Executive Trusted Advisors
Laura Reinholz, Director, BMO for Women
With almost 20 years in the financial services industry, Laura started her career in client-facing roles providing investment and financial planning advice. In more recent years, after completing her MBA, she has moved to roles focused on transformational business strategy. Keenly interested in what drives consumer purchasing decisions, Laura obtained her Certified Customer Experience Professional designation in 2016. In her current role, focusing on the needs and preferences of BMO’s female clients, she is able to combine her passions for customer experience and supporting and advancing women. Laura is an Influencer Member of the United Way’s Women United group.
Joanne Gassman, Former Senior Vice President, BMO Financial Group, Women’s Market.
Joanne Gassman was with BMO Bank of Montreal for more than 39 years, most recently retiring from her position as the Senior Vice President of Personal & Commercial Banking for BC & Yukon Division. As well as being a Director on the Streetohome Board, Joanne is Chair of the Bill Reid Gallery of Northwest Coast Art, Chair of the Vancouver Council for CARE Canada, and a Director for the Bowen Island Community Foundation. She is past Chair of the Vancouver Council for CARE Canada and a past Governor of the B.C. Children’s Hospital Foundation. Joanne is a member of the Canadian Foundation for Innovation, is a member of the University of Northern British Columbia Vancouver Advisory Board and was previously on the University of Victoria Board of Advisors. She is also a member of the GroYourBiz Advisory Board and the Women’s Business Economic Advisory Board. She is also a member of the International Women’s Forum. She is a Fellow of the Institute of Canadian Bankers Association and holds an MBA from Dalhousie University. In 2015 Joanne was recognized by the Association of Women in Finance and received the Lifetime Achievement award and also by the International Alliance for Women and was a recipient of the 2015 TIAW World of Difference Award.
Julie Hansen, Strategic Customer Advisor, Salesforce
Julie is trusted strategic advisor, cross-media communicator and enterprise-level technical consultant with 20 years of experience enabling success with global, enterprise customer and partners.
During the past 10 years at Salesforce, Julie has partnered with some of the largest global enterprise organizations to help them innovate, create executable strategies and build their stories of success.
Her passion is to genuinely connect with people, provide thought leadership and forge collaborative experiences. A trailblazer, she tends to take on challenges in areas less charted.
Part of her ongoing personal mission is giving back both locally and internationally with a focus on gender Issues and related programs. From working with woman leaders in Africa and teaching women in Guatemala to mentoring over 50 young women locally around STEM-related initiatives her focus is to give back by helping individuals build courage, grow and succeed.
Julie holds several degrees in Management & Organizational Studies, Psychology and a Business Information Systems Degree in Computer and Information Science. She is currently studying at Stanford University completing a professional certification in Innovation and Entrepreneurship for fun.
“Stay Curious, Ask, Ask again and Keep Learning” – Julie Hansen
Lorelle Gilpin, Former Vice President, Marketing and Membership, Costco Wholesale Canada
Lorelle Gilpin recently retired after a 33-year career with Costco Wholesale Canada. As vice president of marketing and membership, her responsibilities included growing the Costco membership base, increasing brand awareness and providing a superior customer experience. She was the associate editor for The Costco Connection magazine, and served on the Costco Donation Committee that supports dozens of charities and non-profit organizations across Canada. She is looking forward to utilizing her skills in marketing and communications to provide mentorship and give back to the community.
Eva Sun, CEO & President of The Rice People
Eva Sun, CEO and President of The Rice People, emigrated from Taiwan in 1976 helping her father manage grocery stores and later establishing her own rice business. Known as the “Rice Lady”, she shares her knowledge not only in the world of rice, but also influences the food industry as whole. Eva is committed to community and to helping others in the industry. She is on the BC Premier’s Women’s Economic Council, a board member of BC Food Processors Association (BCFPA) and GroYourBiz. She is also a member of International Women’s Forum (IWF), WBE Canada, WEConnect International, Canadian, Australia & New Zealand Business Association (CANZBA), Taiwan Chamber of Commerce in BC (TCCBC), and GroYourBiz Executive Advisory Board. Eva provides mentorship, support, empowerment, inspiration and practical solutions for other women in the food industry. Her support for supplier diversity has gained her recognition with a variety of global buyers. She promotes and advocates the importance of global trade organizations and businesses helping businesses. She also supports various charitable and philanthropic events. Eva’s achievements were acknowledged with the RBC Canadian Women Entrepreneur of the Year Award for “Trailblazer”, Star Women in Grocery Award, BMO’s Community & Charitable Giving Award, BC New-Canadian Entrepreneur Award, and Richmond Chamber of Commerce’s Business Leadership Award. Eva is a leader focused and driven to foster proactive changes within all communities that she touches. Eva envisions and builds and makes a difference. She is engaging, insightful with an entrepreneurial drive to get things done. She believes in fairness and inclusiveness. She has a generosity in sharing lessons learned, her knowledge and expertise with others. Through her passionate belief in the value of people she brings hope, develops confidence and self-worth.
Marla Kott, a Chartered Accountant and former CEO, Imprint Plus.
As the CEO of Imprint Plus for 18 years, Marla is proud of leading Imprint Plus through different growth stages ultimately leading to the acquisition of the company by CCL Industries Inc., to become a division of Avery April 11, 2018. Marla was the 2013 winner of the WeConnect Canada WBE Ambassador award, the 2012 winner of the Bank of Montreal Global Growth Award, and a 2007 Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Finalist. Marla’s relationship with Imprint Plus began a $20,000 angel investment and a personal bank guarantee, needed to keep a 7 year-old start up afloat for a childhood friend. When the bank called the loan in 2000, she gave up her Chartered Accounting practice, moved across the country to Vancouver, British Columbia, and became the full time CEO of Imprint Plus. Marla arrived to face an unproductive management team, thin capitalization and a balance sheet that sported a debt of $700,000. In the fifteen years that Marla Kott operated as the CEO of Imprint Plus, she has built the company into a thriving international exporter of name badge systems with a goal to becoming a category leader in this niche market, and recently through her team leadership sold the company for 25 million. Marla’s background as an accounting professional has been invaluable to her in her role at Imprint Plus, but she credits her business instinct to her Dad who was an entrepreneur himself and taught her a great deal. Marla is passionate about being a woman in business, and is very involved with WEConnect Canada, the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council, The B.C. Forum for Women Entrepreneurs, the Women’s President Organization, and more. She also enjoys mentoring young women in business (including her daughter) with her mantra, “aim higher”. Marla currently is an independent consultant and is on the GroYourBiz Executive Advisory Board.
Carolyn Cross, Chair and CEO, Ondine Biomedical Inc.
Carolyn Cross is a Founder of Ondine Biomedical Inc., a Vancouver based Medical Devices Company, and currently serves as the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Company. She also is a Board Member and Treasurer of the International Photodynamic Association. As the global leader in antimicrobial photodynamic solutions, Ondine is dedicated to the development of non‐antibiotic anti‐infective therapies for a broad spectrum of bacterial, viral and fungal infections, working from its photodisinfection technology platform. Earlier in her career, Ms. Cross was responsible for managing pension, pooled, mutual and private client funds as a Vice President with Royal Bank Investment Management Inc., the fund management arm of the Royal Bank of Canada. Ms. Cross has over 20 years direct experience with early stage companies and 30 years’ experience with public market securities. She currently sits on several corporate boards including Periowave Dental Technologies, Inc., Sinuwave Technologies Corporation, Antares Project Services Ltd., OrGenX Biopharma Corporation and others. She is currently serving as a Board Member of the Canadian Foundation for Innovation (CFI), the Advisory Board of McGill University Dental School and The Vimy Foundation. She is a Founding Member of the Ernst & Young Global Women in Business Advisory Council as well as the Women’s Economic Business Advisory Council. Ms. Cross is a member of the Women Presidents’ Organization, TEC Canada, the International Federation of Women, the Toronto Society of Financial Analysts, and the Courthill Foundation. She is a recipient of the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Medal.
Angelika Vance, Corporate Development, Ondine Biomedical Inc.
Angelika Vance is the Director of Corporate Development at Ondine Biomedical Inc., the global leader in photodisinfection, a revolutionary approach to rapidly eliminate infection-causing pathogens without adverse side-effects or generating antimicrobial resistance. She made the switch from telecom to biomedical early 2018 after learning of the urgent need for an alternative to antibiotics and powerful efficacy of Ondine’s photodisinfection.
Angelika is an inspirational leader and creative problem-solver who translates vision into reality through intense outcome-focus, customer-needs understanding, and strong relationships and close collaboration with stakeholders. Her background spans leadership positions and expertise across customer and product marketing, strategy, business planning, product development, and analytics. She has a passion for supporting small and medium-sized businesses, which she focused on during her 20 years at TELUS: developing bundles, marketing programs, and customer experience improvements specifically for small and home-based businesses. Prior to joining TELUS, Angelika was involved with marketing in the industrial product development industry and also spent a number of years in the shopping centre retail industry with Bentall Property Management. Angelika holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Management from University of Phoenix.
Jennifer is a partner in the Vancouver office of Borden Ladner Gervais LLP, a leading, national, full service Canadian law firm with more than 725 lawyers and patent agents across the country. Jennifer represents and advises clients on a wide range of corporate and commercial matters, with a particular focus in the areas of mergers & acquisitions, domestic and international corporate reorganizations and electricity transactions. With well over 10 years of experience, she also regularly advises clients in connection with the start-up phase of their business, shareholder agreements, procurement matters, and governance-related matters, particularly in the co-operative sector, having served as acting chief governance officer in the Vancouver office of a large co-operative. Jennifer also served as an Adjunct Professor at the University of British Columbia Faculty of Law from 2010 until 2014. In her practice, Jennifer focuses on providing clients with practical legal solutions and advice for their often complex business issues.
Betty retired from Women Business Enterprise Canada Council October 2015 where she had been one of the founding leaders of the supplier diversity organization with responsibility for creating the certification program, operating protocols, and market-outreach. Her background includes an accomplished career as a commercial banker, women’s market strategist, and advocate for women entrepreneurs. Prior to WBE Canada, Betty consulted for the gender program of the International Finance Corporation and the World Bank Group (Washington, D.C.) and was Director of the Women Entrepreneurs Market for RBC. Betty is one of the founders of the Global Banking Alliance for Women; served on the Board of Athena-Oakville; and was a mentor for Career-Edge. She has received awards for her work including from RBC; The International Alliance of Women (TIAW); OWIT; and the Global Business Women’s Network (USA).
Brittany Manulak, Co-Principal, Concept Plumbing and Gas Ltd.
Brittany brings several years of business skills and acumen to the table with her past experience as Vice-President of Impact Communications Ltd., a business development company specializing in business training, marketing and international trade and development. Brittany is heavily involved in the marketing and strategic development of Concept and works closely with clients to achieve maximum success in a project. Brittany enjoys spending time with her family, traveling, hiking and playing recreational soccer.
Teri Cavanagh, International Business Consultant
Teri Cavanagh has a deep understanding of what it takes for women to be successful. She grew up in Seneca Falls, New York, where women organized the first Convention for Women’s Rights in 1848, For the past 15 years she has been at the forefront advocating for women’s economic empowerment with various positions in senior management within financial institutions. From 2010-2012 Teri was the CEO for the Global Banking Alliance for Women. Currently, she participates in forums to empower women, and is a proud member of the WE CAN Board of Directors. In her position as SVP and Director of the Women’s Financial Connection at Fleet Bank, Ms. Cavanagh built The Connection from its inception, and launched a $2 Billion business initiative over 7-year period to assist women with capital, resources and information to grow their businesses. She has led as the CEO of The Global Banking Alliance for Women, an international consortium of financial institutions who aspire to be the bank of choice for women in their country or region. From 2005 -2009 she worked as an international consultant with banks in developing countries creating successful models for women in business.