The teachable moments of Anne Whelan

Posted on September 02, 2022 | By Alec Bruce | 0 Comments

Anne Whelan, president and CEO of St. John’s-based Seafair Capital


Over her 20 years in business, the president and CEO of St. John’s-based Seafair Capital has seen the worst of times and the best. She says there are lessons to be learned from all of it.

There was that time in the 1990s—after the break-up of her marriage when she and her three-year-old daughter were living in a house her parents had bought for her not far from where she grew up in Placentia, Newfoundland and Labrador—when she made the Dean’s List in the MBA program at Memorial University. Didn’t that count for something?

Then, there was the time in the 2000s when she bought a tiny homecare agency from her mother and built it into a multi-million-dollar business—during one of her home province’s frequent economic downturns. Wasn’t that an example of sheer, unadulterated chutzpah?

But if you ask her, as someone once did in an interview, what it’s like to be one of Canada’s top CEOs, Anne Whelan sees the irony, not the evidence. “It’s kind of funny,” she told the Financial Post in 2017. “I can’t even get my dogs to go out when I open the door.”

Which sounds absurd. The woman runs a suite of businesses—including community, home and residential care enterprises; online training platforms; medical supply, payroll and bookkeeping services; and a strategic investment portfolio—that collectively employ 1,000 people and post annual revenues approaching $50 million.

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