Our Team

Venture Planning Partners has a core team of 3 consultants.

In addition to Derek Mitchell, the lead consultant and Managing Partner, there is Dr. Robert Blunden and Brian Hannon. Each have over 25+ years of experience and bring the “best of the best” of their respective competencies to meet our client's needs. Our core team is complemented by our broad International Network of associated agencies and consulting / research firms, providing a wide range of tecnhncial skills and competenencies.

Derek Mitchell, BA, MBA, MTS is a proven executive leader with significant achievements in both the private and civil society/NGO sectors in Canada and internationally. He has an extensive international executive business background in strategic management, marketing and sales and an in-depth understanding of international, trade, finance and investment.

Derek has a wide breadth of brand and marketing management experience with a number of major multi-national corporations including Robin Hood Multifoods, RJ Reynolds, Kraft /Pillsbury and Unilever Canada, where he had responsibility for leading and mentoring numerous marketing and sales teams on many well known brand names.

Derek has also successfully led numerous international teams with diverse cultural backgrounds throughout the world. As VP Marketing and Business Development for Connors Bros/Weston Seafoods, he was responsible for the export marketing and distribution of Connors Bros/Weston products in over 60 countries where he developed a wide range of new business and new product achievements.

As the President of Venture Planning Partners, Derek is also the senior lead consultant.  He has successfully facilitated and led numerous strategic planning, change management, organizational development projects and new business and venture capital initiatives for public/NGO/governmental and private sector clients in Canada as well as for the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA).

Derek is a past Founding Director St. George’s YouthNet, an inner city mentoring program for young children and youth. He was also a Scout and Venturer advisor for inner city youth and the past Group Commissioner of St. Geroge's 2ND Halifax Scout Group and past NS Provincial Commissioner.  He also worked for a number of years as an advisor and strategic planning consultant to the Board of the Halifax Inner City Initiative, a community development organization working to improve the quality of life for inner city residents.

Derek lives in a tent each summer at an overnight camp for children and teens, where he volunteers his time at Adventure Camp Challenge as the Camp Director.

He is a former Canadian Forces Armoured Corp Officer

Derek has a BA from the University of Kings College in Political Science and Economics and an MBA from Dalhousie University in Marketing and Finance. He has just completed his Masters of Theology at the Atlantic School of Theology / St. Mary's University in Halifax, Nova Scotia. His thesis and research focus deals with the topics of social responsibility and the ethics of judgment and choice, for both individuals and organizations.

Dr. Robert Blunden, B.Com, MBA and PhD has a wide business, teaching and consulting career spanning over 20 years in a broad range of diverse industries. His experience combines both a successful business career as General Manger for Brookfield Bros., a major Halifax building material retailer as well as an exceptional background in teaching and consulting in general management, corporate strategy formulation and strategy implementation.

Robert has a wide range experience in new business startups, turnarounds and ongoing operations. His international consulting and teaching experience includes the emerging markets of China and Eastern Europe. His broad strategic planning background includes; strategic formulation workshops for large firms and organizations, feasibility studies and new venture planning services for entrepreneurs, turnaround and exit strategies and succession management counseling to family businesses. Robert also has recently been involved with a number of business consulting activities in Slovenia.

Robert currently teaches strategic management, strategy formulation, strategy implementation, new venture creation and managing the family enterprise at the Dalhousie Business School .  He has also taught internationally. This includes teaching entrepreneurship in the MBA Program at Riga Business School , Riga Technical University , Riga , Latvia .  He developed and delivered a strategic management course in the MBA Program at Xiamen University for the Canada-China Management Education Program Phase II, Dalhousie University / Xiamen University , Xiamen , China .  He also developed and delivered a doctoral seminar in strategic management at Xian Jiaotong University , Xian, China .

He is an accomplished case writer and researcher and he has written extensively on strategic planning and management, strategy formulation and implementation, family business management, organizational capability assessment, entrepreneurship and new venture creation in numerous cases and articles in the leading Canadian strategic management text books.

He has served on the board of directors of several small and medium-sized businesses and organizations.  He is a member of the Academy of Management , the Canadian Association of Family Enterprise Family Firm Institute and World Association of Case Research and Application.  He has served extensively on numerous enterprise development and academic planning and budget committees both a Dalhousie University and Henson College . Robert is a former Director of the Dalhousie Shad Valley progam for youth mentoring.

Robert academic achievements include a Doctor of Business Administration from the University of Western Ontario , a Master of Management from Northwestern University Evanston , Illinois and a Bachelor of Commerce from Dalhousie University , Halifax , Nova Scotia .

 Brian Hannon, B.Comm. Brian is a very experienced senior financial executive with over 25 years of budgeting, financial management, forecasting and internal auditing.

He has a broad multi-sector background in manufacturing, seafood, banking, retail and he has worked in with large multinational corporations, government service, entrepreneurial start ups, and smaller, privately held businesses.  Since 1999 Brian has been an independent accounting and financial consultant providing contract financial management services to a wide variety of industries including road construction, boat building, trucking and forestry.   Services range from liaison with clients’ bankers, lawyers, government agencies through design and preparation of the preparation of financial reports to cash flow management and the maintenance and improvement of overall record keeping procedures.  Brian has extensive experience in establishing budgeting and forecasting procedures for larger clients and in assisting these clients in understanding their cash flow needs and avoiding working capital crises.

Prior to starting his financial consultancy, Brian was VP Finance for Tech Sea Corporation in Miramchi, a newly formed start up operation in the seafood equipment business, from 1997 to 1999.  In this role he dealt extensively with local bankers, politicians and government funding agencies, designed and created accounting systems and report packages in conjunction with the company’s IT department.

Prior to Tech Sea , Brian was the Senior Financial Analyst/Budget Manager with Comeau’s Seafoods Limited, in Saulnierville , Nova Scotia , from 1986 – 1997, where he was an integral member of the executive management team.  He led the conversion from a manual to computerized accounting system, designed numerous financial reports including daily and weekly “indicator” reports, and completely designed and implemented an extensive budgeting and sales volume forecasting system for the company.  Brian also has additional budgeting and cash flow management expertise from positions with National Sea Products of Halifax (Budget Manager, 1980-82) and as Controller with FS Industries of Halifax 1982-84. 

Brian also has considerable experience in the field of internal (operational) auditing, through positions of Senior Auditor or Audit Manager with Lafarge Canada (1976), National Sea Products (1977-79) and Canada Post (1985-86).

Venture Planning Partners also has a broad International Network of associated and aligned agencies in public relations, advertising, market research, package design and syndicated market measurement in the USA, UK, Asia, Australia & New Zealand, the EU, Mexico and central America to meet any of your international marketing, advertising, export and business development needs.