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NLOWE 2023 Annual Conference—Be bold, be brave, be brilliant!

By Jennifer Bessell, NLOWE CEO, & Caroline Watton, NLOWE Board Chair

Finally! After two years of virtual events, the NLOWE community will come together in person once again for our NLOWE 2023 Annual Conference. It has been a pleasure working with the NLOWE team to put together a conference agenda that is sure to have something for everyone. This year, we have a new venue, the St. John’s Conference Centre. The conference will have a trade show and reception as part of the two-day event, a keynote luncheon focused on maintaining a growth mindset during tough financial times, and an opening plenary that will set the tone for being excited about being a woman entrepreneur.

Jenn Harper, Indigenous founder of Cheekbone Beauty, will share the story of her entrepreneurship journey as the opening keynote for the conference. Jenn’s business was established in 2016 and has grown significantly in the last six years. Jenn is committed to working with Indigenous children and youth and has a remarkable message to share, one focused on truth and reconciliation, resilience, and healing.

Our keynote luncheon will be headlined by Pattie Lovett-Reid, former chief financial commentator for CTV News. Pattie will talk about maintaining a growth mindset in challenging financial circumstances. She will focus on what it takes to develop financial resiliency, a must-have in the business landscape of 2023.

The conference workshops have been carefully curated to ensure we have something for all women entrepreneurs in every stage of business development—from start-up to growth to succession planning, we have got you covered.

Don’t forget the networking. These two days are a significant opportunity to make new connections, learn from peers and other inspirational women, and develop relationships with new mentors who may aid you on your entrepreneurial journey. Not matter the stage of your business, a growth mindset is always the most valuable tool in your toolbox!

We can’t wait to welcome you in April!

A busy winter

Here are the highlights of the past few months for NLOWE as we focused on our membership and the tremendous opportunities we have had to learn and grow together.

In January, we completed our third Economic Recovery and Growth Symposium in Corner Brook. Last fall we held two more symposiums, in Grand Falls-Windsor and St. John’s.

Women entrepreneurs, community stakeholders, and women entrepreneurship champions came together for a series of panels and lively discussions on four key economic themes. We discussed local and provincial economic opportunities, as well as the challenges currently presented in a rapidly evolving labour market; we also heard success stories from women entrepreneurs who are living their entrepreneurial goals and explored different funding models and opportunities to finance start-up and growth opportunities. We are currently working on a report from the symposium series to be available early April.

This winter, we held a fireside chat featuring Manjit Minhas. This event was presented as a joint venture of the Atlantic Canada Women in Growth Partnership Project (ACWGPP). Minhas presented on her entrepreneurial journey, the challenges she experienced, and how to pitch effectively. Immediately following her presentation, we heard from four women entrepreneurs in Atlantic Canada who have participated in programming provided through the ACWGPP and the supports they have received in starting and growing their businesses. It was incredibly rewarding to moderate these conversations and to share these inspirational experiences.

For International Women’s Day, NLOWE welcomed Jennifer Botterill, Olympian, sports commentator, and entrepreneur. Botterill provided a lively presentation—“Why Not Me? How to Succeed in Business and in Life!”—at our breakfast event at the ALT Hotel. With 100 women gathered to be challenged and inspired, the atmosphere was electric! It was a great start for a week of activities for International Women’s Day.

We continue to add more activities to respond to the needs and requests of our NLOWE community. It’s a great time to get involved and engaged with NLOWE—we have something for everyone.

We hope to see you soon!

Caroline Watton, Board Chair, NLOWE

Caroline is a leading business law partner in McInnes Cooper’s St. John’s and Charlottetown offices. Caroline is active in her community and profession. She regularly lectures and presents to the Newfoundland Bar Society on corporate and commercial legal issues. Caroline is a member of the 100 Women Who Care (St. John’s chapter) and an Event Leader for the Ronald McDonald House Red Shoe Crew Walk for Families. She is currently the chair of the board of directors of NLOWE. She is also a past director of the St. John’s Board of Trade and the board of directors of McInnes Cooper.

Jennifer Bessell, CEO, NLOWE

Jennifer is the Chief Executive Officer at NLOWE. Jennifer is also the chair of Women’s

Enterprise Organizations of Canada (WEOC), a volunteer with Junior Achievement of NL, a board member with Women in Science and Engineering Newfoundland and Labrador (WISE-NL), a board member with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Eastern Avalon and a former member of the Women Presidents Organization (WPO). Jennifer is passionate about lifelong learning and helping others achieve success in their professional endeavours. She considers coaching and mentoring a responsibility of leadership and is driven to help women and youth realize their potential and be successful in their journey as entrepreneurs.

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