Think Export Now Conference

Tue, Mar 20th, 2018 @ 08:00 am
Presented By:
The Cape Breton Partnership
Membertou Trade & Convention Centre

The Think Export N.O.W. Conference will bring together export related government partners, organizations, current exporters and companies thinking of exporting to collaborate on addressing the barriers of exporting products and services to national and international markets.

Attendees will also have the opportunity to engage in an interactive dialogue with the luncheon keynote speaker.

If you have a company, and have an interest in exporting for the first time or would like to expand your sales in existing or new markets, this conference will be of interest to you!


Tentative Agenda - Subject to Change

8:00AM - 8:30AM

Registration & Networking

8:30AM - 9:00AM

Welcome Address and Export Growth Service Presentation:

Learn how government partners, organizations and successful exporters plan to offer collaborative export growth services to Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs), and how SMEs can participate.

9:00AM - 10:00AM

Export Challenge Circle:

Overview of Atlantic Trade and Investment Growth Strategy and the Trade Commissioner Services followed by the Export Challenge Circle.

Take part in the Export Challenge Circle where each table of SMEs will be asked to come up with their top three export challenges to be addressed by export experts. (Challenges can regional, national or international in nature).

10:00AM - 10:15AM

Nutrition & Networking Break

10:15AM - 10:30AM

Beyond our Borders: Partnering with NSBI for Export Success

10:30AM - 11:45AM

Let's Export Together Panel:

Who can be an exporter? No matter how big or small the business idea, most products and services can be exported. Learn how this panel of SMEs came up with the concept of their unique product or service, how they take advantage of export opportunities to meet national and international needs, the markets they serve, the challenges they face, the collaboration they have developed and advice they have for other exporters or potential exporters.

11:45AM - 12:15PM


12:15PM - 1:30PM

Luncheon Keynote:

Are you interested in learning how SMEs currently exporting or interested in export can benefit from collaboration and Free Trade Agreements? If so, don’t miss this exciting luncheon presentation by the Right Honourable Jean Chrétien.

1:30PM - 2:00PM


2:00PM - 3:00PM

Round Table Discussions:

You will have the opportunity to address Federal and Provincial representatives regarding your export challenges and opportunities, and provide input into how partners can work collaboratively to grow exports. Each round table discussion will last for 30 minutes, after which conference participants will move to another room to receive input on the two topics. This portion will be followed by a 30-minute summary of the round table discussions.

3:00PM - 3:30PM

Overview of Round Table Discussions

3:30PM - 3:45PM

Summary Remarks


The Right Honourable Jean Chrétien, P.C., C.C., O.M., Q.C., Ad. E.

Jean Chrétien was born in Shawinigan, Québec, Canada, Mr. Chrétien completed his law studies at Université Laval and was admitted to the Québec Bar in 1958. He is also a member of the Ontario Bar.  

Mr. Chrétien was elected Member of the House of Commons in 1963. During his career, he also served as Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Finance, Minister of Industry, Trade and Commerce, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Minister of Justice and Attorney General, Minister of National Revenue, Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, President of the Treasury Board, Minister of Energy, Mines and Resources, Minister responsible for Francophone Affairs and Minister in charge of Social Development.

Mr. Chrétien was sworn in as Canada’s 20th Prime Minister of Canada in November 1993 after winning a majority of the seats in the House of Commons. During his tenure he was re-elected with majorities in 1997 and 2000. As Prime Minister, Mr. Chrétien stressed balanced budgets, national unity and a strengthened place for Canada in the world. His government’s legacy also includes a number of social reform and humanitarian initiatives.

Mr. Chrétien left the Office of Prime Minister of Canada on December 12, 2003. In February 2014, Mr. Chrétien joined Dentons Canada LLP as counsel.

In 2007, Mr. Chrétien was appointed Companion of the Order of Canada.

In 2008, he became co-president of the InterAction Council, an international organization that mobilizes the experience, energy and international networks of former Heads of State and Government. Council members jointly develop recommendations and practical solutions for the political, economic and social problems confronting the global community.

In 2009, he was awarded the Order of Merit by Her Majesty Elizabeth II.  

Honorary Degrees  
Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo (1981), Laurentian University in Sudbury (1982); University of Western Ontario in London (1982); Glendon College of York University in Toronto (1986); University of Alberta in Edmonton (1987); Lakehead University in Thunder Bay (1988); University of Ottawa (1994); Meiji University in Japan (1996); The Warsaw School of Economics in Poland (1999), Michigan State University (1999), Hebrew University in Jerusalem (2000), Memorial University in St. John’s (2000); Université Sainte-Anne in Nova Scotia (2002); Université Catholique Pontificate Madre y Maestra in Santiago de los Caballeros in Dominican Republic (2003); Queen’s University in Kingston (2004); McMaster University in Hamilton (2005); The National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy in Ukraine (2007); Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières (2008); Concordia University’s John Molson School of Business (2010); Université de Montréal 2011; University of Winnipeg (2014). Université Laval (2016).

Laurel C. Broten, B.Sc., B.A., J.D., I.C.D.D.

Nova Scotia Business Inc. - President and CEO

Laurel C. Broten is a seasoned executive, public policy expert, former senior Ontario Cabinet Minister, lawyer, legislator and advocate. Laurel is President and CEO of Nova Scotia Business Inc. (NSBI), a crown corporation responsible for export development, business and film financing, and investment attraction for the Province of Nova Scotia. Since taking the helm in 2015, Laurel has led NSBI in building an innovative client-centric model that has transformed the organization. In an era of hyper-competition and changing worldwide realities, Laurel has embraced continuous evolution and leads NSBI on its daily mission to build a globally connected Nova Scotia economy for today and tomorrow.

Carolyn Wood

Export Development Canada - Senior Account Manager

Carolyn joined EDC in July 2016 as Senior Account Manager for NS. Carolyn looks after clients of all sectors in NS with their export financing or risk mitigation needs. Prior to joining EDC, she spent 7 1/2 years with Global Affairs Canada as a Trade Commissioner working with Atlantic Canadian exporters in the CleanTech, Ocean Tech and Renewable Energy Sectors. Prior to her role with Global Affairs Canada, she worked with RBC in a variety of roles, including commercial banking and branch management, in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Newfoundland. Carolyn is delighted to have the opportunity to bring together her international trade and banking backgrounds together to benefit EDC clients and to help them Go, Grow and Succeed internationally.

Darlene Sponagle

Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency

Darlene Sponagle has 20 years of experience in economic development with Enterprise Cape Breton Corporation and the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA). Over the past nine years she has been involved in assisting business owners just starting to think about export, the new to exporting and the experienced exporter seeking new markets and/or market growth. More specifically she is active in providing guidance and navigation to exporters on the programs and services available to them; works with clients to identify possible funding options for exporting; collaborates with partners to undertake export projects to meet the needs of exporters; is involved in coordinating incoming and outgoing trade missions; and participates on Atlantic Canada teams responsible for export and program development.

Prior to her current role, Darlene was responsible for other economic development priorities including Entrepreneurship, Information Technology, Community Economic Development and Tourism Marketing.

Darlene is a proud Alumnus of Cape Breton University (CBU) and its’ past Alumni president. She holds a diploma in Hospitality Administration, and Bachelor of Arts in Community Studies and Bachelor of Business Administration degrees.

Currently Darlene lives in Sydney and is a proud mom and grandmother of two grown children and one granddaughter.

Helen Graham

Nova Scotia Community College

Helen Graham is a Business Administration Instructor and International Program Manager, at Marconi Campus, Nova Scotia Community College. Helen has her own international consulting firm, Graham Global Management Services. She also teaches international business and marketing courses to MBA students at Cape Breton University. Helen has over 34 years experience in public relations, economic development and international business.

Helen Graham offers her clients innovative, practical advice and solutions for developing new market opportunities. She works with her clients to understand the complexities of exporting, evaluating opportunities and making well-researched decisions.

She has 20 years direct experience in international business, seven as a Sr. Trade Officer with Enterprise Cape Breton Corporation. She has led trade missions to the United States and Europe and worked one-on-one with over 100 companies (SMEs) to help them with all aspects of exporting, with particular emphasis on logistics and marketing. Helen has worked in a variety of sectors including: education, seafood, wood products, boat building, advanced manufacturing, craft and food products.

She is a Certified International Trade Professional (CITP) and holds a Bachelor of Public Relations Degree and a Masters of Business Administration (Marketing).

Kathryn Aleong

Global Affairs Canada - Regional Director and Senior Trade Commissioner, Atlantic Region

Since joining Canada’s Foreign Service in 1990, Ms. Aleong has assisted numerous Canadian companies in enhancing their presence in international markets. From 2006 to 2010, she was Canada’s Consul and Senior Trade Commissioner in Guadalajara, Mexico, managing international business development between Canada and six states in Western Mexico. Her other previous assignments abroad include Washington, D.C., where in addition to her environmental sector responsibilities, she was part of the core team that developed and implemented the Canadian Women’s International Business Initiative; and Mexico City where she worked in the geomatics, health, pharmaceutical, education and tourism sectors.

In Ottawa, she has worked in a number of positions including Special Assistant to the Deputy Minister for International Trade, spokesperson in the Media Relations Office, and on a number of departmental-supported conferences (Americas Business Forum, the FTAA Ministerial Meeting, International Conference on War-Affected Children). During the 2000 to 2006 period, she was responsible for the team involving over 200 participants that worked on continuous improvement initiatives for the Trade Commissioner Service of Canada. She has also managed the secretariats for the Small and Medium-sized Enterprises Advisory Board to the Minister of International Trade and for department’s International Commerce Coordination Board.

Ms. Aleong is the recipient of two departmental merit awards, the Minister for International Trade Citation Award for Trade Service, as well as the prestigious Canadian Foreign Service Officer Award from the Professional Association of Foreign Service Officers. In 2013, she received Canada's Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal. She holds an MSc from McGill University, an MLIS from the University of Western Ontario and a BA (Honours) from Queen’s University.

Ms. Aleong has been the Atlantic Regional Director and Senior Trade Commissioner since September 2013.

Lan Zheng

Victoria Co-op Fisheries Ltd.

With an educational background in international business, Lan Zheng is currently working with Victoria Co-op Fisheries. She has helped the company enter the Asian market through establishing networks, finding distributors, and participating in trade shows. She is a Certified International Trade Professional (CITP) and has lived in Cape Breton since 2012.

Loretta Gould

Mi'kmaq Artist

Born and raised in Waycobah First Nation by her parents, Loretta is a self-taught artist, spending her whole life creating with fabric, photos, and acrylics. Her art is spiritual and described as a “dream to see bright, beautiful colours”.

Loretta’s dream is to share her art around the world, and she has been achieving that dream by selling some of her first paintings in Finland and Germany. She enjoys exhibiting her work and feels it is a way to get her spiritual feelings on canvas.

Currently Loretta is working on a book of stories that accompany each of her paintings, as well as two children’s books to learn her native tongue. She has recently opened an online clothing store with her artwork on fabric. She sells yoga leggings for adults, youth, and children, and also carries tank tops, sport tanks, bags, and is now working on greeting cards and listing her prints for purchase.

She resides in Cape Breton with her husband Elliot Gould and their six children.

Denis Lanoë

Copol International Ltd.

Born in France, grew up in New Glasgow, Denis has over 25 years’ experience in successfully managing companies, big and small, in various industries, from tire manufacturing to food distribution to plastic manufacturing. After working throughout North America, from New Glasgow, to Calgary, to Colorado Springs, Denis has set his roots in the beautiful island of Cape Breton.

A professional Engineer with an MBA, Denis is a passionate and driven leader. An avid runner, Denis ran the 2017 Boston Marathon and has volunteered in several organizations from Minor Hockey to Engineer NS.

Aidan Hanson


Not your typical teenager, Aidan Hanson started sketching in school one day and accidently came up with the logo concept for his clothing line, Kreamsicle. Residing in Albert Bridge, Aidan started his business in December of 2017 and has sold out a few times since then, with part of his success contributing to Finnish snowboarding pro Mikko Rehnberg who wore the clothing on social media.

As student at Malcolm Munroe Junior High, Aidan says the greatest reward is seeing local students wearing his line.

Ashley MacDonald

Ashley is a graduate of Cape Breton University and Nova Scotia Community College. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in Political Science and a business diploma with a concentration in marketing and international business. Upon graduating from her second educational pursuit in 2010, she has been working with small businesses here on Cape Breton Island in various roles including export development, logistics, marketing, customer service and sales. For the last three years, Ashley has been a part of the sales team at Marcato Digital—Marcato provides web-based festival & live event management software to the live events sector. Some of Marcato's 300+ clients include Coachella, Bonnaroo, ESPN X Games, CMA Fest, Osheaga and more closely here at home, Celtic Colours and Lumière Arts Festival.

First joining the Marcato team in the role of lead research, marketing assistance and as a sales development representative, Ashley has since moved into the roles of a sales executive and a member of the company's customer support team. These roles have given her the opportunity to speak with individuals from around the world and assist Marcato in expanding their reach worldwide to help make them the industry leader in event management software.

Nicole Morrison

45 Drives

Nicole is the Sales & Marketing Manager at 45 Drives (a division of Protocase Inc.). Originally from New Waterford, Nicole attended Cape Breton University where she received a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science. Nicole has an extensive background working in sales from her experience as Sales Manager for The Holiday Inn, and Leasing /Property Manager at Keltic Plaza shopping centre - all of which prepared her for her role at 45 Drives.

Nicole joined 45 Drives in 2016 and immediately loved her job. Her favorite thing about working at 45 Drives is the positive energy within the team and how committed the company is to their client’s needs; while living and working in Cape Breton Island.

When Nicole is not frantically writing emails and promoting new products, she can be found on the water sailing, playing her guitar or volunteering in the community.

Ross MacDonald

Ross MacDonald is Cape Breton born and raised, hailing from the “North Shore” in the St. Ann’s Bay neighbourhood. He is a graduate of Baddeck Academy and St. Mary’s University. His background is in International Development, Community Economic Development and Human Resource Management. Ross was the Economic Development Officer with the Municipality of Victoria County from 2001 - 2007 before moving on to the Provincial Department of Economic and Rural Development.

Over the past number of years he has been with the Department of Labour and Advanced Education in the Workplace Initiatives Division where he is a member of Business Workforce Consultant team. He is a certified Strategic Workforce Planner through the Human Capital Institute and supports workforce development in Nova Scotia through various industry sector and regional initiatives.