National Advisory Committee:

The National Advisory Committee is composed of members from lending institutions and women support organizations as well as women entrepreneurs.

Founding Members of the National Advisory Committee:

Cathy Bennett

Entrepreneur / Board of Directors, BDC

William (Billy) Boucher

CEO, Caisse Desjardins Ontario Credit Union

Colette Close

President, UpCloseTeam / Executive Director, Community Futures Pan West Network

Laura Didyk

Vice President, Client Diversity, BDC (Business Development Bank of Canada)

Anne Guimond-Nadeau

Associate Vice-President, Commercial Banking, National Bank of Canada

Pascal Harvey

General Manager, Réseau des  Sociétés d'aide au développement des collectivités (SADC) &  Centres d'aide aux entreprises (CAE)

Katherine Lanteigne

Former Director, Women in Business NB
Former National Advisory Committee Member (from 2020 to 2022)

Annie Nadeau

Regional Vice President, Commercial Banking, UNI Business

Hélène Deslauriers

Former Special Advisor, The Réseau des SADC et CAE
Former National Advisory Committee Member (from 2020 to 2021)

New Members of the National Advisory Committee:

Rebecca Preston

Director, Women in Business NB

Kevin Van Kampen

Senior Vice President, Business Banking, Meridian Credit Union

Krystal Van Westerop

National Manager, Women in Enterprise, TD

Partner Organizations:

The following partner organizations are changemakers when it comes to moving the needle for encouraging more women entrepreneurs to enter the entrepreneurial ecosystem:

Stakeholder Engagement Groups:

Leading Lenders invited stakeholders to review our material and to share their knowledge and insight — to help ensure the sub-tools, which focused on underrepresented women groups, were comprehensive and representative of the barriers that these women entrepreneurs faced when pursuing business financing. We gratefully acknowledge the time and input from the women who were involved in these Stakeholder Engagement Groups.

Women Entrepreneurs:

Many women entrepreneurs provided their perspectives regarding the barriers they faced when accessing business financing. To learn about their journeys, check out the “In Her Words” series as well as the Panel Discussions, which are accessible on the Articles & Videos page. We express sincere appreciation to all the women entrepreneurs who are leading the way for others.


Many lenders from various lending institutions were involved in the Leading Lenders project. These lenders were panelists on the Panel Discussions and were also interviewed by the Leading Lenders team for the “Spotlight on Leading Lenders” series. All of the lenders shared their views on how they help their clients break down barriers when it comes to accessing business finance. Check out the Articles & Videos to learn more about how these lenders are making a difference for women entrepreneurs.


Cracking open the conversation between women entrepreneurs and lenders has been a great outcome of the Leading Lenders initiative. We are grateful to the 21 women entrepreneurs and 26 lenders who shared their points of view and thought-provoking insights during the nine different panel discussions. Check out the Panel Discussions to view these great conversations between women entrepreneurs and lenders.

Become a Partner:

Organizations that encourage more women entrepreneurs to enter the entrepreneurial ecosystem are champions for change, and we’d like to hear from you. Please contact us at for more information on how your organization could be listed as one of the Leading Lenders’ Partners.
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