The PARO Team

Founder & Ceo

Rosalind Lockyer

Together with twenty years of working as a teacher, entrepreneur, and community developer, Rosalind became blatantly aware of the many systemic issues that kept women from achieving their life goals.  In 1995, she founded PARO Centre for Women’s Enterprise, channelling this experience, her passion, and determination to continue to work for positive change locally, provincially, nationally[RL1] and internationally.  Today, PARO is recognised as the “largest peer lending network in North America’ supporting its unique form of women-centred Community Economic Development with 150+ PARO Circles located across Ontario.  

In 2005, Northern Ontario Business awarded her the prestigious Influential Women of Northern Ontario Award-Public Sector recognizing her leadership in building PARO Centre for Women’s Enterprise into the dynamic organization that it is today, serving women entrepreneurs living in rural, urban and remote communities of Ontario. 

Rosalind Lockyer has dedicated her lifetime toward supporting gender equality and building sustainable livelihoods for thousands of women ‘who need it the most’. Important to her role as Founder and CEO of PARO Centre for Women’s Enterprise and co-founder of the national group, the Women’s Economic Council (WEC) is supporting women who are disadvantaged by the intersectionality of poverty, race, sexism, ageism, and disability. 

Rosalind Lockyer is Treasurer for the International e-Rotary for Social Innovators, and the board director for Ontario on the Women’s Enterprise Organizations of Canada board (WEOC), and a member of the Gender Equity Network of Canada. Through her work and community activity, she shares her experience and influence to mentor individuals and organizations to develop effective solutions and sustainable strategies. As a social entrepreneur, she has assisted management of enterprises, whether non-profit, private business or professional sector organizations with fund development, strategic planning, organization management, and policy development, human resources, leadership, social enterprise, business development and public relations. 

Recognized for her notable efforts in building PARO Centre for Women’s Enterprise, working with diverse populations, especially those most challenged, such as Indigenous people, people with disabilities, seniors and youth at risk with particular emphasis on women, Rosalind was called “one of the most remarkable social entrepreneurs in the world” by the Office of Social Enterprise, MEDEI, Ontario government, and received the International Award for “Women of the Decade in Community Leadership”, from the Women’s Economic Forum 2018 in New Delhi, India.


The women of paro


Management tEAM

Brenda McDougall is the Executive Assistant/HR Assistant, and provides supports to all members of the team at PARO Centre for Women’s Enterprise.

Laura Lynch is a prominent member of PARO’s Management team, serving as the Financial Manager and Loans Officer. She has a passion for improving women’s financial security, and is proud to be able to contribute through her work at PARO.

With a passion to support the economic advancement of women, Maria is a proud member of PARO’s Management Team, serving as the Program Developer.

Karen Lynn Evans is a Project Coordinator and the Lead Business Counsellor at PARO Centre for Women’s Enterprise. She leads the Women’s Enterprise Centre Northern Ontario (WECNO) project.

Melissa Cook is the Program Manager at PARO Centre for Women’s Enterprise. With a background in human rights, economic development, diversity and inclusion and social enterprise, Melissa is an expert in diverse community development practices.

head quarters tEAM

Lori Morin is a Business Counsellor with PARO, working with clients interested in start a business, as well as growth and expansion. Lori is sensitive to the needs of women and the barriers they experience developing and growing a business.

Linda is a Business Development Counsellor for PARO’s Breaking Barriers –Building Bridges program. This program is for individuals, both men and women with disabilities, who feel that working independently through self-employment will help them reach their goals for success.

Nefry joined PARO in May of 2017, as the Marketing and Communications Officer and is currently fulfilling the role of PARO Circle Coordinator and Business Counsellor.

Chloe Poulin is a Project Coordinator at PARO Centre for Women’s Enterprise. She leads the Women’s Leadership Project and works closely with the City’s leaders in Women in Politics.

Summer Reilly, also named Spotted Dog Lady of the Bear Clan, from Kiashke Zaaging Anishinaabek. She is a very outgoing, approachable person who enjoys helping people whenever she gets the chance.

Terri will be mainly assisting Laura, the financial manager in her day to day tasks. She will also be responsible for supporting PARO to reach its goal of improving its overall organizational continuity, stability and capacity, as well as contributing to strengthening the women’s movement and advancing gender equality.

Maria will be working with the Business Counsellor team, other PARO team members,
and community partners to deliver business development training and services for
northern women entrepreneurs living in rural, remote and First Nations communities in
Northern Ontario.
Maria brings to this position 35 + years experience as a legal and post-secondary
education administrator, as well as knowledge and understanding of the barriers to
access experienced by residents of rural and remote communities, especially women.

Hi, my name is Kylee Montieth, I am 27 years old and just recently graduated from the Interactive Media Development program at Confederation College. 

Some of my passions include drawing, horseback riding and knitting.

Some interesting facts about me are that this summer I rescued a Pasa Fino horse named Tequila (whos turned into a giant teddy bear) and I have a rare allergy to alcohol, so if you ever need a DD or a safe ride home feel free to give me a call!


Working from her home base of Sault Ste. Marie, Susan is the Project Coordinator- Northern for PARO. She provides business counselling to women in the areas east from SSM to Manitoulin Island and north to White River by helping women entrepreneurs start or expand their businesses, or form PARO circles.

Marie-Josée Lévesque is a fearless and proudly eclectic business and leadership coach. She is the founder of IM Transformation, a boutique coaching and management consulting firm helping small and medium-size business owners unleash the power of purpose in their lives and organizations.

Chantal Gingras is a Business Counsellor at PARO Centre for Women’s Enterprise. As a municipal councillor for the Town of Marathon, Chantal has a passion for growing the economy in her region.

Andrea is mindful and enthusiastic Business Entrepreneur with 20+ years of customer service-oriented territory management. With a BSc in Zoology from University of Manitoba and a Business Administration certificate in Environmental Entrepreneurship from University of Victoria, she spent 5+years with as a biologist on commercial fishing vessels working the coastal waters of BC as well as the Bering Sea near Alaska.  

Thuy is Franco-Vietnamese and recently a new Canadian resident living in Ottawa. She holds a Bachelor in applied foreign languages and a Master in Foreign Trade from a Business & Management School in France. She is a passionate business development and project management professional with significant and diverse industry background such as pharmaceuticals, medical supplies and equipment, IT services provider, and logistics.

Kayla Soomer is a serial entrepreneur, mentor and advocate for women in business. She has over 17 years of marketing experience in graphic/web design and photography. An entrepreneur at heart Kayla travels throughout the province working in different areas including: PARO Business Northeast Counsellor, photo booth owner, professional photographer, and marketer. Kayla’s work has been published all over the world including in Maclean’s, Canada’s premier current affairs magazine. 


Penny is a genuine entrepreneur. Founding the Tremblay Leadership Center, with relationship strategies training and keynotes internationally for 20+ years, thousands have benefitted with skills and confidence to be productive, PLAY NICE in the Sandbox, and climb the ladder of success.

Cathy Ireland is a passionate business development and program manager professional with significant and diverse industry background and experiences. Over the course of her career she has successful created and implemented business development strategies.

Tammy brings over 30 years of experience in politics to PARO, with 20 years as Special Assistant to a Federal MP and Provincial MPP in Constituency Offices and 10 years as Northern Outreach Assistant.

With over 20 years of experience selling Phone Directories, News Papers, Magazines, and Sponsorship Marketing, Linda is currently working for a Google Certified Premier Partner. Linda learned Advertising and Marketing hands-on and is constantly updating her skills to suit the evolving digital space. Linda has been a dynamic guest speaker for several engagements and is always excited to share her expertise.

As an expert in marketing strategy, I enjoy sharing my over 10 years of professional experience; and my knowledge (Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing and Communication and Master’s Degree in City Management) with women seeking to start-up and grow their businesses.

Elizabeth is committed to supporting women in their business and personal growth. She joined PARO in 2020, after mentoring business owners for over 20 years in Toronto, Ontario. She has written two business books and created several customised mentoring programs.

Cindy Crowe is a band member of the Lake Helen First Nation, Robinson-Superior Treaty Area, located an hour east of Thunder Bay. Her business Cindy Crowe Consulting (2004 to present) represents an award-winning Indigenous consulting firm with its headquarters based in Neebing, Ontario. Cindy specializes in community liaison, engagement and development. She continues to work with Federal, Provincial and Municipal government agencies and Indigenous communities across Ontario. 

Shaye has been working in non-profit organizations with a vast array of clients for over 10 years. She has diverse experience in various sectors of settlement of newcomers, community connections, volunteer and workshop coordination, job matching, employer engagement and staff management. She holds a Management Certificate for Women, is a Registered Canadian Immigration Consultant, Certified Career Development Practitioner and owner of a business called Full Circle Immigration. 

Beth is a business owner in Northwestern Ontario who has spent the past 5 years in the Non-Profit sector. This journey began in Calgary while managing a local Farmers’ Market; organizing, marketing, budgeting, and falling in love with the passionate lifestyle of an entrepreneur. She holds a Masters in Planning and has a wide range of experiences in business development.

Victoria is an entrepreneur in the food manufacturing, wholesale and retail sector having experience with all aspects of building a brand and business from ideation to national distribution and everything in-between. She holds an L.L.B. from the University of Ottawa and practiced law in the areas of labour/employment, Human Rights and with Legal Aid Ontario.  She brings a broad range of experience to her role as BGA and is passionate about empowering females to become successful in all areas of their lives.

Businesses Supported
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Grants from PARO Programs
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Total Grant Dollars to Clients