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Emily Ohler

Emily Ohler

CEO, Broadleap Solutions

Emily has built her career taking risks in pursuit of her vision for a good world. A lawyer by background, she left her private litigation practice in 2004 and, after a year in Singapore obtaining her LL.M, moved to Geneva, Switzerland. There, she served as Legal Advisor to an arm of the United Nations Security Council, implementing a program with $4.3 billion in sustainable development projects in the Middle East. On returning to Vancouver, in 2013 she founded Broadleap Solutions Ltd., an international consultancy firm advising companies and organizations on human rights due diligence – internally and across their value chains. She also founded Knowledge in Context, through which she personally taught some 500 teenagers her novel curriculum on navigating power and prejudice to be effective actors in building the communities and world they envision. She is a sought after educator and speaker on issues such as unconscious bias, “doing” equality in organizations, and integrating policy with practice in human rights. In 2016, she was appointed a full-time member of the BC Human Rights Tribunal for a three year term.

Carolyn Cross

CEO, Ondine Biomedical

With a background in finance and institutional investing, Carolyn Cross has over 30 years’ experience with public market securities and working with early stage companies. Earlier in her career, Ms. Cross was a portfolio manager and Vice President for Royal Bank Investment Management Inc. Ms. Cross currently sits on the boards and audit committees of Greystone Capital Management Inc., Sinuwave Technologies Corporation and Cayoose Creek Development Ltd., a First Nations project management services company based in BC.  She is a Board Member and Treasurer of the International Photodynamic Association (IPA) and currently sits on The National Research Council (NRC)—the  Government of Canada’s premier organization for research and development. Ms. Cross is a past Director of the Board of the Canada Foundation of Innovation and past member of its Audit and Finance Committee.  She is a Founding Member of the World Innovation Health Network (WIN) Advisory Council, The Odette School of Business, University of Windsor, a Founding Member of the Ernst & Young Global Women in Business Advisory Council, and a member of the Advisory Council of GroYourBiz, a national organization assisting Canadian Women Entrepreneurs. She has been the recipient of several awards including the  Meritorious Service Cross by the Governor General of Canada and the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Award from the Government of Canada. Ms. Cross holds a CFA designation, an MBA from York University and an Honours in Business Administration (HBA) from the University of Western Ontario.

LELisa Ethans

Financial Advisory Partner, Deloitte and Founder of Deloitte’s National Aboriginal Client Service Practice

Lisa is a Financial Advisory Partner at Deloitte and the Founder of Deloitte’s National Aboriginal Client Service Practice. She currently leads the National Trust Advisory Practice.  She is a Fellow of the Chartered Professional Accountants of British Columbia and a Chartered Business Valuator.  

Ms. Ethans has been involved in a broad range of projects including the creation of First Nation wealth management and governance structures, trust structuring and administrative trustee services, business plans, business valuations, damage quantification and litigation support services,  and has provided expert witness testimony on several occasions before the Supreme Court of British Columbia.

mark livingstonMark Livingston

Regional Vice President of Business Development – for Western Canada, EDC

Mark Livingston is Export Development Canada’s Regional Vice President of Business Development – for Western Canada.

Appointed within EDC recently, Mark’s team is responsible for coordinating and delivering EDC’s suit of financial service and knowledge products to the exporting community in our four Western Provinces.  EDC continues to grow its international presence and it’s leveraging this experience to help bring Canadian companies to new markets.

Mark has worked within the financial services sector in Canada and the US for over 15 years. With a commercial finance and risk management background while at Royal Bank and TD Bank Financial, Mark has spent the last decade in the FinTech and Commercial Payments where he most recently led the Advisory Solutions Consulting Practice for American Express Corporate Services in the US. Working primarily on behalf of Multi-National Clients, Mark’s recent areas of specialization include Business Process Optimization, Outsourcing and Strategic Planning for Growth.

In his new role, Mark is enthusiastically leading the charge to help all Canadian companies go, grow and success internationally.

EDC is Canada’s export credit agency, providing financing and insurance solutions locally and around the world to help Canadian companies of any size respond to international business opportunities. As a profitable Crown corporation that operates on commercial principles, EDC works together with private-and public-sector financial institutions to create greater capacity for Canadian companies to engage in trade and investment.

heather stokes picHeather Gray (Stokes)

Trade Specialist at Export Development Canada (EDC)

Heather Gray, Account Manager at Export Development Canada (EDC), has managed portfolios consisting of start-up companies to under $300 million in revenues in both Ontario and BC.  Heather graduated with a BA from the University of Ottawa and completed a post-graduate program in International Business where she received her Certified International Trade Professional (CITP) designation.  Prior to EDC, she worked in Sales at ArcelorMittal Dofasco, which is an international steel company in Hamilton, ON. Heather has been part of the business community in Vancouver for over three years and is constantly fascinated by the entrepreneurialism and export-focus of BC Businesses.  She speaks French and Spanish and likes to keep active in her spare time by skiing, playing sports and taking advantage of BC’s beautiful outdoors.


Paula Cruickshank

Senior VP, BDC, Financing & Consulting, BC & North

Paula Cruickshank was appointed Senior Vice President, Financing and Consulting, British Columbia and North in January 2017.

In this role, she is responsible for overseeing BDC’s financing and consulting services in British Columbia and the North region.

Paula has over 20 years’ experience in the banking industry. She joined BDC in 2009 as Vice President, Securitization, where she was responsible for establishing the Bank’s Indirect Financing group and assumed responsibility for the management of the Canadian Secured Credit Facility (CSCF)—a $12 billion program established by the Government of Canada in 2009 to help restart the asset-backed securities market and stimulate economic activity by supporting sales of vehicles and equipment. She also helped launch BDC’s Funding Platform for Independent Lenders (F-PIL), a platform to provide capital to SME financing and leasing companies who support Canadian businesses. FPIL has indirectly helped over 13,000 SMEs obtain financing for various projects.

Paula took over responsibility for Syndicated Financing, in addition to Indirect Financing (formerly Securitization) in October 2015 and rebranded the unit to Wholesale Financing in June 2016.

Before joining BDC, Ms. Cruickshank spent over 11 years with the Scotiabank Group, where she gained broad experience in Structured Finance and Corporate Finance.

Ms. Cruickshank holds an International MBA from the Schulich School of Business and an LL.M in Banking and Financial Institutions from Osgoode Hall Law School.

James DonaldsonJames Donaldson

CEO, BC Food Processsors Association

James Donaldson brings over 20 years of experience and success in the BC food industry to his position as CEO of the BC Food Processors Association.

James work history includes experience with businesses ranging in size from start-up ventures to multi-national corporations and everything in between.  He has held positions with companies such as Diageo, Yves Veggie Cuisine, BC Hot House Foods, Maple Leaf Foods, and Superior Freeze Dry in sales, marketing, and general management functions.  Most recently James has been working as a management consultant as Principal of Flashpoint Strategies, providing strategy, planning, business development, advisory and coaching services to small and mid-sized consumer goods companies.

Originally from Manitoba, James moved to BC in 1991 upon graduating from the University of Manitoba.  He resides in Surrey, BC with his wife Sharon and three children; Jordan, Emily and Justin.

Angelica Mirza

Angelica Mirza

CEO, Mirza Global Search

Angelica Mirza has  over 15 years of experience recruiting chief executive officers, vice presidents, executive directors, managers and board directors for global and multinational organizations. Her combination of Canadian nationality and 15 years of pan-European experience gives her a unique perspective on cultural norms and expectations that enable her to deliver innovative and strategic solutions for talent acquisition globally.

Angelica’s reputation for high quality service is based on a foundation of International searches  specialized in global key accounts . Before starting her own firm in 2012 , she was a partner in the Vancouver office at Caldwell Partners and the Milan/London office of Amrop, where she worked on global key accounts dealing with a broad range of industry and functional search experience.

Angelica has been member of the Directors Committee for Vancouver Opera Board. She has been a keynote speaker at various conferences across industry sectors and has written articles for notable publications, including Canadian HR Reporter, Search Consult , HBA Euro Voice and Business in Vancouver.

Currently Angelica is involved with Ballet BC, Women’s Executive Network ,Women in Mining Association, and UBC advisor board for philanthropy  for the AOII sorority. Angelica has a BA in Sociology from University of Calgary, and an M.A. Ed. from Boston University, Framingham. She is fluent in English, French and Italian.

Betty Wood

Founder, W Consulting Group

Commercial Banking, International Development – women’s access to finance, Supplier Diversity for women entrepreneurs

Betty Wood currently works as an independent contractor with people she respects and admires on projects that interest and inspire her.

Until October 2015, Betty was an executive with Women Business Enterprise Canada Council where she led the certification program, operating protocols, and market-outreach for the non-profit organization. Previously, she was one of the founding leaders of the supplier diversity organization, WEConnect Canada that launched in March 2009.  Earlier, Betty consulted for the gender program of the International Finance Corporation and the World Bank Group (Washington, D.C.).  Much of that work entailed advisory services for the ‘first lines of credit for women entrepreneurs in Africa’ delivered in local markets by commercial banks.  Betty enjoyed an accomplished career as a commercial banker, women’s market strategist, and advocate for women entrepreneurs. In the late 1990s, as Director of the Women Entrepreneurs Market for RBC, her strategic skills led to market share growth, impressive customer satisfaction improvement, and external honours.  Ms. Wood is one of the founders of the Global Banking Alliance for Women; former member of the International Women’s Forum; Director/Chair of Athena-Oakville; and was a mentor for young women through Career-Edge.  She has been recognized as an industry leader for developing innovative marketing programs for women in business and is the recipient of awards from RBC (EVP Award for excellence in market management); OWIT (for outstanding support for women’s international business development); the Global Business Women’s Network (USA) (for outstanding leadership of women entrepreneur programs); and The International Alliance of Women – ‘Making A Difference Award’.


Corina Walsh

President, Shift People Development, and Chair of GroYourBiz St. John’s

In 2014 Corina Walsh made the bold choice to leave her secure job behind to venture out into the uncertain world of entrepreneurship. Having worked in both the private and public sector for 12 years Corina was feeling unfulfilled and needed a new challenge that would make her heart sing! She started her company, Shift People Development, with the mission to help professionals build meaningful careers and companies create happy, engaging workplaces.




Hanne Madsen

Chair of GroYourBiz White Rock/Surrey

From 1986 to 2010, Hanne Madsen was the President and co-owner of DanFoss Couriers & Freight, a successful transportation business that provided regional, national and international delivery service to over 3000 clients. Hanne is a member of the board of governors for Kwantlen Polytechnic University and also served as a director on the board of the B.C. Trucking Association for 14 years. In 2002, she was appointed as the Chair of B.C.T.A. for a two year term and to date she remains the only woman to have attained that position since the association’s founding in 1913. In 2008, she was presented with the Service to the Industry Award by B.C.T.A. Active in her community, Hanne is a volunteer facilitator for Junior Achievement. She is a member of the WEB Alliance of Women’s Business networks and participates in the Kickstart mentorship program at Thompson Rivers University. She holds a BBA from Simon Fraser University and a Certificate of Executive Management from the Segal Graduate School of Business at SFU. In March 2015, she was received the Women in Business award for Corporate/Leadership from the Surrey Board of Trade. Hanne resides in South Surrey with her husband and together they enjoy an active outdoor lifestyle.

Hilda GanHilda Gan

Founder and Chief People Officer, People Bright Consulting, and Chair of GroYourBiz Markham/Richmond Hill

Hilda Gan is the Founder and Chief People Officer of People Bright Consulting, a company that helps businesses grow and succeed by helping them understand and develop a business structure and processes where People/staff are the key to success. Her background as part owner (with her husband) of iTRANS Consulting, a successful Engineering Consulting firm that grew from 2 to 125 employees in 7 offices across Canada is a natural fit for her role as Chair of GroYourBiz. She has been there at the many stages that business owners might go through – from start up to medium size company to acquisition of the company.

Hilda has over 20 years of HR expertise with the added practical approach of a business owner. A creator of one of the 50 Best Workplaces in Canada®, top 10, two years in a row, Hilda helps companies who want to be the best company they can be through creating a strong work culture and developing processes and a strong business structure that builds on people for company success.

A nurse by profession, Hilda started her career as an ICU nurse and had roles as Educator, Manager, Director of Nursing and IT Project Manager. She took those skills and experience and started her journey as an entrepreneur, in Health Care Consulting, joining her husband at iTRANS Consulting and lately Human Resources Consulting.

Hilda attended University of Toronto obtaining a BScN and a MHSc. (Administration). A desire to give back to community, she has served on Boards and Committees including Markham Stouffville Hospital, Ontario Nursing Information Group, Ontario Hospital Association Regional Council of Executives Committee, United Way York Region, United  Way Toronto York Region, Human Resources Professional Association York Chapter, and Unionville Home Society.

Isabel Banerjee

CEO of Encore Catalyst, and Managing Director of GroYourBiz Arizona

Honored as one of Canada’s Top 100 Women Entrepreneurs™, Canada’s Top 100 Most Powerful™ women owned businesses, Isabel was a recipient of Global EXEC Women’s International Influence™ 2009 award.
During diverse career experiences in retail, automotive, aviation and service industries, Isabel absorbed the knowledge needed to succeed in business and build her own award winning, global chemical wholesaler, Phancorp Inc.
Isabel relocated to Arizona in 2011 to dedicate herself to mentoring others to personal and professional success and expanded a successful and in-demand program, GroYourBiz™ to the United States commencing with MyBusinessMyBoard™ Advisory Groups in Arizona.

Jane Schnurr photoJane Schnurr

President of Awesome Coaching Enterprises, and Chair of GroYourBiz Barrie, ON

Jane Schnurr is passionate about coaching high achieving entrepreneurs to push past self imposed boundaries!  With over 25 years of entrepreneurial experience in both non-traditional manufacturing businesses and consulting, Jane brings her laser sharp insight and creative solutions to help entrepreneurs take the strategic actions they need to expand their business and gain the freedom to enjoy life. She is a powerful and dynamic coach. She brings a unique blend of creativity, entrepreneurial spirit and sense of fun to all that she does. Jane is very successful at working with clients who are taking back their power and rebuilding their lives.  She believes from overcoming adversity in her own life, that each of us can “dance to the beat of our own drum and dazzle the world with our brilliance!”.

Leann Hackman-Carty

ED of Economic Developers Alberta, and Managing Director of GroYourBiz Alberta

A leader and entrepreneur at heart, Leann has been involved with Economic Developers Alberta, International Economic Development Council, Canadian Red Cross, The City of Calgary and The Government of Alberta. Leann worked as an Executive Assistant, Community & Economic Development to the Mayor of Calgary for over 10 years; managed several federal, provincial and municipal election campaigns; provided business development services to the States of Mississippi and Georgia; lead the Organization of Women in International Trade; hosted numerous high level trade delegations and developed business and marketing plans for SME’s; and worked on a number of high profile community investment projects. Since 2009, Leann has served as the Chief Executive Officer for Economic Developers Alberta. She is an advocate with an aptitude for bridging conflicting interests, motivating staff, and influencing key stakeholders.


Marg Hachey

Owner of Operation Evergreen Business Group, Managing Director of GroYourBiz Ontario & Eastern Canada

Margaret Hachey was previously the owner of Duocom Canada Inc. She founded the company in Toronto in 1980 and with organic growth and acquisitions expanded coast to coast. Its success earned it recognition as one of Canada’s 50 Best Managed Private Companies, two years in a row. Chatelaine and Profit magazine recognized her over a 10 year period as ranking in the top 10 of the Top 100 Women business owners in Canada.
A sought after keynote speaker, Margaret has addressed audiences across the country on various topics. Currently she owns Operation Evergreen Business Group and is the Managing Director for Ontario and Eastern Canada of GroYourBiz.

Nicole PereiraNicole Pereira

GM, Cambridge Centre Honda, & Chair, GroYourBiz, Cambridge, ON

Nicole’s passion is people.  She is the owner and operator of Cambridge Centre Honda. Many think of her as in the car business, but she likes to think of herself as being in the “people business”.  As a current business owner, she understands the importance of working “on” your business and not just “in” your business.  She grasps the challenges facing female entrepreneurs as well as the opportunity to thrive as a business owner.  Nicole believes in the power of peer learning. She currently is a member of GroYourBiz Kitchener-Waterloo and has participated on three peer-to-peer advisory boards. Personal development plays a significant role in Nicole’s life. She is a John Maxwell Certified Leader, a certified coach, and practitioner of Neuro-Linguistic Programming, a toastmaster and a life-long learner.  Nicole currently serves as Incoming Chair of the Board of Cambridge Chamber of Commerce, Director of the Board for the Montessori School of Cambridge, and Board of Advisor at the Small Business Centres of Waterloo Region. Nicole holds an Honours Bachelor of Business Administration from Wilfrid Laurier University and a certificate in General Dealership Management from the National Automobile Dealers Association.

Pati-Ross-300x336Patricia Ross

Councillor, City of Abbotsford & Chair of GroYourBiz Abbotsford

Patricia Ross currently serves as Deputy Mayor for the City of Abbotsford and has been a councillor for 21 years. She is Chair of the city’s Intergovernmental Affairs committee, Vice-Chair of the Fraser Valley Regional District and serves on the board of the BC Municipal Finance Authority. Patricia’s philosophy toward government is to fully embrace sustainability principles, considering the environmental, social and economic impacts in all decision making. Patricia is a Fellow of Leadership for Environment and Development (LEAD) International, a research and training program dedicated to fostering worldwide sustainability. Her research has taken her to Oaxaca, Mexico; Costa Rica, Zimbabwe and Argentina. Patricia is a motivational and keynote speaker as well as a published free-lance writer who has a passion for helping businesses and communities reach their best sustainable potential. In December 2004, Patricia spoke at the International Climate Change Conference in Buenos Aires about the challenges and rewards of environmental conservation in local government. From 2000 to 2006, Patricia took on the job of Public and Media Relations Coordinator and Chief Lobbyist for the City of Abbotsford on their successful and precedent setting campaign of opposition to the polluting power plant proposal of Sumas Energy 2 (SE2). Patricia is excited about using her expertise and experience to help mentor women achieve success in business and politics through GYB.  Patricia has been named one of the Abbotsford New’s Top 100 Most Influential People in Abbotsford several years in a row and has won many awards for her community work including Abbotsford’s 2009 “Woman of the Year,”  “Newsmaker of the Year”  from the Abbotsford Chamber of Commerce, “Green Leader”  from the Abbotsford-Matsqui Rotary Club, “Paul Harris” Rotary club Fellowship and Queens Diamond Jubilee award.

Sandra Horton

 Co-Founder Tri-Cities Women’s Collaborative Hub, GroYourBiz Tri-Cities Chair

Sandra J. Horton is a leadership, transition, and sales coach. Sandra holds a Master’s degree in Leadership from Royal Roads University. Sandra is a co-founder of the Women’s Collaborative Hub, a locally based company providing comprehensive mentorship and evidence based leadership training programs to women business owners and women leaders in the Tri-Cities community. Sandra is also the owner of Horton Collaborations Company, which specializing in change management, event coordination, and professional facilitation services for the last three years. She is known for her honest, open, fun, and reflective approach to helping clients solve challenges centered on both evidence-based leadership theory and practical approaches to achieving measurable results.
Change Your Perspective – Change Your Life


Shannon Tobin

CEO of Dare to Be You Foundation, and Chair of GroYourBiz Burlington & Kitchener-Waterloo

Shannon is an award-winning entrepreneur with over 24 years of success as a powerful Leader in the Direct Sales industry.  She’s an author, philanthropist, passionate speaker, and Co-founder of Vitality Group; a company whose pillars are built on delivering winning solutions that empower growth for positive change. Shannon and her team are passionate about instilling leadership skills in our youth so they can become positive role models and mentors. Her vision is to optimize physical, emotional, mental, social and spiritual health and vitality in others.  Her commitment to aspiring young leaders is evident in her partnerships with Big Brothers Big Sisters, Anago, and various other non for profit organizations in her community. She’s the Founder and CEO of The Dare To Be You Foundation.  A Foundation passionate about: 1-BUILDING a strong foundation for our youth. 2-INSPIRING breakthroughs and  positive change for individuals and families. 3-EMPOWERING transformation in others. Shannon has been recognized for her business and community leadership as the Bronze STEVIE Award recipient for Women in Business: 2013 Female Mentor and Coach of the Year. The awards are the world’s top honours for women entrepreneurs, executives, employees, and the organizations they run.

Sherri MunroSherri Munro

President of Munro Consulting Services and Chair of GroYourBiz Toronto #3

Sherri Munro is the founder of Munro Consulting Services, specializing in working with women entrepreneurs, and as a result, enabling them to feel prepared, knowledgeable and confident to grow their business. Through one-on-one coaching, skill-building sessions, and comprehensive discussions about their business, finances and market, Sherri collaborates with established business owners to formulate the right approach to raise capital.



Tasneem ViraniTasneem Virani

President, Claris Coaching and Managing Director of GroYourBiz UK

Tasneem Virani is a senior consultant with over 15 years’ international experience in human performance and change management. Working at a strategic and operational level, she has trained over 5000 individuals worldwide, establishing a proven track record in identifying and modifying personal and organisational behaviour, resolving key management and staff relationship issues to improve performance. Tasneem employs a humanistic approach in leadership and management development, using emotional intelligence models and understands its relevance in team performance improvement, customer service delivery, career management and planning, delivered through organisational training programmes and individual coaching. Tasneem offers a deep understanding of the dynamics of emotional intelligence and the neuroscience behind it, and how human behaviour is driven by personal motivations and goals. Her experience from leading the lifelong learning programme across Europe for a community, working in hospitality/hotels, call centres, care homes and not-for-profit sectors gives her the ability to quickly establish rapport at all levels and to unlock individual potential, resulting in improved clarity of self and maximum productivity. Her specialisation and interest is with Family Businesses and small partnerships. A qualified Chartered Fellow of the CIPD and Senior accredited with the National College of Psychotherapists, Tasneem holds a BSc in Psychology and an MSc in Training and Performance Management. She also has a Postgraduate Certificate in Business and Executive Coaching and is a certified Birkman Consultant, an ADR certified mediator and  a certified EQ practitioner and assessor. Tasneem is a contributor to the ‘The Birkman Method: Your Personality at Work’.

James, TedTed James

International Business Consultant, and Chair of GroYourBiz Burnaby

Ted James is semi-retired from 34 years of experience in the post-secondary system in British Columbia as faculty, Dean and Registrar, and has served as a board member for national and international associations fostering improved services to students.  He is currently a consultant specializing in strategic enrollment management and the management of student services in post-secondary institutions.  Ted has also had an ongoing career as an editor and writer of publications on many aspects of small business development. He co-authored with Barbara Mowat several books and guides including GroYourBiz, Your Business Matters, Strategic Growth, and Tips for Tough Times as well as the Home Business Report, a Canadian publication targeting the micro-business entrepreneur.


222aafeTeri Cavanagh

International Business Consultant

Teri Cavanagh has a deep understanding of what it takes for women to be successful. She grew up in Seneca Falls, New York,  where women organized the first Convention for Women’s Rights in 1848,   For the past 15 years she has been at the forefront advocating for women’s economic empowerment with various positions in senior management within financial institutions.  From 2010-2012 Teri was the CEO for the Global Banking Alliance for Women.   Currently, she participates in forums to empower women, and is a proud member of the WE CAN Board of Directors. In her position as SVP and Director of the Women’s Financial Connection at Fleet Bank, Ms. Cavanagh built The Connection from its inception, and launched a $2 Billion business initiative over 7-year period to assist women with capital,  resources and information to grow their businesses. She has led as the CEO of The Global Banking Alliance for Women, an international consortium of financial institutions who aspire to be the bank of choice for women in their country or region. From 2005 -2009 she worked as an international consultant with banks in developing countries creating successful models for women in business

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