Tell us about your history with the Centre, and how WECM has changed from when you first started?
On October 6, 2014, WECM will celebrate its 20th Anniversary. My involvement began in May 1994 as a term employee with Western Economic Diversification. When I heard about the Women’s Enterprise Initiative project I knew that I wanted to be a part of it. I asked Scott Broughton, then Director General at WD if he would assign me to the WEI team. It was that easy! And here I am – still – today!
Part of our work was to secure and develop our first home on the main floor of the Cargill Building. That part of the project was my baby – from the office layout and choosing colours to purchasing everything from furniture to paper clips. What a terrific experience! Our first logo – an abstract female figure symbolized “women reaching for success”.
WhIle we are still a small team, in October 1994 there were even fewer of us and we all wore many hats: I was the receptionist, office manager, human resource manager, and organizational development specialist!
While things have changed a lot in the last 20 years, what has stayed the same?
As to be expected, we have had staff come and go over the years. Throughout our history though, the team has been very committed to providing high quality, relevant services to women throughout Manitoba who own businesses, are growing their existing business or are interested in starting a business.
The Centre has grown and changed so much since inception but our staff continue to be one of our greatest strengths. A quick calculation shows that the length of service for our current team is 116 years. Working together that long builds a culture of trust that enables us to develop and deliver the best possible service for women entrepreneurs in Manitoba! We definitely hire the “right people” for the job and our organizational culture continues to be admired by many.
What local, national or international woman entrepreneur has inspired you the most?
It has been my pleasure to meet many successful women. The current and past members of our Board of Directors have had a huge impact on how the Centre has developed. I had the firsthand opportunity to see them “in action” in my former role as Board Secretary.
It has also been my pleasure to meet many women entrepreneurs from urban and rural communities in Manitoba. The Centre has helped many women take their business from the idea stage to successful business owners. Check out our website to see profiles of some successful women entrepreneurs.
What is your favourite pastime or hobby?
My husband and I have two very beautiful granddaughters – Hannah and Emma – and we spend time visiting (babysitting) them.
I don’t have “a” favourite pastime. Depending on the time of the year, I love to garden, host dinner parties with friends – both at home and at the lake – and travel. In February 2015 we are spending time visiting our very close friends who live on St. Maarten in the Caribbean. Can’t wait!