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Vision and Determination… made in Whistler

When I first arrived in Whistler, in the fall of 2009, a friend took me to the Farmer’s Markets. I still remember my first visit to the Nonna Pia’s stand and my first taste of the delicious balsamic reductions on offer. The fresh bread on offer to dip into the thick reduction that coats your tongue with a sweet, yet tart, richness of flavour. Since that day, my cupboards have always been stocked with their strawberry fig edition.

When you look at successful people, those that inspire you, more often than not, you can only read about them in magazines or watch interviews on the television – they’re not typically in your backyard. That’s why I was so excited when I heard that Natasha Strim of Nonna Pia’s Balsamic Reductions was going to do a talk at the next Women of Whistler event. Her product is a firm favourite on my shelves at home, I’ve seen her and her family at the Whistler Famer’s Market, as well as on Dragon’s Den, but I haven’t heard the full story. As an entrepreneur myself I’m intrigued to hear what it takes to get it to the level of success they’ve achieved.

How do you go from taste tests at the Whistler Farmers markets to marketing throughout North America? What has been their biggest mistake? Their biggest challenge? How do they stay true to their business ideal? What has been their most joyous moment? Are they still just two normal people from Whistler?

What’s so relevant about Natasha’s story is that they started right here in Whistler. Just two normal people with the vision and determination to make their business work – it kind of reminds me of another couple who opened a pie shop. The fact that their business grew from Whistler roots makes me excited to see what I can learn from Natasha – not only in a business sense, but also as a person who works closely with her family and still takes the time to enjoy life in the mountains.

Kerri Jones - Peaked Pies

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Sneak Peek: The Science of Health, Happiness and Productivity

by Catherine Roscoe Barr

Words are meaningless without defining their meaning in a way that holds value for you.

I hope the title of my upcoming talk on February 15, The Science of Health, Happiness and Productivity, has sparked enough interest for you to keep reading!

The words “health”, “happiness” and “productivity” are often thrown around willy-nilly, but if you really stop to think about it, aren’t they incredibly valuable factors you want present in your life?

Let me elaborate.

Science is the systematic knowledge of the physical world gained through observation and experimentation.

When you treat your life like a science experiment, you can figure out exactly what you need to make it extraordinary.

Through observation and experimentation, you can figure out exactly what serves you and what doesn’t; what fuels you and what drains you.

Using the data you gather, you can create an action plan that contains the conditions perfectly suited to your unique needs, and will produce incredible levels of health, happiness and productivity.

I define health as mental, physical and spiritual vitality.

Without the right knowledge and tools, mental stress can crush your vitality – but there are powerful strategies I’ll share to trim and transform stress to your advantage.

Movement, nutrition and sleep are critical to physical vitality, but don’t need to be complicated or time-consuming – and work best when viewed as indulgent and not deprived.

Gratitude and connection must be present for maximum spiritual vitality. Discovering what you need and having gratitude for what you have are beautiful, transformative practices.

I define happiness as a rich, diverse and acknowledged emotional spectrum that rests in a place of joy.

Research suggests that a diverse emotional ecosystem – called emodiversity – is associated with greater mental and physical health, self-awareness and resilience.

When you learn how to recognize, honour and process your emotions, you can flow through the spectrum from negative to positive emotions more easily – and not get stuck in the trenches of worry, anxiety and fear.

I define productivity as getting the most out of each moment, in both your personal and professional lives. When you bring presence and focus to every thing you do – whether it’s pause to enjoy a beautiful sunset, create an artistic masterpiece, truly listen to a friend, or secure a lucrative deal – you get the very most out of this one, precious life.

I hope that connecting with the science of health, happiness and productivity will bring more meaning and value to your life, and look forward to seeing you on February 15!

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A Bottle of Her Own – Stories from Sommelier Joanne DiGeso

“I drink Champagne when I'm happy and when I'm sad. Sometimes I drink it when I'm alone. When I have company I consider it obligatory. I trifle with it if I'm not hungry and drink it when I am. Otherwise, I never touch it -- unless I'm thirsty.”   - Lily Bollinger

I am attracted to wonderful stories and to real connections with people. It could be why I love learning about wine! Wine is not only experiencing it on your tongue but it is also a collision between family, history, land and culture. In “A Bottle of Her Own: Exceptional Wines & the Women Who Make Them” seminar, we will take an adventure from South Africa to Uruguay and Argentina to Champagne and more. We will also stop to explore wines from our own backyard of British Columbia. Here is a highlight of some of the stories and bottles that will be shared.

The famous Dame Veuve (widow) Clicquot took over the wine estate in 1805 after her husband’s death. At the time, it was only possible for a women to hold property (or a bank account for that matter) if her husband had passed away.

Clicquot took over the business in the middle of the Napoleonic Wars and she was bankrupt. She went to her father-in-law and secured a loan for a million dollars. But by the time she was blending the wine from the famous 1811 harvest, she was going broke, again. By this time, Clicquot knew that Napoleon was losing and waged that the Russian conquerors would become their next big customers. So she bet everything she had and sent her wine to Amsterdam for housing. The war had caused a naval blockade and the ports for transporting wine and goods were closed. When the war ended, Clicquot was weeks ahead of all of her competitors as she sent shipments of her wine to Russia. She quickly established her brand as the favourite of Tsar Alexander I.

The idea that a woman could only hold a bank account when her husband passed away is only a somewhat palatable idea when we are referring to the early 19th century. Yet, in many places in the world, the transition of women leaders in wine is quite recent.

25 years ago, for example, there were no female winemakers in Argentina. When Susana Balbo went to enology school in the early 80’s, out of 33 students, there were 17 women. She was the only woman that graduated. Taking the classes meant you had to take a bus past the 10 pm curfew. Argentina was still under the military dictatorship of the Dirty War and women were particularly vulnerable at night.

After graduation, Balbo had trouble finding a job as a winemaker. Her first opportunity came from a winery in Salta, only because a Paris firm was doing the headhunting. After her first vintage, she gained the title, “The Queen of Torrontes”. Today, she has many brands under her belt, one with her name on it, the Ben Marco wines, Dominio del Plata and Crios.

As you may know, Argentina is famous for its wine made from Malbec and Torrontes. Yet for anyone who has been there, it is often Cabernet Franc that wins the hearts of sommeliers. At this seminar, we will try a Catena ‘Los Carlos’ Cabernet Franc from 4th generation proprietor Laura Catena. I’ll save Laura’s fascinating life story for those of you coming to the seminar on Monday (I can’t share all of my secrets with you!!).

I can tell you that Cabernet Franc from Argentina is new to the British Columbia market and it’s worth checking out. In these high altitude vineyards, the Cabernet Franc receives a long hang time in close proximity to the sun. They are richer, rounder and have none of the green notes you see in cooler climes where Cabernet Franc is usually grown.

Overall, we have 9 stunning wines and 9 unforgettable stories to share.  We will try the new release from Veuve Clicquot house at the seminar. We will savour a Malbec from Susana Balbo and a Cabernet Franc from Laura Catena alongside Heleen Pannekoek’s Cabernet Franc from Fort Berens Winery, Lillooet. Hope to see you there!

[A Bottle of Her Own: Exceptional Wines & the Women Who Make Them is on Monday, November 14th at the Whistler Conference Center 5:30-7:00 Tickets are $47 at whistlercornucopia.com.  A Networking Session with wines from Les Dames D’Escoffier Vancouver Chapter to follow from 7:00-7:30]

Joanne DiGeso – Bio

Joanne has one foot firmly placed in Whistler and the other in Vancouver. She recently returned from Verona as a certified Italian Wine Ambassador from VinItaly International Wine Academy. She is a recipient of both Les Dames D’Escoffier and the British Columbia Hospitality Foundation scholarships. You can usually find Joanne nurturing wine exploration as a sommelier at Hawksworth Restaurant.  A dedicated wine lover, Joanne writes for her website SommWine and is a Wine and Spirits Education Trust Diploma Candidate who aspires to one day becoming a Master of Wine.

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Cognitive Biases – How to Clear the Fog and Make Better Decisions

When I heard the topic for the upcoming Women of Whistler event, I was fascinated and frankly a bit confused at the same time. Cognitive bias? What exactly is that? Apparently these are the little tricks and shortcuts our brain produces. And apparently these can cause some serious problems when making decisions. So even though I thoroughly research, carefully weigh options and think through potential outcomes, there is still something (unknown to me) messing up my decisions? Wow. I need to learn more about this please.

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An article was posted online detailing common cognitive biases and a few examples stuck out. The Information Bias is the tendency to seek information when it does not affect action. More information is not always better. (Perhaps when I am looking to purchase a new laptop, I should not look at every model ever produced in the last three years and it might take me less than six months to decide.) Or The Bandwagon Effect: The probability of one person adopting a belief increases on the number of people who hold that belief, commonly called Groupthink. Perhaps why meetings are often unproductive. The full article can be found at http://mentalfloss.com/article/68705/20-cognitive-biases-affect-your-decisions

Claire Booth will be sharing her insights with the Women of Whistler on September 29. When reading Claire’s bio, I learned she has spent thousands of hours analyzing human behaviour and has years of market research experience. During the event, she will help us identify our cognitive biases, look at our problems from a different angle and help us figure out how to remove these biases.

Sign me up please.

I always enjoy the Women of Whistler events because they combine learning and inspirational speakers with a great networking opportunity among local businesswomen. The next event is Thursday September 29, 6-8 pm at the Maury Young Arts Centre. I am going to www.womenofwhistler.com to register right now. Hope to see you there!

Lynn Gadsby

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What is Mentorship?

mentorchalkboardSometimes thought of as teacher & student, it has become a sharing of wisdom & master mind of ideas. I've been part of a women's mentor group for the past 3 years and it's been a wonderful experience of sharing ideas and collaborating, getting motivated and moving forward, enriching both my career and personal life.

Are you limiting your growth by not having a mentor? Leveraging the expertise of a senior leader can elevate your career exponentially.  A mentor will dial you into a wealth of knowledge and open new doors, but can also lead to a lifelong connections.

Taking the time to develop an effective mentor relationship will have an immense impact on success.

Join in at the Women of Whistler event on May 17th at 6pm to hear Moderator Jill Earthy, Vice Chair of the Women’s Enterprise centre (accomplished entrepreneur) will be joined by a panel of women with diverse perspectives on the power of mentorship.

Together the panel will share inspiration and lessons on how an effective relationship can create a powerful shift in one’s life.

Key takeaways:

  • The role of the mentor and mentee
  • Finding the right mentor
  • The different types of mentoring and maximizing mentorship
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As Women of Whistler drives the development for business women in Whistler, mentorship is a key piece of the equation to create a community where bright ideas are nurtured, growth is accelerated, and integrity is celebrated. Don't miss out on our next Women of Whistler event - Accelerate your Growth With Mentorship (sign up here).

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Where Did The Robin Go?

RobinSpring has definitely sprung in Whistler, with the birds chirping on the still crisp mornings. But where has our infamous round robin gone? Once a standard practice at Women of Whistler events, the round robin was a great way to learn who was in the room so that you could connect with them in the event that they might be able to fill a need that you or your business may have. It was exciting for some, and terrifying for others. Although it lasted less than a minute, for most, the thought of public speaking may have kept them away from our events. When your attendance numbers have increased from an average of 60 amazing women (and occasionally a few good men) to closer to 90, the round robin grew into an unmanageable part of the events. With technology and social media changing the networking landscape, we decided to let the robin fly away to another nest, and instead leverage the power of networking at the event. Each year we try to include a topic that will inspire you to be a better networker; more of a connecter. Currently, if you wish to share your contact information with those attending WOW events, you can select to do so when you register for the event. We provide an information sheet with attendee contact details on the back of your seat at the event, and we also send the list out to everyone prior to the event in our final reminder email. We are always looking for ways to support you better, and encourage you to share your thoughts and ideas with us in each post event survey, or by contacting us. You can also find us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram (new – stay tuned!). We encourage you to join the conversations and share on social. While the robin may have left our nest, we hope you enjoy the networking we provide at our WOW events. Join us on May 17th at Nita Lake Lodge to give WOW networking a try! At the bottom of this page is our newsletter sign up if you want to be notified about our events via email.
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How to Get What You Want out of Life!

The Art of Negotiation

The title of this Women of Whistler event immediately grabbed my attention and I am fairly certain I am not alone.  While we are lucky enough to live in beautiful Whistler and enjoy this amazing lifestyle (let’s face it, life is pretty good here), there are still things to be accomplished, dreams to fulfill, checks to be made on bucket lists. And just how do we get what we want out of life?  Perhaps an opportunity to learn more is presenting itself.

Negotiation always seemed to me like a term for corporate executives in large firms.  According to the event speaker, Cindy Roney, the art of negotiation is applicable to more than just the big boys in suits, it’s a skill we all should have in our toolbox.  And a skill we can fine tune.

Cynthia’s bio lists an impressive number of accomplishments.  She has extensive experience in executive business and leadership coaching and is CEO of her own coaching firm.  Her clients include Royal Bank and Telus, as well as new start-ups. I will be paying close attention when she talks about why women often feel uncomfortable negotiating, why we don’t ask for what we want, and the how consequences of not negotiating show up in our personal and professional lives. Sign me up.

The key takeaways listed on www.womenofwhistler.com

  • The top 10 traits of great negotiators & top 10 negotiating no-no’s
  • A simple 5 step negotiation process to get what you want
  • Self-assessment tool shows how you measure up as an effective negotiator

Tickets for the December 10th event are available at the Whistler Chamber of Commerce for what promises to be a very interactive and informative evening at Nita Lake Lodge.

Lynn Gadsby

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(Net)working It: Confessions of a Super-Connector

Out of the Mouth of Babes

Networking is one of those business methods that is hard to define. What is successful networking? Does it have to end with a business proposition or can it be simply getting the word out?

Networking has always been interesting for me, I loved speaking to people and discussing business ideas. I never thought of myself as actively networking, just sharing ideas that would complement our businesses.

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Breaking Trail with the Women of Whistler

 Unconventional Career Wisdom from Whistler Women

Women of Whistler

Most people will agree that Whistler is a very unique place in the world.  We do things a bit differently here, don’t we?  Our mountain playground is the center of many local social and business lives.  Our challenges are different too, such as getting in a few turns before work or consistently struggling with keeping good local staff.  So I think it makes sense that a career path carved out in Whistler would be a bit unique too.

What does a Whistler career path look like anyway?

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Women Being Bold

Women of Whistler Present - Women Being Bold with Michele Romanow

The title of the next Women of Whistler event says a lot not only about the speaker, but also about our group as a whole. Women of Whistler's purpose is to drive the development of professional women in Whistler. For this to happen it takes some bold ladies to pull it all together. I was recently a bit bold and put my name into the ring to join the organizing committee for Women of Whistler and was over the moon when I was accepted. It took some courage to jump in, but that’s what our next speaker, Michele Romanow, is all about. I recently read an article on Entrepreneur.com, which listed these seven traits as the ones successful entrepreneurs need to succeed: Read More