Who We Are: The Mentor Works Team

Mentor Works’ team of Government Funding Planners™ work directly with clients to design and implement tailored solutions to support business growth. We work with Canadian businesses to develop a dynamic government funding plan that supports all areas of business investment; this gives a significant competitive advantage when used properly.

Our team has expertise in a diverse range of industries including manufacturing, healthcare, finance, and advanced software and hardware technologies.

We work closely as a group to support our clients, which is one of the reasons Mentor Works helps businesses receive an average of $180k in grant funding. To learn more about what we do and the types of businesses we support, please register for a free Canadian government funding event.

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

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 Guelph, Ontario with clients throughout the region including Toronto, Kitchener, Waterloo, Cambridge, 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 has always been curious about finding better ways to get things done. He was first brought onto the Mentor Works team to develop and manage the Mentor Works marketing strategy and business systems, with the underlying goals of scalability and customer excellence.

Chris obtained an Honours Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of Guelph. Majoring in Marketing Management with a Co-op designation, he 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 since 2011, helping to develop the company’s strategic network, client engagement practices, core business processes, and online presence. His goal is to ensure that every business in the country is empowered to access government funding opportunities available 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 Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario and enjoys playing guitar, snowboarding, camping, and exploring new physical challenges in his spare time.


Alex Barlow

Business Development Executive

As a Business Development Executive at Mentor Works Ltd. Alex has the great privilege of providing companies with strategic advice and support to execute on their growth plans. Her interests have always been in economic and business development, which led her to work for a regional innovation centre, the provincial government, and FedDev Ontario.

In her 5+ years at Mentor Works, she has seen firsthand the impact of government incentives on business, helping clients ranging from small family businesses to some of Canada’s Best Managed Companies access millions in funding as a writer and strategic advisor. Deeply passionate about business in Canada and the Mentor Works mission to help them grow, Alex loves learning about where our products and services are made, who makes them, and how Canadian technologies offer the opportunity for disruption.

“Strategy is straightforward – just pick a general direction and implement like hell.”
– Jack Welch

A native of Kingston, Ont. Alex currently lives in Guelph and enjoys 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 business resources and incentives.

Jeff Dumart

Jeff Dumart

Business Development Executive

Jeff is a Wilfrid Laurier, Business Co-op graduate with over ten 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 Executive 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.

Sara Hipson, Program Coordinator at Mentor Works

Sara Hipson

Business Development Executive

After graduating with a Masters in Forest Conservation from the University of Toronto, Sara moved west to pursue a career in the forestry sector. She spent six years in Prince George, British Columbia in multiple roles from planning and laying logging blocks, managing a $40 million-dollar provincial funding program, and overseeing a small SaaS software company. In her role as Business Development Executive at Mentor Works, Sara leads and supports Canadian businesses in accessing funding and prioritizing innovative projects.

“Never say never because limits, like fears, are often just an illusion.”
– Michael Jordan

A former NCAA athlete, Sara acted as President of northern British Columbia’s regional sport development organization, Engage Sport North, for three years. She plays hockey, softball, and beach volleyball recreationally, and also goes skiing in the winter. When she isn’t working or playing sports, you can find Sara hiking with her dogs or in her veggie garden.

Hazem Madarati, Team Lead, Mentor Works Ltd.

Hazem Madarati

Business Development Executive

Hazem has several years of experience working directly with the Province of Ontario. In his most recent position with the Ministry of Economic Development Growth, he helped administer government programs. He also attended school at Brock University and the European Business School in Germany where he attained a Bachelor of Business Administration and a Bachelor of Science in General Management. His government experience combined with his education background has prepared him well for a Business Development Executive role at Mentor Works. Hazem has excellent analytical and communication skills which allows him to synthesize and creatively interpret information. He is driven to succeed in everything he does and ensures tasks are completed in a timely manner.

“All successes begin with self-discipline. It starts with you.”
– Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson

Outside of the office, Hazem enjoys weight lifting, playing soccer with his Sunday League team, and enjoys the occasional tennis matches in the summer. On weekends, he loves to watch soccer with his friends, try a new restaurant in town, or simply stay home and relax with the family.

Ann Wong, Canadian Government Funding Planner at Mentor Works

Ann Wong

Director of Operations

Ann has over 10 years of financial management experience in both the for-profit banking industry and the not-for-profit sector. Her experience combined with her education background in Economics and Business Management from the University of Waterloo and University of Toronto has prepared Ann well for the Director of Operations role at Mentor Works. Ann is creative, has strong financial management skills and uses her analytical capabilities to help businesses capitalize on opportunities to increase their competitiveness through government funding. She has spent the last 6 years writing high value grants and proposals, managing government-funded projects and liaising with community partners, funders and government officials.

“If you are successful, you will win false friends and true enemies. Succeed anyway… What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight. Build anyway… Give the world the best you have and you’ll get kicked in the teeth. Give the world your best anyway.”
– Mother Teresa

Ann spends her days assisting SMEs to grow their business, but by night she champions her inner superhero. Ann founded and manages a superhero club with over 600 volunteers who operate a free café twice a month. The club also organizes large holiday dinners and walk the streets of Toronto monthly to feed the homeless men, women and animals. Ann dotes on her two dogs, Sponge and Pugsley, is a huge animal lover, and loves to help people. She is a firm leader with a heart of gold.


Stephanie Tenneson

Senior Project Manager & Organizational Development

Stephanie Tenneson is the Senior Project Manager & Organizational Development 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.

Melissa Corey Mentor Works

Melissa Corey

Senior Project Manager & Resource Planning

Melissa brings over 10 years of experience working in a university setting where she managed an academic publication and successfully received government grants on the behalf of academics. She has a keen eye for succinct writing, expression, and story-telling and is committed to working with clients to best meet their funding requirements. With a Master of Arts degree from McMaster University, Melissa does not hesitate to ask questions and is motivated to develop an understanding of the bigger picture.

“As much as we need a prosperous economy, we also need a prosperity of kindness and decency.”
– Caroline Kennedy

Melissa is an avid reader and crafter. She and her family enjoy the outdoors and can often be found canoeing in the summer and skating in the winter.

Kaitlynn Barrett

Kaitlynn Barrett

Team Lead

As a Team Lead at Mentor Works, Kaitlynn Barrett is committed to utilizing her leadership and project management skills to help make an impact for Canadian businesses. After graduating from the University of Guelph in 2010 with a Human Nutrition undergraduate degree, Kaitlynn embarked on a three-year journey to travel Australia, where she achieved a Master’s in Public Health from Flinders University. Kaitlynn has worked various roles within the marketing industry, led countless business development plans, and built many long-lasting client relationships.

“Be the change you want to see in the world…”
– Mahatma Gandhi

Kaitlynn has a strong passion for adventure, community involvement, and healthy living. She loves to travel, she has been to many countries around the world and is always looking forward to her next adventure! As an avid volunteer, Kaitlynn is the President of Young Professionals Network, as well as a committee member for Guelph Gives Giving Tuesday. In her spare time, you can catch Kaitlynn hanging out with friends, reading thriller novels, at a gym class, cooking, or practicing photography. Kaitlynn lives with her husband and their adorable baby girl in Guelph, Ontario.

Sandy Smith, Sales Development Analyst at Mentor Works

Sandy Smith

Team Lead

In over 2+ years at Mentor Works, Sandy has had the privilege of assisting numerous Canadian companies in securing government incentives. Sandy has built strong analytical capabilities and has gained experience writing high value grants and proposals. She is eager to continue building strong client relationships and learning about Canada’s business and non-profit sectors. Sandy graduated from Western University with a degree in Finance and completed her minor in Health Sciences, where she explored the complexities of social and personal health determinants. Prior to joining Mentor Works, Sandy studied and lived in New Zealand where she learned about alternative business environments, leadership, and community outreach.

“Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.”
– Albert Einstein

In her spare time, Sandy enjoys being active and going for hikes. She also enjoys spending time with her family and friends, watching sitcoms, and crafting. Sandy hopes to continue travelling and exploring new places around the world.
Mohib Alam, Junior Team Lead at Mentor Works

Mohib Alam

Junior Team Lead

Mohib has worked in a variety of policy/program development roles during his tenure with Government of Ontario (MEDJCT, OMAFRA, MCI, MECP). In his most recent position, he was a Policy Associate at the Business Council of Canada (BCC), where he worked on Canada’s competitiveness and innovation policy. Mohib is passionate about expanding Canada’s economic potential while working with the business community to ensure a better future for all citizens. He graduated in 2018 with a Master’s degree in Public Service from University of Waterloo and an undergraduate degree in Political Science specializing in comparative politics. Prior to his government experience, Mohib worked at Bank of Montreal in the Trade Management and Modelling Unit, where he honed his financial and analytical skills to support higher networking clients with sound investment decisions.

“He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life.”
– Muhammad Ali

In his spare time, Mohib enjoys playing guitar with his band and spends his weekends with friends and family. He is passionate about Canadian politics and loves his morning coffee.

Michelle Lawlor, Mentor Works Ltd.

Michelle Lawlor

Senior Business Funding Analyst

After graduating from McMaster University with an Honours Bachelor of Arts Degree in English, Michelle began her career in public relations and corporate communications. She subsequently established a successful freelance business providing writing, editing and project management services to clients in hospitality and municipal government. Today, Michelle is a Certified Structural Editor who loves assisting clients of Mentor Works in communicating their development plans and growth potential.

“For a long time now I have tried simply to write the best I can. Sometimes I have good luck and write better than I can.”
– Ernest Hemingway

When she’s not writing, you can find Michelle enjoying quality time with her husband and two daughters, laughing with old friends, baking something delicious or planning her family’s next holiday.

Danielle McDonald, Business Funding Analyst at Mentor Works

Danielle McDonald

Senior Business Funding Analyst

Danielle is a recent history graduate, having earned her BA from the University of Toronto and MA from the University of Waterloo. Prior to joining the Mentor Works team, she worked as a Research Assistant at the University of Waterloo. Her time spent in academia facilitated the growth of her critical analysis and communication skills, which she applies to her work as a Business Funding Analyst. She is particularly interested in supporting Canadian businesses and fostering their continued growth.

“You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me.”
― C.S. Lewis

Danielle enjoys reading and writing, anything in the sci-fi/fantasy genres, pilates, and spending time with friends and family. She also loves board games and video games (preferably Xbox), but sticks to single-player games because she can get pretty competitive playing against friends.

Caitlin Szikora Mentor Works

Caitlin Szikora

Business Funding Analyst

Caitlin holds a BA from the University of Toronto with a major in Cinema Studies and minors in English and History, in addition to an MA from Wilfrid Laurier University in English. Her time as a graduate student greatly contributed to the development of both her analytical skills and writing skills, which she now uses to connect businesses with government funding. Prior to joining the Mentor Works team, Caitlin worked as a teaching assistant and nature interpreter.

“No matter what anybody tells you, words and ideas can change the world.”
– Robin Williams

In her spare time, Caitlin can be found attending film festivals, playing video games, or leading hikes through the woods.

Mustafa Aydin Mentor Works

Mustafa Aydin

Business Funding Analyst

Mustafa earned a Bachelor of Business Administration degree at the Marmara University in Turkey. Prior to joining Mentor Works, he spent several years in a Regional Development Agency as a Regional Development Specialist and Investment Support Office Coordinator. Having worked with both the public and private sectors, he’s learned first-hand how government funding supports economic development and leads to sustainable business growth. Mustafa brings multiple years of project management and grant proposal writing experience to his role, and is excited to help Canadian business access government incentives.

“The garden of the world has no limits, except in your mind.”
– Rumi

Mustafa lives in Kitchener, Ontario with his family. Like most Turkish people, he is a die-hard black tea fan. After work, you can find him spending time with his boys in a playground. He loves travelling to explore new places or restaurants. Enjoying different parks with family and friends while grilling meatballs on a BBQ is one of his favourite activities.

Jamie McLeod, Business Funding Analyst for Mentor Works

Jamie McLeod

Business Funding Analyst

Jamie graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Child and Youth Studies and a Bachelor of Education from Brock University. She is interested in understanding the psychology of people and their break through performance. She looks forward to being in the education system as a teacher upon Graduation.

Jamie is excited to work on government funding applications to support the hiring of new graduates after post-secondary education. In addition, government training programs further develop these new graduates to help accelerate business growth. The opportunity to attract and retain top talent has never been better for the business community to take advantage of.

“A good teacher can inspire hope, ignite the imagination, and instill a love of learning.”
– Brad Henry

Jamie lives in the Cambridge area and enjoys being active in her spare time. She also enjoys spending time with family and friends.

Matthew Mongeon | Marketing Coordinator Mentor Works

Matthew Mongeon

Marketing Coordinator

Matthew graduated from Mohawk College with a Diploma in Business Marketing. He began his career as a Co-op student, and later a digital marketing technician, for a Hamilton based digital marketing agency where he learnt the best practices for digital marketing campaigns. Matthew went on to become an Account Coordinator, start a freelancing business and eventually became the Digital Marketing Lead for a marketing agency in Oakville where he worked with small business owners on their branding, digital marketing strategy, and the execution of their campaigns. As a Marketing Coordinator at Mentor Works, Matthew continues to help business owners by creating educational content on what Government funding opportunities are available to Canadian businesses.

“To succeed in life, you need three things: a wishbone, a backbone and a funny bone.”
– Reba McEntire

Matthew is an active member in the Hamilton comedy community and performs improv and stand up comedy at the Staircase Theater. With a passion for travel, Matthew has backpacked six European countries, Australia, New Zealand, Hawaii, and more to come. During the summer he can often be found hiking, biking, camping, or cottaging. In the winter he enjoys snowboarding, watching Marvel movies, and playing video games.

Alena Kondratieva

Alena Barreca

Marketing Coordinator

Alena Barreca graduated from a collaborative program receiving her Bachelor of Arts in Media and Business Communications from Brock University alongside her Public Relations Post Graduate Certificate from Mohawk College. Prior to joining Mentor Works, Alena worked in a variety of marketing communications roles throughout numerous industries. Alena enjoys utilizing her creative and analytical mind to help strengthen ongoing marketing strategies.

“The future belongs to those that believe in the beauty of their dreams.”
– Eleanor Roosevelt

Outside of the office, Alena enjoys volunteering her time with non-profit organizations such as Big Brothers Big Sisters and Canadian Cancer Society. On weekday evenings you can catch her reading at the local library, sweating on a volleyball court, or practicing hot yoga. She loves spending time with family, traveling, and eating spicy foods. Alena lives in Cambridge, Ontario with her husband and their two fluffy cats.

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.

Allison Jones

Allison Jones

Sales Development Analyst

Allison is a lifelong learner, consuming articles on Psychology, Nutrition, and Medicine daily. She graduated from Memorial University of Newfoundland with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology (Minor in English) and a Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Biochemistry (Nutrition). She has worked 10+ years in the optical industry, helping people find the right eye solutions to fit their needs and lifestyle. After moving to Toronto, she continued as Practice Coach in her clinic, leading her location to unprecedented success. Now, she is working to help businesses find the right funding solutions to fit their funding needs in much the same way.

You should bring something into the world that wasn’t in the world before. It doesn’t matter what that is. It doesn’t matter if it’s a table or a film or gardening – everyone should create. You should do something, then sit back and say ‘I did that.'” 

— Ricky Gervais

When not working on government funding, Allison can be found enjoying the simple pleasures in life. Good food, good friends, and a campfire (preferably near a large body of water) helps make her feel at home being away from Newfoundland. She is passionate about nutrition, the psychology of nutrition, amazing eyeglasses, and the Oxford comma. She does not like winter.

What our clients are saying

  • Health Matters
    Mentor Works helped us identify funding programs we were eligible for, explained how the application/submission/claims process works, and provided strategic direction on programs to apply for.
    Advantage Health Matters / Alexandra Mamalider, Director, Business Strategy
  • Sodecia North America Canadian Government Funding
    The greatest value [in working with Mentor Works] is the fact that they know what kind of information the funding agency is waiting for and do all of the writing based on client information.
    Sodecia North America / Sonia Monteiro Moreira, Chief Financial Officer
  • Miovision
    “We have always aggressively targeted government funding sources but Mentor Works was able to expose us to some additional programs we were unaware of.”
    Miovision Technologies / Lauren Greig, Corporate Controller
  • Lindt
    They assisted us in every step of the process to complete the application and guided us in what next steps would look like.
    Lindt & Sprüngli (Canada), Inc. / Laura Lionetti, Human Resources Generalist
  • Therapure-Biopharma_2754342_18706_image (Custom)
    “The application process was easy with your ability to quickly understand our industry, business, and project."
    Therapure Biopharma / Mark Krause, Head of Plasma Proteins
  • Vitalis
    You've been incredibly helpful and have consistently provided me with some of the best customer service I have ever experienced. Thank you!
    Valitas Capital Partners / Louis Goldberg, Director, Investment Banking Coverage
  • HydraDyneTech
    "Mentor Works followed up on our grant application from start until final approval."
    Hydra Dyne Technology Inc. / Darko Dorakovski, Human Resources Manager
  • Chudleighs
    Mentor Works has become a high value partner in our business growth strategy by providing us with highly effective resources (both knowledge and people).
    Chudleigh’s Ltd. / Brent Winterton, Vice President Human Resources
  • horizn Canadian Government Funding Testimonial for Mentor Works
    "We would recommend Mentor Works, they are knowledgeable and action oriented."
    Horizn / Robert Rubenstein, Managing Director

Ask a Funding Question

Want to ask a question about Canadian government funding? Send us a message or give us a call at 1-888-599-3111.