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GroYourBiz Welcomes Former Mayor of the City of Waterloo as a New Chair!



Brenda Halloran Head Shot for Web UseBrenda Halloran

Brenda Halloran is known as a global leader with a local conscience.  Often referred to as the people’s Mayor, Halloran successfully held the top job as the Mayor of the City of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada from 2006 – 2014.  Responsible for leading the City through one of the most dynamic and innovative periods in its history, Halloran’s global profile took root when the City of Waterloo won the most “Intelligent Community Award” in 2007 and IBM’s Smarter City Challenge in 2012.  She also led the city in attaining the Age Friendly City designation from the World Health Organization.   Halloran was the Chair of the Alumni of Intelligent Communities from 2007-2012.

Halloran believes in the importance of global outreach and collaboration and is focussed specifically on building relations with China. During her time as Mayor, she signed friendship agreements with the City of Chongqing and the City of Xi’an.   She participated in many business missions to China and led a Mayor’s Trade Group of 10 Mayors to five major Chinese cities.  She continues to be invited to be a keynote speaker on innovation and technology at global conferences.  She believes strongly in the importance of establishing business opportunities between China and Canadian companies and continues in this work as the President of the Trillium Innovation Venture Group.

Halloran is also the Chair of the Board of Startup Canada and the CEO of her own corporation, Brenda Halloran Inc.  She is involved in the local technology sector and mentors and coaches startups and entrepreneurs.  Halloran is also involved with the Smart Cities initiatives on a local and provincial scale.

She is a strong advocate for seniors, women and children, homeless citizens, victims of human trafficking and new Canadians.   She believes in coaching and mentoring others and helping them achieve their highest potential.

With more than a dozen honours and awards, Halloran is known for her community and advocacy work.  Her dedication and commitment to the betterment of her community continues to be recognized and acknowledged.  She has been presented with the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Award as well as the Humanitarian Award for her advocacy work against human trafficking. She has also received the Startup Canada Lifetime Achievement Award.

Halloran has strong business connections and is connected locally, nationally and globally to political and business leaders throughout the world.  She is a strong supporter of innovation and technology and building successful opportunities internationally.

GroYourBiz teams up with Ugenie to connect its International Community! 

Abbotsford, BC and London, UK, July 2018 – GroYourBizTM, an organization which fosters and supports women entrepreneurs through monthly peer-to-peer business Advisory Boards (MyBusinesMyBoard™) has partnered with Ugenie to launch its own private digital hub via the Ugenie platform. In addition to making it easier for the GroYourBoard Chair/Facilitator to administer/manage monthly Advisory Board meetings, the hub will enable members for the first time to connect and collaborate with its global membership by “digitally connecting.”

GroYourBiz is thrilled to form an alliance with Ugenie, utilizing their digital technology for all our communities. By leveraging our two organizations, we will provide women business leaders to further develop professionally and expand their business for even greater success on three levels-at the international level, at the Advisory Board level, and the individual member level” said Barbara Mowat, Founder and CEO of GroYourBiz Ltd. and GroYourBiz Global. “By enabling global connectivity, we are able to extend the benefits that peer-to-peer interactions provide to our members, whilst also increasing the productivity and opportunities we have as an organization.”

The Ugenie hub is making lives easier for members:

GroYourBiz introduced members to the Ugenie app earlier this year with boards from Canada and Europe. Members welcomed the many benefits of a centralized mobile hub, including where they get important information about upcoming board meetings/events; content driven material relevant to their business growth needs; access to smart tutorial videos; a marketplace for collaborative bargaining, and the ability to customize content sharing their own challenges related to business growth, organizational and leadership needs. However, the members were more excited about having a private place to connect with the other dynamic women from the organization that were not in their specific board. GYB member, Dana LeComte stated: Its all about getting a true sense of connection outside my board. This helps me to have a feel of value to a bigger family. With Ugenie, I have the opportunity to connect, get to know, support and do business with other GYB members, no matter where they are located.” – Dana LeComte, Tugwell Creek Honey Farm and Meadery, Victoria, BC

Collaboration Across Borders creates Business Growth Opportunities:

GroYourBiz Global recently launched its’ very first international virtual board, utilizing the CETA Trade Agreement between Canada, EU and UK.  By using Ugenie to connect, the entire membership is looking forward to making connections with other women from across borders to create business growth opportunities.

Ugenie provides a solution beyond social media

Ugenie, which was founded by GroYourBiz Co-Chair ,UK Board, Susan Kabani, is a private customizable membership platform which gives businesses a tailored mobile hub in which to share important brand information with their stakeholders, whilst also providing a private digital space for them to connect with each other. The key difference between the Ugenie platform and social media is its gearing towards a more personalized interaction for each and every user. The experience is made hyper-relevant by aligning content to the user’s interests and preferences within the context of the community they are a part of, reducing the noise and clutter that is associated with social media. This enables businesses to increase productivity by delivering the right information to the right people, whilst making it more convenient for users to find the information that is relevant for them.  Kabani believes “The values of GroYourBiz are brilliant and I want to help our community grow stronger in numbers, but also better connected. By using digital technology effectively, our organizations can both support our own immediate boards more, but also connect and collaborate within the entire network no matter the distance.”

For more information, contact:

Barbara Mowat, Founder & CEO
GroYourBiz Ltd.
T: 604-534-5007 | C: 604-644-8298

Susan Kabani, Founder & CEO

WE Empower

WE Empower

GroYourBiz is proud to be a Supporting Partner of a competition which was initiated at our EXCELerate conference in 2017.  We are pleased to share the announcement that applications are now being accepted for the WE Empower UN SDG Challenge! The challenge is a global business competition for women entrepreneurs who are advancing the UN Sustainable Development Gaols. There are 17 UN SDG Goals including: Gender Equality, Climate Action, Responsible Consumption & Production, Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions, to name a few. To view all SDG Goals, click here:

Five finalists, one from each UN Region, will receive an all-expenses paid trip to New York City during the UN Global Goals week (September 24 – 29, 2018) to participate in a series of tailored trainings and events including:

  • Participating in a live, dynamic pitch event hosted by Diane von Furstenberg that will bring together top business, tech, venture capital and media leaders with an opportunity for one awardee to receive a $20,000 grant to further their business;
  • Attending a high-level dialogue with senior UN Officials, the Council of Women World Leaders and the Women Political Leaders Global Forum;
  • Participating in Global Citizen week events including a ticket to attend the Global Citizen Festival in Central Park on Saturday, Sept 29th; and
  • Participating at the UN Private Sector Forum event convened by the UN Secretary-General.

NOT only that but each Regional Awardee will receive additional prizes, including a special facilitated Virtual Advisory board membership with GroYourBiz. The Virtual Advisory board will help build a cohort and peer learning through support which includes member specific program content, training (expertise from top presenters, practical solutions to business challenges etc.) and advisory services (B2B cross marketing for new clients and markets, and an informal Board of Directors MyBusinessMyBoardTM  etc.) For more information, please visit:

If you are a woman entrepreneur who is helping to shape community dialogue about women’s advancement and the SDGs in your region, Apply Now!

Additional Criteria:

  • Has your business been in operation for more than three years?
  • Do you employ at least three full time staff (or full time equivalent)?
  • Are you a for-profit or social entrepreneur? (for this competition, a social enterprise is a for-profit business with a social mission)
  • Does your business generate at least $100,000 USD in annual sales?
  • Are you available to travel to New York City between September 23-29, 2018?

Don’t miss out on this amazing opportunity! If you have any further questions, don’t hesitate to email


GroYourBiz Welcomes World Class Olympic Designer as New Chair for Edmonton, AB!

deidre (003)

About Deidre Hackman

Deidre Hackman began her entrepreneurial journey early on in her career when she launched her own manufacturing/retail/wholesale business in the fashion industry, with stores operating in Edmonton and Calgary for 15 years.

In 2001, Hackman was offered a Global position at Nike. She made the decision to close her company, accept the role of Design Director, and relocate to their headquarters in Beaverton, Oregon. Working on both the Innovation and Design, she drove the women’s active business with a consistent growth averaging 30% compounded over three years.

Following that, she became VP Design and Innovation for Speedo, where Deidre was the creative lead for all performance swim, apparel and accessories; developing creative direction, product design and market positioning. She was also the brand lead for licensed product and collaborations. Hackman, in partnership with the Speedo AQUA- LAB team, developed the Fast Skyn franchise, including the LZR suit, recognized by TIME magazine as one of the most important innovations for 2008 Olympics.

Deidre then took on the role at Victoria’s Secret of VP Design, Innovation and Product Development. Here she launched new creative concepts for business and product development within the Victoria’s Secret brand portfolio; creating a merchandising and design strategy for the VSX performance, lifestyles and swim products.

2015 saw Deidre moving to Amsterdam to become the Global Director Product & Marketing ( Merchandising, Design & Licensing) for MEXX. In that capacity, she was their global creative catalyst, leading new product direction and market positioning.  She was also instrumental in taking the brand through bankruptcy proceedings and then re-launching both the brand and organization for new owners. Deidre created distinctive product DNA, store concept and marketing strategy to include retail and digital platforms as well as a robust wholesale and franchise distribution.

As Senior VP Product Merchandising Design, Innovation and Product Development for Spyder Active Sports, she lead cutting edge innovation and technology for Olympic athletes, created a distinctive iconic look for premium skiwear, repositioned the brand, and developed business strategy/process within functional silos.

In her current capacity as Innovation, Brand Strategy, Sourcing/Development & Design: Consultant for DLH28Inc., she works with FBA AMAZON sellers to launch new brands on AMAZON as well as takes on a number of other projects both nationally and internationally.

Deidre’s wealth of experience, connections, and expertise are great assets to GroYourBiz, and a fantastic opportunity for women entrepreneurs in the Edmonton region. She knows that in order to grow a business you have to access trusted Advisors to help take you to the next level.


  • BMO and Women Entrepreneurs- Announcing Women Entrepreneurs and Innovation Report The official launch of the report “Everywhere, Every Day Innovating:  Women Entrepreneurs and Innovation” was released on Feb. 14th with the Honourable Bardish Chagger, Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister of Small Business and Tourism, along with report authors Clare Beckton, and Janice McDonald. This report outlines implications for business and the Canadian economy resulting from gender differences in approaches to innovation.  It offers recommendations for the development of gender-sensitive entrepreneurial, investment and board participation strategies that can support the contributions women entrepreneurs are, and can make, to the Canadian economy.  A must read.  Thanks to… More »
  • Vancouver Fashion Week- Kristina Benson (GYB Kamloops member) will be featured at Vancouver Fashion Week March 19 - 25th, to show her INSPIRED INTENTIONS COLLECTION. Proudly made in Canada Kristina reconnects fashion and yoga with her unique unconventional combination of eco-fabric yoga leggings, draped kimonos, and delicate scarves. VFW event is one of the fastest growing fashion weeks in the world, and since 2001, has acted as a stepping-stone for emerging designers to launch their creations into the fashion industry in hopes of one day appearing on the stages of London, Paris, Milan, and New York.  Congrats Kristina! Press Release Below: FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE… More »
  • Vaughan Business Achievement Awards Gala- Daniela Hoffman (GYB Vaughn member) has been Nominated for an award in the HEALTH & WELLNESS category at the annual Vaughan Business Achievement Awards Gala!  This is the 2nd year in a row to be nominated. More »
  • National Nutrition- Liz Bandelin (GYB Abbotsford member) won a National Nutrition gold medal for the best tasting Earl Grey Rooibos tea! Also stay tuned for her new “Canadian line of organic teas” in 2018 for more of her award-winning wellness teas. More »
  • Small Business Success Story- Gina Ore (Phoenix, AZ member) Founder and CEO of Passion for Patients, was featured as a ‘Small Business Success Story’ in SBDC Arizona. Read the PDF here: SBDC Article_Gina Ore-Passion for Patients_GYB AZ Member More »
  • GroYourBiz Virtual- ABBOTSFORD, September 21, 2017—“ Tapping into the export market is like breaking through another glass ceiling for many women business owners,” says Barbara Mowat, President and Founder of GroYourBizTM “That’s why we’re creating an exciting new way for women entrepreneurs to help each other access foreign buyers.” Coinciding with the provisional application of the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) on September 21, GroYourBizTM along with partner Organization of Women in International Trade (OWIT) is creating a Virtual Global Export Board for interested women business owners to join.  This initiative will provide a monthly peer business advisory group of 16 or more women to draw upon… More »
  • GroYourBiz Expands to Florida!- Calling All Women Entrepreneurs in Florida! We are thrilled to announce the expansion of GroYourBiz™ MyBusinessMyBoard™ to your state. We look forward to continuing our mission to help women entrepreneurs take their business to the next level. We look forward to an exciting year for women business owners with the leadership of our talented Managing Director. Sabina will bring her incredible experience, knowledge, and enthusiasm to the members of Florida. We are truly honoured to have another authentic, distinctive woman on our team who is passionate about helping others succeed! To be notified of the Florida launch details Wednesday, July 20th, please contact or… More »
  • GroYourBiz in the Hamilton Spectator- GroYourBiz had some coverage in a Hamilton-based newspaper! Click to see the larger image.   More »
  • Carolyn Cross honoured with an Influential Women in Business Award in Vancouver- GroYourBiz is so proud of Carolyn Cross, who was honoured with an Influential Women In Business Award on March 4, 2015.  Carolyn has been instrumental in the growth of GroYourBiz as a member of our Advisory Board.  Along with Barbara Mowat, she is also one of the founding members of WEBAC  (Women’s Economic Business Advisory Council).  Her strong passion for helping women gain economic empowerment is clearly highlighted in her acceptance speech, which we take great pleasure in sharing. Acceptance Speech by Carolyn Cross   March 4 2015 What an honour-- Thank you for your kind words and for this opportunity to… More »
  • 2014 Champion of Change Award- I wish to express my sincere gratitude to the Women Presidents' Organization for honouring me with the 2014 Champion for Change Award. Its is a privilege to be recognized by my distinguished and accomplished colleagues.     More »