HERhalton International Women’s Day Breakfast

Celebrating the accomplishments of women entrepreneurs across Halton and beyond.

March 9th • Doors open at 9AM
Keynote Speaker

Emily O'Brien

Emily O’Brien is an entrepreneur and the Founder of Comeback Snacks—a specialty popcorn company that challenges the status quo. After being sentenced to a four-year jail term following an abusive relationship, Emily set out on a mission to transform herself and make her time in jail as meaningful as possible.

Using her entrepreneurial pre-sentence background and experience, Emily birthed the idea for Comeback Snacks (formerly ‘Cons and Kernels’)—a popcorn brand that uses high-quality, health-conscious ingredients to create unique flavours inspired by the ones Emily developed in prison. In June 2021, Emily opened Comeback Commissary, Comeback Snacks’ first-ever retail store, with a focus on telling her story and the stories of other inmates in a physical setting.

Through her trailblazing efforts, Emily is an example that positive change can happen within correctional institutions with passion, drive, and a positive mindset. Emily is determined to help remove the stigma surrounding people with prior convictions, as well as give them opportunities for reintegration through training, empowerment and education. As a leading voice in this unique movement, Emily is frequently called upon by media, including CBC, CTV, Global, Toronto Star, iHeartRadio, CHCH, VICE, and more.

Emily was awarded the Business Leadership & Entrepreneurship award at the 2020 YWCA Hamilton Women of Distinction Awards and, most recently, was named a finalist for Entrepreneur of the Year by the Women’s Empowerment Awards. In 2022, she also received The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee for Community Service in recognition of her dedication to social justice.

Emily is currently penning a memoir outlining her experience throughout the criminal justice system and beyond. For more on Emily, visit her website.

What is HERhalton?

With an industry leading portfolio of women-led startups at Haltech, our HERhalton Women’s Day Breakfasts are gaining popularity. Each March we invite the innovation and entrepreneur community to join us and celebrate the many successes of women entrepreneurs across Halton and beyond. Hear inspiring stories, meet new people, and celebrate!

Meet This Year's #PowerTalks Panel

Be Strong Fitness

Renee Durepos

Renee Durepos, owner, and founder of Be Strong Fitness has been driven by passion all her life. She left a 20-year corporate life career to start a fitness boutique whose purpose is to help women transform.

She has created a strong support system of women who are motivated to push their physical boundaries to achieve an elevated level of mental strength and physical endurance, thus improving their overall quality of life.

Her motto of ‘be fit. be happy. be you. be STRONG.’ lives-on in every fitness class she energetically instructs, inspiring and supporting women to believe in themselves, know their worth and stand their ground.


Beatriz Zanatelli

Beatriz Zanatelli has over 14 years of experience investing in and leading companies across diverse industry sectors. Besides growing the company she co-founded, Beatriz is also an advisor at an investment fund in the US and recently stepped in as the new Director of Programs of the Accelerator Centre in Waterloo.

She is an enthusiast towards dealing with people from different backgrounds and cultures while uniting her international experience with her holistic approach to business & life.

Wise Tree Inspirations

Manpreet Sachdev

Manpreet Kaur Sachdev is a personal injury lawyer, author, speaker, and entrepreneur. She consistently speaks on a wide variety of topics relating to law, leadership, life, and entrepreneurship. She is the owner and founder of Wise Tree Inspirations, an organization that offers coaching and speaking services.

She is also the co-owner of her jewellery brand - The Mystic River Jewellery. Manpreet is a loving wife and a mother. Besides her work, she loves travelling, sports, and writing. You can check out her blog www.manpreetsachdev.com for inspirational articles on self-mastery, mindfulness, and more!

Not Your Child Corp

Julia Matthews – Moderator

Julia Matthews is the owner and founder of Not Your Child Corp. A Canadian company dedicated to road safety. They are normalizing the use of breathalyzers in our society as smart effective safety tools. Most significantly, Not Your Child Corp. attends events where alcohol is served and they seamlessly make free voluntary breath tests available to patrons, educating them in real time about what their BAC means.

Julia is also a writer and performer, born and raised in Kingston Jamaica, Julia loves reading, swimming, music, cooking, being in nature, wide open spaces and peace and quiet.


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This year’s HERhalton is brought to you by:

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Organized by:

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With support from:

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