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On October 26th, WEConnect International in Canada will host its signature annual event, Power the Economy, for women-owned businesses, multinational corporations, senior government officials, and partner organizations supporting the growth of women’s entrepreneurship across Canada.

Power the Economy offers targeted education and valuable corporate connections for business owners seeking to grow their businesses as well as a rich environment for corporations interested in creating or improving their inclusive sourcing programs.

The event brings world leaders in supplier diversity and inclusion, business experts, and successful women business owners together to partake in valuable networking opportunities, concrete business leads, and the high-powered energy and enthusiasm of impassioned advocates ready to power up women’s contributions to economic growth.

Note: Only WEConnect International, CGLCC and CAMSC certified women's business enterprises with up-to-date certification will be qualified for the corporate matchmaking session.


Produced by ARC & Crown


For more information about the conference or speaking/sponsorship opportunities, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


BOOK BEFORE October 12 for Power the Economy conference hotel rates.  For this year's Power the Economy Conference, WEConnect International is proud to partner with Hotel X Toronto to provide high-class, affordable lodging only minutes away from the conference!

Discounted rates for Power the Economy attendees are available based on availability. Booking dates include October 24th, 25th, and 26th.


Password: GWECO (password is case sensitive)


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   8:00 am    Registration opens and light breakfast
   9:00 am    Welcome: Chelsea Prescod, Country Director, Canada | WEConnect International  
   Remarks: Elizabeth A. Vazquez, CEO & Co-founder | WEConnect International 
   9:15 am    Presenting Sponsor Remarks
   • Laura Didyk, VP Financing and National Lead for BDC's Women | Business Development Bank of Canada
   9:20 am     Exporting in Today's Economy: Threats and Opportunities
Pierre Cléroux, Vice President, Research and Chief Economist | Business Development Bank of Canada
   9:35 am    Why This is the Best Time for You to Go Global, CEO Fireside Chat with the Honourable Minister Mary Ng
   • Elizabeth A. Vazquez, CEO & Co-founder | WEConnect International
   • The Honourable Mary Ng, Minister of Small Business and Export Promotion | Government of Canada  
   10:20 am    Break 
   10:30 am     Panel: Accelerating Business Growth: Have You Considered Trade?
    Moderator: TBD | Magnet Export Business Portal
    • Pierre Dubreuil, Executive Vice President, Financing | Business Development Bank of Canada
    • Mairead Lavery, Senior Vice President Business Development | Export Development Canada
    • Chris Moran, Director General, Trade Portfolio Strategy and Coordination | Global Affairs
    • Gwenaele Montagner, Director of International Trade Development | World Trade Centre Toronto 
   11:20 am    Remarks from Walmart:
   • Shelly Kiroff, Senior Vice President Health & Wellness, Pharmacy & Consumables  | Walmart Canada
   11:25 am    Panel: What Success Looks Like, Perspectives from Certified WBEs  
   Moderator: Lori Benson, Global Procurement Operations | EY
   • Kalyn Carter, CEO | Everyday Office Supplies
   • Jennifer Van Ameron, Founder & CEO | Refine Recruitment
   • Monica Kwias, Founder & CEO | MMK Marketing  
   12:00 pm    Lunch: Fireside Chat with Janice Bryant Howroyd
   •  Lisa Vlooswyk, Conference Host & Owner | Lisa Longball
   •  Janice Bryant Howroyd, Founder & CEO | ActOne Group 
   1:15 pm
                                                        Concurrent Tracks
   Corporate Track
   Corporate Matchmaking for Corporate Buyers
   and WEConnect International certified WBEs
   WBE Track #1                                                  
   Corporate Matchmaking for Corporate Buyers and 
   WEConnect International certified WBEs       
   WBE Track #2
   Networking Alley                                                                                                                                                                 
   2:45 pm    Break 
   3:00 pm                                                           Concurrent Tracks
   Corporate Track
   Best Practices in Supplier Diversity and
   Inclusion for Corporate Members

   • Michael Tobolski, Director of Corporate
     Relations | WEConnect International                                                                                  
   WBE Track #1
   SelectUSA: Resources for Canadian Companies
   Expanding in the United States

    • Bojan Opsenica, Investment Specialist | US Commercial
    • Marixell Garcia, Foreign Commercial Service Officer | U.S
      Department of Commerce 
   WBE Track #2:
   Leveraging Sustainability as a Competitive Advantage
   •  Helle Bank Jorgensen, CEO | B.Accountability  
   WBE Track #3:
   Finding Success as a Tier 2 Certified Supplier

   •  Kathy Cheng, President & Founder | Redwood
      Classics Apparel
   4:00 pm                                                           Concurrent Tracks
   Corporate Track
   Building a Strong Business Case to Obtain
   Senior Leadership Support and Resources
    • Lee Lewis, Global Supplier Diversity
      Manager | Enterprise Holdings 
   WBE Track #1:
   Getting the Most Out of WEConnect International
Edith Cecchini, Regional Director, Asia and
     Canada | WEConnect International
   WBE Track #2: 
   How to Enable Growth with Marketing

   • Monica Kwias, Founder & CEO | MMK Marketing
   • Ross Tom, Chief Strategy and Transformation Officer
     | MMK Marketing 
   WBE Track #3:
   Empower your Business, by We Empower
   • Stephanie Dei, National Coordinator, Canada | UN
     Women and WE Empower Programme 
   5:00 pm    Networking Reception and Awards Ceremony 
   7:30 pm    Event Concludes 

 *The program will be updated as more information becomes available, so please continue to check back periodically for updates.