Our Team

Margot Cathcart

Chief Executive Officer


Margot Cathcart, grew up in rural Manitoba, graduated from Brandon University and after living in Japan and in Winnipeg, returned to Brandon with her husband to raise their two sons.  Describing herself as a “builder”, she has been involved on the ground up in product, business, and industry development.

Her private sector experience spans television, news media, information management, technology, agriculture, food, and financial services.  Over, the course of her career she has held numerous private sector management roles.

Most recently she has held senior management positions with Manitoba Agriculture and Resource Development developing provincial wide economic development programming and re-engineering operations to enhance knowledge management and operational efficiencies. 

Deanna Fridfinnson

Economic Development Advisor

Interlake & Eastern regions


Deanna’s expertise is in rural economic and business development, working to build and support community. Deanna has worked to identify and innovate community economic development initiatives in the East Interlake Region for over 14 years. She graduated from the University of Manitoba with a Certificate of Municipal Administration, giving her knowledge of public administration, and community service organizations. She completed Economic Development Association of Manitoba’s Community Edge CED training and is motivated to help communities thrive through optimizing strategies that promote economic stability, diversification, and sustainability. As a former business owner, Deanna, actively participated in projects that support a healthy entrepreneurial culture in businesses development. In the Spring of 2022, she co-created with business colleagues, ten on-line business training modules called Build a Better Business Program for Community Futures Manitoba. She remains actively involved and lends her expertise to non-profit organizations and the Chamber of Commerce to support and strength local community.

Michael Asante

Research & Policy Analyst


Michael Asante, is an Agricultural Economist at heart with research interests in international trade, agricultural policy modeling, and rural development. He obtained his bachelor’s and post-graduate degrees in Agricultural Economics from the University of Ghana and the University of Hohenheim in Germany respectively, with a scholarship from the Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst (German Academic Exchange Program). He received the gold medal for his Master of Rural Development program from Brandon University. Michael has worked with the Thünen-Institut in Germany as a research fellow and the Rural Development Institute as a Research Assistant. He speaks five languages including German.


Erin Gonzalez

Executive Assistant


Erin Gonzalez, grew up in rural Prince Edward Island prior to moving to rural Manitoba with her family in 1997. With over 15 years of private and public sector experience, she currently oversees the day to day administrative operations of the corporation. Erin is passionate for effective collaboration and is committed to the team contribution in completion of tasks, meeting goals, managing projects and delivering results, as required.

Funmilola Abiola-Odutola

Marketing Coordinator


Funmilola Abiola-Odutola, born and raised in Lagos, Nigeria, is a Marketing Communications professional with expertise in marketing communication strategies, crisis communications, media relations, and social media management. With 15 years of experience in Marketing Communications, both as a consultant and an in-house expert, she has worked in Nigeria, Ghana, and currently in Canada. Funmi has managed communications for international brands such as Motorola, Motorola Solutions, SAP, Old Mutual, and Ajinomoto, among others. She holds a Master of Business Administration degree from Crawford University, Nigeria, and is a member of the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations. Additionally, she volunteers in the media department of her religious organization.

Unlock Rural Prosperity with Our Exclusive Toolkits!

Explore the Rural Manitoba Economic Development Toolkits for tailored insights into business growth, investment attraction, strategic planning, and community marketing. Designed for community leaders, entrepreneurs, and economic development professionals, these resources pave the way for sustainable development and prosperity in rural Manitoba. 

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