Cape Breton Business and Philanthropy Hall of Fame

Thursday, May 27, 2021

2021 Inductees

The Cape Breton Regional Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with Cape Breton University and the Association of Fundraising Professionals, are happy to announce the names of the 2021 inductees into the Cape Breton Business & Philanthropy Hall of Fame, presented by the Sydney Credit Union. The induction of the 2021 Hall of Fame members will occur at an intimate gala event on Wednesday, July 14, at the Sacred Heart Church.

The 2021 laureate for the Business Hall of Fame is Brian Shebib, former owner of MV Osprey. Annette Verschuren, Chair and CEO of NRStor Inc., will be inducted into the Philanthropy Hall of Fame.

Brian Shebib

Business Hall of Fame

Brian Shebib was born and raised in the town of North Sydney. In 1963, he received his engineering diploma from Saint Xavier University and went on to complete his engineering degree at the Nova Scotia Technical College (now known as Dalhousie Tech) in 1965. In 1969, he received his Masters in Business Administration from Dalhousie.

After graduating his MBA, Brian briefly worked at J.D. Koppernaes Engineering Limited as a consultant. However, it was in 1972, that he and three business partners founded Seafair Holdings, a small fishing company based in mainland Nova Scotia. Fast forward 12 years later, Seafair partnered with two other businessmen and founded Nordic Fishing.

A mere two years later, they partnered with an offshore fishing company to officially form what we know today as M.V. Osprey, which at the time was located in Mulgrave, NS. 20 years after the inception of M.V. Osprey, Brian and his business partners felt it was important to establish their own port facility.

With a dream to make it back home again, M.V. Osprey purchased the transport Canada marine terminal, and they relocated their operation to North Sydney in 1996. In 2012, Labrador Shrimp purchased Nordic Fishings interests in MV Osprey, which concluded Brian’s time with the company and he sailed off into retirement. Today, the business still operates on the coast of North Sydney, landing 10,000 tons of Northern Shrimp each year, employing more than 70 people.

His community impact has been vast, from holding various roles at Cape Breton University to investing in all kinds of local initiatives. Brian’s on-going investment demonstrates his belief in the Island and his desire to continually improve its economic circumstances.

Brian has also been a key player in Sydney’s effort to establish a container terminal at Sydport. As an investor in, and director of, Laurentian Energy Corporation, Brian has played a key role in Laurentian’s decision to pursue a container terminal.

He represented Laurentian on the Sydney Marine Group, the entity that oversaw the container terminal environmental assessment and ultimately the dredging of Sydney Harbour, also served as a member of the Sydney Port Corporation Board of Directors, and continues to serve on the Board of the Sydney Airport Authority. Brian, and his wife Monica, are also co-chairs of the fundraising campaign that has established a new hospice facility for Sydney.

As a business leader, Brian’s formidable intellect never gets in the way of his team based approach to problem solving; he consistently treats people with respect, he always seeks fair and equitable outcomes, he is a man of integrity and vision, and he has applied his unique combination of skills to the significant benefit of the Cape Breton.

Annette Verschuren

Philanthropy Hall of Fame

Born in North Sydney, Ms. Verschuren began her career as a development officer with the Cape Breton Development Corporation (DEVCO), a coal mining operation, in Sydney, Nova Scotia. She then worked with Canada Development Investment Corporation as executive vice-president, privatizing crown corporations, before joining Imasco Ltd., one of Canada’s largest holding companies in financial services, retail and food services, as vice-president, corporate development.

Annette Verschuren is currently the Chair and Chief Executive Officer of NRStor Inc, an energy storage development company. From 1996 to 2011, Ms. Verschuren was President of The Home Depot Canada where she oversaw the company’s growth from 19 to 179 Canadian stores and led its entry into China. Prior to joining The Home Depot, Ms. Verschuren was President and co-owner of Michaels of Canada, a chain of arts and crafts stores. Previously, Ms. Verschuren was Vice President, Corporate Development of Imasco Ltd. and Executive Vice President of Canada Development Investment Corporation.

Annette is a director of Air Canada, Canadian Natural Resources Limited, Liberty Mutual Insurance Group, CAMH Foundation, the Rideau Hall Foundation, and Saputo Inc., and is Chair of MaRS Discovery District and the Sustainable Development Technology Canada.

In 2011, Ms Verschuren was honoured as an Officer of the Order of Canada for her contribution to the retail industry and Corporate Social Responsibility. In 2010, she was appointed co-chair of the 2012 Governor General’s Leadership Conference, Canada’s premier leadership training event. Annette currently sits on the NAFTA Advisory Council and holds honorary doctorate degrees from nine universities including St. Francis Xavier University where she also earned a Bachelor of Business Administration degree.

A champion of community investment and volunteerism, Annette serves as Chancellor of Cape Breton University (CBU) and chaired fundraising efforts for the University’s Verschuren Centre for Sustainability in Energy & the Environment (2008-11), with support from J.D. (Jim) Irving and Shannon School of Business Advisory Board member, the late Purdy Crawford. The campaign raised $ 15.7 million in private and public sector support.
As a philanthropist, she has personally donated more than $1 million to CBU for many initiatives, including the Purdy Crawford Chair in Aboriginal Business, the Verschuren Centre for Sustainable Environmental Energy (named in her honour), and many scholarships and bursaries.

In addition to Annette’s generosity to the Cape Breton University community, she also gives back regularly to many causes in the community: funding the Cape Breton Voices Women in Business 2019 and donating over $65,000 to the Highland Arts Theatre to name a couple. She is exemplary of a strong, female business leader for Cape Breton and beyond.

Committed to Our Community

These individuals have been committed to our community with their time, energy and mentorship, which in turn have broadened opportunities for others and provided inspiration for other entrepreneurs and passionate community minded individuals.

Business Hall of Fame

  • Business Excellence
    The nominee is recognized for outstanding business achievements over their lifetime body of work.
  • Entrepreneurial Spirit and Action
    The nominee has demonstrated entrepreneurial spirit and leadership skills by founding a business OR leading a business through change, expansion and/or to impact economic growth
  • Inspiring Leadership
    The nominee has an extraordinary ability to influence people and events. They have achieved a high level of respect within the business community and are identified for their established vision and innovative thinking
  • Community Impact
    The nominee has demonstrated community-mindedness and has contributed to public service or shared economic success within the community. Nominees have contributed to improving the quality of living in our community
  • Legacy
    The nominee is widely respected by their peers and is considered a role model for future generations of entrepreneurs and business leaders, as well as others in business. Furthermore, they have also supported or assisted other businesses and entrepreneurs to become successful over their career
  • Local
    The nominee must have been born, lived, and/or owned/operated a business on Cape Breton Island, have made significant contributions over their lifetime to influencing and growing the business community

Philanthropy Hall of Fame

  • Legacy
    Has established a philanthropic legacy in Cape Breton through the personal contribution of their treasure, time and talent to the charitable sector over a sustained period of 10 years or more.
  • Treasure
    This individual has personally made an outstanding financial contribution (one time or cumulatively) of $100,000 or more to the charitable sector.

Additional consideration will be given to candidates who, in support of meeting the primary criterion above, exhibit one or both of the following criteria:

  • Time
    This individual has a history of being connected to the Cape Breton community through local board service and/or volunteer work.
  • Talent
    The nominee has demonstrated community-mindedness and has contributed to public service or shared economic success within the community. Nominees have contributed to improving the quality of living in our community

Event sponsors

  1. 2019

    • Lori and Jim Kennedy
    • Bill Mozvick
    • Shelia Gillis
    • John and Jeanne Eyking (Philanthropy Hall of Fame)


    • Tom MacDonald
    • Susan Gallop
    • The Late John Yurchesyn
    • Martin Chernin (Philanthropy Hall of Fame)


    • Joe Braunmiller
    • Dave Gillis
    • Fr. Albert Maroun & Lou Maroun (Philanthropy Hall of Fame)


    • The Late Gordon Heading
    • Gerry MacKenzie
    • Joseph Shannon (Philanthropy Hall of Fame)


    • The Late Joe Barrington
    • Bette MacDonald
    • Arnie Rudderham
    • John & Ted VanZutphen


    • The Late Duncan MacIntyre
    • Raylene Theriault
    • Edgar Samson
    • Gary Wilson


    • Carol Beaton
    • Donald Morrison
    • Robert Sampson
    • Annette Vershuren


    • Warren Gordon
    • Rina Gouthro
    • Steve Lewis
    • Dave MacKenna


    • Sharon Salter
    • George Unsworth
    • Richard Warren
    • Wayne Weatherbee


    • Marjorie Fougere
    • The Late Nelson Latimer
    • The Late Greg Lynch
    • Chief Terrance Paul
    • The Late Kim Wilkie


    • Martin Cherin, O.C.
    • Doris MacDonald
    • Rankin MacSween
    • The Late Sid & The Late Jean Meloney
    • The Late Hugh Tweedie


    • The Late Stephen Kavanagh
    • James Kehoe, O.N.S.
    • Dr. Alastair MacLeod
    • Allan Pace


    • Joella Foulds
    • The Late Lloyd MacDonald
    • Stuart MacLeod Jr.
    • The Late Harold Schwartz


    • Avvie Druker
    • The Late Gordon Mercer
    • The Late Bruce & Doroth Rossetti
    • The Late Irving Schwartz


    • The Late John Abbass
    • The Late Simon & Kay Haddad
    • The Late Isobel & Daniel MacAulay
    • Marven, Norris & The Late Nathaniel Nathanson


    • Evelyn Davis
    • The Late Sandy Reeves
    • Joseph Shannon
    • The Late Ethel & The Late Harvey Webber


    • The Late Mike & The Late Christine Dezagiacomo
    • John Eyking
    • The Late Joan Harriss
    • The Late Jack Yazer, O.N.S., C.M.