Denise was born and raised in Toronto and enjoyed her 20-year corporate career there as a Director for Loblaw Companies Limited, developing President Choice products. She has a daughter, Kyra, whom she adopted from Romania, and a wonderful grandson, Cameron.
After her tenure at Loblaws, Denise and her daughter moved to Southern Georgian Bay to enjoy the rural lifestyle. She ran her own business, still developing private label food products but for retailers in the US, secured her license as a mortgage agent to help self-employed businesses secure mortgage financing, and owned and operated a Bed & Breakfast, Serenity in the Beach. Volunteering much of her time with The Wasaga Beach Chamber of Commerce and the Women’s Business Association, being active on both boards, is when she realized just how much she enjoyed working with and supporting businesses in the community.
Then 9 years ago, an opportunity presented itself to work with a chamber of commerce in the Niagara Region. And in 2017, she accepted the position of Executive Director with the West Lincoln Chamber of Commerce.
Her passion for helping others and community businesses, plus her experience gained over the years and most recently from working with the Lincoln and Grimsby Chambers of Commerce, compliment Denise’s desire to be our Executive Director here at our West Lincoln Chamber of Commerce. “If I can do anything at all to help support your business, I’d be happy to. Just reach out to me here at the chamber!”
Janelle Van Halst – One Particular Harbor
“I’m honoured to be one of your West Lincoln Chamber of Commerce board members. I was elected to the board earlier this year with an insatiable desire to help people and businesses not just to survive, but to thrive! I’m impressed with each board member’s dedication to serving you through transparency, integrity, and creativity …all whilst having some fun.”
Janelle made West Lincoln home in 1998. She has not lived longer anywhere else. She was born in Mississauga and raised in Gravenhurst, North Bay, Cobalt, and Edmonton. Her major in Marketing in Business Administration helped her to start her career in sales in Edmonton with Bausch+Lomb. They moved her to Vancouver, then to her training manager role in Toronto where she attained her Adult Education Diploma from St. Francis Xavier University.
She transplanted out of the GTA to grow roots in a small, West Lincoln town. Having left corporate employment, she planted the seed of her management consulting business in 1999 which has blossomed into providing custom-designed virtual and in-class training, as well as 1:1 executive coaching. She has worked with global clients, some of which are Microsoft, Honeywell, and University Health Network and local ones such as Stanpac, Niagara Region, Shaw Festival, and Airbus Helicopters.
It’s now time to give back to the community. I promise to bring my enthusiasm and effort to where you need it most.
Lou Stranges – Stranges & Associates
Ron Smith – Desjardins, Senior Account Manager Team Lead – Agriculture
Melanie Felvus – Smithville Christian Preschool
Melanie Felvus has been a resident of West Lincoln since 2003. Born in Hamilton and raised in Caledonia, Melanie married Mike who was from this area. They raised their two daughters in Smithville and moved to Grassie on 2019.
Melanie graduated from the Early Childhood Education program at Mohawk College and went on to earn her Casa Montessori diploma. After working in daycare, preschool and then Montessori schools, Melanie felt lead to open a quality Montessori school in Smithville. She started Smithville Christian Preschool in 2006. The school grew to include a Dunnville location in 2021 and has two more locations on the horizon for 2022!
Melanie and her family are responsible for the annual Kids Care Food Drive which is one of West Lincoln Community Care’s largest food drives each year. Melanie was raised by a single mom who needed to use the for bank from time to time as she put herself through nursing school. Through experiences like these she learned how important it is to support the people in her community.
Melanie also enjoys speaking at area churches about her recent journey through breast cancer treatments. She is thankful to have come through this and eager to share her story with the hopes of encouraging others. Melanie joined the board of the chamber in 2020 but then needed to take a leave during treatments. She resumed her position in 2022 and looks forward to serving.
Sharlene Volpatti – West Lincoln Community Care
Sharlene Volpatti is West Lincoln Community Care’s Client Services and Food Bank Manager. Working to serve the residents of West Lincoln is a passion of Sharlene’s. Raised in Wellandport and residing in Smithville, Ontario, Sharlene is an active member of the West Lincoln Community. A long time volunteer of Girl Guides, Sharlene leads the 1st Smithville Pathfinder unit, helping to instil community service to a younger generation.
Sharlene has a Bachelor of Education – Adult Education and uses this background to create impactful programming at West Lincoln Community Care, incorporating life skills and personal growth in all aspects of the operation. Sharlene also has a diploma in Business Management, with post grad in Entrepreneurship studies. Sharlene has a strong interest in entrepreneurship, having attempted a couple business ventures, working in Human Resources and employment counselling before finding her stride at West Lincoln Community Care. West Lincoln Community Care allows her to utilize her skills in grant writing and creativity to prepare proposals and implement programs that make a difference in the community in which we live.
Sharlene looks forward to working with businesses in West Lincoln, forming new partnerships and helping foster growth and success for all residents of our vibrant community.
Anna Caruso – Elevating Your Business
Anna was born and raised in Niagara Falls and has recently made West Lincoln her home. She has a diploma in Business Administration-Accounting Co-op from Sheridan College. Begin her career at Lafarge Canada in Concord during her last co-op term in 1995. Continued working for various businesses and industries in different accounting positions. Then moved away from accounting, spending 15 years in media working for several local papers in Niagara, focusing 8 years on Community Relations, Print and Digital Marketing, and Project Management.
In 2022 Anna started her digital business, Elevating Your Business, where she works with small businesses and entrepreneurs with Financial Coaching, setting up systems and processes so that the business can run like a business.