International Women's Month Startup Peel

Throughout my career, it has always been a woman who supported my personal growth, professional advancement and challenged the way I underplayed my skills.

If we’re completely honest with ourselves —we all underplay our talents, skills and what we’re worth. #TimesUp and #PayEquity are not only trending topics on Twitter, but they are a legitimate deterrent to the success of women-owned businesses and woman-led companies.

“Businesses owned by women generate an average of $68,000 less revenue than men who run similar businesses, representing a gap of 58 percent.”

According to the online survey of 1,000 Canadian small and medium-sized businesses, Financial Post.

That’s why more than ever woman need to back one another to re-write the underpaid and undervalued narrative.

My First Mentor Straight Out of College Was a Woman.

I never called her a mentor then, it’s only now looking back do I have the language to identify her as one. What I did know at the time was she never allowed me to shrink myself in spaces just because I didn’t see representation or it felt too intimidating.

Like the time, she volunteered me as one of the speakers at the company’s showcase scheduled at the office. I’m not going to lie; I was annoyed. Why would she do this to me? I thought we were cool!? Luckily, I trusted her judgement enough to do it anyway. And it wasn’t the tragedy —that I had imagined in my mind.

Sometimes, we don’t see the greatness in ourselves and need to be nudged into the spotlight for us to recognize it. I never forgot that day. She showed me the power of owning your skills and voice no matter what poor lie we tell ourselves. Karamjit Sangha-Bosland, Equity and Inclusive Education Leader at the HDSB, has been that woman for me (still to this date).

My First Hand-up in My Career Was By a Woman.

The internship I adored was coming to an end, and my boss was moving on to another company. We had established a solid working relationship, and she was a straight-shooter, which I liked.

I mentioned my upcoming departure from my internship, and she asked me what my plans were. “Find a job!?” I didn’t have any other plans, as I didn’t have the resources to take a year off and travel abroad like the whispers of what some do after college.

She said for me to give her a call once she transitioned into her new CEO role if I ever got stuck. Six weeks of being unemployed later, sitting in my salty tears of worthlessness on my couch, her voice popped up in my head. I decided I would find out if my old internship boss settled into her new role yet and hint at needing a job. I picked up the phone to call, and she answered on the second ring. We talked casual pleasantries for the first minute and like the straight shooter she is, “Are you working?”. I mustered up a mink “No” because in my early 20’s I had an on-going battle with my pride.

Within a week, I was at her office for an interview and then I started the next day. That still remains, as one of my best jobs to date. Erica Taylor, the General Manager at the YMCA has been that woman for me.

My First Business Advocate is a Woman.

Have you ever had someone pitch your expertise at any meeting, opportunity or function they’re a part of? And I’m not talking one or two times…say a few kind words, goodnight. I’m talking —I will email this Executive on your behalf, pull you into invite-only events and give you credit over & over again. It’s rare.

I was sitting at my desk job, scrolling LinkedIn then Twitter and I kept seeing her all over my feed — attending splashy events, winning major awards and hosting local business functions. I wanted in. I opened up my Twitter DM and typed eagerly, “Please send me some of these events you go/are going to they look great!” Insert salivating emoji.

That was all I needed to say, for her to rope me into being a part of company events she hosted, which generated visibility for my brand and secured paid speaking gigs from within her network. Melloney Campbell, the Startup Peel Community Leader has been that woman for me.

Now, what I’m saying is these are the three women of many that supported and rooted for me along the way. I was blessed to have them show up the way they did in my life.

However, if life doesn’t offer you the same luxury, you should hunt down a squad that supports you and your projects like this. What I’m saying is I couldn’t have gotten where I am today if these women didn’t back me. And to this date, I continue to pay it forward by being a mentor for other up-and-coming entrepreneurs.

Because women back women.

International Women's Day Brampton

Here’s Your Invite-Only: Find your support squad and network at the March 4th, 2019 International Women’s day breakfast at the Rose Theatre Brampton with Keynote speaker, MP Ruby Sahota, Member of Parliament and former civil litigation lawyer.

  • Preeti Malik, an Advisor to Entrepreneurs with a strong financial background and understands the banking industry, security and the necessity to support women-owned businesses.
  • Jackie Porter, a Certified Financial expert, a self-made entrepreneur that created a 6-figure business to help empower women through education.
  • And Mandy Grewal, the CEO of PeerScale, a peer to peer coaching, leadership and development for tech leaders to connect and grow.

As a sidebar: A portion of the ticket proceeds will go towards an up and coming Female Founder. Save your seat here!