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Past Speakers


Teresa Spinelli

Italian Centre Shop

Teresa Spinelli wasn’t destined to lead her family’s grocery business.  But life takes many turns and the leader is what she became. Born in Edmonton in 1961 Teresa grew up at the Italian Centre Shop, taking her first steps in the pasta aisle. By age 13 she was working in the store regularly as a cashier, never dreaming she would one day ascend to the Presidency of the company. Family misfortune changed the course of Teresa’s life, “We were a traditional Italian family, and I had a brother, so automatically, because he was the boy, he was going to take the business.”

With her vision of changing the business from a local grocery store to a major importer and distributor, in her first year of Presidency, she grew the business to 12 million in sales.  Today, the Company has grown 8 times with 4 stores (located in Edmonton and Calgary), over 500 employees and sales exceeding 70 million. Teresa has been one of Canada’s Top  100 Female Entrepreneurs for many years, and won numerous awards & last year The Italian Centre was on Profits Top 500 fastest growing companies in Canada.

“For me, it’s not about selling salami. For me, it’s about people. The reason I get up in the morning is because I want to grow people.”
-Teresa Spinelli

As Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer for Canadian Western Bank (CWB), Carolyn plays a lead role in financial and capital matters, as well as strategic planning and other initiatives.  Her primary responsibilities currently include finance, capital management, treasury, strategy, investor relations and legal services. Carolyn also serves as Director for several of the Bank’s subsidiaries and she is actively involved in committees of the Canadian Bankers’ Association.


Carolyn is passionate about community. Currently she is a volunteer Board Member for the Edmonton Symphony & Concert Hall Foundation and Canada West Foundation as well as Co-Chair of the Edmonton Women in Finance Steering Committee. Previously she was a public member of the Board of Governors of MacEwan University and is also past Chair of Habitat for Humanity Edmonton. 


Carolyn holds an FCPA, FCA designation from the Chartered Professional Accountants of Alberta, an ICD.D from the Institute of Corporation Directors and a Bachelor of Commerce with Distinction from the University of Alberta.  Carolyn was recognized as a 2017 Canada’s Most Powerful Women: Top 100 Award winner.


Carolyn Graham, 


Executive Vice President & Chief Financial Officer
Canadian Western Bank Financial Group

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