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Women of the Westshore







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Wednesday, April 27, 2015 - GOLDSTREAM NEWS GAZETTE


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B4 • women of the WESTSHORE 

Wednesday, April 27, 2015 - GOLDSTREAM NEWS GAZETTE

Colwood sets sights on making the City more walkable Lilja Chong concours steep learning curve in first year Colwood councillor Lilja Chong was born in Campbell River but has been “jumping back and forth between Langford and Colwood,” almost her entire life she jokes. She has lived in Colwood for roughly six years now and was elected to council in November 2014. Having grown up on the West Shore and working in the community from a young age, Chong has a deep appreciation for how the business community operates in the City. Her first job at 15 was working for McDonald’s, where she eventually went on to become a manager. “That was my dream job and I worked there for five years,” Chong said. She recalls the time fondly, and still hears from her former employer, who recently asked her to volunteer for McHappy Day. Chong finished her bachelor’s degree in political science and hispanic studies last year and is now in an education limbo, as she called it. “I plan to return to UVic for my master’s,” she said, noting she is preparing to take the test required for all students before they can enter the MBA program. “I’m pretty ambitious,” she said with a laugh. That ambition is also what led her to become a Colwood councillor. “To me it just made sense.” She credits a really great support team for helping her achieve that goal. “It’s been hard but it’s been positive.” She added, when she first started people used to tell her that it was just a few meetings, but the reality was a steep learning curve and a number of important commitments. “You quickly realize it’s not just a few meetings.” She noted Mayor Carol Hamilton and the other Colwood councillors have also supported her during the past year. “I’m very fortunate to have a functional council.” She added that although they all might have differing opinions, they can still go out for a drink at the end of the day. “My experience has been quite positive.” After spending a little more than a year as a councillor, Chong has found herself on the other side of that relationship businesses

Photo contributed

have with local governments. One of the local issues that stands out for her is how businesses are making their presence known in the City. “We’re seeing more and more signs on our roads… It’s interesting.” While that push for everything from sandwich boards on sidewalks to signs that resemble billboards has caused council to adopt some new bylaws, Chong said signs still have a place in the City. “There’s still a big push for developments to have their signs.” She added the size of the sign seems to reflect the size of the development. But Colwood businesses aren’t just stopping at signs, Chong said she has seen a real social media presence emerge from the


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business community. “Twitter has just blown up,” she notes social media has become the way for businesses and groups to get their events out to the public. In fact, she said most of the community events she attends have some kind of social media presence, and Chong likes to be an active part of the community. “What I like most is meeting new people… When I go to events I feel good about myself, the people I’m meeting and the projects we’re doing.” Part of being active in the community, is also watching it grow and adapt. “We’re trying to make it a more walkable and liveable community,” Chong notes of Colwood’s plans for the future. Part of that is a push for more permanent sidewalks, bike lanes and other pedestrian features. She points to Royal Bay as an example, and while the development is not built out yet, she said it is the new standard for sidewalks and bike lanes. But “to get to those walkable, liveable communities, we need business.” Chong said with more business comes the capability for more infrastructure, funded by that expansion. “Another big trend for economic development is this regional push,” she notes Colwood council is looking to work closely with the WestShore Chamber of Commerce to help foster some of those relationships. “There’s been a major push … for communities to work together on economic development.” She said this means, gone are the days when municipalities just focused on their own needs, now she said they are looking at ways to tie infrastructure together. “Developments and business don’t just effect one community, they effect surrounding communities as well.” That idea of collaboration is also Chong’s advice for other women in the area. “As a woman on the West Shore, especially, it’s really important to put yourself out there and network.” She said. “I think it’s a vital part of business.” Chong said she tries to attend Chamber events as often as possible because of that networking factor. “Really good things happen when you meet the people you’re supposed to.” But those good things don’t come to those that wait, she notes. “You can’t wait for things to come to you, you have to go out there and get it.”

making a difference

Women Empowering Women Towards Financial Independence Dale Collins CFP ECP Certified Financial Planners | Elder Planning Counselors Office: 250-818-2616 Fax: 590-5721 Email: dale@prosperity-planning.com www.prosperity-planning.com

LOCAL WOMEN Making a difference • B5

GOLDSTREAM NEWS GAZETTE - Wednesday, April 27, 2015

Sustainable, balanced lifestyles targeted by Langford Denise Blackwell reflects on over 20 years as a councillor Business and government tend to dance a complicated tango that involves many steps for both sides but when done correctly can be a thing of beauty. Denise Blackwell is no stranger to politics and that fine balance that is required to keep all members of the community happy — whether they are big business or the owner of a little piece of the City. A councillor for the City of Langford since incorporation in 1992, Blackwell has watched the City take shape and help mould it into what it is today. “It’s been very rewarding watching the community grow and change into such a vibrant place,” she said. Looking back at her time on council, Blackwell said they have come a long way, especially in making the community a safe place to raise a family. “When we were first elected there were hardly any sidewalks and very few street lights.” She added they also increased the number of RCMP officers in the area as well as creating a comfortably business to residential ratio. “We want to be a well-balanced community,” she added. In terms of livability, council has been focused on finding that right balance for the City. Blackwell said that means they are always looking for ways to create more jobs in Langford so residents don’t have to go somewhere else to work. But they aren’t just focused on residents’ work life, she said they are also constantly looking at ways for those of all ages to play in the community. A recent outdoor recreation trend has seen the City develop its trail system, which Blackwell added highlights the City’s three lakes, or as she put it, the jewels of the community. But the trail system isn’t just about getting residents out to enjoy the lakes, it also allows residents to travel safely within the community without hopping in a car. Something that didn’t exist without all those new sidewalks and streetlights. She said it’s all about “just trying to make (Langford) a safe,

affordable, nice place for people to live, work and play.” But it’s not just about attracting residents. Council has also been working hard over the years to make the area attractive for businesses as well, which has also helped the residential side. Business development has revitalized neighbourhoods and has helped the City transform. At first she said the City saw a trend in business development that attracted big box stores to the area. But as she pointed out, those stores helped paved the way for infrastructure such as municipal sewers systems at a much more affordable rate for the residents in those areas. “Now we’re concentrating on this side of the highway.” She noted the planned development for the site of the old Belmont school will help transform and revitalize that area into more of a community hub with residential and retail planned for the area. “It speaks to a trend of being able to work with developers,” she added. Blackwell noted last year was a record year for single family homes being built. She also nodded to the City’s affordable housing programs that creates more options for families and those on limited incomes. That push for alternative housing programs and building infrastructure, without a significant cost to taxpayers, has also helped form the way council operates. “I think the trend in Langford has been sustainable government,” she said. “We’ve had very little turnover.” While Blackwell has been a Langford resident for a long time, she didn’t grow up in the City. “I was a military brat so for the first 20 years of my life I was here, there and everywhere,” she said with a laugh. However, after graduating high school on the Prairies, she knew she wanted to return to B.C. and ended up eventually putting her roots down in Langford for the same reason many people still do today. “This was the most affordable region.” She said at the time she could buy a brand new home in Langford for the same price she would pay for an older home in other areas of town. It’s a decision, she doesn’t regret, especially now that her daughter has also cho-


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sen to put down some roots in the area, which allows Blackwell to babysit her four-year-old granddaughter almost everyday. Part of her work on council is continuing to make the City attractive for residents such as her daughter and eventually her granddaughter. Making sure the City continues to meet its residents’ needs is the top priority. “It encourages people to come out here and settle,” she added.

making a difference


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LOCAL WOMEN Making a difference • B7

GOLDSTREAM NEWS GAZETTE - Wednesday, April 27, 2015

New Y facilities aim to add more recreation to daily life Jennie Edgecombe likes to keep it simple when trying to find that balance between work and life outside the office


any women in business often find them- think we need new running shoes or all of the selves in a juggling act, trying to balance fancy gym equipment. But sometimes getting back to the basics is all it takes. their home life with their careers. In an effort to get more people Achieving that balance is outside, Edgecombe said there is exactly what organizations such a trend emerging that is is making as the YMCA, try to help facilitate. communities more walkable. “People are really busy these It is evident by the work municidays,” said Jennie Edgecombe, CEO of the YMCA-YWCA Vanpalities and other organizations are doing to expand amenities couver Island (formerly known as such as trails and outdoor gym Greater Victoria). equipment. She nods to West That constant hustle and bustle Shore municipalities as doing a can make it difficult for people, fantastic job in that respect. “That especially young families to get focus on linking the community that balance they need. Somewith all those amenities is a huge times, she said it can be hard for benefit.” people to invest that time into As for herself, Edgecombe uses their own health and provide chilPhoto contributed a standup desk to help combat dren with the opportunities for some of the negatives that come healthy activities, especially with “I think more from sitting for extended periods everything else on the go. of time. In fact, all of the new Y Her solution is simple. “It organizations are offices will have standup desks. doesn’t have to be complicated, looking at the need all about trying to make those sometimes we make life way too to work together… It’s healthy choices and build them complicated.” into daily routines. This means combining activi- The bottom line is When her children were ties. So instead of meeting that we need to benefit younger Edgecombe said adding friend for a coffee and chat, get exercise to her life was as simple that coffee and go for a walk the community.” as getting a dog for the family. instead of sitting in a shop. Or -Jennie Edgecombe “When you have a dog you have adding exercise to your routine to go out for walks,” she said with a laugh. When could be as simple as walking to work. Edgecombe said sometimes we put up a lot her children were small she admitted they also of barriers and get discouraged because we spent a lot of time at the Y.


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As for herself, she got her start with the Y in Ontario as a volunteer before eventually transitioning into a paid position when one became available. “I liked what I saw… I guess they say ‘the rest is history,’” she joked. She went on to hold positions at three locations in Ontario before transitioning to the West Coast and eventually landing in Victoria. In total she has worked at five different locations and has been with the Y for nearly 30 years, 10 of which have been spent in Victoria. “I always say if I didn’t enjoy it I wouldn’t stay.” Now, with two new locations opening on the West Shore in the coming weeks, she has her hands full. Getting those facilities to where they are today has been a challenge and has forced the organization to look at different partnerships. “You see a lot of changes in programs and funding.” She said recent changes to funding, especially from government branches, has meant that non-profit organizations have had to find other ways to continue and expand their services. “It has created challenges but also opportunities to create new partnerships.” She points to the Y’s new location in Langford as an example. The Westhills YMCA/ YWCA Langford Aquatic Centre is a partnership between the City of Langford, the Westhills Land Corporation and the YMCA-YWCA Vancouver Island. “It really is a partnership that has benefited everybody.” She added, the new facility will help serve the community in a way each of the partners wouldn’t be able to do on their own. “I think more organizations are looking at the need

to work together… The bottom line is we need to benefit the community.” And residents are taking notice. “People these days are much more aware of their health and the need to be healthy and proactive,” she said. And this push for more awareness isn’t just focused on physical health. “We need to be able to treat mental health as we treat physical health… Many organizations are really focusing on how they can provide supports, services and education around that.”

Did you know? The YMCA and the YWCA are two different organizations. Only five locations across Canada have combined services, with Victoria being one of them. Jennie Edgecombe, CEO of the YMCA-YWCA Vancouver Island, said back in the 1960s both organizations were looking to build new facilities in Victoria. The community pushed for the two organizations to join forces and the Broughton Street location was born. Although, Edgecombe said the two groups were already starting to work together. “It’s a partnership that works very well,” she added.

making a difference

Come Play With Us! The Y at Westhills Opens May 2016 The YMCA-YWCA invests in the health of children, teens and young adults, supports families through life stage transitions and actively engages young leaders in the betterment of their communities. The Westhills YMCA-YWCA/Langford Aquatic Centre offers a state-of-the-art fitness facility, fitness studios, multi-purpose space, teen centre, licensed child care services and a remarkable Aquatic Centre with a lazy river, pool slide, lap pool, warm water therapy pool and wave pool.



Wednesday, April 27, 2015 - GOLDSTREAM NEWS GAZETTE

Women helping women Move to West Shore hopes to inspire new connections Many woman have had their lives touched by the generosity of West Shore residents. “We’re very thankful we have a group of people that support what we do,” said Victoria Women in Need Community Co-operative (WIN) executive director, Clare Yazganoglu. “It’s so inspiring to see what changes people are making in their lives.” WIN’s role in the community is creating real opportunities for local women and their families to be self-sufficient and employed through a number of programs, while working to assist them from a time of crisis to a time of self-sufficiency and wellness. To do this, the non-profit community co-operative operates several resale



stores that not only provide services for the women they aid but also fund (along with financial donations) the programs and services they offer women in need. “Seeing program participants “It’s so inspiring make shifts in their lives… That’s inspiring daily,” Yazganoglu to see what changes said. In fact, it’s part of the rea- people are making in son she goes to work everyday and found herself working in the their lives.” - Clare Yazganoglu non-profit sector. “It’s very much value driven… It’s an opportunity to work with people who deeply care about what we’re about,” she said. “That’s pretty unique to a non-profit.” And they wouldn’t be able to do that work without their stores. With vintage and retro items setting new trends every day, Yazganoglu said “I think the interest in second hand is growing.”




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GOLDSTREAM NEWS GAZETTE - Wednesday, April 27, 2015

WIN welcomed on West Shore She noted there is that excitement shoppers feel because there are so many “unique things you could find in a thrift store or re-store.” Second-hand shopping is also growing in popularity due to the green push to see items upcycled. This process of taking something old and turning it into something new is not only rewarding but also saves unwanted items from ending up in the landfill. The ways these stores connect interested consumers with that special item has changed vastly with the growing popularity of social media. Social media has changed the way non-profits communicate with their followers, especially in the business world. “We’re able to connect in person and that’s really important,” but Yazganoglu noted being able to keep donors and shoppers informed through social media has had a huge impact. Even if it’s just communicating some interesting new items that have come into one of the stores. “For us, being better connected… that’s very important.” She added it’s all about making it easier for shoppers to find them and donors to drop off items. Social media also allows WIN to keep in touch with other organizations operating in the area and connect with them for events and other causes, which benefits everyone. Those new lines of communication have also made the non-profit co-operative define its message. The focus has been on “being really clear in what we’re about,” Yazganoglu said. This allows WIN’s goals to align and connect with like-minded individuals in the community. “We couldn’t do anything without them,” she said, noting it’s all about “being able to create opportunity for those shifts” that help women in their programs. And in an effort to better connect with their supporters, WIN has opened a new store in Langford. But this store isn’t just for West Shore shoppers, it

allows the organization to offer more services in the area and make more connections. “It’s going really well,” Yazganoglu said. “It’s an incredible welcoming and supportive community.” She added WIN has been overwhelmed by the support in their first few months on the West Shore. While she said they are starting to see a few regulars in the store, they are still encountering a number of new shoppers that stumble across them, not know ing WIN has a West Shore location. Getting the word out about the new store on Goldstream Avenue has also become the focus of some of that push for more communication. As she gets to know more supporters, they also learn more about her, and Yazganoglu is no stranger to the business world. She was working in human resources and small business when she decided to go back to school. With a background in psychology, this time around she chose to focus her schooling on social work. “I had a really strong interest in co-ops,” she remembers. “I became really inspired by nonprofits.” Those interests led her to connect and work with WIN as a practicum student at roughly the same time the organization transitioned from a non-profit to a non-profit co-operative. “It was just an incredible fit… What WIN is all about really resonates with me.” She’s now been with the non-profit co-operative for more than a decade. “For me, leading from my heart is key, and really listening.” She said if something isn’t sitting right, listening to that gut reaction and figuring out its cause can have a huge impact. While it’s easy to get caught up in the day to day hustle and bustle, especially during busy times, Yazganoglu said it’s integral “to remember to stop and celebrate.” She added, it’s especially important to celebrate with the people that are supporting you.




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GOLDSTREAM NEWS GAZETTE - Wednesday, April 27, 2015

Royal Roads looks to bridge the gaps in education Roberta Mason explores the emerging trends in individualized learning Most little girls dream of living in a castle. And while some Royal Roads University staff members get to work out of Hatley Castle, Roberta Mason is not one of them. However, based out of Sneq’wa e’lun, the Blue Heron House, Mason claims her view is the best on campus and it’s hard to argue with her. As the associate vice-president of student and academic services at RRU, her office is right on the water and overlooks the Esquimalt Lagoon. It’s a view she’s had for the past five years while in that role. Part of that role also has Mason and others looking at breaking out of the traditional way of delivering information and engaging students. “We don’t want to be a traditional university,” she said. “We occupy a pretty unique niche.” Mason isn’t the only one looking at ways to change the post secondary landscape and bridge the gap between secondary learning. A lot of attention has been geared towards an emerging push that sees more individualized learning and career paths. But it’s something Royal Roads has been focusing on for a number of years. “We’re seeing some really exciting and major changes happening,” Mason said. “People are looking to really make change in the world.” Part of that push for more individualized learning paths includes a flexible model that would allow students to start their education at

one institution and transition through others to achieve their end result. Although, Mason noted most post secondary institutions aren’t quite there yet in terms of recognizing programming and transferring credits. “Maybe we’re not there formally but it’s coming,” she noted. In the meantime, she said the world of post secondary education is starting to look at more of a build your own education as opposed to a strict schedule of required courses. She points to Royal Roads’ many course options available to students that give more flexibility and allows students to customize their focuses on a specific, or broad interest. “It’s an exciting time to see the concepts of individualized education,” she added. But they aren’t just stopping there. Mason said there has been a real push to change the way these courses are delivered. This means educators, such as herself, have been focusing on how they are delivering materials and how students are engaging with it. Technology is playing a key role in that. “It’s blowing the doors off the traditional classroom,” she said, adding there are “so many ways even in traditional classrooms to use technology.” This has also helped change the types of assignments instructors are assigning their students. Mason said there used to be a strong emphasis on papers and exams. Now, more students than ever are handing in photo and video projects across all disciplines. She noted these alternative projects, especially video, can be used to communicate in a very rich way. Technology has also led to a more global, holistic approach to learning and bridging dis-


Located in the heart of Langford. Maureen McDowell has been practicing law for over 23 years and her move from downtown Victoria to the West Shore over 4 years ago has allowed her to come back to her roots and work in her own community. Maureen works closely with her legal assistant, Bonnie, who has over 15 years’ experience and has a genuine interest in helping people during the difficult time of separation and divorce. Together they provide professional, thorough and compassionate family law services in the heart of the West Shore.

317- 877 Goldstream Ave




tances. “You can have 40 people from across the world all watching the same power point presentation and engaging with it.” Connecting with students around the world has also opened the doors to more acceptance in classrooms said Mason. This normalization of how we interact with each other has played a crucial role in celebrating diversity. “That’s what


university should be about.” She added that while diversity has been accepted in classrooms for a long time, it hasn’t really been celebrated, which is so important to the learning environment. “If we’re really going to change the world and make a difference, we have to find ways to work together.”

B14 • women of the WESTSHORE 

Wednesday, April 27, 2015 - GOLDSTREAM NEWS GAZETTE

West Shore Chamber looks to connect its members J

ulie Lawlor is no stranger to the West Shore after growing up in Colwood and Langford. However, Lawlor chose to pick up her West Shore roots and move away for school, eventually landing overseas in London in 1999. But she said “the thread along the way has always been non-profits.” In August 2014 Lawlor moved back to the West Shore for family reasons. “I like to say I left with two suitcases and came back with a husband, two kids, two cats and a container full of stuff,” she joked. “I really loved my time in England and being able to travel.” But she said “this part of the world has it’s own attractions… It’s certainly been the right move.” Lawlor brings those experiences back with her and into the role of executive director of the WestShore Chamber of Commerce, a position she’s held for a little more than a year. “When the business community does well, everyone does well,” she said. Looking back over her time with the Chamber so far she said “I think there was a lot of caution last year.” But that’s changed, “nothing’s universal but there’s a sense of optimism.” Now, she said many osf the businesses she interacts with have their feelers out for infrastructure spending. “We were quite fortunate on the West Shore and in B.C., we’ve been buffered from what’s happening else where.” Lawlor noted the significant impact the tourism sector plays in the local economy and she expects that to continue to grow. Some of that optimism could also be coming from recent projects and their impact being felt by the community. She points to the new Holiday Inn and surrounding development in Colwood, the Eagle Creek development in View Royal and the new Westhills Y facilities in Langford. “There’s a lot happening that’s found its place here,” she noted. “All of these things have an impact on our economy… They’re crucial.” Even the arts, which Lawlor said can sometimes get overlooked as an economic driver, have a substantial impact. It’s not just the facilities, she noted, it’s also the people they draw into the area that then use other services and businesses while they are here. “Langford, Colwood and View Royal are leading in that,”

although she noted Highlands and Metchosin also have thriving arts industries but have a different business environment in their communities. And working in a area that covers five municipalities that all operate slightly different has had its challenges. But Lawlor said the past year has really been about working with those municipalities and building her own knowledge of how they operate. The end goal of course being, “working with our members and the larger communities — as well as the municipalities — to better serve our communities.” The past year in her role at the Chamber has also given Lawlor valuable insight into their members. “I’ve noticed our members appreciate when we’re able to make connections between them.” And not just through networking events, she said she is often approached by members that tell her they want to pursue a new project or go down a different avenue and ask her to put them in contact with other members that may already being going in that direction. “What’s increasingly growing is the member to member services.” She noted they now offer workshops for members by members on specific topics such as building strong teams. “We’ve found people appreciate being able to access those,” she said. “There’s lots of networking groups… What sets us apart is we offer more than just networking at a very reasonable price… We’re a non-profit.” Any profits are put back into the Chamber to further the services offered to members. Lawlor also noted the interconnectivity of the West Shore cannot be underestimated. “I’m a huge believer in connections and relationships and our role in that… It’s just amazing what comes out of that connectivity,” she said. “That’s why we’ve encouraged our members to connect and it seems to be beneficial to everyone.” Connecting its members isn’t just the focus of the Chamber, but is also a passion close to Lawlor’s own heart as she recognizes the integral role relationships play in business. “Relationships are so important… There are so many layers.”


making a difference

…. A little like wearing a mask of your own face. All of this so the restoration could proceed. They found some intriguing details... a few gargoyle’s that they weren’t expecting. The project is scheduled to be completed by the end of May. empress with printed netting


The enTire crew on PinK ShirT DAY

Photography by Dean Azim

Sheri Eastman jokes that she got into the masonry business by accident, when her partner Rob started the business in 1997. “As he got busier, I started to help with the paper work and doing bookkeeping for him while working full time as an administrative assistant. As Rob’s business grew, I finally quit my day job and took on running the administrative side of the business full time,” she says. Separated for over five years now, the couple continues to work together every day as equal partners in Rob Tournour Masonry. “Rob takes care of the operations, while I look after the administration,” Sheri says. Sheri looks after all the bookkeeping, payroll, accounts, benefits administration and human resources. She also oversees the IT, managing the business’ internet presence. While construction is still mostly a man’s world, women work in all aspects of the sector. Sheri is a member of Women in Construction (WIC), a networking group that supports and promotes female participation in construction. “It’s great to get together with other women to share our knowledge and experience. I enjoy being part of a supportive group of women and encourage any woman who considers herself connected to the construction industry to come to one of our monthly meetings.” This year has been especially exciting with the large project at the Empress Hotel. While the project is fascinating and exhilarating, it comes with challenges. Any new adventure always teaches you something and this one has been no different. Rob and Dale had to take a course in Chicago for certification using the special mortars which are used for stone repairs at the Empress. The ivy had to be shorn around the hotel to expose the walls for the job ahead. The scaffolding was then put up and it was covered with netting that has the image of the Empress printed on it

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GOLDSTREAM NEWS GAZETTE - Wednesday, April 27, 2015

New location highlights local talent and community C

indy Moyer proves that not all business needs to be conducted in a boardroom. Moyer is the executive director and education co-ordinator for the Coast Collective Art Centre, combining her years of business experience with her passion for community leadership. Moyer’s award-winning reputation for building win-win relationships in her professional life has been proven through her work with a wide range of not-for-profit organizations and she was even a driving force behind founding the Coast Collective back in 2008. She said it all started with recognizing the tremendous need on the West Shore for an arts venue. “The amount of growth has been unex-

pected by many,” she added. But Moyer has known all along about the wealth of local artists hidden away on the West Shore. “If you look statistically, we have more artists per capita,” she said of Southern Vancouver Island. “Artists are plentiful in this part of the world and we’re grateful for that…People want to live in beautiful places that are inspiring.” But the old location on Heatherbell Road was not conducive for that kind of opportunity and Moyer said it was often limiting for those wishing to participate in workshops that didn’t own a vehicle or were from out of town. On average, she said the old location saw roughly 12,000 visitors a year. But at its new location on Wale



Road, also in Colwood, attendance in the first three months has double. “We need the visibility,” Moyer added. “It’s been a big change and a wonderful one.” With the move also came a change of scenery. “The art is the show as opposed to a glorious view of the Esquimalt Lagoon,” Moyer said. But that’s not to say the new space isn’t something to be seen. “It’s better on top of better,” she said with a laugh. The new space also has that proximity to other businesses and has opened the doors to partnerships. “We’re grateful for that collaboration,” Moyer noted. She pointed to the restaurant next door as an example of where people can go to grab a cup of coffee and chat after a workshop or where they can have a meeting before or after events at the Coast Collective. “It’s a win-win,” she added. Some of the popularity of the new space, besides its location, is also attributed to a shift in consumers’ perspective. “People are looking for local stories in their purchases… This has all kinds of story telling in it.” She said more than ever people want to see what the community has to create. With a gift shop that features just about everything from bow ties to jewellery to furniture, there’s bound to be something special for everyone. And just like the art hanging in the gallery, the items in the gift shop are unique and not made from kits. Moyer said this idea of supporting local artists, not big corporations, has help create a demand for handcrafted items from real people. “It’s something that for many years people have lost touch with,” she said. “What we see on Vancou-

ver Island is people are here for an authentic experience.” She points to the business community as an example, noting many professionals are now gifting locally-made items to their clients for a more personal touch. It doesn’t even have to be a large piece of art. It could be something as simple as a card. Moyer compared a one-of-akind locally crafted card, with one that was created by a big corporation. Which will have the bigger impact, she asked. Having cultural amenities in one of the fastest growing communities in Canada makes sense Moyer noted. “It’s a good business decision.” Not only are the arts a driving force in the economy, bringing people into the community for workshops, exhibitions and other shows but Moyer said they also have a considerable impact on the region by bringing culture into the now. “These days one of the pillars of sustainability is culture.” She added the arts are a key component to the fabric of society. “We’re here yearround providing a public service.” She points to the Coast Collectives management team, including general manager Laura Rechwan and gift shop and communications manager Shannon Carman, as playing a key role in making sure those services continue to happen with their continued resilience and commitment. “Largely, it’s women that make this place happen — and a lot of them,” Moyer said, not downplaying the role men also play in the Collective’s work. “If you don’t have the people who have the desire to make it real, it can’t exist.” That’s also her advice for other women in business.


Julie was born and raised in beautiful Victoria BC, where she has worked very hard to become one of the top residential real estate agents in the area for over 25 years. Past and present real estate clients have described Julie as honest, enthusiastic, professional, and hardworking with excellent people skills. Julie has been awarded the MLS Silver and Gold awards year after year. She has also been awarded the Platinum Sutton and President’s awards; making her one of the top 10% of realtors in the Victoria area. Julie stays close to the market place balancing the fastpaced world of technology and constantly learning about social media. Julie still believes that face-toface personal contact is the best way of building trust and relationships. When not selling real estate, Julie’s passion is in cooking, dining out with friends & renovating her home. She also finds exploring the trails of the West Coast scenery exciting and rewarding as well as watching her boys play hockey.

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GOLDSTREAM NEWS GAZETTE - Wednesday, April 27, 2015

Following your passion can lead to a career and more C

andace Vandemark is the kind of woman you should sit down and get to know over a glass of wine — but let her pick the wine. As a sales representative for Andrew Peller Ltd., this woman knows wine, a skill that doesn’t just come in handy when looking for a good bottle to enjoy with friends. Vandemark started her career as a server, working part time while attending university. Once finished university, she began managing a

Photo contributed

neighbourhood pub and eventually moved on to lucky enough to represent local wines and this a steak house, as part of the management team gives me access to the wine makers and growfor a chain of brew pubs. “I always liked wine ers.” Getting to spend time with local winemakand being a sommelier interested me, but I was ers, she said she can learn more in a day about the B.C. wine industry than her worried that I did not have the entire time studying through pallet and I would have to go “My favourite days the ISG levels. back to school,” she said recallare the ones where I get And it’s an industry that coning that time in her life. tinues to change. With many But an eight-week ISG (Inter- to share my knowledge of the recent changes to liquor national Sommelier Guild) laws, Vandemark said a numLevel 1 course came up and with others that enjoy ber of buyers are approaching a friend convinced her to take wine and want to learn purchasing in different ways. it. “I was immediately hooked She said this will continue to and moved through all three about wine.” - Candace Vandemark evolve as more changes are levels of ISG in two years,” expected. she added. Another trend has seen a shift to sweeter red After finishing her final level Vandemark moved to the sales side of the industry, travel- blends moving into the market. “As a sommelier ing the length of the Island, Whistler and Squa- these wines make me cringe. At the same time, mish. “I had only lived in Victoria for a year at it is admiral that although these brands are not that time so it was almost like I was being paid very complex, they do encourage a younger to explore Vancouver Island.” But eventually demographic to start drinking wine and move to she realized she was spending about a third of a higher price point.” She noted hopefully, these her time on the road and that didn’t leave her young wine connoisseurs will start to branch out and try better quality wines. much room for a personal life. Packaging is also starting to see a shift on the That’s when a position with Andrew Peller became available, with a Greater Victoria area market. “We see a lot of wines moving to a keg territory. She said the position also focused on format to maintain freshness.” Vandemark noted her true passion, and she now gets to sell to on- kegs also help to reduce spillage for restaurants premise only (restaurants and pubs) and gets to by eliminated bottles being dumped that were not used in time. Kegs are also more environdeal with all local wines. “My favourite days are the ones where I get mentally sustainable than bottles or a bag in a to share my knowledge with others that enjoy box. “There is a lot less packaging involved,” wine and want to learn about wine. Days where she noted. While some members of the public I do seminars for restaurant staff, host Friday might think a keg makes a fantastic gift, they Night Flights at Bear Mountain or wine din- might be out of the budget for some gift givers. ners in co-operation with chefs,” she said. “I’m When asked if she had any advice for picking a



bottle of wine for a gift, Vandemark said find a wine with a great story. People love a good story, especially if it’s local, and the store’s product consultant should be able to give you at least a few lines to use about that special bottle for that special person. Her advice for women in business is similar to her advice for picking wine. “Be strong and do not hesitate to try something new. You never know where it will lead you.” She added “a hobby can become a career.”

Advice for picking wine: We’ve all been there, standing in a store surrounded by wine with no idea of what to choose. Wine sommelier Candace Vandemark has some helpful pointers to help you on your search to find something you’ll fancy or at least help you narrow down the list. 1. Know your price point before you enter the store. 2. Don’t be afraid to try new things. 3. Don’t judge a book by its cover. Sometimes the look of the label tells you the least. And finally, consult your store’s local wine guru or product consultant. Tell them the occasion (even if it’s just because it’s Friday night), what you’re having for dinner, price point and what you usually drink. They should be able to recommend a few bottles that will be pleasing to your pallet.




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B18 • women of the WESTSHORE 

Wednesday, April 27, 2015 - GOLDSTREAM NEWS GAZETTE


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B20 • women of the WESTSHORE 

Wednesday, April 27, 2015 - GOLDSTREAM NEWS GAZETTE

The constantly changing world of HR can have its own rewards Jennifer Hawes is the people person at Cold Star Solutions Inc. As a little girl, Jennifer Hawes never dreamed she’d worth of products and other services including transporgrow up to become an owner of a trucking company. tation and delivery. But it’s a job she loves as she gets to carve her own path Her passion for community shines through when through the world of human resources. Hawes talks about her food recovery program. She Known as the people person at said her heart breaks when she sees Cold Star Solutions Inc., Hawes works perfectly fine food taken off trucks “We keep saying you out of the company’s Langford locaand thrown in the garbage because it was slightly squished or the outtion and has learned a lot about busi- should be able to run your ness and people over the years. side box had been torn. “It became business and have your kids “I used to be a community cenmy mission in life to see that food saved,” she said. “We go down once tre co-ordinator.” Before that, she and have your home life.” a month and look at every box we’re went to school to become a teacher - Jennifer Hawes going to donate… Every single item and wound up “living the military is checked.” Not only does that prolifestyle,” before moving back to Greater Victoria in 1994. It was around that time she said vide some security for the agencies the food is going to she realized what a deep passion she had for helping but also the companies that donated it in the first place. people. However, her move away from the public sector The community food program is just one aspect of and into the family business was more about pure neces- Hawes’ job at Cold Star, where she finds herself in a sity at the time then a passion project. “We hit about 35 unique position, as most companies don’t traditionally staff and Kelly (her husband) just couldn’t do it on his have one of the owners in a human resource role. She own anymore… It fell on me,” she said. “Naturally, I fell admitted “I don’t get it right all of the time,” but that doesn’t stop her from trying to do better within the into human resources.” Now, in their 17th year she said things are going company. “I’m fascinated by people,” she said, and with 180 great. “I got to create what I wanted,” she said. Part of that is the food recovery program and convincing clients staff members, she has no shortage of people to work to donate rather than dump. A trend that is really more with. “We’re pretty connected to all of our staff… As a of a necessity but has generally fallen off the radar until whole it works pretty well most of the time,” she added. But working with staff members isn’t just about getting more recently. Cold Star has an in-house program that collects to know them. “When you own a company you have an unwanted food items and delivers them to nine agen- opportunity and duty to be on top of the market place… cies. Last year that program donated more than $112,000 It’s not as easy as it used to be.”


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making a difference

The Women of Sands Colwood

C. Anne McIntyre Executive Director, Disaster Aid Canada


Back Row: Sheril Hart, Debra Simpson Front Row: Julie Evans Managing Director, Kathleen Nelson

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ith over 19 years of experience Dr. Marjan Gholizadeh is the dentist on the West Shore with the difficult to pronounce name but the very clear direction on patient care. “My dental team has over 20 years of combined experience and they always ensure that our patients are comfortable and receive the best care in every aspect of their dentistry needs.” And that’s exactly how you feel when you walk into Pacific Rim Dental Centre in their new spacious location at 129-877 Goldstream Ave, beside City Hall. “We moved to a new larger facility to give our patients a warm and inviting space that would make our patients feel comfortable” and that is exactly what she achieved. Many of her patients find her to be warm and very empathic. “ I believe in transparency when it comes to all aspects of my patients care. They should know about all their care needs and all of their treatment options.” Dr. Marjan, as many call her, offers the latest in digital x-rays and oral cameras. She offers invisalign, implants, crowns and bridges. Her goal is to offer as much preventative care as possible and can also help out with any cosmetic questions you may have in relation to your teeth.

Building a compassionate and rewarding career Having experienced first-hand three natural disasters, Disaster Aid Canada’s executive director C. Anne McIntyre understands the compassion needed for those experiencing such life-changing events. “I’m passionate about helping others and believe anything is possible in life,” says the Oak Bay Rotarian who assists with Oak Bay High’s Interact program. From a sole focus on international disaster relief to also helping local communities, Disaster Aid Canada works with youth, service groups, Rotary and others on many projects. With Soap for Hope, for example, soap and shampoo from hotels is reprocessed and distributed to facilities including 11 Vancouver Island shelters. A life-long learning advocate who returned to school in her 40s to complete her marketing andcommunications degree, “it’s never too late to work towards your life goals. With Disaster Aid Canada I use my skills to help people internationally and here at home. “Born and raised in Victoria, I’m proud to work where I can make a difference in the lives of others,” she says, commending Disaster Aid Canada’s many

Drop by and visit Dr. Marjan - you will be glad you did and you can also find them on Facebook with their latest promotions and offers. www.facbook.com/pacificrimdental

dedicated volunteers, and her community mentor, Compassionate Resource Warehouse’s Dell Wergeland. “She is an amazing woman who does incredible work in the world. I am lucky to work alongside her.”

877 Goldstream Ave Suite #129 Phone: 250-478-4114 | Fax: 250-478-2973

“When you’re doing what you’re meant to in life, opportunities present themselves. We recently had an anonymous donor provide much-needed dollars for a Soap for Hope program van, which you’ll see wrapped with our logo driving around Victoria. To me this confirms people recognize the value of our services and how we help our community.”



GOLDSTREAM NEWS GAZETTE - Wednesday, April 27, 2015

Jennifer Hawes delves into the intricate world of HR Hawes said employers can no longer say book, she offered some advice for women in this is exactly what I want you to do and when business. “We keep saying you should be able I want you to do it. Employees want to come to run your business and have your kids and to work, do a good job and be recognized have your home life.” But often she added, in a way they were not traditionally before. that mentality can make women feel like they’re running on a treadmill and their “Accommodating employees can home life is suffering for it. be really difficult… especially for “Our motto She said there is no perfect balsmall businesses.” This trend of an employer’s duty to accommodate is ‘failure is not ance. “Owning a business is so hard.” She points to her own busiemployees, especially with young ness. “It’s not like that came easy.” In families, is also being pushed by an option.’” legislation and regulations that -Jennifer Hawes the beginning she said “you’re just struggling to get one foot in front favour employees. of the other… The first five years are Hawes is tired of reading HR articles that say employees are willing to work for so difficult.” She said often times her husband less if their workplace culture offers them more and she’ll joke about if they had the chance to benefits and positivity. While that might have go back and do it all again they wouldn’t. She been true years ago, she said now employ- added there’s nothing you could give them to ees expect that workplace culture, as well as go back and re-live those years. Part of making it through those first years, is being properly compensated for their time. “Of course wages matter,” she added. This can creating something you want to see through also be attributed to the push for a $15 per and running your company from your core valhour minimum wage, which Hawes supports. ues. Otherwise, “all of a sudden you’ll wake up “We’ll accommodate and we’ll figure it out.” in the morning and not like what you’ve creAlthough, she noted none of their staff are paid ated,” she said. Her advice for those starting out: know when minimum wage. Working with employees on their salary to put experts in your life and don’t pretend to expectations has taught her some valuable les- be an expert. “If you don’t have an HR person, sons. She noted most industries have a slow don’t wear that hat if you don’t know,” she said. season, for Cold Star that’s in January. Those “Know what you know but don’t be so rigid in slow times can be hard for employees, espe- it.” She likes to call it being “bendy-flexy.” She said every person who owns their own cially when they don’t always get their full 80 hours on a pay cheque. “You sit there and real- business will sit down in tears at some point ize those two hours make a real difference,” and will spend many sleepless nights but the she said. “If I have five minutes to myself, I’ll key is not letting that fear become a decision maker. write an HR book.” “Our motto is ‘failure is not an option.’” In case she never gets around to writing that




a place where you matter


B22 • women of the WESTSHORE 

Wednesday, April 27, 2015 - GOLDSTREAM NEWS GAZETTE

Andrea Brimmell explores the changing role of the library C

urling up with a good book at the end of a long day can be a great way to recharge and unwind. But finding the right book can be a challenge all on its own. That’s where Andrea Brimmell can help. As the West Shore district co-ordinator for the Greater Victoria Public Library, she overseas all three of the West Shore branches and has been based out of the Juan de Fuca branch since 2006. However, it hasn’t always been that way. “There was only one when I started this job,” Brimmell said. “It’s just been a very exciting time for the West Shore and library services.” That exciting time has seen the library’s role in the community continue to evolve and adapt over the years, especially the past decade. “The libraries have to continually try to stay relevant to people, many of our resources are available online.” She noted they also have free ebooks and more audio titles available. “I felt we needed to change things up,” she said. “With the advent of the Internet the library has changed so much.” As more and more residents became computer savvy, Brimmell said a librarian’s role has also had to change. Gone are the days when they used to spend hours answering complicated questions and helping with research projects. Now many questions people used to come to the library to find the answers to are found instead by a simple Google search. Brimmell said librarians and libraries have had to adapt with the times. “Before we were just a building with books in it.” But now, she said it’s so much more than that. The library itself has had to become a “more welcoming space for people to spend time in.” A home away from home if you will. The advent

of the Internet has also freed up more of librarians’ time. “We can spend more time doing children’s programming.” But Brimmell said additional programs aren’t just for children. “Adult programs have really expanded and we’re out in the community now.” She points to the GVPL’s new outreach van as an example of how they are more involved out in the community. Part of that outreach, also sees the library forging relationships and programming with other organizations. “We have so many staff that make connections with other organizations in the city,” she said. Some of those partnerships even include reaching out to Syrian refugees and immigration organizations on the West Shore. But, it doesn’t just stop there. “We do lots of outreach to schools and many literacy organizations.” She added, “everyone who comes in here has a need of some kind.” Bringing the conversation back to children, Brimmell’s passion for the younger generation becomes apparent. “I really like to help children succeed… I was a children’s librarian for many years.” In fact, when Brimmell first started working on the West Shore, she visited 17 elementary schools. “Children and services for children are very close to my heart… If you’re a good reader your chances of success as a young adult are much higher.” The library even has programs that collect books so children can have books of their own, as well as other outreach literacy connections that takes them to prisons and gets them involved with organizations such as Our Place Society. Being a librarian has been and continues to be a life-long passion for Brimmell. “My values resonate with the library’s values and missions.”


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Envisioned as a place to come discover and imagine, Brimmell said the GVPL’s mission is to “build community and support literacy and life long learning by providing free access to information, tools and expertise.” The new branch in Langford was designed with that in mind. The Langford Heritage Branch will not only continue with partnerships to benefit the community, but those partnership also work to make the community healthier. Brimmell said the focus is on “whole health” by visiting the Y, the Victoria Conservatory of Music and the library. This focus will be mutually beneficial to not only the organizations but also residents as they will be able to access a well-rounded sampling of healthy lifestyle activities at one location. Of course, Brimmell isn’t just looking at the new collection. “We’re really anxious to start programs,” she said that will kickoff with a sum-

mer reading program for children in the area. The new branch will also have a foyer that will be open 24-7, added Brimmell. “People will be able to check-in their own items and they’ll immediately come off their card.” People will also be able to access what Brimmell referred to as a vending machine of materials that can be checked out at any time. “It’s a smorgasbord of stuff,” she said. All of those materials, as well as the ones stocking the shelves of the new location, will be brand new. “For at least a month the material won’t be going to other branches.” She said eventually the material will begin to flow through the system normally as a way to refresh the collection so it doesn’t get stale. But in the beginning, it will have that new book smell and crisp pages that will excite any reader.

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LOCAL WOMEN Making a difference • B23

GOLDSTREAM NEWS GAZETTE - Wednesday, April 27, 2015

Please us May 5, 2016 Please join join us May 5, 2016

You are warmly invited to attend the You are warmly invited toCeremony attend the Public Groundbreaking Public Groundbreaking Ceremony for Pacific Centre Family Services Association’s for Pacific Centre Familyfor Services Association’s New Centre Wellbeing CentreMay for 5, Wellbeing When:New Thursday 2016 at 2PM Where: 324 Goldstream When: Thursday May 5, 2016Ave. at 2PM

YouYou are warmly to attend the the Where: 324 invited Goldstream Ave. are warmly invited to attend (Immediately west of Colwood Dental Group 318 Goldstream Ave.)

PLEASE NOTE: will not beGroup parking site (Immediately west there of Colwood Dental 318available Goldstreamon Ave.) parking lots are just 5 minutes walk away Public Groundbreaking Ceremony Public Groundbreaking Ceremony PLEASE NOTE: there will not be parking available on site parking lots are just 5 minutes walk away

for for Pacific Centre Family Services Association’s Pacific Centre Family Services Association’s NewNew Centre for Wellbeing Centre for Wellbeing

When: Thursday MayMay 5, 2016 at 2PM When: Thursday 5, 2016 at 2PM Where: 324 Goldstream Ave. Where: Are you 324 Goldstream Ave. (Immediately west of Colwood Dental Group 318 Goldstream Ave.)

interested inColwood Dental Group 318 Goldstream Ave.) (Immediately west of making a

PLEASE NOTE: there fulfi llingwill not be parking available on site PLEASE NOTE: there not be walk parking available on site parking lots are just will 5 minutes away connection parking with a lots are just 5 minutes walk away senior in your community?

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REACH Daycare now located at the new Belmont High School. “A first class environment where we are happy to bring our children to everyday” (REACH parents, April 2016). Places available in the 3-5 Centre, call Sandra Quesnelle: 250-474-4342 A specialized service for families requiring daycare during the school year (September – June).


Wednesday, April 27, 2015 - GOLDSTREAM NEWS GAZETTE


Emma Bridgewater At Emma Bridgewater, we like to make things that make everyday life a little bit nicer – things that are beautiful to look at but also a pleasure to use, like a lovely mug that cheers you up when you have your first cup of tea in the morning, or a bowl with a playful message that makes you smile when you use it. Emma and Matthew only design things that they love and want to use at home themselves, which gives our patterns a unique warmth that makes them instantly recognisable

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Le Creuset is focused on inspiring and empowering people everywhere to make joy through cooking. From our original enamelled cast iron cookware to stoneware, stainless, silicone and more, Le Creuset has grown to offer products across a range of materials and categories that guarantees the right tool for the right job. Dining, once a private activity, went public, and suddenly people experienced the delight of sharing a delicious meal in the company of friends.


Come see our floral department for our great selection of Hanging Baskets, Plants and Flowers

baskets g n i g n a h Breathtaking

Heather Horgan QF Florist

2275 Guthrie Road Comox, BC 250-890-1005

Powell River

4871 Joyce Avenue Powell River, BC 604-485-5481

Qualicum Foods 705 Memorial Ave. Qualicum Beach, BC 250-752-9281


1002 - 2751 Cliff Ave. Courtenay, BC 250.331.9328

View Royal

# 110 - 27 Helmcken Rd Victoria, BC 778-265-7012

Profile for Black Press Media Group

Special Features - Women of the Westshore 2016  


Special Features - Women of the Westshore 2016