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Community

The ELLA Community is comprised of entrepreneurs, experts, industry professionals and supporters all coming together for the common goal of empowering women to rise in entrepreneurship. 

“Individually we are one drop. Together we are an ocean.” - Ryunosuke Satoro

Advisory Committee


The ELLA Advisory Committee consists of highly-acclaimed women leaders that actively demonstrate what is possible when women are empowered to rise in their field. Under their guiding advice, ELLA programs are poised to provide the tangible resources and support this underrepresented community needs to achieve their highest potential.

Guided by outstanding people:

DR. GEORGETTE ZINATY

Executive Vice President at Corporate Class Inc.

TEDx Speaker

Selected as 1 of 6 Canadian Women Empowering Women

Founder of WHEW! (Women Helping Empower Women)

Forbes Coaches Council Member

REETU GUPTA

Ambassadress & Chairwomen of the Gupta Group

Co-Founder of Rogue Insights Capital

Named one of Canada's Top 100 Most Powerful Women 2020 by Women's Executive Network

SNITA BALSARA

Investor at Graphite Ventures

Founding Committee Member of Canadian Women in VC

Committee Member of Scale Without Borders

Board Member of Rexdale Women's Centre and Golden Triangle Angel Network

VALERIE FOX

Chief Innovation Consultant at The Pivotal Point

Co-Founder of the DMZ at Ryerson University which launched in 2010, and by 2015 was named the number one University Business Incubator in North America and number 3 in the world

What do you value most about the ELLA program?

“The environment that all elements of the program create together. It is a space I can be comfortable being ambitious in. I feel supported, celebrated and validated.”

ELLA Altitude 2020 Alum

Entrepreneurs-in-Residence (EIRs)


Our Entrepreneurs-in-Residence (EIRs) are experienced entrepreneurs who draw from their own first-hand experience in building their own business(es) to provide expert advice in a mentor role. Each ELLA program participant is assigned an EIR who will work closely with them throughout the program to help them address challenges, push boundaries and grow successful businesses.

Gain one-on-one mentorship with an experienced entrepreneur:

CRISTINA ITALIA

Professor of Entrepreneurship and Chair for the School of Management and Entrepreneurship at Seneca College

Cristina Italia is a Professor of Entrepreneurship and Chair for the School of Management and Entrepreneurship at Seneca College. She is also the Faculty Advisor to Enactus Seneca, a past mentor at HELIX and is currently developing a Graduate Certificate program in Entrepreneurship and Innovation. 

Cristina holds an International Bachelor of Business Administration and a Master's in Business Administration (MBA.) She has occupied various roles in National Sales, Business Development and Marketing Research and Strategy; however, her passion for entrepreneurship led her to found three ventures along with partners in photography, wine trade and most recently software. Cristina continues to work with incubators and small businesses in consulting and business coaching capacities and loves to help people realize their entrepreneurial dreams!

LORI RAUDNASK

Author & Producer of Persistence Pays

Lori is an international speaker, entrepreneur and author who has coached, trained, and mentored thousands of people around the world. She has mastered the sales process building a team that generated well over 100 million dollars in direct sales.

Lori has launched the careers of hundreds of successful entrepreneurs worldwide. For over three decades, she has dedicated her life to helping others win big. Lori has produced and hosted the TV show Persistence Pays and is the author of Persistence Pays: How getting what you want is easier than you think.

Lori was the recipient of the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal and was chosen as Stoney Creek’s Citizen of the Year for her community service.  Lori believes that if we are persistent, we can have anything we want, and she does mean everything!   

MARGARET ZANEL

Founder & Partner, Strategy and Leadership of Wentworth Strategy Group Inc.

President of Zanel Advisory Group Inc.

Margaret is a recognized expert in supporting senior leaders advance to and be highly effective within the C-Suite, and purpose-driven organizations achieve revenue growth.

She works with leaders to help them develop a path to achieve their professional goals; and senior teams to rapidly grow revenue through expansion into new markets, new geographies, innovative offerings, new capabilities, and new programs.  

Margaret is a highly skilled executive advisor, strategist, entrepreneur, diversity champion and leadership coach with over 30 years of experience in Fortune 100 and private equity-backed early growth & start-ups in Canada, the US, and globally. Her industry experience is in the high-growth sectors of technology, cannabis, and retail health & wellness. 

Margaret is the Founder & Partner of Wentworth Strategy Group Inc., a diversified management consultancy focused on helping small and medium enterprises thrive. She leads the Strategy and Leadership practice. Margaret is also President, Zanel Advisory Group Inc.,  supporting senior leaders advance to and be effective within the C-Suite, through leadership advancement coaching and strategic advisory.   

As a passionate advocate of diversity, equity and inclusion, Margaret works tirelessly to support women's advancement in the c-suite and the boardroom. She is co-instructor of the inaugural DeGroote School of Business, Executive Education Program on Equity, Diversity and Inclusion in the workplace. Margaret is the first women facilitator of the Board of Trade's Trade Accelerator Program (TAP) for women-led and women-owned business cohorts across Canada. She is an Entrepreneur In Residence with the Ella Accelerator, Ontario's first accelerator focused on supporting women-led product and service-based businesses. Margaret is the Founder of the Women Entrepreneurs Network, a social platform to inspire and educate the next generation of women entrepreneurs. She was also the Executive Director, Mentorship Programs for Women Get on Board Inc. 

Margaret currently serves on the Advisory Board of HerRide, Canada's first women driving women ride-hailing membership-based company. She is also an Advisor to a game-changing global conservation tech start-up WildTechDNA. Margaret served for two years on the McMaster Alumni Board. She also served on the board of Xerox Canada Inc. She is an alumnus of the Judy Project. In 2018 Margaret was selected as one of Diversity MBA Magazine's "Top 50 over 50", and in 2020 Margaret was recognized as one of Diversity MBA Magazines, "Top 100 Women of Influence". 

MARISOL FORNONI

Entrepreneurship Coach

Marisol is passionate about creating alternative and equitable economies and currently works at the intersection of social entrepreneurship, fundraising and education to make that happen. Marisol currently works with BIPOC, women and non-binary social entrepreneurs to gain clarity on their social enterprise business models and support their ventures grow.

She supports them with understanding their big WHY, refining their theory of change and exploring values driven business models. Her goal is to make her coaching inclusive, responsive and systems informed. Since 2012, she's worked with more than 40 non-profits, social enterprises and incubators across Canada to test and develop their social enterprise ideas, diversify their revenue streams and fundraise.

SANDRA BEKHOR

Founder, Bekhor Management

Sandra Bekhor founded Bekhor Management in 2005 to enable lawyers, architects, accountants and other professionals to realize the vision for their practice through business and marketing strategies, from start-up through to succession planning.

During her long tenure in the accounting and consulting industry, Susi advised and worked with some of Canada's top privately managed and entrepreneurial companies. While at Deloitte, she ran the acclaimed Canada’s Best Managed Companies Program nationally, interviewing and coaching companies to highlight their strengths and enabling them to shine amongst their peers.

In addition, she was responsible for the Women of Influence Luncheon Series and worked with the Women Entrepreneur of the Year Program. More recently, Susi led Functional and Industry Marketing in the GTA for KPMG where she was responsible for the team that created and delivered a multitude of events, campaigns, communications, and sponsorships across all platforms.

SUSI GRAF

Principal & Founder, SusAble Consulting

Susi Graf is a dedicated and passionate marketer and business advisor who focuses on developing strategies for business growth. She brings 25 years of experience in corporate business, sales, coaching and working closely with executive leaders.

Understanding the needs of scaling businesses, Susan founded Scaling Management Consulting Group, Inc, which offers scaling companies access to experienced executives on a fractional basis, allowing them to grow faster at a fraction of the cost.  

When Susi left the accounting and professional services world, she started SusAble Consulting. Naturally curious, she began to explore industries and clients where she could grow and expand her skillsets -- specifically writing, digital, social and strategy work. Her clients grew to include entrepreneurs, start-ups (including Dragon’s Den finalists), community groups and government organizations. Currently, Susi serves as the marketing director for Ghost Kitchen Brands, a rapidly growing quick service restaurant concept, optimized for online delivery and pickup of your most craved food brands ranging from iconic global brands to emerging virtual dining concepts.

A graduate of the Ivey School of Business at Western University, Susi has also been quite engaged in her communities working with both the City of Vaughan’s Economic Development Group and as a committee member of the Vaughan Chamber of Commerce. In 2015, Susi started working with the global angel investment network, Keiretsu Forum, helping early-stage companies find viable funding alternatives paving the way to game-changing innovations across industries and borders. Susi has been the chair of the Vaughan board of GroYourBiz since she started it in 2017. GroYourBiz offers women entrepreneurs training, support, advisory services, and strategic alliances to take their businesses to the next level through a global network of peer-to-peer advisory boards. Susi is passionate about connecting people, ideas and innovations. She continues to be a champion of women business leaders, inspiring both leaders and entrepreneurs to think creatively and focus tenaciously on building relationships to help their businesses grow.

TIFFANY FORD

Founder, Ford Global Group Inc.

Tiffany is the Ford Global Group Inc. founder, an award-winning marketing communications specialist, and a serial entrepreneur. 

For more than a decade, Tiffany has worked with leading companies, not-for-profits and politicians that are committed to solving some of society’s most significant challenges. She is passionate about redefining and reimagining their brands, messaging, and marketing strategies.

She holds a double Bachelor of Arts with Honours in Communications and Sociology from York University and a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Fredericton. Tiffany also has a Financial Modeling and Valuation Analyst (FMVA) certification from the Corporate Finance Institute.
 
Tiffany served as an elected trustee with the Toronto District School Board from 2014-to 2018 and ran for Toronto City Council in 2018. She is also the founder of the Beyond “at-Risk” Organization, which aims to dismantle the harmful connotations associated with the term ‘at risk.’

Entrepreneurs-In-Residence (EIRs/Mentors)

Gain one-on-one expert guidance from an experienced professional!

“She took time to understand me, and yet pushed me out of my comfort zone. I was able to see my business from a different perspective thanks to her insistence and experience.”

ELLA Ascend 2020 Alum

Community Partners


ELLA is here to create real, tangible changes to propel women entrepreneurs. We draw on the support of passionate and engaged Community Partners to help us give entrepreneurs access to the information and resources they need to grow their businesses.

Thank you to our supporters:

LET'S MAKE IT HAPPEN TOGETHER

Join the ELLA Community 

United, we combine our connections, resources, and knowledge for women entrepreneurs to succeed.

Ways to get involved and change lives:

SPONSOR

Your contributions can help support and enrich our programming.

INVESTOR

Want to diversify your portfolio and meet fascinating women founders? Be an ELLA-affiliated investor.

COMMUNITY PARTNER

Inform your audience of the support available for women founders and help spread the word.

ENTREPRENEUR-IN-RESIDENCE

If you’re a successful entrepreneur and you would like to help other women succeed, you can apply to be a mentor.

SUBJECT MATTER EXPERT

If you find pride in helping entrepreneurs solve specific needs one-on-one in your area of expertise, join our growing network of SMEs.

Get Involved

Support women in entrepreneurship and join an outstanding community of changemakers. If you are interested, please contact us to get involved!