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Mompreneur® Awards Spotlight on Julie Rock of Julie Rock Photography

Julie Rock is a Finalist for The 2020 Mompreneur® Award of Distinction, recognizing her success and leadership in the service industry as a successful business owner with Julie Rock Photography.

Mompreneur Award finalist Julie Rock of Julie Rock Photography

Julie has had a passion for photography and a camera in her hand for as long as she can remember. She was gifted her first camera as a young child. That camera went everywhere with her! Eventually, Julie inherited her stepdad’s Minolta, which she used until she was introduced to the digital world. She was now able to to explore her creativity to the max! In 2008, Julie married her  husband Tyler. Between 2010 & 2014, they added three more beautiful children to their growing family. Their family was now complete. Today, the Rock household is full of life, laughter and a whole lot of noise.

From capturing their first few days of life to their first birthdays and catching those sweet natural expressions of innocence that only children have, Julie loves providing captures of those special moments for each of her clients. Maybe it’s because of the unique joy and experiences children bring to her life, that Julie is so passionate about giving each family she works with the gift of memories.

Julie’s Tips for Other Women Thinking of Starting a Business:

  1. Find your entrepreneur tribe. Being able to give advice, share ideas that are outside the box, support one another through the highs and lows, are what will you help get navigate the roller coaster of being an entrepreneur.
  2. “Don’t worry about what others say or do, just stay true to you.” Don’t get caught up in what others are doing in your industry. Figure out what you want to do, what is best for you and your business and stay focused on that.
  3. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. It is ok to admit that you don’t know it all. Starting and running a successful business is hard work. It takes time to learn. Find a mentor. Reach out to someone that has been running their business for a while and pick their brain.
  4. Have a stress outlet. Running a business and juggling a family, learning to balance is a real struggle. Remember that you have to look after YOU in order to be able to look after everyone else.
  5. Don’t be afraid to say “No”! It is ok to say no to something or someone that may not be beneficial to you both.

How I wish I knew all of this when I was starting out! These tips are from personal experiences over the years. I have gained this knowledge through not the best circumstances, but these have helped me to become the successful entrepreneur that I am today.

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Mompreneur® Awards Spotlight on Jacqueline De’Ath of Homeworks Etc.

Jacqueline De’Ath is a Finalist for The 2020 Mompreneur® Award of Distinction, recognizing her success and leadership in the service industry as a successful business owner with Homeworks Etc.

Mompreneur Award finalist Jacqueline De'Ath of Homeworks Etc.

Jacqueline is passionate about home décor, especially handmade. She recognizes the impact that decorating a home can have on family growth and connection. She also knows that we are all creative beings, and that we long for connection with others.  Crafting together fosters community – a wonderful opportunity to feel a part of something special, to unleash creativity, and to share a common passion. When not decorating cozy nooks in her own home, Jacqueline loves to spend time at the beach with her family, and always enjoys a glass of wine and a good chat with friends!

Jacqueline’s Top 5 Tips for Other Women Thinking of Starting a Business:

  1. Find your community – support from entrepreneurial peers is essential. We are here to help one another achieve our respective goals; sharing and caring is a vital component of growth. Mompreneur members have been an amazing support to my business growth and development.
  2. Ask for help – don’t be afraid to reach out to anyone who is an expert. Read a lot of books. Seek the answers. Take the guesswork out of start up. Invest in yourself and do the work. My Motto: DIY (Do It Yourself), but not alone. And just as important – return the favour when you can!
  3. Find the best bank to service your business needs – and ask for as much money as you can get, as you never know when you may need it. Consider it all – from credit cards to loans and lines of credit. You may not need to use it all, but you will have the security (and peace of mind) of a safety net from which to draw in times of need/growth.
  4. Fine-tune your niche market – is there a need for your product or service in the market? Test your product/ service before you enter the market.
  5. Surround yourself with supportive family and friends – don’t stand alone! Your family and friends are your biggest champions, from whom you will draw continuous strength. They are your deepest, most meaningful connections. One of my biggest personal values is health and wellness, playful experiences and connection! Tune out the noise and seek positive support.
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Mompreneur® Awards Spotlight on Dr. Dina Kulik of Kidcrew

Dina Kulik is a Finalist for The 2020 Mompreneur® Award of Distinction, recognizing her success and leadership in the service industry as a successful business owner with Kidcrew.

Dr. Dina Kulik is a mother, pediatrician and pediatric emergency medicine physician. She is the Founder and CEO of Kidcrew, a multidisciplinary clinic for children, providing a one stop for kids’ health. She is one of Canada’s leading child health experts, providing information through television, radio, print media, blogs (, and podcast. Dina is an assistant professor and staff physician at the Hospital for Sick Children. She is a serial entrepreneur and will soon launch MamaMD, a skin care line for eczema and Kydrate, a low sugar beverage with electrolytes, fiber and vitamins to keep kids hydrated, active and having fun. Dina is passionate about empowering caregivers to raise healthy, well-rested and well-behaved children. She is an avid runner and cyclist and recognizes that her commitment to living healthfully can be motivational and takes this responsibility seriously. Above all, Dina’s greatest joy is her family, being the mom of four happy, energetic boys.

Dina’s Top Tips for Other Women Thinking of Starting a Business:

  1. Spend some time every day on you, not your business. If you are entirely focused on your business and your family, you will feel stressed and tired and are more likely to burn out. What do you love to do? Do you like to run? Do pottery? Watch Netflix? Spend dedicated time on this joy every day. Yes, every day. Without my morning run or cycle I am inefficient, moody, and a bitchy mom, employer and doctor. It may be an hour a day I lose to working on my business, but what I gain is worth much more than that time lost.
  2. Recognize what you love, and what you don’t love. Make what you love the priority. Farm out what you don’t love. You can hire people to do the tasks you don’t enjoy, or if you can’t hire help now, you can ask people who love you to help. Don’t be shy about asking your partner, friends or family to pitch in. If they know you have a dream to be a business owner, and you ask for help, they will be there for you. But you have to ask. Stop being a martyr. You are only hurting yourself.
  3. Take time for you and your partner. You will work better as a team (for parenting and in life) if you like each other. Try to plan, and stick, to dates alone. Use family members, caregivers or even friends. People like doing things with kids. Let them help. If you are happy in your relationship, it will be one less thing to worry about. Entrepreneurship is stressful enough; you don’t need the added stress of a troubled relationship. 
  4. Don’t procrastinate. As business-owners, there are always tasks that we prefer to delay (or not do at all). When you delay the inevitable it looms like a dark cloud and makes it that much more emotionally draining to complete. Instead, work on the tasks you don’t want to do, get them out of the way, to free yourself for the tasks you enjoy and look forward to. 
  5. Make your own parenting and work style. When I had my fourth child in 2017, I didn’t want to stay at home, but I didn’t want to be apart from my baby. So, he came with me to work. He became a Kidcrew mascot. I loved being with him every day for those 20 months; he was around so many people that loved him, and I got to do the work I love without feeling I was giving up time with my baby. He loved it and I loved it. Throwaway the cookie cutter parenting and work approaches and make your own cookie from scratch.
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Mompreneur® Awards Spotlight on Rosy Atwal of Maple Organics

Rosy Atwal is a Finalist for The 2020 Mompreneur® Startup Award, recognizing her success as a new entrepreneur under 4 years in business with Maple Organics.

Mompreneur Award finalist Rosy Atwal of Maple Organics

Rosy has moved across the country, bought new homes, delayed growing her family, all in an attempt to make it all ‘work’. But move after move proved less balance for her family values. With secondary infertility, IVF and spending weeks upon weeks away from her family while witnessing a futile plight for young female business leaders, she hit her breaking point.

Equipped with her MBA from the Richard Ivey School of Business and experience as a marketing and branding director for lifestyle, nutrition, and CPG corporations for two decades, she worked to develop an avenue for women like her in Maple Organics. Rosy has worked on both multi-million dollar international brands and new launches. Her experience extends from global brands like Smirnoff to homegrown giants like Nature’s Path.

Rosy’s Top Tips for Other Women Thinking of Starting a Business:

  1. Be on a mission – don’t just be in business.
  2. Raise Money.
  3. Share Profit.
  4. Treat employees like family.
  5. Know your values and don’t compromise on them.
  6. You need cash. Even if you have it, you need more.
  7. Go big or go home. Business is global and people want a story and a founder who cares.
  8. You must build a community to support your mission.
  9. Family always comes first.
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Mompreneur® Awards Spotlight on Lyndsay Scott of Kindred Cultures

Lyndsay Scott is a Finalist for The 2020 Mompreneur® Startup Award, recognizing her success as a new entrepreneur under 4 years in business with Kindred Cultures.

Lyndsay Scott of Kindred Cultures Kefir Water company

Lyndsay is the founder and CEO of Kindred Cultures, a rapidly growing water kefir company in Vancouver, BC. She started Kindred Cultures because of the incredible healing impact kefir had for her own family. Originally from Oregon, Lyndsay immigrated to Canada to build a life with her amazing husband and is now a mom to two wonderful kids. When her youngest son suffered severe eczema as a baby and toddler, Lyndsay began making kefir as a holistic health measure to help her son. It worked! It worked so well that she started sharing it with her friends, neighbours, co-workers and less than 2 years later, her line of Infused Water Kefir hit the shelves of Whole Foods. Lyndsay is passionate about the power of food as medicine and is honoured to have the opportunity to share this passion with everyone she meets.

Lyndsay’s Top Tips for Other Women Thinking of Starting a Business:

  1. “Everyone in this room knows at least one thing I don’t”. 
    That’s what I think to myself when I walk into a room. It puts me in a state of mind to find engaging conversation, to ask questions, to introduce myself to someone that I don’t know (or might be a little nervous to speak to). Your network is your greatest resource for validated information. Reach deeply into your business community, your friends and family, organizations and associations in your sector, and your local community (Universities, Publications, other Entrepreneurs, your local grocer) – literally anyone who might have an interest in your idea. 
  2. Find your meaningful metrics and track them diligently. 
    What measures success for your business? Is it monthly sales? Turn rate in-store? Margin? Whatever it is, find 3 measurements that give you meaningful information about your progress and monitor them constantly. Every time we see a gain in one of our key metrics, we know we’re doing something right and it’s the best kind of fuel.
  3. Just do one small thing… 
    When you’re sitting up late at night thinking about a to do list with 15 A+ priorities, take a deep breath and just do one small thing. It might not be the thing at the top of the list that you accomplish. Because truly, you should not work on the cash flow projections at 11pm on a Tuesday. But I find that accomplishing one small thing reminds me that I can also tackle everything else on that list. 
  4. You don’t know everything, and that’s ok. One of my greatest fears starting a company was not knowing “how to do” everything. Having no formal business training, I was concerned that I would miss something egregious. So I reached out to every business expert I could find, emailed former colleagues, studied business models, connected with Universities and found a mentorship program (the first of many). Surrounding myself with smart people made me feel more confident in my ability to get the right information to make informed decisions as I learned.
  5. You will do every employee’s job first. Entrepreneurship is a GRIND. But every hour that you physically work in your company gives you a “feel” for how it should or could work. It gives you empathy with your team as you grow. I know who to hire for every position because I’ve done that job myself. And to make sure I don’t fall out of touch with the real stuff, I put myself on the production floor to make sure I still understand what’s happening in there. 
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Mompreneur® Awards Spotlight on Laurie Franklin of Unique in the Creek

Laurie Franklin is a Finalist for The 2020 Mompreneur® Startup Award, recognizing her success as a new entrepreneur under 4 years in business with Unique in the Creek.

Mompreneur Award finalist Laurie Franklin of Unique in the Creek wreathing boards

Laurie is the creative visionary, inventor and CEO of Unique In The Creek (UITC) wreathing boards. After battling 3 spinal surgeries, Laurie was told she couldn’t return to her 25 year career at a local university. She spiralled into a depression, until one day, before heading into surgery, she decided she was going to make a wreath. It was then she discovered a problem: she couldn’t use the standard wire wreath frame while sitting in her recliner.  So she decided she was going to make one that anyone would be able to use to make a wreath, regardless of their skill level, disability or age. After many, many failed attempts, Laurie finally came up with the Unique in the Creek easy to use wreathing boards, and have now had people as young as 7 and as old as 96 make a gorgeous wreath and feel that amazing “I made that” moment!

Laurie’s Tips for Other Women Thinking of Starting a Business:
Starting and running your own business can seem insurmountable! No matter how well prepared you are, there will always be something you didn’t consider. First and foremost, starting and running a business is an exercise in learning! Believe it or not, most of what I’ve learned has come through trial, error and epic failure. Perspective matters, learning to appreciate mistakes is paramount and if I had focused on mistakes rather than lessons, I would have given up a long time ago; here are my 5 best takeaways from starting and running a business and falling flat on my face a few times.

TIP #1:
My absolute best advice to anyone thinking about starting a business is to start with something you’re passionate about. The learning curve for starting a new business is a steep one, if you have knowledge or passion in an area you won’t be hampered by having to educate yourself on a new concept before you even begin.

TIP #2:
Ask for help! This was a tough one for me, I’m stubborn and I hate asking for help but, trust me, you get over it! With Social Media connecting with others has never been easier. Look into local workshops for entrepreneurs, get on Facebook and see what’s happening in your industry and don’t be afraid to reach out to those in it! Research free tools and resources for the industry you want to be in and don’t underestimate connections you make; you’ll be networking the entire way.

TIP #3:
Running your own business means you often work endless hours and in order to not burn out, you have to find balance! And, that is almost impossible, you are going to have to work at it. Make sure you make time to unplug and do something for you. Eat well and get your rest, these things become more important as sick days don’t exist when it’s just you. Your mental health is just as important and physical health. Don’t take things so seriously all the time and always remember to laugh and have fun. It makes running your business not such a daunting task when you are enjoying it.

TIP #4:
Having the right people in the right place is so important for any company but, for an entrepreneur it becomes even more important. Capable staff that you work well with is an absolute asset and one bad apple can do a lot of damage both to internal and external customers as well as brand image. Research potential employees, call references, double check resume credentials and be picky, the right person can help take you to the next level!

TIP #5:
Customers are the lifeblood of any company, serving their needs is paramount to success. After a solid product, offering excellent customer service that is both professional and well planned is one of your best tools for brand loyalty and return sales. No matter the issue, treat your customers well and they will choose you again and again. Most importantly, I remind myself daily that “It’s fine to celebrate success but it is more important to heed the lessons of failure” (Bill Gates).

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Mompreneur® Awards Spotlight on Charlene Li of Eatable Popcorn

Charlene Li is a Finalist for The 2020 Mompreneur® Startup Award, recognizing her success as a new entrepreneur under 4 years in business with Eatable Popcorn.

Mompreneur Award finalist Charlene Li of Eatable Popcorn

With a background in accounting and finance, Charlene has corporate experience in financial advisory and project management roles at Deloitte, TD Bank and a Boston-based asset management startup. Charlene first forayed into entrepreneurship with a creative venture – a bespoke design studio that serviced the wedding industry, which she organically grew into six-figure revenues in under 2 years. After becoming a mom, she and her husband Vince started EATABLE to pursue their passions within the food space. In just over one year of launching EATABLE, the company has been featured in The Globe and Mail, Edible and Foodism Magazines. The couple has also filmed an episode on Season 14 of CBC’s Dragon’s Den.

While EATABLE started as an e-Commerce business, they secured their first in-house production facility in Summer 2019. EATABLE’s select gourmet popcorn is now sold in over 50 specialty and artisanal retailers across Canada and USA, and the company is positioned for strong growth.

Charlene’s Top Tips for Other Women Thinking of Starting a Business:

Mindset is Everything
Entrepreneurship is not for the faint of heart. It’s a road less travelled, so you’ve got to get comfortable with being uncomfortable, and train yourself to take calculated risks. Be kind to yourself when you mess up (it’ll happen A LOT). While entrepreneurship often appears glamorous on the surface, in reality, the journey often feels isolating, but the highs always make up for the lows, and that’s what keeps you motivated to keep going. Being a naturally introverted person, I’ve always felt in tune with my own self-awareness – The ability to trust your instincts and “look within” is a very powerful tool that you should rely on in times of chaos. The ability to “quiet the noise” and focus on your mindset is a real game- changer.

Know Your Numbers
I’ve never taken this for granted since I come from a financial background. In business, the numbers are everything because the numbers don’t lie. You can have the best idea, but if the numbers don’t work, then it may NOT be a viable business. If numbers aren’t your strength, make sure you stack your team with someone who understands them – it could be the difference between success and failure!

Leverage the Power of Your Community
Nobody runs a successful business as a one-woman show. The most successful people in business have the ability to tap into the power of their network and seek out resources within their community. It could be business-related help or even personal help, but the important thing is to recognize those times when we should reach out and get more done through others. Doing everything yourself will quickly lead to burnout and disappointment.

Take it ONE Steep at a Time
Moms often strive to get as much done as possible as quickly as possible. I’ve found that while running a business, not every decision or to-do can be approached in this way. Some solutions need time to brew, relationships take time to nurture, and some decisions are best made after a good nights’ sleep. I’ve since learned that it’s ok to slow things down, go at my own pace, and stop comparing myself to other businesses out there. This has also helped me ease up the pressure that I unintentionally place on others around me and trust in their abilities to do things in their own way.

Motherhood Is Your Strength
There are many parallels to successfully managing your family life and your business. Mothers need to be resourceful, organized, creative, resilient, and brilliant multitaskers! Being a Mompreneur has helped me understand that moms are actually one of the most well-equipped to run businesses because we are already demonstrating these skills in our everyday lives! So instead of considering Motherhood as a “barrier” to starting a business, consider it a strength!

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Mompreneur® Awards Spotlight on Charissa Floriancic of Crushed Aftercare

Charissa Floriancic is a Finalist for The 2020 Mompreneur® Startup Award, recognizing her success as a new entrepreneur under 4 years in business with Crushed Aftercare.

2020 Mompreneur Award finalist Charissa Skinner Floriancic of Crushed Aftercare

Charissa was born and raised in London, Ontario. She graduated with her Bachelors in Education, then moved to Australia for 2 years where she did her Masters of Education while also teaching. Charissa is now a mother of 3 young children residing back in her hometown, and has taken a leave from her teaching job to pursue her business full time this year!

Crushed Aftercare is an all-natural vegan salve skincare line featuring various types of aftercare salves to help soothe and heal after a cosmetic procedure. Their aftercare brow balms are perfect for use after microblading, while their naturally-formulated healing lip balms are wonderful to use after dermal lip fillers. The Crushed Aftercare salve, brow balms and lip balms aid in the healing process through the use of specially formulated earth-derived ingredients like oils, butters, and dried flowers. We also create gentle salve for henna brows and cleansers delicate enough for eyelash extensions.

Charissa’s Top 5 Tips for Other Women Thinking of Starting a Business:

TIP #1:
My first tip is to have a vision and to be sure of it! When you have this vision and you hold tight to it, this is when you are able to maintain the work ethic, the sacrifices, the ups and downs that come along with being an entrepreneur. I believe that when you have a vision, and you see it and feel the emotions behind it each day, that you are attracting this very thing into your life through your own subconscious thoughts and the vibration you are putting out to the universe.

TIP #2:
The next tip would be that what you pursue needs to feed your soul. If you are not doing what you love or what fulfills you then you cannot be successful because without the passion there will not be the motivation or drive that is necessary to grow a successful business.

TIP #3:
Invest! You cannot grow your business if you are not willing to invest in it. Investing your time is important but also investing money in coaches, courses, networking groups like Mompreneurs, outsourcing to others who are the professionals in that area, branding photography, etc. You cannot expand or elevate without making that investment in yourself and your business!

TIP #4:
Connection to your own intuition and source energy/God/universe/divine, whatever you decide to call it. Having a connection beyond our own ego self I believe has been vital to my own business success. That is how I started my own business by listening to the voice that spoke to me. There has been so many other times throughout my journey that I have been aware of the signs universe has given me, especially when I start to feel the fear creep in. I know that there is a magical energy at play, and when you aware of this support it helps guide you along a path that is more clear and where you feel empowered as a business owner and in life.

TIP #5:
Finally, taking imperfect action! The time will never be right! It is the messy action that you take each and every day that adds up to the incredible moments and doors of opportunities opening. When I made my first post on Facebook about my handmade bath bombs, I did not have a website. When I started a podcast interviewing women in business, I simply recorded the interview on my phone without professional equipment. When I have done free webinars and challenges leading other women in business I have done it with my baby in my arms. When I have had huge orders of 25,000 pieces I have said yes without having the staff or the proper equipment. Everything is figure-outable and there would never be progress or expansion if we waited until we were perfectly ready to take action!

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Mompreneur® Awards Spotlight on Tanya Vakil Fernandes with Forest Hill Keystone

Tanya Vakil Fernandes is a Finalist for The 2020 Mompreneur® Award of Merit, recognizing her efforts as a successful realtor and franchise owner with Forest Hill Real Estate Inc. Keystone.

Mompreneur Award finalist Tanya Vakil Fernandes of Forest Hill Real Estate Inc. KEYSTONE in Milton and Halton Region

When you talk to Tanya, you will experience her enthusiasm and passion for real estate that she seamlessly integrates with her professional interior design skills, resonating through the homes she sells. She believes that her client experience is the Keystone of her success as Owner & Managing Partner at FHK. Tanya is an active member within the community, strongly aligned with the Milton Chamber of Commerce, and believes in supporting local businesses. She sponsors children’s local soccer, hockey, and gymnastics teams as she understands the importance of sport that has taught her to set goals, persevere and sharpen her competitive edge, essential skills for a successful deal maker! Her family is her fuel that keeps her charged every morning when that alarm rings at 5AM.

Tanya’s Top 5 Tips for Other Women Thinking of Starting a Business:

  1. If you’re passionate about what you want to do, DO IT NOW! You will never be too prepared for it. 
  2. 1 day at a time… don’t overwhelm yourself! It’s OK to not have all the answers.
  3. Building genuine relationships are a key to your success.
  4. I live by this quote: “Keep your head, heels & standards high” by Coco Chanel.
  5. My mom taught me to keep persevering, and my dad taught me to be humble – I believe that’s what really stuck with me and keeps me going.
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Mompreneur® Awards Spotlight on Reema Rafay with Arbonne

Reema Rafay is a Finalist for The 2020 Mompreneur® Award of Merit, recognizing her efforts as a National Vice President and Independent Consultant with Arbonne, where the company mission is to empower women to love themselves as they are and to create a massive community of heart centered influencers who are excited to transform their lives and pay that blessing forward to others.

Mompreneur Award finalist Reema Rafay with Arbonne International

Reema’s Words of Wisdom for Other Women Thinking of Starting a Business:

1. Start with your why
2. Commit to your plan
3. Identify Strengths and Areas of Growth
4. Be Grateful
5. Don’t quit

It is most important to know why you are doing what you are doing. According to Simon Sinek, most decisions are made from the limbic part of the brain which is responsible for gut feelings and emotions. It is critical, to start with why you do what you do before you share what you do or what you have to offer. share your story and know that you are committed to the plan. Your network has to believe you will stick it out no matter what. Take a paper and identify YOUR strengths and areas of growth so you know where your personal development has to come from. You need to be grateful. I lacked gratitude during my journey over a 3 year period. To grow I had to be grateful for the now before I could welcome abundance. Finally, quitting is not an option and you need to shut the back door and the window so that success is your only option.

Just like having and raising that adorable baby, it’s challenging, it will bring you to your knees, you’ll find strengths and qualities you never knew you had and discover that with a positive attitude and open mind, the lifestyle, freedom and fulfilment that you get are so worth it!