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Destination Niagara Falls Newsletter

The latest news in Niagara in 2019

Destination Niagara Falls News - March 2019

 

SPECIAL EDITION: INTERNATIONAL WOMEN'S DAY

Friday March 8th is International Women's Day!

This Special Edition of Destination Niagara Falls we shine a spotlight on several extraordinary women making a difference in Niagara by empowering change and #BalanceforBetter. We celebrate these women and the great achievements they have made. We recognize their outstanding contributions to our community and for opening the pathway for other women. We've asked them to share their experiences, the role models who have guided them, the challenges they faced and how they overcame them, and their words of wisdom for finding the courage and the passion to go out and be the change.

 
 

Featuring some of our path-breaking women in Niagara. Thank you for what you do and the challenges you have overcome to get to where you are today! Never give up!


SUE-ANN STAFF, PRESIDENT AND WINEMAKER, SUE-ANN STAFF WINERY INC.
(HOME OF FANCY FARM GIRL)

@SueAnnStaff

 https://www.sue-annstaff.com    
 

Mentors / role models:

My mentor was my grandmother Lula Staff or "Lu" as she liked to be referred. She not only raised 3 head strong and hearty boys, but she also managed the hand work in our vineyards. During her working years, she would have over 100 field labourers report to her. And believe me, she knew where and what each one of them was up to! Growing up, I enjoyed helping her in the
vineyards after school. Quite often her first task for me was to find a particular worker and tell them to put out their cigarette and get back to work ... at 7 years old! She had an ability to read people and champion those in her team that were leaders and hard workers.

What challenges did you face?

Most of my challenges have come from sales people that didn't want to talk to me because I was female. Or young. Or both! The funny part is that it bothered my co-workers more than it bothered me. I just find it amusing...rightly or wrongly.

Tips for other women seeking to make change:

Nothing is going to happen by circumstance. You'd better prepare for a lot of work, long hours and endurance. I heard that "Three quarters of success is just showing up". Yes - but then remaining quarter had better be filled with education, data, enthusiasm, charisma, grit, and...Teflon.

Quote for International Women's Day:

International Women's Day is a great day to be a mentor, spokesperson or a sounding board for someone. But it is most important to keep up the work that is done on International
Women's Day throughout the year with the goal of eliminating the need for it. Sadly, the need for International Women's Day is just as great today as it was 20 years ago when I started my career. While we have made small progressive steps forward in Canada, the need for greater awareness and action spans the globe. We all have a great deal of work to do.

 


 MISHKA BALSOM, PRESIDENT AND CEO GREATER NIAGARA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE

https://gncc.ca 

Mentors / role models:

My paternal grandmother, Salome Borsch, was a part of every day of my life and my champion from an early age on. Such a priceless gift. And more indirectly, my maternal grandmother, Erika von Bergmann, as she had laid the path to Canada, many years before I have ever moved here. 

What challenges did you face?

My life has taken me across continents and countries, and those new beginnings come with moments of loneliness, and a sense of loss. But in time, magic as well.

Tips for other women seeking to make change:

Make sure that your choices do not reflect your fears, but rather your dreams. 

Quote for International Women's Day:

Lift as you climb


DEBBIE ZIMMERMAN, CEO GRAPE GROWERS OF ONTARIO

     

Mentors / role models:

My parents,  and the many women that came before me like: Nellie McClung (one of the Famous Five) who fought to have women recognized as people in the Canadian Constitution which gave us the right to vote in Canada (barely 100 years ago)

What challenges did you face?

There have been many times I have been in a PERCEIVED 'man's world' and made it known that I am capable and deserve to be there as a woman.

Tips for other women seeking to make change:

  • Encourage each other to take that step forward
  • Say yes to opportunity
  • Get involved politically
  • Join committees and boards, and participate and contribute to your community
  • You can make a difference!

Quote for International Women's Day:

"The thing women must do to rise to power is to redefine their femininity. Once, power was considered a masculine attribute. In fact, power has no sex." - Katherine Griffin, first female publisher of a major American newspaper


BETTY DISERO, LORD MAYOR NIAGARA-ON-THE-LAKE

  www.notl.org/content/lord-mayors-office
     

Mentors / role models:

  • Barbara Hall 
  • Hazel McCallion 
  • Bluma Appel 
  • My mother Lena and grandmother Antoinette

What challenges did you face?

The lack of equal recognition for work done.

Tips for other women seeking to make change:

Don't ever give up and don't get caught in the pettiness. Always take the high road. Keep your head high and keep moving forward. People want to know your vision. Focus on that. 

Quote for International Women's Day:

This is a celebration and a recognition of all the many contributions women have made. It is time to yell it from the rooftops! From the beginning to modern times, women have played a large role in shaping our lives. Look at Niagara- in our past, Chloe Cooley, Laura Secord, and Margarita Howe to those working hard in today's community; Gracia Janes, Austin Kirkby, Wilma Morrison and so many more. 


JENN HARPER, FOUNDER CHEEKBONE BEAUTY

  https://cheekbonebeauty.ca      
 

Mentors / role models:

I feel like I have so many woman that I admire. Our entire Liquid Lipstick Collection is named after strong and Inspirational Indigenous women who are doing amazing work in their communities.  But if I have to pick just one, I would choose Cindy Blackstock. She is the Executive Director of the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada fncaringsociety.com and she has been fighting for the rights of First Nations, Metis and Inuit children for over a decade.  Cheekbone Beauty donates 10% of all our profits to her organization.  I have meet her now several times in person and she is the epitome of  Indigenous values and integrity.

What challenges did you face?

One of the biggest challenges was overcoming my own negative thoughts. In 2015, I rebuilt me, tore down everything right to the foundation. That included how I think about everything. Our thoughts are really powerful so we need to be very careful when it comes to what we think about.

Tips for other women seeking to make change:

Start, start again, fail and keep going and repeat. Just never give up. Consistency is the key to success on any project or lifestyle change. The best example is a healthy lifestyle, we have to be consistent or it won't work. This applies to everything.

Quote for International Women's Day:

"There is no greater threat to the critics, cynics or fearmongers than a woman who is willing to fall because she has learned how to rise." - Brene Brown


JANINE WHITAKER, CEO PEACE OF MIND BUSINESS SOLUTIONS

peaceofmindbusiness@gmail.com

Mentors / role models:

My bookkeeping career began in Halifax working at a halfway house. I moved from assistant parole supervisor into an administrative role and from there took on bookkeeping for the organization. Accountants were subpoenaed to train me. They became my mentors. From them I learned a valuable lesson I still employ today: "One step at a time."

What challenges did you face?

I started working at a very young age without any preparation or experience and little education. My first job was in a factory. Gradually I worked my way into an office at an entry-level position. In 2002 I moved back to Ontario with my 8 yr old daughter, and with just two years experience in bookkeeping, I started my bookkeeping business, Peace of Mind Business Solutions. This took a HUGE amount of courage and dedication but it afforded me the opportunity and privilege to successfully support and raise my daughter on my own.

The first challenge in I faced in my business was financial. This challenge was overcome by utilizing the government "Self Employment Benefit" program. The program provides various types of support to eligible unemployed Canadians during the initial phase of their business, including financial assistance, counselling and technical advice. I am SO grateful for this program and believe I would not have been successful without it. 

Tips for other women seeking to make change:

TAKE THE FIRST STEP.

Quote for International Women's Day:

"It's not about how many times you get rejected, beaten up or have fallen down, it's about how many times you stand up and are brave and you keep on going." - Lady Gaga, the Oscars


DR. AMY PROULX, FACULTY RESEARCH LEAD CANADIAN FOOD & WINE INSTITUTE INNOVATION CENTRE

 @CanadianFWI

https://www.canadianfoodandwineinstitute.ca       

Mentors / role models:

I come from a family that valued community service.  Long time residents of Niagara may remember Bert Miller, or Les and Margaret Vesterfelt, my amazing family members who believed in giving back to the Niagara community.  I follow in the footsteps of these giants.

What challenges did you face?

 As a change-maker, you have to set your perspective towards a long term goal, and don't let the little details get in the way of that goal.  Listen a lot and ask good questions along the journey. 

Tips for other women seeking to make change:

Build communities of supporters around you. Find people that help you grow into your better and stronger self and are willing to challenge you, while still building you up.

Quote for International Women's Day:

Strong women are the backbones of strong communities. I am honoured to work with amazing women from around the world that are building great foundations for their communities.


ANNIE SILVESTER, OWNER LOW-CAL MEDIA INC. & NIAGARABUZZ.CA

 

Mentors / role models:

Growing up, my mother passed away when I was about 14 and I had two really strong and wonderful grandmothers who played a big part in my growing up. They demonstrated unconditional love, taught me the importance of having a solid foundation in spiritual faith, and they ultimately supported me in my life and career goals.

What challenges did you face?

The biggest challenge working in media was dealing with rejection. When you're young and don't know any better, you take it too personally. But the reality is that rejection comes with the territory to everyone and it is only the most diligent and persistent that succeeds. 

Tips for other women seeking to make change:

Talent is important but it must be accompanied with failure in the journey to success. So my tips to any woman looking to make change is to embrace your individuality and realize no great things are accomplished by playing it safe all the time and not opening yourself up to failures along the way.

Quote for International Women's Day:

"One is not born but rather becomes a woman" - Simone de Beauvoir

I love this quote because it reflects that becoming a woman is really a journey that takes passion, persistence and time with the support and love of your friends and family as you go along.


ANNA D'AMORE, OWNER TRUVI BEAUTY

     

Mentors / role models:

I have had many leaders as role models/mentors, not only in the beauty industry but also in the business world. They have guided me to where I am today. I could mention so many...but it is true, it takes a village and an amazing assortment of traits to be successful.

What challenges did you face?

The challenge I faced is and which still remains is the constant question "Why"? I feel it is what every entrepreneur faces when deciding to take the "plunge" into a business/product/change. You face the doubts, the nay-sayer, the envy that then reflects back to your idea/plan and makes you second guess yourself.  Overcoming this takes strength and so much positivity. Once you face the "Why??" and you respond with a strong "Why NOT" then you know you have something...Self-fuelled power

Tips for other women seeking to make change:

I have 1 tip really: It is to reach into the deepest part of your soul and really Listen to it! 

Fear will always be a part of change - any change (It can be crippling at times). What is so satisfying is that moment when you decided to LISTEN to what you REALLY wanted and you see it all come to fruition because you said YES!!! It is so worth it!

Quote for International Women's Day:

"Women are a strong force. Together we have come so far. Keep a close eye - so much more in the near future is going to be fuelled by women." Anna D'Amore 


SHELLEY TRAVER, VICE PRESIDENT ROCKWAY VINEYARDS

   

Mentors / role models:

I was born and raised in Fonthill. As a graduate from Niagara College I had many mentors in our community. I have spent the last 20 plus years working in various hospitality and tourism settings. As Vice President at Rockway Vineyards I've been honoured to be a part of the team for the past 15 years.  

What challenges did you face?

I navigate many roles in my life: team leader, employee, colleague, wife, mother, and daughter. Some days these roles seem overwhelming but when you remember to take a breath and start each task with a smile and a positive attitude then you are already making a difference. I relax by spending time with my family and in the great outdoors.

Tips for other women seeking to make change:

Is take each day as it comes. Keep your head high and ask questions along the way. If you fail at a task look at it as a learning opportunity. 

Quote for International Women's Day:

"To tell a woman everything she cannot do is to tell her what she can." - Spanish Proverb 


STEPHANIE SHAO, OWNER AND TREASURER CANADA BW LOGISTICS

     

Mentors / role models:

My biggest business inspiration would be my husband John.  When I graduated from university in China, I was one of thousands of young people looking to find their place in the business world. John took the time to listen to me and other front line staff in order to make his company evolve and grow. I was given the space to grow, make mistakes and find solutions which were a benefit to the company and my own personal growth. 

What challenges did you face?

I grew up in China and had to work hard to move ahead in my career. There you are competing against thousands of people each day and it is a struggle to get yourself noticed in such a crowd. Any success I have is from sacrifice, a strong work ethic, and luck.

Tips for other women seeking to make change:

As a leader, it is your responsibility to make sure everyone is heard. Great ideas and innovations come from many places.

Quote for International Women's Day:

Success is measured from the tiny victories we achieve each day. As each victory builds on the other, you will see yourself moving towards your final goal.

 

 

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