed her investigative acumen as a Senior Case Investigation Officer for the Nursing and Midwifery Council in the UK. There, she tackled diverse challenges ranging from professional misconduct and criminal cases to health-related and competency issues, and also played a key role in mentoring her junior colleagues. As the Director of Regulatory Solutions, Stefanie’s day is a masterclass in leadership and efficiency. She not only orchestrates the daily operations of the regulatory investigators but also stands as the principal liaison for our regulatory clients. Her guidance is invaluable, ensuring that policies and procedures are not just current but also tailored to the unique demands of each client. Despite her demanding role, Stefanie’s commitment to her craft is evident in her management of a personal caseload of investigations. Her academic credentials are as impressive as her professional ones, boasting a Bachelor of Arts with Honours in Geography and English from Wilfrid Laurier University, a Master of Science from the University of Edinburgh, and a specialized Investigative Practice qualification from Queen Margaret University, Scotland. Stefanie’s blend of theoretical knowledge and practical experience is a cornerstone of her success and a tremendous asset to our clients and team.
Paul is a seasoned HR strategist whose expertise spans the diverse terrains of manufacturing, logistics, sports events, and the non-profit realm. He is a staunch advocate for crafting conflict resolution strategies that resonate with the distinct culture of each organization. His hands-on approach has successfully navigated and resolved conflicts in a multitude of workplace settings, both unionized and non-union. Celebrated for his contributions to enhancing employee relations, policy innovation, and strategic human resource initiatives, Paul’s insights have been instrumental in shaping organizational dynamics. As the Director of Workplace Solutions, he is the architect of the workplace services sector, offering guidance to clients and serving as a pivotal figure for workplace investigators. Beyond his leadership duties, Paul’s own portfolio is a testament to his versatility, managing investigations, mediations, and human resources consulting assignments. His investigative finesse has shed light on complex issues like harassment, workplace safety, hostile environments, and theft. Paul’s role in large-scale projects and his adept navigation through turbulent organizational waters have not only satisfied but delighted our clients. His unique amalgamation of HR knowledge, investigative precision, and mediation prowess has consistently delivered constructive and favourable results. Holding a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Toronto, a Graduate Certificate in HR Management from Sheridan College, and a Certificate in Alternative Dispute Resolution also from the University of Toronto, his academic foundation is solid. His professional credentials are further augmented by the Q.Med designation from the ADR Institute of Ontario, and the Workplace Fairness Analyst designation, making him a distinguished figure in the field of human resources and conflict resolution.
Ziggy’s journey in the investigative arena is marked by over fourteen years of unwavering dedication and skill. His roots as a private and insurance investigator have equipped him with a profound depth of experience that he brought to Benard + Associates in 2015. In the realm of regulatory investigations, Ziggy has become a trusted name, often specifically requested for his unparalleled expertise in unraveling the most intricate cases. What sets Ziggy apart is his meticulous attention to detail and his relentless pursuit of the necessary information, no matter how elusive. In addition to his exceptional investigative work, he is an obvious and constant pillar of support and wisdom for both his team and a diverse clientele. Ziggy’s knack for navigating complex investigative waters has earned him the heartfelt appreciation of his colleagues. He is renowned for his readiness to assist, embodying the spirit of teamwork and resourcefulness. Ziggy is often hailed as the ‘go-to’ person for any challenge that arises, a testament to his can-do attitude and the confidence he inspires in others. His educational background is as robust as his professional endeavors. He earned his investigative stripes with a diploma in public and private investigations from the Sheridan Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning. Further sharpening his analytical skills, he holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Toronto, with a major in Criminology. Continuing to broaden his expertise, Ziggy has pursued courses through the Chartered Insurance Professional (CIP) Program, adding another layer of specialization to his already impressive skill set. With each passing year, his reputation for getting things done only grows, solidifying his status as an invaluable asset to our team and clients alike.
Lauren’s career in private investigations is a narrative of expertise, versatility, and leadership. With over 15 years under her belt, she has refined her craft in the art of finding people of interest, mastering background checks, and peering into the operations of corporations with a keen eye. Her tenure as a senior investigator is distinguished by her adept investigative prowess as she has conducting undercover and surveillance operations that are as discreet as they are effective, ensuring clients receive the crucial information they seek. Lauren’s contributions to regulatory investigations are nothing short of prolific. With a multitude of successful investigations in all aspects of regulatory matters, she remains a steadfast pillar of support for our clients. Often our clients are amazed at her ability to find and share critical information in a matter of hours. Lauren has also contributed significantly to the internal skills at Benard + Associates. She created a learning manual for key investigative steps in open source intelligence efforts, and methodologies for locating people and obtaining background information. In doing so she increased the capacity and ability of all our investigators to learn and utilize methods that enhance their own work. Her contribution of her knowledge has further enhances our ability to meet our clients needs. Her academic journey began at Carleton University, where she graduated with an Honours Bachelor of Arts in Criminology and Criminal Justice. She further honed her skills with a postgraduate certificate in Advanced Investigations and Enforcement, adding an academic rigor to her practical experience. Lauren’s multifaceted skill set makes her an invaluable member of the investigative community and a standout professional in her field.
Avon stands as a paragon of human resources expertise, with a storied career that traverses various sectors and the multifaceted layers of a multinational insurance conglomerate. His tenure includes pivotal roles within the senior echelons of a prominent employee benefits provider, where he has left indelible marks of leadership and strategic acumen. Celebrated for steering companies through the tumultuous seas of mergers, acquisitions, and corporate restructurings, Avon has adeptly managed the delicate balance of maintaining essential talent and critical operational functions. His innovative approaches to change leadership have not only retained key employees but have also fostered environments where they thrive. Avon’s forte in conflict resolution and mediation is renowned, especially within the sphere of professional regulation. His strategies and expert mediation skills have earned him great praise across Canadian regulatory bodies, who frequently seek his expertise on complex complaints matters. His intervention work extends beyond the boardroom to the daily dynamics of workplace environments in both the public and private sectors. From resolving intricate team dynamics to addressing individual conflicts and harassment issues, Avon’s interventions are crafted with a rare blend of HR savvy, business management insight, and a deep understanding of employee relations. His educational portfolio is a testament to his commitment to continuous learning, boasting multiple university certificates in change leadership, financial acumen for managers, and alternative dispute resolution. In addition to his vital role at Benard + Associates, Avon’s leadership extends to his directorship on the board of a mutual property and casualty insurer, further solidifying his position as a thought leader and influencer in the realm of human resources and business strategy.
Valerie is a dynamo at Benard + Associates, infusing her work with a potent mix of analytical acumen, creative problem-solving, and stellar report-writing skills—a blend honed through rigorous academic pursuit and rich professional experience in regulation and education. Since joining Benard + Associates in 2019, Valerie has immersed herself in a broad spectrum of investigative matters, rapidly ascending to a level of proficiency where she is prepared for any case that comes our way. Her ability to manage complex issues with competence and finesse is not just a reflection of her natural talent but also of her dedication to continual growth and skill enhancement in investigative practices. Armed with a Bachelor of Science in Honours Bio-Medical Science from the University of Guelph, Valerie’s scientific training underpins her methodical approach to investigation—each hypothesis carefully considered, each conclusion drawn from a web of meticulously gathered facts. But Valerie doesn’t rest on her academic laurels; she is committed to lifelong learning, persistently augmenting her expertise through specialized investigation courses, and taking advantage of the in-house expertise of many of her Benard + Associates colleagues. This commitment to continuous education not only enriches her own capabilities but also fortifies the quality of service she provides to clients, making her an invaluable asset to the Benard + Associates team. With Valerie, clients rest assured that their matters are in the hands of a consummate professional who is as versatile as she is thorough.
Dynamic and diligent, Gabriella is a distinguished alumna of Conestoga College’s Protection, Security & Investigations program, where she was not only a scholar but a mentor and a leader. Her exceptional academic prowess earned her numerous scholarships and paved the way for an exception start to her investigative career. Her initial area of expertise was in anti-counterfeiting and brand protection investigations. Over the last eleven years she has used her investigative acumen to benefit the public. Gabriella has played a pivotal role in intercepting illicit trade operations, successfully halting numerous counterfeit shipments at borders, and safeguarding public health and safety. Her collaborations with Health Canada, TSSA, the Toronto Police Service, and ESA underscore her capacity to work collaboratively, adapt, and innovate to achieve a common goal. Gabriella first brought these skills to the regulatory arena in 2018, and she remains at the forefront of investigative work aimed at protecting the public safety. Her focus with Benard + Associates is in investigations of professional misconduct allegations across numerous professions, including sexual abuse, misappropriation of property, fraud, and illegal practice.
Tracey is a seasoned professional who has dedicated over fourteen years to the field of professional regulation, carving out a distinguished role as both an investigator and a manager of professional conduct for one of Manitoba’s largest health regulators. Her expertise spans a wide spectrum of investigative areas, from assessing professional competence to addressing issues of impaired practice, abuse, drug diversion and tampering, and conduct unbecoming—a formidable list that underscores the depth of her experience. Her skill set is both diverse and specialized, a testament to her commitment to excellence and continuous professional development. Tracey holds certifications in mediation, which complements her role in resolving conflicts with tact and diplomacy. She is also a graduate of the National Certified Investigator/Inspector Training provided by the Council on Licensure, Enforcement and Regulation (CLEAR). Tracey’s dedication to creating a safe and respectful workplace is evident in her certifications in psychological safety and Indigenous cultural safety training, reflecting her commitment to inclusivity and understanding in professional environments. Her educational background in health, with a Bachelor of Nursing from Athabasca University, provides a solid foundation for her work in health regulation, offering her a practitioner’s perspective on the complex issues she investigates.
Sophia’s professional journey is a remarkable blend of healthcare expertise and investigative acumen. As a Registered Practical Nurse with experience in managing a team of nurses, she honed her skills in gathering and analyzing essential information to make informed decisions about clients’ abilities to return to work following injuries, while balancing empathy with analytical precision. This role and experience prepared her well for the transition to the realm of regulatory investigations. Since joining Benard + Associates in 2020, she has completed hundreds of cases, demonstrating not only her adaptability but also her innate investigative talent. Her exceptional proficiency in background investigations and locating people of interest has made her a standout investigator in every aspect of investigations she enters. Sophia has adeptly utilized open-source intelligence to enhance our investigative processes and add yet another layer to the many aspects of her work. In this area she has been instrumental in assisting clients and her fellow investigators, highlighting her innovative approach and her ability to leverage technology in her work. Sophia’s educational background lays a solid foundation for her diverse skill set. She holds a practical nursing diploma and a certificate in general arts and sciences, both from Conestoga College, as well as several specialized investigation courses since joining the team. Sophia’s blend of healthcare knowledge, investigative prowess, and her innovative use of technology and open-source intelligence make her an invaluable asset to her team and clients alike.
Since joining Benard + Associates in August 2023, Sandra has rapidly become an indispensable member of our team. With a dynamic career spanning over 15 years in office administration, Sandra brings a wealth of expertise that has significantly enhanced our service delivery. Her proactive approach and keen eye for improvement have been instrumental in refining our internal processes, driving efficiencies that resonate throughout our organization. What truly sets Sandra apart is her proactive nature. She does not wait for directions; instead, she anticipates needs and takes initiative, embodying the spirit of a true problem-solver. This forward-thinking approach has made her a catalyst for positive change, particularly in streamlining our systems and processes. Beyond her administrative prowess, Sandra’s willingness to assist colleagues in various capacities showcases her team-first attitude. Her versatility and eagerness to support wherever needed have made her a beloved and respected figure within our office. We are fortunate to have her as part of our team, where her contributions are not just appreciated, but truly make a difference.