inspiration

Women in BIZ - a Rock Star panel of local women entrepreneurs

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Behind every successful woman is her story. We have gathered a panel of brilliant trail blazers within our community of women entrepreneurs. On Sunday April 23rd at 1:00 p.m. join us as we chat about how they began their journey, what inspires them, and tip and tricks for those with the entrepreneurial spirit.  

  • We are storytellers.
  • We are inspiration.
  • We are knowledge.
  • We are powerful.

Who should run more of the world? Women. Until then, enjoy the guidance of some awesome women who lead fiercely and fearlessly.

Here are the power houses on our 2017 panel:

Jana Danielson

Owner of Lead Pilates

As the owner of Lead Pilates, Cycle & Fitness and Lead Integrated Health Therapies, Jana has worked to create unique business devoted to providing clients with the latest trends in health and fitness and therapies including Chiropractic, Physiotherapy, Naturopathic Medicine, Reflexology and Massage Therapy. Jana is dedicated to an all-around healthy lifestyle and shares this passion with her team and clients. Jana went from teaching Pilates out her basement studio to opening a studio in 2010 on Taylor Street to just this past summer, expanding her Pilates studio to launch a unique organization that integrates multiple movement therapies under one roof.

Jana completed her Bachelor of Commerce and Masters in Business Administration Degrees at the University of Saskatchewan. Jana worked as a Business Consultant before making a career change into the wonderful world of Pilates. She was certified thorough the Pilates Core Integration Program in 2008 and since then has completed certifications through Physical Mind, is PMA Certified and in 2013 joined Balanced Body as a Faculty Member. She is also a CoreAlign Master Instructor.

 

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Mackenzie Firby

Owner of Two Fifty Two Boutique

Mackenzie Firby was raised on a farm near Kenaston, Saskatchewan.  After the completion of High School, Mackenzie moved to Saskatoon where she obtained her Bachelors of Commerce at the University of Saskatchewan in 2003.  Mackenzie was then employed at SaskTel and Hershey as a Sales and Training Representative. She shone in her positions and was awarded various awards within both companies.

Mackenzie realized there was a need for a high-end women’s clothing store in Saskatoon. In 2014, after over a year of research and preparation, Mackenzie opened Two Fifty Two Boutique. Two Fifty Two Boutique carries world renowned brands including Eileen Fisher, DVF, Kate Spade and Vince among many more.

In 2016 and 2017 Mackenzie was honored to be a YWCA Women of Distinction Award nominee in Entrepreneurship. Two Fifty Two was the recipient of two 2016 SABEX Awards, Customer Service and New Business Venture.  They were again nominated in 2017 for Customer Service and Community Involvement. Mackenzie was also nominated for the 2016 ABEX Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award.

Community involvement and having a positive effect in our city and province are extremely important to Mackenzie. She believes in supporting local charities and events as a way of giving back to the community that has been so supportive to her and TFT. Mackenzie is involved and regularly attends charitable events, donates items for fundraising and has in store promotions that support local charities including: The Saskatchewan Cancer Agency, Ronald McDonald House, The Heart and Stroke Foundation, Dress for Success, Hope’s Home and numerous others. Mackenzie has also had speaking engagements at the University of Saskatchewan, on Global and CTV TV and various Saskatoon Chamber of Commerce events.

 

Mandi Newman

Manager of Operations at Vendasta Technologies

Mandi Newman is a typical Type A personality. She’s a lover of lists, calendars and organization — even her closet is color-coded. After graduating with a Bachelor of Business Administration from the University of Regina in 2010, she joined the sales and finance world with Scotiabank. She is now the Manager of Operations at Vendasta, and looks forward to building her career within the growing Saskatchewan Technology sector!

Vendasta’s platform empowers agencies and media companies to grow their sales of marketing solutions for small and medium-size businesses. Their system identifies hot leads who are interested in the products you offer and allows you to provide scalable tools at the right price and service model when businesses are ready-to-buy. Vendasta has won many awards including: 

SABEX Award - Business of the Year 2016

SABEX Award - Growth & Expansion 2016

Deliotte Tech Fast 50

PROFIT 500 ranking of Canada's Fastest-Growing Companies

Flow Magazine "Best Places to Work in Saskatoon" 2016

 

Candace Ippolito

CEO & Owner of SaskMade Marketplace

Candace Ippolito was raised on a cattle operation near Kisbey, Saskatchewan and remains active in the livestock industry.  An animal science graduate from the College of Agriculture, U of S, Candace is a committee member of Canadian Western Agribition, and an active 4-H alumnus.

SaskMade Marketplace is a specialty grocery store focused on the best in local ingredients. SaskMade connects consumers with farmers through transparency & education of food production. They have created meaningful conversation about where food comes from by offering farm fresh produce & meat, take home ready meals, uniquely Sask ingredients and many more pantry staples, snacks & treats. Join SaskMade today to taste the local difference. Buying local - Good for the community, Good for the soul.

Paula Collins

CEO and Owner of Masala Model & Talent

Established in 2000, MASALA Model & Talent is a Saskatchewan based full service agency providing representation for models, actors, singers & dancers for local & international placement. Masala provides professional services for to clients across Canada & The U.S. from fundraisers to major productions.

The MASALA School of Professional & Personal Development courses enhances confidence/self-esteem in modeling & acting to healthy body image, peer pressure, posture/poise, personal hygiene, etiquette, public speaking, job preparation & professionalism. Paula holds weekly classes to promote confidence, poise, along with a focus on workplace and social etiquette. You can find Paula engaged within the community and supporting other local women entrepreneurs.

We hope to see you on Sunday April 23rd at 1:00 p.m. for an informative and interactive seminar with these ladies!

Increase Productivity: 8 Tips from a Happy Driver

About six months ago I walked into the office at 7:45 am as usual, set my things down, unpacked my full lunch kit into the mini fridge and settled down at my desk ready, alert and excited to start my day. This is my best time: between the hours of 7:45 am and about 3:45 pm I am the most alert, productive and efficient in my workday. This is my normal.

A co-worker approaches me and says “Mandi, I always notice you are full of energy from the start of your day to the end!” I feel it too, though truth be told, from 3:45 pm until 5:30 pm when I leave, I am putting in more effort to be “energetic” to say the least. Due to my 4:45 am wakeup call, by late in the afternoon, I am losing steam. At least I am faking it well.

Said co-worker then proceeded to ask for my advice on staying energetic, how to increase productivity and stay organized during my fairly hectic workday. Those who work in the technology space can relate. Especially those in the start-up/fairly new environment—think 50-200 employees. My role can have me working with several different teams and departments all within one workday, and it involves a lot of time management, quick thinking and the ability to be a chameleon depending on the role I am filling at any given moment. He proceeded to explain that he wanted some advice on how I stay focused, patient and fairly low stress while maintaining a full workload and then some.

8 Tips to Increase Productivity

His question made me step back and really think. He wanted my advice? What kind of wisdom could I bestow that would be anything new or life changing? Well, to start with, I guess I could review what a typical “day in my life” looked like and pull some key habits/consistencies in my days. Here is what I found:

1. Sweat everyday

Or at least most days, before the work day begins. A bootcamp, bike ride, run, yoga, traditional weights, etc. I take in whatever fits my week, and most importantly, what I enjoy. If I am bored, I change it up. I rarely do the same thing for weeks on end, or even day-to-day for that matter. This keeps my morning sweat session something I look forward to, even when the sleep fairies tell me it’s far too early to get up.

2. Take the thought of what to eat out of the equation

I buy lots of groceries Sunday, and plan/prep for the busy week. Filling my fridge with lots of variety of both healthy and more fun foods allows for me to be hassle free when it comes to food during the week. Each evening I pack my food for the entire next day, and bring it with me when I am rushing out at 5:30 am. Eating fresh variations of foods keeps me feeling alert, awake, energized and ready to tackle the hectic meeting-filled, task-filled days that working somewhere as fast growing as Vendasta.

3. Shutdown and read 

Each night I shut down all technology approximately one hour before I would ideally like to be asleep. This includes TV, laptop, cell phone, iPad—any screen that has a back light. I pick up a book every evening. And no, this isn’t always a professional development book—sometimes this is something embarrassing like Harry Potter, or another easy read. The point is that I read from something that requires a lamp and turning pages, not touching a screen. This ensures I am alert and ready to be fully connected each day at work, which in the software as a service space is crucial. Laptop, headset, smart phone all in hand for the entire day can be exhausting if you do the same when you arrive home each night. Expand your knowledge and borrow a book from someone you look up to, or that is your mentor, and you can mix-up your nightly reading to ensure that you are having fun but also maybe improving your productivity at the same time!

4. Sleep

This one ties nicely into number three. Reading will ensure you actually fall asleep quicker and remain asleep (i.e. you didn’t leave Jimmy Fallon on in the background to jolt you awake mid dream). Adequate sleep is something I neglected in my early twenties, though I realized its importance a few years ago. It’s surprising how much of an effect an inadequate amount of sleep can have on my ability to juggle a fast paced, partner-centric day; just the kind of day that is certainly waiting for me when I arrive at Vendasta HQ. Our partners are in various different time zones, so when you are groggy at 8 am and yawn as I pick up my headset, they will hear it and likely not have the world class service Vendasta is known to provide. My goal is to get a minimum of seven hours of sleep per night with no background noise, other than my sleeping dachshund puppy snoring alongside me.

5. Cutback on the digital communication

At one point I was using Trello, Evernote, Google Calendar, email, Slack and Pivotal Tracker. While trying to stay “organized” I was overwhelmed and scattered with overuse of technology. Gasp! She works in a SaaS based company and wants to avoid technology?! False: I want to utilize it effectively. Find a few apps that will work best for you to stay organized. Further, keep it simple and try and use something that the majority of your co-workers use to streamline your correspondence. The best perk of using the same tools as your coworkers is that you can get great tips on how to best use them. Be consistent with these select apps. Find what’s going to work best for you and stick with it. At least until the “next best” app is released, and then of course test it, try it, critique it. We are in this agile space for a reason!

6. Win list

Daily in my preferred app/calendar, I create a quick daily “wins” list—a few items that I know I can complete that day and feel like I am winning. This is a big one. Often times, depending on your role, in the software space you are tasked with things that will take time, several iterations, collaborations and, frankly, fail more times than they are successful. Process changes, busy customers, feature requests, software bugs and the list continues. These hiccups can throw curve balls into getting things fully accomplished in any given workday. Having a quick wins list allows you to feel like you are being productive and getting ahead. Often this list flows into your “slower wins” list, and makes you a better contributing member of the workplace.

7. Take a tech timeout

In a perfect world we would all get our lunch break and leave work at a decent time to have a “balanced” work-life pendulum. Sorry in advance for bursting this oh-so-nice dream that is pushed in every health magazine on the stands. Here is a reality check: if you ask most successful, career-centric individuals at all levels, they will admit that they are not always “balanced.” When their career is thriving their personal life may suffer (if even slightly) and vice versa.

In order to make the best of this reality instead of looking at this in a pessimistic frame of mind, I choose to both love my job and take a hot second (sometimes literally I need some summer air/heat) to reset, refresh and get back at it! So, yes you may miss lunch trying to stay ahead of your growing list of to-dos, and yes you may work past 5 pm sometimes, but that doesn’t mean you can’t take a time out. The wonderful world of most SaaS based companies, or at least ours, provides a culture and environment conducive to work hard, play hard environment. Take a break at a non traditional time, maybe in your day it’s slower at 9 am and super busy at 5 pm. Take a 15 min break at 9 am and go for a short walk around the block, play a game of ping pong, find a quiet corner and read something interesting or just sit quietly with some music and a cup of joe.

8. Bus driver mindset

No, I am not going to give you advice on meditating or some life changing never heard before tidbit on how to be positive but here are the facts. You drive your own metaphorical life bus. You choose your direction each and every day. You can choose to view every hiccup, bug, change in process, upset partner and empty coffee pot as a massive traffic accident, or you can choose to thrive and appreciate all the things working in this unique, culturally charged environment provides. Take each growing pain as an opportunity to never feel stagnant or bored. You get to come to work each day and learn something new, improve a customer’s experience, improve workflow and, gasp, maybe even contribute to a future BIG thing. Do you want to just drive the same route with zero change, zero obstacles every day for ever? If your destiny includes driving several different models and all different speeds, then get your seat belt on and navigate your way holding onto an (almost) always positive mindset!

These were just a few things I shared with my fellow Vendastian. I quickly realized that while these things all seem simple and obvious to me, they are not so obvious for others, and it’s valuable to share productivity hacks with others. Vendasta is big on promoting a healthy workplace culture, and the daily habits of our executive feed into that, as well as the habits of all Vendastians. I hope that some of my daily habits can help any of you out there feeling stressed, overwhelmed, tired and unproductive in your bustling agency, software company or any demanding workplace you may be a part of.

Mandi

*Amazing things are happening at Modern Woman Show & Expo in 2017. Stay tuned for more information on new features at the event, including two workshops facilitated by Steve Kushman. We will be focusing on the development of Goal Setting for young females and an mentor-ship program for inspiring women in business. #atradeshowwithpurpose

You CAN sit with us.

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Uh. That sinking feeling. A bit of anxiety. Knots in your stomach. The feeling of a little (sometimes a lot of) DEFLATION. And the innate desire to "squash them". 

What is it that I'm referring to? A new store has opened. A new product has launched. A direct competition. Your competition. Dang it. What does this mean for you? What will you need to change or improve to win the consumer's business. How do you keep your edge???? 

Being an entrepreneur is hard. Holy H E double hockey sticks. Competition is frightening but it is truly necessary and I want to share with you why -

"Competition is a good thing, It forces us to do our best.

-Nancy Pearcey

Change the way you think about your competition. The reason why you're in business is because you are offering a product or service that people want.  I call these people your tribe. Your tribe isn't just looking at the necklace you're selling but probably has similar values to your company. Maybe your tribe is environmentally conscious and the necklaces you make out of recycled materials hits them in the sweet spot. It is no longer just about a necklace. Boom you have built a relationship. Your relationship with your tribe is more important than anything else. Your competition most likely has their own values and it's not that often that they lineup exactly

I have a few examples of this in my world of business. I wear a lot of hats - from the world of managing cosmetic laser clinics to tradeshow producer to hotel owner. They are very different but one thing remains the same - I know my tribes and I value my relationships with clientele in each of them. I provide the best service I can in each industry and never trade my reputation for money

So what happens when your competition starts "biting your shit"? Imitation is flattery. It also pushes you to continue to be innovative. This is why you're an entrepreneur!! You are most likely a go-getter. A stagnant business is a closed business. Find your niche. Grow it like only you can. Recently I received a colorful review from a competitor. It was broadcast for all to see that they felt I had "copied" their business model. The truth was that I might sell a similar service but my values, integrity, ability to be innovative is what sets me apart. Also....to anyone who thinks writing poor reviews on your competitions social media site is valuable you should just stop reading this and basically take a hike. 

Understand that some competition isn't actually competition at all. You may be able to form some pretty sweet partnerships. A key example of this is my relationship with Michelle Strawford from Regina's What Women Want Tradeshow. She produces a successful tradeshow for women, she is well respected (this chick has INTEGRITY), and is always innovative. When asked by businesses what other shows I think they should be apart of I will always suggest hers because I value our relationship more than money. We have created a partnership through this and we are actually vendors in each others show's. Look for those opportunities. 

One upping is a waste of your time. March to the beat of your own drum. It is good to know what your competition is doing but you don't have to obsess over it. We get phone calls at our clinics inquiring all the time about our pricing, asking questions that only very very knowledgeable (within our field) people would ask and with the power of call display shows that they are coming from the phones of our competitors. Again FLATTERY.... but stop yourself from feeling like you have to play a game. Price wars are also a race to the bottom not the top. You may lose a few customers but in the long run you gain the business by educating your tribe. Creating the trust. Building the relationship.

Now, when you see another coffee shop open down the street - don't devise ways to burn it down. Grab a few slices of your grandma's famous lemon cake (don't give them the recipe but maybe see if you can become their supplier) and welcome them to the block. 

Chantal 

For those of you that want to join our Modern Woman "Tribe" we would love to have you! Our tradeshow takes place April 22nd & 23rd at Prairieland Park in Saskatoon, SK. We focus on promoting women in business throughout the year, we offer mentor-ship opportunities with experienced #GIRLBOSSES, complimentary social media reputation seminars, and a plethora of add-ons to capture the essence of your business and make you stand out to your target audience. Click Here to learn more about being a vendor and HERE to apply for Our Modern Hustle Mentorship Opportunity. See you all very soon ;)