Chris was previously the Managing Partner and Founder of Hawthorn Equity Partners. Hawthorn is the successor to Genuity Capital Partners, a private equity business that he founded in 2005 in conjunction with Genuity Financial Group. Mr. Payne was Managing Partner of this business and primarily responsible for all of its investing activities, representing assets under management at its peak in excess of $400 million. Previously, from 2000 through 2005, Mr. Payne was a Managing Director within the Merchant Banking Group of CIBC. Mr. Payne was responsible for sourcing and managing a large pool of private equity investments for the bank in early stage North American businesses. Mr. Payne worked closely with the head of CIBC World Markets and the head of the Retail Banking operations on various investment strategies. Prior to CIBC (1998 – 2000), Mr. Payne was an entrepreneur working with a group of investors and executives in Silicon Valley on the formation of a business that ultimately became PayPal. Prior to these activities (1992 – 1998), Mr. Payne worked at BMO Nesbitt Burns as a vice President in M&A and later helped start BMO Nesbitt Burns Equity Partners, a North American mid-market focused merchant bank. In his formative years, Mr. Payne worked for Merrill Lynch (1985 – 1987) in M&A and then for The Blackstone Group (1987 – 1990) working on many large public M&A transactions and leverage buyouts. Mr. Payne holds an Honour’s Bachelor’s Degree in Commerce from Queen’s University and an MBA from The Wharton School.