Chamika-AilapperumaChamika Ailapperuma

Chamika Ailapperuma is an unconventional thinker who thrives in challenging environments and provides bold, creative, strategic solutions that deliver effective, long term results to individuals and teams.  As a bilingual strategist with a marketing and communications background, she has over 15 years of success on management and executive teams in four sectors – academia, legal, public sector and not-for-profit.  As the founder and CEO of CDKA Consulting Inc., her company consults with organizations to provide effective management solutions.  Chamika also coaches mid-career professionals and takes them from being expert practitioners to elite executives.


Isabel Banerjee

Honored for seven consecutive years as one of Canada’s Top 100 Women Entrepreneurs™ and 2007 and 2009’s Canada’s Top 100 Most Powerful™ women owned businesses, Isabel was a recipient of Globa EXEC Women’s International Influence™ 2009 award. Isabel  credits  her  life’s  journey  with  the  practical  business  and  relationship  skills  that became  her  trademark  style.  During diverse career experiences in retail, automotive, aviation and service industries, Isabel absorbed the knowledge needed to succeed in private-sector business. In 1986, opportunity led her to the chemical industry and within three years, she launched her own chemical brokerage firm, Phancorp Inc. Boldly going where few women had yet succeeded, Isabel focused on innovative solutions, formed strategic partnerships with her customers and suppliers around the globe and grew the business into an award winning, global chemical wholesaler.  In 2009, Isabel sold the assets of Phancorp Inc., to dedicate herself to mentoring others to personal and professional success.Isabel relocated to Arizona in 2011 and founded BIYA Global, Inc.  In 2014, Isabel advanced her goal to help more entrepreneurs benefit from her forty+ years business education and expand a successful and in-demand program, GroYourBiz™,to the United States commencing with MyBusinessMyBoard™ Advisory Groups in Arizona. Serial entrepreneur, inspiring speaker and aspiring author with a passion for helping others maximize their potential, Isabel’s drive comes from the belief that confidence, success and satisfaction are more easily achieved and sustained when working from individual and collective strengths.

 Julie Barker-MerzJulie Barker-Merz

Julie is President of BMO InvestorLine and executive sponsor of the Women In Wealth strategy for the Bank.

Since joining BMO in 1996 as a Customer Service Representative, she has worked for several areas of the bank including branch banking, call centres, lending, mutual funds, marketing, in-store banking, term investment brokerage, and the office of the President in direct support of Frank Techar.  In 2009 she built the national Coaching For Performance program for leaders in P&C Canada. In 2011 Julie was appointed Vice-President and Chief Operating Officer of BMO Insurance and in 2014, appointed to her current role leading the on-line investing business.

Julie holds a Bachelor of Social Sciences degree from the University of Ottawa and earned her MBA in Financial Services in 2002 from Dalhousie University. Julie currently sits on the Boards of BMO InvestorLine, BMO Private Client Divisions and the Canadian Women’s Hockey League.  She is fluently bilingual, a proud mother of 2 young girls and an avid runner.

Hilda Gan PhotoHilda Gan

Hilda Gan is delighted to be joining the GroYourBiz Board. A nurse by profession, Hilda started her career as an ICU nurse and progressed in educational and management roles in Ontario and Alberta to become Director of Nursing in Critical Care, OR and Emergency at Scarborough General Hospital. She joined her husband in 1996 when he began iTRANS Consulting, a professional transportation engineering firm. With a shared vision to create a great company, the company became known for its quality service, quality work and great workplace. Hilda managed the administration, HR, IT, finance and corporate expansion from its start-up to 120 staff with 7 offices across Canada.

She is people focused and is a sought after mentor. She takes a creative collaborative approach to building, developing and managing organizations. iTRANS became a nationally recognized award winning workplace, placing Top 10 in the Best Workplace in Canada in two consecutive years. Other recognition for iTRANS included Entrepreneur of the Year with the Richmond Hill Chamber of Commerce as well as Top 10 recognition of Best Small to Medium Size Enterprise (BSME). When they decided to sell the company in 2009, Hilda played a key role in the successful acquisition and transition to the new company, HDR, a 7,000+ US based firm. She became the Administrative Department Manager – Canada Engineering for the next 4 years. Her strong background in growing a business from start up to mid-size and her passion for mentoring and supporting others makes her new role her a natural fit.

Hilda attended University of Toronto obtaining a B.Sc.N and an M.H.Sc. (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, Human Resources Professional Association York Chapter, and Unionville Home Society.


Marg Hachey

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, by Arthur Andersen, CIBC and the National Post 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.

Previously, she has been on the Steering Committee of Step Ahead, and a mentor for six years with the program, helping women entrepreneurs whose businesses were in the second stage of growth. She was also Special Advisor to Youth in Motion Education Foundation a non-profit organization to help youth gain access to higher education and as a board member helped launch Top 20 under 20. A sought after keynote speaker, Margaret has addressed audiences across the country on various topics. She is a regular guest lecturer at the University of Toronto, Rotman School of Management and York University’s Schulich School of Business. As a founding member of WPO (Women Presidents Organization) in Canada, Margaret has an opportunity to network and support other women in like roles.


Leann Hackman-Carty

A leader and entrepreneur at heart, Leann has been involved with multiple leading organizations such as the British Columbia Economic Developers Association, Economic Developers Alberta, Organization of Women in International Trade, International Economic Development Council, Red Cross, US Consulate in Calgary and even partnered up with the Government of Alberta regarding Innovation and Advanced Education.”

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; developed and lead key initiatives in the corporate, public and not-for profit sector; provided business development services to the States of Mississippi and Georgia; provided leadership for the Organization of Women in International Trade; hosted numerous high level international trade delegations; initiated greater working relationships with provincial and international economic development groups; developed business and marketing plans for small-medium sized enterprises; 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 which is Alberta’s economic development network. It has over 250 members, who are involved in economic development activities including business retention & expansion, business and investment attraction, opportunity identification, project management, site selection and supporting industry sector development. A well-respected professional in her field, she has lead public, private and non-profit organizations through eras of change to new levels of growth and stability. She is a sincere advocate with an aptitude for bridging conflicting interests, motivating staff and volunteers, and influencing key stakeholders.

Susanne Hemet

Susanne Hemet makes a difference. For over 15 years, she’s inspired others to realize their dreams and create personal and professional success. Whether you’re starting new or reinventing yourself, Susanne delivers clarity, confidence and purpose to your goals and insists that a sense of balance and fun are absolutely necessary. Susanne was trained by Jack Canfield, America’s Success Coach and co-creator of the popular “Chicken Soup for the Soul” book series, and was handpicked for his Train the Trainer Program. Susanne’s new book, Successful to the Core: Connecting to What Matters Most to Create a Successful Life, teaches readers how to build a solid foundation for meaningful and fulfilling success by identifying and aligning their goals with their core values.

James, TedTed James

Besides being a successful real estate investor, Ted James is 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.

Ted is also an educational consultant specializing in strategic enrollment management and the management of student services in post-secondary institutions.  He has 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.

Samantha LeggeSamantha Legge

Samantha is President of Canada Wide Media Limited and a member of Canada Wide’s Board of Directors, which is responsible for the overall management, strategy, fiscal responsibilities and leadership of the company.

With 20 years of industry experience, she has been involved in every facet of Canada Wide’s publishing business including leading the circulation, marketing and digital divisions. She has also been a publisher for numerous titles including TV Week magazine, BCHome + Garden magazine, Granville magazine and BCLiving.

Samantha is a graduate of BCIT, Magna Cum Laude, with a diploma in Marketing Management. She received her MBA from Royal Roads University in 2001, and is a former board member of Magazines Canada and past chair of the Public Affairs committee.

She is an active volunteer for the YWCA Vancouver and Hope International, and a past Board of Director of Theatre Under the Stars and the Vancouver Aquarium Marine Science Centre.

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Leslie Meingast

Leslie Meingast is the Founder and CEO of TPD, a global workforce solutions and HR organization since 1980. She is a WBE Member Certified in Supplier Diversity and an ICD Member. Leslie is also the Founder and Chair of the Galt Foundation US, which has created employment opportunities exclusively for people with disabilities and work force entry barriers since 1999. She is also the Ottawa  Board Chair for FITT, Forum for the International Trade and Training.

Leslie’s other incredible credentials include: WPO NYC Director International, Member, WPO (Women’s President Organization) Foundation Board member, WEBAC (Women Economic Business Advisory Council) Vice chair which is a non-political advisory group focused on government policy, as well as a UnitedSucces Founding Member.

In the past Leslie was a GroYourBiz  Advisory Board Member and a DFAIT D SME Board Member. She is an Advisory Board to Canadian Minister of International Trade

Angelica MirzaAngelica Mirza

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.

Emily OhlerEmily Ohler

An international lawyer by background, Emily has worked in the private and public sectors, domestically and internationally. As a barrister and solicitor, she has dealt with human rights, employment and administrative issues at various levels of court and in alternative dispute resolution proceedings. As an international lawyer, she advised the United Nations and various governments on policy, legal, procedural and practical matters related to a portfolio of $4.3 billion in complex sustainable development projects. She now heads a Vancouver based consultancy that helps businesses bridge the gaps between high-level concepts and concrete, actionable understanding in the fields of human rights and sustainability; and works to build deeper cooperation between sectors, businesses, policy-making bodies and society.

Puri, BelleBelle Puri

Belle Puri is a seasoned and award winning broadcast journalist with over 35 years of experience. Belle has been with the CBC since 1992. She brings a diverse set of skills and background to her role. Belle has worked as a reporter, producer and host in private radio (CKNW) and, private (BCTV) and public television.

Belle worked as the B.C. Legislative Bureau Chief for CBC after four years as business reporter for the national program Newsworld Business News. Before that she spent three years as Senior Assignment Producer for the evening news. She was also the popular host of CBC Radio One’s afternoon show “On The Coast”.

Belle’s assignments have included covering provincial politics, federal political leadership conventions, the Commonwealth Conference, the Clinton/Yeltsin summit, Royal visits, Expo ’86, APEC and of course the 2010 Olympics.

Belle was one of the first female sportscasters on the west coast and has covered many milestone events such as the tours of Terry Fox, Steve Fonyo and Rick Hansen.

Winner of the Jack Webster Award for Excellence in Legal Journalism, CAN PRO Gold Award, and several regional and national RTNDA awards Belle’s work has made lasting impacts. In the late 1980s, her in-depth look at grizzly bears resulted in the designation of BC’s Khutzeymateen Valley as a grizzly bear sanctuary.

Over the years she has been extensively involved in community work covering healthcare, social service agencies and the arts. Most recently, she was Chair of the Royal Columbian Hospital Foundation Board of Directors.

Judith Richardson

With 20 years of experience in 12 countries as an organizational culture, engagement strategy, communications, author and leadership professional, Judith is known for her systems and integrative approach to leadership, potential and peak performance. Judith is called both an artist and an engineer for her ability to engage others to ignite vision, performance and aligned action in internal teams, with customers/clients, external stakeholders, and global citizen engagement. She works with individuals and organizations creating sustainable enterprises. Judith has been recognized with numerous awards including International Executive Coach of the Year, Canadian Progress Club Woman of the Year – Entrepreneur and Innovator, and SMU Distinguished Community Service Award. Judith holds BA, BEd, and MA degrees from Saint Mary’s University, Computer Network Engineer from Dalhousie University, and Dartmouth College (Tuck School of Business) Executive Development Program.  Judith’s list of clients have included: Bell Canada, Simon Property Group, Intel Canada, Westfield Corp.  Spectrum Realty, Jamaican Ministry of Education, Manulife Financial, Novosibirsk State Medical Academy, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Royal Bank Group, & ING Canada.

Mark sennMark Senn

Mark Senn is the Regional Vice President for business development in western Canada.  Appointed to the position in January 2014 he is responsible for coordinating and delivering EDC’s finance and insurance solutions to the exporting community in our four western provinces.  Increasingly, EDC is using its’ international resources to bring Canadian companies to new markets, and Mark is enthusiastically allocating resources to make this market diversification a reality.

Mark has worked at EDC since 1997, with prior responsibilities as a Senior Account Executive covering strategic accounts in the Life Sciences, Oil and Gas, Mining and Transportation sectors.  In addition to his experience on the business development side, Mark has also worked in the risk adjudication and treasury functions of the corporation. Prior to joining EDC he worked as a corporate banker for ABN AMRO, Bank of New York, RoyNat and Bank of Montreal.  Mark has a MBA and a BA in Economics both from Queen’s; as well as an International Baccalaureate from the United World College of the Pacific.

Keith SpencerKeith Spencer

Keith Spencer is a partner with the law firm of Fasken Martineau and is the Chair of the Vancouver office’s Securities and Technology Practice Group. Keith’s clients range from start-up to mature private technology companies. Keith was previously in-house counsel to the Vancouver-based Wireless Data Group of Motorola, Inc., where he had overall responsibility for its legal affairs.

Keith has lectured in the area of technology and intellectual property law at the University of British Columbia Faculty of Law and at various Continuing Legal Education and Information Technology industry conferences. He has also authored articles in the areas of computer and information technology, outsourcing, e-commerce and intellectual property law. Keith is a member of various boards and advisory boards for a significant number of early stage and emerging technology companies and technology industry associations, including Elastic Path Software, INETCO Systems, dPoint Technologies, TalentClick, Envisio Solutions, the BC Technology Industry Association, Vancouver Enterprise Forum, TiE (Charter Member), and the BC Science Fair Foundation. Keith was previously a member of the Board of Directors of BuildDirect of Layer 7 Technologies (acquired by CA) and Chairman of the Board of Directors of Dyaptive Systems (acquired by JDSU).

Corina Walsh

For 10 years Corina has been helping people get the skills they need to succeed at work and in life. She has designed and delivered training programs for health authorities, Governments, and industry groups. In 2013 Corina turned her passion for learning into a business and is now the principal consultant at See Change Consulting where she helps businesses grow by providing customized training programs that improve employee engagement and productivity. Corina holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Memorial University as well a Master of Education in Adult Education from Mount Saint Vincent University where she also received the Senate Award of Distinction upon graduation. Corina believes in giving back to her community and has served on several Literacy and Health boards. Corina is a Toastmaster and enjoys delivering engaging sessions on topics such as finding meaningful work and women’s leadership.

Brandi Wingrove

Brandi Wingrove is a partner in KPMG’s Vancouver Enterprise practice. KPMG Enterprise is an integrated team of advisors who seek to continually understand the challenges and opportunities facing businesses, organizations and individuals, with the ultimate goal of making our clients’ businesses better.

Brandi understands firsthand what entrepreneurs face day to day. She played an integral role launching, operating, and eventually selling a family business. Her practice area within KPMG Enterprise focuses on providing audit, tax and advisory services to retail, real estate, and technology companies and a variety of not-for-profit organizations.

Brandi is passionate about supporting women in business. She serves on the Board of the Forum for Women Entrepreneurs – an organization that supports through education, female entrepreneurs across Canada. Brandi serves on the Board of Advisors for GroYourBiz, an initiative dedicated to helping women entrepreneurs take their businesses to the next level.

Betty Wood

As WBE Canada’s primary contact for women business owners, Betty Wood is responsible for the certification process, operations, and development of WBEs. She brings a wealth of knowledge to the team as an experienced commercial banker, trainer and award-winning global expert in the women’s market. She has consulted extensively for the gender program of the International Finance Corporation (IFC) Gender Entrepreneurship Market (GEM) and the World Bank Group based in Washington, D.C. Much of her work has entailed advisory services and training for commercial banks in developing countries. As former National Director of the Women Entrepreneurs Market for RBC Royal Bank, her strategic skills led market share growth and customer satisfaction improvement to new heights. Betty shares her expertise widely by speaking at domestic and international forums.

Well known in the women’s market both nationally and globally, Betty has received numerous awards for her work including from The International Alliance of Women (TIAW) and the Organization of Women in International Trade (OWIT-Toronto). She is one of the founders of the Global Banking Alliance for Women and served as Chair and a Director of the organization for several formative years.

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