Anne Whelan, president and CEO of Seafair Capital Inc., was invited to participate in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Women and the Economy Forum as a Government of Canada representative after NLOWE put her name forward to Global Affairs Canada’s Business Women in International Trade Program.
Held this past June in Lima, Peru, the APEC Women and the Economy Forum focused on breaking barriers to economic integration of women in the global market. The Forum hosted approximately 450 delegates from the 21 APEC economies, with participants from the public and private sectors, universities, and civil society.
“It was a great experience and an absolute privilege to attend and present,” says Whelan, who spoke about one of the forum’s sub-themes: economy care systems to break barriers for inclusive growth. It’s an area in which she has ample experience: in 2012, she was awarded a Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal for her contributions to home and community care in Newfoundland and Labrador.
As CEO of Seafair Capital Inc., Whelan employs more than 700 people in Newfoundland and Labrador. Founded in 2012, the Seafair Capital team provides strategic leadership and shared services to a family of businesses that operates within three main divisions: home and community care, residential care, and safety/industrial. Companies operating in Seafair’s home and community care division include CareGivers Inc., a nationally accredited home care service provider; Nuderm Skin Care Clinic, a medical aesthetics spa; Young Explorers, an early childhood education centre; and HealthQuest, a wellness products retailer.
“Economies need to see caregiving in a more professional light. Governments and societies in general need to understand the value of this kind of work as an economic driver and a contributor to the well-being of communities and regions,” explains Whelan.
She sees the care system as an avenue to further women’s economic integration. Paid caregiving gives women with skills in that area a chance for employment and enables women to pursue higher education and career advancement. “At Seafair Capital, 65 percent of our workforce is female, and the bulk of that workforce is in our home and community care division. We provide women with meaningful work that contributes to the well-being of our communities, and I’m really proud to be able to do that.”
APEC is a forum composed of 21 Asia-Pacific economies that aims to promote free trade and investment, facilitate business, and promote economic cooperation amongst its member economies. The APEC Women and the Economy Forum was tied to the APEC 2016 agenda.
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