Expert Board Chairs
President of GroYourBiz & Chair, Vancouver, & Victoria, BC
Barbara is a trade and international business development specialist, who has helped tens of thousands of businesses over the past 30 years. She is sought after by private companies, organizations, and governments around the world for her expertise and passionate support of fostering entrepreneurship, business development and growth, and creating win-wins through her extensive network.
Barbara is President & Founder of GroYourBiz and of Impact Communications Ltd., a multifaceted consulting company that features management training and consulting, and international product, business, and market development for the global marketplace. She created the wellrespected Uniquely Programs that assisted over 12,000 entrepreneurs access increased markets, and created and owned a national magazine, a retail store, and an e-commerce site supporting small businesses. Barbara is an international leader in the development of SME enterprises, whose work has assisted entrepreneurs and facilitated trade throughout Canada, South-East Asia, USA, South America, Europe, Afghanistan, India and Africa.
Chair, Abbotsford, BC
Patricia Ross currently serves as Deputy Mayor for the City of Abbotsford and has been a councillor for 21 years. She is Chair of the city’s Intergovernmental Affairs committee, Vice-Chair of the Fraser Valley Regional District and serves on the board of the BC Municipal Finance Authority. Patricia’s philosophy toward government is to fully embrace sustainability principles, considering the environmental, social and economic impacts in all decision making. Patricia is a Fellow of Leadership for Environment and Development (LEAD) International, a research and training program dedicated to fostering worldwide sustainability. Her research has taken her to Oaxaca, Mexico; Costa Rica, Zimbabwe and Argentina. Patricia is a motivational and keynote speaker as well as a published free-lance writer who has a passion for helping businesses and communities reach their best sustainable potential. In December 2004, Patricia spoke at the International Climate Change Conference in Buenos Aires about the challenges and rewards of environmental conservation in local government. From 2000 to 2006, Patricia took on the job of Public and Media Relations Coordinator and Chief Lobbyist for the City of Abbotsford on their successful and precedent setting campaign of opposition to the polluting power plant proposal of Sumas Energy 2 (SE2). Patricia is excited about using her expertise and experience to help mentor women achieve success in business and politics through GYB. Patricia has been named one of the Abbotsford New’s Top 100 Most Influential People in Abbotsford several years in a row and has won many awards for her community work including Abbotsford’s 2009 “Woman of the Year,” “Newsmaker of the Year” from the Abbotsford Chamber of Commerce, “Green Leader” from the Abbotsford-Matsqui Rotary Club, “Paul Harris” Rotary club Fellowship and Queens Diamond Jubilee award.
Chair, Kamloops, BC
Patsy is a former CEO of several not for profit membership driven organizations spanning 20+ years using business strategies, protocols and systems to grow them into thriving, influential advocates for seniors, businesses and home builders.
A former educator, over the years she also developed and successfully built several small businesses in the exercise, manufacturing and cosmetic industries. In 2014, Patsy moved on into private business communications and strategic development as the founder of PDH & Associates. She contracts with Service BC and Industry Training Authority as a Red Seal Trades Exam Invigilator and assists several small businesses on how to develop internal systems and marketing strategies to ensure success as their business grows.
A life long learner, Patsy has completed numerous courses from the BC Justice Institute in mediation, negotiation and conflict resolution and coaching and is currently working on her MBA at Athabasca University in Alberta. She is also a long time member of Toastmasters International, has a Distinguished Toastmasters designation and continues to mentor members and participate actively in her local club.
Chair, Tri-Cities, BC
Sandra J. Horton is a leadership, transition, and sales coach. Sandra holds a Master’s degree in Leadership from Royal Roads University. Sandra is a co-founder of the Women’s Collaborative Hub, a locally based company providing comprehensive mentorship and evidence based leadership training programs to women business owners and women leaders in the Tri-Cities community. Sandra is also the owner of Horton Collaborations Company, which specializing in change management, event coordination, and professional facilitation services for the last three years. She is known for her honest, open, fun, and reflective approach to helping clients solve challenges centered on both evidence-based leadership theory and practical approaches to achieving measurable results.
Change Your Perspective – Change Your Life
Chair, Burnaby BC
Ted James is semi-retired from 34 years of experience in the post-secondary system in British Columbia as faculty, Dean and Registrar, and has served as a board member for national and international associations fostering improved services to students. He is currently a consultant specializing in strategic enrollment management and the management of student services in post-secondary institutions. Ted has also had an ongoing career as an editor and writer of publications on many aspects of small business development. He co-authored with Barbara Mowat several books and guides including GroYourBiz, Your Business Matters, Strategic Growth, and Tips for Tough Times as well as the Home Business Report, a Canadian publication targeting the micro-business entrepreneur.
Leann Hackman-Carty, Managing Director, Alberta
Chair, Calgary, AB
A leader and entrepreneur at heart, Leann has been involved with multiple leading organizations such as the British Columbia Economic Developers Association, Economic Developers Alberta, Organization of Women in International Trade, International Economic Development Council, Red Cross, US Consulate in Calgary and even partnered up with the Government of Alberta regarding Innovation and Advanced Education.” Leann worked as an Executive Assistant, Community & Economic Development to the Mayor of Calgary for over 10 years; managed several federal, provincial and municipal election campaigns; developed and lead key initiatives in the corporate, public and not-for profit sector; provided business development services to the States of Mississippi and Georgia; provided leadership for the Organization of Women in International Trade; hosted numerous high level international trade delegations; initiated greater working relationships with provincial and international economic development groups; developed business and marketing plans for small-medium sized enterprises; and worked on a number of high profile community investment projects. Since 2009, Leann has served as the Chief Executive Officer for Economic Developers Alberta which is Alberta’s economic development network. It has over 250 members, who are involved in economic development activities including business retention & expansion, business and investment attraction, opportunity identification, project management, site selection and supporting industry sector development. A well-respected professional in her field, she has lead public, private and non-profit organizations through eras of change to new levels of growth and stability. She is a sincere advocate with an aptitude for bridging conflicting interests, motivating staff and volunteers, and influencing key stakeholders.
Chair, Grande Prairie, AB
For the past 18 years, Holly Sorgen has been working in the economic development field, in a variety of different capacities. After graduating with a Bachelor of Arts, majoring in English, Ms. Sorgen began working as Youth Programs Coordinator with SMEDA Business Development Corporation. Here she was responsible for the facilitation and co-coordination of the “I Want to be a Millionaire” program for budding young entrepreneurs. She also facilitated Youth Service Canada projects intended to reengage 15-30 year old youth to the workforce, and coordinated the Youth Connections program that provided career and employment counselling, job placement and training for youth. In 2005, Ms. Sorgen, began her role as Executive Director for Community Futures Grande Prairie & Region. Over the past ten years, Holly has helped the organization grow significantly, both in terms of advisory services, loan numbers, loan amounts, dollars leveraged, jobs created and maintained. Most recently, Holly was managing a portfolio of over 100 loans which has grown to a value of more than $7.5 Million, from an initial investment of $1.55 M in 1988. In addition to this, Holly has been an active facilitator and online trainer for the Community Economic Development Training Program offered by Economic Developers of Alberta; and part of a dynamic, 12-member Matrixx Mastermind, where she acts as an Accountability Partner to other members, creates opportunities for information and resource sharing and works to create strategic vision for the group and for her own business. In 2014, she put her entrepreneurial skills to work and started her own strategic planning and facilitation business, EmPower Up!
Lee Malleau, Ec.D
Calgary #2, AB
Lee’s education is in journalism & economic(s) development, with a focus on communications, marketing & business.
From a career as an award-winning journalist, she transitioned into economic/business development, & for 25 years led global trade & investment programs. Successes include investments like Kicking Horse Mountain Resort, the Oceanfront Development in Squamish, & over 20 years delivering results from business missions to US, Asia (China) & the EU. She is especially recognized as a best-practices leader for business programs during the Olympics. In the lead-up to the Vancouver 2010 Games, Lee worked with Richmond’s Olympic Business Team—Hosts to the Long-track Speed Skating Oval, to develop sponsorship, marketing & business development programs for the Olympic Oval & Live Site.
As CEO in Vancouver, she led the City’s Olympic Business Programs generating hundreds of millions in economic benefit & new investment. A follow-up mission to London during the 2012 Olympics produced over $100M in new direct investment. During this period, the team also produced Vancouver’s Economic Action Strategy promoting increased prosperity in the economy, business growth & productivity, global trade (especially with China) & talent attraction. Her recent role as head of business & trade in Calgary focused on delivering local targets on business investment generating over $100M in 2013, & included 4 major missions to China.
She is a founding director of Consider Canada Cities Alliance, & speaks regularly on business & economic development, trade & investment-especially with Asia, Olympic business, marketing & social media, leadership, & has hosted/MC’d multiple events globally. Lee is a champion of social entrepreneurship, has served on a multitude of boards, is a Past-President of Rotary, of the Economic Development Association of BC, & director of Economic Developers Association of Canada.
Red Deer, AB
After 30 plus years in the banking industry, I had a dream for something more. My passion has been helping others and whether it was in my position as a Personal Banker or as a Customer Assistance Officer, it was always about the relationships I built with people. In 1997, I embarked on a new career with an International Cosmetic company and have successfully run my business for the last 16 years leading a team of strong and confident women. Because of my passion for women and children dealing with domestic violence, I have been an avid volunteer for the Central Alberta Women’s Emergency Shelter for the past 13 years and in the last three years have been part of a committee to raise funds for this cause. The issues of homelessness have also been on my radar and just recently, I became involved with Housing First, an organization that works with Property Managers to ensure that every individual has the right to a roof over their heads. My passion is people. I am in the people business. Reaching out to women and empowering them to be the best version of themselves while expanding my knowledge and leadership is what excites me most about being part of GroYourBiz.
Deanna Litz Chair, Saskatoon, SK
Clients describe Deanna’s professional style as “the perfect blend of optimism and realism”. Her compassionate, light-hearted, and authentic approach puts people at ease, makes them laugh, and allows them to explore and develop their own vision, potential, and power. Since 2009, she has assisted over 200 people through business startup in the Praxis startSmart entrepreneurial program. Whether facilitating groups or coaching individuals, Deanna lights up when the creativity, connections, and inspiration flow. She considers it a privilege and honour to be invited into people’s exciting, turbulent, and challenging chapters of change in their lives. She knows it well. She draws from her nature, life experiences, and a relationship with the world known to those whose grandparents and parents no longer walk the Earth. She is the third generation to steward her family farm, and created Lazy Hounds Farm with her life and business partner Rick. They grow fresh, nutrient-packed foods without chemicals for independent food businesses and busy people in the Humboldt and Saskatoon areas. Proud to be Saskatchewan’s first certified bee-friendly farm, Deanna and Rick champion small-scale family farms with big impacts. Deanna’s commitment to self-sufficiency extends to community and provincial levels through her volunteer board positions. She served for years with Steep Hill Food Co-op in Saskatoon, a non-profit committed to affordable and accessible local organic food. Currently she is an active Director for the Saskatchewan Fruit Growers’ Association, dedicated to leading and growing our fruit industry and placing it alongside mainstream agriculture. Her personal recipe for those wanting the whole enchilada: Passion. Vision. Creativity. Action. Community. Persistence. Then STIR. IT. UP.
Marg Hachey Managing Director, Ontario and Eastern Canada
Chair, Aurora, Mississauga, Toronto 3 & 4, ON
Margaret Hachey was previously the owner of Duocom Canada Inc. She founded the company in Toronto in 1980 and with organic growth and acquisitions expanded coast to coast. Its success earned it recognition as one of Canada’s 50 Best Managed Private Companies, by Arthur Andersen, CIBC and the National Post two years in a row. Chatelaine and Profit magazine recognized her over a 10 year period as ranking in the top 10 of the Top 100 Women business owners in Canada. Previously, she has been on the Steering Committee of Step Ahead, and a mentor for six years with the program, helping women entrepreneurs whose businesses were in the second stage of growth. She was also Special Advisor to Youth in Motion Education Foundation a non-profit organization to help youth gain access to higher education and as a board member helped launch Top 20 under 20.A sought after keynote speaker, Margaret has addressed audiences across the country on various topics. She is a regular guest lecturer at the University of Toronto, Rotman School of Management and York University’s Schulich School of Business. As a founding member of WPO (Women Presidents Organization) in Canada, Margaret has an opportunity to network and support other women in like roles.
Chair, Markham/Richmond Hill, ON
Hilda Gan is the Founder and Chief People Officer of People Bright Consulting, a company that helps businesses grow and succeed by helping them understand and develop a business structure and processes where People/staff are the key to success. Her background as part owner (with her husband) of iTRANS Consulting, a successful Engineering Consulting firm that grew from 2 to 125 employees in 7 offices across Canada is a natural fit for her role as Chair of GroYourBiz. She has been there at the many stages that business owners might go through – from start up to medium size company to acquisition of the company.
Hilda has over 20 years of HR expertise with the added practical approach of a business owner. A creator of one of the 50 Best Workplaces in Canada®, top 10, two years in a row, Hilda helps companies who want to be the best company they can be through creating a strong work culture and developing processes and a strong business structure that builds on people for company success.
A nurse by profession, Hilda started her career as an ICU nurse and had roles as Educator, Manager, Director of Nursing and IT Project Manager. She took those skills and experience and started her journey as an entrepreneur, in Health Care Consulting, joining her husband at iTRANS Consulting and lately Human Resources Consulting.
Hilda attended University of Toronto obtaining a BScN and a MHSc. (Administration). A desire to give back to community, she has served on Boards and Committees including Markham Stouffville Hospital, Ontario Nursing Information Group, Ontario Hospital Association Regional Council of Executives Committee, United Way York Region, United Way Toronto York Region, Human Resources Professional Association York Chapter, and Unionville Home Society.
Chair, Barrie, ON
Jane Schnurr is passionate about coaching high achieving entrepreneurs to push past self imposed boundaries! With over 25 years of entrepreneurial experience in both non-traditional manufacturing businesses and consulting, Jane brings her laser sharp insight and creative solutions to help entrepreneurs take the strategic actions they need to expand their business and gain the freedom to enjoy life. She is a powerful and dynamic coach. She brings a unique blend of creativity, entrepreneurial spirit and sense of fun to all that she does. Jane is very successful at working with clients who are taking back their power and rebuilding their lives. She believes from overcoming adversity in her own life, that each of us can “dance to the beat of our own drum and dazzle the world with our brilliance!”.
For over 20 years I have spearheaded the concept of family leadership and family engagement as a way to authenticate quality and excellence in human services, health care and education. I am a pioneer in the concept of recognizing parents as professionals. I believe that there are lessons in my story that are important to share with others.
I hold a Bachelor of Human Kinetics in Applied Kinesiology, (University of Windsor, 1988) and a Bachelor of Education, (University of Windsor, 1989) and I have additional teaching qualifications in Special Education Part 1, (Queens University, 2007). I have received additional certification in Alternative Dispute Resolution, (University of Windsor, 2000) and I am a Certified Master Coach Practitioner (Certified Coaches Federation, 2010). I am a trained Community Conversations Facilitator (Harwood Institute, 2013) and I am a proud graduate of Leadership Windsor Essex, Class of 2015.
Chair, Cambridge, ON
Nicole’s passion is people. She is the owner and operator of Cambridge Centre Honda. Many think of her as in the car business, but she likes to think of herself as being in the “people business”. As a current business owner, she understands the importance of working “on” your business and not just “in” your business. She grasps the challenges facing female entrepreneurs as well as the opportunity to thrive as a business owner. Nicole believes in the power of peer learning. She currently is a member of GroYourBiz Kitchener-Waterloo and has participated on three peer-to-peer advisory boards. Personal development plays a significant role in Nicole’s life. She is a John Maxwell Certified Leader, a certified coach, and practitioner of Neuro-Linguistic Programming, a toastmaster and a life-long learner. Nicole currently serves as Incoming Chair of the Board of Cambridge Chamber of Commerce, Director of the Board for the Montessori School of Cambridge, and Board of Advisor at the Small Business Centres of Waterloo Region. Nicole holds an Honours Bachelor of Business Administration from Wilfrid Laurier University and a certificate in General Dealership Management from the National Automobile Dealers Association.
Sarah Corey Hollohan
Chair, Fredericton, NB
In her position as a coordinator and development officer for the Women in Business Initiative (WBI) with the New Brunswick Association of CBDCs, Sarah works with women entrepreneurs that are either starting or expanding their business. Over the past 12+ year she has enjoyed seeing these owners triumph through difficulties and succeed. She provides one-on-one counselling with aspiring or existing women entrepreneurs, liaises with female entrepreneurs with the goal of growing their business, arranges group training session for clients, provides entrepreneurs with information regarding start up, financing and other available programs, and offers counselling sessions, professional development, business skills development and other opportunities to take their business to the next level.
As a coordinator, she engages in activities and projects on behalf of WBI on a provincial, Atlantic and national level that have been identified as being a pivotal growth opportunity for women entrepreneurs. Some of Sarah’s beneficial qualities that she brings to her position are as follows: Quick-witted communicator, collaborator with relational business skills, efficient problem-solver, top level organizer, and the ability to take the initiative to get first-rate results. Sarah has experience in sales and event planning, curriculum and program development, building and managing partnerships, project management and strategic planning, target marketing to name some of her many assets. Sarah also has Board experience, she co-created a two day training course for women entrepreneurs to learn more about board functions and also has participated (past and current) as a board member herself.
A passionate student, Sarah holds a Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) from University of New Brunswick with a concentration in human resources, e-commerce and trade, as well Sarah is currently undertaking the Forum for International Trade Training. She brings a vast array of knowledge through past work experience, family business and community engagement.
Chair, Burlington, ON & Kitchener-Waterloo, ON
Shannon is an award-winning entrepreneur with over 24 years of success as a powerful Leader in the Direct Sales industry. She’s an author, philanthropist, passionate speaker, and Co-founder of Vitality Group; a company whose pillars are built on delivering winning solutions that empower growth for positive change. Shannon and her team are passionate about instilling leadership skills in our youth so they can become positive role models and mentors. Her vision is to optimize physical, emotional, mental, social and spiritual health and vitality in others. Her commitment to aspiring young leaders is evident in her partnerships with Big Brothers Big Sisters, Anago, and various other non for profit organizations in her community. She’s the Founder and CEO of The Dare To Be You Foundation. A Foundation passionate about: 1-BUILDING a strong foundation for our youth. 2-INSPIRING breakthroughs and positive change for individuals and families. 3-EMPOWERING transformation in others. Shannon has been recognized for her business and community leadership as the Bronze STEVIE Award recipient for Women in Business: 2013 Female Mentor and Coach of the Year. The awards are the world’s top honours for women entrepreneurs, executives, employees, and the organizations they run.
Chair, Toronto #3
Sherri Munro is the founder of Munro Consulting Services, specializing in working with women entrepreneurs, and as a result, enabling them to feel prepared, knowledgeable and confident to grow their business. Through one-on-one coaching, skill-building sessions, and comprehensive discussions about their business, finances and market, Sherri collaborates with established business owners to formulate the right approach to raise capital.
Susi Graf is the chair of the Vaughan GroYourBiz board. GroYourBiz is an organization that builds peer-to-peer advisory boards for women entrepreneurs. Under the banner of MyBusinessMyBoard™, GroYourBiz offers training, support, advisory services and strategic alliances for women ready and committed to take their businesses to the next level.
Susi is a dedicated and passionate marketer who specializes in brand building, content creation, planning impactful corporate events and developing strategies for business growth. She brings 25 years of experience in corporate business, sales, coaching and working closely with executive leaders. During her long tenure in the accounting and consulting industry, Susi advised and worked with some of Canada’s top privately managed and entrepreneurial companies. While at Deloitte, she ran the acclaimed Canada’s Best Managed Companies Program nationally, interviewing and coaching companies to highlight their strengths and enabling them to shine among their peers. In addition, she was responsible for the Women of Influence Luncheon Series and worked with the Women Entrepreneur of the Year Program.
A graduate of the Ivey School of Business at Western University, Susi is quite engaged in her Vaughan business community working with both the City of Vaughan’s Economic Development Group and as a member of the Women’s Committee of the Vaughan Chamber of Commerce. In 2015, Susi started working with the global angel investment network, Keiretsu Forum, helping early stage companies find viable funding alternatives paving the way to game-changing innovations across industries and borders. Susi is passionate about connecting people, ideas and innovations. She inspires leaders and entrepreneurs to think creatively and focus tenaciously on building relationships to help their businesses grow.
Chair, Moncton, NB
Drawing from 30+ years of experience in leading small, large and virtual teams across Canada, leading teams is one of Cindy’s greatest strengths! In business today, real accomplishments are made by team members that share a common vision and a commitment to each other. Building a great team is a rare achievement. In Cindy’s experience, she believes each team member needs to challenge their own personal limitations in the service of the overall vision. By knowing their “Why’s”, they bring passion to everything they do. Of course, great teams don’t just happen; they are nurtured, guided and challenged on an on-going basis. This is where Cindy Comeau can really make a difference…for the individuals, their respective teams, and for the organization. Cindy has been a Director in the health solutions / insurance industry working with executives, management, and all levels across a network of national non-profit organizations. She has been Chairperson for a number of founding initiatives, and national and regional conferences, where she has been the organizer, speaker, and/or host. Some other initiatives were partnerships with Sales Advisory Council, Client Advisory Council, National Marketing Committees, National Coordinator Committee and Physician’s Group.
Judith Richardson, MA, BA, BEd, MEC
Chair, Halifax, NS
As founder of PONO Consultants International Inc., and active member of C-Level Executive Solutions (CEO, COO, Strategist), and Board Chair of Halifax GroYourBiz, “it’s about change and growth!” Judith knows how to make things happen. As a powerbroker of relationships, Judith puts to work her 20 years of Executive corporate leadership experience within a variety of business and public sectors to create aligned action. She is an expert in bringing the right players together so clients reach and even exceed their business objectives. Over and above the hundreds of companies and governmental departments in Judi’s consultant practice, her work history also includes executive/project lead on multi-year international projects, the most recent 2 years as EVP leading proof of concept for innovative, game-changing retail technology service that created 300 jobs and 500 million media impressions. Based on Judi’s impressive resume, it comes as no surprise that she has been involved in over 30 publications and lectures/speaking engagements. Over the years, Judi has always found the time to dedicate to community involvement and women in business. Judith’s real world experience in organizational development, exporting services to 12 countries, has made her a recognized visionary and chief strategist. “Excellence is my measure. Transforming something strong into something superb is the cornerstone of my work.” Imagine is a sense of possibility that allows for freedom beyond the ordinary. Imagine dares to be something greater — the extraordinary.
Chair, Saint John, NB
Problem Solver, Connector and Social Media Maven
A powerhouse of energy and enthusiasm packed into a four-foot, ten-inch frame, Elaine is truly the Empress of Inspiration. Elaine helps people with her special brand of Out-of -The Box ideas and firmly yet lovingly guides them to better understand the problem they are facing to help them clear a path in both their life and career.
A maverick and early adopter of new media Elaine has 200+ videos on her youtube channel with hundreds of subscribers and over 106k views.
You’ll find Elaine sharing her entertaining and thought provoking Out of the Box ideas as a columnist, key-note speaker, on industry panels or at workshops and corporate training sessions.
MyBusinessMyBoard United Kingdom:
Managing Director, United Kingdom
Tasneem Virani is a senior consultant with over 15 years’ international experience in human performance and change management. Working at a strategic and operational level, she has trained over 5000 individuals worldwide, establishing a proven track record in identifying and modifying personal and organisational behaviour, resolving key management and staff relationship issues to improve performance. Tasneem employs a humanistic approach in leadership and management development, using emotional intelligence models and understands its relevance in team performance improvement, customer service delivery, career management and planning, delivered through organisational training programmes and individual coaching. Tasneem offers a deep understanding of the dynamics of emotional intelligence and the neuroscience behind it, and how human behaviour is driven by personal motivations and goals. Her experience from leading the lifelong learning programme across Europe for a community, working in hospitality/hotels, call centres, care homes and not-for-profit sectors gives her the ability to quickly establish rapport at all levels and to unlock individual potential, resulting in improved clarity of self and maximum productivity. Her specialisation and interest is with Family Businesses and small partnerships. A qualified Chartered Fellow of the CIPD and Senior accredited with the National College of Psychotherapists, Tasneem holds a BSc in Psychology and an MSc in Training and Performance Management. She also has a Postgraduate Certificate in Business and Executive Coaching and is a certified Birkman Consultant, an ADR certified mediator and a certified EQ practitioner and assessor. Tasneem is a contributor to the ‘The Birkman Method: Your Personality at Work’.
Managing Director, Arizona
Chair, Phoenix & Paradise Valley
Honored for seven consecutive years as one of Canada’s Top 100 Women Entrepreneurs™ and 2007 and 2009’s Canada’s Top 100 Most Powerful™ women owned businesses, Isabel was a recipient of Globa EXEC Women’s International Influence™ 2009 award. Isabel credits her life’s journey with the practical business and relationship skills that became her trademark style. During diverse career experiences in retail, automotive, aviation and service industries, Isabel absorbed the knowledge needed to succeed in private-sector business. In 1986, opportunity led her to the chemical industry and within three years, she launched her own chemical brokerage firm, Phancorp Inc. Boldly going where few women had yet succeeded, Isabel focused on innovative solutions, formed strategic partnerships with her customers and suppliers around the globe and grew the business into an award winning, global chemical wholesaler. In 2009, Isabel sold the assets of Phancorp Inc., to dedicate herself to mentoring others to personal and professional success.Isabel relocated to Arizona in 2011 and founded BIYA Global, Inc. In 2014, Isabel advanced her goal to help more entrepreneurs benefit from her forty+ years business education and expand a successful and in-demand program, GroYourBiz™,to the United States commencing with MyBusinessMyBoard™ Advisory Groups in Arizona. Serial entrepreneur, inspiring speaker and aspiring author with a passion for helping others maximize their potential, Isabel’s drive comes from the belief that confidence, success and satisfaction are more easily achieved and sustained when working from individual and collective strengths.
Managing Director, Florida
Chair, Tampa Bay
“If a man wants his dreams to come true, he must wake them up” – this has been Sabina’s mission when she went into business to partner with African women in 2004. She has successfully led her USA -companies Beautiful Options USA (dba A Gift To Africa), Basa Body LLC and Muchero LLC – USA to educate, promote and market high-end crafts, coconut-oil skincare , and products from indigenous African plants from almost 300 women in 9 African countries. She has consulted with various African governments, as one of international businesses/consultants to teach women on how to promote and sell their products in the USA and beyond. She has been a distinguished guest and recipient of numerous awards for her success in working with women in developing countries. Sabina provides women partners with financial, managerial support, production assistance and sourcing including: • Practical training in cultural sensitivities, quality control, new product development, fair trade business management, computer literacy, strategic planning, bookkeeping and marketing. • Coordination of the production of numerous designs for customers in the USA. • Sourcing of raw materials in bulk resulting in reduced costs and increased product quality.
Sabina is currently heavily involved in women’s leadership locally and internationally through her company and global organizations such as GroYourBiz, OWIT, and WIN. As a leader and facilitator she supports every mission that empowers women and families worldwide and also provides women leaders with a unique leadership development experience, designed to help them step up to their next level of success.
Managing Director, Washington
Maryann Nelson started her banking career in an entry level position. When she left the industry in 2009, she was Chief Executive Office and Chairman of the Board. Maryann’s journey saw her as a founding executive officer at three separate community bank start-ups. Each of these banks was focused on serving small and middle-market businesses. As a hands-on community banker, Maryann consulted with and assisted companies in myriad sectors with a wide range in sales levels, employee count, operational sophistication, and financial acumen. Coupled with her positions of CFO and COO in her own organizations, she developed a keen sense of connection between the strategy and tactics of success. Among her core competencies are finance, operations, human relations, board and shareholder communication, compliance and corporate governance. Among her passions are strategic thinking, incenting the right behaviors, and aligning values with corporate culture. Maryann’s current focus is her private consulting and mentoring practice where she tunes up companies and fine-tunes leaders. With a hero-worship admiration for business owners and executives, she helps clients from a perspective of best practices, practicality, professionalism and profits. Maryann has been active in several professional and service organizations. She currently serves as a director for Seattle Community Law Center and a Trustee for Seattle Girl’s School. In the pas she has served as an officer and board member for the Community Bankers of Washington, Soroptimist International and Bank Administration Institute. She served as a trustee for a large insurance program, and was a member of the Seattle Chapter of the Women Presidents Organization. She is a past member of the National Association of Corporate Directors and Seattle 4 Rotary. She has taught courses for the American Institute of Banking and presented at various professional conferences. Maryann is a graduate of the Honors Liberal Arts program at Seattle University and holds an MBA from the University of Washington.