Women of Influence http://www.womenofinfluence.ca Fri, 22 Mar 2019 22:19:28 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.0.4 Meet Karen Cross: Surgeon, Scientist, CEO, Surfer and a Single Mom http://www.womenofinfluence.ca/2019/03/21/meet-karen-cross-surgeon-scientist-ceo-surfer-and-a-single-mom/ Thu, 21 Mar 2019 20:42:45 +0000 http://www.womenofinfluence.ca/?p=198424

Karen is not only CEO of MIMOSA Diagnostics, but she is also a single parent of an infant, a surgeon-scientist at St. Mike’s, an Assistant Professor of Surgery, and also sits on the Scientific Advisory Board of Diabetic Foot Canada. On the business side, she and her business partner, Dr. General Leung, have invented and are ready to commercialize technology that is poised to revolutionize diabetic care and democratize access to health care, globally.  





My first job ever was…Babysitting 2 children, stuffing envelopes at a bank, working in a retail store in a mall, and selling t-shirts at fairs. I always seemed to have multiple things “on the go” all the time and it has only propagated over the years but it has served to my advantage and I can accomplish quite a bit in a day.

I became a doctor because… I wanted to help people and care about them. I was also fascinated by the human body and its intricacies. Medicine is the cutting edge of science and innovation and I wanted to be a part of something that could make a big impact for people.

I decided to be an entrepreneur because… I needed to change things for people and patients faster; I wanted to make a global impact.

My proudest accomplishment is… Being a MOM.  I never thought I could know what true love felt like until I had my baby boy. Being able to manage all my lives professionally and being a single mom is my proudest accomplishment to date.

My boldest move to date was… Becoming a surfer at 38…..and then taking a leap of faith to transition from medicine to becoming an entrepreneur. I am breaking down the barriers of the traditional doctor, challenging the system, and making it a better one.

I surprise people when I tell them… I am a Surgeon, Scientist, CEO, Surfer and a Single Mom.

My best advice to people starting out in business is… Don’t give up. Just because one door closed; another will open. This has been my motto and it has served me well. I never give up on something I believe in and I just find a way to make it happen.

My best advice from a mentor was…

2 things:

  1. If Plan A doesn’t work then don’t do Plan A again….
  2. Not everyone gets to make a difference in other people’s lives but if you can then you should because there is no greater gift you can give someone than the gift of love and kindness – continue to be kind


“Life is just a series of lemons and is more about how you make the lemonade.”


I would tell my 20-year old self… This quote : “Where should I go, to the left where nothing is right, or to the right where nothing is left”. You have always broken down boundaries and paved your own path; just embrace it.

Have more confidence in your capabilities. Don’t be afraid to be who you really are.

My biggest setback was… There are so many. Life is a series of “failures”. You learn more when something doesn’t work out then being always successful.

I overcame it by… Changing my mindset. Life is just a series of lemons and is more about how you make the lemonade. Embrace the growth mindset (and Read Carol Dwek’s book, “Mindset: The New Psychology of Success”).

Work/life balance is… Really tough as a professional and single mom. Outsource what you can. Hire good people. Focus on what is important to you, what restores you. It is quality over quantity.

If I had an extra hour in the day, I would… Surf or go for a paddle with my surfistas and baby G or maybe meditate by the water. I would just like to have a little more tranquillo.

If you googled me, you still wouldn’t know… I am a terrible cook, I like organized closets and I have a spiritual guide and not in that order.

My advice for entrepreneurs who need funding is… Take the money. But take it from people that can help you grow.

The one thing I wish I knew when starting MIMOSA Diagnostics is… It is not like Surgery where there is a hierarchy and unwritten rules; people are more approachable and there are less boundaries.

I stay inspired by… Being one with Nature and on the water. My best thinking and clarity of thought happens on my board.

The future excites me because… I am creating it. We are years ahead in terms of our technology and MIMOSA will revolutionize the practice of medicine and democratize access to healthcare.

My next step is… To put MIMOSA in the hands of patients giving them power over their own health.

A Conversation with Joanna Griffiths: the Entrepreneur who Disrupted a $2.5 billion Underwear Industry and Created a Brand for Every Body http://www.womenofinfluence.ca/2019/03/21/a-conversation-with-joanna-griffiths/ Thu, 21 Mar 2019 15:22:31 +0000 http://www.womenofinfluence.ca/?p=198397
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A Seat at The Roundtable http://www.womenofinfluence.ca/2019/03/15/a-seat-at-the-roundtable/ Fri, 15 Mar 2019 20:21:52 +0000 http://www.womenofinfluence.ca/?p=198284

Glain Roberts-McCabe left her secure, six-figure job at a consulting firm to pursue her idea for a group-based approach to leadership coaching. Ten years later, and The Roundtable has grown into an award-winning consultancy with a proven track record of fostering success.



By Karen van Kampen



In 2007, 39-year-old Glain Roberts-McCabe walked away from a secure job and six-figure salary to launch The Roundtable, a unique leadership development business that specializes in group and team coaching. “There are moments in your life where you literally hit a wall. You hit the wall hard and you have a choice,” says Glain. You can continue to power through and stay at a stable position, she explains, or take a career risk. “I’m a very independent person, and it almost wasn’t a choice for me,” she says. “I knew I needed to try self-employment.”  

Glain was also driven to fulfill a gap in the leadership development field. As former Managing Partner at a mid-sized consultancy, “I saw that the way we were developing leaders wasn’t working,” she says. “We were not helping people make the lasting changes they needed to be successful.” Leadership is not learned in a binder, says Glain, it’s learned by doing. It’s a journey where we learn over time.

Glain envisioned a community of ambitious leaders collaborating, connecting, and learning together, similar to CEO groups that have been around for decades. Twelve years later, The Roundtable has grown into an award-winning, innovative business that reimagines the traditional approach to consulting, and Glain is being recognized for her creative vision and hard work. As President and Founder of The Roundtable, Glain was the winner of a 2018 RBC Canadian Women Entrepreneur Award in the Micro-Business category, that honours an entrepreneur who owns and operates a small business with annual revenues of less than $1 million.

Yet success hasn’t come without sacrifice. When Glain set out on her own, her husband, D’Arcy McCabe, was a stay-at-home Dad to their four-year-old daughter, Nia. Overnight, they lost their entire income. “We had a lifestyle and a mortgage that was built around my salary,” says Glain. Then suddenly, “You can’t afford to take a vacation. You can’t afford a dinner out. I felt guilty. I had caused this strain because I had been unhappy at work.”


“When it comes to change, we focus on what we’re going to lose… we never think about the possibilities that are going to open up to us.”


The first year was financially stressful. A mentor offered Glain some advice: Go at it hard for 12 months. You can always go back to a job. “That was a really freeing piece of advice,” she says. In the beginning, Glain focused on “bread and butter money” to stay afloat. A former colleague offered her a consulting contract, which brought in $22,000. Glain used the money to hire a coach to help launch her business, and she and D’Arcy downsized their home — a hard decision.

“When it comes to change, we focus on what we’re going to lose,” says Glain. “We never think about the possibilities that are going to open up to us.” Glain and her coach worked on structure and process, focusing on Glain’s vision of a group-based coaching program.

In 2009, Glain gathered eight leaders together for her first cohort. “When I saw the magic in that room, I thought, this is it,” she says. In 2010, she was approached by PepsiCo Foods Canada while they were in the middle of several company transitions. The Roundtable program was delivered to high potential leaders from different divisions. The goal was to help these next generation executives navigate increases in leadership scope proactively versus through reactive ‘fix it’ executive coaching.

The program was a huge success and highlighted how Glain’s group-based coaching approach could not only grow leaders but also support shifts in company culture and increase peer networks in organizations (a huge driver of how work gets done today). Launching her ninth cohort with PepsiCo this year, Glain says the company opened doors to many other clients that include CAA Group, TIFF and RBC. More than 750 people from over 120 companies have participated in The Roundtable programs.  


When it comes to building communities of support, women have a distinct advantage, because we are so relationship-based.


Glain has found that leaders at all levels struggle with similar issues and that most of the stressors of leadership relate to personal beliefs and mindsets. Leadership can be lonely and issues of insecurity and “imposter syndrome” can affect leaders no matter their seniority. Group coaching allows participants to realize that they’re not alone, which builds confidence — something that Glain wishes she’d had more of in the early stages of her career. Reflecting on her twenties, she says, “I wish I had just trusted in my own abilities and not let that inner critic have so much power.” By sharing personal stories and examining mindsets and behaviours in a safe space, Roundtable participants are able to shift unproductive self-talk and uncover pivotal “ah ha” moments that boost both capability and capacity. Perhaps the most powerful outcome of group coaching is the deep and lasting relationships that develop through the process.

When it comes to building communities of support, women have a distinct advantage, says Glain, because we are so relationship-based. She encourages female entrepreneurs to start their own peer groups to share learning, leverage connections and open up conversations. “We are all struggling with the same issues,” she says, adding a key message of her program: “Let’s cultivate our learning together.”

In 2019, Glain and her team will build on this community-based philosophy by launching an alumni program for past members to support fellow leaders along their journey. Glain also has plans to launch a certification program to train coaches in her collaborative group coaching method.

One of Glain’s proudest accomplishments has been seeing the impact of her programs on people’s lives. Participants return years later, sharing not just their personal career success but stories of how their Roundtable experience continues to shape their leadership approach and personal engagement and satisfaction. As one graduate put it, it’s the gift that keeps on giving. “When you affect people’s lives in a lasting way,” says Glain. “There’s nothing more rewarding than that.”

We have come a long way, (maybe) but still have a long way to go? http://www.womenofinfluence.ca/2019/03/15/we-have-come-a-long-way-maybe-but-still-have-a-long-way-to-go/ Fri, 15 Mar 2019 19:13:18 +0000 http://www.womenofinfluence.ca/?p=198282

Whether full-time or side-hustles, women’s entrepreneurship is on the rise and more and more women leaders and public figures have raised their voices to spark social and economic change in their industries — yet they still face roadblocks. Wendy Cukier, founder, Ted Rogers School of Management’s Diversity Institute, shares her insights.



By Wendy Cukier



I’ve been researching diversity in the workplace and entrepreneurship for a long time. We have definitely made progress, but there is still a way to go.  In 2016, 13.3% of Canadian women were entrepreneurs, up from 10% in 2014. In 2019, 11.8% of working women were self-employed while for men it is 18.2% yet, women are much more likely to be sole proprietors than men (78% versus 67%).

New policies and programs introduced by the Canadian Government are clearly a step in the right direction. From Bill C-25 which requires target setting and strategy development for women and other designated groups in corporations to Pay Equity legislation, and policies and programs targeting women entrepreneurs. But, we need more.

My fellow Diversity Institute researchers, along with a network of international research colleagues and I hear from women entrepreneurs about their perceived barriers to their success. Women entrepreneurs often feel that they are held to a different standard, that it’s harder to get support and that many of the programs aimed at helping entrepreneurs are not designed for them.  

We need concerted effort to tackle stereotypes, to apply a gender lens to the full range of policies and programs, whether child care or tax deductible expenses. Laws and policies reflect but also shape values. We need to challenge the “think entrepreneur, think STEM and think Male” reflex, celebrating women’s ways and successes. We need to take a hard cold look at processes in organizations in the ecosystem, whether universities, incubators, funders, investors or business support organizations.

While there is no doubt we need to tackle structural problems, and promote intentional and accountable organizations, there is lots we as individuals can do.  We can all drive change.


Here is some sage advice from some remarkable entrepreneurs:


  1. “Do not just level the playing field. Change the game” says Vicki Saunders, SheEO of SheEO.

She argues that we need to create female friendly approaches and change the game. This is not just about creating safe spaces for women, or female centric approaches but also to value social outcomes as well as profit. Vicki also promotes the importance of creating a growth mindset. Finding ways to embrace challenges, learn from failure, and have confidence in your abilities and skills.


  1. “If they can do it, how hard can it be?” says Lynne Hamilton, past chair of Equal Voice and consultant.  

Confidence and resilience are key but many women suffer from the imposter syndrome setting their sights too low. Whether it’s in the halls of large corporations, the rough and tumble of political office or the bro culture of incubators, men who have 50% of what it takes are likely to go for gold while women who have 90% of what it takes, are not. We need to build environments in which we support each other and we also need to continuously challenge ourselves. Finance and technology are not rocket science but there is core knowledge and skills we need regardless of sector.


  1. “Ask for what you need. Ask for what you want.” In their book, “Women Don’t Ask”, Linda Babcock and Sara Laschever claim women lose out by not making demands.

We are socialized to be giving and generous and to respond to the needs of others, but often we miss opportunities simply because we do not make clear what it is that we want and need. Networking, mentoring and sponsorship are all proven to be critical to success but hiding your light under a bushel or waiting for help to be offered may mean you miss out. What is the worst thing that can happen? Someone may say no. But chances are very good that they will actually say yes.

Meet Marly Broudie: Founder and President of SocialEyes Communications Inc. http://www.womenofinfluence.ca/2019/03/14/meet-marly-broudie-founder-and-president-of-socialeyes-communications-inc/ Thu, 14 Mar 2019 17:56:28 +0000 http://www.womenofinfluence.ca/?p=198064

Marly Broudie is the Founder and President of SocialEyes Communications Inc., a digital marketing and business development consulting firm based in Toronto. Marly’s career started in 2011 at a downtown litigation firm as a legal assistant. There, she transitioned into Business Development and Marketing where she honed her skills in social media marketing, content creation and Business Development strategy. Marly launched SocialEyes Communications in 2015 to help businesses and professionals broaden their opportunities through the power of online marketing. Marly’s goal-oriented approach and ability to help clients develop a vision to drive growth is her fuel for success and consequently, the success of her clients. As a young female entrepreneur with a vision and passion, and as a mother of 2 very young children (1 and 2 years old), Marly’s moto remains: “There are enough hours in a day to accomplish growth and success…there just needs to be a method to the madness.”




My first job ever was… I moonlighted as a telemarketer back in high school. More than anything, being a telemarketer taught me tact and tenacity. In the world of windows and doors, booking a consult is like winning the lottery. “No” is simply status quo. You hear the dial tone? You pick that phone right back up until someone says “yes.”

It also taught me patience and empathy. I try to give everyone the time of day. My 16-year-old self has worn those shoes into the ground. We all have a job to do. As a business owner, and as a human, you should never lose sight of that.

I decided to be an entrepreneur because… I live for the hustle. There is something about waking up in the morning knowing that each day is a blank canvass to write my own story, to empower my clients to dream bigger, to motivate my staff to work creatively within the confines of a flexible corporate culture. This brings me joy.

My proudest accomplishment(s) is… Being a mother of 3 babies and watching them all grow and develop.

  • My one-year old daughter
  • My two-year-old son
  • My three-and-a-half-year-old business

They each require love, attention, care and lots of work!

My boldest move to date was… Leaving my secure, salaried job one month after getting married.  My husband had just split ways with a business partner, our finances were in flux and our plans were precarious. But I knew in my gut that there was no better time than the present. We didn’t have kids, we lived in a small one-bedroom apartment and our bills were manageable. I knew that if I was ever going to make a move and build something big – it needed to be now. That was my boldest move. It also turned out to be my best.

I surprise people when I tell them… That my oldest of two is two and that my business is bustling!

My best advice to people starting out in business is… Living in a perpetual state of contemplation can be a real career killer. Make the decision to make a change. Own your choice. Challenge yourself. Fail. Get rejected. Persevere. Overcome. Just go for it. And then keep going for it.

My best advice from a mentor was… Time block every single day for research. Dedicate one out of every twenty-four hours to trend-spotting and environmental scanning. Stay on top of the latest industry insights. The more informed you are, the more information you can pass on.


“Dedicate one out of every twenty-four hours to trend-spotting and environmental scanning. Stay on top of the latest industry insights. The more informed you are, the more information you can pass on.”


My biggest setback was… About two months before launching SocialEyes, I dealt with some heavy family issues that sent me off the grid. Following my honeymoon, one of my immediate family members underwent some mental health issues that affected my every waking moment. It consumed me. But that experience also gave me uncompromised clarity and perspective. It forced me to assess the constructs of a satisfying, rewarding and fulfilling life and career. I don’t think I would be where I am today without those enlightening moments of reflection.

Fortunately, we managed to rise above the challenges — and we’re all stronger because of it.

I overcame it by… Speaking to a professional. There is no shame in that!

Talking out my feelings, struggles and devising an action plan led to some incredible milestones. I stopped letting fear prevent me from making life-changing decisions, like launching my own company. Within two weeks, I had registered my company name. Within two months, I had a company website and 6 clients. Within one year, I had 14 clients and a trio of digital marketing experts on staff.

Never be afraid to ask for help.

Working in the legal sector help me… Working in the legal sector provided me with several critical skills that have allowed me to build the business that exists today. I learned to be extremely analytical and detail-oriented. I also learned how to put together a client-winning proposal (thanks to a fantastic mentor). Grammar, spelling and formatting errors are big no-no’s when working with lawyers – and an even bigger no-no when running a digital media shop like SocialEyes.

I went into Communications because…I believe that most business owners today know the value of being on social media and optimizing their digital presence, but do not have the time or know-how. There is nothing more gratifying than putting together a communications action plan for a client, and seeing it come to fruition. I get a real high from reporting on growth, reach and exposure!

To me, Social Media is… Opportunity! The power of social media is unparalleled – everyone is on it; your clients, your prospects, your competitors. It’s a medium to communicate with all of the above – to sell your services, tell a story, inspire people and promote greatness! The reach is exponential and the opportunity for exposure is vast.

If you googled me, you still wouldn’t know… I suffer from anxiety. It takes a lot of work to train your mind to cope with anxiety effectively. One key phrase that I repeat daily is: “Let’s trust what is, not what if.”

I stay inspired by…

  • My husband who is my #1 cheerleader and my partner
  • My children who push me to be the best me
  • All of the inspiring women out there who continue to empower women, ignite change and make a difference in the world.

The future excites me because… Every day brings about new opportunities for growth and development — for me, for my team and for our clients.

Women of Influence Evening Series – Joanna Griffiths http://www.womenofinfluence.ca/2019/03/12/women-of-influence-evening-series-joanna-griffiths/ Tue, 12 Mar 2019 15:16:24 +0000 http://www.womenofinfluence.ca/?p=198111

On March 7, we welcomed to the podium top entrepreneur Joanna Griffiths, to share her insights on how she disrupted a $2.5 billion underwear industry and created a brand for every body.

Here’s are some of Joanna’s key insights about entrepreneurship and becoming your own boss:

  • “You have to love a challenge. You have to thrive outside of your comfort zone.”  Entrepreneurship involves a great deal of risk. Before starting out on a new business venture, reflect on your personal comfort zones. Are you OK with uncertainty? Are you OK doing things outside of your area of expertise, or pushing yourself to learn new things? 
  • “Successful people do what unsuccessful people won’t.” Great entrepreneurs know there is no task too big or too little. It can be easy, especially in the early days on entrepreneurship, to become discouraged when you encounter set-backs or obstacles. Remember that success doesn’t come easy, and that hard work will pay off! 
  • “I let myself be upset or disappointed for 48-hours. Then I move on.” In the world of entrepreneurship, there isn’t time to dwell on the negative. That said, you shouldn’t swallow your feelings either. When you encounter a set-back, or if a teammate lets you down, allow yourself a moment to be upset and disappointed, and then focus on how you can make the situation can become a teachable learning or help make your team stronger.
  • “Your job as a leader isn’t to tell people exactly how to get into the boat. Your job as a leader is to get people so excited by the beauty of the ocean that they can’t wait to figure it out and get in themselves.” The best leaders understand that the best way to get the job done is to inspire your team to believe in the project and to motivate them to want to do a fantastic job. Micro-managing rarely works. 


Women of Influence Luncheon Series – The Americas Powerhouse http://www.womenofinfluence.ca/2019/03/11/women-of-influence-luncheon-series-the-americas-powerhouse/ Mon, 11 Mar 2019 16:35:11 +0000 http://www.womenofinfluence.ca/?p=197902

On March 6, we held the Americas Powerhouse Luncheon in partnership with Women Who Rock. The panel featured valuable insight from Canadian treasure hunter and geologist Ashley Kirwan, Argentine agronomist Andrea Grobocopatel, the Mexican force of nature Veronica Richards and Peruvian diplomat Ana Gervasi. 

Here’s what we learned:

  • “We need more role models.” By developing visible role models for women in industries like mining and geoscience, we can inspire more women to pursue careers in these fields.
  • “The challenge of workplace equality starts in the cores of our homes.”  Gender equality must operate at a social and family level- not just in the workplace. For example, true workplace equality includes equal paid paternity and maternity leaves, which encourages shared familial responsibilities between both parents.
  • “You don’t have you give up your career and business goals in order to have a family.” In many societies today, women are still often deterred from starting a family because they fear that pregnancy and child-rearing will serve as setbacks to their careers and professional goals. As Ashley Kirwan (President and CEO of Orix Geoscience and mother to a 7-month old baby) taught us, it is possible successfully to navigate the obligations of a career and motherhood. 


Why Olympian Jennifer Heil is mobilizing for gender equality http://www.womenofinfluence.ca/2019/03/10/why-olympian-jennifer-heil-is-mobilizing-for-gender-equality/ Mon, 11 Mar 2019 01:47:21 +0000 http://www.womenofinfluence.ca/?p=197821

As the most successful freestyle skier in Canadian history, Jennifer Heil understands the positive impact that sports can have — and not just measured by Olympic medals. Girls who play sports have been shown to have higher confidence, greater academic performance, and more career success later in life. That’s why Jennifer and viaSport, where she is VP Sport Development, are taking part in the Women Deliver 2019 Mobilization Canada campaign — joining their voice with those of other Canadian organizations to bring about positive change.



By Hailey Eisen




When Jennifer Heil was 14, just before starting high school, she walked into her soon-to-be principal’s office and told him she planned to go to the Olympics. In order to achieve her dream, she told him, she’d have to be absent for at least three months during her Grade 12 year.

“I needed their support and they rallied around me,” says Jennifer, now lauded the most successful freestyle skier in Canadian history and an Olympic Gold and Silver medal holder. “That support was a beautiful thing, and it allowed me to graduate on time and with honours.”

Jennifer’s story, it seems, is not the norm. While Canada is a leader when it comes to women’s representation at the Olympics, we are falling behind on the broader national scale. Only 19 per cent of Canadian women participate in sport, compared to 35 per cent of Canadian men. “The issues women in sport face today are representative of challenges women face in everyday life,” Jennifer says. “These include stereotyping, sexualization, and lack of safety.”

While Jennifer admits she was very lucky to have been raised in a family that valued physical activity and sport, and in an Albertan community that provided her with many opportunities to play a variety of sports and lead an active lifestyle — not all girls are so lucky. The issues they face are varied and expansive, from a shortage of women coaches at all levels, to women’s sporting events getting second billing, to a lack of resources allocated to girls’ leagues, to gender-based violence, and girls not feeling confident or comfortable in their own bodies.

“If we’re going to move on these issues, it’s going to take more than the sporting community to do so,” says Jennifer, who now works as VP Sport Development with viaSport British Columbia. “I didn’t think I’d stay in the sporting world after my retirement, beyond volunteering, but then I realized how important this issue really was.”  


“Everyone needs to be involved in bringing about change, if we don’t have a collective effort, change won’t be sustainable.”  


viaSport focuses on granting all British Columbians equal access to sport through social innovation, education, standards and evaluation, and leveraging investment. With Gender Equity and Sport one of Jennifer’s main portfolios, she’s is committed professionally and personally to bringing about a shift in culture and behaviour. Under her leadership, viaSport recently joined the Women Deliver 2019 Mobilization Canada campaign, built around the global conference to be held in Vancouver this June. The Mobilization is rallying Canadian players, including those not traditionally focused on women and girls, to turn their focus toward gender equality.

“I see great opportunity through the Women Deliver Mobilization for dialogue and alignment with our allies,” Jennifer says. “We know that 94 per cent of female executives have had formal experience in sport and that participating in sport has undeniable benefits both on and off the playing field.” Studies point to higher confidence, greater social and economic mobility, decreased likelihood of drug abuse, and better school performance.

The Mobilization, she says, will help them garner champions on the ground in other sectors, such as business, and find partners to support and fund the work that’s essential to bringing about change. “We’re taking a human-centred, design approach where we don’t know what the outcomes will be, but we’re looking to redesign girls’ sports and shift toward a more inclusive sports system on a national scale.”  

While many people don’t think of sport as part of the gender equality conversation, Jennifer says, “if girls aren’t confident and don’t have a sense of agency in their bodies, it will go on to impact the rest of their lives, from their academic achievement, to the way they show up in meetings, and their ability to support their families.”

While systemic changes must be made, there’s also a need for a change in attitude which begins in homes and schools. “We’re starting to see some of these changes, from teachers taking kids outside for movement breaks, to parents socializing daughters to realize the value of physical education,” she says. “But we still have a long way to go.”

Currently, only 2 per cent of girls ages 12 to 17 receive the recommended 60 minutes of physical activity daily. This stat alone speaks volumes.  

As a mom of two young boys, Jennifer says boys have as big a role in all this as girls do. The key is to influence their beliefs and values and shift the dialogue to be more inclusive from an early age. viaSport is also engaging men, who make up most of the leadership and executive director roles in sport.

“Everyone needs to be involved in bringing about change, if we don’t have a collective effort, change won’t be sustainable.”  


To learn more about how you can join the Mobilization and take action for gender equality, visit their website at www.WeDeliver2019.ca and join the conversation on Twitter with #WeDeliver2019.

Meet Anj Handa: Founder of Inspiring Women Changemakers http://www.womenofinfluence.ca/2019/03/10/meet-anj-handa-founder-of-inspiring-women-changemakers/ Mon, 11 Mar 2019 01:18:09 +0000 http://www.womenofinfluence.ca/?p=197818

Anj Handa is the founder of Inspiring Women Changemakers, a dynamic movement of women who join up to lead positive social change. Anj is an experienced lobbyist and former diplomat, she is the winner of the AFSA 2017 Positive Action Award and has 20 years experience in the field of Social Impact and Inclusion. Her global changemaking has featured in Refugee Tales, Comma Press, Eradicating FGM in the UK by Hillary Burrage and Generation Share by Benita Matofska & Sophie Sheinwald.




My first job ever was… In the family fashion retail from childhood, selling clothes to women and girls – and also, on occasion to crossdressers and transgender people. I’m certain that this combination of sales,  helping people of all ages, shapes, sizes and backgrounds to look and feel better, and the diverse customer base made me the inclusive person that I am today.

My proudest accomplishment is…Winning a Positive Action Award from the Asian Fire Service Association for my outreach work. I’m not just proud of the accolade. It is special because one of my closest friends took the time to put me forward for it.

My boldest move to date was… Deciding to study an international business programme and live and study in Germany in my third year, even though I’d not even holidayed in Germany! I did speak the language though and it turned out to be the best year of my life.

I am most inspired by… People who are true to themselves and their values and beliefs. My role models aren’t necessarily rich or famous.

The motto I live by is… Your voice is your power. Let me help you be heard.

An interesting fact about me that most people wouldn’t know is… That I speak five languages – English, obviously. German, French, Punjabi and Hindi.

I want to teach women… That they have immense reserves of power within that they can draw on when the going gets tough, if only they slow down and allow themselves to tune in.

Working internationally has helped me… To develop a broad worldview and have a diverse circle of friends in life and in business. This promotes tolerance, the ability to look at things from different angles and the need to speak clearly, avoiding words or phrases that do not translate to other cultures..

I think the most important quality in a leader is… The admit/allow mistakes to happen and to find solutions together with others to avoid them happening in future.


“Your voice is your power. Let me help you be heard.”


My best advice to aspiring entrepreneurs is… Avoid perfection procrastination – just start. And if something isn’t working, change it slightly and try again. Sometimes it’s just about timing.

I balance my personal and professional responsibilities by… Working with my own waves of energy. I use a ‘Today’ list to prioritise my important tasks and make sure I rest, go for a walk, paint or do something else that brings me pleasure if I start to feel myself becoming tired or stressed.

My toughest challenge thus far has been… A few years of people close to me dying between 2012 and 2016. Dealing with grief and personal illness whilst leading a global changemaking campaign and setting up a new business was very difficult. But I got through it and here I am!

And it taught me… There’s such a thing as post-traumatic growth and it makes you very resilient.

I stay motivated by… Knowing my purpose. I love to help people (especially vulnerable women and girls) feel stronger from the inside so that they feel capable to make the best life choices for themselves.

Being a woman in international business is… Awesome!

If I could tell my twenty-year-old self one thing it would be… Enjoy this carefree year abroad lounging by the outdoor pool with friends because the next 20 years are going to be a rollercoaster.

In the next 5 years I hope to accomplish… Nearing financial freedom so that I can choose to become involved in global change making project son a pro bono basis over repaying my mortgage!

The future of Inspiring Women Changemakers excites me because… It’s ready to become global, connecting women all over the world to get support with their personal missions.


Celebrating the Women Breaking Barriers in the Sciences http://www.womenofinfluence.ca/2019/03/07/celebrating-the-women-breaking-barriers-in-the-sciences/ Thu, 07 Mar 2019 22:01:01 +0000 http://www.womenofinfluence.ca/?p=197796

International Women’s Day is not just about highlighting women’s achievements, it’s also about forging a call to action for accelerating gender balance across the world. Nobel Media and Microsoft have created a unique way that celebrates some of science’s most influential women while inspiring the next generation of young females to break gender barriers and change the world.  



By Kaitlyn Warias



To kick off Women’s History Month and promote #BalanceforBetter, Nobel Media and Microsoft have collaborated to highlight the achievements of women who broke new ground in physics, chemistry, and medicine. As an interactive web experience, Women Who Changed Science, offers a glimpse into the extraordinary lives and contributions of female Nobel Prize winners who have led to the acceptance of science as a real career for women.

The innovative platform, powered by Microsoft AI technology, launches Friday, March 8th on International Women’s Day, and provides users with the opportunity to explore the memorable stories of women who have had an incredible impact in science. Featuring luminaries like Marie Curie, who harnessed the promise of radioactivity, and Rita Levi-Montalcini, who redefined how our bodies work, the digital site weaves together the biographies of these pioneers through images, archival video footage, and their own words.

Nobel Media has a long-term ambition to inspire innovation and creativity throughout the world, empowered by the achievements and stories of all Nobel Laureates. Their goal is to stimulate interest in science, literature and peace in line with Alfred Nobel’s vision and legacy to the greatest benefit of humankind.

Women who changed science shines a spotlight on these trailblazers through their multimedia online platform built with Azure Cognitive Services APIs. The AI-powered website offers dynamic storytelling within the web experience, enhancing our understanding of each prizewinning discovery and providing a gateway to explore more notable women in science.


“I hope that the stories we share will create an interest in science among a new generation of young women and girls and inspire them to pursue education and careers in science.”


“We embarked on the partnership with Microsoft with an idea that Microsoft technology could create innovative ways to emphasize this work and that we together could start global conversations about the discoveries and actions of the people that have been awarded the Nobel Prize,” says Amy Sorokas, Microsoft Director of Brand Partnerships.

Women Who Changed Science brings to life the unique contributions of each honoree while exploring the interconnecting lineage of women in the sciences. Raising awareness of their tremendous impact, the site aims to excite and motivate the next generation of female scientists.

“By using the latest technology, Nobel can tell stories in ways that create a stronger connection with laureates. We can share their personal stories of grit and perseverance in a way that makes brings the stories of laureates to life and, hopefully, inspires more young women to get involved in STEM,” says Sorokas.

This unique partnership between Nobel Media and Microsoft is part of a greater initiative

to build inclusion in STEM fields and encourage more women to pursue careers in science. Helping girls find relatable role models within STEM is a huge step in that direction.

“I hope that the stories we share will create an interest in science among a new generation of young women and girls and inspire them to pursue education and careers in science. Many Nobel Laureates talk about the importance of role models and how encouragement in their early years made them pursue a journey in science. Through this new section at nobelprize.org where we highlight Nobel Prize-awarded women, visitors can see themselves in the Laureates’ stories and be inspired to seek knowledge, be curious and dare to follow their own path,” says Magnus Gylje, Chief Digital Officer at Nobel Media.

Strengthening diversity and creating more equal opportunity for women ultimately incites innovation and sparks breakthroughs. Women Who Changed Science transforms not only how we experience the odds-defying stories of grit behind the successful discoveries of these laureates, but also emboldens the next generation of young women to change our world.