Phaze III/Associates

Mission Statement

Phaze 3 Associates strives to realize the optimal development of human capital, personal growth and community activism. Collaboration, mutual responsibility and commitment to the common good are the practical and philosophical foundations of our work.
Rick Ekstein, President and CEO of Phaze 3 Associates.

Rick Ekstein

Rick is the President and CEO of Phaze 3 Associates. Rick’s expertise in international trade, advocacy, and public policy are born from more than 40 years of first-hand experience in the Canadian lumber industry. Rick led the expansion of the Weston Forest Group of companies across 40 countries, and continues to promote the interests of Canadian producers in the softwood lumber dispute.

Rick is active in the Conservative Party of Canada and co-founded the Together We Stand Military Families Foundation. Rick sits on the Boards of Elevate Financial, Weston Wood Solutions, Brookside Capital Partners, Element 5 Co., The Logic, Awz Ventures Inc., and the C.D. Howe Institute, where he also sits on its International Economic Policy and National Policy Councils.

He is also on the Boards of the Canadian Jewish Political Affairs Committee, The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs, the Regimental Council of The Queen’s York Rangers and the Association for Lumber Remanufacturers of Ontario, which he also founded. Rick’s proudest accomplishment is Weston Forest Products having repeatedly won Waterstone Canada’s award for Most Admired Corporate Cultures.

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Eleanor Millar, Director of Government Relations and Philanthropy at Phaze 3 Associates.

Eleanor Millar

Eleanor is the Chief of Staff at Phaze 3 Associates. She has more than a decade of experience in Canadian politics, specifically working on Parliament Hill for two Ministers, managing complex files and issues, and assisting with the success of legislative agendas and communications strategies. Eleanor left Parliament Hill to work for a not-for-profit organization where she ran a successful internship program, training young people in the most effective ways to engage in politics, at all three levels of government. Having worked with more than 250 university and highschool students over the course of 8 years, watching many of them take on increasingly senior roles in government, or be elected themselves, has been her most rewarding experience. In her “off time”, Eleanor’s energetic 5-year-old son keeps her on the run and constantly looking for answers to satisfy his insatiable curiosity.

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Stephanie Shapiro, Vice-President of Human Resources and Administration at Phaze 3 Associates.

Stephanie Shapiro

Stephanie is the Executive Vice President at Phaze 3 Associates. She spent 10 years working with the federal government as a Senior Human Resources Advisor for Transport Canada, specializing in recruitment and retention, before joining Phaze 3.

Stephanie guides the Phaze 3 team through the firm’s dynamic work tempo with a human-centred philosophy. As a staunch advocate for mothers dealing with mental health issues, Stephanie’s empathic stance towards team members and clients, flows from her experience, education and intuitive understanding of the interplay between people’s personal and professional lives.

Stephanie is an avid reader and is doing her part to contribute to the growing body of writing exploring motherhood and mental wellbeing. A mother of two young girls, Stephanie blogs about her experiences at:

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Brian Rowley

Brian is the CFO of Phaze 3 Associates. He has spent his career as the CFO of single-family offices, directly involved in overseeing financial reporting, corporate governance, mergers and acquisitions, refinancing, and income tax planning.

In addition to the extensive hours Brian spends at Phaze 3, he spends his evenings and weekends guiding people through difficult life circumstances and has become a cornerstone within his community.

For leisure, Brian can usually be found on weekends and warm summer evenings aboard his boat, moored at Toronto’s Harbourfront.

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Rick Seymour, CEO of the Together We Stand Military Families Foundation, the primary philanthropic focal point at Phaze 3 Associates.

Rick Seymour

Rick is the CEO of the Together We Stand Military Families Foundation, the primary philanthropic focal point at Phaze 3 Associates. After spending close to 10 years as a Lead Accounts Manager at a top advertising and design agency, Rick felt it was time to apply his problem-solving skills for the good of Canada’s brave military families. A former professional golfer, Rick evaluates strategic planning in terms of its long-range impact, and effectively pivots when unforeseen changes arise. A creative thinker, he loves a challenge and mapping out projects on his whiteboard. When not attached to his mobile or laptop, Rick enjoys spending time outdoors playing sports, cooking, and spending time with family and friends.

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Michael Shapiro, Managing Partner of Four Cornerstones Capital Inc.

Michael Shapiro

Michael is the Chief Investment Officer of Phaze 3 Associates. He is responsible for seeking out investment opportunities while ensuring current investments yield successful results. Prior to joining 4CS, Michael was a Managing Partner of Weston Premium Woods Inc., which he and his partners exited in a sale to Richelieu Hardware Canada.

Michael’s business acumen and impeccable ability to forecast the growth potential of commercial ventures and the people behind them, enabled him to strategically expand the sale of Weston Premium Wood products and services into new U.S. and Canadian markets shortly after graduating from Western University in 2004.

Michael became the youngest individual ever appointed to the National Hardwood Lumber Association’s Board of Directors. During his decade-long tenure, he also became Vice-President of the Hardwood Distributor’s Association. When not in the office, Michael’s “happy place” is anywhere he gets to play with his two daughters.

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Jaicar Colin-Thome

Jaicar is the Executive Assistant to Rick Ekstein and Eleanor Millar at Phaze 3 Associates. She has a decade of experience as an Executive Assistant and in Office Management. During her roles at the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs and ParticipACTION, Jai’s first passion, art and design, was demonstrated as she led and assisted in office space buildout and innovation, maximizing productivity, health and safety, and the well-being of colleagues. With a demonstrated history of working in not-for-profit sectors, government relations, community outreach, and local partnerships, she has acquired a knack for connecting and helping people, which is also attributed to her caring and empathetic nature. 

While Jai’s administrative skills check all the boxes, her character and sense of humour fit the mould at Phaze 3.  She keeps busy with her three kids and enjoys spending time outdoors. Jai has a Design and Visual Communications diploma from Seneca College of Applied Arts and Technology. 

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Robert Curran

Robert is the Managing Partner of Socium Capital. He leads the firm’s investing activities, including deal sourcing and execution.

Previously, Rob worked in investment banking at a local independent dealer and a large Canadian bank. He has experience across an array of capital market transactions, including mergers and acquisitions and capital raising for private and public companies. Rob has also worked in real estate finance.

Robert obtained his MBA from the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto and his bachelor’s degree in Management from the Sobey School of Business at Saint Mary’s University.

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Rene Rampaul

Rene is the Controller of Phaze 3 Associates. Bringing over 15 years of Accounting experience, including 8 years of Property Management experience, Rene specializes in analyzing financial information, preparing accurate and timely financial reports/statements and ensuring appropriate accounting control procedures in order to maintain the integrity of all financial information provided.

When not in the Office, Rene enjoys spending time with his family and friends, or attending whichever sporting event is happening in Toronto (except for Maple Leaf games).

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the Phaze3 Journey

Skillfully merging the abstract and concrete aspects of our initiatives is its own adventure.


Drawing on more than 40 years of professional experience and the diverse backgrounds of our associates, we are positioned to invest in a variety of opportunities.

Ideas & Deeds

Our associates generate a synergy that yields outcomes greater than their individual parts. Each brings a depth of experience and unique insights that drive our collective force.


Collaboration, mutual responsibility and a commitment to the common good are the practical and philosophical foundations of our expertise and work.