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United around the globe to foster international trade and the advancement of women in business.


Expand your Business into the Middle East & North Africa region

  • Wednesday, December 08, 2021
  • 10:00 AM - 11:00 AM

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Join us as we celebrate the partnership between the Canada Arab Business Council (CABC) and the Organization for Women in International Trade - Toronto (OWIT-Toronto) with an MOU announcement. This significant partnership will offer women-led businesses and entrepreneurs access to market insights and opportunities across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.

This will be followed by a panel discussion from senior women leaders in the public and private sectors, who will provide a current update on doing business in the MENA region, delve into opportunities at the Dubai Expo 2020 and upcoming events and milestones for companies looking to enter, expand or re-activate their trade and investment efforts in the region.

The Dubai Expo 2020

With participation from nearly 190 countries, the Expo 2020 is the largest world business exposition event taking place from October 1, 2021 to March 31, 2022. Expo 2020 is where the brightest ideas, technology, cultures, and traditions will meet in one place to bring together the brilliance and the opportunities that each nation has to offer. Don't miss to be a part of this one-of-a-kind international event and to be able to connect with leading businesses around the world.


Speakers: 

Jennifer Cooke Director of Inclusive Trade, EDC

Jennifer Cooke joined EDC in 2010 to work directly with Canadian companies and help them succeed in international markets. As the Director for Inclusive Trade, she leads a team that is focused specifically on helping more women and diverse Canadian entrepreneurs realize their global potential with confidence by removing barriers, creating an equitable playing field, and increasing accessibility to products and services.

Working directly, as well as through key partners, EDC offers specialized and reliable trade knowledge, facilitates exports of goods and services with financing and insurance, and provides connections to enable all companies to achieve international success.

A graduate of University of Western Ontario’s Richard Ivey School of Business, Jennifer has enjoyed a variety of experiences working both in large multinational corporations, and as part of an entrepreneurial start-up as well as international work experiences in the US, the UK and Mexico.

EDC is Canada’s export credit agency, offering innovative products and services to help Canadian exporters and investors expand their international business. EDC’s knowledge and partnerships are used by more than 9,000 Canadian companies and global customers in 200 markets each year. EDC is financially self-sustaining and has been recognized as one of Canada’s Top 100 employers for nine consecutive years.


Karima-Catherine Goundiam CEO, Red Dot Digital, and B2BeeMatch

Karima-Catherine (KC) Goundiam is the founder and CEO of two thriving companies, the first of which is Red Dot Digital. This digital transformation firm helps clients across industries using a forward-thinking, data-driven approach. With Red Dot Digital, KC does business in Canada, France, the United Kingdom and around the globe.

The second one is B2BeeMatch, an algorithm-based commercial matchmaking platform for small and medium businesses all over the world. B2BeeMatch has established some significant partnerships, notably with the Ontario Aerospace Council (OAC) and the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC).

KC also founded Tech Canada Advocates (TCA). She sits on the boards of several organizations and she is the ICC’s Regional Coordinator for Africa. In 2018, the Toronto chapter of the Organization of Women in International Trade (OWIT) presented her with the JoAnna Townsend Excellence Award.


Katerina Tarasova, Executive Director, International Accreditation

As the Executive Director of International Accreditation and Health System Services at Health Standards Organization, Katerina Tarasova pairs innovation and performance excellence to drive global cooperation.

With 17 years of experience in international development, strategic planning and health systems strengthening, Katerina has a proven track record for building lasting partnerships – which have helped advance quality and patient safety in more than 35 countries.

Drawing from direct experience in business and humanitarian settings in the Middle East, Europe, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, she has informed the development and promotion of people-centred programs and services, contributing to HSO’s growing reach and impact.

In recent years, she was responsible for conceptualizing national-level projects supporting healthcare assessment and policy implementation. She has also collaborated with funding agencies such as the European Commission, PAHO, World Bank and others to mobilize international projects focused on healthcare, education, and socio-economic development.

Katerina is privileged to work in a field that aligns to her personal values which center on health as our greatest asset. She is also passionate about bringing communities together to share experiences that support quality healthcare for all.

Katerina is a member of the Board for the Canada-Arab Business Council as well as a Committee Member for the International Advisory Committee of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons, Canada. She holds a Master’s Degree in International Affairs and a Diploma in European Integration from Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada.


Lindsay Margenau, Counsellor (Commercial) and Senior Trade Commissioner, Consulate General of Canada to Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Lindsay was appointed to her current position as Counsellor (Commercial) and Senior Trade Commissioner in June, 2021. She manages Canada’s trade and investment program in the UAE.

Lindsay joined the Canadian Foreign Service in 2003 and has served abroad in several roles. Most recently, as Commercial Counsellor and Senior Trade Commissioner in New Delhi, she facilitated trade with India, Nepal and Bhutan from 2016-2021. Previously, as Vice Consul in Chongqing, China from 2009-2012, she represented Canada in Southwest China and enhanced commercial relations. She also has experience facilitating trade and investment with the United States during an assignment to Washington, DC from 2004-2007. While in Canada between assignments, she has coordinated trade policy initiatives in Ottawa, and supported Canadian companies from the Vancouver Regional Office of the Trade Commissioner Service.

Lindsay holds a Master of Social Science (Geography) degree from the University of Waikato in New Zealand, and a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Victoria. She is fluent in English, French, and Mandarin.

Moderator: 

Carmen Sylvain, Former Ambassador to the Republic of Colombia, the Kingdom of Morocco and the Republic of Mauritania

Carmen Sylvain is a former diplomat and currently an honorary board member of the CABC. She served as Canada’s Ambassador to the Republic of Colombia, the Kingdom of Morocco and the Republic of Mauritania. Within the federal government, she held positions with the Privy Council Office, Communications, Canadian Heritage, and Foreign Affairs and International Trade. In the latter, she served as Assistant Deputy Minister for Europe, Africa and the Middle East, as Assistant Deputy Minister Strategic Policy and Planning, and Director General for the European Union. In these capacities, she led the development of a Foreign Policy Plan for Canada as well as commercial strategies for Europe, Africa and the Middle East. Ms Sylvain served as President of the Bureau of International Exhibitions Executive Commission. In the private sector, she was strategic advisor to Borealis Infrastructure of the OMERS pension fund as well as the QG100 business network.

She is currently an independent non executive director with PAREX Resources Inc., Orient Investment Properties, Egyptian Refining Company, and Lasalle College International. Ms. Sylvain has lived and worked for varying periods in Portugal, Germany, Morocco and Colombia. Carmen Sylvain is a former diplomat and currently an honorary board member of the CABC. She served as Canada’s Ambassador to the Republic of Colombia, the Kingdom of Morocco and the Republic of Mauritania. Within the federal government, she held positions with the Privy Council Office, Communications, Canadian Heritage, and Foreign Affairs and International Trade. In the latter, she served as Assistant Deputy Minister for Europe, Africa and the Middle East, as Assistant Deputy Minister Strategic Policy and Planning, and Director General for the European Union. In these capacities, she led the development of a Foreign Policy Plan for Canada as well as commercial strategies for Europe, Africa and the Middle East.

Ms Sylvain served as President of the Bureau of International Exhibitions Executive Commission. In the private sector, she was strategic advisor to Borealis Infrastructure of the OMERS pension fund as well as the QG100 business network. She is currently an independent non executive director with PAREX Resources Inc. , Orient Investment Properties, Egyptian Refining Company, and Lasalle College International. Ms. Sylvain has lived and worked for varying periods in Portugal, Germany, Morocco and Colombia.


Partnership Launch by:

Cathy Séguin, President and Executive Director, Canada Arab Business Council

Cathy Séguin co-founded and was appointed Vice-President of SickKids International (SKI) in 2005.  She leads SKI’s strategy, enabling SickKids to further its international leadership goals in patient care advisory, education and research.

Cathy has more than 25 years of hospital management experience, both in community and academic hospitals.  At SickKids, she has held a number of leadership roles, including that of Vice-President of Child Health Services, Vice-President of Surgical Services and Professional Services, and Director of Diagnostic Imaging.  Previous leadership roles have also extended to executive responsibility for Safe Kids Canada, a unit of SickKids until 2012.

Externally, Cathy has chaired the Ontario Paediatric Surgical Wait Times Expert Panel through the Wait Time Strategy at the Ministry of Health in 2006, as well as the Paediatric Subcommittee of the Critical Care Expert Advisory Panel in 2007. She was also Chair of the Provincial Council for Children’s Health Surgical Services Wait Time Task Force.

She holds a Master’s degree in business administration from The Richard Ivey School of Business. She is a member of the Canada Arab Business Council Board of Directors, and the Richard Ivey School of Business Health Sector Advisory Council. She is also former Chair of the Board of Directors for Parachute, a national organization dedicated to injury prevention in Canada.


Helen Hemmingsen, President, OWIT-Toronto

Helen is the Canada market representative for Innovatus Drinks, a company from the UK. Their brands include Horseguards Gin, Horseguards Pink, and Wing Walker Rum.

Helen is an experienced industry consultant with a demonstrated track record of helping companies gain access to overseas markets. Skilled in business planning, international marketing, strategic planning, market research, and business development.

She has an MBA from the Open University (UK). Cross-Canada sector expertise includes infrastructure, energy, advanced manufacturing, and food/drink.

Helen has her own consultancy firm, Hemmingsen Consultancy & Advisory (www.hemmingsen.ca), and is the Canadian partner for Innovas (www.innovas.co.uk), a British firm based in Cheshire. Innovas provides consultancy support to both the public and private sector. Range of services include business support, trade & investment, talent development and research & intelligence.

Helen is the current President of OWIT-Toronto.


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