"I was always inspired by rural entrepreneurs — the guys who had five or six things going on," says Anne Whelan. "Their businesses were diversified but they didn't have to be huge to make a comfortable living."
Following their intrepid footsteps, today Anne Whelan is president and CEO of Seafair Capital a diversified, growth-focused group of companies with roots in Newfoundland and Labrador. We believe in unlocking potential to build strong companies that are a real part of the communities in which we operate. We aim to provide value for our customers, our communities and our shareholders. We also offer our employees respect, support and the opportunity to share in our successes. Whether through organic expansion, acquisition or partnerships, we get excited by the challenges and opportunities that business growth represents.
The entrepreneurial spirit that Whelan nourishes at Seafair Capital was recognized last December when the company won the Entrepreneurial Spirit Award at the St. John's Board of Trade Business Excellence Awards.
"That was one of my proudest moments," reflects Whelan, "because it was an award that was earned by the entire team, and it speaks to our forward-thinking vision. It was phenomenal."
Last year Seafair Capital was also ranked on the PROFIT/Chatelaine W100, a prestigious list of 100 leading women-owned businesses in Canada.
Whelan's group of companies has grown steadily but the reality of expanding a business can be difficult. "Seafair Capital has experienced massive growth and the results of that have not always been pretty," she admits. "But that doesn't stop us from pursuing the opportunities that such growth represents. We're ready for it, and we're excited about our future."
Like the path to success for many entrepreneurs, it didn't happen overnight for Whelan — or without some missteps. Yet it was often those missteps that made her and her company stronger. "I have learned more from the things that have gone wrong in my entire career than from any of the things that went right."
A renowned business leader in her home province, Whelan has received numerous awards and recognitions, including being awarded a Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012 for her contribution to the development of home care quality and services to children, and becoming the second woman to be named Atlantic Business Magazine's CEO of the Year in 2014.
Seafair Capital Inc.
Seafair Capital Inc. is a multi-million dollar group of companies. With roots in Newfoundland and Labrador, Seafair Capital is growth-focused and diversified, operating in the home and community care, industrial, and hospitality/real estate industries. It employs more than 700 people.
This success story is provided by the Newfoundland & Labrador Organization of Women Entrepreneurs (NLOWE) – helping women in business start, grow and advance.