The THRIVE Podcast for Women Entrepreneurs is all about supporting YOU to start and build a thriving business. On THRIVE, we connect you with leading experts, entrepreneurs, and organizations that provide capital, mentorship, training, tools and other support to help you to make your vision reality, faster.

The THRIVE podcast is a production of Startup Canada, Canada’s entrepreneurship organization, supporting Canada’s entrepreneurs to succeed. This podcast is presented in partnership with the Business Development Bank of Canada and Scotiabank.

Latest Episode

Combining Design and Social Impact with Ilana Ben-Ari – August 20, 2020

Inventors and developers are time and time again urged to stay away from the start-up world, especially if they are women. Ilana Ben-Ari, Founder of Twenty One Toys and winner of Startup Canada’s 2019 Mississauga Canadian Export Challenge, thinks creating a sustainable business with a social purpose is for everyone. 

Ilana Ben-Ari is a multiple-award-winning design entrepreneur, TEDx Speaker, and Ariane de Rothschild Fellow. She has been working at the intersection of design and social innovation for over a decade.

Her company Twenty One Toys has been featured in Forbes, Fast Company, Bloomberg, and her invention, The Empathy Toy, was praised by TIME magazine as a “technology that is reshaping the future”. Her company has brought the transformative power of play into 1000s of boardrooms and classrooms worldwide through an expanding collection of toys, workshops, and training programs that prepare teams to unlock skills like empathy and failure.

“As women, we are often expected to be empathetic and put other people first. Use that empathy to connect with your audience and create a community of like-minded entrepreneurs. Know that you have the tools and skills to create a sustainable business right now.”

On this week’s THRIVE Podcast, sponsored by the Business Development Bank of Canada and Scotiabank, Ilana discusses using word of mouth marketing to break into new markets and the importance of community in the start-up world.

Recently Aired Episodes


Leading Through Change with Michelle Williams – August 13, 2020

For entrepreneurs to succeed, adaptability and resilience are paramount when faced with sudden change. Michelle Williams, Change Strategy Lead for Sovereign Insurance, believes we need to embrace change and work together through adversity.  

Michelle Williams is a Change Strategy Lead who works with individuals and teams across Sovereign’s six national offices to elevate their strategic plans to achieve enhanced results and build a strong culture – which is the heart and soul of an organization. Michelle believes that by fostering safe spaces for people to be heard, we support and illuminate courage, growth and action that may not otherwise be possible. Ultimately, this creates an environment that inspires leadership, performance and joy. As a certified life coach, Michelle has a genuine interest and curiosity about what matters and is important to people. Michelle is eager to partner with individuals who are open and willing to discover new opportunities, embrace change and overcome barriers to achieve their goals.

Michelle is passionate about creating families and communities that thrive. A life-long learner, she enjoys reading, listening to thought provoking podcasts or exploring activities to support both her personal and professional growth. Michelle values laughter and adventures with her family, including long walks with their energetic dog Cali. 

“We live in a volatile and complex world. Change is constant and it is not going away anytime soon,” she says. “We are all challenged to embrace change and refine our approach as we go.”

On this week’s THRIVE Podcast, sponsored by the Business Development Bank of Canada and Scotiabank, Michelle discusses the benefits and challenges of navigating organizational change.

Navigating Adversity With Fearless Optimism with Mary Doyle – August 6, 2020

Amidst a new era of human development brought on by COVID-19, rural businesses and communities play a key role in solving issues of remote work and wellness – just ask Mary Doyle, Founder of Rural on Purpose.

Mary describes herself as a crystal ball engineer – equal parts futurist and problem solver. She is a writer/speaker/program developer and consultant with over 28 years of experience working in all three sectors, private, non-profit and government as a teacher, business owner and economic developer. 

She has been recognized in all areas of her professional development, being named Business Person of the Year, A Canadian Woman Entrepreneur Icon and receiving a top teaching award for the most outstanding qualities of Scholarship, Teaching Ability and Character. 

“Resilience is the key to our future. Practice fearless optimism as much as you can and just keep moving if you find yourself stuck – an object in motion stays in motion and I find it works the same way for entrepreneurs.”

On this week’s THRIVE Podcast, sponsored by the Business Development Bank of Canada and Scotiabank, Mary discusses what it takes to create dynamic rural communities and facing adversity through innovation and flexibility.

The Human Part of Sales with Kim Orlesky – July 30th 2020

Sales are less about transactions and more about the relationships you build, and Kim Orlesky, President, KO Advantage Group Ltd., will be the first to tell you.

Kim is the President of KO Advantage Group and author of Sell More. Faster. She’s listed as one of LinkedIn’s top sales influencers and is the host of the web series Project: Knockout. She’s Startup Canada’s Woman Entrepreneur and Success Magazine’s most inspirational blogger. 

She speaks internationally, including at North America’s largest entrepreneurial event, Inbound, alongside Michelle Obama, Brené Brown, and Dan Pink. In 2014 Kim quit her life to backpack solo around the world. When she returned she turned her passion for sales into one of the fastest growing sales training programs, KO Sales U. 

“Now is more of a time than ever to reach out to your clients and prospects – they’re going to remember you because you reached out in their time of need.”

On this week’s THRIVE Podcast, sponsored by the Business Development Bank of Canada and Scotiabank, Kim discusses putting the human back into sales.

Resilience in Entrepreneurship with Sloane Muldoon – July 23rd 2020

Now, more than ever, resilience is necessary for success as a woman entrepreneur, and Sloane Muldoon, Senior Vice President, Prairie Region, is here to help!

Sloane Muldoon is the Scotiabank Senior Vice President, Prairie Region. Sloane was appointed to this role in May 2017, with responsibility for providing leadership and driving results in Retail and Small Business. Sloane is an active member of The Scotiabank Women Initiative Advisory Board.

Sloane has been with Scotiabank since 1991 and has held progressively more senior roles in the Bank. Most recently, Managing Director for the Caribbean East Region and Country Head & Managing Director, Cayman Islands & British Virgin Islands.

Prior to this, Sloane assisted in developing the Bank’s long term strategies relative to strategic planning for the year 2020 and has held a number of Senior Management positions within the bank including District Vice-President, Alberta South, Vice President, Agriculture, Commercial Banking.

“Now is the time to build resilience into your DNA. It will serve you during #COVID-19 and beyond.”

On this week’s THRIVE Podcast, sponsored by the Business Development Bank of Canada and Scotiabank, Sloane discusses resilience and recuperation through proper planning.

Being Your Best for Investment with Jess Joss – July 16th 2020

It’s easy to chase help from above, but there’s a way to ensure it comes your way and Jess Joss, CEO (on leave) of Equation is here to share it!

Jess Joss is the CEO (on leave) of Equation, a joint venture that brings together three angel investment networks, Co-founder of Insiteful Solutions, and Partner in Spyder Capital Corporation. Leveraging more than 20 years of business leadership, entrepreneurial expertise and investment experience, she played a pivotal role in the realization of Equation, and its impactful investment collaboration.

A passionate connector of people, technology and opportunity, and fueled by a love of entrepreneurship, mentorship and angel investing, Jess works closely with ecosystem partners, dedicated angels and game-changing young companies looking to grow. She is committed to driving growth, customer, revenue and capital acquisition, exceptional exits, community and economic development.  Building directly on these objectives, she maintains the transparency of the angel investment process, while cultivating collaboration, community engagement and deals.

“This is an opportunity for one to share personal experiences and the journey I’ve had so people can see everyone’s roots are perhaps different, but they can get you to great endings.”

On this week’s THRIVE Podcast, sponsored by the Business Development Bank of Canada and Scotiabank, Jess discusses how to set yourself up for investment.

Learning From Your Journey with Jodi Kovitz – July 9th 2020

On a journey like entrepreneurship, it’s essential to reflect on what you’ve learned and how you’ve gotten where you are – just ask Jodi Kovitz.

Jodi Kovitz is the founder and CEO of #movethedial, a global movement and organization to advance the participation and leadership of all women in tech. 

Leveraging Jodi’s vision, leadership, wealth of experience, pioneering spirit, and passion for advancing the full talent pool in the new economy, #movethedial has touched over 60,000 people at events throughout Canada, the US, the UK and Israel. Featured in Forbes Women, Jodi was recognized as an Adweek Brandstar in Toronto in 2018, One of Canada’s 25 Women of Influence in 2018, one of WXN’s Canada’s 100 most powerful women in 2017 & 2019 and co-chaired the re-election campaign for Toronto’s Mayor in 2018, John Tory. 

Jodi sits on several tech company advisory boards, the board of Directors of Toronto Global and the Sickkids’ hospital Capital Campaign Cabinet raising $1.3B to transform paediatric health. Jodi holds an HBA from Ivey and an LLB from Osgoode Hall Law School. Jodi is a connector, problem solver, and builder. 

“From my experience, I believe that the first step in entrepreneurship comes from the conviction that you can do what you’re setting out to do.”

On this week’s THRIVE Podcast, sponsored by the Business Development Bank of Canada and Scotiabank, Jodi discusses reflecting on your path.

Creating Your Career with Christine Whone – July 2nd 2020

When you can’t keep walking the same path, sometimes you just need to create your own – just ask Christine Whone.

Christine is the Owner of Actually, Communication Design Studio, Chapter Lead of Canada Learning Code in Barrie, Instructor at Ryerson University’s Chang School, and Advisory Committee Member for Graphic Design at Georgian College. 

Most recently she launched online courses and success services for creative and business professionals who want step-by-step processes and strategies to build their business, combining her experience as a Designer, Success Coach and Instructor at christinewhone.com so they are set for success running their own business

Christine has held various responsibilities in her 14 years of experience and expertise in design, communications, tech, education, and entrepreneurship while working with clients and students in a diverse range of business sectors. Her well-rounded experience helps design and build communication materials and media to suit her clients unique business needs. Today Actually consults, designs, and develops information that communicates for social good companies and organizations. Check out Actually’s portfolio at actuallywecreate.com

“I want women to know they’re good at solving problems, math, business, engineering, whatever it is they set out to do.”

On this week’s THRIVE Podcast, sponsored by the Business Development Bank of Canada and Scotiabank, Christine discusses creating your own path as a Canadian women entrepreneur.

Legal Lessons for Women Entrepreneurs with Megan Cornell – June 25th 2020

Innovation in sectors where there typically isn’t a lot of innovation makes for quite the opportunity – just ask Megan Cornell, CEO & Chief Ideas Officer, Momentum Business Law and Momentum Law Labs!

Megan spent the first decade of her practice working in Big Law, learning what all sizes of businesses in all types of industries need to succeed. Along the way, Megan developed a philosophy of client care, which is based on clients driving the firm and its direction. Megan kept a close eye on technology developments and knew that technology could be put to better use to provide more timely, more accurate and more affordable business law services.

In 2012, Megan decided to bring her philosophy and technology together to create Momentum – a new kind of business law firm dedicated to providing complete business law solutions to clients in a way that works for clients. Megan believes that Momentum needs to grow and evolve at the same pace as any other business, and welcomes the continuing evolution of business and the business of law.

“I knew I wanted to go out on my own, and that was driven by feeling we weren’t being very proactive with our clients. I knew I wanted to do something different than the billable hour.”

On this week’s THRIVE Podcast, sponsored by the Business Development Bank of Canada and Scotiabank, Megan discusses innovating in a space not typically associated with Innovation.

Engineering Startup Solutions with Midia Shikh Hassan – June 18th 2020

Sometimes the things that set you apart can be your biggest advantage, and Midia Shikh Hassan would agree.

Midia studied health sciences, biochemistry, and chemical engineering from the University of Ottawa.  She is a co-founder and CEO of Dextra Innovation, which uses 3D printing technology to provide affordable prosthetics to amputees living in refugee and poverty zones as well as Makerspace technology training to communities globally to scale up the production of affordable assistive technologies.  

She is also the Manager of MakerLaunch program at the University of Ottawa that provides engineering students and recent alumni with support to fast-track the commercialization of new technology and launch new technology startups. Midia was awarded the 2018 Queen’s Young Leaders Award by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. She was also awarded the 2019 CBC Trailblazer award and the 2019 Facebook Social Entrepreneurship Award for her work in Dextra. Midia was also one of 145 youth accepted into the prestigious graduate fellowship Schwarzman Scholars program class 2021.

“Culture plays a huge role in what defines you and the values you have, as well as the change you want to leave behind in life.”

On this week’s THRIVE Podcast, sponsored by the Business Development Bank of Canada and Scotiabank, Midia discusses using what sets you apart to your advantage.



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