Ask An Expert Event

Ask An Expert Event

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Ask An Expert Event

Ask An Expert Event

Date: Tuesday, April 30th
Time: 8:00 AM – 10:00 AM
Location: Kenwo Golf Club

We are excited to invite you to our Ask An Expert event designed to empower local small businesses like yours – the Ask An Expert event, hosted by Valley Business Hub (CBDC Hants-Kings, the Annapolis Valley Chamber, and the Valley Regional Enterprise Network).

About the Event:

At this event, you’ll have the invaluable opportunity to connect with seasoned professionals who excel in diverse fields such as marketing, finance, operations, HR, and technology. Through interactive sessions, experts will rotate through tables, engaging in 20-minute discussions with small business owners like yourself. This will be followed by a group Q&A session, facilitating further dialogue and knowledge exchange. Additionally, we encourage follow-up sessions for deeper guidance and support tailored to your business needs.

Benefits for You:

  • Gain Valuable Insights: Learn from experts who can provide tailored advice and insights to help your business grow and thrive.

  • Expand Your Network: Connect with professionals who can offer valuable connections and opportunities within the local business ecosystem.

  • Find Personal Fulfillment: Take part in shaping the success of your business and contribute to the economic development of our community.

Networking Opportunities:

Before the round table discussions begin, there will be a dedicated networking portion from 7:30 AM – 8:15 AM. This is your chance not only to connect with experts but also to engage with fellow small business owners, fostering collaboration, idea sharing, and potential partnerships.

We invite you to join us at this exciting event aimed at empowering and uplifting our local entrepreneurial community. Together, we can create an environment where small businesses like yours have the resources and support they need to thrive.

Should you have any questions or require further information, please don’t hesitate to reach out. We would be delighted to have you join us.

Email: coordinator@annapolisvalleychamber.ca if you have any questions.

About the Experts

Finance

Michelle Byers, Relationship Manager, Business Markets, Business Financial Services
Michelle Byers is a relationship manager, business markets at the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC). Her success as a relationship manager is defined by the long-term well-being of the people she supports, the places in which she operates, and the planet she will leave to future generations. Michelle has achieved an Executive Master of Business Administration (MBA) specializing in innovative leadership and international product launch from the University of Fredericton. Before joining RBC, she worked in community and economic development helping communities in Cumberland County grow and thrive. She has experience and training as a business counsellor and, most recently, jumped into the classroom at Acadia University to design and teach a second-year marketing course for business students.

Work Life Balance

Brittany Parker, Director of Hospitality at Benjamin Bridge
Brittany Parker is the Director of Hospitality and has worked with Benjamin Bridge for over 10 years, beginning in the accounting department and then into growing a new hospitality program in 2018 when the winery decided to officially open to the public. Since then, their hospitality program and team have grown and Benjamin Bridge has been creating new exciting offerings and memorable experiences for their guests to enjoy!

Accounting

Jessica Clahane, Partner, Assurance Services at Grant Thornton LLP
As a Partner based in our Kentville office, I bring more than 13 years of experience specializing in Assurance where I oversee complex audit, review, and accounting matters, support detailed file completion, monitor quality control, and provide guidance on financial statement and corporate tax matters. I bring strong general business advisory practices to my clients, assisting businesses in analyzing potential risks and to think creatively about solutions. I’m a member of many internal Grant Thornton groups including the National and Nova Scotia public sector groups, the Nova Scotia First Nations group, and the National agriculture champions group. In all of them, I share my professional insights with my peers and stay up-to-date on emerging issues, ensuring I have the knowledge and tools to support our clients. I value my previous boots-on-the ground experience in operations roles that now helps me connect with clients’ staff, understanding difficulties they face, and helping them problem solve.

Law/Legal

Chris Shirrit, Business, Tax, Wealth Lawyer 
Cris has extensive experience in personal and corporate tax, corporate finance, business succession planning and wealth planning. Cris works with a broad client base of individuals, small to medium-sized enterprises and large corporations to create business structures and facilitate transactions that are as tax efficient as possible. He provides innovative and practical, legal and strategic business advice to individuals, corporations, general and limited partnerships, joint ventures and other organizations.

Marketing

Wes Booth, Founder of Canopy Creative
Wes is the Founder of Canopy Creative where they craft communications solutions that connect brands with their digital customers. At age 29, Wes has almost 15 years of business experience, previously spending the past three years as a freelancer managing brands and creating social media content for We Are NS, Do it in Wolfville, and other clients such as Atlantic Lottery, Acadia University, NSCC, Rogers Communications, Tatamagouche Brewery, and Wilsons Home Heating. Wes has also worked in other capacities as a local influencer, championing the strengths of Nova Scotia, it’s communities and it’s people. Outside of work, Wes has focused his time on volunteering as the Director of Youth Services for the Mud Creek Rotary Club in Wolfville, serving on the Youth Engagement Committee with the County of Kings, and as a Board Member of the Annapolis Valley Chamber of Commerce. In his spare time, Wes enjoys local arts and culture by attending as many live concerts and theatre productions as possible and has recently joined the Uncommon Common Art’s Board. Wes believes there has never been a more critical time for Nova Scotians to invest in each other and themselves, Canopy Creative is here to help.

Shaun Whynacht, CEO & Founder
Meet Shaun Whynacht – a zealous champion of small businesses, carrying the torch of entrepreneurship ignited by his lineage. After a scholastic detour and a thrilling rollercoaster of business escapades across the great expanse of Canada, he had his eureka moment – small businesses were his calling!
He then swung open the doors of Blue Cow Marketing, striking the perfect chord between career satisfaction and familial flexibility. With an insatiable appetite for learning and a healthy aversion to high-pressure sales gimmicks, Shaun fuses cutting-edge tech and sharp strategy to concoct marketing magic.
And, oh, don’t let the casual shorts and the polished collar give you the wrong impression – underneath that laid-back look lies a marketing powerhouse. Shaun’s marketing mojo is as formidable as it gets!

Retail Business Consulting 

Sara Delaney, Founder/CEO, BFD Retail Business Consulting, Retail Operations Specialist
Sarah is a dynamic retail operations specialist with more than 25 years in the trenches. She’s done it all—from cashier to big-box manager, corporate buyer to DM, and all points in between. Able to find operational efficiencies in a single-bound, her superpower is managing effective change and helping people grow into their own potential. She loves scheduling, crossword puzzles, singing badly, and late-80’s club hits. She also feels strongly about the Oxford comma.
A passionate advocate for customer service excellence, it’s no surprise that Sarah’s career began in amusement park management. Sarah’s career path has brought her on a journey from working beside killer whales to the wild world of strategic retail leadership. She has worked with a wide variety of client organizations including family-owned businesses, multi-facility regional retail, and large corporate operations. Sarah’s approach to retail growth focuses on the importance of bringing the fun and focus back to your days while keeping the customer at the heart of everything you do. She helps put more ease back in your days and more profit in your register by harmonizing operational systems and strategies with team development and customer experience excellence.
Ask Sarah about: customer service excellence, operational efficiencies, inventory management, HR systems, financial operations, SOPs, hiring, team training, and any other thing that may come to mind.

Dennis Delaney, CFI, CFE, PSP, CPP, BFD Retail Business Consulting, Risk Management Consultant
Dennis is a seasoned professional with more than 25 years of risk management leadership spanning the retail, facilities, and supply chain industries. From day-to-day retail operations to crisis intervention and corporate security, Dennis enhances safety and operational efficiencies through strategic planning.
Managing risk and emergent incidents using a comprehensive toolkit of situational analysis, complex investigations, environmental design, and team development, Dennis is an expert at shrink control and effective loss prevention strategies. His common-sense approach to reducing internal and external shrink through innovative methodologies and strategic implementation, solidifies BFD’s holistic approach to managing risk in all areas of your business.
Ask Dennis about: Violence in the workplace, retail aggression, working cooperatively with your local law enforcement, physical security, shrink controls, team training, any other business risk concerns you may have

Insurance

Joe Kinsman, Employee Benefits Specialist
Joe was born and raised in Wolfville and attended Acadia University. Upon graduation, he began working politically with the Nova Scotia Government. After three years he chose a different path and became a financial advisor with London Life. Joe quickly became interested in group benefits and for the last 18 years has been working almost exclusively with business owners implementing and managing their employee benefit plans. Joe firmly believes in building plans the right way, and staying ahead of challenging market trends. Today medical costs are skyrocketing, it is critical to insure your plan balances benefits, usage and cost. Joe lives with his wife Naomi and two daughters, in Canaan Nova Scotia. When he isn’t working, he is spending time with his girls, or fishing! He loves having his office in Wolfville, his old stomping grounds, and looks forward to providing solutions to business owners for many years to come.

Immigration & Settlement

Kathleen Novelia, Immigration and Settlement Navigator
My role is to help employers and business owners with literacy and navigating around immigration programs, while creating an inclusive community through Annapolis Valley Welcome Network. I also support newcomers in navigating the different resources in the community.
I just want to create more chances for organic encounters between locals and newcomers so newcomers can feel that “magic of the Valley” and call it home.
For employers, I just want to equip them with the knowledge about immigration programs that might help with the workforce. I also provide one-on-one support throughout the process.

Strategic Planning

Joel Stoddart, Grant Coordinator – Canada Digital Adoption Program
Joel Stoddart is a small business advisor, facilitator, and former business owner. He currently works with the Nova Scotia Association of CBDCs delivering the Canada Digital Adoption Program across Nova Scotia, and previously worked at the Acadia Entrepreneurship Centre and Careforce Health Services. Joel has worked extensively within the non-profit sector as a strategic planning facilitator, having sat on several boards over the years as well. He is currently a director with The Booker School in Port Williams. He lives in Kentville with his wife Sacha, his son William, and his daughter Hannah.

Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Robert Newcombe, Founder, Newcombe Consulting
Newcombe Consulting is driven to improve workplaces in Atlantic Canada. Supporting small and medium-sized organizations that need help increasing their productivity and streamlining their processes using industrial engineering principles and AI.

Human Resources

James Schofield, Strategy and Implementation, Roman 3 Operations
James Schofield is a Business Strategist and experienced business coach. He has a specialization in human resource management and talent attraction and retention. With over 15 years of direct experience working with diverse populations; helping them with everything from educational supports, community development projects and supporting them in owning and running their own business. James leads Roman 3’s implementation work with businesses on the vital role that human resources and leadership have on the performance and profitability of businesses.

Business Support

Christine Spurr, Business Development Analyst
Christine took her own advice, and sought out a variety of experiences in cities and countries around the world. She continues to believe strongly in the power of small towns and rural communities, in Nova Scotia and around the world. Using her excellent communication skills and my ability to quickly learn and understand complex topics, she works to focus attention and resources on areas that are often overlooked.

Workplace Innovation & Productivity

Andre Corkum, WIPSI Program Officer
The Workplace Innovation and Productivity Skills Incentive (WIPSI) is intended to support new and incremental activity to help businesses compete outside Nova Scotia. Training should help your business move in a new direction or expand your core operations, and promote growth and profitability.

More Events are Coming!

There are no upcoming events at this time.