Pie Media Group celebrates International Women’s Day 2022
Today and everyday at Pie Media Group we celebrate women. How far we have come, how far we are going. And exactly where we are. We unite and collaborate with women from all over the world since 2004. We celebrate and show gratitude to the women before us. Today we will celebrate women in our Pie Media Group network and hear their words of wisdom from some of them.
Joan Kelley Walker
Could you name a woman who has inspired you most?
More than one woman.It is the lineage, the DNA of the women in my family. My grandmother and mother inspire me the most. I did not know the women before this time but they still inspire me. There is a tremendous amount of strength in my bloodline. I grew up feeling the unconditional love of my grandmother. She faced and survived the hardships of the bald prairies during the great depression. Food was scarce, therefore feeding your family was challenging. She taught me the importance of focusing on the task at hand- to stay in the present moment and to remain positive. She was strong and knew the power of community support by working alongside people. She did everything with her best intention and effort and that has stayed with me.
My mother was also raised in a rural isolated town in southern Saskatchewan. She drove a team of horses to school when school was available to her. She finished high school through correspondence and relied solely on mail service. She had patience. She was persistent. She became a nurse and was valedictorian graduating at the top of her class. Her achievements were so impressive. Not long after she was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, a debilitating disease. Growing up I would notice her pain on certain days and realized that walking was a luxury for her. It was incredible to me that she never complained. This is the definition of grace. Eventually MS led to her being legally blind in one eye. Years later she suffered a stroke which robbed her of the vision in her other eye. She is 89 years old today, she is in a wheelchair and legally blind with no use of her left side and when you ask how she is- her response is ” I am great! How are you?” She never dwells on her disabilities. She chooses positivity everyday. She chooses happiness and she is constantly working on improving her health. Her strength is admirable and she is always asking how she can help when she can. She is genuinely interested in people’s wellbeing. The way she finds joy in the little things is a constant reminder of how inspiring she is. I am in awe of her “never give up” attitude, her perspective and the enormous love she shares. I feel it deeply. It is my mission to carry on her legacy of strength. The combined legacy of all of the women in my family. Share it with other women in my life and my children.
I am inspired by the everyday actions and choices by the women in my bloodline. That is what I think about on International Women’s Day and I salute them all.
How have you gotten to where you are today in your leadership position?
I have gotten to where I am today in a leadership position by taking control of my own life, believing in myself and by being open to learning from every situation.
I grew up in the woods of PEI with the “Back to the Landers”. My roots instilled the values of community, connection to nature and simplicity. I moved to the big city of Toronto and was an actor for many years before getting married and becoming a mother to two beautiful boys . Around the same time I started to teach yoga and my focus shifted to more inner work and to be of service through sharing my yoga practice.
My life suddenly pivoted when my marriage ended when my boys were very young. Looking back I realize that these hardships forced me to take charge and lead in so many ways. Sometimes you can’t control what is happening to you but you can choose how to react and deal with the cards you are dealt. A woman’s strength is a force.
I decided I was going to create a life for my boys and I. The power of manifestation is real! With focus, hard work, persistence and passion doors began to open and welcome me with opportunities. One led to another and I am currently the CEO of 5D World, an impact investment firm. We primarily focus on plant medicine, psychedelic assisted therapy, retreat centres, healing networks and conscious communities. We are also deeply dedicated to Indigenous leadership and philanthropy. These are all of the things that matter to me.
I didn’t know this position even existed but I do feel like it is perfect for me. It is powerful to believe in your dreams and in yourself. I work on this daily and I believe I have gotten to this position in my life through hard work, listening to my intuition and never losing faith in the big picture. I am grateful for every step along the way and know that I have the opportunity to choose to lead in every moment of my life. I also believe that if you are in a leadership position it is important to lead with kindness, empathy and compassion. The world needs it now more than ever.
Chair of the Downtown Barrie BIA
Member of the Barrie Public Art Committee
3 pieces of advice for my younger self:
• Facing your fears is the best way to conquer them.
• Happiness is about the journey, not the destination.
• Take pleasure in your own company. Bring yourself to the movies, out to dinner, on vacation.
Ripple of Kindness
Three pieces of advice I would give my younger self.
1. You’re good enough. For everything Believe in yourself.
2. If you want something, just ask. The worst thing anyone can say is no.
3. Dreams do come true. Don’t let anyone ever tell you your dreams are out of reach. Dream it, then DO it!
Start and end each day with gratitude and ripple your kindness.
Former producer, CBC News
Three pieces of advice to my younger self:
Stop being the caretaker and following every rule. I saw young female interns busily making sure every tiny part of their jobs were done, while the young men would dump the work in the women’s laps, and go schmooze with the men above them. Guess who got better assignments and promoted faster? Speak up, speak out, publicly call out guys who do things like that, and make yourself known to the people who count.
Don’t spend your money on crap you’ll just throw away in a year. Spend it on travel, and I don’t mean an all-inclusive in the Dominican. Learn about another culture, another country, another way of living. Be uncomfortable, go cheap (but be safe).
Don’t let yourself get overly comfortable. If you’ve stopped learning and doing what you want to do in your job, look for something else.
Working in the news business, I started noticing the effects of climate change early on. I remember a story from a town in Canada’s North talking about how the sidewalks and underground pipes were buckling and shifting because of new changes in the levels of permafrost. There were also interviews with Inuit people worried about changes to their environment and the animals on the land. In the following years, I made a point to make sure stories like those got posted on our cross-country feeds. It’s taken years to convince the skeptics that this is real, and it may already be too late. Women and girls are often most affected by climate change, and we have to be prepared to listen to them when they tell us what’s working and what isn’t. We also have to be prepared to offer them support when it’s too late for some communities.
Founder & co owner RIPE Juicery
3 things I’d tell my younger self ❤️
1. Don’t worry if you don’t fit into the box. You’ll create the box someday.
2. Chase happiness over success. Every single time.
3. Don’t be afraid to be a beginner, OFTEN.
Morning Show Host – Fresh 93.1
Three pieces of advice to myself…
1. STOP WORRYING! I have spent a lot of my life worrying about losing people and trying to prepare myself for it. Then my best friend lost her daughter. Her grief has taught me that there’s nothing you can do to prepare for it so I’m not going to waste one more minute worrying about or preparing to lose people I love while they’re living. I’m going to appreciate every moment if their LIFE. Anything else is a tragic waste of time and energy.
2. Stand up for yourself- Don’t allow people to make you feel like less than you are. I put this into practice recently by saying “no” to something that was not serving me in any way. I only do things now that are appreciated, not expected. I wish I had realized this sooner because it is so empowering.
3. TRAVEL MORE- Any chance you can get to go somewhere- GO. It will feed your soul and give you perspective.
Connect Hair Studio
Three things that I would tell my younger self:
1. Share the knowledge. I was fortunate to be trained by some of the best stylists in the world at one of the best salons in Canada – Sassoon’s in Toronto. Early on it was more about showing what I could do rather than sharing how I did it. That took time time to develop.
2. Trust the process. I have spent too many nights worrying about things that I have no control over. There is a process. Make sure you find someone who can support you without judging you and offer guidance from time to time. (You don’t always have to follow it – you have great instincts!)
3. Be gracious and grateful. You are going to come across people every day. Be grateful for them coming into your life but also be aware that you will impact them in one way or another. You do not know what their world is like, or what they are living, or what they have lived to get them to the point they are today.
Director and CEO of Lakewood Ranch Doodles
Vulnerable moment was
Changing direction in my career from one industry to another to follow my heart and build my dream while raising 3 kids as a single woman. As my children grew up they joined the business and now they each play a key role.
The greatest risk I’ve taken as a professional is the decision to walk away from a secure, long-standing career and carve my own path. It takes courage but doing something you love is the greatest reward.
Owner of Glow Day Spa
I come from an entrepreneurial family.
My grandparents, parents and siblings all had/have adventurous and entrepreneurial minds so it was natural that as the youngest member in our family I would follow suit.
I had no idea what I wanted to do growing up, only what interested me. After travelling the world from Spain to Australia for school I ultimately settled back in Barrie and started working as a receptionist and makeup artist at a local salon. The urge grew within me to open my own business.
It all happened quite organically.
God opened doors and I walked through them. Some were scarier then others along the years but ultimately each door was a risk that led to the next level of challenges and success.
By far the largest door I have walked through to date was purchasing my own building, gutting, renovating, designing and rebuilding to the new Glow we have today. It taught me a lot about myself and where I wish to take the business.
There are many more doors to walk through as we continue to grow but we are cautiously enjoying the journey ♥️
Co-Owner Sonder Studio and Event Space
Three pieces of advice to my younger self:
Be authentic. When you’re authentic, your intuition will always put you on the right path.
Be open to advice. Knowledge is power
Have a sense of humour!
To my younger self
Stop caring about what others think, being liked by everyone isn’t important, just be true to yourself, you must love yourself above all else.
For the love of god child please stop thinking negative thoughts about your appearance you are absolutely stunning so own it. Most important, never stop being kind, never stop wanting to help others who want the help. I must let you know life isn’t going to be all roses there are going to be many thorns that cut deep but do not let these situations make you jaded, stay true to your naturally kind heart and you will always end up swimming back in the good as a stronger wiser woman.
Love your 41 year old self
Communications and Engagement Officer, CMHA Ontario
I have always worked in male-dominated fields. My career started in sports television – as a sideline reporter for the Barrie Colts. From there I made stops at CTV, TSN and Central Ontario Broadcasting before joining CMHA Ontario in my current role as a Communications Officer.
If I could give one piece of advice to my younger self, it would be to not view other women in my field as competition. Women are subconsciously trained to feel threatened by one another, particularly in the workplace, as if there is only room for one of us to succeed. Truthfully, it took me a very long time to break out of this mindset and to lift my female colleagues up along with me rather than use them as stepping stones.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg once said “women belong in all places where decisions are being made. It shouldn’t be that women are the exception.” People often confuse what the true meaning of feminism is – many still equate the word ‘feminist’ with ‘man-hater’. Feminism is the support of political, economic, personal, and societal equality of the sexes. We should all be feminists – it is not a dirty word. Women are exceptional, but all too often we continue to be the exception – and that needs to change.
Leadership lessons that I’ve learned that are unique to being female and the person who influenced it:
When I was in my 20’s, I worked for a gentleman who taught me some very valuable lessons about being a woman in the working world. He was married to a woman who was incredibly successful and at a time when men were breadwinners and did not stay home with their young children when they were born, he did.
Some of the discussions we had were about the struggles his wife encountered in her position and the support he played. Our conversations were very open and heartfelt. He was a feminist of the times.
The leadership lessons I learned from him was that it’s ok to put yourself first at times and not feel guilty. That being a female in a leadership role can be so powerful and how to harness that power for the greater good. He taught me the art of keeping my emotions in check (which could be challenging for a 20 something young lady new in the workforce) because people react to the tears rather than the circumstances and therefore diminish your point.
The biggest thing he taught me was not with words, but actions.
Lawyer & Mediator
As a female leader I have learned that flexibility is key. And during COVID I think most leaders have a better understanding of what that means today. Leaders and their team members have lives. Those lives need our attention and no one should feel guilty for taking time for their family, their health and well being or for learning new things. And let’s not be afraid to fail, reflect and try again – we have so much to learn from our failures.
What’s a leadership lesson that you’ve learnt that’s unique to being a female leader?
Earning respect as a female leader is definitely the most challenging. Women are constantly undermined, and in some ways that gives us an advantage. We are very much still the underdog in any industry, which gives us the opportunity to surprise people with what we are capable of, which is EVERYTHING AND ANYTHING WE WANT!
Co-Owner, Lakeside Ink
The greatest risk I’ve ever taken is happening now! I just a few years ago learned how to be a tattoo artist! And I just turned the big 50!!! I opened up a tattoo studio and art gallery during a pandemic to boot! 😂 I’m very fortunate to have the support of my husband of almost 30 years cheering me on and encouraging me to step outside the boat and take this business risk! So far so good! Business is booming and I also get to share this amazing experience with my eldest son Jesse whom is my business partner and fellow tattoo artist!
My name is Manda Mae, I’ve been in the modelling industry for the past 5 years as well as the cannabis industry for the past 3 years and have gone through many ups and downs to get where I am today in both my practices. Starting out as a model 5 years ago, I was always someone who heavily used cannabis as a remedy for anxiety, skincare, and even menstrual issues but always felt “dirty” due to the stigma around cannabis use with models and women in general which is why I decided to dip my feet into the world of cannabis just over 3 years ago to start answering these questions and getting more information out there to my fellow models/women who may be experiencing the same feelings with their cannabis usage.
What has been the most vulnerable moment of your life or in your career?
I think a time where I felt most vulnerable in my career would definitely be when I started modelling and feeling like I needed to hide my usage of cannabis. Nearly 66% of women who use cannabis, use cannabis in secret due to these stigmas even outside the modelling industry. I think this is due to the lack of information on women vs cannabis, luckily we are starting to scratch the surface with these stigmas but still have a far way to go.
What three pieces of advice do you have for your younger self?
Three pieces of advice I would give my younger self would be; only settle for the answers you deserve, don’t underestimate your self worth and ANYTHING a man can do, you CAN do too!!
What personal sacrifices have you made throughout your career?
The biggest personal sacrifice I’ve made during my career was silencing my usage for cannabis for so long as a model, it wasn’t until this year that I openly started talking about cannabis due to starting a new job as cannabis sales rep working closely with over 200+ retailers, opening my eyes to all the other woman who are also in my corner. Being able to meet and speak with these women who have felt the same in this space has really helped us create a conversation around the stigma. Cannabis isn’t for everyone but it IS for some people and can have some extremely beneficial properties for women like myself who struggle from anxiety and menstrual issues which I hope I can help encourage other models who use cannabis to start these conversations too!
Could you name a woman who’s inspired you the most?
What is your personal story? How have you gotten to where you are today in your
I think my biggest inspiration would be Cara Delevingne, as generic it may sound she is someone that has heavily inspired me throughout my modelling journey with her fearless and unapologetic attitude. She truly inspired me to be open about my cannabis usage, struggles and real life rawness while being in the modelling industry.
What’s a leadership lesson that you’ve learnt that’s unique to being a female leader?
One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned about being a female leader is never let anyone underestimate your self-worth. I think as females we are automatically at the hand of judgment when it comes to the face of a male in power and being able to prove we can “play with the boys”. Being raised by a single-mom, my mom ALWAYS showed me whatever a boy was able to do, I could too and I still carry that attitude to this day. I think the biggest power move as a female leader is to truly believe in yourself.
Do you recall any biases or assumptions made about you?
Being a model in the cannabis space, I know there are tons of biases and assumptions when it comes to jobs, usage, and knowledge. I think the reason I stayed quiet for so long about my usage was because I was afraid of these biases or assumptions made towards my self image for something I used to help me in a social aspect.
What’s the greatest risk you’ve taken as a professional?
The greatest risk I’ve taken as a professional I believe would be finally opening up the conversation to my social media platforms about my cannabis usage. I remember the amount of messages of people shocked that it was something I used in my daily life when I first posted about it and even had others open up to me about their personal journey with cannabis and the modelling industry and how they feel ashamed to talk about it publicly, that this might impact possible job opportunities. I’m really hoping this can help start a conversation with others who feel scared to open up about their cannabis usage as a model!
Being a part of the cannabis industry, we make it one of our goals to try to be one of the most sustainable industries while trying to limit the amount of packaging based around these products. From marketing and educating others on re-usable consumption tools to limit the amount of waste when using cannabis has been something I love to educate those around me on whether it’s picking up a reusable vape battery to using a hemp wick to help our climate!
This is my story of how I turned My most Vulnerable moment into my most valuable healing.
It was 10:45 am on a usual Wednesday morning. I was getting the restaurant ready to open when I recieved a call from my doctor telling me I had stage 3 breast Cancer. My heart sunk I was devistated with fear, guilt and shame that seemed to rush through me like violent rapids. It felt like everything was spinning out of control. I sat on the floor of the kitchen crying and hyperventilating with panic. I had never had my invincibility so shattered.
When I had calmed myself alittle I realized there was no way I could hold my self together enough to serve customers all day so
I called my boss choking back tears to let them know I couldn’t fulfill my duties that day something major had come up and I needed the day off. So I cleaned up locked the door and went home for the day. At the time I had no idea how much this moment would change my life for the better.
After the fear, stress and anger had run its course. I straightened my crown and decided I would fight with everything I had that healing was my only option For the sake of my self and my children.
Over the years I have learned many valuable lessons but asking my self this question is among the most helpful. Instead of focusing on the negative I asked my self what is good about this? I sat and I thought about all that my life experience and adversities had taught me and reminded my self the universe is always conspiring in my favor even if it doesn’t seem that way. With this knowledge I saw that this was an opportunity to change my life , to heal old negative patterns and evolve into a better version of my self.
I sat with the God of my understanding that night and searched my self for information as to how I had gotten here and what I could do to change the outcome. I was shown I had been holding old hurt, anger, limiting beliefs and negative emotions for most of my life. There was also an imbalance in my feminine and masculine energy that needed emidiate tending The opportunity to heal that was a gift and now that I knew what was good about it I was ready to do the work.
Over the next several months I worked endlessly on my self healing. Being kind and patient with my self. Practicing self love, kindness and tenderness. Changed my diet and lifestyle. I listen to my doctors and followed through with 5 months of chemotherapy a double mastectomy and reconstruction. I prayed and meditated every day. I would get up with the sunrise and write down everything I had to be grateful for This kept me positive and made my faith even stronger.
Through this experience my body went though a wild amount of changes. Feeling vulnerable in my appearance as a woman when my hair, eyelashes and eyebrows fell out let alone the surgery I was to undergo. It was difficult to feel beautiful to say the least.
Being a woman in this current social climate already came with enough challenges and I had to muster every ounce of positively I had to believe that I was enough. But I persevered beating the odds at every turn and the love and support from my community kept me above water. I found gratefulness for the love I received yes from loved ones but also from people that barley knew me. I had a sense that God was showing up for me through all of these beautiful people. From out of the woodwork folks showed up with meals, healing services, words of encouragement and financial support. I could barely believe how loving and generous people truly were. It filled my heart and spirit with strength.
It was hard to be vulnerable and ask for help in the beginning but it seemed I barely ever had too. the good folks of my community despite an epidemic and a global economic crises rallied around me and held me up. Thank God they did because if they hadn’t I never would have made it through my healing with such ease and grace.
What started out as my most vulnerable moment turned into my greatest healing. Through hard work , emotional release, prayer and the kindness lavished on me by my community I was gifted in ways that seemed impossibly miraculous.
Even now as I write these words I am grateful for the most vulnerable experience of my life because with our it I would have never healed. now that I am cancer free and healthier than ever before I see how much beauty there is in the vulnerability I experienced. That moments of vulnerability are just that moments. If you keep your crown straight , your thoughts positive and your faith strong there is nothing that cannot be over come.
CEO Status Salon
As a female entrepreneur for 18 years …these questions definite are so powerful! Just even thinking of the answers … my answers definitely have changed over the last 3 years… I’m going to answer the leadership question… as I have changed my mindset and angle of leadership since my journey… As a salon owner one of the biggest challenges is developing stylist and then they leave on their own journey… which is a never ending cycle and then it hit me that I should no longer take it as a blow to my ego or business rather embrace the strength as a mentor and develop great stylist, give our younger generation an opportunity to a great career, open the eyes of some who want a career change that Status provided this opportunity and I truly love it ! This is our future .. my door is open to any individual that wants guidance or training . Life is not always a competition it’s definitely about the journey and the people learn on the way!
Platform General Manager, Barrie/Innisfil FCA
What is your personal story?
I started in the automotive industry when I was 18 years old, right out of school unsure of the career path I wanted to talk. I secured a job as a car detailer for the summer, I was so excited to detail cars in the sun, drive the new cars and experience a completely different job than I had previously had. I quickly feel in love with the energy of a car dealership. I was lucky to work in an amazing dealership at the time that gave me an opportunity to try many different positions until I found my passion. I’ve been through school twice now to further my growth (I consider myself a lifelong learner) and my current role is my favourite. They say people come into your life for a reason and I really feel that way about my team. They all have different backgrounds but in some incredible way, gel together.
What is the greatest risk you’ve taken as a professional?
This is an easy question following the most lengthy pandemic that I have ever lived.
I worked in early 2020 on one of the first fully covid positive units in Barrie. This was before vaccines, before we studied and could follow the pathways of the virus.
I was very methodical in what I wore, how I came home, disinfected and kept a distance from my family. That was incredibly hard. It was even harder watching everything unfold in front of my eyes at work, losing staff that were sick, not being able to have family come in for the patients. Putting hand holding on a whole other level. “ I have no time”, wasn’t an option. I worked with many colleagues that came out of retirement to help, nurses that were redeployed to the unit, and it was instantly a bond that will forever intertwine us.
Viruses, illness’, life choices, religion, sex, have no bearing on the quality of care that any patient should ever have. If I was to give advice to the new Nurses’s coming into the field. Being a leader means stepping up, it means compassion, and skill. It means treating the patient as if they were your own family. In nursing, leading means putting the patient needs first.
I would do it all over again.
So blessed to have been in the company of so many great nurse leaders.
Here’s to you my friends ! 👏🏻
Director of Women’s Residential Programs for Cornerstone to Recovery
and Real Estate Agent
My personal story (hard to summarize…). I’m french Canadian from a small northern Ontario town – Kapuskasing. I put my career aside (very happily) to support my husband in his medical career and to be a full time stay at home mom. I managed my husband’s medical office and coordinated our family life. Nothing gave me more joy than to have my kids come home to the smell of baked bread and homemade food. Nothing came out of a can in our home. I could tell what kind of day they had by the look on their faces as they came off the bus. I have had a few different careers, including back to school a few times – chef school, fundraising and resource development, real estate, and everything I could put my hands on for spiritual growth. How I have gotten to today in my leadership position as director of the new women’s treatment centre in Barrie is lived experience. I am an alcoholic in recovery with almost 11 years of sobriety. I was brought to my knees in order to become teachable. If someone had told me 11 years ago when I was in treatment that I would some day be the director of the first non-profit women’s treatment centre, I would never have believed it. And here I am…
CEO Eve Cork
Today, more than ever, I care about consciousness for our world. Our planet has reached a global awareness regarding how our choices have great impact. I constantly seek to improve, heal and respect the global future and our own. Choosing quality over quantity, responsibility over profits and maintaining a cruelty free home. I have respect for the lives of all beings, especially women. You will heal your planet, improve your footprint and leave your impact on our planet.
Self Awareness Incubator – Founder of Soul Leap
Might be too late for this but just for fun! ❤️
Answer: Do you remember any biases or assumptions made about you? At 27 when I decided to leave my corporate career to start my own Life Coaching company I had a lot of people asking me what do you know at such a young age that will help others? This was in 2004 before Life Coaching was more mainstream so there where a lot of questions about what in fact I actually will do for my clients. Even my supportive family thought It was a risky endeavour and suggested I lean towards a career in Yoga. I did become a yoga teacher along the way and combined these two disciples to help elevate the relationships in my clients lives. The biggest assumption was that I was just a nice girl with a positive attitude. What took sometime for people to see was the fierce space holder I was, how I had the capacity to hold up a compassionate mirror to the lies and suffering we all at times experience as we navigate our best life. 17years later and I’m still here, not just a yoga instructor, not just another Life Coach, but a highly trained, deeply experienced transformation incubator. One thing I got right was designing a career around my purpose. I am very grateful for the confidences and trust others put in me and our journey together. 🙏🏼😘
Lamborghini sales assistant
3 pieces of advice I would give my younger self :
The first piece of advice to give my younger self is to speak up. As a young working girl I found it hard to find my voice amongst others, especially in male dominated workplaces. I had to learn to speak up for myself and make myself known in a room of people. Don’t be afraid to ask questions when you are unsure because that little bit of effort make you stronger and wiser. Voice your opinions, your knowledge and personality because people will fall in love with that voice.
Secondly I would tell my younger self to be confident in what your momma gave you. Being your authentic self is the most beautiful thing. Though there are pressures surrounding you to be prettier, skinnier, quieter or less outgoing, being confident in your body and personality dissolves those pressures over time.
Lastly I would tell my younger self to endure when things get boring or difficult. When you don’t stick to things like hobbies, sports, school or work you miss out on opportunities to expand your mind, body and network. Be consistent with things you are passionate about because in the end it’ll pay off knowing you put in all the hard work to get where you are.
Photographer and Graphic Designer
3 pieces of advice I would give my younger self :
1. Be unapologetically you! Stop letting what other people think about you affect who you are. Your body is beautiful. “If only our eyes saw souls instead of bodies, how very different our ideals of beauty would be.” -Unknown
2. Create a really good saving plan and never spend your money before you have it.
3. Take risks and put yourself out there. After all you never know if your parachute will open if you don’t jump!