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 her determination to continue to work for positive change locally, provincially, nationally[RL1] and internationally.  Today, PARO is recognized 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 the 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.

In 2021, Lakehead University awarded their highest honour – an Honorary Doctorate in Humane Letters to Rosalind for her work in the community, gender equity spaces and women-entered economic development.


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

Business Counselor
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 Farmer

Building bridges coordinator
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 Falla

Circles Coordinator & Business Counsellor
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.

Kylee Monteith

Strategic Communications & New Media Officer
Kylee is our current intern and recently graduated from the Interactive Media Development program at Confederation College.
She has a background in graphic design, social media management and front-end web development.

Judith Tiriwepi

Financial Capacity Builder

Judith holds a BSc degree in Economics from the University of Zimbabwe with 15 years of experience as a finance and accounting professional. She is an aspiring CPA who has worked for the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe as a compliance officer, taught economics and accounting at one international school in the Democratic Republic of Congo and has worked as an accountant in a business development organization in the Congo.

Judith always wanted to use her finance and accounting expertise to make a difference in other people’s lives and is proud to be part of the PARO team where she can use her knowledge and experience to contribute to the empowerment of fellow women.

Suzanne Tighe

Business growth Advisor

Born and raised in Toronto, Suzanne started her career path at an investment firm in downtown Toronto; she then moved to Thunder Bay and became Owner/Operator of a large home-based family business and franchise. From Thunder Bay, she partnered with a land developer and established a golf recreational business and golf course in southern Ontario. From Southern Ontario, she went to Calgary where she worked, as General Manager, for a locally-based Thunder Bay company as they developed a new business from start-up to such time that it began trading publicly on the TSX Ventures Exchange.  After moving back to Thunder Bay, she found her dream job at PARO Centre for Women’s Enterprise – helping women start businesses. 

After 6.5 years at PARO, something was tugging at her, telling her it was time to start a business with heart.  She established, built and sold a private home health care company that surpassed $1million in revenue.  9 years later, she is thrilled to be back at PARO working as a Business Growth Advisor.

Dhanisha Mehta

Dhanisha Mehta

Project Coordination -
Rural, Recovery and Resilience

Dhanisha is working as our brand new Project Coordinator for PARO’s Rural, Recovery and Resilience Project.

She graduated from Lakehead University with a Master’s Degree in Economics, and has a background in research and analysis, along with an understanding of policies.


Andrea Zappe

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

Renée Gendron

PAROBiz project coordinator - (Eastern)

Renée Gendron holds a master’s degree in social sciences and is nearing the defence of her Ph. D in humanities and conflict resolution. She draws from a background in professional development and business development. She’s coached starts-ups, pitched billion-dollar companies, and all points in between.  She’s a trained mediator and has been a speaker on leadership, workplace conflict, and workplace bullying. She speaks French, English, and Dutch with a life-long dream of learning Spanish and Russian. She’s stepped foot on four continents. In her role at PARO, she is the ParoBiz Project Coordinator—Eastern Ontario.

Kayla Soomer

Business Northeast Counsellor
sudbury area
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.

Susan Milne

Project Coordinator-Northern
sAULT sTE. marie Area
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.


Linda Cryderman

Business Growth Advisor
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.

Kaouthar Faouzi

Business Growth Advisor
ottawa region
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.

Tammy Laws

Business Growth Advisor
thunder bay area
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.
Shaye Head shot May 30 2022

Shaye Belanger

Business Growth Advisor

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.

Victoria Watts

Business Growth Advisor

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.

Elizabeth Verwey

Business Growth Advisor
toronto area

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 seven customized mentoring programs. She also curated a women’s speaker series called Spoken Lives for 7 years. Elizabeth is launching an online learning platform called Grow at Your Pace this summer. There’s a 3-part course called Your Applause Academy that guides you to Start, Grow and Earn with your own speaker or storytelling series.

Cheryl Himburg

Business Growth Advisor
Ottawa Region
Cheryl Himburg is the owner of Key Element Solutions, empowering women professionals, leaders and business owners to shatter THEIR glass ceiling and achieve ambitious results. Cheryl is an ambitious coach for your personal success and an accomplished catalyst for your career or business growth.

A certified mindset and leadership coach, Cheryl leverages her corporate experience and training as a certified Master NLP (neuro-linguistic programming) Practitioner to empower her clients to go beyond baseline goal setting, to remove barriers, and conquer limiting beliefs. Your next level requires the next level of you. You don’t have to get there alone.

Jenny Chandler

Business Growth Advisor
Ottawa Region
Jenny owns and operates Simple Desk, a small business support company in Trenton, Ontario.
Passion, drive and success are all goals she strives to help her clients achieve. She takes great joy in helping others succeed and realize their dreams.

Chantal Fraser

Business Growth Advisor
Through her company, Empowered Path Inc. Chantal Fraser acts as a Thought Partner, sharing success stories to help people learn how to help themselves, their communities and organizations thrive.

Chantal offers a variety of services including delivering accessible online career programs and delivering Indigenous Inclusion sessions to Canadian employers from Coast to Coast to Coast, with strategic partners Indigenous Link. Chantal has Métis ancestors and is a military veteran.

Melissa Maltais

Business Growth Advisor
Timmins Region
From a young age, Melissa has chased her dreams of living her happiest and most purposeful life. She spent the early years of her career working within the recreation and hospitality industry; eventually leading to a rewarding career as a Wedding and Banquet Coordinator on Vancouver Island, BC. With her extensive expertise in event planning and project management, Melissa founded Blossom & Shine Collective in 2017 as a means to support small businesses within her community. This provided her with an opportunity to continue her role as a stay at home mother, while still pursuing her dreams of creating her own business.

With a passion for supporting women and their pursuit of happiness and entrepreneurship, her new role as a Business Growth Advisor & Business Development Trainer with PARO Centre for Women’s Enterprise offers you authentic, professional and inspiring opportunities for personal and professional growth.

Kristina Medow

Business Growth Advisor
Ottawa Region

Kristina loves helping others turn their ideas into reality. She has been a business consultant her entire career working with organizations of all sizes & industries – from Fortune 500 e-commerce companies to small & ambitious startup teams, in the US, Canada, Europe, Russia and Latin America. She also co-founded Impact Hub Ottawa, a community of creative and entrepreneurial changemakers and a part of a network of 100+ Impact Hubs around the world.

Kristina is deeply committed to supporting entrepreneurs of all walks of life and does so through her innovation consultancy where she works closely with her clients on ways to integrate innovation strategies, tools & methods into their businesses.

Marisol Fornoni

Business Growth Advisor
Toronto Region

Marisol is a coach, facilitator and fundraiser that works with social enterprises to strengthen their business models and build their social impact. Marisol has worked with non-profits, social enterprises and incubators across Canada to test and develop their social enterprise ideas, diversify their revenue streams and fundraising since 2012.

She has coached more than 50 social enterprises and worked with organizations like the Centre for Social Innovation, Art Reach, George Brown College and Action Canada for Sexual Health & Right to promote social entrepreneurship.

Laurie Del Net

Business Growth Advisor
Toronto Region
Laurie spent over 30 years in senior management for several large corporations, including national retailers, and two of the top four Telecommunications Companies in Canada. As a safety and security professional, Laurie spent the bulk of her career helping corporations protect their people, product, and property. Laurie was also responsible for developing strong operating procedures and health and safety best practices while building strong relationships with all levels of management, staff, vendors, and community partners. In addition, Laurie has served on several boards in the not-for-profit sector and currently sits on the Board of Directors for Crime Stoppers of Grey Bruce.
Laurie owns and operates SafeTeaVis Inc., an organization focusing on helping small businesses, home and cottage owners, to identify and address areas of vulnerability and risk. Laurie is thrilled to be able to take the knowledge and experience gathered throughout her career and share it with entrepreneurs as they start or expand their businesses.

Carol Brazeau-Weisflock

Business Growth Advisor
North Bay Region

For 14 years, Carol worked for the Ministry of Transportation and Drive Test as an examiner/Supervisor and Lead trainer.

Business Entrepreneur and owner of several businesses since her early 20’s.Carol is committed to supporting women in their business and personal growth.
Carol has a passion in teaching and decided to open her own driving school “DriversEd4U” in North Bay in 2010. In 2020 Carol developed a series of high-quality, leading-edge, educational training videos for clients to help coach new drivers how to drive and a online defensive online course.

Carol formed the first Paro circle in NorthBay in 2016. She also sat on the North Bay Women’s Business Network Board as Chair in 2018-2020.  She was also part of the PARO Women Enterprises Board of Directors from 2016 – 2018.  She is now a part-time bilingual Business Growth Advisor (BGA) for PARO covering Northern Ontario
Carol mainly covers but is not limited to the Timmins/Cochrane and Kapuskasing/Hearst area She loves helping women start, expand, develop and grow their businesses.

Angela Henry

Business Growth Advisor
Durham Region

Angela Henry is a people-focused strategist and process leader. A project management and business enablement entrepreneur, she draws on over 20 years of corporate experience in both the market research and higher education industries. With a passion for brand development, Angela holds an MBA in International Business, Innovation and Entrepreneurship.  The combined experience and education give her the tools to help you make sound and progressive business decisions.  Her entrepreneurial journey includes both retail and real estate ventures, so she understands the joys and challenges of business ownership. 

However, her most important role is that of mother. Lending her time to BIPOC-focused, youth advocacy and mental health organizations, she strives to provide an example of service for her teenagers. 

Carole Perrin

Business Growth Advisor
Northern Ontario

Carole has been working in the Travel, Tourism & Hospitality Industry for over 30 years in Canada, Australia and NZ. Her vast experience includes working in the Leisure, Business, Groups, Incentives, B2B and B2C markets, for various types of businesses including Tour Operators, Online wholesale and retail.

She has worked for various companies assisting them in creative travel packages, exclusive product ranges, incentive programs that will WOW any team!

Carole has also been successful in recruiting, motivating, coaching, leading and managing sales teams for new sales growth. Her Consulting Biz “Great Visions Consulting” in the last 7 years has helped grow businesses of all sizes with their planning, marketing and sales. A well rounded Business Growth Representative who loves meeting and helping people from all walks of life!

Jennifer Latham

Business Growth Advisor
Northeastern Ontario

After a successful career in retail management, Jen used her sales and management experience along with her education in marketing communications to open a marketing firm dedicated to small businesses in northeastern Ontario. In 2016, Jen closed the marketing firm and moved to southern Ontario. She went back to her love of design and received her certifications in interior decorating and feng shui.
Now based out of Timmins, Jen runs a successful feng shui consulting firm, working with women entrepreneurs from all over the world to shift the energy in their homes and offices. She is a motivational speaker, where she has spoken in both Canada and the US. She is a women’s empowerment mentor and a contributing author to a book that will be released in September 2022.

Helping to support women in all aspects of their lives is something Jen is passionate about. With over 10 years of experience running successful businesses, she is happy to use her expertise to help more women in Ontario to build successful businesses and to help them access all of the resources PARO has to offer.


Businesses Supported
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Grants from PARO Programs
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Total Grant Dollars to Clients