Meet Louise Fogharty: Vice President, Financing & Consulting for South Fraser Area at BDC

Louise Fogharty is Vice President, Financing & Consulting for South Fraser Area at BDC. She is also the Executive Sponsor of the Bank’s Women Entrepreneurs’ initiative for the BC & North region. Louise leads a team of dedicated individuals who help Canadian entrepreneurs to grow by providing, financing, capital and advisory services. A passionate supporter of women entrepreneurs her entire career, Louise is an active member of the ecosystem that exists to support and promote women entrepreneurs, including being a volunteer mentor to young women entrepreneurs through the Futurepreneur mentorship programme. Prior to assuming her current role, Louise worked in BDC’s regional head office as Regional Director, Strategy Implementation, which was preceded by positions as Business Centre Manager in Vancouver & North Vancouver. Before joining BDC, Louise spent 2 years at NorthPoint Capital Corp., and 5 years with EY corporate finance, both in Vancouver. Louise holds a Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Business Administration from Aston University, UK. In early 2019, she was recognized by BC Business as one of the province’s Most Influential Women in Finance.

 

 

 

My first job ever was… answering the telephones for a Saturday morning quiz segment on BBC radio in the UK.
I decided to go into finance because… I wanted to work shoulder to shoulder with entrepreneurs. I firmly believe they’re the lifeblood of our economy.  
My proudest accomplishment is… being asked to lead BDC’s efforts to support women entrepreneurs in BC & the Territories.
My boldest move to date was… relocating to another country with no job or contacts and very little money. We could only afford a scruffy white sofa from the SPCA thrift store, so I dyed it dark blue with fabric dye and a paintbrush.
I surprise people when I tell them… I’m a half-decent squash player (I’m faster than I look…).
My best advice to people starting out in the finance sector is… network. Go to everything you can, put the legwork in to build your profile and make contacts.   
My best advice from a mentor was… ask myself “what’s my legacy?”, then build it.
I would tell my 25-year old self… enjoy beautiful BC! I was new to Canada and have so many treasured memories of exploring this stunning part of the world with new acquaintances who have since become lifelong friends.
My biggest setback was… when I ran a small team and lost one of my key team members to another opportunity.
I overcame it by… breaking down into bite-sized pieces what we needed to do to re-group and fill the gap. It became far less overwhelming and gave us a roadmap to follow. (Plus a bit of retail therapy helped, too…).
The best thing about what I do is… seeing entrepreneurs be successful. I still get a kick out of seeing a van pull up beside me at traffic lights, and realizing it’s a client I helped 15 years ago. I hope that feeling never leaves me.

 

“5 years ago, I used to have to check off a stack of paperwork in order for an entrepreneur to get the funding they needed for their business to grow. Today, it can take less than 10 minutes on an iPad.”

 

If I had an extra hour in the day, I would… close the door and allow my brain to wander and be creative. It’s amazing how many issues I can work in this way.
If you googled me, you still wouldn’t know… I love cooking and indulge this passion by volunteering (although it doesn’t feel like work…) in a Salvation Army kitchen in Vancouver.   
I stay inspired by… sportspeople. I recently heard an Olympic gold medalist skater talk about how their coach made them fall, often, so they learned how to get right back up and carry on.        
The future excites me because… the pace of change facing businesses can be challenging, but exhilarating. 5 years ago, I used to have to check off a stack of paperwork in order for an entrepreneur to get the funding they needed for their business to grow. Today, it can take less than 10 minutes on an iPad. That’s an exciting change, but you have to be willing to get on the bus even though we might not know the exact route.
My next step is… who knows! I don’t plan in advance – I’d much rather go with the flow. It’s served me pretty well so far.

Meet Benveet Gill Founder of ReYu Paralysis Recovery Centre And 2019 RBC Canadian Women Entrepreneur Awards Ones To Watch Award Winner

Benveet Gill

Founder, ReYu Paralysis Recovery Centre

Ones to Watch Award

 

Benveet has over 10 years of experience as an X-ray technologist specializing in the Cardiac Catheterization Lab. Her life was changed forever when she was paralyzed from the waist down and diagnosed with Transverse Myelitis in July 2012. After years of hard work with her trainer, Nancy, she has regained a lot of her strength and mobility. She co-founded a ReYu Paralysis Recovery Centre, offering neuro recovery through intense activity-based training programs.

 

My first job ever was… Health Care Attendant / Nurse’s Aide.

I decided to be an entrepreneur because… my city was lacking in neuro-rehab options and the universe showed me that this was my path, THIS is why I was paralyzed. 

My proudest accomplishment is… opening ReYu. The awards I’ve won are amazing and I’m extremely proud of those but giving someone the opportunity to stand and walk again is incomparable. Having my clients tell me that they put their hair in a ponytail or were able to get back into their wheelchair after falling out or seeing a little kid take their first steps…these are moments that fill my heart and make me incredibly proud.

My boldest move to date was… I’ve had many bold moves in my life but the one that stands out the most was leaving my ex-husband after he beat me up for the first and last time. I have a zero-tolerance policy and I didn’t look back or give him any more chances. 

I surprise people when I tell them… my age haha most people guess that I’m 10 years younger than I am.

I knew it was time to launch my business when… my trainer at the time, now business partner got a full-time job offer in Florida. I knew I needed her more and she said she would only stay if we did something worthwhile so we pulled up our big girl pants and decided to change the game of neuro-recovery in Edmonton.

My best advice for aspiring entrepreneurs is… NEVER GIVE UP! It will be hard, you will face tough times and tough decisions but believe in yourself and your goal. I also recommend having a business partner that balances you, find someone whose strengths are your weaknesses and vice versa. With this formula, you WILL succeed.

 

Keep your ego in check and know when to step aside and let someone else take the reigns.

 

My best advice from a mentor was… keep your ego in check and know when to step aside and let someone else take the reigns of your business. She told me “a good leader knows when their time is done and they let someone else take their ideas and business to the next level.”

When the going gets tough, I tell myself… you’re doing this for all the people with disabilities who don’t have support. You’re providing a service that is literally changing people’s lives for the better. Kids are walking because of you. Adults have confidence in themselves and are seeking opportunities to be more involved in the community. You tell everyone else to “never give up” so take your own advice and keep going!

If I had an extra hour in the day, I would… play with my puppy! Since opening ReYu my quality time with him has decreased immensely, so I would take that time to cuddle him and play with him. 

I stay inspired by… the incredible stories of my clients. When they reach a milestone it gives me that extra push to keep going. When they tell me that their quality of life has improved and they are more confident my heart bursts. 

The future excites me because… there is so much potential for change in all aspects of neuro-recovery. We want to lead Canada into the future of neuro rehab. As technology improves and science proves that neuroplasticity is real, the potential is limitless. I want to change lives all over the world. I want everyone living with a disability to know that they CAN achieve more and they WILL if they never give up. 

My next step is… to continue to grow ReYu and change as many lives as possible. I will continue to motivate and inspire by sharing my story and those of my clients. We plan to change the way the medical system sees neurologic conditions, it’s not a death sentence there is always hope for recovery. I want to rid the world of the stigma surrounding people with disabilities, we are regular people too. I will continue to speak about racism and discrimination, by educating others we release the anger and hatred, therefore, decreasing it. 

Meet Melinda Rombouts Founder of Eve & Co Cannabis And 2019 RBC Canadian Women Entrepreneur Awards Ones To Watch Award Winner

Melinda Rombouts

Founder, Eve & Co Cannabis

Ones to Watch Award

 

After a series of agriculture businesses, Melinda tried a new hand — cannabis. She made history as the first woman founder and CEO to receive her cultivation license for cannabis under the Cannabis Act. Now leading a publicly traded recreational cannabis company, Melinda continues to guide the company to great success on the national and global scale.

 

My first job ever was… during summers, I worked for an Entomologist at the Ministry of Agriculture as a “bug counter”, which I was teased about, but through this position, I further developed my love for agriculture, growing and plants.

I decided to be an entrepreneur because… it wasn’t really a conscious decision.  When I graduated from university, I had an idea and ran with it.

My proudest accomplishment is… the Eve & Co. team – I credit them with the success of our company.

My boldest move to date was… deciding to completely shut down our previous business to retrofit the greenhouse for Cannabis production.

I surprise people when I tell them… there is only about 6% of female leadership in the Canadian Cannabis Industry – it is a very male-dominated industry. Secondly, I have had many roles in our company including the Quality Assurance Person, Master Grower, and now CEO and President and was also initially responsible for security design, GMP facility design, completed the application on my own and wrote the Standard Operating Procedures.

I knew it was time to launch my business when… we realized how few female leaders there were in the industry which led us to ask if women’s needs would be addressed.  About 94% of Canadian cannabis leaders are male. Employees of licensed holders are approximately 71% male whereas Eve has just under 70% female employees.  We believe that this is an effect of female leadership and that there needs to be a change and inclusion of females for leadership positions in all industries.  Being predominantly female at all levels (leadership, board and team members), Eve is uniquely oriented and can authentically address what women want from their Cannabis products.

My best advice for aspiring entrepreneurs is… trust your instinct. 

My best advice from a mentor was… surround yourself with people who will work hard and who believe in the company – the best team members are often those with determination.

 

“Surround yourself with people who will work hard and who believe in the company.”

 

When the going gets tough, I tell myself… things work out the way they’re supposed to.

If I had an extra hour in the day, I would… spend it with my kids.

I stay inspired by… looking at the new opportunities that are constantly arising in this rapidly expanding industry and considering the exciting possibilities for Eve & Co.  We are approached on a weekly basis with new ideas for product lines, partnership opportunities and new directions. My team also inspires me with their enthusiasm, determination and faith in our company. 

The future excites me because… there are so many possibilities in the works for Eve & Co. for global expansion and our product lines. Our team has purposely oriented itself to helping our customers by offering products that allow people to achieve a better life and in developing products to improve health and wellness.  We also see the possibility of doing much more with our company and intend to help women at all levels: to lift barriers and lift women. We are out to change the world.

My next step is… to move forward as quickly as we can with global expansion and distribution in the European market.  We are also investigating the possibility of growing into additional world markets. Currently, we are developing production partnerships in multiple European countries.  Once we have the Eve product lines fully developed and distribution of our products across Canada, we hope to bring Eve’s full product lines of topicals, edibles, beverages, concentrates and extracts to the world market as the foremost female-oriented Cannabis product lines.