Women in the lead: Meet 13 of Alberta's inspiring entrepreneurs

Mar 2 2020, 11:18 pm

This March 8 marks International Women’s Day in Canada and across the world.

Alberta is home to a number of female business leaders and entrepreneurs who are making waves with their achievements.

In celebration of this International Women’s Day, we’ve put together a list of some local women who are taking their leadership, businesses, and brands to new heights — many of whom having created women-forward companies that strive to see females shine.

Lynn Dargis, Founder of Farmbucks



Who she is: Dargis won $25,000 through the FWE Pitch for the Purse contest for her agriculture-based app, Farmbucks, which helps farmers collect and share information about the agricultural industry.

Twitter: @farmbuckscom

Kylie Woods, Founder of The Chic Geek


Kylie Woods (@kywoods_/Twitter)

Who she is: Woods founded Calgary’s own Chic Geek, a non-profit organization working to encourage women in their technological and entrepreneurial pursuits.

Twitter: @kywoods_

Arlene Dickinson, Founder of District Venture Capital and celebrity investor on Dragons’ Den 


Arlene Dickinson (@arlenedickinson/Twitter)

Who she is: One of Calgary’s most well-known entrepreneurs, Dickinson can be seen on the TV show Dragons’ Den as well as leading the venture capital fund District Ventures Capital.

Twitter: @ArleneDickinson

Natasha Spokes, CEO and founder of FarCloser Travel


Natasha Spokes (@natasha_spokes/Twitter)

Who she is: Spokes created the travel platform FarCloser Travel after being dissatisfied with the traditional travel agency industry, and was most recently a coach during the most recent Startup Weekend.

Twitter: @Natasha_Spokes

Mandy Balak, CEO and Founder of The Ace Class


Mandy Balak (@mandybalak/Twitter)

Who she is: Balak created The Ace Class as a way for women to connect with other women and empower them to make a bigger impact on the world. She was recently nominated in the 2020 Alberta Women Entrepreneurs Awards.

Twitter: @Mandybalak

Bobbie Racette, Founder and CEO of Virtual Gurus


Bobbie Racette (@bobbie_racette/Twitter)

Who she is: Racette had been working in Calgary’s oil and gas industry in 2015 when she realized that she was close to being laid off. Virtual Gurus was born in 2016 with $300 out of Racette’s own pocket, and it has been running off of self-generated revenue ever since its first month saw 90 clients sign on.

Twitter: @Bobbie_Racette

Aymie Rondeau, Founder of The Curvy Shop


Aymie Rondeau (The Curvy Shop)

Who she is: Rondeau created The Curvy Shop in 2018 after being frustrated at the lack of options for high-quality plus-sized clothing in Calgary and across the country. She was recently nominated for the 2020 AWE Awards.

Twitter: @shopthecurvy

Emily Slaneff, Founder of Crush Camp


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Emily Slaneff (Bontje) (@emilyinyyc) on

Who she is: Another AWE Award nominee, Slaneff founded Crush Camp and has since seen two boutique studio open in Calgary since. Slaneff’s story can be found here.

Insta: @emilyinyyc

Mallory Becker and Jillian Palmer, Founders of Pine Integrated Health Centre


Mallory Becker and Jillian Palmer (pinehealth.ca)

Who they are: Becker, a registered psychologist, and Palmer, a physiotherapist, joined forces at the head of an all-female team to offer health services for males, females, children, and adults, though they take the most pride in their specialty of supporting women perinatally.

Facebook: Pine Integrated Health Centre

Shauna Madsen, Founder and CEO of Madsen Avenue, CEO of Encore:CEO Academy


Shauna Madsen

Who she is: Madsen created Madsen Avenue to help small businesses find a place in the market by providing planning tools to set them apart. She is also CEO of Encore:CEO Academy, an online program that walks small business owners through a revamp of their marketing and business strategies.

Twitter: @madsen5

Nicole Rice, Founder of Sweet Jolie Inc


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Sweet {Jolie} (@sweetjolieboutique) on

Who she is: Rice created the community-conscious clothing boutique Sweet Jolie in Edmonton in 2011 and has grown it into not just a place for clothing, but for empowering women through a series of ongoing campaigns. Funds have previously been raised for the Canadian Alopecia Foundation, the YWCA GirlSpace program and the Edmonton Dream Centre, Make-A-Wish Northern Alberta, Lois Hole Hospital for Women, Basically Babies, and the Nina Haggerty Centre for the Arts.

Twitter: @sweetjolies

Michelle Andrishak, Founder of WOW! International Women in Business and Leadership Inc


Michelle Andrishak (WOW Women in Business/Facebook)

Who she is: Andrishak is a certified management consultant and certified business coach and entrepreneurial trainer who created WOW! to allow women in business and leadership to join a like-minded community.

Facebook: WOW Women in Business

Chandler WalterChandler Walter

+ Venture
+ Entrepreneurs