About Us

CanCham is a voluntary business association dedicated to assisting companies and individuals doing business in Vietnam. Our aim is to provide our members with business support, education, and a social environment for the purpose of exchanging ideas, sharing expertise among members, and building on experiences. By encouraging collaboration and cooperation between businesses, government, residents and other stakeholders, we help create a synergistic environment in which we all thrive. In addition, CanCham takes pride in contributing to the improvement of the social life in Vietnam by donating all excess funds received to a number of different charitable organizations in Vietnam.

CanCham is a non-profit organization whose mission is to strengthen business and community relations for its members. With its origin dating back to 1994, CanCham has become one of the most active and dynamic business organizations in Vietnam, coordinating a broad array of social and business events that reach out to the entire population – from local business leaders to new entrepreneurs. With a presence in both Ho Chi Minh City and in Hanoi, CanCham is also a venue for young, open-minded Vietnamese business people who want to expand their network and access the Canadian and the international business community.

Strengthening and enhancing business relations is a key objective for CanCham, which includes organizing events for members as one of the avenues we use to accomplish this. CanCham is well known for holding business breakfasts and luncheons featuring topics of significance that make an impact on how business is conducted in both the Canadian and international business community here in Vietnam. For example, our renowned annual “Crystal Ball” luncheon – “The Year Ahead: Executive Summary and Outlook”, which has been held for eight years in HCMC and is typically the first international business luncheon of the new year, is one of the most anticipated events each year and regularly sells out with 200 participants. This event, which features five or six well known CEO level speakers from various industries, was also successfully launched in Hanoi earlier this year. CanCham is an Associate Member of the Vietnam Business Forum (VBF), which allows members to participate in Working Groups for various industries that communicate on behalf of the business community with the government of Vietnam about doing business. The chamber is also a member of the Advisory Council on Administrative Procedure Reform, a participant in the Anti-Corruption Dialogue and is a Honourary Member of the Canada-ASEAN Business Council (CABC), which is a cooperative of Canadian companies and Canadian chambers that operates to enhance Canadian interests in Vietnam and the region.

Board Members & Team

Board Members

Bao Nguyen

President

Mr. Bao Nguyen is a senior corporate executive and M&A/corporate finance professional with more than 20 years of experience in North America and in Asia. Bao is the Managing Director of Newlight Advisors Ltd., an independent investment banking boutique focusing on cross border M&A and corporate finance advisory for companies in the small to mid-market segment in Southeast Asia. Between 2011 and 2016, he was the founding CEO, General Director and Legal Representative of a FDI custom steel manufacturer specializing in heavy plate work. In 5 years, from a greenfield project in Ba Ria Vung Tau Province, he has built a company comprising of 2 factories totaling more than 25,000 sqm on 2 sites and 500+ workers manufacturing and exporting critical steel pieces and components made in Vietnam for heavy industrial projects all around the world, mainly in the power and energy sectors. Bao also serves as advisor for various other companies.

Bao was born in Chicoutimi, Quebec and has been calling HCMC his home away from home since 2008. He constitutes one half of a blessed duo of parents that welcomed of wonderful baby girl in 2016. Bao is fluent in English, French, Spanish and Vietnamese, and has basic knowledge of Mandarin.

Ralf Matthaes

Vice President

Ralf has worked and lived in Vietnam for over 25 years, all in market research.

After 20 years of Corporate life, Ralf established Infocus Mekong Research, Vietnam’s first dedicated smartphone-based research agency with the largest consumer-based panel in Vietnam.

From 1996 – 2015, Ralf set-up and ran offices in Vietnam and South Asia, as Regional Managing Director TNS – Kantar South Asia.

Prior to coming to Vietnam in 1994, Ralf served as a policy analyst for the Provincial Minister of Finance for Ontario, Canada.

He holds an honours degree from Wilfred Laurier University, Canada.

Ralf has served in various capacities on the Cancham Board for 10 years, serving as President, Vice-President and Board Member.

A Passionate Hockey Fan, Ralf established the Cancham HCMC Ice Hockey League in 2017.

Colin McDonald

Secretary

Originally from the prairie city of Edmonton, Alberta, Colin has been living in Asia for the past 20 years, with the first ten in South Korea, teaching at various college and universities before taking a vacation to HCMC to visit a friend where he then met his future wife. Three months later, he made the move to Vietnam and calls HCMC home where he lives with his wife and son. During his eleven years in HCMC, he has mostly been involved in the education sector in both teaching and administrative roles. He conducted teacher training at the University of Education for the first two years, has taught at the high school level for about six years and launched a tech-based teaching system. Colin is a Core Team Leader-GSA Mentor for Empowered Startups, a specialty business incubator based out of Vancouver, Canada, in addition to teaching at the secondary level at Bilingual Canadian International School (BCIS) here in HCMC. Colin has served CanCham as the Executive Director from 2011 – 2014, Vice President and most recently as Secretary.

Brad Wallis

Treasurer

Brad originally hails from Brandon, Manitoba and graduated from the University of Manitoba with a B.Sc. in Statistics & Actuarial Mathematics.  A qualified actuary, he has worked for Manulife for 13 years in positions of increasing responsibility.  He spent 4 years in Manila, Philippines building a team of more than 100 professionals providing high quality services to Manulife business operations across Asia and North America.  He moved to Ho Chi Minh City in late 2018 to take the position of Chief Actuary for Manulife Vietnam, where he is responsible to ensure the financial strength of the business while driving sustainable growth in the rapidly evolving life insurance marketplace.  He has built a reputation as a big picture thinker and collaborative business leader and enjoys applying these to his role as Board Member and Treasurer of Canadian Chamber of Commerce in Vietnam.

Matthew Mohr

Matthew is originally from a small community outside of Edmonton, Alberta, but has lived in Toronto, Ontario for many years.

Following graduation from the University of Alberta, he has worked at Sun Life Financial in various actuarial roles in multiple countries, including Canada (Toronto), Hong Kong, Vietnam (Ho Chi Minh City) and Malaysia (Kuala Lumpur).

He worked in Ho Chi Minh City previously from 2013 and 2015 with Sun Life Vietnam and has recently returned to the country in February 2019. He is currently the Chief Actuary & Chief Risk Officer at Sun Life Vietnam.

Mike Hebert

Mike Hebert is the Founder and Managing Director of MDT Global, an international corporate training and consulting firm located in Vietnam and Canada. In 2019, MDT was named in the TOP 10 Leadership Training companies in the APAC region. Focuses on the areas of sales, client experience, leadership, and communication training, MDT works with many MNC’s across the region.

Prior to launching his own company, Mike worked in international corporate banking in Montreal, Canada with HSBC Bank Canada and BMO Financial Group. He was involved in sales and management roles where he often coached and trained his teams in advanced sales and client management techniques.

Mike maintains strong ties to the entrepreneurial community as he is a National Judge for the Annual EO Canadian Student Entrepreneur Awards. He is also passionate about hockey and is currently completing his Executive MBA with the University of Quebec a Montreal (UQAM) at their HCMC Campus.

He is interested in bringing more business value for chamber members and building a stronger membership base with new companies entering Vietnam.

Rasha Abu Ramadan

Originally from Niagara Falls Ontario, Rasha Abu Ramadan is the Founder of Canadian Education Pathways (CEP), a Canadian based company that represents several Canadian institutions in the ASEAN & South Korea. Over the past 16 years, Rasha has worked in the International Education sector managing projects such as Canadian government sponsored projects for internationally skilled workers, international recruitment, marketing and partnerships.

 

In 2015, Rasha was the Marketing Manager overseeing the opening of two Canadian college campuses for Niagara College Canada in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. In 2016, Rasha took her operations to Vietnam representing Vancouver Island University as their current ASEAN and S. Korea Head of Operations and has worked with over 140 Vietnamese parents to send their children to study in Canada. Rasha is an advocate for Canadian education and holds training workshops at various venues across ASEAN promoting the Study in Canada brand.

 

In 2018, Rasha was an active CanCham Board Member contributing significantly to the Canadian-Vietnamese Education sector increasing CanCham membership and promotion of CanCham to Canadian institutional leaders. After 3 years in Vietnam, Rasha launched VietCan Hospitality Group – a Vietnamese based company dedicated to education and the F&B industry.  In August 2019, Rasha opened her first Turkish & Middle Eastern restaurant Kebabs and Wraps with her husband Chef Karim Zorlu in HCMC.

 

Rasha completed a BA. in French Literature from Brock University, a Post-Grad in Human Resource Management from Niagara College Canada. She is TESL Canada and Canadian Language Benchmark certified and holds an MA. In Higher Education and Leadership with a focus on International Education from Royal Roads University.

Jack Nguyen

I am a Canadian Vietnamese who was born in Vietnam, grew up in Canada and now live and work in Vietnam for the past 8 years.  I received my University education at the University of Waterloo and I interned and started my career at KPMG in Toronto.  I am a Canadian Chartered Accountant and a Vietnamese CPA.  I am currently a Partner with Mazars, an international accounting and advisory firm operating in Vietnam for over 25 years.

I currently work in a field helping many multi-national companies that are either entering or are already investing in Vietnam.  I have advised many companies on Vietnam’s investment laws, tax laws and other regulations. With both Vietnam and Canada being members of CPTPP, there is tremendous opportunity for both countries to invest in and trade more with each other.  Because I am a Canadian Vietnamese, I have vested interests for both Canada and Vietnam to do well economically through more trading and investments.  As a Partner at Mazars, I am well positioned to advise Canadian and Vietnamese companies about investments and regulatory matters in both Canada and Vietnam.

Quy Thanh Phan Bui

Joining CN Country Representative network in Asia since August 2019, Thanh’s main responsibility is to support an increasing market awareness and CN’s profile to existing customers, industry stakeholders, shippers (import/export), shipping lines, freight forwarders and 3PLs and providing market intelligence for Vietnam market

Key highlights on Thanh’s accomplishment includes

  • Being able to facilitate connection with our current customers in Vietnam, including Ocean Carriers and Freight Forwarders. Thanh managed to invite a round table of Ocean Carriers to CanCham Thanks Giving dinner in October 2019.
  • Active participating in networking across Chambers of commerce such as CanCham, AmCham to contribute raising awareness of CN and our Port Partners as well as advantages of Canadian gateways for Asia – North America transportation amongst logistics and transportation committee, manufacturing committee
  • Proactive discussion with Canadian Trade Commissioner in Vietnam to identify new opportunities that CN and our Port Partners may be able to get involved
  • Additional to her main role and responsibility, Thanh is enthusiastic and passionate about providing support to people she has met in networking events, ranging from sharing opinions and recommendation when they are seeking for ways to enter Vietnam market to helping to promote their brand and service awareness where relevant.

Prior to joining CN, Thanh has 10 years of progressing working experience with diversified teams in both multinational corporations such as Kantar (formerly TNS and Millward Brown) and local companies specializing in Market Research. Her last position was Senior Research Manager for Dandelions Co., a boutique research company focusing in Vietnam market. She has worked in an international environment with cross-cultural teams including partners in Cambodia and Myanmar and clients across markets such as Singapore, Malaysia, Singapore, and USA.

Graham Potter

Honorary Member

Graham Potter was born in Toronto. He held various sales, marketing, Public Relations, promotions and management positions for small companies in Toronto, Calgary and Langley BC before moving to Vietnam in 1995. He began working with local company Long Hai Security Services (now also called Securitas Vietnam), recruited as Marketing Manager five days after it began operations – and he has stayed there 22 years, currently as Client Relations Director.

Professionally, he is a Member of the American Society for Industrial Security (ASIS) and is the Co-Chair of the U.S. Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC) – HCMC Chapter. He is also Long Hai Security’s Representative in CanCham, AmCham and EuroCham. Graham is a volunteer Warden for the Canadian Consulate General in HCMC.

A founding member of CanCham’s predecessor, the Canada-Vietnam Business Association (CVBA), Graham was also part of the group that drew up its original Constitution in December, 1999, and was elected President at the first AGM. He continued as President until 2003 and was an Executive Board Member with both the CVBA and CanCham from 2003-2004 and 2006-2007. He is proud to be an Honourary Member of CanCham!