Looking beyond the ‘silos’
Rural women entrepreneurs and business professionals, full and part-time, know how difficult it can be to launch, grow and scale their businesses. November 3, about 75 women, many travelling from outside Glengarry, attended the Business Sisters Conference in Alexandria.
The day was an terrific sold-out success and because it was geared to women business owners living outside large cities, the smaller crowd offered many positives.
Participants had the chance to meet like-minded peers, share ideas and meet with presenters to ask questions after their talks. For presenters, it was the chance to get specific feedback on their presentations.
During lunch break, conference organizer Doreen Ashton-Wagner described what rural women involved in or planning a business could expect from the meeting.
“It’s all about connections. When you think about it, there are women from South Glengarry who don’t know the women from Vankleek Hill who don’t know the women in Alexandria, so we operate in silos and this conference is meant to bring people together from all over SD&G, Prescott-Russell and Eastern Ontario.” There were attendees from Mallorytown, Brockville, Akwesasne, Hammond, Embrun, Long Sault, Hawkesbury, Avonmore, and Ottawa, as well as a sizeable group of local women.
What they discovered was a fun and friendly atmosphere where meeting business-centred organizations and businesses and fellow entrepreneurs was easy and encouraging.
Doreen Ashton-Wagner is the founder and host of ForLoveAndBusiness.com, what she describes as a unique business community dedicated to helping women entrepreneurs overcome the stress, frustrations and other challenges associated with balancing “love and family obligations” with operating a business.
Among the participating partners promoting their services was FOVEA Photography Agency that joins Ms. Ashton-Wagner in ForLoveAndBusiness.com offering personalized brand images for entrepreneurs, influencers and businesses.
The agency is Phillipa Maitland-Heath and Josie Baerg, seasoned wedding and event photographers who have joined the new project to offer top level photography services to businesses.
On Saturday, women were offered a free head shot taken in a pop-up photography studio Ms Maitland-Heath set up. After having a makeover at the Babe’s make-up table with Babes Cosmetics’ owners Tisha Thompson and her daughter and partner Kiera “Babes” Thompson from Akwesasne, women took a seat to have a free headshot taken. The results were beautiful.
ENTERPRISING WOMEN: Conference organizer Doreen Ashton-Wagner at the sold-out Business Sisters Conference in Alexandria.
BUSY TABLES: Helping out everywhere at Saturday's Laggan School Christmas Fair were the students themselves including Savannah Austin-Wilkenson, age 11, Olivia Heinzle, 10, Rachel Fraser, 10, and Diego Brunet, 10, who helped out at the busy raffle tables.