[Media Release] Laurel Douglas Departing as CEO of Women’s Enterprise Centre
The WEC Board celebrates fifteen years of service supporting BC women entrepreneurs
February 20, 2020 – The Board of Women’s Enterprise Centre has announced that Laurel Douglas is stepping down in early May as CEO of Women’s Enterprise Centre (WEC), to take on a new role in the economic development field.
Under Laurel’s leadership since 2004, Women’s Enterprise Centre has become recognized as a leading business resource for women entrepreneurs in BC, and a best practice internationally.
Over the past fifteen years, WEC loans and business services have helped create or maintain over 3,600 jobs in BC, and have provided over $67 million in direct and leveraged financing to women entrepreneurs, generating over $2 billion in economic activity in the province. Last year, WEC provided training and mentoring to over 4,300 women entrepreneurs in 134 communities throughout the province.
“Laurel has contributed tremendously to the organization in so many ways,” says Christine Bergeron, WEC Board Chair and Chief Member Services Officer at Vancity. “After 15 years of leading Women’s Enterprise Centre and contributing so very much to the organization, Laurel will of course be missed. But we congratulate her on her next chapter!”
Laurel has become a well-respected leader in women’s economic empowerment globally. Since 2016, she was a member of the G20 women’s engagement group, the W20. She has been the recipient of many awards and honours during her time at WEC, including the inaugural Wendy McDonald ‘Community Catalyst’ award from the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade in 2015. In 2019, she was named one of BC Business Magazine’s most influential women in finance. She co-founded and has been a director of Canada’s national association of women’s enterprise support organizations, WEOC.ca since 2011, and has served as an organizing partner of WE FOR SHE since 2014.
“It has been an honour and a privilege to serve WEC, the board, the team, our funders, our volunteers, stakeholders, partners and clients since 2004. I’m proud of all that we’ve accomplished, and feel I’m leaving the organization in a strong position,” says Laurel Douglas. “I’ve learned a lot and developed as a leader immensely in that time.”
Laurel will end her tenure in early May and, to ensure a smooth transition, Jill Earthy will step in as Interim CEO, starting April 3. Jill has been on the WEC Board since 2012 and was Board Chair from 2016-2019.
Jill has significant experience in the entrepreneurial ecosystem, having worked with Forum for Women Entrepreneurs (FWE), Futurpreneur Canada, FrontFundr and Female Funders. She is also a champion for diversity, as the Co-Chair of WE FOR SHE since 2014. Together, Jill and Laurel co-founded the WEB Alliance of Women’s Business Networks in 2009.
“I have had the privilege of collaborating with Laurel Douglas over the past 12 years and she is one of the most humble, effective, collaborative and passionate leaders I know,” says Jill Earthy. “She is an incredible leader leaving an amazing legacy with WEC, and we can’t wait to see her impact in her next role. I am honoured to take on the role of Interim CEO.”
The WEC board has begun the process of recruiting a new CEO, with the intention to have a new CEO in place by September. Interested candidates are encouraged to watch the WEC website, www.womensenterprise.ca for more updates.