Follow Us

Upcoming events

  • No upcoming events
Log in

United around the globe to foster international trade and the advancement of women in business.

President's Message

A happy 2023 to you all! We hope you celebrated the start of 2023 safely and in good spirits with family and friends. 

2022 was another transformative year for OWIT-Toronto. Our past President, Helen Hemmingsen, graciously passed the reins to us after leading - with unflinching dedication, inspiration and commitment - an increasingly growing community of women in international trade. As we take on the presidential role, we would like to acknowledge her leadership and many accomplishments, thank you immensely, Helen. We also want to let you know that you are still in good hands. Between us and the incredible OWIT-Toronto Board, we are striving for greater impacts for women in international trade. 

In 2022, we strengthened and grew our community, welcoming new members, partners and sponsors, and rolling out important initiatives that continue to support women-owned businesses and Canadian women entrepreneurs in their export journey.   

Some of our 2022 events included:

- Empowering Women: Celebrating Women in Business and International Trade in partnership with OWIT-Ottawa.  

- Virtual OWIT-Toronto Canadian Women’s Business Delegation to Mexico

- Recovery and Resilience of Women in Trade 

- Stories from the Trenches: Women who lead in International Trade 

- Innovative approaches SMEs can take to build resilient global supply chains with our partner, Forum for International Trade Training (FITT)

- Unlocking the power of partnerships – a webinar with OWIT International, and the

- OWIT-Toronto Export Awards Luncheon 

We continue to take strides to regularly participate in Global Affairs Canada roundtables on the inclusion of gender chapters in free trade agreements, as well as women’s economic empowerment conferences at the global level, including at the World Trade Organization (WTO) in Geneva.  Last year, OWIT Lake Geneva hosted all chapters at the WTO’s public forum during the last week of September. OWIT-UK and OWIT-Brussels facilitated sessions on the agenda which expanded OWIT’s overall position as a resource for developing inclusive trade policy.  We know that OWIT International will look to organize a delegation for 2023, so stay tuned. 

Working together we also made good progress towards our strategic goals, hosting our first in-person Export Awards since the pandemic in December 2022. These Awards were exclusively supported by Borden Ladner Gervais (BLG), Bennett Jones, UPS Canada, Women’s Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub, Bank of Montreal, City of Toronto, KPMG, Jewels 4 Ever, TFO Canada, and Orchard Custom Beauty, and showcased women in international trade. They brought all of us together and reminded us of the true value of having in-person events, demonstrating yet again our high calibre networking that OWIT-Toronto is known for. Lots of successful partnerships and business discussions took center stage and only continue to grow. 

2023 is set to be another exciting year for us. We can look forward to working further on a variety of programming for members. Our upcoming Annual General Meeting on  March 13, 2023 offers an opportunity for members to hear firsthand what’s coming up and how to get involved, so don’t miss that! We also have several events lined up for International Women’s Day and further events in partnership with BLG, Futurpreneur, and Canadian Women in Food, among others. 

We are also very pleased to welcome the newest member of our Trade Policy Committee, Victoria Clark,  Senior Associate with Borden Ladner Gervais LLP, to strengthen our work in supporting inclusive trade policy.

Lastly, this year, we are very keen to spotlight our members and their work, so please do reach out to our VP Membership, Priti Ruparel, to take advantage of this opportunity. 

Looking forward, there is still so much work to be done. The year kicked off with a slow global economic downturn as businesses continue to grapple with the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic. The ongoing consequences of the devastating war in Ukraine including inflationary pressures, and its impact on energy and food supply, as well as the ongoing climate crisis, all continue to exacerbate gender inequalities.    

With these challenges, our dedicated Board of women at OWIT-Toronto are ready to provide more insightful programming; educational talks and policy inputs to help women entrepreneurs and women-owned businesses to expand their global footprint. Please join us in thanking our Board, who are instrumental in delivering high-quality programming. 

  • Helen Hemmingsen, Past President

  • Susan Baka, VP International

  • Alma Farias, VP Strategic Projects

  • Priti Ruparel, VP Membership

  • Cathy Williamson, VP Finance 

  • Aliaa Alsafarjlani, VP Events 

  • Aylin Lusi, Director

  • Rashpal Uppal, Director

  • Sanjarya Kapoor, Secretary

We would also like to thank you all for your continued commitment and partnership. We believe that together we will achieve a greater impact. We look forward to seeing you at our events this year and please, do keep an eye out for all our upcoming events!

Audrey Ross  and Justine Namara




organization of women in international trade-toronto

P.O. Box 715
31 Adelaide Street East
Toronto, Ontario M5C 2J8

General Inquiries:

© 2021 OWIT-Toronto. All rights reserved.   Litmus Design

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software