Meet the 2016 BDC Mentorship Award Winner
“My business is more efficient, more effective and more lucrative thanks to her insight. My level of awareness as a female entrepreneur has grown, thanks to her guidance. I am richer knowing her.”
Natasha Marchewka, Mentee
Mary Jane Copps
Owner/CEO, The Phone Lady
Halifax, Nova Scotia
Mary Jane launched her first communications company in 1987 and, with a partner, grew it to a staff of nine. Selling her shares in 2001, she helped a wide variety of businesses grow revenue. In 2006, she introduced The Phone Lady brand, and has since worked with over 300 businesses, providing them with the skills to communicate effectively on the phone.
Mary Jane’s expertise has been included in The Wall Street Journal, The Globe & Mail, The National Post, Huffington Post, CBC, CTV and more. She believes in entrepreneurship, knowing that providing support and sharing knowledge with other business owners allows everyone to thrive.
These individuals were selected by Regional Selection Committees to represent all of Canada in competition for the 2016 BDC Mentorship Award, presented by Futurpreneur Canada.
“Hamish deserves this award because he supports us without judgement, asks the questions that need to be asked, even the tough ones, with an amazingly elegant and nurturing approach.”
Sabrina Thomas, Mentee
President, Sales4 Training and Consulting Inc.
Hamish works with COPs (Chief Executives, Owners and Presidents) who seek having the edge that an accountable, growth-driven organization has over their competition.
Hamish is a former Sandler Global Rookie of the Year, and a current member of Sandler’s Franchisee Advisory Council. His first book, Accountability the Sandler Way, was published in November 2014 and his second book, Change the Sandler Way, will be published in September 2016.
Hamish is an active mentor with Futurpreneur Canada, a Maple Leaf Club donor to Enactus Canada and a volunteer judge for regional and national student entrepreneur competitions.
“Ray has been with me from literally having a drawing of an idea on a piece of paper, to having over $1M in revenue. He has been valuable in every step of the process.”
Derek Rucki, Mentee
Director, Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship
Ray is the Director of the Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Mount Royal University. He has been a successful entrepreneur, selling his company to Intel, and was also a key member of the team that brought the iconic BlackBerry to the world.
Ray is on the board of Innovate Calgary, as well as several private sector advisory boards, and is proud to be a mentor and advisor to many young entrepreneurs. He holds a Bachelors of Mathematics in Computer Science from the University of Waterloo and a Masters of Business Administration from Wilfrid Laurier University.
“[Sylvie] wants us to grow as individuals, and also see our business grow. She has been there at each step for us…with an eagerness to learn about our business, listen to our problems and draw on her experience to help.”
David Berliner, Mentee
President, Sylvie Tendler and Associates
Sylvie is a leading pharmaceutical market research specialist and entrepreneur. In 2001, she founded The Tendler Group, a custom medical marketing research company. In 2007, the company was acquired by IntrinsiQ LLC (owned at the time by Accel-KKR). Sylvie stayed through 2010 to oversee the managerial transition following the acquisition. Sylvie continues to consult for domestic and international clients.
Sylvie holds a Master’s degree in International Management from the University of Maryland, and a Financial Management Certificate from Cornell University. She is a Board of Director at Knight Therapeutics (TSX: GUD).
Sylvie serves as an Executive Committee member of the selection committee of ProMontreal Entrepreneurs.
“[Peter] takes the time to listen and fully understand my challenges… I also really admire him for continually educating himself and his willingness to share what he’s just learned. He ‘holds your feet to the fire’ when needed and praises you when deserved.”
Mark Watson, Mentee
Business Program Consultant, Peter Brown Inc.
Niagara Falls, Ontario
Peter’s first business was an accounting practice in 1979, which he sold to a national accounting firm where he worked for four years. He then worked through a variety of engagements, from business start-ups and turn arounds to negotiating strategic alliances for Canadian companies internationally.
In 1998, he started a financial planning business, which he sold in 2008 to focus on coaching family businesses. Peter volunteers with the Kiwanis Club and chairs the Kiwanis Music Festival. This year, he is a Lieutenant Governor for the Golden Horseshoe region.
Peter has a wife, Anne, three daughters and two grandsons. He enjoys cooking, reading and travel.
“Dr. Cooper has hit all the targets of a great mentor: honest communication and feedback provided in a realistic context. He is an honest, capable man with a strong skillset, work ethic and a big heart. Couple this with the fact that he is a legitimate expert in his field and you have the makings of a great mentor.”
Niraj Shukla, Mentee
Dr. Tom Cooper
Associate Professor, Memorial University
St. John’s, Newfoundland
Dr. Cooper is an Associate Progress at the Faculty of Business Administration, Memorial University. His research interests include risk management, strategic planning and Aboriginal business.
Tom has specific interests in social innovation and entrepreneurship as it relates to start-up organizations and communities. Tom’s mentoring approach is focused on being collaborative and participatory, aiming to make a difference in organizations, communities and people through entrepreneurship and business mentoring. He is currently an active mentor for a number of start-up companies in St. John’s and an informal mentor for a large number of other entrepreneurs.