CEO Talk - Women In Business

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Name: CEO Talk - Women In Business
Date: March 5, 2019
Time: 5:00 PM - 7:30 PM EST
Registration: Sorry, public registration for this event has been closed.
Event Description:

Join us on Tuesday, March 5 at the Ottawa Art Gallery in their stunning new event space as the Ottawa Board of Trade and Ottawa Business Journal host CEO Talk. 

In the lead up to International Women's Day on March, 8, 2019, hear from a panel of female business leaders, as they shine a light on the challenges and triumphs they faced on their journeys to success. 

Your registration includes great networking, a complimentary drink, delicious hors d'oeuvres, a panel discussion and audience Q&A. 

Guest Speaker:

Janice McDonald 

Janice McDonald is an award-winning serial entrepreneur, board director and author. She has numerous awards and global recognition including: in 2018, she was selected as one of Inspiring Fifty Award for Women in Tech. She received the Women in Trade Los Angeles Award as Global Trade Ambassador for Canada in 2017, the first Canadian to receive this award. She was a WXN Hall of Fame inductee in 2016 for Canada's Top 100 Most Powerful Women after winning 4 years in a row. She has been the national Ambassador for Women Entrepreneurs for Start-Up Canada since 2017. She received a World of Difference Award in Washington from TIAW. She also received WCT's Chairs Award of Distinction in 2016 and a national leadership award from CWC. She has been a director with the Women's Leadership Board at Harvard Kennedy School. 

She has had many career achievements including driving financial turnaround and re-branding of Women in Communications and Technology as Board Chair 2013-2015. Independent board director with Vista Radio, Board Director Futurpreneur Canada, Ottawa Senators Foundation, IWF Leadership Foundation, past Chair of IWF, Ottawa, Canada. Past Director and Chair - community engagement committee at Ashbury College, past Director and Chair - marketing and communications committee at the Boys and Girls Club of Ottawa, past Director at Royal Ottawa Hospital Foundation, founding member of DIFD for youth mental health. Was a member of Roger Radio advisory board for eastern Ontario, is an advisor for Cornell Queens EMBA program and works with international executives on New Venture. 

She is invited to speak globally, and is a co-author of two influential national studies on women entrepreneurs. She is the co-founder of and is the Founder of The Beacon Agency, a global advisory firm. 



Françoise Gagnon

Françoise Gagnon is the Chief Executive Officer, of ADGA Group, a top 75 Defence company in Canada. Ms. Gagnon leads an exceptional team of more than 800 employees and consultants who deliver tailored solutions to the Defence, Security and Enterprise Computing sectors. Since 2014, she has successfully stewarded the company through a change of ownership, and increased revenues and profitability for the company. 

Ms. Gagnon is a passionate advocate for gender equality and is dedicated to having the first Canadian-owned company specializing in Defence, Security and Enterprise Computing with equal gender representation at senior and executive management levels. 

She holds a B.A. from Carleton University, is a graduate of the Harvard Kennedy School of Business and is active on numerous Boards and Committees. In 2018, the Women's Executive Network recognized Ms. Gagnon as one of Canada's Top 100 influencial leaders. 

Karla Briones

Karla Briones is a Mexican-Canadian serial entrepreneur with retail, food and beverage and e-commerce businesses. 

In her newest venture, Karla Briones Consulting, she uses her 10-year business experience to coach new immigrants to become successful entrepreneurs in their adopted country. She is in the process of creating a digital platform, New Canadian Entrepreneur, that will house Canadian business environment education, resources and mentorship targeted to newcomers in the pre-arrival, settlement and integration stages. She hosts Immpreneur Canada, a podcast that interviews successful business people that talk about their journeys from immigrants to entrepreneurs. 

Karla recently joined the team of independent business advisors at Invest Ottawa - the local economic development agency which provides free services to local aspiring and current entrepreneurs needing support. 

Karla is a recipient of the 2018 City of Ottawa Immigrant Entrepreneur Award, given to an immigrant who has made an impact in the local economy and entrepreneurship ecosystem. 

She actively gives back to her community and is a business mentor with Futurpreneur Canada, World Skills' Entrepreneurship Connections program and other local community groups. 

Guest speaker, lecturer, and generous with her advice, Karla is a passionate about growing the immigrant entrepreneurship ecosystem in Canada. 

Velma McColl 

Velma McColl blends her deep understanding of business, government and policy to create opportunities for her clients. As a Managing Principle in Ottawa, Velma work on a range of economic and social issues including M&A, innovation, energy, environment and emerging technologies. She has been a driving force in the growth and diversification of Earnscliffe's business.

Prior to joining Earnscliffe in 2004, Velma advised Federal Cabinet Ministers on political strategy, policy and communications. She has also worked provincially in British Columbia and Alberta. She has worked to find creative solutions across federal/provincial/territorial, North American and international boundaries. Her career includes success as an entrepreneur and experience working collaboratively with business, academia, think tanks, not-for-profit organizations and the public sector. 

A proud mother and Westerner with twenty years' experience in Ottawa, Velma studied at the University of British Columbia and the Banff School of Management. She is a co-founder of the Canadian Clean Technology Coalition and Women in GR. She has taken leadership roles with several organizations including Smart Prosperity, the Ryan's Well Foundation and Ecotrust Canada. 

Panel Moderator:

​Katherine Cooligan 

Katherine Cooligan is the Regional Managing Partner of the Ottawa BLG office. She is the Chair of the Regional Management Committee and the Regional Leader of Estates and Family Law Group. Katherine is a specialist in family law as certified by the Law Society of Ontario.

Katherine appears before all levels of court, including the Superior Court of Ontario and Ontario Court of Appeal. In addition, and as an adjunct to her litigation practice, Katherine negotiates, drafts and reviews all forms of domestic contracts, including marriage contracts, cohabitation agreements and separation agreements. Katherine has extensive litigation experience in all aspects of family law including custody, financial issues including corporate and business issues arising out of separation, income determination, and child and spousal support. 

During the Bar Admission Course, Katherine was awarded the Abraham Lieff Scholarship Award for demonstrating excellence in the skills required in family law practice. 


The CEO Talk Series allows professionals to come together and gain insight on many aspects of business from an influential and significant member in business. Guests will have the opportunity to network and hear present and past CEO's and business leaders speak on a number of business related items and share their personal stories of success along with interesting and insightful business related topics. This series aims to provide a forum for participants to gain valuable insight on achivecing growth and advancement in their own personal activities. These events are open to the business community and provide a discounted ticket price for members of the Board of Trade. For more information on our upcoming events, please visit our Upcoming Events Page

Event Sponsors: 


Looking for sponsorship opportunities? Please contact Don Mersereau, 

Ottawa Art Gallery - Alma Duncan Room 
50 MacKenzie King Bridge /10 Daly Avenue
Ottawa, Ontario
K1N 0C5 
Date/Time Information:
Tuesday, March 5, 2019

5:00 p.m. Registration; networking
6:00 p.m. Introductory remarks; presentation; audience Q&A
7:00 p.m. Closing remarks; networking 
7:30 p.m. Event concludes  
Contact Information:
Single Ticket: 
Ottawa Board of Trade Member: $35.00 +HST
Non-Member: $45.00 +HST

Cancellations must be submitted in writing at least (5) business days prior to the event. Cancellations can be sent to Business Events reserves the right to refuse cancellations requested less than fve (5) days prior to the event. 

Ottawa Business Events reserves the right to close event registration 48 business hours prior to the start of the event or when maximum capacity is reached. 
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