Saturday, May 31, 2014

Top ten takeaways from successful women entrepreneurs

Right from the start when seven women danced their way into the conference room to the song "Happy" you just knew that the energy would run high for the event.  Soon everyone was on their feet, clapping and tapping their feet to the music. 

Our theme this year was Be bold. Be brave. Belong. and the speakers were selected to showcase just how as women entrepreneurs you can succeed by plunging yourself into the brave unknown and taking calculated risks.  

We also had lots of questions to ask ourselves – mainly what’s our why?   Why are we doing what we are doing?  Why would customers buy from us and not someone else?

But there was much to think about, and here are the top ten takeaways from the day. 

  1. Be willing to start where you are.  Don’t wait until you’ve got it perfect, or you may never start.
  2. Be positive.  Expect it to happen and it will.   Life is rigged in your favour.
  3. Learn to trust yourself and ask for help when you need it.
  4. Be authentic. Own who you are.
  5. The lessons aren’t in where I stand today, the lessons are where I started.
  6. Create an experience for your client – go above and beyond and do something unexpected.
  7. Be committed, not just interested.  It is the level of passion you put into your business that will make the difference.
  8. Learn to follow the nudges.  Trust your instinct.
  9. Be true to your values. Let them guide you.
  10. Become part of a community of like-minded women,   Support and respect each other.
As part of the belong segment of the day, in teams of ten, we packaged school bags for girls who are part of  Girls Inc,  a charity that encourages young girls to be bold and strong.  Each woman wrote a special message for the student who would receive her bag and we also raised $1,200 through our raffle for the charity.

All told it was a wonderful day, one that empowered us to take that bold step into our future, while helping young girls to do the same.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Call me matchmaker or what...

Are you nervous? asked one woman.  She was enquiring about my conference which is fast approaching.  

I thought for a minute, and replied actually no.  It is always such a great day.  It’s like holding a party and having all my friends come.  

Lots of hugs, a few tears and a steady dose of laughter, what could be better for the soul? And yes, some learning too.

So no, not nervous.  Just trying to pace myself because it is a physically demanding event to put on.  All the detail, all the different elements to consider and preparing for what could go wrong.

I often joke that I must have been a wedding planner in another life because when it comes to the lunch part, I really try to put people with others that will either lead to business or potential partnerships or  support because they face similar challenges.

I remember last year one woman reported back that she’d actually landed a new client after meeting  over the lunch.  She sounded surprised.  I wasn’t.  That is part of what makes the conference so much fun for me.  It is connecting people whose paths may not have otherwise passed, but like a “connect fairy” you can make it happen.  What power.

So no – not nervous.  I've been weaving conferences for years. So bring it on.  Let the party begin.

Monday, May 19, 2014

One red lipstick… a bold move by a young woman

Recently I wrote a blog for Huffington Post about how I wouldn’t want to be a twenty-something today.  It generated a great deal of discussion and interest, as people pitched in on what they thought.

So my hope is that they will be equally interested and engaged in what one twenty-something is actually doing to inspire her peers.  Spenser Chapple has decided to track, interview and film successful women entrepreneurs so she can share their stories, their advice and provide inspiration to other women – of all ages.

Growing up her mother would say “get up, put on your lipstick and get on with your day, no matter what it brings.” And plenty has happened to this young woman in the past five years when a personal tragedy struck the family. 

Suddenly at seventeen, she found herself taking care of her younger brother, just four, while her mother had to take care of her father.   She grew up fast.  She had to.  Today, her father is still at home, requiring twenty-four hour care by the family.

Like many young women of her age, she is looking at her future and wondering what next?  Through One Red Lipstick, Spenser is exploring what makes for success. How other women have designed successful lives for themselves?  She will be talking to women entrepreneurs from across North America.  And it's not the sugar-coated version that she wants, because we all know success doesn't come that way, well rarely.

Through a book, documentary and website, she will be sharing what she finds out as she embarks on this exciting project.   To get started, she’s launching a kickstarter campaign.  Check it out and get involved -    

Armed with her red lipstick, she’s taking her mother’s advice and stepping boldly into her future, and I for one congratulate her on her proactive stance.  I encourage you to get behind her and this exciting venture.

Thursday, May 08, 2014


“Ambition – the drive to succeed”

Have you ever noticed that when your antenna picks up on something, suddenly that’s all you see or hear or observe.

For me this week it has been ambition.  So often in a woman’s world, if another woman is ambitious, it is not always viewed positively.  It immediately conjures up the picture of an aggressive woman clawing her way to the top.  But is that fair?

We all have different definitions of success, and who are we to judge what someone else wants out of life?  Yet, in a recent interview about super-successful women entrepreneurs, the observation was made that at times, while they don’t suffer self-doubt in terms of their ability, what they do question is more whether it is OK to be so ambitious, to enjoy work more than family.  Perhaps they worry that at the end of the day, they will regret the choices they’ve made, or always be judged for them.

Yet, sometimes women use their peers as the stepping-stone to forward their careers. Taking credit where it is not due, and ruthlessly taking advantage of someone else’s ideas and claiming them for their own.  That to me is when ambition has gone awry. 

When I worked in government, I was ambitious too, but to achieve my goals, I chose to  take on extra responsibilities or projects that would stretch me.  I don’t regret that, I learned a lot from the experience, including that I didn’t really want to move up the ranks.  I was better designing and implementing programs, rather than managing others. 

Then this morning an interesting blog found its way into my inbox – the title Outrageous Ambition.  So given my week, I felt compelled to read it.  Based in England, the author was writing about his daughter, who has cerebral palsy.  All his blogs are focused on his quest to improve the situation of people with disabilities.  In this particular blog, he talks about how his daughter inspires him, and how she drives him to have outrageous ambitions - for her and other people with disabilities.  Touchingly written, I was moved by his ambition and goals.

Three different takes on one word.  It is the motivation and methods that make the difference. What do you think?