November 13, 2015


The “Power the Economy” conference hosted by Feminomics and presented by the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) and women’s business enterprise HCM Works offered targeted education 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 agenda included world leaders in supplier diversity and inclusion, inspirational keynote speakers, successful women business owners, valuable networking opportunities, concrete business leads, and the high-powered energy and enthusiasm of impassioned advocates for powering up women’s contributions to economic growth.


The Honourable Minister Chrystia Freeland addressed an audience of some 140 champions of supplier diversity and inclusion of women in the Candian economy on Friday, November 13, 2015. The Power the Economy conference was Minister Freeland’s first public appearance in her new role.

Also on Friday, WEConnect International in Canada presented awards to Majda Ficko, Lise Déziel and Jo-ann Hayes for WBE of the Year. Deborah Youden accepted the award for Partner of the Year on behalf of NLOWE, and Marcia Seymour accepted the award for Corporation of the Year on behalf of TD Bank Group. Ruth Vachon won Supplier Diversity Champion of Year.

“BDC is solidifying our involvement with WEConnect International in Canada. We have put together a specialized team of bankers and consultants to support women entrepreneurs and members of the team will be participating in this year’s national conference. As Canada’s business development bank, we are committed to helping women business owners grow their companies and achieve their goals. We are doing so by increasing our lending and consulting solutions to women entrepreneurs. In addition, we are boosting our support for networking and mentoring opportunities across the country.”

Click here to see photos from the conference.

The Programme

Astrid Pregel, Executive Director of WEConnect International in Canada, put together a tremendous agenda to energize this year’s attendees. A number of WEConnect International corporate members including sponsors Boeing, Coca-Cola, Dun & Bradstreet, EY, IBM, Merck, Marriott International, TransCanada, and Walmart as well as Dell, ExxonMobil, EY, Johnson Controls, Monsanto, Sodexo, TDBank and Walmart participated and met with certified women business owners from markets across Canada. Click on the purple maple leaves below for more information.

Thank you to our additional sponsors and partners!


  • The Boeing Company
  • ICON
  • IDRC
  • Marriott International
  • Merck


  • IT Chapter


  • The Coca-Cola Company
  • Dun & Bradstreet
  • TeachMy
  • Walmart

Supporting Corporations

  • Ciena
  • Dell
  • Enterprise Holdings
  • ExxonMobil
  • EY
  • IBM
  • Monsanto
  • Sodexo
  • TD Bank Group
  • TransCanada
  • UPS

Partner Organizations

  • Alberta Women Entrepreneurs
  • RFAQ
  • Women’s Enterprise Centre BC
  • Women’s Enterprise Centre Manitoba
  • WEOC
  • Women’s Presidents Organization