ST. JOHN’S, April 13, 2022 – Women business owners have persevered and overcome many challenges over the past two years. Through it all, the Newfoundland and Labrador Organization of Women Entrepreneurs (NLOWE) has been there to provide support and be a champion for women business owners in the province. Now, NLOWE is excited to bring them together in celebration of its 25th year for the annual conference to be held virtually from April 26 to May 12, 2022.

Organizers have curated a program for NLOWE members and non-members alike to succeed in business. Presenters from numerous sectors, companies, and backgrounds will bring their knowledge, expertise, and strategies to help entrepreneurs get a new business off the ground or expand their current operations. Keynote speakers Zita Cobb, Shorefast Founder & C.E.O. and Tina Varughese, a Cross-Cultural and Diversity Expert will inspire delegates with their personal stories of endurance, commitment and ingenuity.

“The theme of this year’s conference is Women are shaping the future of business. Women entrepreneurs are bridging the gap to gender equality and bringing their innovative ideas and leadership skills to the table,” says NLOWE CEO Jennifer Bessell. “Along with its challenges, the pandemic has presented unique business opportunities for women. Start-ups have increased as more women turn their side hustles into sustainable businesses. And more organizations and businesses are appointing women to senior leadership positions as they begin to understand the benefits of a diverse and inclusive work environment.” 

Bessell says the opening and closing plenaries by Zita Cobb and Tina Varughese are excellent opportunities to hear practical advice and strategies from two very compelling women who have become agents of change in business and their communities. 

Headlining this year’s conference are two keynote speakers:

The opening plenary with keynote speaker Zita Cobb takes place at 10:00 am (NDT) on April 26, 2022. Zita Cobb is an eighth-generation Fogo Islander, Founder and C.E.O. of the registered charity Shorefast, and Innkeeper of the award-winning Fogo Island Inn. Zita graduated high school on Fogo Island before studying business in Ottawa. Following a subsequent successful career in high-tech, Zita returned to Fogo Island. She established Shorefast to put another leg on the Island’s struggling economy to complement its ever-important fishery. With an enduring commitment to Fogo Island, Shorefast expands its mission through a Community Economies Pilot – a pan-Canadian initiative to strengthen place-based economic development within the global economy.

Zita has been a Member of the Order of Canada since 2016 and was a 2020 inductee to Canada’s Business Hall of Fame. She holds honorary doctorates from McGill University, Memorial University of Newfoundland, University of Ottawa, and Carleton University. She volunteers her full time and energy for Shorefast’s charitable initiatives and community businesses.

The closing plenary, sponsored by Catalyst Health Solutions Inc. with keynote speaker Tina Varughese takes place at 10:00 am (NDT) on May 12, 2022. Named one of Canada’s Top 10 Notable Speakers by Ignite Magazine, Tina cleverly tackles hot button topics, like diversity and inclusion, in today’s racially complex climate. By carefully weaving personal stories with touching humour, she disarms attendees as she breaks down barriers to foster an inclusive and uplifting space leaving attendees inspired to think, behave, act and communicate with positive intention and purpose.

Other sessions include Self-Promotion: Without the backlash with Susan Hollett, Hollett & Sons Inc. (April 27); Five Keys to Creating Brand Stickiness with Jenny Smith and Courtney Wells, Ray Agency (April 28); Growing Your Business: The paths to hire foreign workers with Meghan Felt McInnes Cooper (May 03); Growing Your Workforce: Key rules when hiring foreign workers with Meghan Felt, McInnes Cooper (May 04); The Economic and Social Value of Immigration and Diversity in Newfoundland with Wanda Cuff Young, Work Global Canada (May 05); Learn How to Sell Professional Services to the Government of Canada, Procurement Canada (May 10); The Power of a Wellbeing Culture to Grow Your Impact and Add Value to Your Business with Susan O’Leary, SoUL Wellbeing (May 11).

“Women entrepreneurs shape and strengthen our communities, our country, and our world. A robust Atlantic Canadian economy requires business-minded women contributing ideas, knowledge and expertise,” says the Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor, Minister of Official Languages and Minister responsible for ACOA, “NLOWE continues to be an important support in Newfoundland and Labrador that encourages women to smash glass ceilings. Congratulations to NLOWE on its 25th annual conference.”

“In Newfoundland and Labrador, women entrepreneurs have been inspiring and leading by example for generations. I congratulate NLOWE on celebrating its 25th year of supporting and championing women business owners. Your government is making exciting progress on immigration, welcoming a record number of newcomers this year and continuing to build on those efforts to build a brighter future.” Honourable Andrew Furey, Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador

“As a staunch advocate for women and entrepreneurship, I commend NLOWE on the many ways it continues to ensure women-led businesses are successful in our province,” says The Honourable Judy M. Foote, Lieutenant Governor of Newfoundland and Labrador. “Women supporting women can only lead to success for all involved, and this virtual conference offers the perfect platform to showcase the knowledge and expertise of female role models for this generation and the next.”

“This lineup of speakers is a fantastic example of women who are shaping the future of business, not only locally – but on a global scale,” says Denise Goodyear, NLOWE Board Chair. “We are delighted to be able to provide this virtual conference platform for these experts to deliver their knowledge and expertise to all those that attend.”

Full-access passes are available, and the option to attend individual workshops and keynotes. Registration and full conference details about the program, presenters, and a complete list of sponsors is available at



NLOWE is pleased to offer services to women in business in Newfoundland and Labrador thanks to the financial support of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) and the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador.

For more information, contact:

Gail Woodfine
Marketing & Communications Coordinator, NLOWE
C: (709) 770-4159 | E:
Toll-free: 1-888-NLOWE-11