Emily Kerr

[Treasurer *2019] Emily is Vice President, Business Banking at Bank of Montreal where she leads a team of Relationship Managers dedicated to serving the small business sector across the Greater Vancouver area. Emily is an entrepreneurial, visionary leader known for consistently delivering an exceptional client experience and business results through a team of highly motivated professionals.

Prior to joining BMO, Emily held both client-facing and leadership roles with RBC’s Commercial Financial Services team. Her experience spans pharmaceuticals, consumer packaged goods, and financial services.

Outside of her work in the financial services industry, Emily has gained first-hand entrepreneurial experience as co-owner of two large-scale residential heritage home re-development projects in the City of Vancouver. On both of these “side hustles”, Emily was responsible for managing the financial aspects of the projects, sourcing construction materials, and managing sub-trades. Both projects were completed successfully under development permits and were later sold at a capital gain.

Concurrent with her volunteer board position at Small Business BC, Emily also volunteers as Director, Major Events role with Association of Women in Finance. She holds a Master of Business Administration from Queen’s University and Bachelor of Business Administration from Simon Fraser University. Outside of work, Emily enjoys golf, yoga, and music.

Employers’ Advisers Office

The Employers' Advisers Office is a brand of the Ministry of Labour. It was created under the Workers Compensation Act to provide advice and assistance to employers in British Columbia regarding claims, health and safety and assessments (premiums).

In addition to their client services, The Employers' Advisers Office consults with WorkSafeBC officials from the employer's perspective. They make recommendations to the policy departments, executive, and Board of Directors for the betterment of the workers' compensation system overall.

Erika Doehring

Erika Doehring is a proud Gwich’in granddaughter and is constantly on a journey of discovering her culture and connecting to her story. She has always danced to her own drum and resisted conformity by following her heart. This is something that she brings to her style of coaching and facilitation, using authentic understanding to foster meaningful connections in a variety of spaces.

Erika lives life unabashedly by listening to her heart. She was never one to conform, from performing spoken word to starting her own businesses; from living in many countries to painting in the prairies - Erika has uncompromisingly walked her path and followed her calling.

Throughout her entrepreneurial endeavors, Erika has worked over 10 years as a freelance sales person, writer, marketer and artist. She has been practicing Reiki and meditation for over twenty years. She has studied Fine Art, philosophy and marketing. She is currently studying for her EMBA in Indigenous Business Leadership at SFU.

SPECIALTIES: Art, Colour, Branding, Marketing, Self-Reliance, Reiki, Meditation, Facilitation, Utilizing Art for Self-Discovery, Mindfulness, Crisis Intervention

Ernest Bednarz

Ernest has grown up on the West Coast of Canada ever since he was ten when he arrived in Canada from Austria where he lived for a number of years after being born in Poland. Ernest is Chartered Business Valuator, speaks two languages, and holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree from Royal Roads University in Entrepreneurial Management.

Ernest has a passion for business and entrepreneurship, doing deals, has always driven Ernest to get involved in early-stage business ventures during his early career.  With a diverse and vast business background and demands of a young family, Ernest now works with established business owners, aspiring entrepreneurs, and their professional advisors in the field of Business Valuation and litigation support.  Ernest values companies of all shapes and sizes across all industries, whether it is for tax planning, a sale or purchase, or a legal matter, Ernest’s valuation reports have been used to support business values with the Canada Revenue Agency, the Courts, and the major lenders.

Ernest loves the great outdoors of BC and the sandy beaches of the Caribbean; surfing, skiing, and boating are among the top of the leisure list.  Ernest is always looking forward to meeting new business owners, discover their stories, and help with determining and growing the value of their businesses.

Gina Vahlas

Gina Vahlas has been a human factors and ergonomics professional for more than twenty years, as a consultant, working in-house at the University of British Columbia and in the Prevention division of WorkSafeBC. She is also a board member for the College of Canadian Certification of Professional Ergonomists and a part-time instructor for Ergonomics in the BCIT Occupational Health and Safety Certificate program. Recently, she moved into an Occupational Hygiene Officer role at WorkSafeBC.

As a Canadian Certified Professional Ergonomist and Certified Health and Safety Consultant, she has shared her knowledge at conferences across North America, including the National Ergonomics Conference in Las Vegas, USA, the Canadian Society of Safety Engineers Professional Development Conference and the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society Symposium- Puget Sound Chapter.

Gisele Forge

Gisele Forge is the Founder and Creative Director of Workshop Creative(formerly Blank Canvas Design Co.), a creative consultancy offering branding, graphic design and custom website design for businesses since 2013.

Gisele is an accidental entrepreneur, having left the corporate life to become a digital nomad, and now leading a team of talented designers at a studio in Gastown. She lives and breathes business and loves supporting other entrepreneurs in defining their brands and launching successfully. She loves connecting with serial entrepreneurs, self-proclaimed workaholics and people who are creating something awesome.

For a complimentary consultation on how Gisele’s team can support your business, or simply to talk about business and making things happen(!), please connect via her website at www.workshopcreative.ca

Glorie Averbach

An energetic people person with Emotional Intelligence, Glorie is an accomplished strategist, team leader, speaker, coach and mentor. She is passionate about creating collaborative, open environments where innovation can flourish, and every stakeholder is given the opportunity to learn, teach and grow past the boundaries of their comfort zone.

Glorie’s unique skill set combines forward thinking, big picture strategy, with a well-developed attention to detail ensuring that sales, operations and customer service are aligned and working as one. She has also bought and sold multiple small companies giving her additional insight into the “business of business”.

Glorie’s passion for business doesn’t stop here. She mentors a number of young entrepreneurs in the start-up tech sector and is also a mentor/coach for the Forum for Women Entrepreneurs (FWE) as well as Futurpreneur

Glorie is also a proud supporter of YELL – Youth Entrepreneur Leadership Launchpad - a registered Canadian charity equipping young leaders for an increasingly uncertain future using a network of educators, partners, and mentors to create experiences that expose youth to the stories, skills, ideas, and technologies that have the potential to radically change our future. She is also the co-founder of MyCEO.ca.

Gordon Fraser

Gordon Fraser is a Competition Law Officer with the Cartels and Deceptive Marketing Practices Branch in the Vancouver office of the Competition Bureau. Gordon is involved in investigations into alleged bid-rigging conspiracies, criminal cartels, and deceptive marketing. Gordon joined the Competition Bureau in 2008, and spent the first five years of his career working in the Mergers Directorate in the Bureau’s Gatineau headquarters.  Gordon has a degree in economics from Queen’s University.

Greg Henderson

Greg Henderson is the Founder and President of Exportspark Services Inc., a consulting company that designs & delivers international trade training & exporting workshops.

Helen Chandler

Helen Chandler is an Industry Specialist with the Young/ New Workers and Small Business Program at WorkSafeBC. Helen has been employed in the field of Occupational Health and Safety for over 20 years including working as the OHS Advisor for Vancouver General Hospital. She has a B.Sc in Kinesiology from the University of Waterloo and a Diploma in Occupational Health and Safety from BCIT.

Helina Patience

Helina  Patience is a CPA, CMA with over a decade of experience in Finance & HR within multinational companies, across many industries. She is the CEO of the Entreflow Consulting Group where she helps small to medium-sized businesses get organized, grow, and crush their goals. She is a QuickBooks Elite Level ProAdvisor and a Silver level Xero Advisor. She also has vast global experience living and working in Australia, India, the UK, and Ireland.

Iain Rogers

Iain is the founder of Entreflow, a boutique consulting firm, a highly unusual team of 18 Finance legends, HR leaders and Marketing ninjas.

Iain has more than 10+ years in software, marketing and sales leadership. He grew a tech start-up to profitability, quadrupling revenues. Consulted for major software developers and other technology and manufacturing and services business throughout North America. He also founded an innovative mobile mechanic start-up, grew the company and later sold the brand.

Ingrid Broussillon

Il était une fois, Ingrid, coming to you all the way from a French Caribbean Island called Guadeloupe. She is passionate about acting, improv and storytelling - an important part of the culture in Guadeloupe.

While living in France, Ingrid was a successful project manager in a bank, running several very fun and challenging IT projects at the same time across different bank departments. At the same time, she was an actress, performing on several stages in France and in North Africa.

Deciding that she needed a change, to discover a new country, and master a new language, Ingrid moved to Vancouver for the mountains, the beach and the languages (French and English). She thought that by moving to Canada, she would be able to use her passion for acting and improv to improve her English language skills. Upon moving to Vancouver, she found herself disappointed at the options on offer.

It set her mind racing and led to her founding Griottes Polyglottes, a French language school where classes are based on acting, storytelling and improvisation.

Beginning with workshops in person in 2019, Griottes Polyglottes quickly won the Premier's People's Choice Award in 2020. This was a big step and a revelation for Ingrid. While her business started to grow, the pandemic hit, so she had to take a leap of faith and move everything online. Before that, all improv or acting activities only took place in person. Ingrid managed to pivot her business and keep her clients to ensure the long-term success of her company.

Today, Griottes Polyglottes is a growing business, helping clients practice French with fun so they can speak with confidence.

Ingrid has also nurtured her passion for public speaking and entrepreneurship, as President of the Vancouver Entrepreneurs Toastmasters Club from 2019-2020, and is currently serving as VP Education. Before the pandemic, she volunteered for several of Vancouver's festivals, and has performed for three shows at the Alliance Française of Vancouver. In her spare time, on sunny days Ingrid likes hiking, and on rainy days, reading, doing improv or watching improv games online to enrich her sessions.

Izabela Schultz

Dr. Izabela Schultz is a registered psychologist specializing in mental health in the workplace and director of UBC-affiliated CORTEX Centre for Advanced Assessment in Vancouver (www.cortexcentre.com). She has dual qualifications as a clinical psychologist and vocational expert. She was a professor of vocational psychology at UBC for 20 years, doing research and teaching. She authored seven books in the field, including Work Accommodation and Retention in Mental Health and published extensively, receiving a Distinguished Achievement Award from the American Psychological Association. Before settling at UBC, Dr. Schultz was a Director of Psychology Department at WorkSafeBC, for nine years, spearheading new occupational mental health policies.

At CORTEX Centre, a private venture, Dr. Schultz's team is providing consulting, coaching and training to employers on leadership, stress management, burnout prevention, conflict resolution, team work, innovation and productivity, employee selection and promotion, and tackling staff mental health and psychological issues, including work accommodations and early intervention. Dr. Schultz and her group also provide individual psychological assessments, consulting and counselling to business leaders, entrepreneurs and employees.

Jacqueline Holmes

Jacqueline Holmes has been with WorkSafeBC for 15 years, initially working as a Nurse Advisor engaging workers in return to work programs with their employers, then as an Occupational Safety Officer in general industry and the Health Care Sector, and finally, over the past 5 years, as a Manager of Prevention Field Services in the Richmond head office. Jacqueline manages a team of Prevention Officers as part of the WorkSafeBC inspectorate for provincial businesses in the Vancouver, North and West Vancouver areas and is the Manager of Interest for the Health Care and Social Services industry, K-12 Public Education Sector, and Violence Prevention. Jacqueline is a Registered Nurse who also holds an Occupational Health Nursing certificate, a Masters’ Degree in Health and Leadership, and Canadian Registered Safety Professional (CRSP) designation.

Jacqueline Oddi

Jacqueline is a manager of the Implementation and Outreach Section for the Licensing and Security Division within Health Canada’s Controlled Substances and Cannabis Branch. The Implementation and Outreach team is leading the Licensing and Security Division’s process development which aims to integrate a more risk-based approach for decisions for commercial cannabis licenses as well as leading the work to better engage with the cannabis communities and industry.

Jayme Canotal

Jayme is a Business Systems Analyst at Small Business BC. She is a graduate of the Bachelors of Business Administration, Marketing Management program at Kwantlen Polytechnic University. She has also completed the Data Analytics certificate program at BrainStation. Jayme has worked in several different roles at Small Business BC including Business Services Consultant and Education Coordinator and most recently Business Advisor. In her current role, she analyzes the organization's systems and processes to improve operational efficiency.

Jayme has spearheaded several projects at Small Business BC including the launch of the Small Business BC Meetup Group and most recently the new website redesign. She loves working for an organization that supports entrepreneurs in reaching their goals.

Jeff Clare

Jeff Clare has been with WorkSafeBC for 5 years as an Occupational Safety Officer in the construction and asbestos industries. Prior to joining WorkSafeBC, he was a cabinet maker.

Jennifer A. Marles

Jennifer is an associate lawyer at Oyen Wiggs Green & Mutala LLP, where she assists clients with identifying and protecting their intellectual property rights.

Jeremy Colwell

Since starting CPG Systems in 2007, Jeremy Colwell has provided IT and Cyber support for businesses of many sizes that operate coast to coast. With a focus on operational efficiency, Jeremy and his team are experts at taking complicated technical matters and translating them to plain language that can be understood by anyone, while making sure that everything just plain works. Jeremy holds 4 different computer certifications, and is working on his 5th. 

Jim Shopland

Jim helps small business owners re-kindle their passion, re-gain the energy and re-define their purpose so they get up each morning knowing that their business matters. With a 30-year career in sales, marketing and merchandising in the health food, drug, grocery and convenience store channels, he has experienced first-hand what it takes for products and services to be a success.

As a Certified Professional Business Coach, Jim helps Simplify Your Business and teach small business owners how to actually make money and spend more time with their families.

In 2011 Jim founded Shopland Health Connections along with his wife, Laurie, with a focus on people, relationships and connections for natural product entrepreneurs. They now provide Business, Life & Wellness Coaching for their clients to expand in abundance and success in all areas of their life.

Joe Collins

Joe is the co-founder and managing partner of the online accounting firm, Avalon Accounting.

After years spent working for large companies and accounting firms, Joe saw the need for a new type of accounting firm -- one that put the client’s experience first. His enthusiasm for helping entrepreneurs achieve their dreams is written on his sleeve. Joe himself is a passionate entrepreneur who strives to help other small business owners achieve their version of success.  Joe dreamt up Avalon Accounting, a small business-focused firm that is completely cloud-based, allowing its employees and clients to be anywhere in the world.  This unique business structure gave Joe the opportunity to dive into the world of technology, in order to create the most efficient online business possible.

Joe is a passionate supporter of his community, and uses his platform to help educate small business owners not only on Vancouver Island, but across Canada as well.  Through the use of Avalon’s own tech stack, Joe has created a thriving online firm, and is keen to share his passion for technology and business operations.  Joe’s passion for technology has unsurprisingly led him to the online space, where he provides free small business accounting and finance resources through Youtube videos, blogs, templates and guides.  These resources have helped countless business owners find their stride, and create successful businesses.

The best part about my job is lifting the burden of ‘keeping up the books’ off the shoulders of busy entrepreneurs. Time and again, we meet business owners who are burning themselves out doing it all on their own. It’s awesome when we can step in and give them back some freedom and peace of mind. - Joe

Joe Markovitch

Joe Markovitch is a Senior Business Advisor, BEI Licensed Exit Planner, and Co-founder of Solly’s Bagelry. Joe has more than 30 years of SME business experience in the Vancouver market. Joe’s personal business exit experience and the exit stories of many former SME business owners motivated his interest to learn more, and then guide owners to a better way of exiting their business. Joe’s business owner experience, professional coaching practice and training certification make Joe a uniquely qualified and valuable source for information on this subject. Joe has also been a Business Instructor at Vancouver Community College for more than 10 years and senior advisor at Wardell International since 2016.

John Chan

John is heavily interested in user psychology, learning theories, and product design. He has spent the past decade studying business, design, and programming by learning from world-class experts, launching his own software business, and teaching others how to design and code.

Today, he runs 2x, a marketing and design consultancy that helps online businesses grow by applying design best practices, customer acquisition tactics, and running A/B tests to find measurable improvements. His software company, Dayboard, is currently serving over 25,000 weekly active users and has been featured in publications like Lifehacker, The Next Web, and TIME.