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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’s 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

President & CEO of The Easton's Group of Hotels and 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

VC at MaRS Investment Accelerator Fund (IAF)

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:

ANNALEA KREBS

Founder & CEO of Social Nature

Annalea is the founder and CEO of Social Nature, the leading online discovery platform in the natural food and health space. She has been an entrepreneur for 12 years now, with Social Nature being her third business.

Annalea is recognized as a thought leader in the direct-to-consumer marketing space and loves promoting the “good stuff, not junk.”

CHERRY ROSE TAN

Founder & CEO of #REALTALK

Cherry Rose Tan is a well-known business authority who teaches at the Schulich School of Business and has been featured in Forbes Inc., The Globe and Mail, and more. Before starting #REALTALK, she owned a national crypto exchange.

In the last 10 years, Cherry has shifted her focus towards mental health in the tech industry and aims to shed a light on tech’s darkest secrets. As a fifth-generation entrepreneur with 12 years of expertise in psychology, her superpower is helping and coaching CEOs on emotional resilience and psychological safety.

CRISTINA ITALIA

Professor of Entrepreneurship at Seneca College

Cristina Italia is a Professor of Entrepreneurship and Program Coordinator for the Business Administration - Management Advanced Diploma with the School of Management and Entrepreneurship at Seneca College.

She is also the Faculty Advisor to Enactus Seneca and a past mentor at HELIX, Seneca's innovation and entrepreneurship incubator.

Cristina holds an International Bachelor of Business Administration Degree as well as a Master's in Business Administration (MBA). Although Cristina has occupied various roles in National Sales, Business Development, Marketing Research, and Strategy, her passion for entrepreneurship led her to found three ventures along with partners in photography, wine trade, and software.

Currently, she is working as an Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS) facilitator where she works with incubators and small businesses in consulting and business coaching capacities. Cristina is an avid supporter of women in entrepreneurship and loves helping people realize their entrepreneurial dreams!

JANELLE HINDS

Founder of Helping Hands

Janelle Hinds is an award-winning entrepreneur, public speaker, and strategic consultant. She has been working in the entrepreneurial ecosystem for over eight years and has been awarded the Forbes 30 Under 30 as the only Canadian for Education, the United Way of Greater Toronto’s Youth Leadership Award, and the McMaster Alumni Arch Award, among many others.

Janelle is an advocate for social innovation and encourages others to pursue their entrepreneurial endeavors and currently sits on the Board of Directors for Futurpreneur, as well as the McMaster Alumni Association Board. As an undergrad student, Janelle realized her passion for STEM education, entrepreneurship, and diversity issues.

This led her to founding HackItMac (now known as PhaseOne), a collaborative community to learn about technology, deltaHacks, one of the first student-run hackathons in North America focusing on enabling positive social change, as well as becoming a founding member of the Equity Diversity and Inclusion Committee for the Ontario Society of Professional Engineers.

Janelle’s extensive experience will allow the mentees to gain valuable insights as they grow in their own entrepreneurial journeys.

MONA MINHAS

Founder of Morisee Ventures

Mona Minhas is a qualified CPA, CFO, and COO consultant who supports startups with finance, business strategy, and growth initiatives with over 20 years of experience working with public and private companies in the media, telecommunications, and e-commerce industries.

She is known for leveraging her extensive experience working with start-ups to help hone their business models, organizational structures, and growth plans.

Mona founded Morisee Ventures which supports startups in the areas of finance and operations by providing fractional CFO consulting and helping companies grow and realize their true potential.

Mona also works as an advisor for Vubble, an information technology company based in Toronto and Waterloo, Canada.

Additionally, Mona is a former CFO for Knixwear, a high growth Canadian startup success story.

VALERIE FOX

Chief Innovation Consultant at The Pivotal Point

Valerie Fox is on a mission to help entrepreneurial communities thrive locally, nationally, and internationally based on a triple win practice of partnership, collaboration, and iteration. Valerie has over 30 years of experience in the digital world, where she initially founded a graphic design business.

She was later pursued by IBM to be part of their innovation intrapreneurial network, where she led design teams for enterprise software design, and was the creative director for large experience sites, such as the Sydney Olympics.

Valerie was also awarded 5 patents, including one for the Universal Shopping Cart for the Web, which is in the top 5% of IBM patents. Additionally, she also won the Sara Kirke Award for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, the 2016 CNE Woman of Distinction award, and had the honour of being part of the 2016 Canada Innovation Leaders team.

Valerie is able to lend her expertise to foster innovation throughout Canada and is a valuable contributor to the ELLA program.

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 or have deep expertise in a key area, 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 70+ SMEs

Get Involved

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