Meet our team!

Our team has a passion for small business, and we are driven by your success. We’re here to help bring your business idea to life! We’re proud to be part of your entrepreneurial journey and provide the best resources available to help make your startup successful.

Paul Cataford

Executive Director

Paul believes strongly in public service and a return to the community and has now taken on the role of Executive Director at Business Link to promote and develop the entrepreneur and small business community in Alberta. His eclectic career covers: a 15-year stint on Bay Street as a corporate banker and a venture capital and private equity investor; a 5-year role leading a technology transfer office and creating an early-stage company creation incubator at the University of Calgary; and a 11 year spell co-founding and leading a medical device product development and manufacturing company in Calgary; and just prior to joining Business Link, serving as the Interim President and CEO of a public-listed medical device company (where he continues to serve as Board Chairman). Sprinkled amongst this flurry of activity, Paul has also served for more than 25 years as an independent corporate director on the boards of directors of over 35 companies and organizations consisting of: public-listed (NASDAQ, TSX, TSVX) companies, private companies, a crown corporation and number of not-for profits and associations.

Paul grew up in Toronto and completed degrees in engineering (B.Sc. – Queens), finance and strategy (MBA – Schulich) and corporate governance (ICD.D – Rotman). Paul moved to Calgary in 2004 to be closer to family and the Rockies where he continues to: hike and scramble, mountain bike and road ride, downhill and cross-country ski, play golf, canoe & (most recently) build things out of wood.

Kari Morton

Director, Client Services

Kari leads a team that strives to create clarity and confidence for business owners and prospective business owners in Alberta. This includes providing clients with information, services, and programs that will take their business to the next level, as well as delivering practical educational opportunities. She enjoys all things research and data; you can often find her building a spreadsheet for one thing or another.

When Kari isn’t out enjoying live theatre or exploring the world, you’ll find her with her nose in a novel or volunteering with Village Goods.

David Bayda

Business Strategist

David provides exceptional client service leadership, collaborates with an amazing team, and offers one-on-one guidance and advice to entrepreneurs. He has extensive business knowledge covering areas like startup planning, trend research, Business Model Canvas, marketing, crowdfunding, event planning, and strategic growth. David also loves innovation and has experience in product design, intellectual property and tech. If you need creative ideas, he can brainstorm with you!

David’s past startup experience includes running his own handyman business. He is also actively involved in various community initiatives, social causes, and always has an invention on the go!

Special interests: Innovation | Intellectual Property | Design/Art

Frank El Baraqouni

Business Strategist

Frank has extensive knowledge and experience working in the financial and banking industry. He provided consultancy services from large companies to mid/small sized businesses.

Frank is always excited to listen to new business ideas and support entrepreneurs to get their businesses started. He enjoys guiding customers and offering them all the support needed to see them succeed with their businesses.

In his free time, he enjoys watching sports and learning about other cultures. He also loves travelling to warm destinations whenever he gets the chance to explore the world.

Special interests: Online Business | Financing | Food Services

Joanne Gravel

Business Strategist

Joanne is pleased to serve Northwest Alberta business owners. Experienced in business ownership and a background in financial management, she enjoys working through challenges and helping entrepreneurs find effective solutions to keep their business moving forward. She understands how intricate one’s business and personal life often intertwines and values the importance of looking at the whole picture.

Joanne enjoys recharging by spending time with family and friends, working on creative projects, and connecting with nature.

Special interests: Financial Management | Planning | Construction

Jenny Huang

Business Strategist

Jenny is passionate about entrepreneurship and helping small businesses in every stage of their journey by providing business expertise and valuable resources. She is happy to connect one-on-one with small business owners to help them grow their businesses. She specializes in digital marketing and online presence and offers one-on-one guidance to help entrepreneurs learn the necessary skills and knowledge when it comes to building a successful online business.

Jenny believes in making connections with everyone she meets. Her motto is to leave a little sparkle wherever she goes. When she isn’t thinking about new business ideas, you can find her working on her next creative project, designing, keeping her coding skills sharp, or creating new recipes in her kitchen.

Carol Webster

Business & Market Research Strategist

In middle school, Carol had dreams of becoming a teacher, however; life decided to change her path and set her up on the road to self-employment. At 21, Carol was given the opportunity to purchase her hometown newspaper, where she had been employed for just under 6 months. “Taking that first step was terrifying” she said, “but life’s biggest regrets come from the opportunities we do not take.” Since then, Carol has owned and operated a gift store/flower shop, taxi service, and online import business; all in her hometown of Swan Hills, Alberta where she still resides with her husband Robyn and son Aaron. Carol is an avid volunteer in her community and loves reading and gardening. She looks forward to meeting and working with the many Alberta businesses and budding entrepreneurs who take advantage of the amazing small business resources provided by Business Link.

Linda Griffioen

Education Coordinator

Linda is a lifelong entrepreneur with a passion for helping people start and grow their business ventures. Her passion for “all things small business” shines through whether she’s facilitating a workshop or coaching a client. Throughout her career she has acted as a consultant, mentor and advisor to thousands of entrepreneurs in her roles as Entrepreneur in Residence for Futurpreneur Canada and Business Advisor with BDC.

Her passions include golf, skiing and volunteering as a Company Program advisor with Junior Achievement of Southern Alberta.

Barry Yewchuk

Market Research Coordinator

Barry is part of our research team, always with his eyes on the ball, finding tidbits of small business information to help clients succeed.

When he steps away from a computer (depending on the season), you will find him chasing small objects like golf balls and pucks. Barry also looks forward to finding new beaches, beers, Malbecs, and music.

Skye Gladu

Indigenous Business Strategist

Tansi (hello),

Skye is Cree and currently lives in Edmonton, located on Treaty 6 Territory. She holds a bachelor’s degree that specializes in Business Management, Administration, and Indigenous Governance. She is not afraid to throw out ideas to try and help find solutions, and loves learning new things because you never know what will come in handy! Skye is a hard worker and a quick study and is ready to learn new things and share them with her clients. Her primary goal is to capture the best days of your life; she enjoys helping people cherish their memories for years to come and wants to help make your dreams come alive. Skye is excited about using her education and experience to help aspiring and established Indigenous business owners thrive.

Building a good relationship with Skye comes easy, she has a good sense of humor and doesn’t mind a good laugh. Outside of work, Skye loves spending time with family and friends, especially her two-year-old daughter who is the light of her life. She enjoys adventures outdoors, travelling to tropical places, game nights, comedy shows or movies, music and making good memories. Skye is very proud to be Indigenous and wants to lead by example.

Norma Wolf Child

Indigenous Business Strategist

Norma Jean Wolf Child has over 10 years experience assisting and guiding entrepreneurs in all stages of entrepreneurship and is excited to join Business Link to continue to serve indigenous entrepreneurs in Southern Alberta. Norma is a member of the Blood Tribe, which is part of the Treaty 7 territory and Blackfoot Confederacy. Norma Jean is a very enthusiastic individual and enjoys life’s adventures. Part of her spare time is spent on her Blackfoot Hills Honey and Crafts business, gardening, beekeeping, keeping chickens and now goats. She mostly enjoys spending time with her husband and three children as well as her mom, siblings, nieces, nephews, family and friends who are dear to her.

Jean Jacques Mitakaro

Coordinator, Immigrant Entrepreneurship Services

Bilingual English-French

Jean Jacques brings to Business Link team a wide array of expertise in for-profit businesses, non-profits, charities, faith-based (religious) organizations, social enterprises, and immigrant entrepreneurship to help entrepreneurs of all backgrounds successfully start and take their ventures to the next level.

His other areas of interest include nonprofit board governance, charity status registration, policies and procedures, strategic planning, volunteer engagement, event planning, fund development, grant seeking, corporate sponsorship, and translation.

Jean Jacques is a networking geeky nerd and a volunteer enthusiast! When he is not networking, you will find him volunteering his time to local and international causes, and spending time with family and friends.

If there’s time left over, you will find him playing and coaching kids or watching or playing his favourite sports, soccer, basketball, and cycling.

Special interests: Not-for-Profits & Charities | Faith-based organizations | Cooperatives | Social Enterprise | Immigrant Entrepreneurs and Small Businesses

Kolby Klassen

Specialized Services Support Officer

Kolby is a business support officer who has a passion for helping other entrepreneurs achieve their own business goals. While completing his Bachelor of Business Degree in Kamloops, Kolby launched his first crowdfunding campaign on which was successfully backed by over 100 people from 8 different countries. Since then, Kolby has continued to apply his interest in business. From creating multiple online stores, to working on his own fitness programs to sell online, Kolby constantly embraces an entrepreneurial spirit.

When Kolby is not working on business, you will probably find him hiking somewhere in the Rocky Mountains. He also enjoys mountain biking, snowboarding, and being outdoors.

Emilienne Batoum

ANZA Program Coordinator

Emi is passionate about assisting or helping people in their social interactions. That’s why she spares no effort to re-establishing broken ties or connections through entrepreneurship, English/French mediation, or translation. She thinks that people are amazing and she enjoys meeting new ones, learning their stories and culture, and having the opportunity to share hers with them. Her motto is: always see the brightness of the day even when it’s dull.

When she is not connecting with people at events, running to discover a new cultural park or place, or just hanging out with a senior, she likes rewarding her senses with a good glass of red wine for Friday chill!

Matt Hill

Digital Economy Program Development Manager

Matt trained as a theatre teacher in the UK and he worked in London schools for seven years before making the leap into entrepreneurship. Matt started a specialist cleaning business in London, growing from a one-man business to become a trusted partner of universities and real estate companies. He is passionate about helping entrepreneurs looking to start small and test ideas before scaling up their business operations.

Matt moved to Canada in September 2017 and enjoys living in Southern Alberta. He has loved becoming part of the community in Brooks. He’s a season ticket holder for the National Junior A Champions Brooks Bandits, although he admits that most of the time he doesn’t really understand what is happening! As a volunteer he enjoys organizing the Brooks Food Trucks community events, he loves the fact that it brings so many people downtown to share food, company, and fun.

Trina Argueta

Digital Service Squad

Trina is a member of our provincial Digital Services Squad who is ready to meet you where you are and get your business online through the Digital Economy Program. With a Bachelor of Fine Arts in New Media from the University of Lethbridge, Trina has a wealth of knowledge in digital communications across various industries from home building to professional organizing and everything in between. Her specialty lies in translating personalities to the digital space and loves working with dedicated small business owners who are ready to grow and thrive.

Tamona Blackhorse

Digital Service Squad

Oki (hello),

Tamona is from the Siksika Nation Reserve which is located on the Treaty 7 Territory which is also located on the Blackfoot Confederacy Territory. She currently has her Legal Assistant Diploma and has experience working in the courts with business law, civil law, and family law. However, I also have experience with working with entrepreneurs across Southern Alberta. I am currently obtaining my Law Degree.

Tamona is thrilled to be apart of Business Link Alberta, and to learn new skills. Tamona is also passionate about her work and helping others succeed. She loves to create new meaningful friendships with Alberta business owners, to help understand their needs better and to encourage them to keep going.

In her spare time, she enjoys being active which includes running, working out and playing competitive hockey. She also has 2 young children who are her world and when she’s not at work or at school she is with her kids all the time.

Diana Bruce

Digital Service Squad

Diana’s entrepreneurial spirit runs deep, and she is thrilled to be able to share that passion for freedom with her clients through the Digital Service Squad at Business Link. Though Diana’s background is in Kinesiology, she operated a successful mobile dog grooming business in Grande Prairie, AB and is currently operating a new multi-disciplinary clinic.

Diana has been in Grande Prairie for 10 years and is absolutely in love with the wild boreal forest surrounding this remote, northern city. When she’s not in the forest or at the office(s), you can find her playing Dungeons and Dragons, planning her next overseas adventure, or crocheting.

Pat Guist

Manager, Canada Digital Adoption Program

Pat Guist is the Program Manager for the Canadian Digital Adoption Program (CDAP). Pat brings over 30 years’ experience in the banking industry and prior to starting with Business Link was a Business Coach and Mentor for start-up entrepreneurs with Community Futures Entre-Corp. During her time at Community Futures Entre-Corp, Pat managed self-employment training for start-up entrepreneurs and acted as training facilitator, social media manager, and funding manager for the Medicine Hat Business Innovation Grant. Pat has a strong understanding of supports available for Alberta entrepreneurs and is passionate about working with small businesses and entrepreneurs in Alberta.

When Pat is not working you’ll find her travelling to B.C. or Ontario to visit with her children and grandchildren. Family is her #1 priority.

Sheldon Solomon

Funding Manager, Canada Digital Adoption Program

Sheldon joined Business Link in April 2022. Before becoming an integral part of Business Link, he held the position of Finance and Administration Manager for thirteen years with a non-profit charitable organization that had national and international affiliations. He was responsible for all the organization’s financial operations; including but not limited to all aspects of accounting, grant administration, benefits and payroll administrator, tax reporting, and development of financial policies and procedures.

Sheldon attended post-secondary studies in Lethbridge, graduating with honours and earning a Business Management Accounting Major designation. Prior to receiving his post-secondary education, he worked for twenty years as an adolescent counsellor/supervisor in a provincially-funded social services youth treatment facility. In addition to his employment history, he also created and enjoyed several small business ventures including personal tax and bookkeeping services, residential and commercial window washing services, and yard maintenance and landscaping.

In his leisure, Sheldon eagerly spends quality time with his wife, children, and grandchildren. When not with his family, his passions include music, drawing, painting, and training his German Shepard dog named Blue Belle.

Jennifer Dawson

Funding Administrator, Canada Digital Adoption Program

Jennifer brings extensive experience from the banking industry and is a Funding Administrator with the Canada Digital Adoption Program. She is passionate about supporting local and small businesses.

When she isn’t busy cuddling with her cats, you can find her tending to her plants, shopping at a farmers’ market, or spending time outdoors enjoying nature.

Danielle Ikeda

Funding Administrator, Canada Digital Adoption Program

Danielle is part of our Canada Digital Adoption Program (CDAP) team. She is a firm believer that entrepreneurship is the foundation of our community and is looking forward to helping businesses thrive. Being passionate about helping others, she finds her position a perfect opportunity to make a meaningful contribution to someone’s life. Her experience as an administrative analyst and CRM administrator in the B2B sector gave her extensive finance, research, and data management knowledge.

When not enjoying her spare time with her family or baking something yummy, Danielle is usually looking for a good book to read or searching for a new hobby.

Eman Mobarak

Funding Administrator, Canada Digital Adoption Program

Eman is a trilingual funding Administrator that comes from the medical industry. She speak Arabic, French, and English fluently and is currently working on learning Italian. Eman has a passion to help people and motivating them to reach for their dreams. Based out of Calgary, Eman spends her spare time traveling and spend as much time as she can outdoors.

Jordan Hanna

Program Coordinator, Canada Digital Adoption Program

Jordan Hanna is a results-driven Métis business professional in Edmonton, Treaty 6 Territory and Métis Region 4. He has spent the last ten years of his career in business development in a variety of industries, both large and small, as well as non-profits.

Jordan holds a degree in commerce, international business, diplomas in management and marketing. He is a candidate for masters in global studies; however, has decided to pursue further career development and the immediate opportunity to help other businesses, in particular with the adoption of digital technology. He is specialized in consultive sales of digital services. Strategic and e-commerce applications, including Chinese digital marketing. Jordan particularly enjoys the process of collaborating with others (in person or virtually). As a leader of teams developing digital marketing, he also organizes strategies for approaching the Western and Chinese markets, resulting in a more enjoyable user experience, maximum sales opportunities and profits.

Chandler Berardi

Marketing and Communications Coordinator, Canada Digital Adoption Program

Chandler Berardi is an entrepreneur with over 10 years of experience running her own music business. Graduating from Journalism and Digital Media, she has immersed herself in a variety of roles ranging from social/digital media marketing, academic administration, content creation and hospitality. Each of these experiences allowed Chandler to hone her storytelling and communication skills and resulted in a true passion for helping people. Being able to relate to fellow small business owners and having the opportunity to help them reach their goals, made accepting her role at Business Link a very easy decision. Chandler is beyond excited to be a part of a team that helps change people’s lives.

Outside of work, you can find Chandler singing (everywhere always), playing the guitar, writing music, reading thrillers, dancing (not well), obsessing over the Calgary food scene, and spending as much time outside as possible.

Lori Todd

Director of Operations

Lori has a firm grip on Business Link’s finance, administration, facilities, and information technology (hence the title!). Lori has extensive experience in payroll, accounting, operations, human resources and facility management, after spending 12 years as the Northern Alberta Administration Manager for an International Company based here in Edmonton.

At home, Lori and her husband Dave own a piece of land where they have loads of animals, including horses, African geese, pigs, chickens, turkeys, ducks, and the very popular “fainting” goats. Lori also loves to garden and enjoys putting her creative spin on renovation projects.

Brittany Hallborg

Operations Manager

Brittany has experience in extensive experience with Administrative and Operations roles, starting in 2012. Being relatively new at Business Link, Brittany is excited to expand her knowledge with Human Resources, Finance, and the day to day operations of Business Link.

Outside of work, Brittany can be found spending time with her Husband, Son, and dogs on her acreage. If you ever can’t find her, she is typically at a Book Store or a Library on weekends. She has a passion for cooking and baking, and is always trying out new recipes for her family and friends to enjoy.

Shay Wall

Director, Marketing & Communications

Shay believes that small businesses are not only the backbone of the economy, but the backbone of our communities. She sees first-hand how invaluable the support Business Link provides for small businesses and entrepreneurs and is excited about being able to communicate that with the world. Since graduating from the University of Alberta, she’s worked in a number of interesting roles: research, starting and running her own wellness consulting business, interactive marketing lead, and working with small businesses building their brand and digital presence. Shay found herself on the marketing team at Business Link in 2019 and is proud to work on a team that has a lasting positive impact on communities across the province.

Outside of work, Shay organizes and facilitates community meditation classes, spends time in the Rockies, indulges in Edmonton’s incredible food scene, and spends as much time traveling as possible.

Rebecca Calder

Marketing & Communications Coordinator

Rebecca Calder has a BEd and MA in Communications and Technology. She’s been working in communications and marketing since 2016 and likes to think that her background in education gives her a person-first perspective, even when working in B2B spaces. One of her proudest moments is presenting a puppet show titled “Coping with the Borg: Network Basics for the 24th Century” at Calgary Comic and Entertainment Expo. Yes, the puppets were handmade. Yes, it’s a big part of why I’m on the Nerd Boss team for Nerd Nite Edmonton. No, even though he was at the Expo that year, William Shatner did not attend my workshop.

Rebecca recently ran the social media campaign for a candidate for Edmonton Public School Board Trustee. Although her candidate was ultimately not elected, Rebecca doesn’t take it too hard: research she completed in her MA showed that social media use during elections has a non-negligible yet remarkably small influence on the outcome. In this case, with David running against two well-known community members, the social media campaign and ads were essential to increasing awareness about her candidate and his campaign.

Rebecca brings a similar barely contained passion to work and play and hopes, to use a cliché, that her enthusiasm is contagious.

Darrio Dean

Marketing Coordinator

Darrio Dean is a strong believer in the positive impact entrepreneurship can have on a community. He has been working with entrepreneurs throughout Canada for over 7 years to start and grow their businesses. Originally coming to Canada as a student-athlete from Nassau Bahamas, he quickly found himself working for different marketing agencies serving the B2B sector.

Outside of work, you can find him at a local pickup game trying to relive the old days, or at a skating rink with his family doing his impersonation of Bambi on ice.

Jessica Jaithoo

Marketing Coordinator

Jessica believes in living your dreams. She knows if you can dream it, have a plan with the right tools, you can do it! Equipped with this outlook on life, she went to SAIT for Television Production and then completed her Bachelor of Communications Studies Degree at the University of Calgary. She reached her career goal by spending almost a decade producing and directing local newscasts, then transitioned into a career in marketing. Jessica pursued marcomms to help not-for-profits, small businesses, and local charities bring their programs and events to life. She is a jill of all trades with experience in advertising, content creation, strategic planning, branding and everything in between.

Jessica is passionate about the indoors! She loves checking out the latest restaurants, local boutiques and any comedy, music, or live events in Calgary. When she is not on her phone learning the latest social media trends, she enjoys time with her dog or volunteering with Furever Homes Rescue.

Sarah Parrotta

Marketing Coordinator

Sarah has worked closely with many local businesses in Edmonton over the years, and is excited to bring those experiences to the Business Link team. A graduate of the University of Alberta with a Bachelor of Commerce in Marketing, Sarah is passionate about community and connection building and supporting entrepreneurs and small business owners in her community.

Sarah’s weekends are spent discovering Edmonton’s best coffee shops and food spots, finding a new podcast to binge, teaching a cycle class or rock climbing. You’ll find her taking a drive out to the mountains for some fresh air or traveling somewhere new whenever she can.

Madison Zayak

Design Lead and Web Designer

Madison is the Designer on our Business Link team who is passionate about all things design including UX/UI, graphic, interior, and landscape design. With a Bachelor of Commerce and Bachelor of Design from MacEwan University and a vast array of experience from working with small local businesses to a large financial institution, Madison is always ready to jump into any project she is given. A strong believer in the power of diversity, inclusion and empathy. Be the change you want to see!