CCSBE Board Members

Meet the volunteers in charge of moving our dynamic organization forward

Mary Kilfoil, President, CCSBE

Dr. Mary Kilfoil, is an Assistant Professor in the Rowe School of Business and Academic Lead for Launch Dal entrepreneurship programming  at Dalhousie University. Mary has over 20 years experience in the private sector and has authored several reports and publications in the fields of innovation, entrepreneurship, and economic policy. Dr. Kilfoil led the team that launched the Starting Lean course in the Fall of 2012 providing an experiential approach to entrepreneurship education by combining Lean Launchpad methodologies, a flipped classroom, and accomplished mentors – listed in Academia’s Top 10 courses in Canada 2013. She has launched a campus-wide Innovation course based on Design Thinking principles open to students from all faculties. Outside of the classroom, Mary has been instrumental in launching Dalhousie’s on-campus student startup accelerator (LaunchPad Dal), Canada’s Business Model Competition, and non-credit entrepreneurship programming for students, researchers, and members of the business community. In 2014, Dr. Kilfoil received Startup Canada’s National Entrepreneurship Educator Award.  

Dr. Mike Henry, President-Elect

Dr. Henry is the Dean of the School of Business and Economics at Thompson Rivers University. Prior to joining TRU he was the Associate Dean of the School of Business at MacEwan University where he developed the school’s Bachelor of Commerce degree, including initiating an outcomes-based Assurance of Learning research project. He has a Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) in human resources management from the University of Southern Queensland, and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Alberta.

Sandra Altner, Past-President 

Sandra is the Chief Executive Officer of the Women’s Enterprise Centre of Manitoba, one of four Centres established by Western Economic Diversification that supports women-owned businesses in Western Canada. A seasoned entrepreneur originally from New York, Sandra owned a women’s clothing boutique before completing her MBA and starting The Management Exchange, a management consulting firm that was the first in Winnipeg to offer the Self-Employment Program (SEP). The Management Exchange specialized in strategic and market planning. In 2000, Sandra was awarded the Women Business Owners of Manitoba Woman Entrepreneur of the Year Award in the Contribution to Community category. She is a fellow of the Canadian Association of Management Consultants and is past president of the Institute of Certified Management Consultants of Manitoba.

Rafik Kurji, Treasurer 

 Rafik began teaching at Mount Royal in the Faculty of Continuing Education and Extension. He began teaching for Bissett School of Business as a part-time instructor in 1996, and joined the Faculty as a full-time tenure-track instructor In September 2001.  Rafik has also taught computer accounting and other software courses for the Faculty of Continuing Education at the University of Calgary. In 1993 and 1994, he marked exams for three courses for the Society of Management Accountants. Rafik has been nominated for the Mount Royal Teaching Excellence Award on two occasions. In 2002, he received the E- Award for Teaching Excellence presented by the Students’ Association of Mount Royal. He also teaches jointly with another instructor, an entrance exam preparation course leading to the CMA designation.

Jay Krysler Director – Secretary

Jay holds a Masters in Public Administration (MPA), BA in Economics, secondary teaching certificates in Ontario and B.C., and certification in both the U.S. and Canada in entrepreneurship education instruction.  Currently and for the last 5 years Jay is a full-time faculty member at the JR Shaw School of Business at NAIT in Edmonton, Alberta, instructing and creating courses in new venture creation, entrepreneurial studies, and small business management in support of NAIT’s 4 year business degree program. He is past president and a current director of the Canadian Council for Small Business and Entrepreneurship (CCSBE) and a current Director-at-Large of the International Council for Small Business (ICSB).

Lynn Sparling, Vice President – Communications 

Dr. Lynn Sparling is a professor of business at the Okanagan School of Business at Okanagan College, teaching in the areas of business research methods and management science. Her research interests include e-commerce adoption by SMEs, e-commerce use in the wine industry, micro financing in Ethiopia and characteristics of women entrepreneurs. Dr. Sparling has received recognition for her professional work that includes publication of her thesis and articles in peer-reviewed journals on the adoption of e-commerce by SMEs in the Central Okanagan. In addition to 20 years of teaching business at the undergraduate level at Okanagan College, she has also taught modules in the CMA professional program. Dr. Sparling has continued her education throughout her career. She has a bachelor of commerce (honours) degree, a master of business administration degree, a doctorate in business administration and her certified management accountant (CMA) designation.

Mike Malazdrewicz, Vice-President – Programs    

Michael Malazdrewicz is an Associate Professor in the Business Administration department at Brandon University. He holds the Endowed Chair in Small Business and Entrepreneurship and teaches courses in information technology, information management, systems analysis, operations management, small business management and strategic management. Mike also has extensive experience in the private sector.  Prior to his position at Brandon University, Mike was a partner and part of the over all management team at two accounting firms where he managed a large client base of small businesses and led the development of Information Technology services. He has also completed tax training from the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants as well as the examinations of the Canadian Insolvency Association and has served as a Licensed Trustee in Bankruptcy. Mike has also chaired and presented repeatedly at the national CICA IT Conference and the CICA Small Business Practice Conference.

Dr. Howard (Xiaohua) Lin, Vice- President – Research

 Dr. Lin is Professor of International Business & Entrepreneurship at the Ted Rogers School of Management, Ryerson University. He currently serves as Vice President (research) of the Canadian Council for Small Business & Entrepreneurship is the former Chair of the Academy of International Business’ Canada Chapter. His publications have appeared in journals such as Strategic Management Journal, Journal of International Business Studies, Management International Review, Journal of World Business, and Journal of Business Ethics. He is the founder of the Canadian Entrepreneurship & Innovation Platform, a non-for-profit organization whose objects are to promote the development of entrepreneurship for the purpose of enhancing Canada’s innovation and economic performance.

Dr. Mai Thai, Editor-in-Chief- Journal of Small Business & Entrepreneurship

Dr. Mai Thai is Associate Professor at the International Business Department, HEC Montreal. Her expertise is in entrepreneurship, qualitative methods and emerging economies. Dr. Thai joined HEC Montreal in 2009, after working as an assistant professor at Fairleigh Dickinson University, and a lecturer in several higher education institutions in Switzerland and Vietnam. Prior to her academic career, she was an entrepreneur and journalist in Vietnam until 2001. Dr. Thai has published several articles in peer-reviewed journals such as Journal of Business Venturing, International Entrepreneurship and Management Journal, Journal of Enterprising Communities, Journal of International Entrepreneurship, contributed several book chapters, and presented at numerous academic conferences.

Alexandra Kulas

Alex Kulas joined the Alberta Women Entrepreneurs team in 2014 and since then has held the role of Start-Up Programs Facilitator, Marketing Project Specialist, and now Marketing Manager. She comes from a background of program development, client services, and communications.  Growing up with a family of small business owners has ingrained entrepreneurship into Alex’s life. With a passion for marketing and social media, Alex is very excited to be leading the marketing efforts of AWE. Alex graduated with a Business Marketing Diploma from Lethbridge College, and a Bachelor of Commerce in Entrepreneurial Management from Royal Roads University. In her spare time, Alex volunteers with Enactus at MacEwan University as a Business Advisory Board Member and enjoys spending time with her two dogs.

Megann Willson, Director at Large 

Megann Willson, Co-founder of Panoptika, brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise in communication and marketing. She will add tremendous bench strength to the board in helping us connect with our membership, developing communication and marketing strategies – and to a larger extent – identifying opportunities to increase our profile and add value to our membership For Megann, understanding customers and stakeholders, and what they need, begins with one question: What will you do when you find out? A skilled strategist and facilitator with a penchant for Product Management, Megann has honed her skills in Business-to-Business, Technology, and Pharmaceuticals. Megann is a long-time Innovation Games® facilitator, who encourages product managers and start-ups to look beyond the survey and work from the customer, user, or stakeholder’s viewpoint. Her decades of experience include depth-interviewing, focus group moderation, online moderation, community management, design sprints and in-person and online collaboration sessions.

John Mac Ritchie, Director at Large 

John MacRitchie is the Senior Director, Business Development & Strategic Planning at Ryerson University. Reporting to the Vice-President of Research and Innovation, leading research strategies development to support new partnerships and market opportunities to transfer knowledge and apply research findings quickly and effectively to provide clear economic benefit. Managing development of I-INC, a national network of university-linked incubators and innovation hubs in Canada supporting start-ups, scaling of ventures and access to talent and research. connections with funders. John is very well connected with government, government policy on innovation at the Federal level in Canada; His expertise in innovation research funding, tri-council funding and public research funding policy and brings tremendous value to the Board. in terms of policy directions and sponsorship. opportunities. 

Ted Zoller, Liasison – United States Association of Small Business and Entrepreneurship (USASBE)

Ted oversees the teaching and outreach programs of the Center for Entrepreneurial Studies at University of North Carolina (UNC), Chapel Hill, Kenan-Flagler. His research focuses on the role and structure of entrepreneurial networks and the interrelationships with investor syndicates. He has posited a “dealmakers’ algorithm” to identify the most important actors in entrepreneurial ecosystems. He is an adviser to the Blackstone Charitable Foundation, and works with them to scale the Blackstone Entrepreneurs Network, an entrepreneurship networking project based on his research. His teaching focuses on new enterprise development, business models and early-stage venturing with a focus on developing entrepreneurial leaders and teams. He is the founding instructor of Launching the Venture, which has increased the number of companies to spin-off from UNC to lead national benchmarks. Ted oversees Launch Chapel Hill, a new venture lab that supports UNC teams that are moving to the marketplace, and a senior adviser to the Frank Hawkins Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise. He serves as the primary liaison for UNC Kenan-Flagler to the Research Triangle entrepreneurial community.

Zhan Su – 2017 Conference Chair – Laval University