Competing with global nationals in the name of diversity in the supply chain and keeping the profits in her community are what Anne Whelan does best. The president and owner of BrenKir Industrial of Newfoundland states,“I noticed that local companies were often being left out when bigger players started showing up.” Whelan began her quest a couple years ago with a close examination of large U.S. corporations; she explored activity associated with supplier diversity, aimed at creating opportunity for local businesses, employment, and securing profits within the community.
“If we are going to build a [local] industry, then we need to talk about ways to actively make room for local supply community growth.”
Her dedication and efforts culminated in being elected to the Board of NOIA (Newfoundland and Labrador Oil & Gas Industries Association),
where she helps to set policies and pose the questions to ensure that profits from oil and gas in Canada end up in diverse companies as well as more traditional ones.
Concerned for the livelihood of smaller local businesses, Whelan’s voice represents a collective group. “A lot of work is going to international companies who bid on big stuff and walk away … We are not big, and …larger companies are unlikely to award to smaller [contenders].” Whelan suggests Industry should look at more active ways to ensure local companies get full and fair business access.
“We’ve lost contracts we had really hoped to get … For every six ‘no’s,’ we eventually get a ‘yes,’” says Whelan.
In 2010, she was hailed the RBC Canadian Entrepreneur of the Year; in 2013, she was rated in the Top 50 CEOs by Atlantic Canada Magazine. She sports the honor of the Government of Canada’s Diamond Jubilee Medal for her work in advancing quality home care. She also sits on the board for Newfoundland Power.
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