“For more than twenty years, NLOWE has been honouring the outstanding women business owners of Newfoundland and Labrador through our Entrepreneur of the Year Awards,” says Denise Goodyear, NLOWE Board Chair. “This year’s recipients excel in mentorship, leadership, innovation, economic impact, and ambition. We are honoured to celebrate them and their accomplishments.”
NLOWE’s Entrepreneur of the Year Awards
Since 1998, NLOWE’s Entrepreneur of the Year Awards have recognized women entrepreneurs whose successful businesses contribute to the provincial economy and to their communities. These women are using innovative technologies and expanding into new markets. They are leaders in their fields and respected in their industries. In short, they are the best and brightest businesswomen in Newfoundland and Labrador.
Through our awards program, NLOWE aims to advance the professional and personal networks of the winners, provide visibility for them and their businesses, and increase the number of role models and mentors for women in business across the province.
“More than ever, women entrepreneurs are driving economic growth,” says Jennifer Bessell, CEO of NLOWE. “For more than 20 years, NLOWE has connected women in business to professional and business networks and provided advising services, resources and support to help them grow their businesses. The Entrepreneur of the Year Awards recognize and celebrate the achievements of the award recipients, nominees and all women entrepreneurs who are rebuilding local economies across the province.”
2021 Award Recipients
Contratulations to the 2021 award recipients!
Trish Molloy - Entrepreneurial Excellence Award 2021
Trish Molloy, owner of the Head Room and Headroom Salon and Spa (locations in St. John’s and Paradise), received the pinnacle Entrepreneurial Excellence Award, sponsored by RBC. This award recognizes a long-time entrepreneur who has made a significant impact on the economy and whose success is an inspiration for other women in business.
“We cannot underestimate the importance of supporting women business owners. Through organizations like NLOWE, we are increasing the number of women entrepreneurs in this province. Receiving Entrepreneur of the Year and being recognized by my peers is truly an honour. Thank you, NLOWE, for recognizing my lifelong career, which has brought me so much joy and I have loved so much.”
The beauty industry is a highly competitive one. In the business for more than 35 years, Molloy has seen the professionalism in the industry in this province rise to a level that is competitive across Canada. She says developing new talent and growing the industry is essential to keeping current.
Community is also important to Molloy, and in 2017 the Head Room gave free haircuts to 150 children. Inspired by Canada’s 150th birthday, Molloy says she and her staff did what they do best. Providing free haircuts was the obvious way she could think of to celebrate. The Head Room staff from locations in St. John’s and Paradise volunteered their time. They had collected $650 for the Association for New Canadians by the end of the day.
Not only a champion for her community, Molloy is also a champion for her staff. In 2001, Juan Perez, an internationally recognized hairstylist who defected from Cuba in the 1990s, died of lung cancer. Molloy, Perez’s boss and friend, led the fight to reunite the Perez family for his funeral.
Her staff are an extension of her family, and Molloy says she encourages them to set goals and fulfill their dreams. Molloy says that her staff’s diverse backgrounds and unique styles have kept clients coming back for more than 30 years.
Joy Barker - Economic Impact Award 2021
Joy Barker, president of JSR Holdings Inc. and Copper Stop Ltd. (locations in Springdale and Baie Verte), received the Economic Impact Award, sponsored by Hebron Project. This award recognizes female entrepreneurs whose businesses have significantly impacted the local economy and improved the community’s economic position.
“To all those strong women of NLOWE, there’s plenty of time to sleep when you’re dead. So keep making noise, Sisters!”
Barker credits her parents, who owned and operated businesses, for her entrepreneurial spirit and strong work ethic. She says growing up in the Barker household meant business was the main topic of conversation, and all hands pitched in to get the work done. At 21, Barker opened and managed an automobile repair garage, her first business. Shortly after that, she began buying and selling businesses to meet the needs of her growing family. As a result, she gained the respect of her peers and an understanding of various industries.
Based primarily out of Baie Verte, Barker is a property owner and runs a gas station, convenience store, and car wash. She also owns the Blue Canoe Family RV Park near Springdale. In addition, Barker has volunteered for many community and business associations throughout her career, including snowmobile associations, the Baie Verte and Area Chamber of Commerce, and many more.
To find a work-life balance when she’s not managing a sizable business, Barker spends her time hunting, fishing, and snowmobiling with her family.
Gertrude Bradbury - Leadership Award 2021
Gertrude Bradbury, president and general manager of Locke’s Electrical Limited, received the Leadership Award, sponsored by Fonemed. The Leadership Award recognizes female entrepreneurs who’ve shown that they are champions for the advancement of women in general and women in the entrepreneurial space in particular.
“I am both humbled and motivated by receiving this award. Being recognized as a leader in our entrepreneurial community comes with a responsibility I take seriously. I am committed to developing authentic relationships with my employees, clients, future and current women entrepreneurs while supporting the communities in which Locke’s Electrical operates and performs work.”
As co-chair of the Navigate advisory board, Bradbury is a champion of the entrepreneurial community in western Newfoundland. Navigate provides opportunities for learning, growth, and idea generation for aspiring entrepreneurs, students, faculty, staff, and alumni of Grenfell and CNA Corner Brook campuses. In addition, Navigate builds relationships among clients, partners, and organizations to help hopeful entrepreneurs realize their dreams of owning their businesses. Since opening its doors in 2004, Navigate has helped over 300 entrepreneurs set sail on their business journey.
Bradbury says it is no secret that having supports in place makes a difference to a woman’s entrepreneurial success. For her part, Bradbury makes connections wherever she can and supports other female-led businesses by buying from women-owned businesses, celebrating others’ successes, sharing her knowledge and experience by mentoring up-and-coming female entrepreneurs, and referring women-owned businesses to her customers, employees, friends, and family.
The challenges for women in business are real. But, as successful entrepreneurs, we must work together to inspire other women to take the risk and realize their entrepreneurial dreams.
Bradbury maintains that building relationships builds businesses, and female entrepreneurs should support and encourage each other. “It takes a team to succeed, and NLOWE provides access to that team. I thank NLOWE and my team for acknowledging the important role leadership has in the journey for female entrepreneurs to follow their dreams.”
Cindy Roma - Mentor Award 2021
Cindy Roma, Co-CEO and partner of Telelink received the Mentor Award, sponsored by HR Project Partners. Roma, originally from Nova Scotia, moved to Newfoundland and Labrador more than 20 years ago and joined Telelink. With a focus on expanding into innovation and technology markets, Roma says she’s often the only woman in the room.
“I would like to thank NLOWE for this tremendous recognition; I’m deeply honoured. Newfoundland and Labrador has a fantastic community of entrepreneurial women who care about each other. I want us to share and be successful together, so I’m inviting all female entrepreneurs to step forward and become a mentor, and NLOWE’s mentorship program is a terrific place to start.”
#MoveTheDial, a global movement committed to advancing the participation and leadership of women in technology, reports that in the average tech company, women make up only 13 percent of the executive team, and 53 percent of tech companies have no female executives at all. Roma says that’s not good enough.
While women have made significant strides as entrepreneurs over the years, they still lack access to informal information-sharing networks. Without knowledge of or access to these networks, many female entrepreneurs are missing opportunities. Roma firmly believes that mentorship will open these channels.
Roma had two mentors early in her career who taught her the value of lifelong learning and shaped who she is today. She says mentorship provides the tools women need to go
for those top positions. As a mentor, Roma has informed challenged, cheered, and coached. She says she has learned as much as she has shared and has valued the opportunity to understand another person’s perspective.
Roma says her greatest motivation is turning an idea into reality. But she also warns of the risk. The hardest lessons are learned through failures. Turning failure into an opportunity to grow and learn is the advice she gives most often.
Gill Whelan - Momentum Award 2021
“I would like to thank my team of employees for their incredible effort. Whelan Wellness’s success is only because of our dedication and hard work. I would also like to thank the staff at NLOWE, who are a terrific resource for our entrepreneurial community. Some are even Whelan Wellness Bootcamp members! Thank you for recognizing my work, my ability, and my dreams. In 2014 I was nominated, and I’m so excited to be back now in the company of female business leaders in our province.”
Gill Whelan, CEO and founder of Whelan Wellness (St. John’s), received the Momentum Award, sponsored by McInnes Cooper. The Momentum Award recognizes female entrepreneurs who have demonstrated significant growth or growth potential within a one- to three-year time span. Whelan has built an adaptable business and leverages every opportunity she can to realize her dreams.
It has paid off.
After 25 years, Whelan, who had been coaching clients in fitness and wellness, expanded into fitness, health, nutrition, mindset, and overall wellness. Creating a positive, welcoming, and supportive environment, Whelan Wellness has grown from 120 clients, all Newfoundlanders, to a 4000-member global community worldwide. Her motto is Anybody, anywhere, anytime.
Whelan says the entrepreneurial path has been the only path she’s known. Whether she was a babysitter, piano instructor, or lemonade-stand proprietor, her head has always been in the game. Her purpose is to empower people to accept and love themselves and to become stronger, better versions of who they already are. Whelan says there is no typical client; her youngest participant is 18 years old, and the oldest is 81. Getting fit doesn’t depend on what your fitness level is, or what your shape, size, or gender is.
Since starting her business, Whelan has worked toward improving the fitness industry. So, what is next for Whelan Wellness? Gill says the business will be more of the same—working to reach as many people as they can. With her talent for creating new offerings for her clients worldwide, business opportunities are limitless.
Patsy Tremblett - Trailblazer Award 2021
Patsy Tremblett, president and CEO of Prima Information Solutions Inc. (St. John’s), received the Trailblazer Award, sponsored by Cox & Palmer. The Trailblazer Award recognizes female entrepreneurs leading businesses in non-traditional sectors.
“It means so much to be recognized as a trailblazer for my 26-year career in a non-traditional IT business. I hope other female entrepreneurs look at my success and feel empowered to choose a non-traditional path. Thank you, NLOWE, for the opportunity to share my career and my story. Success comes from determination, support, advocacy and advice from the right people and organizations like NLOWE. Their advisors, programs, and resources can help you find your success.”
Twenty-six years ago, when Tremblett started her business, women were under-represented in the IT sector. Unfortunately, that situation hasn’t changed much. Tremblett says more female entrepreneurs need to realize their global potential and take their rightful place in the technology, construction, and manufacturing sectors.
Tremblett blazed a trail across North America and the UK and has grown Prima into a multi-million-dollar corporation with nearly 200 employees. Her next goal is to develop data collection software to benefit all three branches of Prima. Tremblett says it’s a risk, but she’s committed to ensuring its success.
Megan Jackman - Trendsetter Award 2021
Megan Jackman, owner of Ragmaw (St. John’s), received the Trendsetter Award, sponsored by Bluedrop Performance Learning. This award honours female entrepreneurs who own and operate successful businesses that employ innovation and original thinking in operational and promotional activities.
“I started my own business to turn my passion into a profit. It was daunting at the beginning, but it has been a fantastic journey. I love that I control the direction of my business and have the freedom to operate outside the box. Thank you to NLOWE for recognizing my accomplishments and inviting me into the entrepreneurial community.”
Before starting Ragmaw in 2013, Jackman worked as a pharmacist and risked it all to turn her passion for sewing into a viable business. Since then, she’s grown Ragmaw into an established Canadian brand.
Encouraged by her grandmother and inspired by the natural landscape, Jackman began designing unique and trendy handbags. She says every bag has a story and a connection to Newfoundland and Labrador.
Social media plays a big part in Ragmaw’s marketing strategy. Jackman and her team keep posts authentic and use her voice and natural personality to connect with customers.
Owning your own business is not always easy. Jackman says she looks to her industry peers and role models for encouragement and support.
Jaime Evans - Young Entrepreneur Award 2021
Jaime Evans, owner of Evexia Osteopathy, received the Young Entrepreneur Award, sponsored by the College of the North Atlantic (CNA). This award recognizes a female entrepreneur 35 years of age or younger who has owned and operated a profitable business for at least two years.
“I began this journey to help people to feel better, but I am rewarded every day when I see my clients’ quality of life improve. Thank you, NLOWE, for acknowledging my achievements with this award. And I encourage any aspiring entrepreneur that has a dream of opening your own business to do it. NLOWE has programs and start-up advisors to help navigate you through the process and connect you with mentors and networks.”
Evans worked at osteopathic clinics on the mainland but always wanted to return home to Gander. So in 2018, driven by ambition, courage, and a plan, Evans and her partner packed up their belongings and headed home to open her clinic.
Evexia Osteopathy uses hands-on, non-invasive treatments to restore balance and help the body heal through natural processes. Since opening the clinic, Evans has surpassed her business goals and built a robust clientele in under five years.
Evans says that she primarily sees patients with chronic pain and that helping to improve their quality of life has been rewarding.
Entrepreneurial Excellence Award 2021
Economic Impact Award 2021
Leadership Award 2021
Mentor Award 2021
Momentum Award 2021
Trailblazer Award 2021
Trendsetter Award 2021
Young Entrepreneur Award 2021