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Hey Whistler, Let’s Talk Sustainability!

An Interview with Upcoming WOW Guest Speaker, Ann Duffy

For over 25 years, Ann Duffy, President of The Ann Duffy Group and Whistler local, has engaged teams and organizations to create compelling and practical strategies that enhance their overall environmental performance and social impact. Ann helped to spearhead the creation and execution of sustainability initiatives for events and organizations including the Vancouver 2010 Olympics, FIFA, and MEC. Women of Whistler is excited to welcome Ann as our keynote speaker at our Feb 11 WOW event; Ann Duffy: Sustainability in Practice.

She continues to engage with progressive and sustainable business leaders, has served as an expert member of the IOC Sustainability and Legacy Commission, and has chaired the Canadian Standards Association – Technical Committee for Sustainable Event Management. Ann’s team-work is recognized by industry peers including the North American and the Canadian Green Building Councils, the Globe Foundation, and CERES. 

On Feb 11, Ann is eager to empower WOW event attendees with ideas to help improve the social, environmental, and economic performance of local businesses. This is going to be a great event so we highly recommend grabbing your tickets today!

Our team recently sat down with Ann Duffy to discuss her career in sustainability and gather some more information about her upcoming talk on February 11.

WOW: Hi Ann! Thank you for taking the time to chat with us today. We are so excited for you to speak at our Feb 11 event. Let’s jump right into some questions though!

How did you get introduced to the sustainability landscape? Have you always been passionate about it? When do you first remember being guided in that direction?

Ann Duffy: My father loved the outdoors and his career. His enthusiasm was infectious. We grew up in the country, explored in the great outdoors, and had a massive vegetable garden. This combination certainly influenced me from a young age. Like many, I have always been drawn to nature and am passionate about finding ways people, businesses, and communities can thrive in balance with environment and each other.

WOW: We know that you have worked with many clients trying to win Olympic bids. In the Olympic organization and the sport event industry as a whole, do you believe there is enough consideration and weight held on sustainability?

AD: Yes, I would say big event owners are moving in the right direction! I have worked with mega sport event bidders and organizers like the Olympics, FIFA and definitely see an upswing in attention, commitment, and action toward making these sport events more sustainable and in leaving positive legacies for sport and host regions. Vancouver 2010’s efforts in sustainability have been recognized globally for raising the bar on hosting Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Moving forward, the good news is that athletes and fans are young (and young at heart) and spanning a lifetime. The youth of today are more aware and knowledgeable about the environmental and social challenges in their own backyard and around the world. They live it and many demand responsible action! Many adults do, too. Sport event owners and sponsors are responding by stepping up their efforts. But that being said, we still have a long way to go.

WOW: We know that innovation is very important for sustainability and the work you and your teams produce. How does The Ann Duffy Group create a work environment that supports innovation?

AD: As a consultant, advisor, and workshop leader, my work is inherently collaborative. Teams come together for a project whether it’s creating new strategies, new programs, or improving existing ones. Innovation is inspired by four things:

  1. discovering what has been created, worked well or failed in other and similar situations
  2. brainstorming with project members and stakeholders
  3. having sufficient resources and support from the team leaders to support innovative solutions.
  4. appreciating that some failures will be a part of starting or building on something new.

WOW: Often in Whistler, we get the opportunity for fresh youthful talent but struggle to retain them long term. If you think of team sustainability, what elements do you think are checklist must-haves?

AD: In my experience, young talent stays with organizations for longer time periods when their voices are heard and they have opportunities to develop their ideas and skills in ways that align their own goals and their employers’/businesses’ goals. I notice with the Millennials and Gen Z’s in my life (individuals I have worked with as well as in my own family) that we all want to find our own connections to what is meaningful. It’s inspiring to be a part of something bigger than any one individual, and it’s authentic when team leaders genuinely care. When these attributes are experienced and palpable there is usually greater loyalty.

WOW: As a community, how does Whistler rank in terms of sustainability? 

AD: I see many examples of leadership that reflect strong sustainability in Whistler. Our municipal plans, policies, and programs are strong. The same goes for many of the large corporations and many small businesses in this town.

Where we are today is a result of “the shoulders we stand on” in terms of the sustainability-oriented community and business leaders in the past 20 years. The Fairmont’s hotel greening programs and certification levels are some of the best in class in the hotel industry. The same can be said for Whistler Blackcomb’s work over the past 20 years on waste reduction, renewable energy, and mountain habitat conservation. The RMOW and community collaboration around The Natural Step (http://www.naturalstep.ca/) in 2000 really pivoted this town and resort onto a more focused and community-wide sustainability path. The RMOW’s Whistler2020 community sustainability plan is the follow on to this effort. The range of small business,’ as well as, start-ups and entrepreneurial ventures that have sprung up in the corridor and reflect environmental and social innovations is also worth noting.

I definitely sense renewed interest and commitment by many in Whistler on ways we can become a leader in sustainable tourism, and as a sustainable community in this next critical decade.  Thanks to the activism of our youth (including the 2019 climate strikes), the bold and talented entrepreneurs and start-ups in this town, and the many champions and volunteers who support environmental and community causes – I think we are poised to innovate and demonstrate and yes, evolve to a leadership position in this decade. This will take leadership, a shared plan and collaboration with many throughout this community and corridor.

WOW: Where are the best places to start if you would like to create a strong sustainability plan within your business and lifestyle?

AD: The best place to start is with a mini-self or business sustainability audit.

You can start by inviting your family or your work team along with your key customers or clients to determine what matters most to you and them. Some might really care about saving money and/or reducing waste and/or energy consumption and/or protecting nature and/or supporting human development and/or community causes.

Then you review all the activities you have decision-making power over. Maybe it’s things like purchasing and/or heating and cooling your place or hiring and managing teams and/or getting around (transportation).

From there, you look at what you can do to reduce the environmental impact and/or increase a social and economic benefit. Maybe you choose to eat a plant-based meal an extra day in the week or purchase something re-used or made locally/regionally, take transit one extra day in the week, or maybe you make it easier for employees to work part-time or full-time with flexible hours. Maybe you reach out to nearby communities like First Nations, people reflecting diversity and the like? I like the Greenhub’s quote: “I’m just one person, said 7 billion people.”

As momentum develops, you can expand your actions to reduce your environmental impact even further and increase your social impact. I think this can be especially challenging for small business owners. This is where the power of collaboration and partnerships in expected and unusual ways can be really powerful and compelling. 

Finally, in this new decade, it is as important as ever to engage with our democracy – locally, regionally and nationally. Whether its voting in elections and/or providing feedback or speaking up on issues that matter to you, your family, your customers and your community. This is where the multiplier effect helps to drive change and desired action on a larger scale beyond our own spheres of influence.

WOW: What are some key points you would like to share regarding your upcoming speaking event with WOW?

AD: Well, exactly 10 years after the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Games, we find ourselves embarking on a new and pivotal decade. Change is happening and some challenges are getting bigger – especially related to our climate change.

I will be threading key sustainability highlights and stories from the 2010 Games especially around climate action that were significant and many of these kinds of approaches will be especially relevant for the kind of actions we need to adapt and take on over these next 10 years. My tips and stories are designed to support the business owners, managers and curious people in general on ways to improve their own business with simple yet strategic (long term) practical action. Some of these actions lead to more economic success, other actions definitely generate employee loyalty and community pride, and some generate measurable positive environmental and social impact.

Underpinning much of this is the power of partnerships – formal and informal. I will share some inspiring examples and ideas on how sometimes unusual partnerships lead to scaling up and accelerating success towards shared goals.

I believe the majority of people in Whistler care about the environment, care about the people in our community and want to do the right thing. The world is changing quickly and some of the “right things” are changing. There’s a lot to consider and we can all learn from each other. It is time to up our game and we are in this together! So, let’s go!

Ann will be speaking at our Feb 11 WOW Event, taking place at The Fairmont Chateau Whistler. Attendees will walk away feeling empowered with ideas to help them improve the social, environmental and economic performance of their business’.

For more information about Ann Duffy, Women of Whistler, and this event, please visit http://womenofwhistler.com/ann-duffy-sustainability-in-practice/

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Get to Know Paulina Cameron

Paulina Cameron is a force to be reckoned with: a CEO, founder, keynote speaker, board director and mother, she also became a bestselling author with Canada 150 Women: Conversations with Leaders, Champions, and Luminaries. As the CEO of the Forum for Women Entrepreneurs, there is no one better than Paulina to lead a discussion about where women in Canada are at (with data) and what’s on the horizon.

The Women of Whistler is excited to welcome Paulina to the stage as our first guest speaker of 2019 for her presentation on The Power of Women in Canada: Inspiring stories and observations from talking with 150 of Canada’s most influential women.

To give you a taste of what’s to come, we chatted with Paulina to get some insight into her experience, and what to expect from of her talk on Wednesday, February 13.

Meantime, make sure you grab your tickets before they sell out! Register here

 

What inspired you to write this book?

 I am constantly inspired by stories of ambitious women around me - I think we all are, right? And, I know how hard it is for each of us to toot our own horns - I’d way rather talk about my amazing friends. So this book was a way to combine both: be a source of inspiration and celebration. Canada is also a very humble country and we are home to incredible leaders that I wanted to highlight. I also frequently hear that there just aren’t enough women - well - I have a spreadsheet of about 1,800 of them in addition to these 150… and I know there are many more!

 

150 women - I’m sure there were lots of differences, but also probably quite a few similarities amongst these inspiring women. What were some of the most common traits you saw repeated?

Many women emphasized how much their community meant and mattered to them. There was also one very specific theme that many women, especially those over the age of 50 expressed. You’ll have to hear about it in person, I don’t think I’m allowed to swear here on the blog… 😉

 

You’re a mother as well as a business woman. Did what you learned while writing this book change who you are as a mother? The topic of our last talk was “The Personal is Professional.” Do you believe that, and vice versa?

I had a one-year-old while writing this book, which was wild. I’ve always felt a blend of personal and professional, and that works well for me. I’ve never thought of myself as “career-driven” but rather “impact” or “purpose” driven, which translates to all aspects of life. One of the narratives that I desperately wish there were more examples and stories of is women who, after having babies, feel even more ambitious and driven. All I heard while pregnant was that my life, and priorities, were going to change. And while that is certainly true, at the same time my ambition and clarity got way stronger and I’m even more focused and targeted with my work and the impact I can make. Also, the phrase “it’s not personal, it’s business” has always been strange to me. We’re all walking bundles of emotions and energy, of course everything we do, whether at home or at work, is personal! We’re humans!

 

How did you come up with the questions? What different layers of these women’s personalities were you trying to reveal, and why was this important?

I had a set of questions each woman answered, and then some that were tailored based on aspects of their story I wanted to draw out. Also because they were live interviews, either via phone or in person, I could just ebb and flow with the conversation based on what came up. Thanks to this, two women decided to open up and for the first time publicly share that they were victims of domestic violence and abuse, and the effects of those stories have continued to be tremendous to date.

 

And, borrowing from one of your questions: If you could have dinner with any woman, alive or dead, who would it be, and why?

Such a hard question to answer!  Currently on my mind is Arlan Hamilton of Backstage Capital - she’s a fierce women advocating for causes I’m totally aligned with, and I’d love to talk with her about resilience, ambition, dreaming big, and building community.

 

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Get to Know: Carol Borghesi

With a career that’s spanned 30+ years and taken her around the globe, to say that Carol Borghesi has learned a lesson or two along the way, about both work and life, is an understatement.

Navigating changing standards, shifting expectations and different cultures, Carol did the only things she knew how to do: challenged convention, took on change without fear, and made it work. In doing so she found great professional success and, unexpectedly, found her way home to herself.

We can’t wait to welcome Carol to the stage as our second guest speaker of the 2018/2019 Women of Whistler season for her presentation on The Personal is Professional.

To give you a taste of what’s to come, we chatted with Carol to get some insight into her experience, and what to expect from of her talk on Tuesday, November 27.

In your bio it says that you’ve moved through moments of “getting it right and getting it spectacularly wrong.” Which do you think have been more powerful?
That’s a toss up. I was and continue to be motivated by positive outcomes. Yet I wasn’t always as open to learning as I was in my younger years. It was later in my career when I had to learn the hard way, thanks to the curse of knowledge. The curse of knowledge is the limiting assumption that you’re usually right when you’re a so-called expert - even if its only in your mind. I made mistakes - some willfully as I thought being right was more important than having people with me. Being knocked back really taught me the most vital lessons in humility and leadership, but it took me longer than I would like to admit to change my approach.
 
Did you have a lightbulb moment in your career where you realized you could be yourself AND successful? Or did this come over time?
I did! When I worked for BC Tel Mobility in the late 80s, I attended a fundraising event which featured a speech by one of the sponsoring companies. He was the first funny, irreverent and extremely good business event speaker I’d seen. I was hooked from then on in: why not be myself instead of a version of professional that struck me as woefully out-of-date. I used my sense of humour and irreverence for hierarchy and bureaucracy to call out the need for innovation and fresh thinking. This came after exposure to the changing leadership theory of that decade. The old command and control model was beginning to fall out of favour. So timing was on my side. In any event, feedback was that I was down to earth. That translated to being approachable, even as I was promoted to increasingly more senior jobs. In turn, I benefited from access to employee feedback. And that made all the difference in our success.
 
Do you still have moments where you struggle to find balance between personal and professional?
Yes. It's progress not perfection - a mindset that took me many years to embrace. I think we are under pressure to be successful in the very narrow sense of the word: financially. We are convinced we need more and better so we work more and harder. I am seduced by it myself because that’s what I did. Very driven, very focused and very tightly wound. And I lapse into that persona every now and again. When it does, my ego takes over and I'm less connected to others.

It is insidious: individualism means we are all leaders when that’s just not the case. Everyone is a follower in some area or another in their lives. Yet we don’t honour that role in popular culture, let alone business literature. Collectivism, social connectivity, and concern and care for community is as much a part of a successful life as our own personal growth.
 
What do you think men can learn from your talk?
The same messages as women. I have masculine characteristics which I value as much as my feminine characteristics. I believe everyone does to some degree - human characteristics are a continuum not separate categories. I know this from working with men and women. I know what expectations and the pressure to fit in can do to people’s behaviour at work. No one is immune to going along to get along. Be aware of why you have the views you have and make room for others ways and means; redraw competition as a collective effort and be human. That is to say fallible; vulnerable and available to others.
 
Why do you think this is an important topic for business women and men in Whistler to hear?
I am concerned for people that are working extremely hard under challenging circumstances. We can lose ourselves in the race to succeed. Becoming someone else is a real and present danger. I think having this discussion about the value of being authentic reminds us to really live.

Make sure you grab your tickets before they sell out! Register here.

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Get to Know: Devon Brooks

To put it simply, Devon Brooks changed the game. She co-founded Blo, the world’s first and largest franchise chain of Blow Dry Bars. The company now spans four countries, with 100+ locations, and has attracted collaborations with international mega-brands like Mattel, Guess, Topshop and Gwyneth Paltrow.

Since then she’s spent a decade supporting hundreds of creatives, professionals, start-ups, and founders in articulating and realizing their goals as a business coach, and now has her sights set on disrupting the personal-development landscape with her newest venture, Sphere, enhancing the experience of personal coaching.

We can’t wait to welcome Devon to the stage as our first guest speaker of the 2018/2019 Women of Whistler speaker series season for her presentation on The Conversations It Takes to Grow.

To give you a taste of what’s to come, we chatted with Devon to get some insight into her experience, and what to expect from of her talk on Thursday, September 27.

What are some of the highs and lows that’ve been a part of your journey?


Starting my first business, Blo, was one of the richest experiences of my life. I was experiencing tremendous wins at work with my co-founders - as our business had such early success. Whilst simultaneously going to through the judicial process after experiencing two major traumas and processing a PTSD diagnosis. I was about 21 and it was a mosaic of highs and lows.


What is a challenge you continue to face?


One of the hardest parts of being the leader of an organization is having to make big decisions often, and sometimes with less information than you'd like. That's why questions are so important - because you have to ask the good ones.


If you could give a piece of advice to your past self when she was starting out on her entrepreneurial path, what would you say?


The best indication of how someone will behave in the future is how they are behaving now. 



The subject of your talk is “The Conversations it Takes to Grow.” How has conversation been transformational for your business?


Because every time we ask questions and have questions asked of us we face a mirror. We face ourselves.

Make sure you grab your tickets before they sell out! Register here

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You Don’t Hate Mondays. You Hate Your Job.

By Tracy Hutton

When I share with people that I’m a professional strengths coach, they usually give me a cursory up and down look and I easily read their bewildered minds as wondering “Really? You don’t look like you’re super ripped. You look sorta mushy.” Of course, they’re too polite to say what’s on their minds, so I always offer an additional distinction, “I’m not like a (flexes arms) strength coach, I’m a strengths coach – emphasis on the plural. By that I mean that I support people in discovering their comparative advantage and how to offer it up in service of others. You know, I help people love their work.” Which is always met with an, “Ohhhhhh,” and then “I could really use some help there.” Read More

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Take a Coffee Break – it’s Good for Business

I’ve always made a point of scheduling a coffee ‘meeting’ at least twice a week. - one is with someone new that I’ve just met and the other is usually a colleague that I haven’t seen for a while. I’ve made it part of my weekly routine and business plan.

More than ever, especially in these uncertain economic times, connections and relationships are worth their weight in gold because you do business with people, not things. No amount of cold calling, sales promotions, or advertising will equal the amount of business you can acquire from someone who knows you, trusts you and will recommend you to their customers. These are the people you want to be with. These are the people you want to do business with. Read More

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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