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  • Creating business opportunities and giving back to the community: Meet 2024 Outstanding Alumni Award winner Elio Luongo


Creating business opportunities and giving back to the community: Meet 2024 Outstanding Alumni Award winner Elio Luongo

March 25, 2024

As the senior Canadian leader of one of the world’s largest professional service firms, Elio Luongo is driven by creating sustainable prosperity for Canadians and opportunity for members of KPMG, its clients and communities. SFU is pleased to recognize his accomplishments with an Outstanding Alumni Award in the Professional Achievement category.

In 2016, Elio was appointed Chief Executive Officer and Senior Partner of KPMG, where, through various roles at the company since 1987, has contributed to helping nearly double the company’s workforce by creating career opportunities for over 5,000 new employees.

With the goal of building a team that is talented, collaborative, and inclusive, Elio has implemented initiatives that have been recognized with numerous awards, such as KPMG being named one of the Best Employers for Diversity in 2022 by Forbes Canada.

He has also shown a profound dedication to his alma mater since completing his Bachelor of Business Administration in 1983, serving on SFU’s 50th Anniversary Campaign Cabinet, as a member of SFU’s Board of Governors and as a Chair of the Dean’s External Advisory Board for the Beedie School of Business.

What are some highlights of your career?

SFU played a pivotal role in my life. It taught me how to learn, to feed my curiosity and gave me a knowledge discipline. It’s also where I made friends who supported me, encouraged me and pushed me forward. It is a great community that I am fortunate to be part of.

A major highlight was the convocation ceremony: I vividly remember walking across the stage to the podium and seeing my family and friends glowing with as much pride as I had.

Becoming a partner at KPMG in 1994 was like my second convocation. My career really got going after that.  On October 1, 2016, I was appointed CEO and it was the same day that my daughter got married – so I'll never forget that day.

What important skills will help people find success in the workplace? 

Having the ability to communicate clearly, authentically, and in a way that it's easy to understand is a real benefit in whatever discipline you pursue. I had the good fortune to write a column with the late Mike Grenby who taught me how to communicate clearly and simply.

The world today is all about technology, data, artificial intelligence, so data and computing science skills are going to be so important going forward. But those capabilities alone are not going to be enough.

You need to be able to manage, control and challenge AI and data. Skills on how to synthesize and examine how information applies in a particular situation, to a particular client and to the particular problem that you're trying to solve will be essential, and remembering the human in the loop.

I think the skill sets of the future are going to be all about integrating technology for better, about solutions; how do we make life better not only for ourselves, but for society at large? Think about AI and medical outcomes.

What advice would you give current SFU students?

Be your curious, authentic self, because everybody else is already taken. Never stop learning. SFU has given you that skill.

Bring your whole self to every situation but, as important, be the person that makes it safe for everyone else to be their whole self. The best solutions happen in safe debate where all are open to contribute. Think individually smart but collectively brilliant.

I also think it’s important to give generously of whatever you have—time, knowledge, resources, experience—to nurture others, the environment and your communities. You put goodness into the world and you don't know how it's going to come back, but it does. Give people opportunities. People took chances on me, and one of the greatest joys I have is giving lots of people opportunities at every juncture.

We are thrilled to present the 2024 Outstanding Alumni Awards at an in-person event on Burnaby Campus April 24, 2024.

Save the date and join the excitement—all alumni and community members are welcome! Early bird tickets are available until April 3. Learn more: Outstanding Alumni Awards website.