Program At A Glance

All times listed are Pacific Daylight Time (PDT)
All Sessions are LIVE at the Pan Pacific Hotel, Vancouver, BC, Canada

April 24, 2024

8:30 am  -  12:00 pm

Exhibitors Set-Up

1:00 pm  -  1:30 pm

Delegate Registration Begins

1:30 pm  -  3:00 pm

Pre-Conference Sessions:
  • GYB Special Session for GroYourBiz Chairs and Managing Director


GYB Special Session for GroYourBiz Chairs and Managing Director

Speaker & Trainer: Marg Hachey and Barbara Mowat, GroYourBiz,

Special Guest: Christy Martin, Christy Martin Compensation Solutions

2:00 pm  -  5:00 pm
Oceanview 7-8

A Taste of Certification: An Open Session with SDAC (Supplier Diversity Alliance Canada)


Get a “Taste of Certification” firsthand at this dynamic start to your conference as we tap into the power of diverse supplier programs and their many benefits. Hone Your Pitch in an interactive opportunity dedicated to boosting your success throughout the conference. Then, engage with purchasers in-person or virtually in our Hot Opportunities with forward-thinking purchasing representatives from:

  • EY Global Services
  • British Columbia Lottery Corporation (BCLC)
  • BMO Financial Group
  • Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC)

Hosted by the Supplier Diversity Alliance Canada, this pre-conference event promises invaluable insights and networking that will enhance your EXCELerate experience. Don’t miss out!


  • Cassandra Dorrington, President & CEO, CAMSC (Canadian Aboriginal and Minority Supplier Council)
  • Chris Mariano, Business Development Manager, West, (Canada’s 2SLGBTQI+Chamber of Commerce)
  • Kailey Gilchrist, Business Development Manager, Corporate, CGLCC, (Canada’s 2SLGBTQI+Chamber of Commerce)
5:30 pm  -  9:00 pm
Crystal Ballroom

Opening Reception


“An Evening with Entrepreneurs from around the Globe: Meet, Mingle, and be Inspired!”


Mistress of Ceremonies: Pamela Martin, former TV News anchor and reporter

Opening Reception – Hors d’oeuvres, Mingling and Keynote


5:30 – 6:45 – Reception

  • National Anthems by AHSIA
  • Welcome Remarks by Barbara Mowat, President & Founder of GroYourBiz and EXCELerate
  • Welcome Remarks by Mary Manhas, Business Banking Region Head, West, BMO (Sr. Exec)

7:00 – 8:00 – Keynote Speaker – Nathalie Plamondon-Thomas, CEO, THINK Yourself® ACADEMY  “YOU ARE AWESOME”

LIGHT UP YOUR INNER FIRE – “Confidence to Ignite Performance & Thrive Through Change”

With the increasingly faster pace and multiple changes women entrepreneurs and professionals from all sectors have had to adapt to, impactful decisions need to continue to be made following
their expertise, skills and knowledge. Although women demonstrate strong leadership on the outside, it happens that, on the inside, reside multiple layers of stress, emotion build-up or negative
self-talk. When people feel confident, calm and resourceful they can rebuild their business to have a greater impact, collaborate and inspire, not only despite of change and fast-pace, but because of it.

Nathalie will provide mind blowing neuroscience in layman’s terms on how the brain works, how some people use their brain wrong and proven strategies to make it work for you.

“If you don’t learn to control your mind, it will control you!”

Get on the driver seat of your business – and your life – so that you can unlock full potential and EXCELerate your success.

Key Take Aways:

  • Brain Basics: What neuroscience teaches us about harnessing the power of our brains to unlock our potential and improve performance.
  • End Negative Self-Talk: Learn a two-step technique that transforms negative self-talk and limiting beliefs into energizing positive talk.
  • Concrete Strategies: Break the overthinking / stress / negative self-talk / bad habit cycles.
  • Leading for a Change: Concrete commitment to be embrace a specific change which will be sent back to each delegate a month later to extend the positive effect long after the event.

8:00 – 8:55 – Lively Entertainment and Dancing, by Doug Robb, Musician

8:55 – 9:00 Closing Remarks and Reminder of Thursday timing


April 25, 2024

7:00 am  -  8:00 am
Crystal Ballroom

Breakfast / Opening of Exhibits

7:00 am  -  8:00 am

Delegate Registration Continued

8:00 am  -  8:30 am
Crystal Ballroom

Opening of Conference



Mistress of Ceremonies: Pamela Martin, former TV News anchor and reporter

  • Traditional Prayer for Squamish Nation, Shamantsut (Amanda) Nahanee, Senior Cultural Ambassador, Chinook SongCatchers
  • Welcome from City of Vancouver: (Mayor invited)
  • Welcome Greetings: Moriah Linton, Director, US & Canadian Commercial & Wealth Initiatives | Enterprise Lead, BMO for Women,  North American Commercial Banking


8:30 am  -  10:00 am
Crystal Ballroom

Plenary Session: “Going Global: The Road to Globalization”


“Going Global: The Road to Globalization”

Sponsor: Doyle, Barlow & Mazard PLLC



Moderator: Camelia Mazard, Esq., Partner, Doyle, Barlow & Mazard PLLC,

Are you considering going global? Do you wonder how to get your business ready for international markets? All sizes of businesses realize that launching their product or solution overseas is a great way to increase their sales and raise the profile of their brand. Learn about the key success factors in export readiness and prepare for entry into global markets.

Key Takeaways:

  • Explore the risks and opportunities in the shifts in Industry
  • Leveraging emerging technologies in supply chains, including advancements in industrial cyber security, industrial automation, workforce optimization, and AI
  • Evaluate start-ups for export potential & assists start ups & existing businesses to compete globally.
  • Lessons from the Trenches/ Tool Box Ideas Shared: Panel


10:00 am  -  10:30 am

Break & Exhibits: MEET and WIN with our EXCELerate Passport!

10:30 am  -  12:00 pm
Oceanview 7-8

  • Dealing with Labour Shortage and Attracting Talent

Dealing with Labour Shortage and Attracting Talent

Moderator: Darrien (Dee) McWatters, Author, Philanthropist, Advocate and Activist for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion

Canada is among many nations facing a significant labour shortage, as it is well known that almost a million job vacancies was recorded in February 2023. This shortage has been attributed to various factors, such as an aging population, declining birth rates, reduced immigration, and the shift to remote work. Among the most affected sectors are healthcare, construction, manufacturing, and food service industries. The struggle for many businesses is how to find the right talent locally and/or how to look internationally at untapped talent pools such as immigrants and skilled refugees.

Join our panel connecting with experts and peers to collectively explore how businesses are authentically addressing the issue.

Take Aways:

  • Concrete examples of innovative recruitment strategies and how to access untapped talent pools to address labour shortages.
  • Demystifying the immigration system to make international recruitment more accessible for all employers to include as part of their HR toolkit.
  • Advantages of building a diverse workforce for team morale, as well as a recruitment and retention strategy.


10:30 am  -  12:00 pm
Oceanview 1-2
Global Competitiveness

  • ESG – The Path forward to Sustainability as an Essential Element to Business Growth and Value

“ESG – The Path forward to Sustainability as an Essential Element to Business Growth and Value”

Sponsors: Future Skills Centre and Diversity Institute




Moderator: Alison Joutsi, Principal, ESG Global Advisors

Did you know that GLOBAL ESG assets are on track to exceed $50T by 2025? Environment, Social and Governance (ESG) refers to three non-financial factors that can be used to inform the long-term risk and return of an investment. Despite recent backlash ESGs are a priority for governments, businesses and organizations and cannot be ignored, even by small and medium enterprises. This is not a partisan issue – we only have one planet. This session will offer a forward-thinking exploration of the ESG landscape and trends with a particular focus on the transition to net-zero. the role of SMEs and the implication for skills.

Engage in insightful discussions about emerging ESG metrics along with shifting consumer, government, and investor expectations. Discover how SMEs and entrepreneurs are driving change and the role of women and Indigenous peoples. Learn how to navigate the evolving regulatory environment along with shifting consumer, government, and investor expectations and how to “future proof” your business. Learn about new tools to support developing and implementing your ESG strategy and how organizations are making changes.

Join us for a thought-provoking journey, connecting with experts and peers to collectively shape a responsible future.

Key Takeaways:

  • Understand the vital role of SMEs and entrepreneurs in the transition to net zero.
  • Explain how to use sustainability as a source of innovation to drive new growth and improve efficiency, effectiveness while managing risk.
  • Learn about the strategies, tactics, tools and skills organizations need and where to start.


  • Wendy Cukier, Academic Director, Diversity Institute; Women Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub; Future Skills Centre
  • Minto Roy, Founder and Managing Partner, Social Paper Print Ltd.
  • Kelly Hirsch, Head of ESG Analysis, Vancity Investment Management Ltd.
  • Vicki Saunders, Founding Activator, Coralus
10:30 am  -  12:00 pm
Oceanview 3-4
Business Growth

  • Franchise Your Business: A Proven Strategy for Growth & Success
  • From Conception to Expansion: What it’s really like to be a Franchisor

Two Speakers Share the 90 minutes on Business Growth

Moderator: Catherine Gardiner, President, Telos Enterprises

“Franchise Your Business: A Proven Strategy for Growth & Success”

The global pandemic disrupted traditional business models, prompting entrepreneurs to seek innovative strategies for growth and stability. This presentation will demonstrate why franchising stands out as a strategic approach that enables companies to expand their brand presence, leverage local expertise, and extend their market reach. The presentation will begin by dissecting the fundamental reasons for considering franchising, such as scalability, risk mitigation, and access to capital. It will delve into the tangible benefits of franchising, including accelerated growth, brand recognition, and the power of a dedicated franchisee network. Real-world case studies and success stories will be shared to illustrate these advantages. The session will help entrepreneurs identify whether their business is “franchise-able,” discussing critical factors like a proven concept, operational consistency, and comprehensive training and support systems.

In this presentation, attendees will:

  • Understand why franchising is a strategic choice for post-pandemic entrepreneurship.
  • Discover the advantages of franchising and its potential to drive rapid business expansion.
  • Learn how to evaluate their own business’s suitability for franchising.
  • Gain insights into the steps involved in establishing a successful franchise network.
  • Explore real-world examples of entrepreneurs who have thrived through franchising.

Speaker: Faizun Kamal, CEO, Franchise Pros


“From Conception to Expansion: What it’s really like to be a Franchisor”

Hear from an entrepreneur who has established several franchises in Ontario and discusses her hesitations to franchise. Understand the franchising journey from the inside by learning what it’s really like to go from establishing and growing a business to moving into the role of franchisor.

You will learn from the lived experiences of Cathy Thompson, founder and franchisor of Beyond the Classroom through an interactive Q & A session with Faizun Kamal. Whether you’re a budding entrepreneur exploring franchising opportunities or an established franchisor seeking to elevate your franchise to new heights, this workshop provides invaluable insights and practical guidance to support your journey. Join us as we unravel the secrets to franchisor success and embark on a path towards sustainable growth and prosperity.

Speaker: Cathy Thompson, Founder & CEO, Master Franchisor, Beyond the Classroom

10:30 am  -  12:00 pm
Oceanview 6
Leadership Development

  • Restoring Leadership: From Exhaustion to Empowerment

“Restoring Leadership: From Exhaustion to Empowerment”

Moderator: Marg Hachey, GYB Managing Director, ON & Eastern Canada

Overarching goal of this interactive session is to reinforce the importance of intentionally designing and living a life that reflects meeting the holistic needs of Leaders. In their quest to be of service to clients, teams, and their families, Leaders often inadvertently miss the integrating critical elements that help ensure that they also are being of service to self.   Effective value creation is dependent on a sustainable approach to value mobilization.   Depleted, burned out leaders impact not only their health but also their ability to efficiently  mobilize their value offerings.   As the critical source of fuel for their value offerings, it is imperative that leaders consciously integrate thoughts, activities and habits that will optimize both their business performance and well-being.

This session will highlight effective tactics that leaders can employ to:

  • Revive and restore their full potential
  • influence a mindset that helps ensure that the needs of the leader as instruments of change are intentionally integrated into daily life
  • empower self and others to develop value-aligned action plans for business and life
  • catalyze behaviour that supports the optimization of both personal goals and business goals

This workshop will be co-led by two seasoned leaders:  one is an award-winning business leader/ lawyer and consultant, and the other is a former healthcare administrator and an executive coach.  The session will draw upon a combination of evidence informed practices and research that supports the development of leadership competencies and skills and promotes leader well-being.


10:30 am  -  12:00 pm
Oceanview 5

  • Supplier Diversity Matters
  • The Business of Doing Good is Changing

Two Speaker Groups Share the 90 minutes on Changing and Diversity

Moderator: Crystal D’Cunha, Chief Experience Officer, The INSIDE View Inc.,

“Supplier Diversity Matters”

In this shared session, the Supplier Diversity Alliance of Canada (SDAC) will deliver a provocative look at the social impact of diverse supplier programs in Canada. Joining with Deb Alcadino and her dynamic topic of “The Business of Doing Good is Changing”, SDAC will explore the symbiotic relationship between supplier diversity, corporate social responsibility and ESG. Learn strategies to leverage certification benefits to take advantage of corporate Canada’s commitment to diversifying their supply chains and how sustainability can be directly linked to a company’s growth.

Learning Objectives & Key Takeaways:

  • Explore the positive relationship between corporate social responsibility , ESG and diverse supplier programs in Canada.
  • Recognize the value of diverse supplier programs in driving your business growth and sustainability.
  • Gain insights into the many benefits of being a certified diverse supplier.
  • Learn strategies to capitalize on business opportunities with those corporations that are committed to “buying diverse”.

Presented by: Supplier Diversity Alliance of Canada


  • Cassandra Dorrington, President & CEO, CAMSC (Canadian Aboriginal and Minority Supplier Council)
  • Kailey Gilchrist, Business Development Manager, Corporate, CGLCC, (Canada’s 2SLGBTQI+Chamber of Commerce)
  • Brad Brohman, Managing Director, IWSCC (Inclusive Workplace and Supply Council of Canada)


“The Business of Doing Good is Changing”

This engaging presentation will explore how ‘doing good’ in business is changing and evolving. Social impact, philanthropy, charitable giving, and CSR are changing in the minds of Gen Z’s and millennial consumers and employees as they increasingly seek those prioritizing purpose over profit. The companies that prioritize social impact and community building will succeed; the ones who don’t will be left behind. Discover critical insights for business owners and leaders, and actionable strategies to implement, to ensure they are poised and ready for 2024 and beyond. Learn from industry social impact experts and real-world examples to future-proof and ensure long-term success.

Join us as we delve into the key insights, best practices, and strategies for harnessing social impact investments, prioritizing community-building, and the purpose-led incoming generations, to build the social impact initiatives that inspire all your stakeholders and increase profits. As companies search for their competitive edge in business, seek employee and customer loyalty, and increased profits, the answers lie within social impact and community building. It’s an important message as companies examine their CSR strategies and explore new ways to make a difference in their communities and accomplish business goals.

Learning Objectives & Key Takeaways:

  • How philanthropy and charitable giving have changed and evolved for companies, thanks to the incoming generation’s views and what they care about. And how companies can adapt.
  • To understand the impact of 50% of the workforce being purpose-led Gen Zers and millennials, companies must embrace community building by providing a work experience where learning, growing and taking action are all within reach. And, it needs to span both remote and hybrid work models.
  • How CSR is shifting, and the need for companies to mitigate risk to stay competitive.
  • The need for community-building and social impact to future-proof business.

Speaker:  Deb Alcadinho,  Founder, Chief Impact Officer: Business 4 Social Good

12:00 pm  -  2:15 pm
Crystal Ballroom

Lunch, Keynote and Plenary Session: “Changemakers Catalyzing Sustainable Global Futures”


“Changemakers Catalyzing Sustainable Global Futures”: As leaders you have the ability to be the change we want to see in the world.

Lunch, Keynote and Plenary Session

Moderator: Amanda Ellis, Former UN Ambassador and Best Selling Business Author, Senior Director of Asu Wrigley Global Futures Lab

  • Learn how to invest in technologies and strategies for a green planet.
  • Identify tools and techniques that help you outline how to action sustainability initiatives that can support both short-term and long-term business success.
  • Hear from leaders on how they support strategies in a way that is unleashing action across the business, and in turn new growth opportunities.

Key Note: Henk Rogers


2:15 pm  -  2:30 pm
Crystal Ballroom

Ball Room: Energizing!

2:30 pm  -  3:00 pm

Break & Exhibits: MEET and WIN with our EXCELerate Passport!

3:00 pm  -  4:30 pm
Oceanview 3-4

  • AI: The Global Game Changer Disrupting the Norm…how to leverage safe AI?


“AI: The Global Game Changer Disrupting the Norm…how to leverage safe AI?”

Speaker: Dr. Suhayya (Sue) Abu-Hakima, Co-Founder & CEO, Alstari Corp



Moderator: Indira Gajusingh, Senior Manager, Strategy, Execution & External Partnerships, BMO Bank of Montreal

The world is now full of thought leaders, innovators, and entrepreneurs whose innovative ideas and approaches to Artificial Intelligence range from “A Call to Arms on AI, to the monetization of AI” offering insights gleaned from their global knowledge and research as it relates to the commercialization of AI and how businesses are ushering in bold new ways of doing business with global implications and impacting society. While innovative ideas approached in health care fields are making tremendous breakthroughs and provide new ways to save lives, the commercialization of AI will continue to bring significant global changes to society.

Do we need to ask “Are we SAFE in an AI world? Can AI and Humanity both exist?” How do we adapt with regulations, laws, treaties among nations to make AI safe and aligned with human endeavors? Is it too late to slow down and explore so we can minimize the danger? Biden has passed an executive order on AI, the EU has passed regulations on AI and now Canada is preparing its AI response with Bill C27. Healthcare and Climate Change is where AI can potentially help humanity. Is the “Research and Design of Intelligent Agents”….Good or Harmful for us? What if humans lose control? What lessons can we take from tech entrepreneurs? Are they heretics or heroes of their AI innovation stories?

Author and successful AI Tech Entrepreneur Dr. Suhayya (Sue) Abu-Hakima will share her story and ask if you can be the hero of your entrepreneurial journey with or without AI?

*Note* This session will not be part of the Virtual Attendance nor recorded.

3:00 pm  -  4:30 pm
Oceanview 1-2
Leadership Development

  • Parallel Paralysis in the Boardroom & the Bedroom: Overcoming the 2 Biggest Barriers to the Successful Pursuit of our Passions

“Parallel Paralysis in the Boardroom & the Bedroom: Overcoming the 2 Biggest Barriers to the Successful Pursuit of our Passions”

Moderator: Angelika Vance, Director of Corporate Development at Ondine Biomedical Inc.

Our companies and employees do not exist in a silo and neither do we. We take what happens in the office to our home and just as commonly, the stressors of our home into our work.  And the same barriers women face in a male-dominated business world mirror the barriers women face in a shame-dominated culture around sex: the pressures to not desire “too much” or be too forward; to keep the peace and make sure everyone else is happy; and to behave in certain ways or risk being perceived as “inappropriate” or “aggressive”. Stress, Shame, and Anxiety play an ENORMOUS role in holding us back: in the boardroom AND in the bedroom! Yet our career satisfaction; our most intimate relationships; and our health and well-being are among the most significant predictors of quality of life.

After attending this presentation, participants will:

  1. Feel more empowered to pursue their passions and challenge notions of what it is to be a woman, both in the boardroom and the bedroom.
  2. Have a framework for building self-awareness.
  3. Understand the Science of Emotions
  4. Recognize how women’s bodies, desires, and great sex and intimacy work.
  5. Conceptualize total health using the Optimal Health Pyramid


  • Dr. Carolin Klein, Registered Psychologist and Sex Therapist, West Coast Centre for Sex Therapy in Vancouver
  • Dr. Shahana Alibhai, TEDx Speaker, Family Physician and Mental Health Expert, Dr. Shahana

3:00 pm  -  4:30 pm
Oceanview 5
Business Growth

  • Unleash Leadership by Harnessing Your Uniqueness

“Unleash Leadership by Harnessing Your Uniqueness”


Moderator: Angela Heit, Founder and CEO, The Crysalis Consulting Group


In this interactive session, learn the key ingredient to overcome self-doubt and operate from confidence. Knowing who you are, what you are good at, how to communicate effectively and build collaborative relationships can be easier than you imagine. Tapping into your zone of genius can unleash the best leader you can be. Learn what factors make you unique, and how to show up in business and as a leader with your superpowers!

We’ll share a practical and powerful approach to discovering your superpowers. With insights and experience helping 100’s of business owners and leaders to discover their uniqueness, we’ll share two scientifically proven and complementary tools. Experience how showing up authentically can save time and build a better you and a better business. The reward is healthier relationships, increased productivity, and the confidence to lead in your own way.

Understanding your uniqueness will help you discover how to:

  • Make quick, confident decisions
  • Avoid disappointments and lost opportunities
  • Leverage your strengths and your team
  • Increase sales and revenue
  • Recognize the importance of a unique value proposition

This workshop is co-led by two award-winning, seasoned, and forward-thinking entrepreneurs who have a practical and accessible manner, ensuring participants can immediately apply their valuable insights and knowledge.


  • Hilda Gan, RN, BScN, MHSC, CHRL, Fascination Certified Advisor, People Bright Consulting
  • Laural Carr, BFA, RGD, Kolbe Certified Consultant, Certified Coach, Impagination Inc
3:00 pm  -  4:30 pm
Oceanview 7-8
Business Growth

  • We are Wired to Connect: How Connection Changes Wellness and Productivity

“We are Wired to Connect: How Connection Changes Wellness and Productivity”

Moderator: Jennifer Chandler, Owner, Simple Desk

In this interactive and experiential workshop, participants will engage in activities to develop a shared understanding of what community, and connection, really mean and how they are directly correlated with accountability within their organization. Through meaningful discussions and exercises, we will explore ways to foster a culture of accountability and strengthen connections among team members and each other. By the end of the workshop, participants will have gained valuable insights and strategies for promoting community and connection and improving accountability to each other in the workplace.

Participant Take Aways:

  • Exploring the science of connection: How are humans wired to connect?
  • What is community and why does it matter at work?
  • The effects of disconnect – how does it impact us at home and work?
  • Ecological model of individual, relationships, community and society – why we should care?
  • Effective ways to build connection and community in your business and improve productivity and well-being

Speaker: Theresa Bailey, Founder & CEO, Starfish Synergies Inc.

4:30 pm  -  6:00 pm


6:00 pm  -  9:30 pm
Crystal Ballroom

Gala Reception


6:00 – No-Host Cocktail and Reception

Mistress of Ceremonies: Pamela Martin, former TV News anchor and reporter

6:30 – Dinner and Program Begins

  • Dinner served (salad is pre-plated with variety of breads on table)
  • Main course starting at 7:00
  • Welcome remarks by Mike Bonner, Head of Canadian Business Banking, BMO Bank of Montreal
  • Introductory Speaker, Shakila Zareen, Global Speaker and Advocate for Women and Girls’ Rights with Friba Rezayee, Founder and Executive Director, Women Leaders of Tomorrow

8:00 – Keynote Speaker – Dr. Sister Jenna (with Dr. Ivy Hylton)

“Empowering Grace: Women, Spirituality, and Leadership in the Modern Era”

Dr. Sister Jenna is a revered spiritual leader, author, speaker and TV and radio host, whose life’s work has been dedicated to elevating human consciousness and fostering peace worldwide. She will be joined on stage with Dr. Ivy Hylton. Their enlightening talk delves into the dynamic interplay between women, spirituality, and leadership, shedding light on how beliefs and practices can empower women in leadership roles across various sectors.

Sister Jenna, Director of the Brahma Kumaris Meditation Museum, also serves as one of the Evolutionary Leaders in service to conscious evolution and was selected by Empower a Billion Women 2020 as one of 100 Most Influential Leaders of 2015, also produced with Grammy Winner and composer Ricky Kej on the Om Shanti Album, among many other global recognitions including the Forbes Magazine’s 2022 article, “Meet The Leaders And Businesses Who Are Inspiring To Change The World”.

Their discussion will explore historical and contemporary examples of women who’ve harnessed their convictions to lead with compassion, resilience, and innovation. They will also cover practical strategies to empower women to make impactful contributions in their communities and beyond.

Dr. Sister Jenna’s profound impact on society has been recognized with the President’s Lifetime National Community Service Award, as well as her collaborative work with the Oprah Winfrey Network and Values Partnerships on the Belief Team highlights her role as a bridge-builder across diverse spiritual and cultural landscapes. She has graced the cover of various global magazines, and produced with Grammy Winner and composer Ricky Kej the Om Shanti Album, among many other Global recognitions.

Her NEW series “One Love” mission remains as relevant as ever—to build bridges, foster trust, and offer clarity and inner strength in challenging times. Her voice is a beacon of hope and healing, drawing together people from all walks of life in a shared journey towards a more peaceful and enlightened world.

Sister Jenna is committed to bridging divides in societies and building relationships between global influencers. Her work has impacted lives around the globe, inspiring change and finding solutions to current day crises. She will share her story – Born in Jamaica, raised in Miami with her mother, an African Caribbean organized at age 7 and her father, a traditional Indian man, which lends to seeing the world through two different lenses. She shares her experiences from running her two nightclubs, and dating, and jet-setting with her luxury cars, and dressing up all fancy, and thinking that life is about just the image, the image to becoming a revered spiritual mentor and businesswoman dedicated to community service through numerous initiatives. We are honoured to welcome Dr. Sister Jenna with her longtime friend, Dr. Ivy Hylton, as our special Gala keynote speakers for EXCELerate 2024.

9:15 – Finale and Entertainment by AHSIA

April 26, 2024

7:00 am  -  8:00 am
Crystal Ballroom

Working Breakfast: Networking opportunities for industry sectors



Mistress of Ceremonies: Pamela Martin, former TV News anchor and reporter

8:00 am  -  8:30 am
Crystal Ballroom





Barbara Mowat introduces GYB AWARD Program for the following categories:

  • GroYourBiz Ambassador
  • Global Growth & Innovation
  • SDG Sustainable Business
  • GYB Recognition of an Outstanding Chair
  • Exceptional GYB Member Award
  • President’s Award

Presentation of Awards: 

8:30 am  -  10:00 am
Crystal Ballroom

Plenary Session: “Access to Capital: Investing with a Gender Lens“


“Access to Capital: Investing with a Gender Lens“

Sponsor: Mackenzie Investments




Moderator: Roslyn Kunin, President, Roslyn Kunin & Associates Inc. Economic Consulting

While the topic of “Feminine capital and Feminine leadership” has grown substantially over the past few years, studies show that women business owners still face difficulties in obtaining capital. In 2023 the State of Women’s Entrepreneurship in Canada report suggested systemic biases continue to play out as women face barriers such as access to financing, whether it be in the form of loans, venture capital or angel investing. The report also highlighted the disproportionate challenges faced by Indigenous and racialized women in the space. What has developed, changed? In this session, the panelists dive deeper into the realities of accessing capital, the latest research and what is available to WBOs.

Plenary Speakers/Panelists:

  • Cathy Bennett, Co-Founder, Sandpiper Ventures
  • Sheri Griffiths, SVP, Head of Ontario Corporate Finance, BMO Commercial Bank, Canada
  • Wendy Cukier, Academic Director, Diversity Institute; Women Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub; Future Skills Centre
  • Teara Fraser, Founder, Elibird Aero, and Founder,CEO, Iskwew Air


Further Information to be Noted:

Members from the Women Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub (WEKH) and WEDO Canada celebrated Women’s Entrepreneurship Day and a TSX Market Open Ceremony in Toronto with diverse entrepreneurs and ecosystem partners. The Honourable Rechie Valdez, Minister of Small Business, joined by the Honourable Marci Ien, Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Youth, announced nearly $4 million in funding for WEKH.

10:00 am  -  10:30 am

Break & Exhibits: MEET and WIN with our EXCELerate Passport!

10:30 am  -  12:00 pm
Oceanview 1-2
Global Competitiveness

  • Design Thinking for Global Competitiveness: Unleashing Innovation
  • Redesigning Conflict: Build Your Conflict Competency and Have Successful Discussions

Two Speakers Share the 90 minutes Session


Moderator: Tara Hartley, Regional Director, Public Services and Procurement Canada in Pacific Region


“Design Thinking for Global Competitiveness: Unleashing Innovation and Driving Success”

In today’s fast-paced and highly competitive global landscape, organizations need to embrace design thinking as a strategic tool for innovation and staying ahead. This presentation/workshop explores how design thinking can empower businesses to enhance their competitiveness and drive success on a global scale. Through practical examples and real-time exercises, attendees will gain insights into the transformative power of design thinking and its impact on organizational growth.

Key Takeaways:

  • Introduction to design thinking and its relevance in the global context
  • Understanding the key principles and mindset of design thinking
  • Exploring the stages of the design thinking process
  • Applying design thinking to solve complex business challenges
  • Leveraging design thinking to foster innovation and creativity
  • Examining successful examples of design-driven organizations
  • Strategies for integrating design thinking into the organization’s culture

Speaker: Yamilca Rodriguez, CEO, Bespoke Branding Agency. TEDx Speaker, Podcaster, Best Selling Author and Brand Therapist



“Redesigning Conflict: Build Your Conflict Competency and Have Successful Discussions”

In both personal and professional situations, we often encounter challenging discussions and difficult individuals that can hinder effective communication and problem-solving. The anxiety and unease associated with these situations can impede our ability to manage ourselves and others constructively. While conflict is normal, the key lies in equipping ourselves with the skills to navigate these challenging conversations and transform conflicts into opportunities for collaboration and understanding. This presentation focuses on exploring the strategies employed by professional Mediators to manage individuals in conflict and facilitate constructive dialogue.

By dissecting the core principles and techniques I use, participants will gain valuable insights into conflict resolution that can be applied in professional and personal contexts. Attendees will learn how to foster cooperation, encourage collaboration, and ultimately reach mutual understanding.

Key Takeaways:

  • Your Personal Conflict Strategy Roadmap You Can Use Any Time/With Anyone
  • An Assertion Technique For Courage and Confidence when Feeling The Pressure of Conflict
  • A Secret Mediation Strategy Used to Manage Difficult People

Speaker: Brenda Hooper, Founder and Principal at Discussions by Design Training & Coaching Services

10:30 am  -  12:00 pm
Oceanview 5
Leadership Development

  • Elevator Pitches That Wow Buyers

“Elevator Pitches That Wow Buyers


Moderator: Angela Heit, Founder and CEO, The Crysalis Consulting Group


Did you know that 86% of buyers don’t see any difference between vendors?* Did you also know that it takes only 7 seconds to make a first impression? Fortunately, there is a formula to impressing buyers and leaving a lasting impression during those networking events and Sales Meetings. I should know, I’ve spent 20 years buying services for giants like Pepsi, Pizza Hut and Frito-Lay. Now, I teach small business owners how to sell to them.

In this hands-on dynamic session, you’ll:

  • Learn the top 3 mistakes business owners make in their pitches-Find out how to pick a differentiator that will have the buyers’ attention at “hello”
  • Re-write your pitch and to try it out on the group in the session

*Source: Webbiquity

Speaker: Chala Dincoy, Marketing Strategist, The Repositioning Expert (division of Coachtactics)

10:30 am  -  12:00 pm
Oceanview 3-4

  • From Hive to High Rise: Blueprints for Leadership Brilliance; How to turn Compassion into Cash Flow in 100 Days

“From Hive to High Rise: Blueprints for Leadership Brilliance; How to turn Compassion into Cash Flow in 100 Days”

Moderator: Catherine Gardiner, President, Telos Enterprises

Wikipedia tells us that a honeybee colony contains three types of bees: the queen bee, worker bees, and drones. The queen bee is responsible for reproduction and survival of the hive. Worker bees perform various tasks, including caring for brood, foraging, and hive maintenance. Drones play a key role in genetic diversity by mating with the queen bee.

In a functioning hive, the queen is the leader; however, she does not do all the work, nor does she micromanage the tasks of the other bees. The bees all know their tasks and responsibilities, working together for the good of the hive. The queen may appear to be over everything, managing her role but not leading or inspiring the others. Think about this in business: What if the leader was committed to working on her thriving business, not in her business (because she has downloaded those responsibilities to the workers bees). What if the leader understood, valued, and embraced diversity as the thing that will keep the business alive and thriving? What if the queen ensured that the workers and drones were well-informed, trained, and equipped to fulfill their roles with excellence? What if she trusted them to do what she hired them to do, and they trusted her in return? What if she cultivated a culture that engaged passionate people and stoked commitment to the mission and vision? This type of leader would elevate her business from hive to high-rise!

Join  Julie Christiansen and Crystal D’Cunha for a transformative journey from hive dynamics to architectural marvels in leadership. In this session, we delve into the art of turning compassion into cash flow within 100 days, drawing parallels between the natural world and the corporate realm. Discover how embracing diversity, nurturing trust, and fostering a culture of empathy and understanding can elevate your leadership and business from the ground up.

Key Takeaways:

  • Empathetic Leadership: Build strong relationships and a culture of empathy to boost team performance.
  • Company Culture: Design a culture that delights and aligns with human needs using journey mapping and DEI best practices.
  • Effective Communication: Manage emotions and enhance communication with Anger Solutions styles and your fascination advantage.
  • Culture & Success: Implement 5 steps for a brilliant culture to directly impact financial success, including sales and service training.
  • Leadership Brilliance: Elevate your leadership by embracing diversity, effective delegation, and inspiring team commitment.

This session promises to equip leaders with the tools needed to foster an environment where every team member feels valued, understood, and inspired to contribute to the collective success in 100 days. Prepare to transform your leadership approach and unlock the secret to converting compassion into cash flow, ensuring your business thrives in today’s competitive landscape.



10:30 am  -  12:00 pm
Oceanview 7-8
Business Growth

  • Kick Start, Finish and Execute Your Marketing Strategy For Your Most Successful Year in Business Yet
  • Sprinkle Some Charisma Into Your Leadership!

Two Speakers Share the 90 minutes on Business Growth

Moderator:  Michelle Ricketts, GYB Chair, CEO

“Kick Start, Finish and Execute Your Marketing Strategy For Your Most Successful Year in Business Yet”

Have you grown your firm to a certain level on primarily sales-led initiatives but now things are starting to plateau? It may be time to make a more serious investment in marketing. But where do you start? Start with Strategy First.

Strategy First is our 60-day proven marketing strategy process. In this presentation you’ll learn what it is, what’s involved and how to do it yourself. In this engaging presentation, learn the 7 points of a marketing strategy, and what each entails and leave the session with the confidence you’ve just learned the proven marketing strategy process thousands of North American companies use


New Initiatives Marketing YouTube Channel:


“Sprinkle Some Charisma Into Your Leadership!”

This presentation explores the art of developing charisma as a key attribute for effective leadership. Charisma is dissected into three essential components: Presence, Warmth, and Power. Through an engaging power point presentation, interactive exercises and a guided visualisation, participants will learn practical strategies to enhance each aspect and become more charismatic leaders.

  • In the first section, “How to Improve Presence,” attendees will grasp the significance of body language, active listening, and power behaviours in cultivating a commanding presence.
  • The second section, “How to Improve Warmth,” delves into empathy, authenticity, and relationship building as core elements of warmth.
  • In the third section, titled “Enhancing Your Power,” attendees will explore the art of leveraging clothing to their advantage, honing their communication skills, and making assertive decisions. We’ll also watch a video featuring Tony Robbins, a charismatic leader, in action as a real-life example.
  • In the final segment, we will delve into the significance of self-confidence. Participants will embark on a guided visualization journey, allowing them to vividly envision themselves exuding charisma and leading with confidence.

Upon concluding the presentation, participants will have the tools and insights needed to create a personal action plan for developing their charisma, ultimately unlocking their leadership potential and driving positive change within their organizations.

Speaker: Natalie Wong, Owner, Image Reflection

10:30 am  -  12:00 pm
Oceanview 6
Leadership Development

  • Wholeness: The Key to Effective Leadership
  • Chasing Rainbows in the Sunset Career: Finding Wholeness (and Pots of Gold)

Two Speakers Share the 90 minutes on Leaders Need to Be Whole

Moderator: Marg Hachey, GYB Managing Director, ON & Eastern Canada

Wholeness: The Key to Effective Leadership”

Leadership is a complex and demanding role that requires a lot from those who take it on. In order to be successful, leaders need to be whole. Being whole means being fully integrated, authentic, and balanced in all aspects of your life. It means having a strong sense of self-awareness, emotional intelligence, and the ability to connect with others on a deep level. In this presentation, we will explore what it means to be a whole leader, why it’s important, and how you can become one. We will also discuss the risks of not being whole and the benefits that come with embracing this approach to leadership. There is lot required from a leader nowadays. The leader of the future needs to be a coach, decision maker, visionary, be a role model, meet the goals of the organization and many more. When you can integrate all aspects of your life into your leadership style, you are better equipped to handle the challenges that come your way.

Take aways that can be implemented immediately.

  • In the era of AI, emotional intelligence is the ingredients for future leaders, embracing the new challenge and maintaining the humanity.
  • Showing humanity is not easy, if you don’t know how to be whole yourself. Remember it all starts with you.
  • Being aware of your blind spots, your strengths.
  • Integrate your values, your style and being yourself to connect in a deeper level with your team as AI can’t do this.

Speaker: Hulya Kurt, CEO, InnKick


“Chasing Rainbows in the Sunset Career: Finding Wholeness (and Pots of Gold)” 

In this session, we will explore the significance of wellness in becoming a whole leader and in choosing a meaningful rainbow to chase. The message is based on Susan’s personal experience of managing her own business while striving to maintain a work-life balance. From environmental lawyer disenchanted with public law life to building a school in Siem Reap, Cambodia, to Origen Air founder and CEO, Susan shares the strategies she has implemented to take care of herself and build her company. She shares the importance of prioritizing mind and body health, and the power of giving yourself space from your day-to-day work. Susan share’s how navigating one passion (her company) led her to discover and nurture other passions (women empowerment).

Take Aways: The presentation will reinforce the importance of taking care of your mind and body in order to be the best version of yourself and the best leader of your team coupled with the importance of women empowering women to reach equality and the real pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

Speaker:  Susan Blanchet, CEO & Founder, Origen Air Systems Ltd.

12:30 pm  -  1:00 pm
Crystal Ballroom

Closing Remarks (Including Raffle Draws)