Rebuilding and growing WGroup: Ottawa businesswoman of the year nominee Candace Enman

WelchGroup Consulting president nominated in professional category
Candace Enman
WelchGroup Consulting president Candace Enman (Photo by Michelle Valberg)

On April 20, the Women’s Business Network will honour 12 of Ottawa’s leading women entrepreneurs at its Businesswoman of the Year gala. The nominees are divided into four categories: Emerging entrepreneur; established entrepreneur; organization; and professional. OBJ will profile each nominee leading up to the event.

Candace Enman is a chartered professional accountant and president of WelchGroup Consulting, a boutique advisory, contract CFO and mergers and acquisitions practice. She serves on the business advisory group for Yorkville Asset Management and volunteers with The Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation and The Ottawa Network for Education, with a particular focus on The Ottawa School Breakfast Program. 

What is your proudest business accomplishment?

In 2013, there was a change in ownership at WelchGroup Consulting and our core team quickly dissolved. At one point, I was the only employee of WGroup. I sincerely believed in the work that we were doing and I was determined to rebuild the practice, focusing on where I could add value to our clients. Over the next year, I redesigned our service offering (primarily focusing on Chairman’s View and Contract CFO Services), changed our business model, rebranded the company and rebuilt our team. Rebuilding and growing WGroup to the successful and entrepreneurial practice it is today has been one of my proudest achievements.  

Who is your greatest inspiration?

I grew up in a family of six, the daughter of oyster fishermen, on rural Prince Edward Island. My parents worked extremely hard to provide for us. From the age of eight, I fished alongside them, picking quahogs (hard-shelled clams) to earn money for school clothes. That work ethic fuelled in me a desire to do well in school and in life in general. Most importantly, though, my parents inspire me because they are both generous and kind, always lending a hand, an ear and their time to those they love and to people in need.    

What is the biggest professional obstacle you’ve had to overcome?

Getting my CA designation was a seminal moment for me. I didn’t pass my exams the first time around, but it simply wasn’t in my vocabulary to give up. In fact, failing made me more focused and determined than ever to succeed. I believe this was a crucial lesson to learn early in my career; that setbacks and failures occur, but more importantly, that these often present the greatest opportunities for growth. I learned not to give up, to persevere, and to be willing to try new approaches. This attitude has served me well. Taking risks has brought about the best rewards in my career.

What is the best business advice you’ve ever received?

The best advice I’ve ever received is “always listen first.” While taking a CFO leadership course, I recall an exercise we performed on effective negotiation. Only those who truly listened were successful in connecting with, and understanding, the other party, as well as in reaching a win-win agreement. As a consultant, this advice has served me extremely well; after all listening to our clients is perhaps the most critical part of our work. I like to say that WGroup is successful because we are change catalyst for businesses, but we can only do that if we genuinely listen and understand our clients’ needs.