The DeGroote School of Business has named Paul Allison as the recipient of the Wayne C. Fox Distinguished Alumni Award for 2014. The award, first presented to its namesake in 2000, is awarded to an alumna or alumnus of the DeGroote School of Business whose personal accomplishments, reputation and character have, by association, enhanced the reputation of McMaster University.
Paul is a significant part of a long and proud McMaster family tradition. He completed the engineering management program in 1980 and then graduated with his MBA in 1981. He followed in the footsteps of his father who started the Allison family down the McMaster path when he graduated with a degree in chemistry in 1950. Paul’s three brothers, a cousin and sister-in-law are also counted among McMaster’s alumni. The story continued in 1981 when Paul met Rose D’Alessio at McMaster, a young lady who was the first in her family to go to university and was among few women earning degrees in engineering. They married shortly after graduation and Paul’s family of McMaster connections soon expanded to include two brothers-in-law.
Paul’s impressive career path since graduating has included roles at Imperial Oil, Prudential –Bache Securities and Nesbitt Burns Inc. In 2001 he joined Merrill Lynch Canada where he worked as vice chairman and executive vice president, as well as co-head of the company’s investment banking business.
I have known Wayne Fox for a long time as a business associate on Bay Street. I would like to thank him for lending his name to such a prestigious and enduring award.
The accumulation of the 28 years of private wealth management, capital markets and investment banking experience served Paul well as he joined Raymond James Ltd in 2008. As chairman and chief executive officer, he oversees the strategic leadership and business-building efforts of the firm’s Canadian operations including private wealth management, capital markets, and corporate services.
Paul is a member of the Association of Professional Engineers and is an active volunteer in various charitable and industry organizations including board chair of the Humber River Hospital and director of the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada. Paul served on the Dean’s Business Advisory Council at the DeGroote School of Business, has participated numerous times as the Gould Trading Floor’s trader-in-residence and has attended many McMaster alumni events over the years.
How significant is McMaster in your life?
McMaster holds a special place in the Allison and D’Alessio families. The McMaster community changed the path for so many in our family. My father, Gordon Allison, was the first in his family to attend a posted secondary institution. He graduated from McMaster in 1950 and had a big impact on his family as each of my brothers, David, Bruce and Mark also attended McMaster – all graduating from engineering. My wife, Rose (D’Alessio), as a first-generation Canadian, was the first in her family to attend and achieve a post-secondary degree. When I made the decision to pursue an MBA, McMaster was the hands-down choice. Between my undergrad and MBA degrees, I have some great memories that include being part of the varsity swim team and living in Edwards Hall and later Bates residence.
What does the Wayne C. Fox Distinguished Alumni Award mean to you?
I have known Wayne Fox for a long time as a business associate on Bay Street. I would like to thank him for lending his name to such a prestigious and enduring award and supporting the vision to celebrate the DeGroote School of Business. Wayne built an amazing career and as with all great leaders others emulate his example. I’m proud to be counted among the award recipients of his namesake who also share the vision of his success and leadership.
What do you feel are the most significant pieces of learning or experiences that you took away from your time in the MBA program?
My MBA provided me with a strong knowledge base on a variety of topics. Coming directly from my undergrad in engineering, I feel that the MBA program also gave me an extra year of maturity and confidence – all of which are critical when you launch your career. I think my MBA equipped me with a sense of courage. Good leaders have strong vision and they also have the courage to be prepared to make mistakes and succeed from the learning and continue to pursue their vision.
What advice would you give to students today?
Get excited, establish a path and pursue it relentlessly!
Paul is the 2014 recipient of the Wayne C. Fox Distinguished Alumni Award which will be presented by the DeGroote School of Business at the Evening of Accolades on May 1 at the Trump Tower in Toronto.