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How Do Women Perceive Leadership? TAKE THIS SURVEY!

My name is Monika Sumra and I am currently conducting my PHD thesis on women’s leadership at the University of Toronto in the departments of Anthropology and Collaborative Program in Women’s Health.

For my PHD thesis I am seeking to understand how women, in their own voices, perceive and embody experiences related to leadership. The data of this is being collected through a survey, hair analysis of specific hormone levels and finger measurements. Whether a woman considers herself a leader or not, I am interested in understanding what they feel leadership is all about. I am the first to combine a multidisciplinary and holistic approach within this area of research, which simultaneously considers social, psychological and biological aspects of women’s lived experiences within the context of leadership. In addition to understanding what leadership means to women from a socially constructivist perspective, I am also examining the potential role that hormones play in relation to leadership behaviours.

Social context influences hormonal levels and vice versa so I am keen on understanding whether there is an interplay or not which I am conducting through hair analysis looking at 5 specific hormones that have been linked to specific leadership traits (though this has not been investigated in women or men for that matter). In addition I am also examining the potential link between differences in length between the ring and index fingers which have been linked to in-utero exposure to increased levels of testosterone. Any way you can help is great! You can just fill out the survey anonymously an not provide a hair sample or finger measurements. I am also very much interested in understanding the role that parents and other mentors play in the development of leadership traits and would love to arrange to talk to you about this if you would like to share your thoughts!

I have received ethics approval for my project and my survey has already garnered much attention and support of many women and women’s groups. This is validates my research goal which is to add to conversation on women currently understand and experience leadership . My hope is through my research, to further inform and facilitate the development of strategies that focus on developing mentorship strategies to hone qualities of leadership in women through more intentional and specific approaches that reflect the needs of women today. Rest assured your anonymity and confidentiality is completely protected.

After returning to U of T in 2008 after a 25-year hiatus, I finally finished my BSc. 2011, completed my MSc in 2013 and am now working on m PHD. It is never too late to learn and never to late to give back. My goal is through my research to give back to women in any way I can.

Please help me achieve this by completing my survey here. If you have any questions please email at

take survey


Monika Sumra U of T Anthropology graduateMonika Sumra is a successful business owner, academic, teacher, mother of two adult sons, wife, author and researcher. After selling her successful floral business Desert Rose in 2008, and with the strong encouragement of her husband Steven, Monika returned to the University of Toronto to complete her Bachelor’s degree. Her interest in the study of women and their role in society led to the completion of her BSc with high distinction in 2011, followed by her MSc in 2013 which, examined the relationship between multiple-role women (“superwomen”) and stress. Currently, Monika is simultaneously acting as a leadership coach versed in Toyota Kata for Optivity Consulting and pursuing her PhD examining psychological, social and physiological correlates of women in leadership roles. “As leaders, women are collaborative, driven, not afraid of trial and error, strategic and passionate. My goal is to help women leaders further develop, enhance and target these traits in productive and self-fulfilling ways.”


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What Have I Done to Myself? Where Did I Go Wrong?

Written by: Sara Clarke – Owner, London Mompreneurs®

sara clarkeSo here I sit…June 30, 2015 at 11:30pm and I wonder…How did this happen? What did I do? When did I do this to myself? You see I was at the in laws tonight and my sister and I were on Facebook, looking through some of my profile photos from 2012 and there it was…this photo! (at left). People started commenting on it, saying ‘you look awesome’, ‘hawt’ and ‘WOW’ – but this is not me today:

This was me in June of 2012, 3 years ago, almost to the day. Me, at the end of my journey of becoming a better and healthier Sara. I fit into those shorts like it was nobody’s business. I was 147 pounds and man I felt so good, like I could take on the world and change it. There was no stopping me. Oh, I forgot to mention that this is also when “Mompreneurs®” came into my life…  Continue reading What Have I Done to Myself? Where Did I Go Wrong?

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Why Personality Matters at Trade Shows

Lightbulb“It takes money to make money.”  First time exhibitors dive right into the planning, preparing, designing and printing the image-making, eye-popping, come-hither booths, but pay little attention to one very potent detail: Peak human presence. So while you’re spending money on printing costs (business cards, printed marketing material and banners) and the materials to build an all-eyes-on-me booth, don’t neglect a small investment in yourself or your staff. The person representing your booth is representing your business. What could be more important than that? You had better make sure that you pick someone who is well-prepared, well-mannered and well-groomed, otherwise you can flush your investment down the toilet.

Studies show that trade show exhibiting is one of the top results-producing methods to market a business, so it’s imperative that you pay as much attention to the who as you spend on the what in order to get the most bang for your buck.  Continue reading Why Personality Matters at Trade Shows

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Janis Baigent-Chase — The Rad Kat

Many people dream of owning their own businesses and the reasons are often as unique as the people themselves. For Mompreneur® Member Janis Baigent-Chase, spending more time with her young daughter was a driving factor. And when it came to what type of business she wanted to own, Janis decided to follow her passion for beauty products.What makes Rad Kat so special comes from another of Janis’ passions – animal rights. Rad Kat’s soaps are not just organic, natural and handmade, they’re certified cruelty-free and vegan by PETA.

We interviewed Janis and spoke about the inspiration behind Rad Kat as well as the struggles – and rewards – of building a business from scratch.

Janis Chase The Rad Kat Organic Soaps - Mompreneur Member

What inspired you to start your own business?
There were a few things that inspired me to make the jump to become an entrepreneur. The first one was to do what I was passionate about (finally) and go full force with it. The second was to have my own hours (even though it turned into more hours than a regular job for the first while!), combined with having more flexibility to be there for my daughter was a major attribute. To go back to the first point; to do what I was passionate about…most people ask themselves “what would make ME happy”?

When the opportunity came, it hit me like a brick that I CAN do this, I can make the products that I am passionate about, but put a more natural feel to it.

I love body products but I also wanted to incorporate something about animals into it. I am a huge animal lover and have always wanted to do something in my career with animals. This is where I provide some of my charity work to and am also PETA approved and Leaping Bunny Approved (no animal testing). The thought of it was extremely exciting and motivating which led to research, development and innovation. To gain motivation to do something for me was a very hard thing in my life. When I finally found it, it felt like my life was starting to balance again.

Continue reading Janis Baigent-Chase — The Rad Kat

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Can You Live Your Dream While Making Money?

We all want to be happy and to have the freedom to be ourselves, but what if there is even more to it than you first realized?  What if your desire can point you towards an individual purpose that will also meet your financial needs?

There are tangible ways to make money from your desires because real talents are attached to your desires.  This is as true for you as it is for any other woman.  Wouldn’t you love to be able to do what you love to do AND still get paid for it?  It’s kind of like the old saying of getting paid to play.

The secret is in discovering how to go about creating this amazing future without sabotaging yourself in the process.  Us women are just a little too good at holding ourselves back!

Giving Yourself Permission

The truth is that your desires are in your heart for a reason. You were meant to use them to impact people in a positive way.  It’s time to give yourself permission to use your desires and the gifts attached to them. You are worth the opportunity to express these desires, and others are equally worth receiving this greatness you have to offer.

 Trusting You Have What it Takes

Many women get tripped up by the need to be perfect first.  The irony is that the “perfect gift” already resides in you! It simply needs an open avenue of expression.  You automatically grow as you express your greatest desires.  I invite you to take a leap of faith and choose to trust that you already have what it takes to move forward, NOW!


Exploring Your Passion

Now that you’ve opened to possibility, I invite you to really explore what you are most passionate about.  What would you REALLY love to do if anything were possible and money were no object at all?

You probably have more than one gift, so focus on the one that means the most.  Don’t be surprised if it happens to be the desire or gift that you previously felt was the least possible to accomplish.  Keep reminding yourself to be open to all your options so that you don’t block the ideas from coming.

Committing to Your Passion

Countless women say, “I don’t know what my passion or purpose is!” That’s often because they don’t allow themselves to dream.  They’ve already decided that they cannot do it.  The choice to live with passion or to give up on your dreams is strictly up to you. However, if it is in your heart, there must be a way to do it!

I invite you to allow yourself to dream about the many ways you could turn your passions into income. You’ll find the most effective way to do this is to “commit” to expressing your desires and then choosing to trust that the best way to express them will come to mind.  Don’t worry about “how” you will get there until you know what you want to do!

Exploring Your Possibilities

As you explore what you really want to do to create income, start thinking of the positive effects. Consider how you would feel and what your life would look like if you were earning income from your desires.  Allow yourself to get excited as you think of the positive effects on your relationships, your children and even your self esteem.

If you still feel unclear about what you could do, begin exploring what other people do to express their desires as a means of income.  Investigate the types of businesses that offer the types of service that align with your passion.  Set the intention to find a way to do what you really love to do.  With the computer and telephone, the world is at your fingertips.

When you open up and explore your options, you give yourself permission to find the answer.  Allow yourself to discover all your avenues without shooting the ideas down. After all, an idea that doesn’t appeal to you might just trigger an idea that will.

Taking Your Next Step

Once you have a clearer picture on what you’d love to do, I invite you to consider your next step.  Ask yourself what needs to happen to take one small step towards your goal.

This step might even be igniting your passion in an area before you recognize how to earn income from it.  If you love the arts, begin to pursue the arts.  If you love working with children, do fun things with children.  Immerse yourself in your passion and then ask yourself how you can turn it into income.  You may be surprised at what comes to you.

It is so exciting when you fully recognize that you can take your desires a step further into earning income.  Can you imagine how much happier you would be if you earned your money based on desire? Consider taking that next step and living out the life of your dreams.  It really is possible!  Try to take the advice of Confucius, “Find something that you love to do and you’ll never work a day in your life.”

(Photo from: David Castillo Dominici/, Article adapted from “Women Entrepreneurs: Can Your Desires Really Make You Money?” by Tami Szabo)



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Boost Your Productivity!


We all want to be more productive, but despite our best intentions, we often end up wasting valuable time. Many people fall into the trap of focusing too much on how hard they are working, rather than what they are actually accomplishing.  The trick is not necessarily to work harder, but to work smarter.  Here are some easy ways to harness your energy and be as productive as possible:

1.  Identify what you really want.  Be clear about what you really want.  It could be your business or a project or your intention for the day, but be able to articulate it clearly, succinctly and in plain language.  Use a “vision” to guide and inspire you to play a bigger game.  You can have different visions for different parts of your life. Get a successful colleague, mentor or coach to be your sounding board and to sharpen your focus.  When you are clear on what you really want, the next steps will become much more obvious and you’ll have the start of your game plan.

2. Have a “Can Do” attitude.  Your mindset and attitude are great predictors of success.  Everyone talks to themselves, (what a relief to find that out!) so why not tell yourself positive things.  Use your “self-talk” to train yourself to be your own number one fan.  When a gremlin of doubt or fear pops up, squash it with one of your cheers.  You go girl!

3.  Focus, focus, focus!  You can have time and energy, but if you have a lack of focus then you are easily subject to distractions.  Separate what you need to get done into two categories. The first category is the heavy-lifting thinking activities that require high energy, high degree of focus and dedicated time without interruptions. Items in this category include putting together your vision, game plan and presentation.  The second category is for smaller and easier tasks that can be done when you might have lower energy and less focus.  This would include items such as returning phone calls and sending short emails.  Become aware of your energy levels and create an environment that allows you to focus on what you want to get done.

4. Be passionate and proud.  If you are passionate about what you do and love doing it, you will find your day easier and a lot more fun.  One added plus is that you will be better at it.  Do more things that you love and fewer things you don’t.  Try ditching or delegating the items that you don’t love and watch your productivity skyrocket. If you are proud of what you do and really believe in the service or product that you deliver, then you will be more bold and compelled to share your message and excitement with the world.

5.  Build an inspirational environment.  Determine what motivates and inspires you.  Do you need a deadline?  Do you need some accountability from a friend or colleague?  Do you need a connection to a “mastermind” group or a one-on-one coach?  Do you need to have a beautiful clutter-free space to work with an inspiring picture on the wall that makes you be, act, and do better?  Surround yourself with inspiring people and things you love and you too will inspired to deliver your best.

6.  Know when good enough is good enough.  If you suffer from “perfection-itis”, then you may want to consider reducing your standards to get more accomplished.  Trust yourself and be confident in what you know.  Instead of long detailed presentations, articles and emails, try precise and concise messages delivered in plain, simple language.  Sometimes “good enough” affords you time to deal with other opportunities.

7.  Embrace your fear. Fear has a place in the world.  It keeps us safe from potential harm.  However, fear can be self-limiting.  Be aware of your fears and use this knowledge to fuel you to stop procrastinating.  Do the things that you are trying to avoid and you might make progress faster.

8. Be decisive. The volume and speed of available information has dramatically increased over the past ten years and without having an incoming decision filter, it is easy to get quickly overloaded. This is the time to hone your decision making skills with everything that you touch.  Start listening to and using your intuition- test things out by using your senses and your heart instead of just your head.  Try making decisions in a blink of an eye and see how that stacks up to a longer research-intensive decision.  Break down big decisions into small mini-decisions so you can act. learn, and alter your path.  Does your decision move you towards or away from your vision?

9. Flex your muscles.  Flex your muscles and get fit and active.  As your body gets stronger you will feel more in control, calmer and more confident.  You will also boost your endorphins (who needs coffee?) to give you more energy and focus.

Never forget that your time is your most important asset and the way that you spend your time will determine the level of success that you experience with your business. You may not need to make big changes in the way that you work; sometimes even a small change in your habits can lead to extraordinary accomplishments.  Consider the words of Paul Meyer, “Productivity is never an accident. It is always the result of a commitment to excellence, intelligent planning, and focused effort.”

(Photo from:  ambro/, Article adapted from “9 Ways to Boost Your Productivity and Your Success” previously published on



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Imagine How Your Small Business Could Grow with $100,000*

Are you ready for your chance to win $100,000 to help your business blossom?

TELUS and The Globe and Mail have launched  the 5th annual Small Business Challenge, a contest designed to help small business owners overcome their biggest business challenges with a $100,000 grant and additional prizes from TELUS.


Take a moment to hear from the previous four winners of this contest and how they were able to transform their businesses.  Last year’s winner was Vancouver Island Salt Co. This year, it could be you.


Find out how this year’s contest is even better than ever, with $150,000 worth of prizing – more money, more prizes, and more ways to win. Plus, your business can be profiled in The Globe and Mail so it can get the attention it deserves.


Telus Small Business Challenge

Enter before June 1st and your small business could be the best of the bunch.

Learn More

Telus member discount for mompreneurs and business women in canada

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Erica Eugenio – Eugenio Counselling

Erica Eugenio is an Elite Mompreneur member based out of Guelph, Ontario. As the owner of Eugenio Counselling Services, she is dedicated to helping clients be empowered to improve their emotional well being, enhancing their ability to manage interpersonal relationships, and becoming the best that they can be. We are excited to share Erica’s Success Story!

mompreneur Erica Eugenio of Eugenio Counselling Services in Guelph Ontario

What inspired you to become an entrepreneur?
Having my first son inspired me to become an entrepreneur. I wanted the best of both worlds, to be able to stay at home with my son and be able to work. Having a private practice was something I knew I would eventually do, but the time wasn’t right until my son was born.

What’s the best part about owning your own business?
I love that I can run my business how I want. I’m not tied to organizational policies and procedures. The very best part is having the flexibility to go on field trips, go to swim classes, and be at home when the boys are sick. Who better to take care them when they aren’t feeling well! Continue reading Erica Eugenio – Eugenio Counselling

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Survey findings show many Mompreneurs do not have an advisor, yet need one*

was a leading sponsor at the 2015 National Mompreneurs® Conference. Representatives from across the company shared the many ways Manulife supports small businesses in Canada – directing Mompreneurs to information and resources available on

Manulife also hosted a “relaxation lounge” where Mompreneurs were treated to a free manicure or pedicure. Conference goers learned that Manulife isn’t just a global insurance company – it supports small businesses with valuable financial and wellness solutions tailored to the needs of smaller organizations. While at the relaxation lounge, members completed a short survey that helped identify their financial needs and priorities.

* When asked, “For advice, do you use a trusted professional advisor, personal contact, or ‘go with your gut’ to make important decisions”, 41 per cent of attendees indicated they are not using an advisor.

* When asked, “What are one or two areas in your business life that you wish you could improve?”, attendees cited

> Finding new customers or markets (25%),

> Managing expenses (23%),

> Work/life balance (22%), and

> Business planning (19%) as their top priorities.

These findings show that while many women in business do not currently work with an advisor, they are facing a number of issues that could be addressed with an advisor’s support. Manulife thanks all who attended and visited the relaxation lounge during the 2015 Mompreneur Awards Conference – we look forward to helping you grow your network and support your businesses!**

To learn more about the ways a professional financial advisor and Manulife can help your business, take a look at the one-stop resource for smart business owners:


*Many attendees completed a short informal survey that helped identify their financial needs and were provided an opt-in for follow-up.

** Manulife’s sponsorship of the Mompreneurs organization will continue throughout 2015.



Un sondage montre que de nombreuses femmes d’affaires n’ont pas de conseiller et gagneraient à en avoir un*

Manulife financial findings: Mompreneurs need advisors

Manuvie était un des principaux commanditaires de la conférence Mompreneurs® 2015. Des représentants de divers secteurs de la Société ont présenté les nombreuses façons dont Manuvie soutient les PME au Canada et signalé aux participantes l’information et les ressources offertes à l’adresse

Manuvie avait aussi prévu un coin détente où l’on offrait gracieusement aux participantes des soins esthétiques des mains ou des pieds. Les participantes ont appris que la stature mondiale de Manuvie ne l’empêche pas d’épauler les PME, à qui elle offre des solutions fort utiles et adaptées à leurs besoins en matière de gestion financière et de mieux-être. Dans le coin détente, les participantes étaient invitées à répondre à un court sondage qui a permis de mieux cerner leurs besoins financiers et leurs priorités.

* À la question « Pour vos décisions importantes, consultez-vous un conseiller professionnel ou quelqu’un de votre entourage en qui vous avez confiance, ou suivez-vous plutôt votre instinct? », 41 % des participantes ont répondu qu’elles ne consultaient pas de conseiller.

* Priées d’indiquer une ou deux choses qu’elles aimeraient améliorer dans leur vie professionnelle, elles ont désigné les priorités suivantes :

> prospection de nouveaux clients ou de nouveaux marchés (25 %);

> gestion des dépenses (23 %);

> conciliation travail / vie personnelle (22 %);

> planification stratégique (19 %).

On voit bien que de nombreuses femmes d’affaires se passent d’un conseiller professionnel alors qu’elles éprouvent certaines difficultés pour lesquelles le soutien d’un conseiller pourrait leur être utile. Manuvie remercie toutes celles d’entre vous qui ont participé à la conférence Mompreneurs 2015 et fait une halte au coin détente. Nous nous faisons une joie de vous aider à étendre votre réseau de contacts et de soutenir vos entreprises!**

Pour de plus amples renseignements sur ce qu’un conseiller financier professionnel et Manuvie peuvent faire pour votre entreprise, veuillez visiter notre guichet unique pour propriétaires de petite entreprise avisés :


* De nombreuses participantes ont répondu à un court sondage informel qui a permis de mieux cerner leurs besoins financiers; ce sondage était accompagné d’une offre de suivi.

** Manuvie continuera d’appuyer The Mompreneurs au cours de 2015.


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Better Business: Tips to Commit to a Healthier Planet

written by Maria Locker, Founder & CEO of Mompreneurs®

Every year in April, we celebrate Earth Day – a time to make commitments to better our planet, to focus on ways to reduce, reuse and recycle, and to be a good citizen for 24 hours. But what happens after the day is done? What are you doing as an entrepreneur, as a business owner, as a community leader, to make our planet a better place for those we will one day leave it to?

In my earlier days as an Elementary school teacher, Earth Day was my ‘thing’ – I loved teaching young children what it meant to really cherish this place we call home, and I headed up several school-wide initiatives to bring awareness to pressing matters such as endangered species. This was especially fun, as we were able to raise money as a school and ‘adopt’ 26 endangered animals and track their whereabouts as a group. We felt we were keeping them safe, and it brought an awareness to students at such a young age that small changes can make a big difference.

Now as an entrepreneur, I occasionally hear of colleagues who employ greener methods of doing business, but I must say the idea of adopting ways to make a positive impact on our planet isn’t discussed nearly as much with adults as it is with children. How can that be possible?! Aren’t we the grown ups? The ones in charge of making the decisions and implementing change for good? Yes we all likely compost at home, and we put out the recycling etc. etc. – but are we as diligent in our businesses?

Here are some ways that you can really make a difference as an entrepreneur, not just on Earth Day, but every day:

  1. Keep a recycling bin handy and close to your desk right in your office (get a fancier bin if the blue box doesn’t cut it for your office decor!). Having the bin close by will help you avoid tossing paper in the garbage.
  2. Stock up on LED light bulbs, rechargeable batteries, recycled toilet paper and paper towels, and chemical-free soaps and detergents when they’re on sale (or use FLIPP to price match!). Having environmentally-friendly office and household staples on hand purchased in bulk helps to avoid last-minute purchases of the not-so-great-for-the-environment alternatives.
  3. Opt to go paperless whenever you can. Do you really need to have every invoice or statement printed out? Many companies now offer incentives for customers and clients to choose the paperless route, and emailing invoices is an easy way to implement this strategy in your own business. Having a disclaimer in your emails is also handy – we particularly like the footer in our marketing team’s emails from BANG! Creative Communications: NO Trees were harmed in the production of this email.  Don’t start now, think twice before you print this out : )
  4. Make a choice to work with other businesses who are committed to environmentally friendly practices. Whether they choose to be Bullfrog Powered, or they LEED certified practices, no matter how big or small the commitment, every act is impactful. As an organization, Mompreneurs® is proud to work with companies like TELUS, who is fully committed to sustainability and bringing greater awareness globally to the importance of taking care of our planet. 
  5. Many retail businesses don’t have strict guidelines enforced by municipalities in regards to recycling and composting of materials. Imagine the amount of compost and recycling coming from restaurants, coffee shops, shopping malls, retail stores, small offices, etc that could be directed away from landfills if a few policies and procedures were put in place by management?! Why wait for the government to make the rules – it’s your business, YOU have the choice and the power to make changes as necessary. Might it cost a bit of money to implement and maintain? Maybe – but it will be well worth it in the end, and you will set yourself and your business as an industry leader when done effectively.

To be quite honest, these are just 5 simple and easy ways to look at making a difference with your business – but one small act of caring each day, one small change in what you toss out, what you print, what you use to make your business run on a daily basis – one small change each day can amount to HUGE changes over the course of 1 year and the many years to follow it. 

I’d love to hear how you are making changes TODAY in your business to help bring positive change to our Earth, and please share what you would like to do TOMORROW to make new changes take place. We are all in this together – one act at a time!


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Maria Locker
Founder & CEO – Mompreneur® Showcase Group Inc.
(image courtesy of ‘ponsulak’ via