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.

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.




Wednesday, May 13, 2020  3:30pm – 4:30pm via Zoom Video Conferencing

Evening Workshop and Networking with Michele Bush

Hello Change.  I am ready for you!  


We all know that Change Happens!  It can happen to us or we can make it happen. 

Either way, recognizing what our personal and professional strengths are is the key to being ready for change.

Join us for a mini-workshop where we reveal the ways to uncover your superpowers, identify your transferable skills and acknowledge your many accomplishments. 

Discover and celebrate – guilt free – just how much you have to offer and take that confident step towards creating the change you want.


Michele is a Business Advisor and Career Transition Specialist.  After 30 years in Human Resources, she bravely reinvented herself at the age of 52.  Michele is a Certified Coach Practitioner and has developed a reputation for helping business leaders and clients to realize their full potential. 

Michele is known for being a charismatic, candid speaker and a progressive mentor for aspiring professionals.  Michele holds a B.A. in Psychology, is a Certified Facilitator and is an advocate of helping people – at any stage of their career – to realize what is unique about them.

Event Photos