About

Your success is our only goal.

For over 20 years, WESK has worked with hundreds of women, helping them start, purchase and expand businesses. Now, we are taking an even more dynamic approach focused on innovation and excellence. We are stepping up our training, engaging with great partners, and bringing you even more resources to generate success.

As a non-profit, membership-based organization, we have many services to offer you that are truly affordable – and many are free with membership.

WESK provides business advisory and support services, start-up, purchase and expansion lending, mentoring and networking, and many learning opportunities from seminars and webinars to events. Since 1995, women have received over $30 million in loans through WESK along with professional advice. Together, women entrepreneurs and WESK have shaped and enhanced the Saskatchewan economy. Together, we are stronger. Join our community, and be empowered.

The WESK Team

WESK is here to support women entrepreneurs to start, build, or grow their business. From the members and clients that we work with on a daily basis who are taking advantage of opportunities to follow their dreams of business ownership; to the staff who are dedicated to providing the highest quality of service to meet the needs of those members and clients.

Saskatoon Office

Prabha Mitchell, Chief Executive Officer

Prabha Mitchell, (Hon.) CPA, CGA; M.S.W, is the Chief Executive Officer of WESK, formerly Women Entrepreneurs of Saskatchewan Inc. Prabha is responsible for the operations and strategic management of the organization that has over 800 members. The organization provides a wide spectrum of support for women starting, buying, or growing a business. These resources include business planning and advising, financing, training, mentoring and networking.

Previously, Prabha was the CEO of the Certified General Accountants (CGA) Association of SK and had served in that capacity for seven plus years. Her role entailed development of a Business Growth Strategy including enhancement of the Brand and Profile. Working with the Board of Governors, Prabha was also accountable for supporting the Board to ensuring effective Governance and stewardship. Most recently, Prabha was a key player in leading the organization through the Unification of the Accounting Profession, bringing together the three accounting bodies namely, Certified General Accountants, Certified Management Accountants and the Chartered Accountants as Chartered Professional Accountants (CPA).

Prabha has had a diverse career spanning 20 years that includes: being a faculty member at a post-secondary institution in Manitoba teaching in Health and Human Service for 5 years; a senior consultant in the for- profit/business development arm of a University in Manitoba for 5 years; and a Regional Director in a leading non-profit organization in Saskatoon. Alongside the primary careers, Prabha had also operated a consulting business focusing on Strategic Planning, Board Development, Curriculum Development, Project Evaluations/Assessments etc. for several years.

Prabha has led project evaluations and program reviews, authored research reports, and conducted focus groups and consultations. She has led and facilitated strategic planning sessions in her current role and previous roles.

Prabha has a Masters of Social Work in Community Development, Policy and Planning and was conferred an honorary CPA by the CGA SK Board of Governors for her role in the Unification of the Profession of Accounting. She was also nominated for the Women of Distinction Award in 2014 in the Leadership and Management category. Prabha served as the first President of the Leaders Council of the Paul J. Hill and the Kenneth Levene Schools of Business at the University of Regina, and is currently a member of the Paul Hill Advisory Board, University of Regina. She serves as a Judge for some of the community’s Business Awards and is also a Prairie Regional Judge for the EY Entrepreneur of the Year Prairie Award. She also was a panelist for Better Business Bureau’s Torch Awards for Ethics to discuss the importance of ethics in business. Most recently, Prabha became a member of the Saskatoon Public School Foundation Board and was appointed to the Saskatchewan Housing Corporation Board.

Prabha is married and has two children who are students at the University of Saskatchewan. Prabha also enjoys running, yoga, reading and keeping abreast of world politics.

Nancy Friesen, Receptionist & Administrative Assistant

Nancy has been with WESK since 2012. She is the primary contact for clients in our Saskatoon office. Nancy recommends programs and services for clients based on a preliminary assessment of their needs. Also in her role, she manages and coordinates the membership component of our organization. Nancy took her training at the Academy of learning and received her Administrative Assistant diploma with Honours.

Lori Jestin-Knaus MBA, Business Advisor & Growth Initiatives Manager

Lori joined WESK in September of 2013. She has a B.A. from the University of Saskatchewan and a MBA with a focus in Community Economic Development from Cape Breton University. In Lori’s role as Business Advisor, she strives to ensure clients have the resources, tools and information to make informed decisions about their business.

Linda Prafke FCMC, Business Advisor

Linda has worked under contract with the organization since 1998. She advises clients in various aspects of business, including the preparation and presentation of business plans, market research, analysis and strategy, financial forecasting as well as providing pathfinding to various sources of support and funding. Linda owns her own management consulting practice and has extensive cross industry experience.

Katelyn Bruce, Marketing & Communications Officer

With over 7 years of marketing experience, Katelyn is thrilled to return to WESK as the Marketing & Communications Officer. Working collaboratively with all functions of the organization, Katelyn develops strategic marketing plans that serve to compliment WESK’s vision. Overseeing the planning and execution of promotional and annual events, Katelyn is the “hands-on” girl for many events including the Annual Business Conference and Sweet Success. With a new direction, Katelyn is excited to be a part and contribute to the growth of WESK in Saskatchewan.

Josie Fries, Marketing & Growth Initiatives Intern

Josie joined WESK as an MBA Intern from the Edwards School of Business, University of Saskatchewan. Josie is involved with the planning and execution of many events such as Shaken with a Twist, and the Annual Business Conference, and is responsible for all things social media. She is thrilled to be a part of the WESK team, and is looking forward to learning more about the world of marketing, communications, and all other aspects of business.

Carole Hildebrand, Administrative Coordinator

Carole joined WESK this past month as Administrative Coordinator. With over 25 years of experience in business and client relations. She received her Masters Certificate in Project Management (MCPM) from the University of Saskatchewan. She assists in the loan department in carrying out the approval, delivery, and collection of loans.

 

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Regina Office

Mona Bates, Manager of Business Sustainability & Community Engagement

Mona Bates is a business advisor who works with WESK members to help them achieve their entrepreneurial dreams. Mona works passionately to connect with her clients and strives to provide superior service. Mona has worked for several business/community development organizations spanning three provinces and brings a fresh and diverse experience to the table. Mona holds a BA in administrative studies from the University of Winnipeg and grew up working in (and finally managing!), a family business.

Diane Souillet, Training Coordinator & Administrative Assistant

Diane has worked with WESK since 2008. She is the primary contact for clients in our Regina office, informing those clients about the programs and services of WESK. Her Client Services role has expanded and she also coordinates our Learning & Connecting events in Regina and Saskatoon.

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Meet our Board of Directors

WESK 2018 Board of Directors

 

Jill Poulton, Chair

Jill Poulton is a certified executive and life coach with the ability to evoke transformational change in her clients. She brings to the table over 20 years of experience in sales and marketing management across corporate, retail, and direct sales channels. Known for leadership development, relationship building, collaboration, and inspiring communication, she uses proven coaching philosophies and strategies to empower individuals to have fulfilling careers and lives. Jill is passionate about stoking the fire within individuals, seeing them develop their purpose and potential, and adding greater value to the lives around them.

 

Aimee Schulhauser, Past Chair

Aimee is the owner and CEO of three Regina-based businesses: Evolution Catering and Fine Foods, Tangerine: The Food Bar, and Schoolhaus Culinary Arts. She is an active participant in her community, from radio and TV spots to charitable organizations such as the local food bank. Aimee looks forward to bringing her decade of business development experience to the WESK board.

 

Kelly Bannister

Kelly works with McFaull Consulting as a Financial Advisor and has more than 20 years of experience as a Certified Financial Planner. She has completed the Registered Retirement Consultant (RRC) designation, holds the Chartered Financial Divorce Specialist (CFDS) designation, and is a member of the Collaborative Professionals of Saskatchewan and the North Saskatoon Business Association (NSBA). She is a Saskatchewan Life Licensed Agent and mutual funds licensed representative with Manulife Securities Investment Services Inc. In 2015, Ms. Bannister obtained the Chartered Director (C.Dir.) designation from The Directors College (a joint venture between The Conference Board of Canada and McMaster University). She was appointed to the SaskEnergy Board of Directors in February 2014 and is a member of the Governance Committee and the Safety and Corporate Social Responsibility Committee.

 

Leigh Kaufmann

Leigh is co-owner of Senger Kaufmann CPA Prof. Corp., an accounting firm with over 400 corporate and 800 personal clients. The firm is dedicated to providing clients with sound tax advice and the highest standards of customer service. Educated at the University of Regina with a Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics, she went on to receive her Certified Management Accountant designation in 2002. Leigh’s passion for her community is only rivaled by her love of the Saskatchewan Roughriders. Leigh makes giving back to her community a priority by volunteering at various events in Regina, including eight years of being on the Regina Canada Day Committee as Treasurer and Chair.

 

Marcia Mirasty

Marcia Mirasty is a member of Canoe Lake Cree First Nation. She has over 25 years of professional experience in the area of health, including healing & wellness. Marcia has been a champion in helping Indigenous people step into their greatness. She is a powerful Indigenous Cree woman with strong cultural values and beliefs who works tirelessly believing that everyone deserves a second chance: to be stronger, to be healthier, and become whole in every area of their lives. She believes that, “The best gift we can give to our children is when we heal ourselves.” She has spoken at hundreds of workshops and has stood as a true leader and a motivational speaker who has inspired many people to “break cycles of dysfunction and poverty and to move forward in a powerful way for the benefit of our future generations”. This includes education, business development, wealth generation, and personal empowerment in every area of our lives.

 

Danielle Graff

Danielle practices at the Regina office of MLT Aikins LLP.  She is a lawyer in the firm’s Science & Technology group, with a focus on technology, privacy and health care law. She provides assistance to a diverse client base, including individuals, small businesses, and public and private corporations, and is engaged in the business and professional community in Regina and throughout the province on a daily basis. Danielle strongly believes in the mandate of WESK and looks forward to supporting women in business from a board level.

Colleen Yates, B.A M.Sc., RPP, MCIP

Colleen is a professional community and environmental planner with over 26 years of experience in both the public and private sector. Her fields of practice include planning policy development, rezoning, subdivision approvals, triple-bottom-line sustainability, waste minimization, and planning and environmental permitting and approvals. In 2012, she opened her own firm, Equinox3 Consulting Ltd where she works with municipalities, land developers, and NGOs. She is past director of the Greater Saskatoon Chamber of Commerce and Roadmap Saskatoon and is an active member of various professional and industry associations.

 

Leanne Johnson

Leanne was born and raised in Saskatchewan on a fourth generation farm near Maidstone, Saskatchewan. She received her Political Studies degree from the University of Saskatchewan in 1995 and subsequently, her law degree in 1998. Leanne took a brief hiatus after law school to enjoy the birth of her first child, then completed her articles in Prince Albert in 2000. Shortly thereafter, Leanne returned to Saskatoon and has been practising family law ever since. She has been one of the founding partners of two successful law firms in Saskatoon. Her latest venture is Edge Family Law, which Leanne and her partners, Beau Atkins and Doc Crooks, have formed to be the first, and only, multi-lawyer law firm in Saskatchewan exclusively practicing family law. The firm is innovative technologically and in its ability to employ a team atmosphere. Outside the office, Leanne is a parent to two active children, and enjoys volunteering her time with WANAR Dog Rescue/K9 Country Lodge,  the annual Synergy 8 Drive for Kids Campaign, Family Law Information Clinics, and various other charitable organizations. Leanne is a former member and Chair of the Board of Directors for Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers (LCL) and currently sits on the Board of Directors for SaskTel Centre, the Board of Directors for the Saskatchewan Trial Lawyers Association, the North Saskatoon Business Association (NSBA) Club Connect Committee, Family Service Saskatoon Foundation, and now the Board of Directors for Women Entrepreneurs of Saskatchewan (WESK).  She is a member of the NSBA, Saskatoon Chamber of Commerce, Women Entrepreneurs of Saskatchewan and Prairieland Park and was a 2018 Women of Distinction nominee. Leanne looks very forward to working with WESK in assisting people to reach their true potential!

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Board of Directors Nominations

The Board of Directors of WESK invites its membership to nominate individuals for election to the board. Elections take place anually at the Annual General Meeting to be held during our Annual Business Conference.

The Board of Directors has been structured to consist of a minimum of three (3) Directors and a maximum of ten (10) Directors from across Saskatchewan. To ensure consistency on the board, members are elected to a two-year term and can serve a maximum of three consecutive terms.

 

To submit a nomination:
Please check back in early spring.

 

Criteria for Board Members

  • You may nominate yourself or another full member
  • Must be a Regular Member of the Corporation at least 15 days prior to the election
  • Should ideally have Board/corporate governance experience
  • Should possess an entrepreneurial spirit, have a proven track record as a leader and have cultural awareness
  • Must be willing to attend up to 7 meetings per year
  • Must be willing to serve on a committee of the Board
  • Must not have been employed by WESK in the last 24 months
  • Must not be a current loan client of WESK
  • Must meet the additional criteria set out in any relevant policy statements or policy manual as determined by the Board from time to time
  • Preference will be given to candidates who contribute any one of the following capacities to our board: Indigenous perspective, legal, visible minority perspective or representation from outside of Regina/Saskatoon
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View our Annual Report

Join our Team

We create change the impacts the world of business and you could too. Become a part of a movement and join our team today!

Loans Officer Position

Are you an entrepreneurial focused individual interested in assisting with building and
accelerating growth for entrepreneurial women in Saskatchewan? We are seeking
someone for a permanent full-time Loans Officer situated in our Saskatoon office.

Description:

In collaboration with other WESK team members, this position is responsible for the
business loan and lending responsibilities of WESK. This includes analyzing, assessing and
preparing recommendations on loan requests; conducting business and economic analysis
to determine business and financial viability of loan requests; consulting specialists for
information on industry standards and business performance; preparing reports and
documentation including status of loan portfolios, and forecasting loan demands;
reconciliation of monthly and quarterly funding reports; providing loan aftercare support
including collections; and advising business clients on financial concerns. An additional
focus of this position is on supporting women entrepreneurs in the growth and
sustainability of their business.

Qualifications:

  • Completion of a recognized post-secondary training in Commerce / Business Administration
    with an emphasis in finance or accounting; or an equivalent combination of experience and
    education
  • Strong understanding and familiarity with financial statements, reports and small business
    lending, typically acquired through a minimum of three (3) years of experience in small
    business lending
  • Experience in reading, analyzing and preparing financial reports
  • A strong understanding of small to medium business enterprises, including developing
    business and financial plans and a thorough knowledge of local business resources
  • Superior analytical skills to perform cash flow projections, and interpret credit bureau reports
    in order to assess risk and determine business viability
  • Ability to apply sound judgement skills in making recommendations for both original funding
    and ongoing collection options with keen problem-solving skills particularly related to loan
    management, collections and after care
  • Excellent interpersonal skills with ability to engage, influence and motivate clients as well as
    work collaboratively with colleagues
  • High emotional intelligence to be able to balance being both empathetic to client needs as
    well as providing the firmness and assertiveness required to administer all loan processes
  • Strategic and critical thinker who is adept at identifying issues, synthesizing information, and
    implementing effective solutions within polices and protocols
  • Possesses a technological competence with familiarity with all Microsoft software programs,
    spreadsheets and databases
  • Thrives in a fast-paced environment with the capacity to manage multiple projects
    simultaneously
  • Superior attention to detail skills, with the ability to create, review, and reconcile financial
    spreadsheets, documents and reports
  • Works well independently as well as collaboratively in a team environment

 

Deadline for receipt of Cover Letter & Resume: 5:00 p.m. June 17, 2018.
Submit to the attention of WESK Recruitment Committee by email: kmay@wesk.ca

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