It is with great pleasure that I write this letter of recommendation for the Owners and Founders of Connected Business Women Network (CBWN). Ilona Makar and Debbie Van Camp are two extraordinary women and together they are a powerful force as I learned from the moment I started working with them as the keynote presenter at their first annual Women’s Day luncheon.

Ilona is an outgoing, intelligent and ambitious individual who compliments Debbie’s calm, introspective and thoughtful demeanour. They aim high, work tirelessly and settle for nothing less than extraordinary results.

Ilona and Debbie have the ideal partnership with each knowing their own strengths and weaknesses. Not afraid to make mistakes, they are there to support one another as they support all those around them.

CBWN provides valuable opportunities for women to learn, meet new people and grow as individuals. The events are well organized, publicized and attended. The interactive model that is used is engaging and fulfilling from start to finish.

Ilona and Debbie have had an enormous impact on their members and I can say with great confidence that together they will continue to be leading ladies in Calgary, the province and wherever their reach extends. I look forward to the next opportunity to work with Ilona and Debbie and wish them all the best as they continue their mission to assist women in the workplace.

— Michelle Gayse-Leader,
Leader Production Services

This group of women are all so increadible and it is truly a warm and inviting atmosphere. You and Debi are incredible!

— Audrey Veltri
Investors Group Financial Services Inc.

I attended the Feb luncheon and WOW! It was my first time, and I was a bit nervous to show up on my own.
I emailed Debbie the night before to ask for a bit of encouragement.

Debbie called me right back and assured me that I would be welcomed. She was absolutely right! The vibe was very genuine, not forced, no pressure to “join”.

All the ladies I spoke with were very open to new meetings and interested in how I arrived there and what I did. Immediately I was making new connections, and learning about others and their businesses.
I thoroughly enjoyed the format and speeches. I have to admit I was a bit sad when it was over. That evening I signed up to be a Loyalty member and had a few calendar dates with those I had met.

Highly reccomend CBWN!

–Laura Strath
Helping Hands for Seniors

It was great to (briefly) meet you and to become a loyalty member.
I enjoyed it all, your platform, your speakers, your ease, sincerity and humour. I am excited to become part of the “community”, to develop relationships with such a dynamic group of women! I had a wonderful chat with Nicki and we are meeting up next Wednesday to learn further about each other. As well as a couple other women. Love it!

–Susan Walton
Real + Raw Life Coach ~ Specialty in Cancer Journeys and Those Affected

Thank you so much for another well run, amazing and fun meeting. So love the women there. It really is magic how we all connect and have fun together. Never seen anything like it and I enjoy it so much.

–Carol Carter CCS
Coldwell Banker Mountain Central

A wonderful experience as always. Friendly, supportive women, experienced and new business women, and talented hosts!

–Roxann Amyotte

Biz Bang– I loved this event and the conversion I’m seeing. The format is definitely the most valuable way for me to share, connect and showcase my work. This was the best networking event I’ve been to because of the format. I really liked the speakers in the morning & targeted networking after lunch.

Melody Chardon

Yesterday was my second time attending and I absolutely loved it!! Such a dynamic, caring group of like minded women supporting and encouraging each other to be their best! I will definitely be back. Thanks so much to everyone!

Charla Gosselin

CBWN is the most heart-centred and well-organized networking group I’ve found in Calgary.  And I tried out many groups!  At CBWN I’ve had the chance to polish my public speaking skills in a super supportive environment.  I have also made valuable contacts and budding friendships.  If you care about people and your business, try CBWN!

Cari Frame, CPCC
Certified Life Coach & Nutrition Coach

I benefitted from CBWN before I ever attended a meeting!  My Accountant friend, Robbie Temple, believes in my work with reading and gave me the names of four women from CBWN that she felt could help me.  I am using the expertise of all four of them!  Remarkable!  Darlene Hull has provided free social media strategies and connections to marketing people that are already working for me; Cheryl Dyck ‘s business savvy and contacts blew my mind during her free consultation; Brandi Esler came to my rescue with her computer knowledge; Susan Carey will use her organizational skills to coordinate a fund-raising gala.  I’ve attended two meetings now and got other leads at both of them.  This group has propelled my business forward in a short time!

Vera Goodman
Reading Wings

I am a Loyalty Member with CBWN so when they brought it in Group Insurance, I had to take a look at it. I am the type of person who is all in with anything I participate in, so was curious what it could do for me. After receiving a quote that saved our family over $400 per year on our vehicle and home insurance, I switched immediately! Paying for the Loyalty Program is well worth it just for the Insurance savings alone! If you are going to come to CBWN, there really is no reason not to be a Loyalty Member!!

Many of you know Mary Kay because of the Pink Cadillac; well did you know that there are 3 other levels of vehicles you can earn? I’m very excited because my unit and I have just finished earning our 7th Career Car, which is being built and will arrive in a couple months. Yeah!!

This is an amazing group of women who really help support each other’s goals, so for those that are new, keep coming and in 2 years, you can help me earn my next car!

Tracey Walls
Mary Kay Independent Sales Director

I’ve been attending CBWN events for a few years now and every month I am awed by the confident, caring, knowledgeable speakers and heart-felt, tear jerking testimonials. I look forward to being surrounded by friendly faces and like minded women at our networking lunches and dinners.

As Ilona says, this is a safe place.

I’m grateful for making friends and compatriots taking shared business opportunities outside of CBWN – Tracey, Roxane and Sheri – the Travelling Tradeshow. Grateful for the lovely ladies who’ve asked me to help choose the perfect pillow covers for their sofa and or pictures for their dining room – you know who you are!

We learn something on every occasion and to borrow a line from Spotlight Speaker, Joanne Kirk, the best kind of networking develops a strong feeling of trust and random, open and supportive relationships which are mutually beneficial. That’s CBWN’s style!

Kathleen Kupis
Signature HomeStyles

I would like to express my sincere gratitude to all the organizers, I had a great time! The experience exceeded my expectations and I felt like a received a lot of valuable information and support from the presenters and other ladies in the room. Being a (younger) entrepreneur, I have found it quite difficult to come into contact with supportive mentors in everyday life, especially women of all backgrounds. I am looking forward to the next dinner event and hopefully a luncheon!

Kimberley Gray
Virtual Administrative Assistant

My experience was PROFOUND! As an attendee guest on CBWN first Edmonton event, I ran into some fabulous women. Some of the speakers I already knew and truly admire, but at this event I got to know them more deeply, namely Frockalicious – Jo Dibblee. It was so inspiring it motivated me to be the recent speaker presenter at CBWN breakfast event, the sheer honour and pleasure to be in a warm inviting environment of Woman networking with open hearts and minds. – Conquering Fears!

This group is attracting the most genuine, purpose driven, and supportive woman in business. As the “Referral Queen” I highly recommend this group to Woman who could use a change in networking, come get inspired, get enlightened and find a compassionate inclusive group.

Jennifer Lee

Referral Queens


Warm, welcoming, encouraging & supportive women!

Many people, ideas, gifts, things for me personally & for my business…the list goes on! You can be as involved as you want, and I love meeting new people each month and to learning something new!

Rather than talk about one person or idea, I put together my version of the A-Z of CBWN!

Here are ways for you to Learn. Connect. Inspire!

A – Authors – there are a few around this room! Check out some of the amazing books they have written
B – BrandAlliance – order what you want & put your logo on it! Really. Anything! They are creative
C – Candles – my house has never smelled so great! Also gift ideas
D – Décor for your home – my house has never looked so pretty
E – Events – over & above these CBWN meetings, there are other functions planned: speakers, training, sip & paint, business tips, leadership coaching, social media tips, Frockalicious, etc
F – Fashion tips – clothes, scarves, hats, how to wear what
G – Green – lots of ideas for green ways to do things, Norwex, computer recycling (ERA – Jessica)
H – Health & Wellness – yoga, fitness studios, reiki, craniosacial, holistic living, Juice Plus, tons of ideas for a healthier you; even healthy dog food (tailblazers)!
I –Insurance & Investments- financial planning, mortgage info, banking, planning for retirement, tax support, legal advice
J – Jewellery – great gift ideas, stocking stuffers, or to add to your outfit
K – Keynote speakers on various topics – each month you can learn something new from someone in our own group
L – Loyalty Program – sign up for the benefits of this program
M – Make up – tips, gifts, how to wear the new colors of the season
N – Numerology – fascinating way of learning more about yourself
O – Oils – who knew that oils have so many purposes –calming, stimulating, etc, and the wonderful smells?!
P – Personality & relationship management/coaching. OH, and the PURPLE CLIPBOARD!!!
Q – QEII – Edmonton here we come! We are expanding to the north, tell everyone
R – Realtors, of course!
S –Skin – how to take care of it, wrinkle erasers, creams for everything!, wrap your body to lose inches
T – Travel – Travel agents are still available even in this day of technology, with great tips! Babes in Bali too!
U – Unique women – fascinated that everyone has a story, everyone has a passion, take the time to find out who is sitting next to you, you might be pleasantly surprised
V – Volunteer – Sell 50-50 tickets, sit at registration, give a testimonial, offer a door prize…get involved!
W – Website – its pleasing to the eye, easy to use, a resource to find someone within our group that can help you with your need, Facebook page is awesome too! & follow on Twitter!
X – X marks the spot: this is where you need to be each month (or the evening function) for growth, development & support…and lots of fun & laughs
Y – YOU! You are what makes this group – attending, committing to helping CBWN grow by referring other ladies
Z – Zee End. Cuz I am over my time limit now!

Karen Elliot

One of the best women’s group by far across Canada. The warmth of these different business ladies keeps me wanting to go back. Thank you Debbie and Ilona.

Marie-Claude Robert

Style Impeccable

One of the reasons that I love CBWN is because it connects entrepreneurial women but not just for business purposes. I believe that women love supporting other women and CBWN gives us the venue and platform to do just that. Meaningful relationships are formed when you are least expecting it. Quite often you are adding to your community of engaging and successful business women but also making a new friend in the process. The meeting today was a testament to that – thank you Ilona and Debbie.

Cathy Gotfried

Erwan Travel Ventures – Babes in Bali Tours

I have been to many networking events and I must say that CBWN is the best one yet! I have met so many amazing, heartfelt women who want to genuinely connect and support each others business and personal growth.  I truly look forward to attending every month. Thank you Debbie and Ilona for your fantastic work and vision.

Rosanna Sardella
Emerge Center for Healing

It’s my pleasure – you ladies have really worked hard to put together an “abundance mindset” networking group. The energy and environment is brilliant for supporting, nurturing and assisting women in business. The core group of ladies in the group really and truly want to see other business women succeed. From my experience that’s actually quite rare in networking circles.

Sherri Johnson

Thank goodness for you Ilona. You and Debbie have created such an incredible environment for woman to not only grow and expand their businesses but themselves personally. Love CBWN. Congrats!

Brandi Taylor
SunLife Financial

This was my first time attending this luncheon and it was so great to receive such a warm welcome. Ilona & Debbie are such real genuine ladies. And they both have a great sense of humour. The ladies I met were wonderful as well. I will be back!

Cara Fullerton
Healthy Lifestyle Coach

What a fabulous luncheon with so many brilliant women. Ilona and Debbie are so professional and at the same time have a fantastic sense of humour. Love the energy and flow and I must say the vegetarian dishes are the best I have ever had. Thank you for shining your light ladies.

Karen Klassen
Women Embracing Brilliance

What an honor it was to be in a room filled with women wanting to make a difference in the world. I experienced many beautiful connections and I look forward to many more in the future. Thanks Debbie and Ilona for holding the space and the vision for women supporting women.

Bonnie Earl

I would like to say THANK YOU to the both of you. What you have done for me is incredible and much appreciated. You ladies have the biggest heart and always want to help others.  I have enjoyed going to every single meetings with all of you and I have learned so much and met so many wonderful women who have helped me grow and get through this tough time in my life. You have created a wonderful circle of women.

Jessica Girard
KSL Banff Store Manager

I have been part of Calgary Business Women’s Network from the beginning and I look forward to this meeting every month firstly to reconnect with those ladies in business that I have already met and also to meet ladies and learn about their business who are coming for the first time.   What I love most about this group is how receptive everyone is to helping each other move their businesses forward.

Karen Hannigan
Fifth Avenue Collection

Thank you does not even come close to my feelings of gratitude to all of you. Ilona came to me today at work and told me about your generous CBWN donation to me and my family and how she had told you about our unfortunate luck this past holiday season with the break in of our home.

She showed me the picture she took of all of you at your meeting waving and how you all decided to donate to my children and I, to help get us through this tough time. As well as the lovely jewelry sets given to me by Janice Liski-Skinner of Lia Sophia.  You cannot image how much this will help my children and I, and how thankful we are for people like all of you, that unselfishly help a single mother and her children without even knowing them.

Not to mention that I had to clean up my makeup after Ilona had told me all of this – lol!  I have the picture hanging at my desk and it will stay there, to remind me of the wonderful thing you have done for my children and I, we will never forget it and we will definitely pay it forward.

Thank you CBWN!
Tonya and Family