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 is passionate about public service and believes in the power of community. As Executive Director of Business Link, he is dedicated to promoting and developing entrepreneurship and small business 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, 5 years 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. Prior to joining Business Link, Paul served as Interim President and CEO of a public-listed medical device company, where he also currently serves as Board Chairman. In addition to all this, Paul has also been an independent corporate director on the boards of directors of over 35 companies and organizations for more than 25 years, including public-listed (NASDAQ, TSX, TSVX) companies, private companies, a crown corporation, and several not-for profits and associations.
Paul was born and raised in Toronto. He completed his undergraduate degree in engineering at Queen’s University, followed by his MBA in finance and strategy at Schulich School of Business. Paul also holds the ICD.D designation from Rotman School of Management, specializing in corporate governance. Paul moved to Calgary in 2004 to be closer to family and the Rocky Mountains, where he enjoys hiking, mountain and road biking, downhill and cross-country skiing, golf, canoeing & (most recently) building things out of wood.
Director, Operations & Client Services
Matt brings a unique blend of entrepreneurial expertise and client service to his role at Business Link. Originally from the UK, Matt trained as a theatre teacher before embarking on a successful career as a home services business owner in London, where he grew his one-person operation into a trusted partner of universities and real estate companies.
In 2017, Matt made the move to Canada and now calls Calgary home. Matt is a believer in the power of entrepreneurship to drive economic growth and create jobs, and he’s dedicated to helping business owners succeed. In his role at Business Link, he leads a team that work with clients to understand their needs and help them navigate the challenges of starting and scaling their business ventures.
Outside of work, Matt enjoys spending time with his family and exploring the stunning natural beauty of Alberta.
Director, Marketing and Communications
Amy is passionate about entrepreneurship, marketing innovation, and providing excellent customer experiences. As a results-driven leader with over 17 years of marketing experience, she has led destination marketing strategy as Senior Director of Marketing & Communications for Tourism Sun Peaks and as Director of Brand & Marketing for Tourism Kamloops. Amy has also provided digital marketing services, training, and support for small businesses. She has worked with tourism and government organizations such as Destination BC, Fishing BC, BC Lottery Corporation, and Whistler Blackcomb.
Last summer, Amy returned to her Alberta roots, and she is enjoying being closer to her family. Outside of work, you’ll find her biking or skiing from Calgary to the Rockies.
Director, Finance and Administration
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.
Kolby is a Digital Analyst 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 Kickstarter.com 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.
Jean Jacques Mitakaro
Team Lead, Business Strategist
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
Team Lead, 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.
Team Lead, 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
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
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.
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.
Robyn Soulier-Ritchot is a First Nations Oji-Cree Women from Treaty 1 Territory – Winnipeg, MB. Her band is Nisichawayasihk Cree Nation. Now residing on Treaty 7 Territory – Mohkinstsis (Calgary, AB). She comes to Business Link with an academic background in Indigenous Social Entrepreneurship and Health and Humans Services Management. She is also the creator and founder of Eagle Medicine.
Robyn is innovative, driven, and passionate about working in the community, and she believe helping entrepreneurs serves a bigger purpose than herself. She possesses a wealth of knowledge and understanding of Indigenous ways of knowing. She wants to create a space for people to feel welcomed and appreciated for their ideas and experiences. Her main focus is economic development for social good and uplifting entrepreneurs to strive and flourish within their business model.
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.
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.
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.
Digital Economy Program Manager
Trina is a passionate digital communication expert with a BFA in New Media from the University of Lethbridge. With seven years of experience running her own digital media agency, her time on the Digital Service Squad and as a valued Business Strategist, she has gained invaluable insights into the ever-evolving world of digital media. As the Digital Economy Program Manager, Trina combines her diverse skill set, technical know-how, and dedication to digital literacy education to empower individuals in helping businesses in navigating the digital realm successfully.
Digital Service Squad Member, Digital Economy Program
Tamona is from the Siksika Nation Reserve which is located on the Treaty 7 Territory which is also located on the Blackfoot Confederacy Territory. They currently have their Legal Assistant Diploma and have experience working in the courts with business law, civil law, and family law. However, Tamona also has experience with working with entrepreneurs across Southern Alberta and is currently obtaining a Law Degree.
Tamona is thrilled to be a part of Business Link Alberta and to learn new skills. Tamona is also passionate about their work and helping others succeed. They love to create new meaningful friendships with Alberta business owners, to help understand their needs better and to encourage them to keep going.
In Tamona’s spare time, they enjoy being active which includes running, working out and playing competitive hockey. Tamona also has 2 young children who are their world and when Tamona is not at work or at school they are with their kids all the time.
Digital Service Squad Member, Digital Economy Program
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.
Program Coordinator, ANZA
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!
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.
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.
Team Lead, Funding Administrator
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.
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.
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.
Accounts Payable Coordinator
Pamela grew up in Saskatchewan but joined us here in Alberta in the mid-1990s. She has tried on a few communities across the province but found a home in Medicine Hat. She’s been doing remote work before it was cool, with experience in bookkeeping, accounting, and entrepreneurship. While she loves working at Business Link, her passion is raising goats. Her least favourite thing is probably talking about herself, so we’ll let her hard work speak instead of writing a longer biography.
Senior Marketing Coordinator
With an MSc in International Business and a CEMS Master in International Management from the Ivey Business School, Jaclyn is passionate about bringing people together from around the world, having worked, studied, and travelled to 17 different countries. She applies this international mindset to all projects she is involved with.
Upon completing a Digital Marketing Certificate at the University of Calgary, Jaclyn has since applied her digital marketing skillset to a variety of different companies, ranging from startups, to nonprofits, to private companies. But it’s her ongoing commitment to small businesses that have led her to Business Link.
When she isn’t travelling, Jaclyn can be found outside gardening, trying a new recipe, or learning a new language. She recently achieved N5 certification in Japanese and is bilingual in Spanish.
With over three years of experience in the digital marketing industry, Nashania has honed her craft of turning marketing challenges into gold. Her passion for creating unique and effective campaigns has earned her a reputation for being a creative powerhouse. She’s a “marketing alchemist” with a wealth of knowledge that spans across various facets of marketing.
Nashania’s expertise for marketing doesn’t stop there. Recently, she became a Certified Digital Marketing Professional and Professional Certified Marketer through the Digital Marketing Institute and the American Marketing Association.
When Nashania isn’t utilizing data to optimize campaigns or researching new marketing strategies, you can find her hitting the gym, crushing opponents on the chessboard, planning her next travel adventure, or exploring the “hottest” donut spots in Calgary.