Category Archives: Small Business Woman of the Month

Dr. Helen Ofosu: Small Business Woman of the month of September 2016

Dr. Helen Ofosu Career Coach Outplacement Specialist Hiring Consultant

Dr. Helen Ofosu has over 15 years of experience in HR and Career Coaching in the public and private sectors. Part of what sets her apart is her foundation in Industrial / Organizational (I/O) psychology which is also known as work or business psychology. She brings her knowledge, sensitivity, and special brand of humour to her career consultations, outplacement, business clients, and speaking engagements. She helps her clients make the most of their skills, experience, values, and interests to build a satisfying and resilient career.  She’s also skilled at developing hiring processes that allow employers to understand what job candidates can actually do rather than relying only on what candidates say during interviews. This approach is based on competencies and behaviourally-based assessments.

Our Q & A with Helen:

*What inspires you?
Technology has leveled the playing field in many respects, but access to timely and
strategic HR advice on an as-needed basis saves companiesa lot of money and prevents many problems.

I am inspired to provide enterprise quality consulting services to small and medium sized businesses who would not have access to this level of service otherwise.
I understand that there are many coaching options available. In my experience, when the stakes are high, it’s essential to work with a coach who understands complex circumstances and can find an effective way forward. My MA and PhD training have given me the tools that are helpful when there’s no obvious solution to the problems at hand. I’m motivated to offer more than career coaching, it’s career psychology

*As a small business owner, what achievements make you most proud?
I love watching talented clients thrive when their success and professional fulfillment had been elusive in the past. This is true of businesses who had been held back personnel-related matters and it’s true of professionals and aspiring professionals who had been under-employed and unsatisfied in the past.

*What advice would you give to other aspiring small business owners?
Always honour your obligations; do what you said you’d do to the best of your ability on the timeline and budget that you agreed to. When you consistently demonstrate that you’re reliable and can deliver the expected results, you’re bound to succeed.
*What new things can we look forward to from your business in the upcoming year?
(1) This year, watch for me to work with more franchise (business) owners to help them expand with fewer setbacks.
(2) A very pro-active service called “Right-Placement” as a better alternative to Outplacement
(3) Details on both will be available in my quarterly HR and Career Coaching Newsletter
Contact Helen:
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Hanna Guerra: Canadian Small Business Woman of the Month of August 2016

hg-round hanna

Hanna has a deep and varied skill set in the local and digital marketing arena where she specializes in putting together marketing strategies and implementing and executing lead generation activities for various franchise systems. Hanna is the Founder and CEO of 24/7 Virtual Marketing (, a company that helps entrepreneurs, small to medium sized businesses, franchisors, and franchisees get more leads and convert those leads into sales. Hanna is also a certified Get Clients Now! Facilitator and is excited to launch her Get Clients Now! 28-Day Program in mid to late September 2016.

A couple of years ago when Hanna dove in headlong into the exciting – and sometimes frustrating – world of marketing and business development consultancy, she’s already had years of experience building her own successful brick and mortar business from the ground up. Her early success was due to consistent analysis and adjustment of marketing activities as well as implementation of systems and processes.

While Hanna enjoyed the crazy busy hours of business ownership of a brick and mortar business with high six-figure annual income and double digits monthly expenditures, she felt the pull to change for her growing family. Hanna has a son and a daughter who are growing way too fast! With her current business development and marketing consultancy business, she enjoys flexible hours working in her home office and in a quaint office near Square One, Mississauga.

Though she believes that one can’t truly achieve work and life balance, Hanna is okay with that…as long as she is there for her kids and the kids know that no matter how busy business and life gets, they are her priority. For more information on Hanna’s marketing consultancy and group coaching programs, please visit her site:

Our Q & A with Hanna:

*What inspires you?

I am constantly inspired by business owners who show commitment and grit to do what it takes to move their business, their vision, their goals forward.

*As a small business owner, what achievements make you most proud?

The day I started saying “no” to the wrong clients was the day my business started to really move forward!
*What advice would you give to other aspiring small business owners?

Know your strengths, know your weaknesses and find a way to develop processes and systems that address these strengths and weaknesses. And, truly, don’t undermine yourself.

*What new things can we look forward to from your business in the upcoming year?

I am truly excited to launch my group coaching programs as a Get Clients Now! facilitator. My 28-Day lead generation marketing programs for entrepreneurs and small business will truly help them understand what they need to do and develop a consistent way of generating leads for their business.


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Angela Boschee: Canadian Small Business Woman of the Month of July 2016

Angela at Runwayz
Runwayz began in 2005 as a home based business and has to grown to our current location in downtown Medicine Hat, Alberta. We are pleased to offer unique and hard to find gift ideas including general gift ware, baby and kids clothing and toys, ladies footwear and accessories, and home accents. We are thrilled to be soon celebrating our website’s one year anniversary! Our website and we ship anywhere in the world.



Company Mission

We enjoy providing a great variety of hard to find and one of a kind gift ideas for everyone on your list!

Product/Service Description

Unique Gift Ideas
Ladies Footwear, Accessories, and More
Baby and Kids Clothing & Toys
Home Accents

Journey to Mompreneurship

Every since I was a little girl I dreamed of owning my own store someday. That dream combined with a love of shopping brought me to where I am today. I am thrilled to own my own boutique, balancing being a stay at home Mom with my store. I also love to host local small business showcases, continuing to offer small businesses such as myself a place to present what they have to offer to our community! I also enjoy supporting various fellow Mompreneurs by offering their products through our store,
Our Q & A with Angela
*What inspires you? 
I draw inspiration from many things including my friends and family, God, and fellow entrepreneurs that I admire.
*As a small business owner, what achievements make you most proud?
We are just wrapping up celebrating a milestone … 10 years in business!  I am really grateful to have reached the 10 year mark.  I am also very proud of all the work that has gone into creating our
Another thing that I truly enjoy is networking with other small businesses and hosting small business trade shows.  I truly enjoy helping others and am proud of the success of the shows that we have hosted.
*What advice would you give to other aspiring small business owners?
Be open to continual research and change to stay in the running
*What new things can we look forward to from your business in the upcoming year?
Some exciting new products in the areas of general giftware especially.
Follow us on twitter and like us on face book (as listed below) to stay in the loop!  We also have a newsletter sign up on our web page.
Like Angela’s page on facebook:

Visit her website

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Michelle Smith: Canadian Small Business Woman of the Month of June 2016

Michelle Smith

Recently named the “Top 100 Canadian Black Women to Watch” by the CIBWE, “2015 Role Model and Achiever” by the Black Canadian Awards,  Michelle Smith is an award-winning mother of 2,  Nurse Advocate, and Contributing Healthcare Writer for The Toronto Caribbean Newspaper.   Michelle Also known as JA Nursing,  “The Voice Of The Community ”   has been featured on numerous platforms for her wealth of knowledge on  navigating the healthcare and social system.  Michelle has a firm passion for spreading the word about healthcare  and the social factors that contribute to the changes in one’s life.  She continues to bring awareness to  Mental Wellness  as one of the key components to changing  outcomes for  all individuals and groups that she meets. 

Overcoming the stigma associated with being  a teenage Mother, Michelle,  launched   JA Smith Consulting and Nursing Services  with the primary mission of helping individuals navigate the healthcare and social  system, creating her much needed position in the community as a Healthcare and Social Advocate.  Michelle is also the  Founder of  JA Nursing We Care Inc.  Non-profit organization. Both divisions participate in various health, social and mentoring initiatives throughout the community.  Her mission is to focus on community wellness by continuing to Change The Face Of Knowledge  by giving the voiceless a voice. 

Our Q & A with Michelle

*What inspires you?

Firstly  my children have always been my inspiration. Both of my divisions  use my children’s names JA Smith  Consulting and Nursing services and JA Nursing  We Care Inc.


*As a small business owner, what achievements make you most proud?
As a business owner what I love most is increasing the health and social literacy of my community at large  through my words of knowledge.

*What advice would you give to other aspiring small business owners?

Be resilient.  Not every day is going to be bright, but believe in you product believe in your service and market yourself to the right people.

*What new things can we look forward to from your business in the upcoming year?

I would like to add author to my credits. As well I plan to go international with my Business.
Connect with Michelle:
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Lizy Triffo: Canadian Small Business Woman of the Month of March 2016


Canadian radio and television host Lizy Triffo was born in Chile and raised I Brazil. Entrepreneurship and storytelling were skills that Lizy had expressed interest in at a young age. She always pretend to interview people around her while sticking a fake microphone in their faces.  These clues, however, were not enough of an indication to Lizy when it came to her early career choices.  She studied Dental Hygiene for one year in Brazil and later moved to Regina, Saskatchewan were she earned a job in the telecommunications industry.

Although this career kept her more than financially stable, Lizy felt that she was missing out on her true destiny. What held her back? she would often ask herself. Lizy then realized, “Sometimes people don’t follow their dreams out of fear that they may not be good enough.”

Now, in her early 40’s Lizy has cast all her fears aside and followed her childhood dream. For the past three years The LizyT Radio Show has been a platform for singers, songwriters, coaches, business owner, TV celebrities, child actors and many more. The radio show allows Lizy the platform to report on the latest global and international news and feature music requests by listeners around the globe.

She created a following and a kind of community, each captivating interview starts off with a simple catch phrase created by her husband: “Tell me who you are, what you do, contact info, anything new?” This is all Lizy needs to start a great interview and conversation.

Thus far, interviewing Wedding SOS host Jane Dayus Hinch has been one of Lizy’s fondest moments. When it comes to all her interviews, Lizy says, “I like to give 150% of myself, sometimes it feels like I’ve run a marathon. In the end, it’s not about me, it’s about them.”  This philosophy pushes her to do whatever she can to promote her guests. Perhaps it is this dedication and passion that has allowed her to have over 13,000 listeners worldwide and a Top 20 radio show on Blog Talk Radio. Lizy also was the recipient of the 2015 Absolutely Fabulous Women Community Helper Excellence Award for her commitment in helping charities and non-profits.

Our Q & A with Lizy:

*What inspires you? 

To see my guests flourish and see them have the opportunity to enlighten or inspire my listeners.

*As a small business owner what achievements make you most proud? 

To have been able to take my business from nothing to a great success and not just financially.

*What advice would you give to other aspiring small business owners? 

Never stop trying.

*What new things can we look forward to from your business in the upcoming year? 

Reaching more audiences around the world, especially with my new television show!


Connect with Lizy

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IWAA 2016 Award Recipients: Canadian Small Business Women of the Month of February 2016



Marcia Brown  (Changing Lives Award)

Marcia Brown founded Trust 15 Youth Community Support Organization in 2011.  She started her career with the Toronto District School Board as an Educational Assistant in 2005.  She has been working diligently to educated mentor and inspire the young men and women in her community ever since.

Marcia recognized that there was a significant need in her community for a place where youth could come and feel safe and accepted, and receive much needed support.  So she decided to walk from door-to door-in the neighborhood asking parents if they would allow their children to participate in this enriching after-school program.

Earning the trust from the community and the 15 girls that showed up on the first day the program started, led to the name, TRUST 15.  Then came 3 programs that changed the community of Etobicoke.  The programs are Ladies on the Rise, Men of Distinction and Girls on the Rise.

Marcia Brown has acted as the active link between education, community and family.  She has engaged parents and community members in the success of our youth and encouraged the engagement of our youth in their own success, through education and mentorship.  The young ladies and young men have showered Marcia with praises and appreciations for her care, compassion and support.  She has provided them with better access to jobs, resources for university, and access to achieving career and life goals.

Joy Foster:    (Art & Culture Award)

 Joy Foster, an accomplished Motivational Speaker, Singer, Professional Recording Artist and Television Talk Show Host “Future Prospects” she will help unlock the invisible door that so often stands between people and their ultimate personal and professional goals. Whether its leadership, communication, change management, or stress Joy’s training is fast-paced, information-packed, interactive and guaranteed to deliver skills, techniques that can be used right away. She has a natural approach with her audience on the issues of self-esteem and motivation in the competitive marketplace. 

Close to her heart Joy has taken up a mission to empower our future generation today’s youth towards greatness. To leave the pain they may endure and pursue, discover the diamond they are born to be! Her presentations have embraced and delivered messages that leave student body and teachers wanting more! Joy pulls no punches and allows no excuses to be expected only solutions. Students are allowed to talk openly feeling their opinions are heard and not judged but listened too with an empathic ear. Sharing her own real life stories students are touched, empowered and inspired towards their inner greatness.

Joy shows great compassion with students and also holds a very safe, supportive, respectful and inclusive space for the training and learning to take place. She is able to perform with students and not lose them in the process. She also has a unique presentation delivered to parents titled “Parents Curtain Call Please!” Joy grew up in a home where her parents had not known how to communicate to their children that contributed to a concrete wall for all her siblings including herself. Joy endured pain, loneliness and confusion throughout her childhood. Constant arguments and a dysfunctional home life she decided enough is enough and found the strength to overcome her adversities. She knows the importance of love that parents today MUST employ to their children everyday. Communication is vital to the improvement of our youth today. They need their parents not media but parents whom love them unconditionally. “Parents Curtain Call Please” is an eye opener for all parents to attend and learn the true meaning of parenthood.

Yvette Thakurdial: (Women In Business Award)

Yvette Thakurdial was born in Kingston, Jamaica. She migrated to Canada in 1987. Yvette is a graduate of Centennial College, where she receives a diploma in Automotive Technology in 1994. Yvette launched her career in Automotive Sales and Customer Service, she is currently the Co-owner of Meineke Car Care Center, an Automotive Franchise here in North York.  Yvette has over 20 years experienced Sales and Customer Service industry.

Yvette believes it is the responsibility of business owners to give back locally and internationally as much as possible to those in need.  She currently lives in Maple with her husband, 3 daughters, 2 grandchildren and 3 cats.

Grace Nakajje: (Humanitarian Ambassador Award)

Grace Nakajje is a Ugandan Health Advocate. Nakajje founded Grace Works Initiative, a not-for-profit organization promoting healthcare for less-privileged women and children in Uganda. Nakajje Authors a book “Voice in the Jungle” that brings to light the depth of Africa’s cultural crisis of Female Genital Mutilation, child marriages, and girl education.

Nakajje Nakajje is an alumni of the International Leadership Institute. Currently, she is pursuing a degree of Master of Science Public Health at the International Health Science University, Uganda. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree of Journalism, an experience that paved her way for recognition at UMAC Annual meeting in USA as the best female UMC Communicator from Africa. Nakajje wants to see a free world where women will have right to healthy life with dignity.

Salina Khan: (Positive Impact Award)

Salina Khan is an ambitious recent graduate student from the University of Toronto with an honors degree in Health Sciences.

She has devoted her time, energy and education in hopes to improve Clinical Research studies within the realms of Cancer. Having worked as a Clinical Researcher in Thoracic Surgery within Oncology at UHN, she hopes to work toward bettering our understanding of different causes, developing strategies for prevention, diagnoses, treatment plans and cures for Cancer. Presently, she is working on her publication on various techniques that can be used to better identify cancer antigens suitable for testing in vaccines.

Her hard work and dedication have been appreciated by The University of Toronto, JYI, The Peel District School board, Toronto General Hospital, Princess Margaret Hospital and the Premier of Ontario.

Alongside her research, she spends her free time volunteering with Let’s Talk Science – a national charitable organization who aim to engage children in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. She is also a member of Canadian Helping Arms –a non-profit organization currently working on the Syrian Refugee Crisis. Furthermore, she is apart of SMILE- another non-profit organization whose mandate is to develop awareness of the limitations faced by children with disabilities and critical illnesses.

 Sophia Findlay: (Media Award)

Sophia Findlay is a Toronto-based journalist and advertising executive. She is currently employed to The Gleaner Company and G98.7 FM Radio.

Sophia has written for print and online publications, which includes The Jamaica Observer Newspaper and its magazine, All Woman; The Toronto Star Newspaper and its glossy magazine, Sway, as well as, Huffington Post and The Globe and Mail.

She also specializes in content branding, marketing and promotions. But before all of her prestigious appointments and job roles, she describes her journey as “cut my high teeth” at Contrast Newspaper, Canada first Black newspaper, where she did her internship.

Sophia studied the Arts at The University of Toronto at the beginning of her post-secondary education but later changed to Ryerson University when a placement became available in their journalism programme. During those years, she maintained a regular part-time position at the main branch of The Royal Bank of Canada, downtown Toronto.

As a businesswoman in the country of her birth, Jamaica, which she had returned to in 2003,  after living in Canada for over 17 years, she owned and operated a franchise as an authorized dealer of one of the island’s largest telecommunications firm, LIME (Landline, Internet, Mobile and Entertainment), formerly Cable & wireless Ltd.

Nina Hallie Dixon: (Youth Leadership Award)

Nina Hallie Ruth Dixon is the Founder, Producer and Host of In the Loop.

She made her mark as a producer when creating the online interactive program in 2010 which transitioned to television shortly after. Dixon has been a successful correspondent with Rogers TV since 2011. Her area of special interest is helping youths and other members of society become their best selves personally and professionally by bridging the gap between community’s members regardless of their age, race, gender or economic strata. Known for her devotion to volunteerism and hard work Nina has established herself as a woman who cares about her community and she brings that unique talent to In the Loop, as it continues to break borders and blaze paths through communities and within the entertainment industry.

At a young age she surrounded herself with mentors and leaders in her community which opened the doors to much of her success in print and the world of entertainment media. Since then she has graced the sets of movies such as 16 Blocks starring, Bruce Willis, Four Brothers starring Mark Walberg, Tyrese Gibson and Andre Benjamin and Ice Princess starring Kim Cattrall. She has conducted exclusive interviews with (but are not limited to): Toronto Maple Leafs’ Alumni, Johnny Bower, Bill Derlago, Dave McLIwain; Canadian Olympic Gold Medalist, Brianne Jenner, CNN Strategist, Roland Martin, CBC News Anchor, Ann Marie Mediwake, fashion designer, David Dixon, Lead Reporter of ET Canada Rick Campanelli, renowned singer, Percy Sledge, member of Parliament, Senator Don Meredith, artist Beress Hammond and many more.

Nina can be found volunteering with various charities and speaking at events geared to youth who she encourages to participate in charitable work and contribute to their communities. She is an active member of the Rotary Club of Brampton Flower City Centennial; an international group compiled of over 1.2 million leaders who work together create change and positively impact communities around the world.

ALMAS JIWANI: (Lifetime Achiever 2016)

A global voice for gender equality and women’s economic empowerment “People often ask me why we choose to focus specifically on women. My answer is simple – we focus on women and girls because evidence accrued over decades of international development work has proven that the status and role of women is the best clue to a nation’s growth potential, and is a key factor in determining a society’s standard of living.” UNWNCC President Almas Jiwani, HSBC Canada, November 2012 Almas Jiwani, President of UN Women Canada National Committee and CEO of Frontier Canada Inc, is a fiercely vocal champion for gender equality. She is internationally renowned for her efforts to encourage women’s social, economic, and political empowerment. She spearheads initiatives where corporate growth intersects with humanitarian development.

A model of perseverance and determination, Ms. Jiwani’s efforts to strengthen women’s economic capacity as entrepreneurs and producers have earned her accolades. She plays a crucial role in building networks among charitable institutions and socially responsible businesses. Ms. Jiwani is a powerful and influential speaker and she continues to travel across the globe to deliver keynote addresses, speeches, and presentations on improving the status of women. She addressed over 400 parliamentarians from 42 countries on the benefits of economically empowering women and the roles and responsibilities of parliamentarians at the International Assembly in the Dominican Republic and Quebec City. More recently, she addressed the Pan Africa Media Conference, Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, World Bank, Women in Leadership Forum in Abu Dhabi, African Development Bank conference, and the World Forum alongside Nobel Peace Laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu and holistic health/New Age guru Deepak Chopra.

She is CEO of Frontier Canada, a communications and marketing company based in Toronto, Ontario. In 2013, Ms. Jiwani was appointed as a member of Magna Carta Canada honorary committee alongside with former Country Prime Ministers and high level political dignitaries. She was also appointed as good will Ambassador of the World NGO. 2 In 2012, Ms. Jiwani made history as a state visitor in Pakistan when she addressed one million women on gender inequality. In June 2012, she was appointed as a Global Ambassador of Peace by the Universal Peace Federation. She is a member of the Global Advisory Board of Women in Leadership – NASEBA Corporation in the Middle East and Dean, Faculty of Law at Istanbul University in Turkey, Pamoja Kenya Mentorship Alliance, Enerdynamic and Global Warming Prevention Technologies. Ms. Jiwani has gained international recognition and commendations from governments and the media: •

 Tylaine Duggan: (Diversity Award)

Tylaine is a driven and passionate entrepreneur with an ambition to conceptualize, operate start-ups, and has created winning solutions and profitable organizations under her unique management.

As an only child raised in Europe by Corporate Executives, she wrote her first business plan by age 8, formed her first company at age 11 in a foreign country, and has not stopped since – now into her ‘50’s.

In 1995 as CEO she sold the Canadian Profit Magazine “Top 100 Profitable company ISDN” (a 24/7 newswire sending Press Releases for Publicly Listed Traded Companies to the Stock Exchanges, Governing Authorities, Financial Brokerage Firms and Media).  It later merged with BCE Emergis (Bell Canada), and she is noted in the “Canadian Who’s Who” for her telephony and IT expertise.  Ms. Duggan continues to operate 4 companies in myriad genres including natural body care products, an import export construction company, plus concurrently for the last decade YOUTH DAY Global – a free family festival celebrating the positive achievements of young aspiring artists to enable them a place of expression and find their passion to build self-esteem towards a bright future.  The Volunteer driven event now attracts over 32,000 people in one day each summer in Toronto.  Her 4th is poised for market.

Having lived and travelled from Europe to Dubai to North America, her 6 languages have served her well in International negotiations and diplomacy to meet the goals and objectives of her entities to improve social, solutions driven companies – while driving their financial operations without outside investment.

Tylaine has also been recognized as the recipient of the International Women’s Achievements Awards for Arts & Culture; is a regular invited Speaker at the United Nations; is known for her relentless and dedicated Community work; her International efforts; and has received numerous Proclamations for her creation of an “Event of Municipal Significance for the City of Toronto” for the unique YOUTH DAY platform festivals designed for our young people.

Stella Ebere Opara: (Woman of Distinction Award)

My name is Stella Ebere Opara from Imo State Nigeria. Born 8th January 1981, I am married and blessed with two beautiful girls. I am a graduate of Federal Polytechnic Oko from the department of Business Administration and Management. I have worked with the following organizations; NAL Bank Plc (now Sterling Bank Plc) 2004 – 2005 Industrial Training Staff Michael Imodu National Institute for Labour Studies 2007 – 2008 National Youth Service Corps Staff Standard Alliance Life Assurance Company Ltd 2009 – 2011 Financial Planner I currently work with these following organizations in various capacities; Managing Director Moniseed International Limited Stellamaris Cooperative Thrift and Credit Society Ltd registered in 2012 Founder and President Federation of Agricultural Commodity Associations of Nigeria (FACAN). Coordinator Imo State Chapter since 2013 till date Women in Agriculture & Entrepreneurship Cooperative Thrift & Credit Union, as the Founder and President since 2014 till date. Association of Non-Bank Microfinance Institution of Nigeria (ANMFIN) Vice Chairman Imo State Chapter National Banana/Plantain Growers, Processors and Marketers Association of Nigeria (NABPAN). National Treasurer Nigeria Cassava Growers Association (NCGA) State PRO & Organizing Secretary

Through my participation in these organizations and working hand in hand with the State and Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Ministry of Industry, Trade & Investment and members at the grassroots, I have gotten the opportunity to promote the interest of women in Agriculture and farmers in general who live in remote areas and have no access to agricultural assisted programs by the Nigerian Government. I look forward to recording more progress in all my endeavors.

Dwania Peele: (Entrepreneurship Award)

Dwania Peele is the founder and Executive Director of Canadian Small Business Women, a website and blog that aims to provide aspiring small business women of Canada a place to find all the resources required to start a business. It also provides marketing tools for current business owners who wish to take their businesses to the next level.

Kemi Amusan: (IWAA Volunteer Award)

 Kemi Amusan lives in Toronto, Canada. She is the Executive Director of Global Women Ambassadors. The Organization celebrates women leaders, empowers women through life skills training, mentoring, family mediation, referrals and counseling. She is a voracious advocate for eradication of violence against women. Madam Global as she is fondly called volunteers a huge percentage of her time supporting women based organizations, planting unifying community-based groups and also promoting stability in homes, with the ultimate aim of having stability in our communities.

Andrea Tabnor: (IWAA Role Model Award)

Andrea Tabnor was born at Kingston Jamaica in1970. She migrated to Canada at age seven to be reunited with her mother and father.  Tabnor and her family moved to the Jane and Finch (J-F) area in 1978 where her mother known as “Mama Ivy“ resides to this day. Tabnor grew up in the J-F and attended Yorkwoods Public School, Oakdale Junior High, and Westview Centennial Secondary School.  Tabnor became a mother at age fifteen and a grandmother at age twenty-nine. English was Tabnor greatest strength but attendance was her weakness so she decided to drop out of school in grade nine and took her educational skills to the streets.  While out of school with no job and financially unstable she made a decision out of desperation and no sense of direction to live a life of crime to gain financial stability. She became a notorious shoplifter, sold drugs (cocaine), walked with gang members, (Bloods and Crips), exposed to guns,  and lived a lavish lifestyle in dancehall with a girl crew called Lushus Crew.

In August 2010 she sat down in a backyard in the Firgrove community and she said to some community members that she was tired of the gun violence, funerals, and separation within her community. She said we need to stop keeping BBQ’s that separate us and instead try to do something in the name of “Unity”. With just a thought she brought her idea to the J-F Community Ministry and executed it on August 28, 2010. She had the Fire Department bring out their Fire Truck to talk about safety and for the children to explore, an experience they never had. The police were not involved because she never understood the concept that police also engage in community events. She thought they were only there to arrest criminals and with her background she had much fear in going to the police. Toronto Community Housing never gave me permission to access space so a community member named Kerri without hesitation gave me access to space which was her home.  She sent a promotional flyer into the community that had a poem on it called GUNS. Tabnor is a Spoken Word artist and the poems that she writes can relate to people that have walked in her shoes. Through her poems she delivers a message to a community that doesn’t engage but can relate to her.

The first J-F Unity event was so successful she was asked if she would be interested in doing it again. Tabnor is now the founder of the J-F Unity BBQ and J-F Unity Soccer Tournament and President of the Jane and Finch Unity Organization, a non-profit organization that has been created to decrease gun violence between the Bloods and the Crips, engage community relationships with the police, and to bring an impact around cultural diversity within the community. Her partner Ironman owner of Ghetto Entourage Sound is the one that takes care of entertainment and stage management. His motivation and dedication has brought J-F Unity to an impact level. Since then the J-F Unity org has been sponsored by business, organization, politicians, and community members. J-F Unity BBQ now has the yellow cruiser, mounted police unit, police on bicycles and the community engages with them at this event to promote decreasing of gun violence through unity.  J-F Unity org has collaborated in events such as Kiddie’s Caribana Flags and Colours Parade, which Tabnor was the organizer of the Jamaican float that was featured on Cp24. Also Bright the Night BBQ with Enbridge Gas, Oakdale Toy Drive with City Councilor Anthony Perruzza, Harriet Tubman Track-Field, and J-F Culture Village Unity Festival that was organized to welcome the Pan Am /Parapan Am Games 2015 coming to J-F by the Culture committee which Tabnor was part of. She was also a member of the Host Committee, Economic Working Group, and the Torch Relay representing the Pan Am Games.  She has performed her spoken words at Youth Day in July 2012 at Dundas Square, Mayfair event at Yorkwoods Library, Churches, and at her J-F Unity BBQ.

Jessica Ama Oppong: (Academic Award)

Jessica Ama Oppong . My hobbies consists of soccer, basketball and also like playing the alto saxophone. My favorite subject is math and I love debates. I plan to be a lawyer when I grow up. I do have a great role model which is my mom.”

Janet S. Fearon: (Academia Award)

Samantha Fearon has been making a significant contribution to Jamaica’s education system for fifteen years.  She loves working with children and believes there are myriad lessons to be learnt from them, including forgiveness. She took charge of the Kiwanis Club of Hopewell sponsored K-Kids Club in 2008. Their first major project was the beautification of the wall at the entrance of the school. The students and Miss Fearon decorated the wall by painting letters, shapes and words. Since then they have done many other projects such as: visit to Blossom Gardens Children’s Home, painting of the school bathroom; as labour day project, they have cleaned up beaches as Saturday projects, visiting  basic schools in their local community and offering assistance to the teachers. They have helped the Sandy Bay Methodist Church in their labour Day Projects to paint walls and create a garden. Under Miss Fearon’s dedicated leadership the K-Kids have done a Christmas Concert to raise money for the club. They have also done a lemonade sale to raise money for the Kiwanis International Eliminate Project.

Miss Fearon received an award from the Principal of Sandy Bay Primary School for outstanding contribution to K-Kkids, award from The Kiwanis Club of Hopewell in recognition of outstanding service, a certificate of appreciation on the occasion of Kiwanis International’s 100th Anniversary and award for Outstanding Leadership of the grade 2 classes at Sandy Bay Primary School.

Miss Fearon’s most recent act of selflessness and significant contribution to academia is her stewardship in guiding twenty-five students in the Kiwanis Sponsored Bring Up Grades (BUG) Program that encourages students to improve their grades from one grading period to the next. All twenty five students improved their grades and will be awarded with their BUG Certificates at the start of the new school year.

Naomi Ackerman: (Community Leadership Awards)

Naomi  Ackerman  the founder and executive director of The Advot (ripples )Project was born in the United States and then immigrated to Israel in her childhood.

Served 2 years in the Israeli Defense Forces and then received a BA in Education and Theatre from Hebrew University as well as a special-ed teaching credential from the David Yellin Teachers Seminar. Naomi is an experienced actress, who has trained extensively in varied settings and methods.  Her credits include theater, musicals, films, television as well as being an accomplished street performer stilt walker and professional clown.

Founding member of “View Points” an Arab Jewish dialogue theater produced by the “Shimon Peres Center for Peace.” Naomi was the creator of the Jerusalem municipality children’s clown school. Writing and initiating programs that used performance art to engage the entire community .She was part of the first groups of clowns in Israel to engage in medical clowning.

She wrote directed and performs the acclaimed one woman show “Flowers Aren’t Enough” that deals with the issue of domestic violence and has been featured over 1900 times globally. Including the United Nations for the Commission for the Status of woman. (CSW). Flowers has been translated to 4 different languages.

Naomi works internationally consulting, training, speaking and creating curriculums that use drama techniques to deal with social, gender and educational issues, as well as exploring identity and promoting tolerance and dialogue between diverse participants.

In 2011 she founded The Advot (ripples ) Project that uses theatre for transformation .

Naomi is the creator of  the “Relationships 101”; “Out and UP” ;  “listen to me when I speak” curriculums. The Advot project works with incarcerated girls in the Los Angeles County probation incarceration facilities.  Naomi  is a social activist who produces events and gatherings that teach engage and call to action communities and individuals to take a stand, and find their voice to fight injustice.  But most important of all she is the mother of three beautiful girls Zohar, Ella and Hadar .

Recipient of the KCET –Link Local Hero 2014 Award, Naomi and the Advot project were featured in the Bobbie Brown giving back glam Superwoman episode 8 – 2014

Manesha Annie Persaud: (Entertainment Award)

14 years old Manesha Persaud, also known as Annie by family and friends have been singing since she was 7 years old. She has received a lot of support from her family and friends, especially from her older sister. She is a talented young woman, who is ambitious and inspiring to others. She is a caring individual and she also loves animals. Over the years, Annie has accomplished many things such as winning competitions, performing at many different events, as well as meeting many major artists such as, Lady Luscious, Vanessa Bling, Luciano, Gyptian, and many others.

Annually, since 2010, she enters a competition at the Canadian Music League of Music. She has also performed at fund raisers since she started singing. Another achievement was entering JAAMM Idol in 2013 to 2015, which was founded by Jannett Scott who is also the President of JAAMM Idol. Annie Persaud was the runner up of JAAMM Idol for 2 years in a row (2013 & 2014) and with a lot of determination and persistence; she finally won JAAMM Idol in 2015. She also won a trip to Jamaica to perform at Mini Miss Portland on July 26, 2015, which was sponsored by the President of Mini Miss Portland, Sonia Patterson. While in Jamaica, she recorded cover songs, appeared twice in the Jamaica Star newspaper, and was interviewed on CVM Television, as well as on Sun City Radio, which was an amazing experience for her. After her trip to Jamaica, she went to Ottawa to perform at Jam Day, where she met many more artists.

In 2014, Annie had the opportunity to perform at the International Women Achievers Awards on March 8th.  Recently, Annie Persaud was invited to perform for the President of Guyana, His Excellency David Arthur Granger, on September 12, 2015. She also had a chance to perform at a Relief Concert for Dominica on the 25th of September 2015. Another opportunity that Annie received was to perform at Oakdale Park Middle School’s 50th anniversary, which was on October 3, 2015. Annie was also invited to perform at the Annual Banquet & Scholarship Awards on November 7, 2015. So far, the experience has been wonderful, and she looks forward to what the future has in store and following her dreams and passion. She would like to thank everyone for all of their love and support, as well as those who have given her the opportunity to perform.

Learn more about these empowering ladies, meet them at this year’s IWAA 2016 Award show being held on March 6th.  For more information, visit their website at

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Angelot Ndongmo: Canadian Small Business Woman of the Month of January 2016


First generation Canadian award-winning children’s author has always enjoyed working with youth and writing in her pastime. Those two worlds collided during her position as a youth worker. She got her first professional writing accomplishment when her article was published in Black Woman & Child magazine. Remembering her own personal struggles as a young African-Canadian girl, she recognized the need for reading materials geared towards black children that would help them embrace their own beauty and uniqueness. A burning desire set in to do something about it and the end result was her first children’s book entitled, “Loving Me” which was met with great success. Many parents expressed their desire to engage their young sons as well, thus giving way to her follow up children’s book entitled, “Boy! I Am Loving Me!” The series went on to win several awards including the 2014 My People Caribbean Canadian Literary Award.

Success for Angelot didn’t come overnight though. The earlier stages of Angelot’s life weren’t easy, but due to the sacrifices her mother made, Angelot and her sisters were raised in Canada, enjoying the great privileges that this country provides. Knowing that it did come at a price, Angelot remains grateful and continually inspired by her mother. Now Angelot is trying to give back the generous and selfless gift given to her, by writing children’s books that are empowering future generations.


Our Q & A with Angelot:

*What inspires you?

Children inspire me. They’re so precious and they represent our future. I love having the opportunity to inspire them. I feel it’s my responsibility to try to help children realize how awesome they are!


*As a small business owner, what achievements make you most proud?

Every time I hear a child express how much they love themselves because of my books it makes me proud. I also love when parents express that their child wants to have the hairstyles featured in my book!

I enjoy hearing the ways in which the series has improved the lives of others somehow because it inspires me to work harder and to not give up.


*What advice would you give to other aspiring small business owners?

A mixture of age-old sayings: a lot of people want success until they realize what it takes! If it’s your passion then roll up your sleeves…rest if you must, but don’t ever quit!


*What new things can we look forward to from your business in the upcoming year?
Beyond books, we have great new merchandise, such as t-shirts and some other wonderful surprises this year. We have created “The Loving Me Song” which is now available on iTunes!

We also started the #NoMoreHairBullying campaign on social media, which was featured in the December 31 issue of the Jamaican Gleaner.



Be sure to follow Angelot and the Loving Me Series on social media for the latest news and updates!

Twitter: @AngelotNDongmo & @LovingMeSeries

Instagram: @angelotndongmo & @lovingmeseries

Facebook: Loving Me Series

Michelle Ferguson: Canadian Small Business Woman of the Month of December 2015


My name is Michelle Ferguson and I’m a Canadian small business owner Eternal Garden along with my children.  I’m a single parent and my child  was experiencing eczema on her skin and didn’t have a clue what to do except go to the doctor for help after receiving the cream I was unable to use it because as the medicated direct to not apply to broken skin.I was frustrated and had no clue what to do so I did some searching and found something that worked natural Butters which originated from plants and so Eternal Garden was born.

Eternal Garden is a Canadian Business that makes handmade natural skincare body products using all natural ingredients for people experiencing  with sensitive skin or trouble skin our products are Lip Balms, Body Bars(lotion) which are made with Butters such as mango,shea,Cocoa ect,Soaps,Bath Bombs.

Our Q & A with Michelle:

*What inspires you?

Art inspires me because it overlaps into different areas such as music,art,color,creativity and imagination.My girls also inspire me to be the best mom and Business woman I can be to get up each day do my best.

*As a small business owner, what achievements make you most proud?

I’m most proud of being able to help people and inform them of what we do and how our products can help them like my daughter to live a more peaceful life without the side effects of eczema. I’m also proud of my kids because they’re such  wonderful human beings because being an Entrepreneur isn’t easy especially if you have  a family to take care of and to balance the two. It took some trial and error to balance both but I continue to reflect and make adjustments for both of these important aspect of being a mom.

*What advice would you give to other aspiring small business owners?

My advice would be enjoy everything about being an Entrepreneur because it took strength for you to step out and follow your dreams. It gets easier as time goes by because when you have a network of people cheering you on it doesn’t feel lonely or hard. Train your mindset to be positive and expect something great to happen everyday.

*What new things can we look forward to from your business in the upcoming year?

I’m so excited about 2016 because things are going to be crazy fun for us as a business and as a family. Things that we missed last year will be strategically planned so that we hit every opportunity out of the sky. We’ve started doing themes instead of random creations and more fun filled ideas coming that you have to keep your eye out for.

Connect with Michelle:

Twitter, Facebook, Website

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Arti Sharma: Canadian Small Business Woman of the Month of November 2015



Arti Sharma has built a solid reputation as one of Canada’s leading digital marketing experts. She is the Online Marketing Strategist, CoFounder and President of Measure Marketing, where she advises companies on how to market themselves more effectively. Over the past seven years, Arti has been helping businesses of all sizes get found online and convert traffic to leads and customers.

Arti has held several workshops in the past couple of years and now speaks at conferences on the Power of Digital media and Social Selling.

If you have ever wanted to see more traffic, new sales activity, and actual bottom line revenue results from what you are doing online, then you need to listen to what Arti Sharma has to share.

Our Q & A with Arti:

    • What inspires you?

Seeing other business owners take the leap, succeed and grow their businesses. 

    • As a small business owner, what achievements make you most proud?

On the Business side, being able to create a Brand for ourselves in the West GTA. Having served over 200+ Clients 

    • What advice would you give to other aspiring small business owners?

Stay focused, determined, keep working on yourself as you grow your business, surround yourself with the right people. Running a business doesn’t have to be stressful. It’s a process and you must enjoy the journey, don’t forget to have fun along the way!

    • What new things can we look forward to from your business in the upcoming year?

We intend to launch an App and a Website Audit and SEO Ranking tool for Small businesses.

Connect with Arti:


Toronto Panel of Experts: Canadian Small Business Women of the Month of October 2015

Kelly Farrell, Arti Sharma, Dwainia Grey, Cheryl Rankin and Catherine McGillivray are five dynamic women who will round up our Panel of Experts this year at our Toronto

Expo.  These women are experts in their own right and have made themselves available to support aspiring entrepreneurs.  The topic of this year’s panel is Women in Business and Technology.  The Panel of Experts discussion will take place at The Atantis Pavilion on November 8th, 2015 from 12:30pm to 2pm.  Admission is absolutely free.  Find out about our ladies below and for how you can meet them and ask your questions, go to

Panelist Kelly

Panelist Arti Panelist Cheryl Panelist DwainiaPanelist Catherine

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