For the past year, I’ve been highlighting and celebrating people who have gained their edge; clients, colleagues and change makers who are doing meaningful work and having an impact in their industries and communities. It’s been a joy to share their words of wisdom with all of you, and shine a spotlight on their projects, companies and products.
After a dozen Gain YOUR Edge profiles, I’m struck by the unique perspectives - and common themes - the participants shared. The importance of teamwork and community; the value of a positive attitude; the focus on kindness.
Thank you to everyone who participated, sharing their stories and insights with us. Scroll down to see the whole series! And if there's anyone you'd like to see profiled, let's chat!
First up is a brilliant line from the incomparable Kareim R. Cade. Kareim is full of positive energy and has an open, inclusive, collaborative mindset. I adore him! He was one of my first clients when I launched my coaching practice in Michigan and remains a huge supporter. He is also THE client on various graphics and images throughout my website and beyond.
This quote from him is a favourite of mine...it came from a podcast appearance he gave, and it's stuck with me. It's all about choice. You can choose to have a good day or a bad day: it all comes down to your mindset.
Cheryl Appleton and I first met when I was working for Campbell's Foodservice in 2009. I was instantly impressed with her industry knowledge, professionalism and collaborative approach. Over the years our paths continued to cross and a wonderful relationship was created based on mutual trust and respect.
Cheryl has been a role model and mentor to many. It is so inspiring to watch her thrive, living a life of purpose. She shared the impact coaching has had on her, explaining that “Thanks to your coaching, I 'Gained My Edge' to live my life authentically, which means I can bring my whole self into all that I do, create, and dream for Canadian Women In Food. “
In CWIF, Cheryl has developed a phenomenal resource and support network for the industry. She describes it as “The place where women in food who crave connection come to grow themselves and their businesses through collaboration and mutual respect. We’re living in a world of rapid change, and the best way to navigate that change is to be part of a community like Canadian Women In Food. It’s a place to come together, to build new skills and practices that help you navigate the day with more resilience and perspective.”
If you’d like to support women-owned businesses, check out CWIF’s “Gifts of Goodness!” They curate incredible boxes that are perfect for any occasion. Every box tells a story, supports a woman in food, and 10% of the profit helps to build community.
Meg Daly and I met 10 years ago in coaching school, where I felt connected to her instantly! Over the years our relationship has evolved and grown on a foundation of shared values and mutual respect. You may have heard us chatting about topics, books and concepts close to our hearts on one of her podcasts, where I've had the pleasure of being a guest. She is fantastic... so insightful, intuitive and inspiring.
Meg supports highly sensitive and empathic people in calming their bodies and minds by providing an inspiring sanctuary within her Live More Drink Less Community and Tranquility Talk Podcast, as well as the 30 Day Reset program.
Learn more about Meg here!
Linda Martin is North America’s leading team enablement expert. We met more than 20 years ago, when we were both working at E. & J. Gallo Winery. What's wild is that we actually grew up just a few miles from each other, taking the same bus to the same school...just not at the same time. She has been a mentor, a role model and a friend, and I'm always grateful for the chance to talk with her (about anything and everything!)
In addition to being absolutely brilliant, Linda has a calm, kind presence. She applies her unique skillset to help business' maximize potential by building stronger teams.
As Linda puts it, "We really don't get up to much on our own". Deep down, humans are social creatures. We all want to be heard, understood, and appreciated. We want opportunities to reach our goals and expand our horizons. We want to collaborate: to be part of a team built on mutual respect and common values.
It may sound elusive, but with the right tools and support, it's absolutely possible to build an extraordinary team. From there, anything is possible!
I strongly encourage you to learn more by visiting her website. I'm so grateful for Linda's guidance and support over the years, and for this opportunity to celebrate her!
Ainsley Moir and I met at the CWIF Full Tilt Conference in 2019, and discovered we both worked for Campbell Soup Company, just not at the same time.
Ainsley is passionate, professional and fun! She's also extremely knowledgeable, and her energy is absolutely contagious. On top of all that, she really wants you to succeed, and is a great person to have in your corner!
With her drive to help others, her role as President of Healthy Food & Beverage Group is a natural fit! In her own words:
"I help food founders take their great food recipes and turn them into great food brands and businesses. A great recipe really only is one ingredient to having a successful food business. The Healthy Food & Beverage Group works with founders who have a great recipe and a real passion behind their product and helps these founders create a sustainable business that gets on store shelves and into shopper's homes.
I started the Healthy Food & Beverage Group because there are so many great food founders out there that are struggling to make the impact they really want to make. I know that with the founder's recipe and passion and the right blueprint to success, not only can these food founders change their life by having a successful food business, they can positively change the lives of people who buy their products as well."
To learn more about Ainsley and how she can help you launch or grow your packaged food business visit her website.
Sometimes you don't know the full impact of a moment until long after it's over. In 2019 I participated in a fabulous conference by CWIF, where I had the good fortune to meet some incredible people, including Kristi. Since then, Kristi, Ainsley Moir, Janice Bartley, Paula Cooper and I have created our own little 'mastermind' group to share ideas and support each other as we learn and grow.
I so admire Kristi's ability - and dedication - to talk the talk AND walk the walk. She is brilliant, creative and fun! She's built a wonderful company, and I truly love what and why Mother Raw was created. I’ve often heard Kristi say that the dressing needs to be as healthy as the salad it’s going on. These products are delicious and good for you!
(Sidenote: I'm not alone in my appreciation of Mother Raw...just check out Lizzo's social media to learn more about the Queso!!)
As Kristi puts it:
"At Mother Raw, we are building a brand with a simple, yet powerful purpose and that is to encourage more people to eat more real, whole foods and specifically plants. Why? North Americans don't consume enough vegetables and fruit s, which contributes to poor diet and health. Eating a plant-based diet is also better for the planet and animal welfare. Our ridiculously delicious organic Dressings, Dips and Condiments are made with nutrition rich ingredients (not lab made) and make it easy and fun to eat more plants. I love our brand purpose and our amazing team."
Stacey Cruise is the Co-founder and Director of Kindred Foundation - an incredible Canadian organization dedicated to helping children, adolescents and young adults within the areas of cancer, mental health and physical health…and helping their communities through initiatives pertaining to palliative care and food security. It’s important, challenging work, and Kindred approaches it with kindness and compassion.
As if that wasn’t enough, Stacey is also the co-founder and director/officer of Tecasy Ranch. Tecasy strives to provide an ideal location for a variety of impactful, non-commercial functions and usages. They’re dedicated to: Connecting People to Nature · People to People · People to a Greater Cause
Stacey and I met at Wellspring Cancer Support Foundation, where she was volunteering. As you can probably tell, she keeps busy supporting a wide range of causes, and pursuing a variety of interests: from hockey to travel, to writing and photography. Oh, and she has degrees in Computer Science and Biomechanics! Talk about well rounded!
She is so kind, generous, funny, authentic and humble. The real deal! The more time I spent with her, the more I learned about her charity and the positive impact it has on our community. We need more people like Stacey in the world!
In Stacey’s words:
“Volunteering and raising dollars for worthy causes has been a mainstay for me. When it became possible to elevate the role I could play in the charitable sector Kindred Foundation was created.
Kindred Foundation came from the desire to not only give back but to do charity differently. Our foundation is based on an endowment model and our due diligence in giving is extremely thorough. Furthermore, our corporate partnerships are symbiotic and 100 percent of donations go towards charitable purpose.”
I encourage you to learn more about Kindred Foundation, and consider supporting their initiatives.
I met Desirée Bombenon when she was completing her Executive MBA through the Smith School of Business at Queen's University. I was instantly awed by her! She is so impressive; Desirée has strong business acumen, innovative customer approach, and authentic people and leadership skills. On top of all that, she’s incredibly active with board and philanthropy work. Desirée is passionate about making a difference, and she lives that value every day.
Desirée Bombenon is the leader of SureCall, an organization putting purpose over profit. SureCall thrives on culture! What forms the basis of the culture is their commitment to Corporate Social Responsibility through the GoodCall™ program. #GoodCall™ launched in 2016 and continues to evolve as they find multiple ways to give back to the community.
As Desirée explains, "what started out as a local endeavour to assist organizations that are non-profit or registered charities by giving back a percentage of revenues as a donation each year, has evolved into something much more purposeful. This program has every transaction our team does, contributing to a corporate social responsibility fund. We truly believe we are ‘Doing Good with Every Call’. The GoodCall™ program also supports HeroGirls™, an endeavour to educate girls in underserved and developing communities around the world, in order to raise the prosperity of the entire community."
Over the past 3 years, Hero Girls™ has provided over 500 girls and women with scholarships for education, a segment on entrepreneurial business models, mother’s programs, and innovation projects, impacting over 5000 people within the communities they live in. With the help of SureCall, last year, they were able to provide over 100 bikes to the students for safe travel to and from school. The program is designed to assist women to gain confidence and self-efficacy, and give them the opportunity to build a business to support the community they live in. Over the next few years, the Hero Girls™ will be tackling Human Trafficking in Sri Lanka.
Desirée believes that we are all connected: "What we do with our lives and our businesses has significant impact on the greater community, even the world. When I focus on sustainable business practices, and doing well by doing good, then with every choice I am making a difference, and with every difference I am helping someone else to have a choice.”
A coaching colleague introduced me to Karen Wright, and I immediately liked and respected her. Karen is a Master Certified Coach (MCC) and a leader in the field of corporate coaching. She is authentic, lives a life of integrity, and is also such fun to be around! She has an incredible ability to connect, support and empower those around her. Working with Karen and being part of the Parachute Executive Coaching team is an honour. This week I am thrilled to highlight Karen, and the amazing company and community she has created.
As a coach and business owner, Karen she sees herself as having a couple of jobs. One is to help companies access trained, skilled, high-quality coaches, who understand both the value and boundaries of coaching, and are able to communicate both to their clients. Coaching is a leadership development resource. It's not about 'fixing problems'; instead, it's about facilitating learning and growth within a motivated participant. And connecting the right coach with the right client is essential!
Another important component of Karen's work is to help coaches focus on what matters: serving clients, and bringing their best to every engagement. Most coaches would rather spend their time on coaching, instead of chasing business and invoice payments. So by taking responsibility for these tasks, Karen and Parachute Executive Coaching allow coaches to truly focus their energy on their clients.
This simple and powerful philosophy seems to be working as Parachute has been growing steadily since Karen founded the company! Parachute Executive Coaching is known for being responsive and easy to work with, but most importantly they are known for getting results. Karen believes that when you love what you do it's pretty easy to do great work.
Visit Parachute Executive Coaching's LinkedIn page to learn more!
Christina Greenberg and I met during a Pursuit Values training. Throughout the day, we had the opportunity to share, reflect, learn and grow, which was an immediate bonding experience. I loved her instantly. She creates a safe place, is positive, experienced, insightful, direct, creative and empathic. I am grateful that she includes me in her programs supporting women leaders as they uncover and live their unique and authentic leadership styles. Christina and her programs have huge impact.
See for yourself!
Christina Greenberg is a passionate trainer and coach, committed to developing well rounded, authentic leaders, building on their strengths, gaining confidence and striving for balance and wellness in work and life. Her genuine desire to see people achieve their best and reach their full potential as leaders has put many people onto a positive path of self-discovery and growth.
Christina has long been an advocate for women leaders, recognizing the unique challenges they face as they advance in their careers. In 2010, she set out to solve this problem by launching Scala Network, an organization offering innovative leadership training programs for women.
Scala Network promotes success "on your own terms", supporting women to be the best version of themselves, leading from a place of inner strength. Scala also believes in the importance of giving back: in each program, one spot is reserved for a woman in career transition, and one woman new to Canada.
Sandy Harvey, MBA, CDP, President & Chief Strategist at Exodus Consulting Group, LLC.,is a skilled strategist with over 25 years of human resources, organizational development, leadership, and diversity and inclusion experience. She is the President & Founder of Exodus Consulting Group, a transformational people and process firm. She is a Certified Diversity Professional and expert DEI strategist, speaker, and facilitator working with organizations in developing and implementing a cultural-centered diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) strategy.
I had the pleasure of meeting Sandy through Kareim R. Cade ; I always appreciate when he introduces me to someone in his inner circle, as they are always amazing human beings like him...and Sandy is exceptional! I love her work on creating a culture of inclusiveness.
In her own words, Sandy explains: "I help normalize and infuse diversity, equity, and inclusion into organizational cultures. I know that creating more inclusive workplaces positively impacts organizational culture and increases profitability."
I met Sanja Ristanovic in 2019 through Cheryl Appleton, when I was looking to redo my website, and we clicked instantly. She asked great questions to learn about me and the work I do, and then turned what she discovered into a beautiful website. She is professional, creative, reliable and so much fun to work with!! I am so excited to highlight Sanja, and to recommend her.
Sanja is the Co-Founder of OMAI Creative, a remote, full-service, creative branding and UX design agency that works closely with B2B/B2C clients to develop memorable user experiences across all touchpoints. OMAI’s goal is to bring heart and creativity into every detail and design as they aim to build brand recognition and loyalty that is thoughtful and full of impact.
Sanja oversees all #OMAI projects from inception to completion, providing creative direction and guidance in branding, graphic & web design, as well as digital marketing and photography. She has a genuine love for supporting and working with female run businesses, which is why she founded BIZ Sassy and works closely with Canadian Women in Food as their Marketing Director.
She is a proud mom of 2, and a happy wife to her equally creative husband Gamal, the other half of #OMAI. When she isn't behind the camera, with a client or with her family, she is busy loving life, traveling the world and helping stray animals. She’s also likely in the kitchen, cooking up something totally Instagram-worthy.