Home>What We Do>Our Staff

Our team has a passion for small business and we are driven by your success.

Nothing gives us greater pleasure than seeing your business idea come to life. We’re proud to be part of your entrepreneurial journey and provide the best resources available to help make your startup successful.

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

Small 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

Angela Contardi

Small Business Strategist

Passionate about business, people, and innovation Angela is an entrepreneur at heart and has pursued business opportunities in the event, marketing, and e-commerce industries. Angela also has an extensive corporate background in risk management. She understands the peaks and valleys in the entrepreneurial journey and feels purpose in coming along side other entrepreneurs to help provide perspective, ideas, resources, connections, and community. Angela is thankful for the mentors and experts that have shaped and supported her in the entrepreneurial journey and she is happy to share her knowledge, lessons, and expertise with others.

When Angela is not in her office enjoying working on business and connecting with other passionate entrepreneurs, you will find her singing in the kitchen as she prepares wholesome food for family and friends. She also loves spending time in the Canadian Rockies hiking, skiing, and swimming.

Maureen Easton

Small Business Strategist 

Maureen Easton is a Small Business Strategist that supports business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs in the Central Alberta region. Currently living in Red Deer, she is a support and resource to the rural communities and entrepreneurs in the central region. Maureen’s background has focused on economic and business development, entrepreneur assistance and support, and incubator management. Supporting ideas, strategies, workplans, and projects are just a few of her top skills. As a passionate and intuitive people person, her ability to connect people is an asset to the clients and communities she serves. Maureen delivers a personalized approach to supporting, guiding, coaching, and loves seeing the passion and drive come to life in entrepreneurs.

Outside of worktime, Maureen enjoys time at the lake, connecting with friends or just hanging out with her husband, children and grandson for some quality family time.

Special interests: Primary Market Research | Rural

Frank El Baraqouni

Small 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

Small 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

Linda Griffioen

Education Programs 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.

Holly Atjecoutay

Director, Indigenous Business Services

Holly is Cree and Saulteaux from Cowessess First Nation in Treaty 4 Saskatchewan, but calls Treaty 7 and Mohkinstsis (Calgary) her home. As the Director, Indigenous Business Services at Business Link Alberta, she relies heavily on her fabulous team to provide assistance to Indigenous entrepreneurs in Alberta regarding the startup and expansion of their small businesses, connecting them to helpful resources while also providing guidance.

The Indigenous Services team facilitates workshops, hosts Indigenous-focused events, provides specific programming for Indigenous entrepreneurs and small businesses, and builds meaningful relationships in both rural and urban Indigenous communities. Holly guides the team to success, maintains important relationships and collaboration with partners, and ensures that every First Nations and Metis community in Alberta is aware of the services that we offer.

In her spare time Holly enjoys reading, writing, and collecting books, watching murder mysteries and going to the movie theater, is a fashion enthusiast, and also authors a blog on the Indigenous Woman’s Identity. Holly believes the art of storytelling and communication is one of the key factors in building a strong business. Holly is a mother to a young daughter, and reinforces the importance of pride and resilience in her First Nations heritage and culture.

April Massie

Indigenous Business Strategist

Representing the Treaty 6 territory April, was born and raised in Red Deer, Alberta and earned her Bachelor of Business Degree from Mount Royal University. She is a proud member of the Metis Nation of Alberta, and her objective is to connect Indigenous entrepreneurs to valuable resources to aid in their overall success. She is caring and passionate about her work and hopes to help as many people as possible.

In her spare time, she can be found spending time with her family and enjoying the outdoors picking rocks and collecting herbs. April is eager to learn new things and is excited to be joining the Business Link AB team.

Norma Wolfchild

Indigenous Business Strategist

Norma Jean Wolfchild 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.

Audrey Allotey

Program Development Manager, ANZA

Audrey is a champion for entrepreneurs in Alberta. She is passionate about providing the necessary guidance and assistance to see entrepreneurs and businesses move from one stage of their business development to the next. She is experienced in business development processes, international business, economic development in social and natural resources, and Agri-food business. She successfully launched and operated a line of food products in her home country of Ghana that gave her valuable insights into the entrepreneurial world. With her experience combined with her education MBA – International business, she provides expert advice and guidance into the business world.

Audrey believes strongly in building meaningful relationships on every level and encourages other entrepreneurs to keep learning and remain persistent. She says, “persistence is the key to unlocking our potential.”

When Audrey isn’t out globetrotting, you can find her snuggled on the couch unwinding from her day with a cup of tea and a slice of cake watching Friends.

Jean Jacques Mitakaro

Coordinator, Immigrant Entrepreneurship Program

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 Program Support

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 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.

Mark Shields

Edmonton Regional Innovation Network Program Manager

Mark approaches issues with a diverse background and wealth of experience. His business pursuits have included yoga instruction and event creation and promotion. He has studied accounting and history academically, and sits as the treasurer for both the Major Minor Music Project and Calgary Can. Prior to joining Business Link he helped plan, execute and operate the emergeHUB economic development project in east Calgary where he worked directly with growing businesses and was drawn to the problem-solving inherent in entrepreneurship. Mark is fundamentally motivated by the opportunity to build communities by facilitating interactions, which is an action at the heart of any business.

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.

Lori Todd

Controller

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 Bachelet-Wall

Director, Marketing & Communications

Shay Bachelet believes in what Business Link does in supporting small businesses and entrepreneurs and is excited about being able to communicate that with the world. She attended the University of Alberta, graduating with a BSc in nutrition. Since graduation, she’s worked in research, started her own wellness consulting business, managed an interactive marketing team, and eventually found herself on the marketing team at Business Link after utilizing some of the resources and services that the organization had to offer while running her business.

Outside of work, Shay volunteers for the Momentum Walk-In Counselling society on the events committee – helping them with marketing, volunteered with Big Brothers Big Sisters, and organizes and facilitates community mindfulness classes to promote mental wellness and reduce urban isolation.

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.

Kate Lord

Marketing Coordinator

Kate has a long history working with small businesses and is passionate about supporting Alberta entrepreneurs through Business Link. After completing her Bachelor of Arts in Communications and Media Studies at the University of Calgary, Kate worked for a Marketing and Communications Agency. There she worked alongside a small team developing marketing and communication strategies for businesses, festivals, and large scale events in Calgary and is excited to bring this experience to Business Link.

Outside of the office, Kate loves escaping to the mountains, exploring new restaurants, trying out new recipes and spending time with family and friends.

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.

Kari Pedersen

Marketing Coordinator

Kari is passionate about the #YYCLocal community, helping clients transform their dreams into realities and creating successful collaborative relationships. She comes to Business Link with a background in public relations and event management. Working with Business Link sparks a drive in Kari because of her love for local business and supporting entrepreneurs with a dream. Kari completed her Bachelor of Communications majoring in Journalism at Mount Royal University in 2016 and holds a Fashion Marketing diploma from Kwantlen Polytechnic University in Vancouver, BC. After graduating, Kari started her own marketing and branding consulting business where her passion and knowledge of supporting entrepreneurs continued to grow.

While out of the office, she enjoys binging TV shows with her partner and their pup, Koko. Kari also enjoys shopping in East Village and exploring the Calgary coffee scene with friends, and Koko, along for the ride. Keep an eye out for her exploring other cities as she loves to travel as often as possible.

Madison Zayak

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. As a strong believer in the power of diversity, inclusion and empathy, Madison hopes to find a connection with everyone she meets and would love to chat with you about your ideas, ongoing projects or future plans.

Business Link

We want to acknowledge that in the province of Alberta we are situated on the traditional territories of Treaties 4, 6, 7, 8 and 10, ancestral homeland of diverse First Nations groups, Métis and Indigenous people whose ancestors have walked this land since time immemorial and whose histories, languages and cultures continue to influence our vibrant community. We pay respects to the Indigenous people of this land, past, present and future, while recognizing their cultural heritage, beliefs, and relationship to the land on which we reside.

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