Meet Franca Ciambella, our founder and CEO! An international lawyer and mediator by trade, she made time from her high-flying life to found Riau Canada, which officially launched in 2021.
Having returned to Montreal in December 2020 to care for family after 30 years living in Singapore, she was shocked at the number of unhoused people in the city. After some discussion with friends and family, she decided to launch Riau Canada, the North American branch of American owned Riau Candle Company, which operates on a tiny island in Indonesia. Now, she divides her time between Montreal, Singapore and Lagos. She and her husband Chizoba Nnamchi have been happily married for 29 years and together they have three adult sons.
Franca has a degree in business from McGill University, and law degrees from New York University, National University of Singapore and Université d’Ottawa. She practiced law for over 30 years in the areas of international business, corporate compliance, mergers and acquisitions, contracts, and dispute resolution. In addition to her legal work, she has acted in various leadership roles for businesses, non-profit organizations, multi-stakeholder projects, and as a development advisor to governments. Most recently, she was appointed to the prestigious International Advisory Board of the Faculty of Management of McGill University in Canada.
Franca was recently awarded the Sovereign Medal by Canada’s Governor General, and has in the past been the recipient of many other awards and prizes for her professional excellence and personal contributions to society.