The Extraordinary Women



Save the date:

Save Wednesday, April 18, for the next Making Your Mark Lunch with guest speaker Gina Pecore, Chief Executive Officer at Genoa Design International Ltd.

 Stay tuned for details!

Reserve your seat(s) for the Making Your Mark Lunch—

  • At the Comfort Inn Airport
  • Wednesday, April 18, 2018
  • Registration is from 11:45 to 12:15
  • Lunch starts at 12:30
  • Mingle, network, and chat!
  • $50 for members (+tax) and $65 (+tax) for the not-yet members
  • Bring a Friend for Double-the-Fun—Members may invite one guest each at the member price
  • Please advise by April 16 of any dietary restrictions.
Please advise by Monday, April 16, if you have any dietary concerns and need a special meal–we may have to pass the charges for late changes on to you. Thanks.
  Please send Susan an email if you have questions or would like to be a member! Thank you.

Thank you so much to EXTRAordinary Woman and our keynote speaker Dr. Noreen Golfman, Provost and Vice-President (Academic) of Memorial University, at the Making Your Mark Lunch on March 15!

An experienced academic and administrator in senior leadership roles in higher education, Dr. Golfman is the university’s chief academic officer with overall responsibility for all academic matters, including the development and delivery of programs to more than 18,000 undergraduate and graduate students across a wide range of disciplines. As provost, Dr. Golfman oversees pan-university initiatives to ensure that decisions align with Memorial’s mission and strategic priorities, sets goals that are integrated across academic and administrative units, and ensures university planning and budgets align with academic priorities.

Dr. Golfman served as dean of the School of Graduate Studies at Memorial from June 2008 to September 2014, when she was appointed provost and vice-president (academic) pro tempore. She served two terms as president of the Canadian Federation of Social Sciences and Humanities, a national education advocacy group, and she is past president of both the Canadian Association of Graduate Studies and the Northeastern Association of Graduate Schools.

Dr. Golfman is the founding director and chair of the St. John’s International Women’s Film Festival, vice-chair of the Newfoundland and Labrador Film Development Corporation and chair of the board of the Friends of Canadian Broadcasting. Since 2011 she has co-chaired the board of directors of Business and the Arts NL. In addition to publications in scholarly journals, Dr. Golfman writes on the arts and culture in popular venues, and she has worked as a commentator, reviewer and performer for CBC radio and television.


Thank you to our EXTRAordinary Making Your Mark keynote speaker in February. Victoria Belbin, CEO for the Canadian Home Builders’ Association for Newfoundland and Labrador talked about The Three P’s (Passion, Persistence, and Perspective) and how they helped to overcome challenges and complications and form the cornerstone to achievements, building confidence, and finding her voice.


Victoria Belbin is an exceptional strategic planner, facilitator, and communicator with proven leadership skills in board governance, and partnership development. She has a substantial reputation in consensus building and mediation, as well an extensive knowledge of national, provincial, and urban/rural development issues and challenges.

Currently thriving as the CEO for the Canadian Home Builders’ Association for Newfoundland and Labrador (CHBA-NL), Victoria leads and manages the association to generate awareness of the residential construction industry, while also working with the board of directors and municipal/provincial government to resolve crucial industry issues, managing annual fundraising events, and developing and implementing membership designations. She is also a board member for numerous significant associations, such as the Newfoundland Liquor Corporation, Workplace Newfoundland and Labrador, the Dr. H Bliss Murphy Cancer Care Foundation, and the Newfoundland and Labrador chapter of the Institute of Corporate Directors. Victoria holds a BA (Honours) and a Master’s of Marine Studies from Memorial University.


Thanks so much to Cathy Bennett, EXTRAordinary Woman and our keynote speaker at the Making Your Mark Lunch on Wednesday, January 17 –your talk was inspirational and enlightening!

First elected in 2014 and re-elected in 2015, Cathy Bennett serves as the Member of the Newfoundland & Labrador House of Assembly for the district of Windsor Lake. She has served as a member of Cabinet in the role of Minister of Finance and President of the Treasury Board and as Minister Responsible for the Status of Women, the Human Resource Secretariat, the Public Service Commission, and the Office of the Chief Information Officer.

Cathy Bennett is the former CEO of Bennett Group of Companies, which included operations in commercial, industrial construction and manufacturing, human resource support, food service, industrial supply, and real estate investments and operations.

In addition to business, she has been extensively involved in the charitable and community sectors as the vice chair of Ronald McDonald House and the former chair of the Capital Campaign to build its St. John’s facility. She has served as the Chairperson of the St. John’s Board of Trade, the Governor of the Atlantic Provinces Economic Council and treasurer of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce. Over her career Cathy has been an active member and board member of dozens of community-based organizations. Her community and business leadership has been recognized with numerous awards, including Atlantic Business Magazine Top CEO.

A member and graduate of the Institute of Corporate Directors program, Cathy has served on several publicly traded and crown corporation boards for the mining, telecommunications, oil and hydroelectricity sectors. She has also served on privately held corporate boards with interests in real estate, natural resources, manufacturing and community development  and has held positions of Board and Committee Chair, and served on Audit, Governance, and Compensation Committees. Cathy has also served on strategic corporate governance boards for marketing, as well as information technology.

Thank you so much to keynote speaker Kathie Hicks, co-owner and CEO of Spirit of Newfoundland Productions, who was our special guest for the Holiday Breakfast on December 13.

Kathie’s enthralling stories of how she went about making her mark and achieving such success with daring, confidence, and amazing perception made us all LOL (a lot!). Thank you to this truly EXTRAordinary Woman for such an energizing talk and ending the year for us on such a high note. Many thanks also for giving every person in the room two tickets each to your shows in 2018 and a prize for every table!

Kathie Hicks is a self-made successful entrepreneur who has Newfoundland and Labrador stitched into her cultural fibre. She is the co-owner and CEO of Spirit of Newfoundland Productions, a 20-year-old dynamic entertainment company that employs 60 people, delivers year round high-quality musical comedy shows, and boasts a vibrant catering operation. The company also owns and operates the historic Masonic Temple in downtown St. John’s. Kathie is also an accountant, broadcast journalist, foodie and a chef & sommelier-in-training.

Although Kathie has lived in St. John’s for 26 years, she was born in Corner Brook and is a member of the Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation Band. She went to work in her family’s business at the age of 11 and ever since, has taken on one mighty project after another. Taking the leap into running for office was perhaps her mightiest.

During her 12-year radio and television career in the four Atlantic provinces, Kathie was a morning show host for the duration, anchored several television shows and for 8 years was the News Director at two different radio stations. In 1995, Kathie was nominated for Canada’s Female Broadcaster of the Year. For two years served as the Chairperson of the Canadian Association of Broadcasters Gold Ribbon Awards Committee that selects the best in radio and television.

She was also on the National Committee that developed the pay equity legislation and manuals for the broadcast industry. She is the former Atlantic representative on the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council, was named to Newfoundland and Labrador’s Business Advisory Council led by then Premier Danny Williams in 2005, and is currently on the Board of Hospitality Newfoundland and Labrador.

Kathie has an extensive background in accounting and business, worked as an accountant in various cities on Canada’s west coast and career highlights included financial controller of major events such as ‘World Cup of Skiing 1982/84 in Whistler, controller of the central reservations and marketing agency for Whistler, and accountant for the construction of Whistler’s Arnold Palmer Golf Course and Convention Centre. Other accounting experience includes a CA firm in Vancouver and an oil drilling company in Calgary.n

Above: Bobbi Dunphy, PR Contractor, Susan Sparkes, and Kathie Hicks.


Many thanks to Judith Bobbitt, President of Oceans Limited, for the extremely entertaining (and educational!) keynote speech at our Making Your Mark Lunch on November 8th.

Judith’s formal education began at age fourteen when she went to Montreal to attend Westmount High.  In 1971, her education continued in science at Sir George Williams University where she obtained a B.Sc in Honours Physics.  She then completed a Masters program. This consisted of physical oceanography, meteorology and ice physics at the Marine Science Centre of McGill University.

Judith started working in St. John’s as a physical oceanographer for a local company in 1978 and created Oceans Ltd. in 1981, where she has been actively participating in oil industry oceanography programs and other projects for the last thirty-three years.  Oceans Ltd. offers services in physical oceanography, marine weather forecasting, iceberg profiling, bio-monitoring of fish health, establishing design criteria for offshore structure, and various types of climate and oceanography studies. For the last several years, Oceans Ltd. has been investigating the bio-activity properties of cold water seaweeds in Newfoundland and Labrador waters.


“Thank you to Elaine Dobbin for being our special guest speaker at the Making Your Mark Lunch on October 11!”

For more than 20 years, Elaine Dobbin has been and continues to be a key player behind various fund-raising programs and charitable events in Newfoundland and Labrador and an ardent supporter of several health initiatives.

As Campaign Patron for the Autism Society of Newfoundland and Labrador’s capital campaign, Elaine Dobbin was the driving force behind raising $1.9 million and the construction of Shamrock Farm/Elaine Dobbin Centre for Autism.   She has worked tirelessly over the years supporting the Newfoundland and Labrador Lung Association, the Newfoundland Cancer Treatment and Research Foundation, and the Janeway Children’s Hospital Foundation. She was also a member of the Capital Campaign for Memorial University.

Outside the province, Elaine, along with her late husband, Craig L. Dobbin, established the “Craig & Elaine Dobbin/Nancy P. Blumenthal Professorship for Advanced Lung Disease in the Department of Medicine, Pulmonary, Allergy and Critical Care Division of the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. She is a Director for Grace Education Foundation, which is a Canadian Registered Charity that founded a school in Goa, India.

Educational, cultural and medical institutions have all been beneficiaries of Elaine’s generosity. In 2002 she received the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal and has also received awards from a number of organizations in recognition of her many outstanding work and philanthropic contributions.

She sat on the Board of the Ireland Canada University Foundation until 2011 in Dublin, which assists and promotes Canadian studies in Irish universities. She is also a supporter of the Bannerman Park Memories Garden. Thank you, Elaine!


Thank you very much to Judy Sparkes-Giannou, Managing Director of Clayton Hospitality and a generous sponsor and host for many of our organization’s get-togethers at the Comfort Inn Airport, for your wonderful keynote speech at our first Making Your Mark event of the season on September 13.

Judy Sparkes-Giannou (L) with Susan Murray, Senior Consultant, Clearpath Leadership and Michelle Hawco, CEO of Blue Sky Family Care.

About Judy

Judy became involved in the tourism industry of Newfoundland & Labrador over 25 years ago. Her name is now synonymous with tourism provincially, regionally, and nationally. As Managing Director of Clayton Hospitality, Judy takes an active role in the growth and development of the Comfort Inn Airport, St. John’s and the Comfort Inn, Gander. Investments in real estate and various companies throughout Atlantic Canada keep Judy busy in a diverse range of business activities throughout the region. From 1998 t0 2010, Judy was owner and President of Maxxim Vacations. During this period, Judy led the company as it became one of Atlantic Canada’s leading travel providers and Newfoundland & Labrador’s largest tour wholesaler.

Judy is also the recipient of the President’s Award from the Newfoundland & Labrador Organization of Women Entrepreneurs (NLOWE). Atlantic Business Magazine named Judy as one of Atlantic Canada’s Top 50 CEO’s, and she was identified by Progress Magazine as one of the top 25 people to watch in the Atlantic Region.

(Full disclosure—Judy is also the sister of Susan Sparkes—founder of The EXTRAordinary Women!)

Thank you to Cathy Duke, CEO of Destination St. John’s, who we welcomed as our keynote speaker at the Making Your Mark Lunch on May 18th.

Cathy Duke is a leader in the effort to attract meetings, conventions, and sports and travel tourism to our city. Previously, Ms Duke was Deputy Minister in the Departments of Tourism Culture and Recreation and Innovation Trade and Rural Development.  

 Ms Duke spent eight years in the tourism industry as President of Sports Villas Resort Inc.and two years as Executive Director of Hospitality Newfoundland and Labrador. Other roles included  Executive Director of the Ireland Business Partnerships and the Province’s Economic Recovery Commission, Vice President of Coastal Associates and Consultants Limited, and Manager with the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency.


Many thanks to Jocelyn Perry for being our keynote speaker inJocelyn Perry March at our Making Your Mark l.unch

Jocelyn is currently responsible for corporate oversight of the Newfoundland Power’s overall operations including financial performance, engineering and customer operations, human resource management, and safety, environment, and energy conservation. Jocelyn joined the company in 2005 and served, over the past decade, as Vice President, Finance, and Chief Financial Officer. Throughout her career, she has held senior management positions with Fortis Inc. and the Aliant Group of Companies.


Sophie Harrington talked about the exciting world of biotech as our special guest speaker for the Making Your Mark Breakfast on Friday, February 24.

Sophie Harrington is Director of Marketing at Sequence Bio, one of our leading biotech companies hoping to study this province’s unique genetic makeup to discover better, safer medicines.

Sequence Bio started 2016 with three people (and office pup Pekoe) and by year end had multiplied the number of employees six-fold and will be aiming to reach 30 in 2017.  Sequence Bio also raised $3 million USD seed financing led by DCVC, the first Silicon Valley financing of this kind in Atlantic Canada, and has added many well-known names and leaders in their fields to its Scientific Advisory Board and Board of Directors.

p.s. Thank you to Dominique Hurley for the great pix!

Candace Moakler joined us for our first event of the year on Monday, January 30th, and spoke about how important doing what you truly love is to your well-being (and success!).  Candace is a well-known figure in the helicopter industry, where she has made a career for 35 years.

Some of the things Candace loves she shared in her Top 10 List— here are a few standouts:
• Antique tea cups
• The colour pink
• Helicopters
• The beach
• Giving dinner parties
• Family

Nine years ago, Candace took a break and created her own meeting and event management company to assist a range of clients in the corporate and non-profit sectors with meeting/event strategies and management.   Throughout her career, Candace has worked at senior levels provincially, nationally, and internationally managing media, corporate and community relations, event management, brand reputation, fishing lodges and executive schedules.  She has organized everything from dinner for two to a helicopter on Wall Street!  An active volunteer, Candace is currently a member of the Royal St. John’s Regatta Committee and the International Women’s Forum.  She has also served on the board of the Helicopter Association of Canada, St. John Ambulance, and the NL Lung Association.

December “Power” Lunch

“I’d like to extend a special thank you to all who attended our Making Your Mark Holiday Edition “Power Lunch”  on December 12. We had a great and  inspiring (!) time.

“A number of members stepped into the Making Your Mark spotlight, talking about the successes and the bumps in the road. I was honoured to be there and able to share in everyone’s personal stories, challenges, and triumphs.” Susan

(Please contact Susan to reserve or host a table at any of the Making Your Mark events.

Patsy Tremblett, of Prima Information Solutions, was our Making Your Mark Keynote Speaker on Friday, November, 18, and gave a spark to everyone’s entrepreneurial spirit!

In 1995, Patsy’s determination and drive led her to establish Prima. From its small beginnings, Patsy has grown Prima to become a leading expert in the field of Records and Information Management in Canada.

Born in Bonavista, NL, Patsy moved to Toronto to earn a business degree. Her sales experience, including managerial positions, began at Pepsi International, before returning to Newfoundland where she worked with Technical Sales Limited and Beothuk Data Systems. Patsy is a member of the Women Presidents Organization, a global peer advisory group for million-dollar-plus companies led by women.

Many thanks also to two more EXTRAordinary Women—Michele Hawco (above right), the MC for our event, and Susan Murray (below right), whoimg_1402 handled the Q&A after Patsy’s talk.


Michele Hawco is the CEO of Blue Sky Family Care Services, and Susan Murray owns Clearpath Leadership and works with private & public organizations, such as Memorial and Rotman School of Management.

Dallas Mercer, DMC ConsultingDallas Mercer

Grateful thanks go to keynote speaker Dallas Mercer, of DMC Consulting, for the great presentation at our October 20 lunchtime event in the Making Your Mark Series. Dallas is the founder and President of DMC – Dallas Mercer Consulting Inc. and Innu DMC – Safety Consulting Inc.  Both consulting companies specialize in disability and safety management for employers. Dallas is a native of Harbour Grace South and has been widely recognized for her business success.

She received the Premier’s Award for Excellence (2008), NLOWE Innovation Award (2010), Top Ten Business Leaders to Watch (Atlantic Business Magazine 2012), St. John’s Board of Trade Business Excellence Award for Growth in Sales (2012) and the NLOWE RBC Award for Entrepreneurial Excellence (2015).

Iris Petten—Season Launch

Thank you so much to Iris Petten, Chair of the Board of Regents of Memorial University and the President of Petten Holdings Inc., our speaker at the Fall Iris PettenLaunch Dinner in the Making Your Mark Series on Wednesday, September 28, 2016. Many thanks also to The Honourable Cathy Bennett, M.H.A. Windsor Lake, Minister of Finance, President of Treasury Board, Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, for her wonderful introduction to the event.

About Iris Petten
”A senior executive with 30 years in the fishing industry, Iris Petten’s adaptability, focus and determination have marked her as a powerful and effective leader. Her diverse and accomplished career includes a longstanding commitment to her community as a business person and as a volunteer. And behind it all, she remains driven by an entrepreneurial passion.

In 1998 she was the founding shareholder and vice-president of Grand Atlantic Seafoods which amalgamated into Ocean Choice International, where from 2000 to 2007, Petten was OCI’s vice-president. Ms. Petten is currently the President of Petten Holdings Inc. and continues her work in fishing enterprises and other areas. In March of 2016, Ms. Petten was reappointed for a second term as Chair of Memorial University’s Board of Regents.

The June Breakfast

Thank you very much to The Hon. Minister Cathy BennettCathy Bennett, M.H.A. Windsor Lake, Minister of Finance, President of Treasury Board, Government of Newfoundland & Labrador, who was our keynote speaker at the breakfast on June 7. Members and guests turned out to hear TEW BreakfastThe Minister talk about the new Independent Appointments Commission.

Before being elected to the House of Assembly in 2014, Minister Bennett had a very successful business career and was the CEO of Bennett Group of Companies, which included commercial and industrial construction and manufacturing, human resource support, restaurants, industrial supply, and real estate.

She has always been extensively involved in the charitable and Networking St John'scommunity sectors, and a strong business and community focus has been recognized with many awards. These include the Employer of Distinction in 2011 and several Top 50 CEO in Atlantic Canada awards from Atlantic Business Magazine and Atlantic Canada’s Top CEO in 2013.

Minister Bennett is also the Minister Responsible for the Status of Women, the Human Resource Secretariat, the Public Service Commission, the Office of the Chief Information Officer, and the Newfoundland and Labrador Liquor Corporation.

Thank you to all!

Making Your Mark in May

Dr. Allison Furey, Team Broken Earth,  was our Women's Networking NLEXTRAordinary keynote speaker at the Making Your Mark Lunch on May 18th.

In 2010, when Port-au-Prince, Haiti, suffered the catastrophic earthquake that left the city in chaos and rubble,  Dr. Allison Furey and her husband, Dr. Andrew Furey, volunteered for medical relief in the region. This fostered the creation of Team Broken Earth, now a national organization delivering medical care and education to the people and health care providers at Bernard Mevs Hospital in Port-au-Prince.

Born and raised in Portland, Oregon, Dr. Allison Furey moved to our part of the world in 1997.  She is an attending physician at the Janeway Children’s Health and Rehabilitation Center’s Emergency Department.

Making Your Mark in April

Jill Curran of Lighthouse Picnics and  Maxxim Vacations entertained and inspired us at our Making Jill Curran and Susan SparkesYour Mark Dinner on April 13th. Jill created Lighthouse Picnics in 2003. This flourishing business now employs 13 people and has been featured by Chatelaine, Time Magazine, Canada AM, and ABC News.  

Enroute put it as #50 in its list of 100 favourite things in the world. In 2014, Lighthouse Picnics was the #1 small business story of the year in The Globe & Mail. Wow! Lighthouse Picnics also received Newfoundland and Labrador’s Cultural Tourism Award, as well as Restauranteur of the Year.

In 2010, Jill acquired Maxxim Vacations, a tour operator featuring travel packages throughout Atlantic Canada.

Newfoundlandchocolatelogo “And I’d also like to say a big thank you very much to sponsor The Newfoundland Chocolate Company for the delightful Chocolate Buffet, which was much enjoyed by all!” Susan

Celebrating International Women’s Day

Thank you for a terrific presentation to our guest speaker at the MarchThe Telegram/link 10th Making Your Mark Series, Christina Dove, the owner, GM, and Master Chocolatier of the Newfoundland Chocolate Company.

“ Our audience  showed its appreciation to Christina with a standing ovation, but I’d like to add my special thanks!” Susan

Christina was recently awarded three Board of Trade awards for business excellence. Together with her husband, Christina started the Newfoundland Chocolate Company as a small family business. It has since grown to 65 employees and expanded to stores outside of the province.

This EXTRAordinary Woman is a clinical researcher and has been involved in neurodevelopmental research, as well as expressive therapies, for over 20 years. Christina founded Sensory Art Studios, and has a BSc Psychology (Hons) and a Masters in Science and Medicine (Neuroscience) from Memorial University and Art Therapy (VATI) from Vancouver Art Therapy Institute, completed her Master Chocolatier training from Callebaut Chocolate Academy and Ecole Chocolate School of Chocolate Arts, AND has been a potter for 25 years (Dove Pottery).

Thank you so much to Christina and the Newfoundland Chocolate Company (one of our sponsors) for the delicious chocolate buffet. Another great highlight of the evening was the fashion show by event sponsor Olsen Europe, synonymous with authentic fashion for self-assured women. Thank you to all who attended and to our sponsors for participating in this excellent event!

Making Your Mark in February

Dream It. Intend It. Live It. was the subject of the wonderful keynote presentation by EXTRAordinary Woman Bonnie Lundrigan, our featured TEW speakerspeaker at the Making Your Mark Luncheon on February 24th. Bonnie is a counsellor at The Wellness Centre in St. John’s and Newfoundland’s only professional certified Integrative Life Coach from The Ford Institute in San Diego. Bonnie has been counselling with children, families, individuals, and couples for over a quarter of a century and is co-founder and co-owner of Parallel Engineering, which has been in operation for 27 years.

Bonnie’s volunteer work has included development and relief projects in Kenya, Belize, and Guatemala, managing projects from the fundraising stages through to construction of more than 50 village houses, a school, and a library. In between, she has completed two degrees at MUN and a Masters Degree from the University of Toronto. Bonnie’s passions outside of work and family are tennis, yoga, reading, food, and having a good laugh. Thank you, Bonnie, for the guidance and inspiration!


Making Your Mark in January— with Christine Handssandchjan copy

Thank you very much to the wonderful Christine Hand, our  Making Your Mark keynote speaker at breakfast on Wednesday, January 20th. Christine is the owner/operator of Handyman Home Hardware in Conception Bay South and was recently recognized as a 2015 WXN Canada’s Most Powerful Women: Top 100 Award Winner for her work with the Home Hardware Board of Directors, which she has chaired since 2012.

The store was twice recognized as the number one Home Hardware in Canada (2001 and 2007 out of over 1000 stores nationally). An active community leader and volunteer in Conception Bay South, Christine is a proud mother of five (aged 19 to 29), a self-proclaimed choral music fanatic, a believer in looking for and bringing out the best in people (employees in particular!) and lives a life that she describes as “chaotic in a good way.”

A strong believer in the need to promote and encourage the advancement of women, Christine is a regular presenter in the hardware industry and community business events, known for speaking straight from the heart. Thank you, Christine, for the inspiration and sharing your experiences and insights.


Making Your Mark with Kim Keating

Thank you to Kim Keating, the 2015 Chair of the St. John’s Board of Trade and our keynote speaker at the KimKeating2014-6546Making Your Mark Breakfast on December 11th. Kim asked (and answered) the question, “Are we ever really ready?”

 With over 16 years experience in the Newfoundland and Labrador offshore oil and gas industry, Kim is currently Vice President Fabrication with the Cahill Group. Kim is an elected alumni representative on the MUN Board of Regents, Chair of the Rhodes Scholarship Selection Committee for Newfoundland and Labrador, is a past president of WISE NL, and a founding member of the International Women’s Forum NL chapter.

Thank you, Kim, for being our special guest at our wrap-up event for 2015–and for inspiring us for 2016!

Making Your Mark in November

Thank you to our speaker at our Making Your Mark lunch on November 25th, the enlightening Tamara Karen, tamara and dawn jpegDodgson—author, blogger, nutrition/fitness enthusiast, and a coach in self-help, and personal growth. Tamara is a Certified Strategic Intervention Coach and the owner of Forward Coaching & Consulting Services.

She has also managed to incorporate 20+ years of accounting and business experience into her services, offering entrepreneurial clients business planning, website development, and bookkeeping, as well as the opportunity to focus on their goals and create a vision for the future. Tamara’s first book is Designing Your Life, which she wrote, edited, published and marketed, has been sought out by Memorial University for inclusion in the QEII Library’s Center for Newfoundland Studies. We had a great time and learned much!

In the photo above at right are, L to R: Karen Walsh, of the Office of Women Apprentices, our keynote speaker Tamara Dodgson, and Dawn Bishop of Young Adult Cancer Canada



Making Your Mark—October

Thank you so much to our keynote speaker Carolyn Jewer, IPM Project Manager at Schlumberger, at the Making TEWYour Mark Speaker Series lunch on Tuesday, October 20. Carolyn spoke about Perfect Chemistry, a Woman’s Guide to the Oilfield, and stressed the value of mentoring—in her career and to the recipient and the giver.

Carolyn has spent the last 19 years in the oilfield with increasingly progressive management positions within Schlumberger, including operational roles for the start-up of the Hibernia Project, Canadian Environmental Manager, Quality, Health, Safety and Environmental (QHSE) Manager for all Schlumberger Land Operations in the United States. In that position, she managed the QHSE team and programs for over 150 locations. Carolyn graciously shared tales of her experiences and is an excellent trailblazer and role model for leadership. Thank you again, Carolyn, and to everyone who attended this inspiring lunch!

Making Your Mark–September

A very appreciative thank you goes out to EXTRAordinary Woman Anne Whelan, who spoke to us about The Care and Feeding of a Healthy Ambition at our Speaker Series lunch on Tuesday, September 22nd.

Anne Whelan is President and CEO of Seafair Capital Inc., a diversified holding company with business interests in health and community care, industrial, hospitality and real Anne Whelan and Susanestate, and is a notable business leader in Newfoundland and Labrador. She has received numerous awards and recognition for entrepreneurship and leadership in both volunteer and business capacities, including Atlantic Business CEO of the Year in 2014. In May 2015, Anne was inducted into the Atlantic Canada Business Hall of Fame, and Seafair Capital was named #64 on the W100 (a list of 100 leading women-owned businesses in Canada).

Making Your Mark—June
Thank you to our phenomenal keynote speaker Dr. Linda Inkpen, special guest at the Making Dr Linda InkpenYour Mark Dinner on June 3rd, for her inspiring words of wisdom.

Dr. Inkpen is the Registrar of The Council of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Newfoundland and Labrador,  and “highly regarded and widely respected within the College and throughout the medical profession for her extensive knowledge of the profession, her business experience, and her strong leadership skills.” (As reported in Bloomberg.)

“Dr. Inkpen served as a Commissioner of the Royal Commission on Employment and Unemployment, Province of Newfoundland and Labrador, and retired from her medical practice in December 2008 after 35 years of service. She has been very active on boards and as Chairwoman of a number of organizations and boards and was named a member of the Order of Canada in 1998 and awarded the Queen’s Jubilee Medal.”


Many thanks, also, to Bev Moore-Davis—the keynote speaker at our Making Your Mark lunch in May.

Bev Moore Davis

Bev Moore-Davis co-owns the Morvis Group of Companies with her husband and was the recipient of NLOWE’s 2013 Community Impact Award, and she is the founder of the Miles for Smiles Foundation, which advocates for the support, awareness, and prevention of child abuse. Bev founded and facilitates the Newfoundland chapter of ASCA – Adult Survivors of Child Abuse. Bev has been successful in having April proclaimed Child Abuse Prevention Month in NL, NS, NB, and BC, and hopes to have the entire country supporting the request by 2016.

And also to Landscape Architect Andrea Rowe, who was our special guest speaker at the Making Andrea RoweYour Mark event in April. Andrea is a co-founder of Atmosphere Landscape Construction Ltd. and responsible for many local and well-known landscapes, including the Joey Smallwood Residence Courtyard, Danny Williams’ Residence, and King William Park.

Nora DukeIt was great to see everyone who turned out to attend our dinner in celebration of International Women’s Day on March 16th and thank you for her very inspiring address to our keynote speaker Nora Duke, President and CEO of Fortis Properties.

As President and Chief Executive Officer of Fortis Properties, Nora Duke is responsible for the company’s two operating divisions – commercial real estate and hotels. Fortis Properties operates in eight Canadian provinces and has a workforce of over 2,300 employees. The portfolio includes 23 hotels, totaling 4400 rooms, operating under franchised and independent brands.

Note: And a heartfelt thanks also to Chatters and Rosemary Buckingham, for the gift bags provided to early registrants.

Connect with The EXTRAordinary Women for more information or if you have questions.

Keynote speaker Sarah Smellie, Executive Director of The St. John’s International Women’s Film Festival, was our guest at the Making Your Mark lunch on February 10th.

Women's Networking Event St. John's

The Executive Director of one of the longest running women’s film festivals in the world, founded in 1989 to support and promote women filmmakers, Sarah was the St. John’s International Women’s Film Festival’s Communications Manager for three years before taking over as the Executive Director. Before her time at the Festival, Sarah was an award-winning journalist and Associate Editor at The Scope magazine.

Thanks again to Sarah for her illuminating talk on life in the film business and prospects for women in the industry.

Please watch this space for details of our next event—.

Thank you to Cathy Bennett, who was our keynote speaker for the Making Your Mark Speaker Series in December.

Cathy Bennett, elected as the MHA for Virginia Waters on April 9, 2014, was our keynote speaker at The EXTRAordinary Women Breakfast @ Bianca’s.  Cathy is the founder and CEO of the Bennett Cathy BennettGroup of Companies and recognized as a successful leader in our business community.

Cathy Bennett is a former Chairperson of the St. John’s Board of Trade and former treasurer of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce. Cathy also served as Chair of Nalcor Energy and Governor of the Atlantic Provinces Economic Council. Among many community activities, she has been a proud member of the Labrador North Chamber of Commerce, Newfoundland and Labrador Organization of Women Entrepreneurs, Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Oil Industry Association, Newfoundland and Labrador Employers Council (NLEC), and Hospitality Newfoundland and Labrador. Cathy has played a strong community leadership role, devoting her time and resources to more than 100 non-profit organizations in the past 30 years.


Breakfast with Nancy Healey, CEO of the St. John’s Board of Trade

Thank you to Nancy Healey for her talk at the Making Your Mark Breakfast on Friday, November 21. Nancy is CEO of the St. John’s Board of Trade and was our keynote speaker at this monthly event.

TEW Lunch

From left to right, Nancy Healey, Susan Sparkes, Jennifer Binetti, Controller, Secunda Canada, and Kerri Best-Mason, General Manager of Waterford Energy Services Inc.

September Luncheon

Everyone had a great time at the September Luncheon with Susan Hollett as our keynote speaker. Susan spoke about Making Your Mark as part of our ongoing series. September 9 also saw thebkf42 launch of our Leadership Development Program. Brenda Kelleher-Flight of GDP Consulting shared her extensive knowledge and expertise of Board Governance and Working with Boards in the morning session. Claudine Evelly of The Performance Consultants spoke about how to be the person others follow when she addressed What Great Leaders Do Best.


(Note: It’s not too late to participate in the full program and complete missed sessions next season. Please register or contact for information.) 

June Luncheon

Multimedia artist Pam Hall was our keynote speaker on June 24 as part of the Making Your Mark Series to acquaint us with The Business of Being an Artist. Thank you, Pam!

Pam Hall & TEW members Pam Hall is not only a visual artist, film-maker, and writer— she works between and in many disciplines—including installation, drawing, object-making, photography, film, writing, social practice and performance. Pam’s work is shown across Canada and internationally—and featured in many corporate, private, and public collections, including the National Gallery of Canada. Please contact Susan for details or suggestions re our next event!

Sharon Horan, Chair of the St. John’s Board of Trade

Sharon Horan

Sharon Horan

On May 9, our special lunch guest and keynote speaker was Sharon Horan, President of Atlantic Orthotics Ltd. and Chair of the St. John’s Board of Trade. Thank you so much, Sharon, for your most exciting and captivating talk and insights! Sharon opened her first business, Atlantic Orthotics, in 1989 and followed that up with Fit for Work in 1994. Impressive growth has resulted in a company with almost 40 staff/contractors and four office locations across Newfoundland. In recent years, Schooner Holdings and Dory Holdings have also been established. Sharon is a leading light in our community and has received a number of awards in recognition of her business success including Employer of Distinction from NLEC in 2010, Canada’s Top 100 Female Entrepreneurs from Profit Magazine in 2011; and an NLOWE Innovation award in 2013. Sharon is a committed volunteer and among her many contributions she was a past president of the Business Association of Newfoundland and Labrador, as well as the Pedorthic Association of Canada, and a founding director of the Newfoundland and Labrador Organization of Women Entrepreneurs. Thank you, Sharon!

April Speakers Karen Walsh and Joann Greeley

TEW Lunch

One of the guest speakers, Joann Greeley, on the right.

Many thanks and appreciation also to Karen Walsh, Executive Director of the Office to Advance Women Apprentices, and  Red Seal Journeyman Electrician Joann Greeley, guest speakers at our lunch in April. Karen and Joanne discussed how tradeswomen were tapping into opportunities and high paying jobs in the province, and how the trades aren’t just for guys any more. Joann’s career switch from HR recruiter and customer service agent to electrician at the age of 34 was truly “extraordinary,” Karen pointed out, “and her achievements have made people stop and take a second look at the need for women in the trades—and the benefits.”

And Thank You for Celebrating IWD with Us

Anne Whelan Many thanks to our wonderful speakers, moderator and guest panelists—and all who attended to celebrate International Women’s Day. You all contributed so much. The keynote speaker was Anne Whelan, President, and CEO of Seafair Capital Inc., with business interests in health and community care, industrial, hospitality and real estate. Anne was named one of the top 50 CEOs in Atlantic Canada for each of the last three years and this year was also awarded the Entrepreneurial Award of Excellence from NLOWE. Introductory speaker for the Welcoming Address was Linda Ross, President/CEO of the Provincial Advisory Council on the Status of Women. Linda spent 24 years in international development with Oxfam Canada, with particular emphasis on the social and economic exclusion of women, before joining the Council in 2009.

Linda Ross

Linda Ross

Thanks also to our moderator for the Think Tank section of the evening, Brenda Kelleher-Flight (founder of GDP Consulting), and inspiring panelists Bev Moore-Davis of August and Lotta Stockholm and the Morvis Group of Companies, Kim Sparkes of Whink Inc, and  Rhonda Skanes, a business coach with Focal Point.

For details and to book or be a sponsor, or more information on the next event, please contact Susan Sparkes.

Andrea StackThank you very much to Andrea Stack, Investment Advisor, CIBC Wood Gundy—World Markets for her brilliant and entertaining talk to members and guests at our February event.TEW February lunch


Gail Hamilton and Jennifer ClementThank you once again to our EXTRAordinary keynote speakers on Friday, January 13, KPMG Partners Gail Hamilton and Jennifer Clement, for their informative and helpful presentation on The Power of Financial Information.

Siobahn Coady

Siobahn Coady

We’d like to extend a grateful and heartfelt thanks to Gail, Jennifer, and all of the wonderful guest speakers who have inspired, entertained, and enlivened us as they shared their stories and knowledge with us this season and since the founding of our EXTRAordinary Women’s group. 

Siobahn Coady was our inspiring guest speaker for the Festive Breakfast on December 13.  

Telelink CEOs

Sydney Ryan and Cindy Roma of Telelink

Co-CEOs of Telelink Sydney Ryan and Cindy Roma captivated us all—and it’s no wonder they are named in the annual W100 ranking of Canada’s Top Female Entrepreneurs by Profit Magazine and Chatelaine.


Sheilagh O'Leary

Sheilagh O’Leary

Sheilagh O’Leary’s memorable keynote speech set a very high standard for our Making Your Mark program when Sheilagh was our guest in October at the Bally Haly Country Club.  

TEW Speaker Series and Events:

Elaine Dobbin

Elaine Dobbin

We’ve been able to present an extremely varied range of events with inspirational guests and speakers in the last few years—all EXTRAordinary Women who have made their mark and lead the way in their fields and the community. Keynote speakers who graciously accepted our invitation to speak were Dawn Chafe, Editor of Atlantic Business Monthly, Ruth Canning, an award-winning realtor with Remax, and Hege Rogno representing Statoil Canada. We were also lucky enough to be able to present artist Janice Udell, whose work is found in the National Gallery of Canada and private, corporate and public collections worldwide, and Elaine Dobbin at an event held at The Elaine Dobbin Centre for Autism.

TEW Event

Susan Sparkes with Breakwater Books’ authors Bernice Morgan, Trudy J Morgan-Cole, and Jennifer Morgan.

More of our wonderful guests have included the award-winning owners of Le Boudoir, Mona Winter and Nicole Whittle, and Kendra MacDonald of Deloitte and Touche. Breakwater Books authors Jennifer Morgan, Trudy J Morgan-Cole and Bernice Morgan, joined us for a discussion of Working Women in the Literary Arts and a book signing. We were also very pleased to welcome Cathy Bennett of the Bennett Group of Companies and The Honourable Charlene Johnson, Minister of Child, Youth and Family Services and Minister Responsible for the Status of Women. Our panel of EXTRAordinary speakers including Anne Whelan, Gerlinde Van Driel, Kim Sparkes, and moderator Brenda Kelleher-Flight of GDP Consulting. Linda Ross, President of the Provincial Advisory Council on the Status of Women, joined the discussion to mark International Women’s Day. We hold events at member and sponsor premises and have held Happy Hours and presentation at various locations. Thank you to  Clare Barry of Avalon Laser Health, The Hair Factory, Sharingtons, and Simply Amish. Please contact Susan Sparkes to discuss proposals if you’d like to host or sponsor. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to connect, grow your networks, and relax and have fun at TEW events—all at the same time. Please sign up for TEW Newsletters and invites. THIS SEASON—A NEW MEMBER BENEFIT—DOUBLE IT: Our events are open to everyone. Members are encouraged to invite a guest at the member rate— If you’re a not yet and still thinking about joining, contact Susan for details. If you’re a member, invite your friends and colleagues. Reserve and pay ahead for events for the Double It member price. Every event is always a little different with special guests, speakers, and venues, but our underlying purpose—to create and collaborate and expand the opportunities for women to shine professionally and in the community—is always at the core of what we do.