2019 National Mompreneurs Conference with Manjit Minhas of Dragon's Den

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Friday March 1st

mompreneur MANJIT MINHAS of Minhas Brewery - speaker at National Mompreneurs Conference in Toronto MANJIT MINHAS

Dragon’s Den celebrity judge Manjit Minhas has been able to do what few ever thought possible—break into the notoriously competitive and notoriously male-dominated beer and spirits industry and grow her company to the 10th largest brewery in the world. She’s been profiled in Maclean’s, The Globe and Mail and on The National and was recently named one of Canada’s Top 40 Under 40, a distinction honoring outstanding Canadian leadersShe is a highly sought-after speaker and has given talks at the Rotman School of Management, the Haskayne School of Business, TD Bank, Accenture, United Way, and more.

Minhas started Mountain Crest Liquors Inc. at the age of 19 in Alberta. In late 2002 she entered the beer market with Mountain Crest Classic Lager. It quickly became the first successful beer company to enter Canada in decades. Minhas Breweries, Distilleries and Winery is now making waves internationally: producing, developing, and marketing over 90 brands, and having served over 7 billion pints of beer. She is also the creator of Uptown Girl, a beer that is marketed and made exclusively for women. In 2006, Minhas and Ravinder purchased the second oldest brewery in the United States and renamed it The Minhas Craft Brewery, officially marking them as the Youngest Brewery Owners in The World. Their quality beers are shipped across the USA, Canada and overseas to 16 countries. The siblings opened The Minhas Micro Brewery in Calgary in June 2012, from which they make world-class craft beers and specialty beers such as a gluten free beer.

Minhas is the first brewer in Canada to voluntarily put a Management Warning on all her beer cans. The Management Warnings include such direct statements as: “Please do not drink and drive—ever,” “Expectant mothers should avoid drinking alcoholic products,” and “Enjoy this product responsibly—Respect yourself and others.” Her commitment to ethical business is one of the many reasons why her ventures have been so widely successful.

Minhas is the author of the book Brewing Up a Damn Good Story and has received many awards, including Canada’s Women Executive Network’s Top 100 Women Entrepreneurs, Profit’s Top Growth Entrepreneur, and Chatelaine’s Top Entrepreneur Woman of The Year. She’s been honoured with The Calgary Herald’s “Compelling Calgarian” Award, been named to Calgary’s Top 40 Under 40 list, and her business was ranked number six in Alberta Venture Magazine’s “Top 50 Fastest Growing Companies.” Minhas and Ravinder also own Spotlight Film and TV Productions, which produces TV commercials, documentaries, corporate videos, and half-hour television series. They also own a home building company, Shergill Homes Ltd., that builds single family and custom homes in Fort McMurray and Calgary. Minhas was born and raised in Calgary and still calls it home with her husband and two young daughters.

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Canada’s Minister of Small Business and Export Promotion

Friday March 1st

Minister Mary Ng - Government of Canada


The Honourable Mary Ng was first elected as the Member of Parliament for Markham—Thornhill in April 2017 and was appointed Minister of Small Business and Export Promotion in July 2018. Throughout her 20 years of public service, Minister Ng has been a passionate community leader and advocate with a proven track record of results in the areas of education, women’s leadership, job-creation, and entrepreneurship.

As Member of Parliament for Markham—Thornhill, Minister Ng helped to facilitate the Government’s commitment to invest in Canadian ideas and innovators in her riding by advocating for the inclusion of Markham’s tech-innovation hub, VentureLabs, in the Southern Ontario Supercluster. The Advanced Manufacturing Supercluster is expected to have a GDP impact of more than $13.5 billion in the next ten years and create more than 13,500 good, middle class jobs in the region. As part of her work on the Standing Committee of Industry, Science, and Technology, Minister Ng worked alongside her committee colleagues on intellectual property best practices. This work guided the Government’s launch of Canada’s first comprehensive intellectual property strategy, providing tools to support the growth of Canadian businesses domestically while ensuring their ideas are protected in the global marketplace.

Prior to serving as a Member of Parliament, Minister Ng worked as Director of Appointments in the Prime Minister’s Office. She also served as the Director of Policy in provincial education where she built relationships, negotiated with teachers’ unions, and served students while helping to improve Ontario’s education system. Minister Ng also served in the President’s Office at Ryerson University, helping to shape new initiatives that connected students and their innovative ideas with businesses, creating quality jobs for young Canadians. She has been a speaker and panelist on topics ranging from business, innovation, women in leadership and Canada-China relations.


Saturday March 2nd

Amber Mac tech expert - speaker at Mompreneurs ConferenceAMBER MACARTHUR

Amber Mac(Arthur) started her career in San Francisco and Boston during the dot-com boom in the late 1990s. As a strategist for Razorfish and Director of Marketing for an e-procurement software company, she spent four years in the technology start-up trenches.

Amber left the start-up world to join Microsoft to build one of the first female-focused lifestyle portals. In 2006, with her brother, she started her own digital agency called Konnekt. The company’s first client was world-renowned business coach, Tony Robbins. Her company’s clients include Microsoft Xbox, Ford Motor Company, Tony Robbins, Canada Goose, Fast Company, PayPal, Canadian Blood Services, and many more leading organizations.

In 2010, she wrote the national bestselling business book Power Friending (Portfolio: New York).  In 2016, she co-wrote an Internet safety book called Outsmarting Your Kids Online (with security expert Michael Bazzell). Amber has keynoted more than 300 events around the world. Topics include business innovation, Internet of things, online safety, and what it takes for companies to adapt and grow.

She is a regular business host and expert for Fast Company, CNN, Bloomberg TV, CBS, BNN, The Marilyn Denis Show, and Sirius Radio. She was recently hired to serve as an entrepreneur advisor on a new reality pilot called Dream Funded: Let the Crowd Decide, created by Mark Burnett.

As a child, Amber attended a two-room country schoolhouse and shared a party telephone line with neighboring houses. She is now recognized internationally as an innovation and technology leader.

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Friday March 1st

Mompreneur HAZEL MAE of Sportsnet and Hazel Mae Designs - speaker at 2019 National Mompreneurs conference


Hazel Mae has been delivering the latest sports news and updates to Canadians across the country since 2001. She began by anchoring the morning edition of Sportsnet News while simultaneously hosting the weekly Toronto Blue Jays magazine show – Jzone. In 2004, Mae’s career took her across the border to become the lead anchor on Sportsdesk for the New England Sports Network (NESN) in Boston, MA, before heading to New York in 2008 to help launch the MLB network, where she was part of the ensemble on the Emmy Award-winning signature studio show MLB tonight, host of the highlight program Quick Pitch, and worked as a sideline reporter for Thursday Night Baseball.

Mae returned home to Toronto in 2011 and resumed her role with Sportsnet behind the desk of Connected, as well as appearing on Blue Jays Central – Canada’s live studio pre-game show for all Toronto Blue Jays broadcasts. A true sports fan, Mae’s career highlights include covering and reporting on the NHL, MLB – including two World Series titles for the Boston Red Sox – NBA, NFL, Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) and more.

Hazel founded Hazel Mae Design Inc. in 2012 to deliver what she had trouble finding in the marketplace – a line of dresses made from high quality ponte fabric in vibrant, jewel-toned colours, designed to flatter the female figure. This was the type of dress she wanted to showcase in her career as a television personality. She wanted to look professional, fashion forward & comfortable all at once. Hazel Mae’s dresses present a contemporary, colourful line of product to the market, providing the customer with confidence, elegance, and a boost of positive energy. The designs are known for their consistent, reliable, quality workmanship and impeccable fit.

Hazel Mae has become a destination shopping experience for the working woman who juggles a busy life, seeking sophisticated looks of simple femininity, and comfortable design. Hazel is committed to consistently being the brand customers rely on to find their fashion canvas – the dress women reach for first in their closet… every time.

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Saturday March 2nd

Joanna Griffiths founder of KNIX, speaker at Mompreneurs Conference


Joanna Griffiths is the Founder and CEO of Knixwear, an intimate apparel brand that has re-imagined the design and marketing of underwear for ‘real’ women. Knix began with a series of leak-proof underwear, and quickly expanded to offer a line of bras, which generated $2 million in pre-sales. Since launching the company in 2013, Joanna has established Knix as an industry leader through Knix’ innovative products and powerful brand messaging about inclusivity and body positivity.

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Saturday March 2nd

mompreneur Erica Ehm, host of the 2018 Mompreneur Awards


Not only is Erica Ehm one of Canada’s most recognized personalities, she also runs one of the largest online publishing and marketing brands in Canada for the mom market. In the 80’s Erica was a considered the voice of her generation as a host on MuchMusic. She is an author, actor, speaker, broadcaster, journalist, playwright, and award-winning songwriter. In 2006, Ehm created YMC – which has grown to be the largest independently owned online property in Canada. Her award-winning digital platform for moms is home to a stable of social content creators, who, under her guidance, tell the stories relevant to Canadian moms.

Erica is also CEO of Ehm & Co, a digital marketing company specializing in creating mom engagement with a focus on social media marketing and partnerships with agencies and brands. Advertisers and marketers often turn to Ehm when looking for creative and strategic initiatives to help them connect with mothers. Over her decade in the mom space, she’s curated the Ehm & Co Network of engaged mom influencers, a collective of hundreds of influencers, bloggers and small publishers across Canada who she partners with to create compelling, award-winning branded content to connect with moms in the social space. Her creative direction has lead to several prestigious awards including Best Blog/Column at the 2014 Canadian Online Publishing Awards (COPA), and in 2015 Gold for Best Use of Social Media, Gold and Silver for Best Online Campaign, and Gold in the prestigious Independent Publisher of the Year category.

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Saturday March 2nd

Jamie Mason Cohen - speaker at Mompreneurs Conference


Speaker, Leadership Trainer, and Grapho-therapist Jamie Mason Cohen is referred to by some as the “personality x-ray machine,” whose TEDx talk on how to spot a leader through their handwriting has been viewed more than 1.6 million times. His unique and unusual ability to analyze people’s handwriting in less than 60 seconds has been called “impressive and a bit frightening” by Forbes, and as showcasing “the power of a superhero” by TEDx. His gift allows him to help spot a person’s strengths and provide instant insights into their blind spots in ways they may not be aware of themselves.

A Certified Leadership Trainer with The Leadership Circle, Jamie has delivered presentations and workshops for organizations such as the Canadian Society of Association Executives (CSAE Trillium), Sun Life, Celgene, The Executive Committee (TEC), The Leadership Circle Summit, The Terry Fox Foundation, Assante, Niagara College, Hospitality Human Resource Professionals Association (HHRPA), the Canadian Public Relations Society and Saturday Night Live. He is also a #1 bestselling Amazon author for his book based on his experience working at Saturday Night Live, Live from Your Class: Everything I Learned About Teaching, I Learned from Working at Saturday Night Live.




Friday March 1st

Julie Cole of Mabel's Labels


Julie is a recovered lawyer, mom of six and Co-founder of Mabel’s Labels. Mabel’s Labels has grown from basement start-up into an award winning, celebrity endorsed and international marketplace leader.  As company spokesperson, Julie is well-known amongst North American businesses and entrepreneurs. As a digital influencer and sought after speaker and emcee, she has informed and entertained audiences at countless conferences including The Sage Summit, Marketing To Women, Mom 2.0, Canadian Marketing Association, International Camping Conference, to name just a few. Julie is no stranger to the media, having appeared on NBC’s The Today Show, HLN’s Raising America, Canada AM, Breakfast Television, The Marilyn Denis Show, among many others. Julie is a syndicated blogger for The Huffington Post, modernmom.com, PTPA Media, Yummy Mummy Club, and her company’s Mabelhood blog. Her writing has also appeared in The Globe and Mail, Profit Magazine, Chicken Soup For the Soul – Power Moms and numerous websites. Mabel’s Labels has been featured everywhere from The View to Forbes.com. While writing and speaking across North America, Julie is raising her crew of six in her hometown of Burlington, Ontario.


Friday March 1st

Emily Ramshaw - Team Bumble Bizz Toronto Canada


Emily began her journey with Bumble at the beginning of 2018, leading the company’s marketing and growth strategy for all of Canada, including that of Bumble Bizz—the app’s career networking division. Previously she has worked as a consultant, editor and writer. Since joining Bumble she has guided its national growth strategy to more than four millions registrations across Canada.

Launched in 2017, Bizz is Bumble’s fresh take on networking, with an emphasis on finding professional opportunities over job hunting. Bumble Bizz is the first to bring the “swiping” and “women first” experience to professional connecting. Users can instantly find others who are looking to network, connect professionally and mentor. Adding to Bumble’s vision of becoming the ultimate social network for people you don’t yet know, Bizz is powered by the notion that one connection can lead to the opportunity of a lifetime.


Friday March 1st

Rita DeMontis


Rita DeMontis is an award-winning journalist who has been with the Toronto SUN for more than three decades, where she currently resides as the National Lifestyle and Food Editor for the SUN MEDIA chain, a division of Postmedia Network. She recently had a national radio show weekends on Sirius XM Canada Talks called Dishing with DeMontis. She has appeared regularly on TV, including CITY-TV’S Breakfast Television, Global TV, CTV Canada AM, CH-TV, CityLine and Food Network Canada. She has also been interviewed on both CNN and the BBC, was a regular on Newstalk 1010 for more than 15 years and also hosted a national cooking show called CUCINAetc. Rita has an extensive volunteer background, belongs to several professional organizations and has sat on various boards. She has been a keynote speaker and periodically lectures to marketing students for both Humber College and York University. Rita has been honoured in a national Canadian book celebrating 32 of the most influential Canadian women of Italian origin as well as the recipient of the Gold media and publishing award from the Ontario Hostelry Institute. Before working for the Toronto SUN, Rita worked for over two years with TV Guide Magazine as the youngest regional editor.

Breakfast Television segment producer April Kaloo


April Kalloo has been waking up at 3am for the past 13 years, as Segment Producer for Breakfast Television.  Breakfast Television has been her second home and she calls it her “second family.” After graduating from the Radio and Television Arts program at Ryerson University, she quickly jumped into multiple internships in newsrooms and live studios.


Numerous interviews and rejection letters later, she finally landed an entry level job as a receptionist doing the “early shift,” which just happened to be next to the Breakfast Television studio. Floor director to segment producer and even meeting her husband in the same building, created her path to where she is today. Heading to work dark and early gives her the afternoons free to spend time with her two girls, Ella (5) and Emma (3). On top of all of that, her knitting/crocheting hobby turned into a part-time job over the last few years.

She says the key to staying focused is soaking in all the good memories….more importantly: making those good memories. She travels with her family often and heads out on date nights with husband every week. She lives by almond milk lattes by day and a cheap white wine at night, watching bad reality tv. What is sleep?

Becky Coles - Newstalk 1010


Becky Coles credits her success to avoiding the word “No” whenever possible. If she had allowed that word into her vocabulary she would have missed out on learning opportunities and would have been limited by what other people felt were her limits. Her determination and occasional stubbornness has taken her from the driver’s seat of an open-wheeled race car, to the inside of an air force helicopter all the way red carpet of major award shows. As a Producer with NewsTalk 1010 in Toronto she has interacted with political leaders, celebrities and every day heroes who inspire us all. Becky is a RTDNA Award winner for her documentary on PTSD and First Responders.

Carlene Higgins


Carlene Higgins learned her way around lipstick culture as beauty editor at FLARE Magazine for over 12 years. There, she earned the title of Best Beauty Editor of the Year at the P&G Beauty & Grooming Awards, having produced beauty shoots with makeup artists like Charlotte Tilbury and having interviewed industry giants from Karlie Kloss to Marc Jacobs to Pat McGrath. Today, she writes on these topics and more for titles like Hello! Magazine and Elle Canada. She’s also co-creator and co-host of Canada’s premiere beauty podcast, Breaking Beauty, where she has a weekly chat with the industry’s most fascinating founders about how they broke into the business with their best-selling beauty product.

mompreneur Rania Walker of Front Door PR

Moderator – RANIA WALKER

Rania Walker is the Founder and President of Front Door PR, an integrated PR, Media & Marketing agency — and a woman of very many words! A natural storyteller, she combines her expertise as a TV producer and host, media trainer, publicist, marketing manager, and relationship building expert, to generate multi-platform media exposure and brand elevation across North America for clients and large-scale events. She has worked at YTV, Alliance Atlantis, The New VR, Rogers Television, The Weather Network and various specialty channels. A personal branding expert with a degree and post-graduate studies in communications, Rania has been featured or provided commentary on personal branding, crisis communications and social media savvy in The Toronto Star, on Newstalk 1010, Cision, Tilt Magazine, Parents Canada, The Mompreneur e-Magazine, The Oakville Voice and The Huffington Post. In her ‘spare’ time Rania loves to travel with her large family of 5, documenting their adventures while sharing tips, tricks and always a few laughs. You can connect with her @raniaspeaks @frontdoorpr


Friday March 1st  &  Saturday March 2nd

Sara Clarke - Mompreneurs


Sara Clarke is a multiple business owner, speaker, author and columnist. In 2018, Sara celebrates 20 years as an entrepreneur. She has over 20 years’ experience in business consulting and accounting. She holds 3 degrees, including Business Management and Bookkeeping degree. Sara is also a Certified Sacred Gifts Guide and she loves to share her knowledge through her blog Live Beyond Satisfied. Sara founded Martin Clarke & Associates in 2001, which she now oversees the operations. Sara is also the Chief Operating Officer of Mompreneurs®, an international organization that supports, educates and celebrates female entrepreneurs. Sara speaks throughout North America teaching business owners about time management, money mindset, business development, bookkeeping and a topic that is dear to her heart, mompreneurs. Sara is the recipient of the 2014 ’20 under 40 Business Award’ with Business London Magazine, and 2014’s ‘Who’s Who Among Women in E-commerce’ with WE Magazine. As a wife of 18 years and a Mom of 4 boys, Sara has a passion to help entrepreneurs succeed, so that they can continue to be their own boss, set their own hours, travel their own journey and be there for their families.


Friday March 1st  &  Saturday March 2nd

Elaine Tan Comeau of EasyDaysies, 2014 Mompreneur of the Year - Canada


Elaine Tan Comeau went from being a school teacher to inventing a children’s product, to CEO and Founder of one of Dragons’ Den‘s favourite pitches for Easy Daysies, which incited a bidding war among all five Dragons. She has been featured in Forbes, Macleans, CBC, FOX, CTV and The Financial Post, to name a few. Elaine was awarded the 2014 Canadian Mompreneur of the Year, Chamber of Commerce Award for Excellence in Business, and an Award in Teching Excellence. Her company, Easy Daysies, has won 12 awards and was announced as one of the 2018 Top Ten Most Innovative Companies by Small Business BC. Elaine loves supporting women in business through her podcast Elaine’s Kitchen Table: the Business of Real Life; as the owner and operator of the BC chapter of Mompreneurs Canada, and through her book, Sell Your Passion.

Adriana De Luca and Michelle Lalonde of Tiber River Naturals


Founded in 1999 by Adriana De Luca, Tiber River Naturals is a Canadian company charting a different path.  The co-owners, Adriana De Luca and Michelle Lalonde are focused on Creating Happiness, for their team, their consultants and their communities.  In 2017, Tiber River was ranked #258 on the Profit 500 list of the Fastest Growing Companies in Canada, up from #354 in 2016 and are the 2018 Mompreneur Award of Excellence winners.  Together they have created a fun, unique culture & strategy that drives all of their decisions and by KISSing things (keeping it small & simple), Vuja De’ing things (seeing things in a new way) and being the Right Amount of Crazy, they are living their values and their passions and having fun along the way.

mompreneur Nita Tandon of Dalcini Stainless


Nita is the Founder and CEO of Dalcini Stainless. Since launch, the company has garnered considerable media attention locally, nationally and internationally, including being approached by The Grammy Awards, The Oscars and The Discovery Network. Dalcini Stainless products have been featured on the Marilyn Denis Show,  CTV Your Morning National News, CTV Ottawa, and the company was profiled in the University of Waterloo Applied Health Science Report. Most recently, Nita was selected as a top 25 female-owned venture in Canada with an opportunity to receive a $100,000 investment.

mompreneur Lori-Ann McLeod of ONYX Fit in Milton, Ontario


Lori-Ann McLeod is the founder, owner and lead trainer of ONYX Fit. She is the co-director of Fall Fit Women’s Weekend, Spring Fit Mexico and Mighty Girls. Lori-Ann (LA as she known by her clients) is a married mother of two teenage children. LA’s interest in fitness started as a way to improve her general health and wellness after her children were old enough to go to school full-time. Fitness quickly became a passion for Lori-Ann and she decided to make it a career achieving multiple certifications in fitness training and nutrition.

LA built ONYX Fit from the ground up. She started teaching small Pilates classes in her neighbour’s basement but quickly realized she would need more space due to an ever-growing client base. LA temporarily rented space at a local dance studio until eventually opening up her first location on Bronte Street in Milton. ONYX Fit quickly outgrew that location and moved to its current home on Main Street where she operates 2 studios in a 4800 square ft. unit.


Saturday March 2nd

 Tony O'Brien, VP of SMB for TruShield InsuranceTONY O’BRIEN

Tony has spent 34+ years in the insurance industry in a variety of roles starting as a commercial property underwriter. Over the years he developed expertise in areas such as extended warranty and captive insurance.

In 2014 Tony joined Northbridge as Vice President – Risk Solutions. Over the past 12 years Tony has been responsible for leading different business operations and strategic initiatives. Since July 2014 Tony has led TruShield Insurance – the direct to consumer brand of Northbridge which is focused on providing business insurance to Canadian entrepreneurs as well as offering personal insurance products to target customer segments.

Tony graduated in 1981 from the University of Western Ontario with a degree in Political Science. On the home front he is married to Lesley with 3 children, Neil, Spencer and Courtney plus 2 grandchildren Ryder & Maximus. Tony’s interests include sports, movies, animals and spoiling his grandchildren. trushield.com

Paul Gaspar - UPS Canada Small Business Director

As Director of Small Business for UPS Canada, Paul’s role is to educate and inform small businesses in Canada about the customized services and products available. As a SME in this segment, Paul works with a team of UPSers to better communicate to this large and important group on how to better leverage the company’s tools to help them grow and expand both domestically and internationally.


Anne De Aragon of Godaddy Canada


Anne De Aragon is the Vice President & Country Manager at GoDaddy Canada where she oversees all Canadian campaigns, helping build brand awareness. Anne has a keen eye and proven track record  of driving business results, consistently attracting and engaging new customers while also leading the charge on business strategy. Prior to joining GoDaddy in 2015, Anne was at Microsoft Canada where she held many roles including heading up the Small & Midmarket marketing and sales teams where she became very interested in helping small businesses and entrepreneurs realize their full potential.

Since joining GoDaddy Anne has been at the forefront of many exciting campaigns such as Itty Bitty Ballers, Tourneur Des Bois, Sites in Under an Hour, CJ’s PJs and more. Anne is a graduate of the University of Waterloo, where she went through the co-op program, and graduated with a degree in Economics. Anne lives in Toronto with her family and is a huge Raptors fan.

Linda Carter National Bank of Canada


As Vice President, National Commercial Sales and Support Effectiveness for National Bank of Canada, Linda is responsible for the growth and operations of the Business Banking sector for Ontario and Western Canada.

Linda brings over 30 years’ experience in the Banking industry, with a proven ability to lead successful teams, develop business and execute growth mandates. Linda has been with National Bank of Canada since 1989 and has successfully held the positions of Branch Manager, Commercial Account Manager, Senior Manager and Vice President serving customers, from small businesses to large corporations in a wide range of industries and specialized markets.

In addition to her professional activities, Linda volunteers with various community organizations- serving as a Board Member of the Providence Healthcare Foundation and as an Advisory Board Member for the Women In Philanthropy at Providence Committee.

Linda holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of Toronto, FICB from the Canadian Bankers Association, is a graduate of the Canadian Board Diversity Council- Get On Board Program and is presently enrolled in the Institute of Corporate Directors program.