Meet the Fortress Insurance Team

The management team at Fortress Insurance has decades of experience in the insurance and financial industries, ensuring credibility, stability and a solid network of independent insurance brokers and business partners.

Scott Tannas

Chairman

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Scott is a leader with strong business acumen and well-developed strategic planning skills. Having achieved great success in founding and growing a business, he is driven to use this experience to work with other great business owners, and helping these businesses grow.

Scott founded Western Financial Group Inc. in 1996 and served as CEO until 2014. Wishing to continue to be involved in Western Canadian business he started The Western Investment Company of Canada in 2015. Scott’s passion for business extends to a passion for his country, which he serves as an active Senator of Canada since 2013.

From its headquarters in High River, Alberta, Scott oversaw the building of Western Financial Group through more than 100 acquisitions, and a number of strategic initiatives. Today, Western Financial Group is a diversified financial services organization with more than $1 billion in annual sales. Fourteen-hundred employees provide nearly one million customers with insurance and investment products and services. The company’s network of more than 160 offices stretches across the west from Winnipeg to the pacific coast. On July 1, 2017 Western Financial Group was acquired in a $775 million transaction.

Shafeen Mawani

President & CEO

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Shafeen has over 15 years of financial services experience, advising clients on mergers and acquisitions and capital raises, as well as risk management and actuarial consulting.

Shafeen was appointed President Fortress Insurance Company in 2019, then CEO in 2021, and is responsible for the strategic and operational performance of the company. He also currently serves as the Chief Operating Officer for Western Investment Company of Canada where he is responsible for sourcing, executing and managing acquisitions for the company.

Prior to Western, Shafeen worked at UBS Securities Canada and CIBC World Markets in their investment banking departments.

Shafeen started his career at Towers Perrin where he conducted actuarial valuations, risk management reviews and assisted the investment manager due diligence and selection for pension plans and life insurance companies.

He completed his MBA from the Ivey School of Business at the University of Western Ontario and a Bachelors in Actuarial Science from Simon Fraser University. He is a Chartered Financial Analyst Charter holder and an Associate from the Society of Actuaries.

Rizvan Bharmal

CFO

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Rizvan has over 15 years of experience in accounting and financial reporting. He started his career at Deloitte LLP auditing several large multi-national corporations. From there, his career has comprised of various accounting and financial reporting roles in several industries including transportation and logistics, oil and gas exploration and public company accounting with a focus on private enterprises.

In addition to Rizvan’s role as Chief Financial Officer & Chief Compliance Officer for Fortress Insurance Company, he is currently the Chief Financial Officer for SM2 Capital Partners (SM2). SM2 is a family office that has a portfolio that includes commercial real estate, operating businesses, and various other passive investments. The operating businesses portfolio includes the franchise for Budget Car and Truck Rental of Calgary, airport parking (Calgary Park and Jet), downtown parking, hotels, casinos, industrial office buildings and student housing. Rizvan also serves as a Director on the Foundations for the Future Charter Academy (FFCA) Board of Directors.

Rizvan received his Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree from the Haskayne School of Business at the University of Calgary and a Bachelor of Economics degree from McMaster University. He is also a Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA, CA).

Janelle Watson

VP Operations

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Janelle is an entrepreneurial-minded leader that is energized by new business ideas and uses a collaborative, inquisitive approach to solving problems. She brings over 15 years of experience from the energy sector at various locations around Alberta, and with exposure to international operations in California, Texas, Colorado, Oman, and Holland. She received an Associate SME designation in Thermal Recovery while at Royal Dutch Shell. Janelle joined a division of 4iiii Innovations oil and gas tech startup in 2017 to develop wireless sensors for remote wellsites and won the Energy New Venture pitch competition. Her strengths and experience in operations, analytics, and business development are great assets to the insurance industry.

She holds a BSc in Chemical Engineering from from the University of Alberta and an Executive MBA from the University of Calgary. She has been pursing foundations in Data Science and Analytics, Machine Learning, and Cybersecurity to bolster her knowledge in leading edge technologies to enable efficient business operations.

Janelle is a professional engineer and a member of the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Alberta(“APEGA”).

Michelle Foley

Commercial Underwriter

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Michelle has been in the insurance industry for 26 years, with over 20 of those in underwriting.

She started in farm insurance in data entry and then crossed over to commercial insurance. She has experience underwriting commercial and surety lines of business.

Michelle moved onto Underwriter Assistant duties where she received a base for underwriting. She then became an Underwriter analyzing, evaluating and negotiating terms and conditions for renewals, new business and policy changes; she has done various levels of underwriting.

In addition to underwriting, Michelle has spent time handling pay plan customer accounts, various accounts payable duties and reviewing fidelity bond applications for surety bonds. Constant communication with agents to reach decisions on customer policies has always been a large part of her day-to-day duties.

Michelle enjoys communicating and working with others to find solutions.

Rosalva Ortega

Controller

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Rosalva has over 15 years of experience in accounting and financial reporting.  She started her career at Ernst & Young in the assurance division. After moving to Calgary, she switched to industry and has held roles in both operations and financial reporting, where she’s spent most of her career.

Rosalva strives at building high energy, positive and results-driven teams. She enjoys developing and mentoring staff and can adapt quickly to change. She’s known for always finding the silver lining in any situation and building strong and positive relationships across all entity levels. She likes problem solving, continuous improvement, and always up for any challenge.

In addition to Rosalva’s role as Controller for Fortress Insurance Company, she’s currently the Controller for SM2 Capital Partners (SM2).

Rosalva is a Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA, CGA) and has a degree in Accounting from the Universidad Marista (Mexico City).

Michael Sidhu

Accounting Manager

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Michael has over six years in accounting and auditing. He started his auditing career at Pricewaterhouse Coopers before transitioning to RSM Canada. During his public accounting career, Michael audited several public and private companies in the transportation, technology, aviation, retail, hospitality and manufacturing industries. Prior to working in public accounting, Michael was contracted to worked at the Canada Revenue Agency.

As he’s grown in his career, Michael has enjoyed being a coach and mentor to staff to help them progress in their careers. By looking for opportunities for efficiencies, Michael has built strong teams that are effective in meeting timelines while also adapting to changing financial reporting requirements. His relaxed demeanour and communication skills have helped him build lasting relationships.

Michael is a Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA) and has a Bachelor of Commerce degree with a concentration in Finance from the University of Calgary.

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