Shadi McIsaac – An Undeniable Leader Helping Women and Entrepreneurs Everywhere Break Down Barriers

Shadi McIsaac - An Undeniable Leader Helping Women and Entrepreneurs Everywhere Break Down Barriers

A good business and a trusted company means they offer much needed solutions to an ongoing problem. And with the case of Ownr, the much-needed solution was within the entrepreneurial industry itself. Which is where Shadi McIsaac stepped in. Recognising the chasm between entrepreneurship and everyday Canadians, she guided the Ownr team to bridge that gap with streamlined efficiency.

As the team’s CEO and Co-Founder,  McIsaac brings deep knowledge to Ownr. Every day, she leads her team to recognise and study the financial, technical, and confusing hurdles of entrepreneurship, and in turn, provide the digital tools to help break them down. Now, after just six years under her strong direction and industry-savvy, Ownr has helped over 100,000 customers across British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario, and Quebec launch their dream business—offering convenient online services for business registration, incorporation, ongoing legal compliance, and even business credit card applications. With McIsaac at the helm, Ownr is reshaping Canadians’ belief of what it takes to be entrepreneurship: that it should be accessible for everyone. 

Finding Balance While Shaking Up the Tech and Business World

Recent studies have shown that only two out of five entrepreneurs launch a business and of those who do, only half will survive. So, as McIsaac says, “My endgame is five out of five.” with confidence that with Ownr’s support, all entrepreneurs can navigate legal processes and build a resilient, sustaining business.

Raised by parents who embraced a new life in Canada, she witnessed first hand not just the struggles entrepreneurs face but also the life-shaping opportunities it can bring—and now she hopes Ownr can help everyone realise their life goals, dreams, and aspirations with their own small business. 

Strengthened by her family’s grit and determination to build a life in Canada, McIsaac earned her MBA at Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto and began her career in tech at IBM before moving to RBC in 2014 and RBC Ventures in 2017. From there, she founded Ownr and has been their CEO and Co-founder since. 

As with a lot of women in business, work and family take up almost all of their time. Outside of Ownr, McIsaac’s first and foremost commitment is raising her young family. With two children under four and a “thirteen year-old puppy”, she emphasises that there is nothing else she’d rather devote her time to and that “It’s both a joy and a privilege to spend time with them and raise them.” 

Believing that surrounding yourself with a supportive and responsive community is especially key to bringing business goals to life, when she does find an open schedule, McIsaac works as a Managing Partner of the Toronto chapter of Women’s Equity Lab (WEL). There, she helps engage women in the angel investment process, allowing more women to move into the space as advisors, board members, venture capitalist, angel investors and angel fund managers. 

McIsaac’s wealth of wisdom, leadership skills, and impressive work in the tech and business space continues to be recognised in the industry. In 2022, she was listed among Canada’s Top 50 Changemakers by the Globe and Mail and was named one of Bay Street Bull’s Women of the Year for both 2021 and 2022.

Shadi’s Message for Women Entrepreneurs

“Be undeniable.”

“What does that mean? It means making sure that you’re confident in your business’s economic viability. Learn strong unit economics, your path to profitability, prove your disciplined spending, and showcase that you’re a good steward of capital. Why? Because those are undisputable things that are genderless and irrefutable attributes of a good business leader. As a woman, you’re going to find moments where you may be questioned, overlooked or unacknowledged. So empower yourself with these tools that transcend gender, know your business inside and out by showing great aptitude, and you will be undeniable.” 

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