Who We Are: The Mentor Works Team

The Mentor Works team have a wealth of knowledge and expertise in Canadian government funding. Our team works directly with clients to discover solutions customized to their industry and current business challenges. We work with hundreds of Canadian small businesses to help them optimize their cash flow planning and leverage small business grants and incentives available to them. If you’d like to learn more about what we do and the types of businesses we support, take a look at What We Offer, you can also sign-up for one of our free events to learn more about Mentor Works.

Funding Events

Our team have expertise in a range of industries including healthcare, manufacturing, finance, and advanced software and hardware technologies. We work closely as a group to support our clients’ needs and ensure we can obtain the best possible results.

The Mentor Works Vision

“Mentor Works provides the critical pathway to connect businesses with government funding resources to foster innovation, productivity improvements, and as a result create new jobs and wealth in Canada. Our involvement is the key determinant in the simplification of government funding processes to leverage maximum cash for strategic growth.”

The Mentor Works Team


Bernadeen McLeod

President & Owner

Bernadeen McLeod is the principal behind Mentor Works Ltd. As a corporate mentor and specialist in Canadian small business government grants and loans, she helps executives and business owners redefine their organizations in new and exciting ways – to build engaged teams and increase profits.

After 18 years as an executive and general manager, Bernadeen began coaching other organizations on small business financing options once she realized that being a successful company is about more than financial results, net profit, ratios with trend lines and return on investment. It is also about thinking strategically and growing the business with the help of government capital funding, wise investment and training.

“Accessing government funding will never be easy but the process can be made simple”

Bernadeen operates her business out of Cambridge, Ontario with clients throughout the region including Toronto, Kitchener, Waterloo, Guelph, and Burlington. Bernadeen is also an active member of many online social forums. Be sure to stay informed of the latest Canadian government funding opportunities and business resources by attending one of Bernadeen’s upcoming small business funding events.


Chris Casemore

Director of Client Management & Development

Chris Casemore helps companies discover and leverage Canadian government funding on a daily basis, while managing the Mentor Works website, social media strategies, and employee development. He graduated from the University of Guelph with an Honours Bachelor of Commerce. Majoring in Marketing Management with a Co-op designation, Chris was able to integrate his personal passion for marketing and technology with both academic theory and practical work experience. Chris has been with Mentor Works for over four years, helping to develop the company’s strategic network, client engagement practices, and online presence. His goal is to ensure that every business in the country is aware of government funding opportunities available to them and has a clear strategy for leveraging them to overcome their growth challenges.

“Knowing How to Think Empowers You Far Beyond Those Who Know Only What to Think.”
– Neil deGrasse Tyson

Given his strong interest in strategic planning and business development, Chris manages Mentor Works’ marketing activities, strategic partnerships, and business funding research activities. He currently lives in Waterloo, Ontario and enjoys playing guitar, snowboarding, camping, and exploring new physical challenges in his spare time. Chris is also a regular writer on Mentor Works’ Blog, please subscribe to the Small Business Funding Newsletter in order to receive the top blog articles and stay up-to-date on the latest news and resources on small business grants, loans, and tax credits.


Alex Barlow

Business Development Executive

As a Business Development Executive at Mentor Works Ltd. Alex combines her natural curiosity with an expertise in Canadian Government Funding to provide companies with financial advice tailored to their business strategies. Her interests have always been in economic and business development, which led her to work for a regional innovation centre and FedDev Ontario. She has a strong interest in the continued growth of the Canadian manufacturing sector, as well as seeing Eastern Ontario businesses take equal advantage of funding opportunities. Since joining Mentor Works Ltd in 2012, she has helped companies ranging from small family businesses to some of Canada’s Best Managed Companies access over $25M in funding as a writer and strategic advisor.

“It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.”
– Charles Darwin

A native of Kingston, Ont. Alex currently lives in Guelph where she enjoys dog walking, horseback riding and spending time with family and friends. Connect with Alex directly at an upcoming small business funding event to discover the latest news and resources on Canadian government grants, loans, and tax credits.

Sal R. WO

Sal Rahmaty

Business Development Executive

Sal Rahmaty has 13 years of experience in business consulting across various industries including Industrial Manufacturing, Technology, and Public Services.

His interests have always been in economic development. As a Business Development Executive, Sal provides companies with advice on their strategic initiatives to better leverage government funding and in-turn help businesses to become innovative, competitive, and expand into new markets.

“I am a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work the more I have of it.”
– Thomas Jefferson

Sal has held various positions during his career including roles in Business Development, Financial Analysis, Accounting, Sales, Marketing, Brand Management and Operations Management. He has demonstrated ability to increase revenue and earnings through effective strategic planning and tactical implementation.

Jeff D. WO

Jeff Dumart

Business Development Analyst

Jeff is a Wilfrid Laurier, Business Co-op graduate with over four years of combined experience in account management, sales and marketing.  He took advantage of Laurier’s Coop program by experimenting with various business roles and companies, including a work term at Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA).  It was there he gained his experience, knowledge and a strong interest in government funding. After graduating, Jeff worked as a marketing specialist and sales rep for a hydraulics distribution company, as well as an account manager in the high tech industry. His current success as a Business Development Analyst with Mentor Works can be attributed to strong collaboration with the team, on-going research of market trends, and excellent communication with internal and external clients.

“You miss one hundred percent of the shots you don’t take.”
– Wayne Gretzky

In his spare time, Jeff enjoys staying fit and playing many sports.  In the winter months, he partakes in hockey, snowboarding and snowmobiling, while in the summer you would most likely find him on a golf course, or up at his family cottage wakeboarding and fishing.  Jeff also has a passion for travel, as he has been to many places around the world, including nine countries in Europe and the East Coast of Australia. His travels have been both pleasurable and educational, and have helped push him out of his comfort zone to become the outgoing, open minded and selfless person he is today.


Jennifer Bleakney

Team Lead

An advocate of economic development, Jenn was instantly drawn to the role of Team Lead at Mentor Works. Jenn’s background in History (BAH from Acadia University and MA from York University) coupled with an MBA from Ryerson University prepared her well for this role. Jenn applies her solid understanding of business strategy to devise tailored funding programs for her clients and draws upon her research, analytical, and writing skills in writing Canadian government grant applications. Prior to joining the Mentor Works team, Jenn worked at a municipal foreign investment attraction agency where she deepened her knowledge of economic development and strategic international business expansion. Having relocated to Waterloo, Jenn sees a bright economic future for the region, given the wealth of commercial, residential and transit development currently underway. In her spare time, Jenn enjoys running, playing soccer, exploring cities, and baking.

 “The only limit to our realization of tomorrow will be our doubts of today.”
– Franklin D. Roosevelt

Jenn is excited to assist SMEs in growing their businesses and increasing their competitiveness through Canadian government grant funding. She believes that business and government should leverage one another for the common good.


Stephanie Tenneson

Team Lead

Stephanie Tenneson is a Team Lead at Mentor Works. Steph is passionate about economic development and is excited about working with small businesses to ensure their success in accessing government funding. Steph graduated in 2010 with an undergraduate degree in International Development and Globalization. Steph has worked in economic development since 2007 and began her career working with a number of municipalities conducting business retention and expansion programming. Most recently Steph worked with an economic development consulting firm and has conducted economic development strategic planning for communities across Canada.

“Hope without a strategy doesn’t generate leadership. Leadership comes when your hope and your optimism are matched with a concrete vision of the future and a way to get there.”
– Seth Godin

Steph lives with her husband and their dogs Sam and Ted in Milton, Ontario. She enjoys tennis, yoga and fervently following pop culture in her spare time. Please contact Steph on LinkedIn to stay up-to-date on Canadian government funding opportunities.


Robert Maciel

Team Lead

Rob Maciel is a Team Lead at Mentor Works. He brings eight years of progressive experience working in research and marketing environments. Prior to joining Mentor Works Robert was employed by the University of Western Ontario as a graduate student researcher. He recently completed his Ph.D. in Political Science at Western where his research focused on immigration policy, municipal affairs, and international economic development. He has given presentations throughout Canada and Portugal on a range of topics and has had policy briefs appear in several international journals.

“Success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice and most of all, love of what you are doing…”
– Pelé

In addition to his academic background, Rob has worked in several marketing and consultative sales environments, including social media marketing and technology sales. He brings a range of analytic research and writing skills to help develop customized Canadian government grant applications for his clients. In his spare time Rob enjoys spending time with his family, watching soccer and baseball, and reading.

Chris Van Natto

Chris Van Natto

Team Lead

As a Team Lead at Mentor Works, Chris brings 27 years of previous work experience from regulatory administration/affairs (both within and outside of government) to applied research, product, and business development. Chris’ most recent exposure to the world of government funding programs came through his work as VP of Product Development for a new Canadian clean technology venture, where he was responsible for creating grant applications for a variety of federal and provincial R&D funding programs.

Chris obtained his MSc in Biology from Lakehead University in Thunder Bay, Ontario. He has had exposure to a wide variety of businesses and technologies, including computer vision instrumentation, advanced materials for home building and oil and gas industries, wireless mesh radio networks, and pesticides for agriculture and professional pest control.

“When you’re finished changing, you’re finished.”
– Benjamin Franklin

When not on the job Chris enjoys working on building, repair, and renovation projects. He also enjoys music, reading and working out.


Matthew Rodgers

Business Funding Analyst

Matthew is a graduate of the University of Waterloo and Conestoga College in Business and Human Resources. He first became interested in Government Funding while working with Federal Development Ontario to administrate funding contribution agreements with clients in both the public and private sector. After completing his 4-month contract, Matthew moved to the private sector, and recently joined the Mentor Works team.

“In all hard work there is profit, but merely talking about hard work will bring poverty.”
– King Solomon, Proverbs 14:23

Matthew enjoys developing his technical skill-set, and enjoys working on his family farm in his spare time.

Sunnie R. WO

Sunnie Rothenburger

Business Funding Analyst

Sunnie Rothenburger earned a PhD in English at Dalhousie University. An accomplished researcher and writer, Sunnie has published newspaper, magazine, and journal articles on Canadian culture and politics, and has presented papers at several national conferences. Before joining Mentor Works, Sunnie worked in public relations for the British Columbian government, and as an editor for a communications firm. She also taught courses in business writing and literature for Laurentian University, Mohawk College, and the University of Guelph.

“A word after a word after a word is power.”
– Margaret Atwood

Originally from BC, Sunnie now lives in Kitchener. In summer months, she enjoys camping, sailing, and herding her two children to the ice cream store. In winter months, Sunnie reads novels beside her husband, watches Doctor Who, and writes about pirates.

Mike Dunn

Mike Dunn

Business Funding Analyst

Mike Dunn graduated on the Dean’s List with Honours from the University of Waterloo’s Environment and Business program. He acknowledges the economic value of cooperative government and business relationships, and aspires to help companies leverage funding to increase their growth potential and improve the Canadian economy. Mike brings a wide range of experience from manufacturing, self-directed research, and quality assurance while employed by Toyota, Rockwell Automation, and Farm Business Consultants.

“Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence.”
– Vince Lombardi

Mike is a sports enthusiast who enjoys hockey, golf, football, and beach volleyball. He loves the outdoors, spending time at his cottage, and conservation fishing.

Spencer Silvestro

Spencer Silvestro

Business Funding Analyst

Spencer recently graduated from Brock University with a Bachelor of Business Administration degree. He is passionate about finance and is in the process of completing the CFA level 1 exam. Spencer was employed in Seattle for three summers as a Finance Intern which has provided him valuable skills and experience that he brings to Mentor Works.

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life”
– Steve Jobs

In his spare time Spencer enjoys playing golf, staying in shape, and watching football with his friends. He is an avid traveller and has visited several destinations across Europe and the United States.

Travis Dwarika

Travis Dwarika

Business Funding Analyst

Travis Dwarika is a Business Funding Analyst at Mentor Works.  As a polymath, Travis has a diverse portfolio of knowledge and a comprehensive background to match.  Prior to joining the Mentor Works team he had been employed in both retail and manufacturing sectors.  During his work experience, Travis became acquainted with business development, hiring and training, and high level report writing.  His educational background includes a Bachelor of Arts in Classical Studies from the University of Waterloo, and his ACMT Computer Technician certificate from Apple Inc.

 “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”
 – Winston Churchill

Travis is a LEGO and Star Wars enthusiast and is delighted when these two worlds come together.  He appreciates all things Sci-Fi and pursues reading and writing in his spare time.

Jen Lin

Jen Lin

Business Funding Analyst

Jen Lin graduated with a Master of Economics degree from the University of Waterloo. Through her academic year she developed strong analytic research and report writing skills. She has a particular interest in global economic news and data analysis. Prior to joining Mentor Works Jen was employed by the University of Waterloo as a Graduate Teaching Assistant. Now as a Business Funding Analyst at Mentor Works, she is excited to work with small business to increase their competitiveness through Canadian government funding.

“Learning without reflection is a waste, reflection without learning is dangerous.”
– Confucius

Having relocated to Cambridge, Jen is excited to explore this new region. In her spare time she likes spending time with her family, playing badminton, reading, shopping, and watching movies. Please contact Jen on LinkedIn to receive current Canadian government funding opportunities.

Naomi Roberts

Naomi Roberts

Business Funding Analyst

Naomi attained her Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of Guelph, specializing in Management Economics in Industry and Finance. After graduating, Naomi achieved a wealth of experience within the business world, gaining experience in operations management, sales, client management, and business development. To continue her professional growth in finance and economic development, Naomi is pursuing the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation. As a Business Funding Analyst at Mentor Works, Naomi works with clients to leverage government funding to fuel business growth and support economic advancement.

“Whatever the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve.”
–Napoleon Hill

Naomi relocated from Ireland to Canada, and currently resides in Burlington, Ontario. She enjoys spending time with family, friends, and seeking new adventures through sports and travel. Throughout the year Naomi spends time volunteering with the Hospice to give back to individuals in palliative care. During summer months Naomi enjoys getting outdoors, exploring nature, and coaching soccer to fulfil her competitive side!

Jeff S. WO

Jeffrey Shepherd

Marketing Analyst

Jeff Shepherd holds an Honours Bachelor of Business Administration at the University of Guelph-Humber. His expertise, developed through practical and theoretical education, has allowed him to think critically about marketing campaigns and understand the complexity of media in the 21st century. A proud Canadian with a passion for business development, Jeff seeks to inform others of the growth opportunities presently available to them.

“We define ourselves far too often by our past failures. That’s not you. You are this person right now. You’re the person who has learned from those failures. Build confidence and momentum with each good decision you make from here on out and choose to be inspired.”
– Joe Rogan

Jeff lives in Milton, Ontario and spends his free time outdoors whenever possible. He is an 80’s rock music fan, frequent concert-goer, and stuck somewhere in The Twilight Zone.


Lea Bourgaize

Sales Coordinator

Lea Bourgaize studied Executive Office Administration at Mohawk College in Hamilton, Ontario and is currently in the process of completing her CIP designation.  Lea brings a wide breadth of experience to her role having served in both the Financial Services and Insurance industries before coming to Mentor Works.

“Opportunities are usually disguised as hard work, so most people don’t recognize them.”
– Anne Landers

Lea lives in the Cambridge, Ontario area and enjoys kickboxing and spending time with family and friends.  When she has “time to kill” you might just catch her playing games on her cell phone.


Rosemarie Greer

Executive Assistant

Rosemarie works directly with Bernadeen in order to optimize time management, research Canadian government funding opportunities, and manage client relationships.

“You can’t always get what you want.  But if you try sometimes, you just might find, you get what you need.”
– Rolling Stones

Originally a Graphic Artist and CG Animator, Rosemarie evolved into the Administrative field gaining valuable experience in Corporate and Municipal sectors. Residing in Campbellville, Ontario, she enjoys raising, training and competing horses for Dressage and spending time with her dog Edwyn.

What our clients are saying

  • BT Testimonial
    “Tell [Mentor Works] your business plan and they’ll identify opportunities to help you accelerate or get funding towards the goals that you have already.”
    Brotech Precision CNC / Jerome Horowitz, Vice-President
  • Anderson-Water-Systems
    "Mentor Works did an outstanding job assisting Anderson with a very complex application process coupled with very tight deadlines."
    Anderson Water Systems / Steven Smith, Controller
  • Cheer-Sport-Sharks
    "Pray that they never become your competitor’s secret weapon."
    Cheer Sport Sharks / Ali Moffatt, Co-Owner
  • BFM
    "Mentor Works has shown repeatedly their ability to help clients find new and alternative revenue opportunities, while reducing costs and overheads.”
    Business Fusion Marketing / James Burchill, CEO
  • Dan-Lawrie
    “Mentor Works is very professional in all their dealings and that makes it very easy to recommend them.”
    Dan Lawrie Insurance Brokers / Aaron MacFarlane, Associate Broker
  • Rotsaert
    “Mentor Works will guide you through a project from start to finish. I highly recommend their services.”
    Rotsaert Dental Laboratory / Karen Bradbury, Controller
  • Navantis
    "Mentor Works is a wealth of knowledge with a strong partner ecosystem to meet many of the challenges business are facing in these tough economic times."
    Navantis / Sean Bredin, VP Sales
  • Dan-Lawrie
    “Mentor Works is an extremely effective consulting company, who I highly recommend to any firm looking to successfully access government funding."
    Dan Lawrie Insurance Brokers Ltd. / Dan Lawrie, President & CEO
  • SPi-Group
    “Mentor Works made navigating through the maze of funding opportunities simple."
    The Supplierpipeline Group / Marian Marshall, VP Strategic Development

Contact Us

Want to get in touch with a Canadian Government Funding Expert? Send us a message or give us a call at 1-888-599-3111.