Foreign Affair Fashions
Founded in 1973 by Frank and Heather Brophy, and currently led by Frank, Heather and their daughter, Martha Brophy, Foreign Affair operates a 3,000 square foot luxury women’s clothing boutique in Halifax. Martha graduated from Dalhousie with a Commerce/Marketing degree. Between 2010 and 2014, Martha held various roles with Tommy Hilfiger, Calvin Klein, and Winners in Toronto. She returned to Halifax 3 years ago to assume leadership in management, buying and marketing for Foreign Affair.
Owner, LUX Beauty Boutique
Jennifer Grimm has 15 years of retail expertise as the owner and CVO of LUX Beauty Boutique, an independent specialty store selling high-end, selectively distributed cosmetic brands in Edmonton, Canada. A born entrepreneur, Jennifer is passionate about all matters of retail, from business strategy to store design, which culminates in creating an exceptional customer experience. Always innovating, she and her team have built sales per square foot to three times industry average, and are actively expanding to omni-channel commerce in multiple store locations. Jennifer graduated from the University of Alberta with a degree in Business Commerce.
Owner, Rainbow Natural Foods
Mischa is co-founder and president of Brightside Capital Management, a boutique investment firm specializing in the small business sector, specifically in the areas of natural foods and sustainability. He is also a consultant focusing on small business management and sustainable business development, and a professor in the School of Business at Algonquin College. He is a regular contributor to local media, writing frequent pieces for the Ottawa Citizen and a monthly column on small business affairs for the Ottawa Business Journal. Mischa has over a decade of experience leading small and medium sized organizations, including Ottawa-based Rainbow Foods, a company that has been both locally and nationally recognized for being on the cutting edge of sustainability innovation and small business management. Rainbow Foods was a 2016 winner of a national “Sustainability Retailer” award, and the first “Fair Trade designated” private workplace in Ontario. A graduate of both McGill University and Queen’s University, Mischa was a 2016 recipient of Ottawa’s “Forty Under 40” award and was chosen as one of 35 Canadian entrepreneurs under 39 to represent Canada in summer 2017 in Berlin as part of the G20 Young Entrepreneurs’ Alliance Summit.
Owner, Mabel’s Fables (ex-officio)
Eleanor LeFave is from a family of school teachers and grew up surrounded by books. She studied art history and design at York University. She and her sister, a teacher-librarian, opened children’s bookstore Mabel’s Fables, in Toronto in 1988. Eleanor served on the Board of Directors of the Canadian Booksellers Association from 2003 to 2007 and was V.P. and President for 2006 and 2007. Eleanor now serves on Retail Council of Canada’s MySTORE (independent retail division) Advisory Board.
President & CEO, Toy Jungle
Misti and her husband Gary left a career on the cruise lines as entertainers to begin their entrepreneurial journey with an indoor play centre called “The Gator Pit” in 1997. Soon after, their first retail store “Toy Jungle” was born of their passion to marry a children’s story they were creating to an interesting and fun retail experience. They later also purchased the second oldest toy store in Canada called the Toybox and continue to pursue creating innovative retail concepts and children’s stories.
As well as serving as co-chair for the Retail Council Independent Advisory Board, Misti also serves on the board of the Neighbourhood Toy Stores of Canada.
President, Take a Hike
Diane Petryna is a passionate independent retailer who understands the challenges and rewards of running her own business. For the past 19 years she’s owned and operated Take A Hike, an outdoor lifestyle store in Thunder Bay, Ontario. Despite facing many challenges along the way, Diane’s business is thriving and she continues to do what she loves.
Diane holds a Master’s degree from the University of Waterloo, previously worked as a small business advisor at Confederation College, and for several years was self-employed as a research and planning consultant. She is one of only eight independent retailers inducted into the RCC’s Retail Hall of Fame.
Her secrets in how to build a successful independent store will be shared in an upcoming book she’s co-authoring with retail specialist Barbara Crowhurst.
Vice President, Golda's Kitchen Inc.
Fred is a Fellow of the Chartered Professional Accountants Association & the Certified General Accountants Association with over 25 years’ experience in a variety of industries including manufacturing, property management, professional services, software development and retail.
Founded in 1999, Fred is co-owner of Golda’s Kitchen, Canada’s leading online retailer for cookware, bakeware and cake decorating products based in Mississauga. Golda’s Kitchen has been honoured by the Canadian Gift and Tableware Association as Kitchenware Retailer of the Year.
In 2013, Fred became a Fellow of the Certified General Accountants Association of Canada. He was inducted into the Canadian Retail Hall of Fame by the Retail Council of Canada in 2012. In 2003 he received the CGA Ontario distinguished service award for his extensive volunteer efforts with the accounting association and the local community.
Currently is a member of the Advisory Group for the MyStore Division of the Retail Council of Canada. He is also volunteers as the Treasurer of his local Tennis club, and was elected as Treasurer of the Milton Federal Liberal Riding Association. Previously he has been involved with several organizations including acting as Treasurer of the Lesbian Gay Community Appeal, Treasurer for the Gay and Lesbian Counseling Centre, Vice Chair and Treasurer of the Refugee Information Centre. He has also acted as an auditor to the campaign of an MP and an agent to the campaign of an MPP.
He was also very active for CGA Ontario and has sat on the Discipline Committee, was a member of Discipline Tribunals, lectured, marked student assignments, and invidulated student exams. He also spent 10 years in various roles with CGA Toronto Chapter becoming Chair in 2001-2002.