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Bernie Ashe, BAdm
Chief Executive Officer, Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group - Ottawa, ON, Canada

Bernie Ashe

Telfer alumnus Bernie Ashe can soon add the University of Ottawa's Alumni Association Award of Excellence to his lengthy list of accolades that he's amassed during his successful career as a business leader. On Saturday May 9, Bernie will be presented with the Alumnus of the Year Award because of his continued involvement with the Telfer School and for his outstanding leadership skills in the business community.

Bernie first came to uOttawa to study science to be a doctor. After his first year, he found the program too challenging. A lot of his friends at the time were enrolled in the Telfer School and for Bernie who was yearning for more balance between working hard and having fun, felt that Telfer was a better fit for him. By his second year at uOttawa he was enrolled in the Business Administration program and didn't look back.

Bernie was very active socially during his time at uOttawa. Since Telfer didn't have any clubs established when he studied here, or at least to his recollection, Bernie stayed active by playing intramural sport, and even played one varsity season of Gee-Gees hockey. "I probably had more fun than I should have", laughed Bernie. "Today there are so many choices of clubs and associations for Telfer students that I wish would have been available back then. It's great to see what has become of the School."

After graduation, Bernie became a Chartered Accountant and then occupied a number of jobs in the high tech industry until he landed the Chief Operating Officer of Business Affairs position with the Ottawa Senators from 1990-1997. Afterwards, he ran a publicly traded high tech company, spent several years leading a company in the Lumber industry and for the past two years has been the CEO of the Ottawa Sports and Entertain Group.

"The adjustment from high school through University in anyone's life is about building character and gaining confidence and Telfer did that for me. My time there allowed me to establish my own character and self-confidence and made me develop my competitive instinct. Ultimately, Telfer gave me the opportunity to build my leadership skills that helped position me to lead companies that I have been fortunate to do in my career", proudly exclaims Ashe.

When asked what advice he would give to students about life after graduation, Bernie says that patience is a virtue and that one must look at their career as a series of steps. "Take one step at a time. Get some experience and gain experience. Look for opportunities within that step and then take another step. Each step will take you to the next opportunity that will help develop your career. And I encourage students everywhere to just think about the next step in their career as an important one."

Bernie strongly feels that it's important to give back because "we are all in this together; business, community, universities. We have to help each other. Executives and businesses everywhere have to connect with universities and students and professors to help give feedback on curriculum, on graduating students, etc. Connecting with Telfer allows me to have some exposure, feedback and input on what the School is working on, their focus. Over the years with my involvement with the mentorship program and the CEO in Residence series, I've always come away being very impressed and feeling the University is on the right track. The quality of the students at the Telfer School never ceases to astound me. 

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