Mark S. Anshan has spent more than 25 years helping government agencies, non-profits and for-profit organizations put in place the teams, structures, policies and processes they need to deliver on ambitious strategic visions and goals. He has played an instrumental role in the transformation of public utilities, municipal offices, charities and small businesses, and has earned a reputation for being able to steer a clear path during periods of complex transition.
A lawyer with master degrees in both business and law, Anshan began his career in the Canadian foreign service, where from assignments in Ottawa and postings in New York and Stockholm, Sweden he performed various diplomatic duties and advised the Canadian delegation to the UN General Assembly. After his call to the bar in 1984, Mark spent four years as managing partner for a boutique law firm in Toronto, Canada, before being asked to serve as Chief of Staff for the Metro Toronto Chair, and Special Counsel to Metropolitan Toronto’s Public Works Department.
Returning to private practice in 1990, Anshan specialized in the area of energy services during an era of industry-wide regulatory change. He chaired the Hydro Electric Commission for the City of York for twelve years, and then led one of Toronto’s major amalgamation success stories, the operational integration of six large electric utilities into the Toronto Hydro-Electric Commission with zero interruption of service. He went on to serve as the first chair of the new Toronto Hydro.
As a member of the board of national and international energy associations, Anshan helped to redefine the policy and business parameters for a deregulated electrical energy industry, and authored policy papers on deregulation, performance contracting and procurement. He was invited to speak before organizations such as the World Bank and APEC, and co-authored the definitive textbook on alternate dispute resolution for the oil and gas sector. Additionally, Mark advised small to mid-sized companies on strategic alliances, public/private sector partnerships, and contractual agreements, and served as VP of Corporate Services during an aggressive merger & acquisition growth period for an IT web integration firm.
Anshan has long been active as an advisor and an agent for change and development in the Jewish not-for-profit community. He was instrumental in the conception and launch of URJ Camp George, the first summer camp in Canada for children from Reform Synagogues, and served as Director and Treasurer for the Micah Homes Non-Profit Housing Corporation (owned by Holy Blossom Temple) during the planning and construction of Plaut Manor, a housing project for disadvantaged single-parent families.
Mark joined the UJA Federation of Greater Toronto to implement a risk management plan to credit-proof a one hundred million dollar portfolio of financial and real estate assets. For the following seven years as General Counsel he spearheaded the restructuring of the charity into a federation of twelve incorporated and firewalled organizations, and facilitated the creation of by-laws, governance structures, mandates and program delivery models for each entity. This federation is now being used as a model for other charitable organizations across North America who are seeking to insulate their organizations from litigation risk.
In 2011, Mark took a career sabbatical to focus on executive-level responsibilities with one of the largest synagogues in North America. As Vice President and then President, he collaborated with a volunteer Board of Directors to define a new vision for the synagogue, and facilitated the changes needed to carry the vision forward and attract a new generation of families to the Temple.
Mark has a Master of Laws degree in Alternative Dispute Resolution from Osgoode Hall Law School. He has mediated the resolution of complex legal and organizational disputes. He knows how to deal with a diversity of views and backgrounds, working to establish a collaborative approach in resolving conflicts. Mark serves as a coach and evaluator to students studying mediation at Osgoode Hall Law School.