Since 2012, we have honoured more than 100 women in communities across Canada and the U.S. through the BMO Celebrating Women program. We will continue to recognize women who lead and contribute to the success of their communities because it’s time women’s accomplishments were seen.
Heather Culbert, Past Board Member, Alberta Cancer Foundation – Community & Charitable Giving
After retiring from her executive role at an oil and gas company, Heather Culbert decided to use her skills and business acumen towards giving back to the community. Heather has been an active advocate for cancer-related support since the early 2000s. Heather joined the Board of the Alberta Cancer Foundation to contribute her time and energy to the huge task of improving cancer resourcing in Alberta. With her strong leadership and renowned motivation, Heather formed a team of 100 walkers and raised $750,000, surpassing their goal and setting a record for the walk. Heather is co founder of the C5 (Concerned Citizens for the Calgary Cancer Centre) initiative and has lobbied actively to support the development of a new cancer centre in Calgary. Supported by her efforts, the construction of the new cancer centre is scheduled to begin in 2017.
Lisa Vlooswyk, Owner, Lisa Longball Golf Schools, Expansion & Growth in Small Business
Lisa Vlooswyk was a school teacher by trade, but in her early twenties she began golfing as hobby. Lisa was a natural to the sport and and entered long drive competitions. She was the first woman to ever hit a golf ball over 350 yards. Lisa turned her new-found passion into a business, beginning with golfing clinics which she ran out of her home course at Heritage Pointe. Believing strongly in women’s golf, Lisa started a golf school for women, which has been wildly successful both in Canada and the USA. Her clinics are taught at PGA Tour and Champion Tour events, and she a golf journalist and a Nike sponsored athlete.
Carole-Ann Miller, President, Camsa Inc. – Innovation & Global Growth
Carole-Ann Miller is the President of Camsa Inc., formerly named Maple Trade Finance, a company she co-founded. Under Carole-Ann’s leadership, Camsa has experienced remarkable growth. What began as a two-person operation is now one of the largest transactional lenders in Canada. Since 2001, Camsa has provided innovative financial solutions to over 800 clients selling to over 1,500 buyers in 40 countries. Carole-Ann and the company have been recognized through a number of awards. Carole-Ann has been elected to the Atlantic Business Magazine’s Atlantic CEO Hall of Fame. In addition, Carole-Ann was recognized by the Progress Club of Halifax with the prestigious Women of Excellence Award. The same year, Maple Trade was acknowledged as one of the top employers in Canada for immigrants and was also chosen as one the top 15 employers in Atlantic Canada.
Elspeth McLean Wile, President, Wile’s Lake Farm Market & Bakery – Community and Charitable Giving
Elspeth McLean-Wile is the President of Wile’s Lake Farm Market & Bakery, but is also heavily involved in her community outside of her day job. In 2014, Ivany Commission’s One Nova Scotia issued a report entitled Now or Never, which detailed the economic and population challenges that Nova Scotia faces. Compelled to respond, Elspeth galvanized a core team to establish an organization known as NOW Lunenburg County to undertake a growth strategy for the region. Since 2014, Elspeth has dedicated hundreds of hours in organizing public events, focus groups, and gatherings to encourage community dialogue and action. She and her team have committed their own resources to support the initiative, and they also support various projects underway by the larger working group. She serves as Board Chair of the Lunenburg County Community Fund and as Board Chair of the YMCA of Southwest Nova Scotia.
Phyllis Paton, Owner & Operator, Maritime Dance Academy – Expansion & Grown in Small Business
Phyllis Paton started her business from humble beginnings. Established in 1982, when Phyllis taught all the dance classes from an elementary school classroom, Maritime Dance Academy is now the largest dance school in Atlantic Canada. The school enjoys two locations, 25 instructors, and over 1,200 students. Despite the average life span of a dance studio in Atlantic Canada being less than two years, Phyllis has owned and operated her dance studio for over three decades. Hailed as the Consumer Choice Award Recipient for Best Dance Instruction in the Halifax Regional Municipality in 2016 for the seventh consecutive year, Maritime Dance Academy is a brand that is recognized all around Nova Scotia and beyond. Phyllis has made it her life’s passion to ensure that there is a dance class for every student and that each and every child has the opportunity to reach his or her best potential.
Jennifer Knapp, Owner, Executive Vice President, Knapp Fasteners – Innovation and Global Growth
Jennifer Knapp and her husband Jim started Knapp Fasteners Inc. together in 1987. With a $15,000 grant and $3,500 in savings, they rented a 1,000 square foot space in Waterloo. Today, this multi million dollar business distributes fasteners of all sizes and materials to the Aerospace, Military, and Manufacturing markets in 15 different countries worldwide. After doubling their projected sales in the first year, the Knapps received the Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award for Waterloo Region in 1989. Since then the company has grown steadily and in 2010 they built a 25,000 square foot state of the art building in Cambridge. The Knapp facility was awarded the Building Excellence Award in 2012 by Grand Valley Construction Association, and in 2016 Knapp Fasteners Inc. received the Chair’s Award from the Cambridge Chamber of Commerce at the Business Excellence Awards.
Linda Knight, CEO, CarePartners – Community & Charitable Giving
Linda Knight’s business, CarePartners, began at her kitchen table in 1984. Linda’s firm now employs over 4,500 staff throughout Ontario, and provides personal support workers, rehabilitation services, and nursing care for patients in homes, schools, retirement homes, long term care facilities, and workplaces. Their services are available across Ontario, in both urban and rural communities. Linda’s impact also reaches beyond Ontario. In 2009, Linda spearheaded a partnership with a sister organization to provide medical clinic outreach services to those globally in need. In January 2016, Linda took 20 of her staff on a medical outreach trip to rural villages in the Philippines, providing medical care to those in great need. Her amazing work, locally and globally, has truly transformed lives.
Belinda Beaulne, CEO, DTI Logistics Canada – Expansion & Growth in Small Business
Belinda Beaulne, CEO of DTI Logistics Canada, started her career from humble beginnings. In 1989 she began a ceramic business from her home. By 1990, Belinda was working in the accounting department of a transportation company, while still managing her home life and ceramic business. In 1995, she created a freight forwarding company now known as DTI Logistics Canada. In 1999, Belinda formed yet another company and built a mini storage facility in New Hamburg, Ontario. Over the years, DTI has built a well-known reputation as a leading logistics provider. Through knowledgeable, friendly staff, proven performance, hard work and a commitment to long-term customer relationships, DTI continues to work with loyal clients who appreciate what they do, some of whom have been with them since the very beginning. This reputation is largely due to Belinda’s passion and commitment to ensuring DTI’s customers always get more.
Margaret Peters Morris, Owner, Glengarry Cheesemaking Inc. – Innovation & Global Growth
Margaret Peters-Morris grew up on her family farm near Lancaster, Ontario. After pursuing her education and working in the food industry, Margaret returned to the farm where she developed her own recipe of specialty cheeses. This led to the start of her own company, Glengarry Fine Cheese and Glengarry Cheesemaking Inc., established in 1995. Margaret has exported dairy products through her company for over 15 years, with raw materials going to Europe and finished cheeses and dairy processing equipment going to the U.S. and other countries. Margaret’s products have been recognized worldwide, and in 2013 Margaret’s brand of cheese and variety Lankaaster Aged, Glengarry Fine Cheese, won the supreme Global Cheese Champion Award in the U.K. – an achievement that had never been met by a Canadian company.
Annie Perreault, Founder and President, Centre CARMEN – Community & Charitable Giving
As a former nurse, Annie Perreault witnessed firsthand the increasing need to support patients and family members affected by cancer. After selling their business in 2000, Annie and her husband decided to give back to the community by founding Centre CARMEN in 2004, funded mainly from their own seed money. Centre CARMEN offers free services such as art therapy, nursing care, and energy massage therapy, and also provides an overall welcoming environment for human care. Run by a team of professionals and volunteers, Centre CARMEN has helped over two thousand people affected by cancer or a chronic illness and continues to have a significant impact in the community.
Marie Schruder & Maureen Hicks, Owners, Bonnechere Bakery and Bistro – Fine Food Emporium – Expansion & Growth in Small Business
Born and raised on a county farm, twin sisters Maureen Hicks and Marie Schruder learned the art of baking homemade breads and pastries with the dream to create their own bakery and coffee shop. In 2003, their dream became a reality when the Bonnechere Bakery and Bistro: Fine Food Emporium was opened. With a blend of creativity and tenacity, these two women have adapted to the surrounding environment, catering to different customer tastes. Their success in the Ottawa Valley has grown tremendously, as their bakery and bistro expanded to a new 5,000 square foot facility in 2016. Demonstrating amazing strength and perseverance, the two sisters have renovated the new location and expanded to a line of frozen entrees and fresh gluten-free products & soups.
Sandra Pupatello, Strategic Advisor: Industry, Global Markets & Public Sector, PwC Canada – Innovation & Global Growth
In her role at PwC Canada, Sandra focuses on the supply networks of most sectors, especially aerospace, automotive, energy, financial services, information communication technology, life sciences, and manufacturing. She uses her depth of experience, network of business contacts, global experience and public profile to drive growth for the firm, domestically and on the global stage. Sandra entered the private realm after a distinguished career in the public sector. She served as an Ontario Cabinet Minister for eight years, six of those years as the Minister of Economic Development and Trade, and was a member of the Ontario Legislature for 16 years. In these roles, she spearheaded trade delegations for Canadian companies to gain exposure to major markets worldwide, and helped create key cooperation agreements in China, India, Mexico, and the EU. Sandra is a true advocate for global trade, development and the pursuit of growth for Canadian companies on the world stage.
Sue Bennett, Principal/CEO, Bennett Design – Community & Charitable Giving
In 2010, Sue Bennett established The Bennett Beach Bash in support of the fight against women’s cancers. Today, The Bennett Beach Bash has grown into The Beach Ball, which is the Toronto Design Industries’ largest fundraising event, and is attended by a cross section of the industry including design firms, suppliers, manufacturers, and contractors. Since its inception, this fundraiser has raised over $140,000 for the Sunnybrook Health Sciences Odette Cancer Centre. Additionally, Sue hosts Bennett B-Clean & B-Dirty Days, which is an annual two-day summer event for the Bennett Design Team. On the second day of the event, her employees are dedicated to cleaning up the forest environment that surrounds their offices. Each year, they clear at least two dumpster loads of old tires, plastics and litter from their adjacent green space off to be recycled or to be disposed of responsibly.
Bev Lewis, Owner/President, Positive Solutions Divorce Services Canada Inc. – Expansion & Growth in Small Business
Bev Lewis is a successful entrepreneur who is passionate about helping others. Bev’s own negative experiences with her separation and divorce inspired her to create an alternative option to the adversarial court process. Bev created Positive Solutions Divorce Services, which offers mediation services to assist separating couples wanting an amicable resolution to their marriage breakdown. Since starting her business in 2008, Bev has helped hundreds of clients create positive solutions to their separation experiences by supporting them with resources and information. Positive Solutions head office is located in Newmarket and has seventeen satellite offices across Ontario. Bev’s vision is to have her company be a recognized name for separating couples seeking amicable separation alternatives. As of 2016, the company has sixteen satellite offices across Ontario.
Madeleine Shaw Suzanne Siemens, Co-founders, Lunapads – Innovation & Global Growth
Madeleine Shaw and Suzanne Siemens combined a shared entrepreneurial spirit with complementary personal skill sets to found Lunapads International, with the express goal of advancing positive change in social attitudes towards menstruation. Since its beginnings in 1993, the company’s unique collection of reusable cloth pads and specialized underwear is now available in mainstream retail stores across Canadian, American and European markets. Their powerful message has energized a vocal community that supports Lunapads’ social mission-driven business. Furthermore, through the One4Her initiative, customers trigger donations to AFRIpads, a Ugandan sister company that manufactures reusable pads for girls whose educations are threatened by lack of access to menstrual supplies. Madeleine and Suzanne’s personal health innovation is unparalleled as Lunapads continues to expand and impact communities around the world.
Diane McCurdy, CEO and Founder, McCurdy Financial Planning Inc. – Community & Charitable Giving
Diane McCurdy is a founder, visionary, educator, and financial advisor. She is the author of the best seller book “How Much is Enough” (Wiley 2013), and is frequently interviewed as a financial expert on television and radio stations. Named as one of the 50 Women of Influence in Canada’s Life Insurance industry in 2014, she has also chaired the International Women’s Forum’s global leadership conference. One of Diane’s great accomplishments is her dedication to balancing her time between non-profit organizations and her own insurance company. She displays her leadership as a speaker and advisor for many volunteer organizations. Diane was on the inaugural Planned Giving with BC Children’s Hospital for seven years and served on the Planned Giving for Vancouver Foundation. She has worked with many charities in BC, Canada and North America and has ventured across the world speaking at schools in countries such as Pakistan, Peru, Burma, and Laos.
Marilyn Cobban, Founder and CEO, Blue Sky Clothing – Expansion & Growth in Small Business
Marilyn Cobban founded Blue Sky Clothing Co, which demonstrates creativity and innovation in producing clothes that fit a wide variety of body types. What makes her business unique is her cooperative and creative approach to the retail fashion industry, specifically choosing locations and a market where people want local and environmentally sourced clothing. Marilyn was inspired to start this company when she noticed women around her being unable to find great-looking and wearable fashions. Over a period of 20 years of steady growth, she expanded her business through eight locations across British Columbia, an online store, as well as a wholesale business that reaches customers across Canada. With its continued success, Marilyn hopes that Blue Sky will, in some way, “Save the planet, one garment at time.”
Marjorie Danylchuk, Owner, Crossroads Oils Canada Inc. – Community and Charitable Giving
Marjorie Danylchuk has been an active member of the St. James area for over 50 years, and has made impactful changes for the community through her generous contributions and actions. As a board member of the Grace Hospital Foundation since 2003, Marjorie is vital in bringing the community together in support-raising for the hospital and rallying people towards better and healthier living. She also co-chairs the Grace Gala, the Grace Hospital Foundation’s annual marquee event. In addition to endless volunteer hours dedicated to the Grace Hospital Foundation, Marjorie also made a donation of $3.25 million alongside her husband in November 2015, which is considered to be the largest individual contribution to a community hospital in Winnipeg. This generous contribution will not only support the hospital in taking good care of their patients, but will also be crucial in improving patient experience by adding a new triage area and a rapid assessment zone to help assess patient needs and provide faster and more efficient treatment.
Colleen Dyck, Founder & Owner, GORP – Expansion & Growth in Small Business
Colleen Dyck was driven by her passion for healthy living when she started her company GORP, a Canadian Prairies organization that makes clean, all natural energy bars. Colleen spent time researching and developing an energy bar that could be re-sealable while also containing vital nutrients and protein. GORP stands for: Good Old-fashioned Raisins & Peanuts. Her company now boasts four full-time and fifteen part-time employees. Since starting her business, Colleen has expanded far beyond Canada, with sales in countries like Russia and the United States. Balancing her family time and personal work time, she won Canada’s 2016 Mompreneur of the Year Award and continues to see growth in her business as it reaches new markets and customers.
Annie Lemieux, Owner, LSR GesDev Inc. – Community & Charitable Giving
Annie Lemieux is committed to helping needy children and is determined to make a difference. Her passion to help those in need has resulted in the launching of several major fundraising events and activities that continue on today. Working with the Young Leaders Circle, Annie helped create the Winter Triathlon in Montreal, which celebrated its 10th anniversary in 2016 and has raised more than $4 million for the CHU Sainte-Justine Foundation. Annie continues to dream big. In 2015, she convinced 20 talented business women to step out of their comfort zone by singing in front of a live audience and producing a Christmas album to raise funds for CHU Sainte-Justine Foundation. Through her immense talent, creativity and commitment, Annie continues to convince the business community to listen to their hearts and come to the aid of sick and needy children.
Caroline Bouchard, Owner, Marche Centre-Ville Chicoutimi – Expansion & Growth in Small Business
Caroline Bouchard’s story began 25 years ago, when she mustered the courage to ask her father to sell his business to her. Despite the challenges associate with owning a small business, Caroline was determined to take on the challenge. Now, as the owner of Marche Centre-Ville Chicoutimi, Caroline successfully manages a staff of 40. Caroline’s store is renowned for its microbrewery beers, deli meats, and a large selection of hot sauces in Saguenay-lac-St-Jean. Caroline’s determination, perseverance, and “can-do-it” attitude has allowed her to develop as a respected businesswoman that has succeeded in growing Marche Centre-Ville Chicoutimi.
Emmanuelle Dunn, Owner, Lingerie Emma – Expansion & Growth in Small Business
Emmanuelle Dunn started demonstrating her entrepreneurial spirit when she was only 12 years. After purchasing her first bra at a local lingerie store, she met the store owner and landed herself a job. Under tutelage of the owner who was experienced in making corsets, she studied both the lingerie business and how to deliver excellent customer service. Two years later, when the store went up for sale, Emmanuelle purchased it with the support of her mother. At age 16, Emmanuelle closed the original store and opened a new, larger one that boasts 2600 square feet, where she showcases outfits from local manufacturers alongside bathing suits from Europe and the United States. Since then, Emmanuelle has opened an additional store, and continues to differentiate her business through delivering excellent customer service.