All our Independent Women In Leadership events are at the Waterfront Hotel, Downtown Burlington unless otherwise advised.  Registration for all our events is via Meetup. Independent Women In Leadership events are primarily for women, but men are very welcome to attend.  If you have any questions, please contact us.

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, as of April 2020 all our events will be held online until further notice.

Wednesday, October 14, 2020 3:00 – 4:30 pm via Zoom video conferencing

APP-Y Teasers – There’s An APP for Everything!

Let’s grab a coffee and meet on ZOOM with  productivity expert and Virtual Assistant, Marianne D’Alessandro.


Marianne will show you the most popular and mainly free apps. We’ll cover apps for productivity, apps for creativity, apps for security, and some fun apps. With so much selection out there, these are Marianne’s top picks to help manage your business and personal tasks.

Marianne D’Allesandro Bio

MARIANNE D’ALESSANDRO has been an Executive Assistant for over 30 years.  She is the owner and virtual assistant for TimeFlies-Admin Services.  Her extensive experience in the corporate world transfers into virtual support for small to medium size business owners.  Marianne’s business motto:  Use my time not yours!

 Marianne believes in partnership with her clients – working together to achieve goals where she can do the admin tasks for you or teach you how to be more productive.

 Marianne has been a Level 1 and Level 2 Certified Instructor with CLC Canada – a course which promotes confidence in public speaking. She has taught at Niagara College in the Office Administration Program. Marianne has been a Featured Contributor for and Canadian Small Business Women (


Wednesday, September 9, 3:00pm – 4:30pm via Zoom Video Conferencing

Mini Workshop with a panel of fabulous women entrepreneurs

Making Big Decisions in Business and Career

Our panel of women entrepreneurs will discuss how they have made big decisions in their businesses and career.

Learn how they have taken steps to pivot during the pandemic, and where they are headed in the future, now that the business landscape has changed.

On our panel are:

Linda Barnett: After retiring from a banking career, Linda became Owner and Founder of The  Travelling TeaRoom where she brings a High Tea experience to the privacy of your own home, developed Private Label Teas, created bespoke Tea-themed Note Card Stationary, published a successful Cookbook, offers a specialty Chakra line of teas, and has a jewellery and accessory Boutique for women.

Oraine DeRosa: Financial Architect at Blackmore Levy Group – A financial advisor who loves to educate women and help them become financially secure. Oraine also spent the majority of her career in the banking industry, but felt restricted.  Now she is free to use all strategies to help her clients build or rebuild their Financial House the right way.

Joan Hing King: Real Estate Broker at eXp Realty.  Joan was a Real Estate Investor before she became a realtor.  She created a Real Estate and Investment club over 20 years ago.  Her specialty is pre-construction for living or real estate investment.  Formerly in the legal, banking and accounting profession, Joan is forward thinking about working in the cloud to advance her business.

Kristina Shea: Owner of K-Vision Marketing & Communications, Kristina has had an eclectic career working with the big banks, regulatory bodies such as OSC, publicly listed companies as well as not-for-profit; helping their brands stand out. She recently was awarded her cannabis retail license and is now planning to launch a new company with a unique vision of shifting paradigms with a new approach to wellness.

Moderator:  Joanna Blackmore – Chair Independent Women in Leadership – President, Blackmore Levy Group

postponed until fall 2020

Morning workshop with Melanie Cook, BMO, and Brooke Gordon, BDC

Financing Options for Female Entrepreneurs: How to talk to your banker about a business loan?

  •  Financing tips for female entrepreneurs from a bank and the business development bank of Canada
  • We will discuss how to get “approval” ready
  • We will speak about financing solutions that can help grow your business and what you need to know to be approved for financing.

Melanie Cook, Senior Relationship Manager –  Business Banking Burlington

She started her career in banking 18 years ago, joining BMO as a co-op student and progressed quickly through various roles at the bank. She spent 12 years as a Branch Manager in South Western Ontario and most recently at a large Branch ‎in Burlington, Ontario. Through that experience, she discovered two things – her natural inclination and passion for developing teams to increase overall performance, and how much she enjoyed working with business owners.

Three years ago, she moved over to the commercial side of banking to become a Relationship Manager where she could spend more time building relationships with business owners to help them grow their business. Today, she works with companies at all stages of business from start-up and growth, to succession – tailoring the right solutions to meet their needs.

Melanie is passionate about women in leadership and has played an integral role in spearheading several BMO for Women events and volunteered as a Chair of two enterprise groups within BMO that support Women.

 Those who work with Melanie will say she is an advocate for her clients, self-motivated, organized, and a creative problem-solver. Because of that, she has been recognized with awards for her abilities throughout her career.

Brooke Gordon, Senior Advisor, Women Entrepreneur, BDC

Brooke Gordon was recently appointed to the new position of Senior Advisor, Women Entrepreneur (WE) for BDC in Ontario where she assumes the responsibility of helping majority women owned businesses accelerate their growth and scale up — and ensuring women thrive through every step of their business journey with the help of dedicated partner organizations and regional hubs from across the WE ecosystem.

Brooke joined BDC in 2017 with the High Impact Firms (HIF), Advisory Services where she led a team of Business Advisors and Analysts that support the Growth Driver Program as the HIF Service Delivery Manager for Ontario. Prior to joining our organization, Brooke served as a trusted businesses advisor and consultant for over 19 years in the areas of strategic planning, organizational development and operations.

Brooke is a weight lifting enthusiast and certified Health Coach who is passionate about nutrition and implementing plans that are developed with a focus on sustaining a work life balance for the whole team. She is a proud volunteer with Soroptimist International, an organization that provides financial support for women enrolled in training (Live Your Dream) and career counseling for girls in high school (Dream It Be It).

Brooke is certified in ITIL and holds a Master’s in commercialization (MEEi), in addition to both a Bachelor’s and Master’s in Engineering Physics from McMaster University, where she was awarded a patent in semiconductor manufacturing processes. She currently teaches the Engineering and Management final capstone project.




Event Photos