Every year, Northern Ontario Business celebrates the Influential Women of Northern Ontario with an awards luncheon. On Monday, I had the privilege of accepting an award for Entrepreneur of the Year. It was a moving presentation of awards to inspirational women who contribute to the economical wealth, job creation and positive change in their community. I was honored to be a part of the celebration.
I have to be honest though. It feels a little bit weird to be considered an influential woman. I have been chasing my passions over a paycheck for quite a few years now, with my end goal to become the person I was always supposed to be. It’s humbling to realize that through this journey I have impacted my community and the people around me.
I never knew that stepping out of my comfort zone to start my own company would be the catalyst to becoming somebody who could be influential (again, just writing that makes me feel a little weird). Since becoming an entrepreneur I have uncovered new skills, talents and passions that I had no idea existed inside of me. I have found my voice and I work with people who have put their trust in me. These are responsibilities that I never take lightly.
I don’t do what I do for awards but it is rewarding to be recognized by my peers for work that I truly believe in. My best advice if you want to influence people in your community is to chase things you love. As the old saying goes ‘do what you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life’ and it’s so true! Some other advice that I would offer is:
Be prepared and willing to step up your game, put your hand up and ask the ‘stupid’ question, don’t be afraid to work hard, and most of all take on some risk. The bigger the risk, the greater the reward. And remember, if you’re not at least a little bit frightened you haven’t really left your comfort zone.
In every part of my businesses, curiosity has helped to take ordinary tasks and make them interesting and purposeful experiences. The power of observation has helped me to connect with people I work with and it has helped me build a culture of always challenging our very own status quo.
Seek out inspiration
Pay attention to the people around you. Listen to their stories and ask questions. Finding out about the challenges other people face can teach you important things about life and yourself.
More than ever people are busy. No matter how busy life gets, the most important thing you can do in your community is give back to it. When you volunteer your time and talent to a cause you feel passionate about, it can have the uplifting effect on your perspective, and can help you grow as a person. Each time I participate in volunteer work, I am reminded of one of the big reasons why I started my own business—to shine a spotlight on the dimmer areas within my vision. The people I’ve met through volunteer work have provided me with some of my most humbling and inspiring life experiences.
These are some of the ways I feel that have helped me to be recognized as an Influential Woman in my community. I am truly honored for this award, but the greatest reward is to be able to bring an innovative, compassionate and dependable solution to our vulnerable population across the north. It is truly my privilege.