CanadianSME Small Business Magazine - March 2023 Edition

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CANADIANSME EmpoweringCanadianSmall&MediumBusinesses ISSUE NO. 52 MARCH 2023 All Images, trademarks, service marks and logos referred to or appearing in this magazine arethepropertyof theirrespectiveowners. PAGE - 13 AnUndeniableLeaderHelpingWomen andEntrepreneursEverywhere BreakDownBarriers Shadi McIsaac BankingPartner ShippingPartner Accounting SoftwarePartner

Hello readers!

Our March issue is officially here and we are very excited about all the great content we have included in this month’s issue! We strive to be Canada’s top magazine in providing exclusive insights, strategies, and advice to small business owners and entrepreneurs Our mission is to include the best of the inclusive interviews and top business insights from reputable industry experts Our team works very hard in delivering the most valuable content to our readers to ensure that you stay up to date on all the latest business trends Empowering small and medium-sized businesses is our prime goal.

This month, CanadianSME is focused on International Women’s Day (IWD), Women Entrepreneurship, Top Canadian Women Entrepreneurs, Businesswoman of the month, Advice from Inspiring women business leaders and much more. Learn “The pandemic setback gender parity 35 years Now what?”, get inspired by “Shadi McIsaac, An Undeniable Leader Helping Women and Entrepreneurs Everywhere Break Down Barriers”; At TELUS, diversity and inclusion are central to their social purpose Read “ Women leaders share ‘superpowers’ to business success (embracing challenge is a good place to start) and Owning your voice with Jodi Baxter and to celebrate women, see what these successful women entrepreneurs have to say through their special message to empower women all across the world.

Leveraging Technology for SMB Growth! The CanadianSME Small Business Expo is coming on June 16th! The Small Business Expo 2023 emphasizes using technology to grow small businesses Technology has created many opportunities for entrepreneurs to gain a competitive edge, expand their markets, and adapt quickly to changing trends. Attendees will learn to integrate digital solutions into their infrastructure and create innovative long-term business growth plans.

On this International Women's Day, let us honor the women who have come before us and the women who continue to inspire us today Let us commit ourselves to working towards a brighter future for all women, and to creating a world where every woman can reach her full potential These articles provide insights into the tools and resources available for women entrepreneurs and 2023 trends to keep top of mind this year. We hope that this month’s issue will help give you the knowledge and information you need to stay ahead in the market.

Don't forget to subscribe to our magazine to get the latest trends and stay up to date on all of our events

Until next month, happy reading!

ISSN2562-0657(Online) PublishedbyCmarketingInc2800Skymark Avenue,Suite203Mississauga,ON Canada L4W5A6 ThecontentsinCanadianSMEMagazinearefor informationalpurposesonly NeitherCmarketing Inc,thepublishersnoranyofitspartners, employeesoraffiliatesacceptanyliability whatsoeverforanydirectorconsequentialloss arisingfromanyuseofitscontents Copyright©2022CMarketingInc Allrightsreserved Reproductioninwholeorpartofanytext, photographyorillustrationswithoutwrittenpermission fromthepublisherisprohibited All Images, trademarks, service marks and logos referred to or appearing in thismagazinearethe
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Technology is an industry of early adopters and innovators. So why is it lagging when it comes to women ' s representation? IN THIS ISSUE Canadiansme small business magazine 20 Breaking Barriers: Making Entrepreneurship Accessible to Women in Canada 32 Canadian Women Entrepreneurs Who Are Redefining Success 34 13 Shadi McIsaac An Undeniable Leader Helping Women and Entrepreneurs Everywhere Break Down Barriers 100 Women Who Care Mississauga Is Celebrating International Women’s Day 36 Everlasting Candle Co: Revolutionizing the Way We Illuminate Our Spaces 55 How Consistent Branding Elevates Customer Experiences 57 We help The Power of Diversity and Inclusion: Why Equal Representation Matters in Tech and Beyond 81
IN THIS ISSUE Canadiansme Small Business Magazine 39 5 HR priorities business owners need to take notice of in 2023 ack gender parity 35 years. 26 22 15 Dear Advisor A CPA answers the most common questions from Canadian small business owners Special message from Hon. Mary Ng Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade
IN THIS ISSUE Canadiansme Small Business Magazine 41 40 62 Women leaders share ‘superpowers’ to business success (embracing challenge is a good place to start) 28 Business Woman Of The Month : Nisha Grewal 24 Special message from Lisa Lansdowne-Higgins Senior Vice President,Business Transformation and Deposits RBC Royal Bank of Canada Special message from Stephanie Dexter President UPS Canada Designed to Grow: Inspired Interiors by Meg

InternationalWomen’sDay 2023:MinisterNgannounces recipientsoffundingunderthe WomenEntrepreneurship Strategy

ThisInternationalWomen’sDay, we ’recelebratingtheincredible talentandachievementsof womenandtheconcreteaction ourgovernmentistakingtomake sureeverywomancounts Time andagain,Canadianwomen haveproventhemselvestobe hard-workinganddedicated entrepreneurs,yetmanystillface barrierstoachievingtheir entrepreneurshipdreams

GovernmentofCanada supportsmanufacturersand electricvehiclesupplychain acrossOntario theHonourableFilomenaTassi, MinisterresponsiblefortheFederal EconomicDevelopmentAgencyfor SouthernOntario(FedDevOntario), joinedbyFrancescoSorbara, MemberofParliamentfor Vaughan–Woodbridge,announced nearly$16millioninsupportto strengthensouthernOntario’s manufacturingsectorasit transitionstoanet-zeroclean economy


TaxTip–Readytofileyour taxes?Here’swhyyoushould godigital Worriedabouttax-filingseason? Don’tbe!Oureasy-to-usedigital servicescanimprovethefiling processandsaveyoutime Using ourserviceswillmakeiteasierfor youtomanageyourtaxandbenefit information You’llalsoavoiddelays andlongwaittimesoverthephone duringtaxseason

4in5Canadianwomenseemoreopportunitythaneverinowning theirownbusiness,despitechallenges:GoDaddySurvey


LikemanyCanadianwomen,startingherownbusinesswasapathwaytogreater financialstability ForSadaf,itwasalsoaboutgivingbacktoherfamily,whose journeyfromAfghanistanshesayshasbeenapowerfulmotivatorforher businesssuccess


Shadi McIsaac

An Undeniable Leader Helping Women and Entrepreneurs Everywhere Break Down Barriers

A good business and a trusted company means they offer much needed solutions to an ongoing problem. And with the case of Ownr, the much-needed solution was within the entrepreneurial industry itself Which is where Shadi McIsaac stepped in Recognizing the chasm between entrepreneurship and everyday Canadians, she guided the Ownr team to bridge that gap with streamlined efficiency

As the team’s CEO and Co-Founder, McIsaac brings deep knowledge to Ownr Every day, she leads her team to recognize and study the financial, technical, and confusing hurdles of entrepreneurship, and in turn, provide the digital tools to help break them down Now, after just six years under her strong direction and industrysavvy, Ownr has helped over 100,000 customers across British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario, and Quebec launch their dream business offering convenient online services for business registration, incorporation, ongoing legal compliance, and even business credit card applications With McIsaac at the helm, Ownr is reshaping Canadians’ belief of what it takes to be entrepreneurship: that it should be accessible for everyone

Recent studies have shown that only two out of five entrepreneurs launch a business and of those who do, only half will survive So, as McIsaac says, “My endgame is five out of five ” with confidence that with Ownr’s support, all entrepreneurs can navigate legal processes and build a resilient, sustaining business

Raised by parents who embraced a new life in Canada, she witnessed first hand not just the struggles entrepreneurs face but also the life-shaping opportunities it can bring and now she hopes Ownr can help everyone realize their life goals, dreams, and aspirations with their own small business.

Believing that surrounding yourself with a supportive and responsive community is especially key to bringing business goals to life, when she does find an open schedule, McIsaac works as a Managing Partner of the Toronto chapter of Women’s Equity Lab (WEL) There, she helps engage women in the angel investment process, allowing more women to move into the space as advisors, board members, venture capitalist, angel investors and angel fund managers

McIsaac’s wealth of wisdom, leadership skills, and impressive work in the tech and business space continues to be recognised in the industry In 2022, she was listed among Canada’s Top 50 Changemakers by the Globe and Mail and was named one of Bay Street Bull’s Women of the Year for both 2021 and 2022

Strengthened by her family’s grit and determination to build a life in Canada, McIsaac earned her MBA at Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto and began her career in tech at IBM before moving to RBC in 2014 and RBC Ventures in 2017. From there, she founded Ownr and has been their CEO and Co-founder since. As with a lot of women in business, work and family take up almost all of their time Outside of Ownr, McIsaac’s first and foremost commitment is raising her young family With two children under four and a “thirteen year-old puppy ” , she emphasizes that there is nothing else shed rather devote her time to and that “It’s both a joy and a privilege to spend time with them and raise them ”

“What does that mean? It means making sure that you’re confident in your business’s economic viability Learn strong unit economics, your path to profitability, prove your disciplined spending, and showcase that you’re a good steward of capital. Why? Because those are undisputable things that are genderless and irrefutable attributes of a good business leader. As a woman, you’re going to find moments where you may be questioned, overlooked or unacknowledged. So empower yourself with these tools that transcend gender, know your business inside and out by showing great aptitude, and you will be undeniable.”

Women Entrepreneurship 14- CanadianSME-March2023

The pandemic set back gender parity 35 years. Now what?

During the pandemic, a whopping ⅓ of women left their jobs to take care of their families and many women-run businesses in Canada struggled or shut their doors completely. And while many have since rejoined the workforce, the long-term impact of this migration has been huge: the World Economic Forum estimates it will take an extra 35 years for gender parity to be achieved.

That's why #embraceequity, this year ' s theme for International Women's Day, is so meaningful: because we all have a role to play in advancing women in business

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Empowering women to fully participate in the workforce isn't just about “doing the right thing ” It's also about ensuring the long-term success of your company By advancing equity and giving women more opportunities to participate in the economy as both SME employees and business owners, Canada could boost its GDP by up to $150 billion.

So how can you #embraceequity in your own operations – and help women thrive in your business, your supply chain, and your overall network? No matter how big or small your SME may be, there are a few things you can do to support women ' s success:

The quality of mentoring that women receive is very different from what’s typically offered to men Women are more likely to get advice, while men typically have more mentors who advocate for them and actively open the door to opportunities

Women take on the brunt of child and elder care, accounting for almost ⅔ of caregivers in Canada Employers who accommodate that imbalance with flexibility policies like flex or core working hours, remote work, paternity leave, and a culture of support help women balance work and family commitments Flexibility benefits everyone: female employees stress less and can do more, and business owners see lower turnover and greater productivity

What you can do right now: Choose a woman who works in your company or a fellow small or medium-sized business owner and reach out to offer helpful input, useful connections and potential opportunities.

Women who are supported by their peers do better, and a big part of this effort is creating a culture that embraces allyship Do everything you can to be an ally yourself, modelling the mindset for your employees and your network

What you can do right now: Ask your employees: “what is one thing we can do to help you find balance?” Then, find a way to do it Even small changes can make a big difference

“I try to be an ally by being vulnerable myself, and by creating a safe space for other women to be themselves,” says Peggy Duffaut, Director of Human Resources, Tenet. “I show up authentically to empower other women to do the same, and do what others have done for me: challenging me to stand for what I believe in, and to always be true to who I am”

Gender equality 16- CanadianSME-March2023

What you can do right now: Share this article with your staff and your network along with one specific way you #embraceequity by supporting the women you work with

What you can do right now: Make shoutouts part of your company culture and encourage everyone to publicly recognize a job well done. And don't stop with your own employees: recognize women in business for their accomplishments too, whether it's at an industry event or an accolade on LinkedIn

Women often get the short end of the stick when it comes to contributing to discussions at work and having their ideas heard They're interrupted more often than men and get less credit for their ideas when they do get a chance to express themselves Not only is not being heard demoralizing for individuals, but it also robs companies of access to everyone ' s best ideas

Whether it's taking on an unfamiliar task or raising a hand for a promotion, women are less likely to take chances at work than men and more likely to underestimate their own abilities Having the support of a leader or a respected colleague empowers them to learn and grow professionally and contribute in more meaningful ways.

What you can do right now: Make a conscious effort to boost the confidence of your female employees and industry colleagues If an opportunity comes up, actively encourage them to go after it A little “I know you can do this” encouragement can mean more than you realize

What you can do right now: The next time a woman is interrupted in a meeting, make a point of saying you want to hear what she has to say If you see a woman is having trouble breaking into the discussion, ask for her perspective

Women often don't get the credit or recognition they deserve And that’s in no small part because they tend to minimize their accomplishments for women, self-promotion is often penalized as selfaggrandizement It doesn't take much effort to recognize a woman ' s contribution, and it can go a long way to building confidence and job satisfaction

Both men and women are a lot more worried about hurting a woman ' s feelings with feedback than they are a man ' s When women get input, it's often non-specific and hard to act on “Your use of last year ' s statistics made the presentation much more compelling,” is a lot more helpful than “nice job ” Without understanding what they're doing wrong (and right!) it's impossible for anyone to grow

Gender equality 17- CanadianSME-March2023

What you can do right now: Don't be afraid of upsetting someone with your thoughts about their performance. Be kind, but if there's something that can be improved, don’t skimp on the specifics You can set the stage as a business owner by inviting employees to provide you with feedback, and accept it gracefully as an opportunity to improve

“When women succeed, we all succeed,” says Johnson Joseph, CEO, Cubeler and President and CEO of its parent organization, Tenet. “We recognize how crucial the support of peers, colleagues and leaders is for Canadian women entrepreneurs and really, all women in business That’s why we founded the Cubeler Business Hub to give Canadian business owners access to the financing, network building and insights they need to succeed.”

Running a business is hard, but it's extra challenging if you ' re a woman Female small and medium-sized business owners have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic. They have less access to funding than their male counterparts They struggle to be taken seriously, especially if their business is in a traditionally male-dominated field And they don't always have the support network they need to really thrive It’s no wonder only 17% of Canadian SMEs are owned by women

“For me, equity means equal treatment, respect and agency,” says Wendy Kennish, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary, Tenet. “SMEs are often underfunded and overburdened, and embracing equity is about helping them attract the resources they need to become all they can become The Cubeler Business Hub offers connections to possible sources of funding, and in the future, it will also be a networking hub a place to share hopes, dreams and frustrations with others who understand exactly where you’re coming from.”

What you can do right now: Invite women entrepreneurs to your networking and support groups Introduce them to people who can help them succeed. Buy their products and services and promote them to your circle.

Cubeler helps SMEs unlock the full potential of their business with the Cubeler Business Hub™, a no-cost platform where small and mediumsized businesses in Canada can access the financing, advertising, networking and business intelligence tools they require to compete with larger companies Find out more at cubeler com

Gender equality 18- CanadianSME-March2023

So why is it lagging when it comes to women's representation?

Ginette Adragna has been an instrumental part of the CDW Canada team for over two decades She has demonstrated her expertise in the tech industry and served as a vital mentor to countless women in the sector As a strong advocate for gender parity, Adragna's commitment to cultivating an open and supportive work culture has empowered women in her workspace and set an example for the IT sector

CDW Canada, a renowned technology solutions provider to corporations, government organizations, healthcare providers, and educational institutions, has provided Adragna with the ideal platform to share her knowledge and encourage countless other women in the sector.

Though famed for innovation and early adoption, Canada's tech sector struggles with gender diversity and inclusion As a matter of fact, despite numerous efforts like diversity pledges, initiatives, and policies, the sector still lacks gender parity Recently, the Tech and People Network, a non-profit network of more than 900 people and culture leaders across 250 Canadian tech businesses, found that 36% of the tech sector is female Given the industry's recent rise, this mismatch is concerning

Technology is an industry of early adopters and innovators.
20- CanadianSME-March2023

While some progress has been made, it is clear that more needs to be done to address the gender gap in the tech industry It requires a collective effort from tech companies, industry leaders, policymakers, and the wider community to create a more inclusive and welcoming environment for women in the sector. This entails addressing recruitment and hiring bias, providing mentorship and career development opportunities, promoting flexible work arrangements, and fostering a workplace culture that values diversity and inclusion

Educational institutions need to create equal opportunities for girls in STEM by offering career counseling, mentoring, and exposure to female role models Inclusive STEM courses that consider learning styles and interests should be designed. Supportive school environments that use technology to motivate and inspire girls are vital Early education efforts can enhance female participation in STEM, leading to gender parity in the workforce

Despite significant efforts to address gender inequality in the workplace, the root of the problem lies in the lack of female representation in STEM fields Research indicates that fewer girls select science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) subjects in secondary education, with technology being the least favorite among young women The underrepresentation of women in STEM education results in a dearth of female talent in these fields, which exacerbates the gender pay gap and gender inequality in the workforce.

Statistics Canada reveals that only 34% of Canadians with a STEM degree are women Although women have made some progress, continued efforts are necessary to ensure gender parity in STEM fields The challenge begins early in the classroom, where hands-on training, exposure, and encouragement can make STEM more accessible to everyone, regardless of gender

While large technology companies have advanced recruitment strategies to improve gender diversity, smaller organizations struggle Women are underrepresented in STEM leadership roles, with only 15% of management roles in science, engineering, and technology being held by women in Canada

Adragna rightly points out, “Organizations need to create a culture where women not only feel welcome, they also feel there is a future for them ” She adds, “take time to connect with the women in your workplace and help them shape their careers with you. A little effort can go a long way. ”

Diversity fosters creativity, productivity, and profitability, so a holistic diversity, equity, and inclusion strategy is crucial Retention is a key issue, and mentorship programs, career development opportunities, and community-building can help Like CDW Canada, organizations should commit to leadership and strategic emphasis to foster a culture of belonging

Women Entrepreneurship

A CPA answers the most common questions from Canadian small business owners

This month features Joe Collins, an accountant and founder of Avalon Accounting. He became an accountant and started Avalon because he believes small business owners deserve a better deal - up to date information about their business and a service provider who focuses on their specific needs.

What’s the best way to pay myself from my corporation?

Disclaimer: This material has been prepared for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, tax, legal or accounting advice

Despite what you might hear, there are only 2 ways to pay yourself from your corporation in Canada: dividends or salary (sorry, you can’t be a contractor for a corporation you own)

Unfortunately, it’s not as simple as figuring out which method will have a smaller tax payment –although, that is an important factor that we’ll cover as well

Simply put, a salary; also known as wages or employment income, is income that is run through payroll You pay wages and withhold the tax and Canada Pension Plan (CPP) payment Income is then reported on a T4 to include on your personal tax return These are expenses to the company and will reduce your net income and therefore the corporate tax that you must pay

22- CanadianSME-March2023

A dividend is a distribution/payment from the after-tax profit of your corporation If you pay yourself this way, the company does not get a tax deduction for these, so they don’t reduce the corporate tax that you owe Dividends can be paid throughout the year and are reported on a T5, which is then included in your personal tax return

To choose an option that works best for you and your company, you’ll need to take the following into consideration:


Wages must be run through payroll, so they have a higher administrative burden than dividends

Dividends can be declared at any time and have a simple filing with CRA

Saving for retirement:

Wages create a Registered Retirement Savings Program (RRSP) contribution space, allowing you to save and defer tax to later in life

Dividends create no RRSP space, so this tax shelter won’t be available if you just pay yourself dividends

Tax surprises:

○Wages create fewer tax surprises You subtract the tax off each pay cheque which lowers the chance that you’ll owe money when you file your end of year return

○With dividends, no tax is withheld This means that when you draw your dividend, you don’t take a percentage out of the total amount to accommodate taxes Come April, you may have a hefty tax bill

Canada Pension Plan (CPP):

○This can be a pro or a con depending on your thoughts about CPP Wages allow for you to contribute to (and later collect from) CPP

○With dividends, you don’t contribute (or collect) This means if you pay dividends, you may have more cash in your pocket now, but less later

Other government programs:

The system is designed so that you pay wages for work that you do in your business where you take dividends for the profit your work produces

With COVID-19, we saw that many government subsidy programs were based on wages paid and not dividends Many business owners who paid dividends only, were left out of these subsidies Ouch!

Taxes – depending on which province you’re in, there may be some slight differences to the below:

Although taxes are the first thing people think about, it tends to rank lower on our list That’s because the Canadian tax system is designed so that whether you pay yourself a salary or a dividend, you will end up paying around the same tax overall With dividends, you pay some tax at the corporate level and the remainder at the personal level. With wages, you only pay taxes at the personal level.

Our recommendation:

There’s no one-size-fits-all It’s important to take all these factors in and apply them to your own situation If it’s strictly about money, we have some content on Avalon Accounting’s YouTube channel that can help you make a more informed decision You can also sign up to our weekly newsletter for tax and small business tips here

Accountants 23- CanadianSME-March2023

Designed to Grow: Inspired Interiors by Meg

Meg Labaziewicz has always had an eye for the details that make a difference

After over a decade of working in financial planning, she did a career pivot and launched Inspired Interiors by Meg

In 2016, the business began with one goal in mind: Meet the clients' design needs while staying within their budget Needless to say, she did just that

Meg quickly grew from being the go-to person for family and friends looking for a home refresh to working on home staging, business designing and even decorating internationally

"I'm trying to build a business that I can hand down to my family, so I'm working mindfully," she says

While she's living life in glitter and gold with a successful business now, Meg will be the first to share that the road as a small business owner wasn't the least bit easy

"One of the problems I faced was not being able to consistently market," she says "Not only that, I faced trying to make all these decisions alone, which was really overwhelming "

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With a serious uptick in work, Meg struggled to manage her busy calendar and keep up with her social posts

"I needed a partner I could rely on, on a regular basis," she says. So, she sought out software designed to enhance her business.

"When I met the account executives at Thryv, and I learned about what they did, I realized quickly that's exactly what I needed."

Suddenly, with the help of the software, Meg had extra time in her day, easier management processes and was able to connect with customers more as her business grew

The business is taking on not only more projects, but larger projects This tremendous growth is manageable now that meetings and appointments are in sync with her and her staff's calendars "I have all my appointments online and I save so much time being able to go back and forth in Thryv," Meg says.

And clientele is booming By using a CRM with client notes, custom Tags and Fields, Meg is able to capture and organize client information and design details When she's ready to double-check a design decision, she can quickly refer to those notes as needed to craft the space her clients have dreamed of.

"My business has transformed a lot and I really attribute that to the work I've done with Thrvy," she says.

As a result of taking care of her clients so well, Meg’s increased her referrals, which is aiding in her never-ending cycle of success

With Automation, Meg's Business Soared

By automating her processes to remove day-to-day manual tasks, Meg had much more free time As a result, she increased her business's earnings by 400%

The Inspired Interiors social media followers have increased by 60% now that Meg has tapped into an automated posting schedule on Facebook The posting schedule allows her to be present on social media and engage with her customers even when she's busy

She's learned that pinpointing the perfect system for run your business will help remind you of the reason you started in the first place By cutting down on timeand labor-intensive tasks, Meg is spending more time pursuing her dream of creating stylish environments for others to love

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5 HR priorities

business owners need to take notice of in 2023

BrightHR is an industry-leading provider of HR software and support to SMBs. Since launching we ’ ve been trusted by 6,000+ businesses across Canada, supporting them to navigate their toughest challenges and grow their businesses.

Local business owners recently shared with us the top challenges faced by their businesses in 2022 Using their feedback, we ’ ve created a list of 5 HR priorities you need to have as business owners

So, how will HR impact your business in 2023? Read on to find out how to avoid costly mistakes and keep your business compliant Plus learn the multiple ways HR software can save you time and money and support your business growth!

Across Canada, we ’ ve seen how recent changes can affect your staff and how important it is to get it right

For Example, In December 2022, Federal paid medical leave came into effect meaning federally regulated employees will be entitled to up to 10 paid sick days per calendar year (depending on where their business operates).

More and more small-medium-sized business owners are struggling to keep up with legislative changes From hiring lawyers to searching the internet for advice staying up to date can be costly and filled with invisible risks for employers

So, how do you stay compliant without throwing money down the drain? Well, with recent changes, thousands of business owners have sought out employment relations advice From Toronto to Vancouver our advisory service, BrightAdvice has been giving business owners peace of mind with unlimited phone-based support from Canadian-based experts

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Ministry of Labour Inspections are set to increase this year, so it’s important to ensure your health & safety policies meet the latest regulations or face costly fines!

As an employer you may not always have time to create the right policies, let alone begin adopting them into your business in time to be compliant That’s why you need support that’s backed by Canadian health & safety experts, so you ’ re prepared for any unexpected inspections

It may not be the first place that business owners look but simplifying the way you manage people can help you to save money We all know time is a costly commodity Freeing up time spent on day-to-day tasks means you can invest it back into your business So, whether you ’ re creating staff schedules or calculating your employee’s vacation make sure you ’ ve got the right time-saving tools to speed your HR admin up

49% of BrightHR clients say their greatest challenge with staffing is recruitment So, how can you improve your processes and stand out from the competition? It starts with making a good first impression

With BrightHRs recruitment tool ‘Turbo Talent Navigator’ you can get tools to make your recruitment faster, more reliable, and more attractive to candidates That way you can onboard top performers before your competition

60% of BrightHR clients said their top priority for 2023 is growth And real, sustainable growth starts with HR and accelerates with advertising

But the cost to advertise is rising fast So, you’ll need solutions to get your products or services in front of consumers not just quickly, but in the right place, at the right time BrightHR is the only HR platform with a free online marketplace Bright Exchange, where you can advertise to over 65,000 users.

Discover more about how BrightHR has supported over 6,000 Canadian businesses like yours. Visit BrightHR today.

55% of business owners said rising costs were their top concern for 2023 And it’s no secret that prices are rising everywhere

Human Resources 27- CanadianSME-March2023

As the Vice-president of Customer Success at TELUS Business, Nicole’s team supports TELUS’ largest business customers She loves a challenge – whether at the office, as mom to a spunky seven-year-old girl or while training for an endurance race She draws from her own experiences to offer solid advice to women starting a career in business:

“Focus on the outcomes your customers want from using your products and services No matter the challenge, or size of the challenge, success in life is largely based on a grit mindset in my opinion ”

With a background in sales, Nicole saw an opportunity to support customers in a more proactive and holistic way, by standing up a new team focused on building relationships and maximizing customer value As the leader and principal architect of the Customer Success organization at TELUS Business, Nicole and her team help customers recognize and realize value during their digital journey

Nicole’s authentic leadership style empowers team members to bring forward innovative ideas and solutions to meet the unique needs of their customers and our business As a business leader, she embraces equity by creating awareness and using her platform to sponsor and elevate others on their career journey while inspiring them to be their best selves at work and in their personal lives With a strong inspirational vision, Nicole strives to ensure diversity of thought, equality and inclusion are always considered Her bold leadership has given her the opportunity to share her voice at the table and represent this year ’ s International Women’s Day theme #EmbraceEquity

“It is my responsibility as a leader, and a member of the BIPOC community, to carve out time to mentor and sponsor others in their careers It is important to me to advocate and create awareness for gender equity, but also lead by example to show where we can improve”

At TELUS, diversity and inclusion are central to our social purpose. We take great pride in how it defines us as an organization, and our ongoing commitment to always finding new ways of fostering greater gender equality across our company It’s why this year’s theme for International Women’s Day (IWD) on March 8, #EmbraceEquity, is so meaningful. Through it, we continue to highlight the importance of driving equal opportunities, and that differences in backgrounds, perspectives and experiences are a source of strength

To celebrate this important day, we asked four incredible and inspiring women from TELUS Business to share their secrets to success in the business world, and what this year’s theme means to them.

Women leaders share ‘superpowers
to business success (embracing challenge is a good place to start)
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As Sales Director for SMB Growth at TELUS Business, Stacy recommends all women in business should actively look for and support diverse perspectives while focusing on embracing a growth mindset

“Embrace your uniqueness and be adventurous while you learn and grow Women have proven that our contributions and perspectives enhance organizations' competitive power, ” she says

With over 20 years in sales, Stacy leads a team of energized and talented professionals who collaborate with business owners to provide technology solutions that enable them to prepare their business for the future, while succeeding now - especially for women entrepreneurs.

“Everyday we provide technological products, services and solutions that level the playing field for women business owners. We are true full service solutions partners that enable women business owners and customers to realize their dreams and bring their future to life now ”

Stacy’s other tip for women to succeed in business? Teamwork

Meet Erin, Director of Strategy and Enablement at TELUS Business Having held many progressive roles at TELUS over her 16-year tenure, Erin’s leadership philosophy is simple: Embrace new opportunities, challenge yourself to step outside your comfort zone and make diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) a priority in work

“By saying yes to opportunities, especially those outside of your comfort zone, you’d be surprised by how much you can expand your network and how quickly you learn new skills,” she says.

“Build great teams by working with and through people Teamwork is essential Embrace your experiences, own your story and know the value you bring to the table That's your superpower ”

In a nutshell, Erin’s job is to ensure that every member of the team has all the resources and tools they need to perform at their best That includes improving business processes, nurturing team culture and engagement, and keeping the broader team on track with their investments and strategic priorities But Erin’s leadership extends far beyond her day-to-day responsibilities As a passionate advocate for DEI, she is an active member of TELUS’ internal women ’ s resource group, Connections, and regularly leads team activities on addressing unconscious bias and informing inclusive hiring practices

Women Entrepreneurship

For Erin, this year’s theme, #EmbraceEquity, is a call to acknowledge the personal circumstances we each experience. “It isn’t enough to simply provide equal opportunities for all; we actually need to recognize that we don’t all begin in the same place in society. Achieving the same goals may be more challenging for people facing adverse conditions and circumstances despite them putting in the same amount of effort If we can appreciate that, we can do so much better to support each other ”

It’s why Jodi is confident about voicing her own opinions and taking charge –though it wasn’t always that way Shes had to work on finding her voice among her peers and she attributes her personal growth to her mentors

“I’ve been lucky to have a diverse group of amazing advocates – many of whom are men – who’ve really encouraged me to speak up when I had an idea, had a question or disagreed with something Their advice has been invaluable to helping me move up in my career and now I’m focused on championing others to use their voice.”

With over 20 years working at the intersection of business and technology, Jodi understands the transformative impact that the Internet of Things (IoT) is having on industries like healthcare, transportation and manufacturing Her role is to help organizations adopt 5G and IoT technology more easily and safely with customizable, easy-to-use solutions

As the Vice-president of 5G and IoT Connectivity at TELUS Business, Jodi Baxter knows firsthand the benefits of having diverse perspectives at the table in a complex and everchanging industry

“When you don’t have enough diversity, you actually lose out on momentum and efficiency and you become more susceptible to ‘groupthink’ – where the loudest person in the room is heard and everyone else just agrees, ” she says “Greater diversity of voices amounts to greater ROI, both financially and in the degree of innovation and development you can achieve across the business ”

Her best advice on achieving success in a constantly evolving industry? “Find the people who will advocate for you and do your best to speak up. Raise your hand at that meeting, deliver that presentation, join that panel and don’t be afraid to try new things You’ll set an example for other people who see themselves in you ”

Hear more from the amazing women at TELUS Business on the CanadianSME podcast here

Women Entrepreneurship 30- CanadianSME-March2023

Breaking Barriers: Making

Entrepreneurship Accessible to Women in Canada

The Canadian economy heavily relies on small and mediumsized businesses, which account for a significant 99 8% of the total businesses running across the nation. While these numbers may seem encouraging, there’s a growing concern about the dwindling numbers of women entrepreneurs despite their critical role in the flourishment of SMBs

As women entrepreneurs account for only 17 5%, the Canadian authorities are worried about the underrepresentation, as it not only hampers women ' s economic potential but also limits Canadas overall economic growth This article aims to delve into women entrepreneurs’ challenges in entrepreneurship and discuss how organizations and the Canadian government can eliminate obstacles to make entrepreneurship more accessible to women

That's not all; according to Ownr Media’s recent survey, 43% of those who do get a chance to run a business struggle with a lack of funding. While 87% of women entrepreneurs said they would appreciate mentorship, only 40% could afford one

These are just a few challenges that hinder the growth and potential of women entrepreneurs from contributing to the Canadian economy


There are numerous roadblocks that prevent women from starting or growing their businesses in Canada; These include:

a) Limited access to capital

b) Lack of networking opportunities

c) Limited mentorship and support

d) Social barriers

As per the study by a renowned media outlet, almost half or 49%, of the women in Canada are looking to start a business or side hustle to meet expenses and combat inflation A significant majority of about 87% of women claim that household responsibilities keep them from taking this leap

The Canadian government and its allied organizations must prioritize equity and inclusion to make entrepreneurial opportunities accessible to everyone, including women This entails providing the required support, resources, and women-oriented infrastructure to help them start, grow and expand their businesses The following are the necessary steps that these organizations need to take:

32- CanadianSME-March2023

a) Ensure women have access to funds and financing options to meet their financial obligations while running a business.

b) Provide entrepreneurial training and mentorship programs along with educational resources that can help women entrepreneurs develop the skills and knowledge they need to succeed

c) Creating networking opportunities that allow women entrepreneurs to connect with other likeminded individuals and share their experiences and insights.

d) Address the social obstacles that prevent women from pursuing entrepreneurship and establish a more inclusive business environment


To set female entrepreneurs up for success, it is important to take on their challenges and provide a robust ecosystem that enables them to accomplish their business goals. Here’s how we can provide them with assistance and support:

Provide female entrepreneurs mentorship and support to help them navigate the challenges of starting and growing a business

Offer training and educational resources to help women entrepreneurs develop the skills and knowledge needed to succeed

Create an environment encouraging diversity and inclusion, enabling women entrepreneurs to thrive

TheEconomicImpactofUpliftingWomen Entrepreneurs

According to the McKinsey Global Institute's report, empowering women entrepreneurs could potentially contribute $12 trillion to the global GDP In fact, female entrepreneurs in Canada own a substantial portion of new businesses, accounting for 37 4% of self-employment in 2019, with over 1 5 million workers employed and contributing approximately $150 billion to the economy. A more inclusive and prosperous business ecosystem can be established in Canada by providing female entrepreneurs with essential resources and support


Eliminating roadblocks and improving women ’ s access to entrepreneurship can help mitigate the challenges they face on both social and operational fronts This would empower female entrepreneurs and give the Canadian economy the essential push to become successful and prosperous It can break barriers towards gender parity and an inclusive business ecosystem to enable female-owned businesses to achieve greater heights In fact, the Women Entrepreneurship Strategy, together with other initiatives, can pave the way for a promising future for women in business in Canada

TheCanadianGovernment'sWomen EntrepreneurshipStrategy

To equip female entrepreneurs with the required support and resources like funds, mentorship, and training programs, the Canadian government has pledged $6 billion to the Women Entrepreneurship Strategy This program is aimed at providing facilitation to women entrepreneurs, which will enable them to establish and expand their businesses

Implementing this strategy is crucial in bridging the gender gap in entrepreneurship and fostering a more inclusive business environment in Canada

Ownr is an excellent platform for entrepreneurs and small business owners who want to grow and expand their businesses. They offer resources and opportunities to help you succeed, including webinars, articles, funding directories, and community forums Additionally, Ownr offers affordable pricing for its services, making it accessible to businesses of all sizes If you ' re looking to start or grow your business, check out Ownr's website at https://partners ownr co/sme

Plus, stay up-to-date with the latest news and trends by following us on Twitter at @canadian sme Join our community of savvy entrepreneurs and take your business to the next level today!

Women Entrepreneurship 33- CanadianSME-March2023

Canadian Women Entrepreneurs

Who Are Redefining


Hillary Clinton

Even in the 21st century, women entrepreneurs' potential and the impact their contribution can make are never explored nor acknowledged Their journey of building successful businesses is inspirational and are stories that must be celebrated Their definition of success is multifaceted Along with their monetary profit, they contribute to the economic, social, ecological and health benefits of the society around them Here are three Canadian women entrepreneurs who are redefining success

When she left her corporate role as Vice President of Marketing at Jamieson Wellness in 2017, she knew she needed to figure out a new path So she decided to explore her interest in learning the Yoga Teacher Training course, not necessarily to teach but to deepen her practice

The coursework was physically demanding She soon realized the combination of supplements and nutrients she took to maintain her health and support her needs before and after yoga was rare knowledge In addition, many active yoga practitioners and teachers follow a plant-based lifestyle, making their protein needs more challenging

Jillian Mariani has been a practitioner of yoga for two decades Yoga became a part of her routine when she started her career in natural health products in Canada, and the physical and emotional benefits inspired her. She never gave up yoga, even when balancing an incredible sales, marketing, and innovation career with some of Canada's best natural health brands and the responsibilities of caring for her family

As a Diploma holder in Nutritional Management from George Brown, Jillian decided to combine her love for yoga with her passion and knowledge of natural health. She founded Niyama Wellness which supports self-care from head to toe, supporting an active lifestyle and nourishing your overall well-being All Niyama wellness products are vegan, non-GMO and made in Canada Free from gluten, soy and sugar with no artificial colours, flavours, sweeteners or preservatives

“Women are the largest untapped reservoir of talent in the world.”
34- CanadianSME-March2023

Dr Dionne's children were busy in the kitchen one day, one making tea and the other making popsicles There was a disagreement on who their mother should help when the eldest exclaimed, "Mommy, let's make testicles!"

As a mother and a PhD medical scientist, Dionne Laslo-Baker was fascinated by this simple idea She realized there weren't many nutritious organic snacks without chemicals, toxins, or preservatives in the market She had a lighting moment and realized that the years she had spent researching the impacts of chemicals and toxins on child development led to the founding of a company dedicated to providing every family with healthy, clean-label, organic sweets to enjoy together

Through DeeBee's Organics, Dr Dionne is on a mission to reimagine classic treats using natural ingredients you can pronounce and trust Their yummy SuperFruit Freezies make the world a little brighter by creating moments of everyday delight with the goodness of real fruit They are health-conscious parents who believe in feeding families well and using their small business as a force for good

Dionne founded DeeBee's Organics to feed families, do business differently, and create a legacy that will impact future generations. They ensure organic, delicious products with no artificial anything. Today, DeeBee's Organics transforms "treats" by making versions with clean, real food ingredients you'll feel great about snacking on.

Miryam is a pioneer in connecting the Canadian and Latin American innovation markets She is the co-founder and CEO of LatAm Startups and Vice President of Business Development at Go South! Consulting Inc With over twenty years of business development experience, she focuses on Latin American markets and is passionate about connecting the Canadian and Latin American startup ecosystems

Miryam founded LatAm Startups, a Toronto-based accelerator that brings startups from Latin America to Canada and scales them globally Since her childhood in Colombia, Miryam has been a serial entrepreneur passionate about building stronger economic ties between Canada and Latin America and tapping the untapped market of 800 million consumers

She is a member of the Program Advisory Committee for Business Administration, Entrepreneurship, and Small Business at Seneca College In addition, she works closely with Canadian and Latin American angel investors to pursue cross-border investment opportunities.

LatAm startups in one designated incubator under the Canadian startup visa program Based in Toronto, they offer programs to help international startups scale Their nonprofit accelerator is supported by the City of Toronto and the federal government through FedDev Ontario LatAm Startups is also a member of the National Angel Capital Organization in Canada

Women entrepreneurs' success stories empower fellow aspiring entrepreneurs who dream of building a business of their own and wish to explore the possibilities of entrepreneurship Women must not shy away from the opportunities that await them and take risks to grab what is rightfully theirs Only through such determined decisions will they progress and contribute to the betterment of the economy

Small business offers a lot of opportunities for women To read more about these possibilities, subscribe to CanadianSME Small Business Magazine For the latest updates, visit our Twitter page at @canadian_sme.

Women Entrepreneurship 35- CanadianSME-March2023

100 Women Who Care Mississauga Is Celebrating

International Women’s Day

100 Women Who Care Mississauga is a community group that provides a platform for women to drive philanthropy in Mississauga communities. Three times a year, 100 Women Who Care Mississauga holds a Giving Circle with the express purpose of donating funds to charity on the local level to help solve an immediate and pressing need in our community. We believe in the Power of 100 100 women, each donating $100, for a collective donation of $10,000 from each meeting, can effect positive change in our community.

Volunteer-led, but member-driven, 100 Women Who Care Mississauga is led by a Steering Team of volunteers who are also members While the volunteers are leading the chapter, the direction is driven by the members Members nominate the charities that are considered for donations. Members vote at the Giving Circles for the charity that ultimately receives the group ’ s entire collective donation This system promotes equity within the group as each nomination and each vote counts Since its inception in April 2021, over $46,000 has been donated to help local charities fund programs and meet their clients’ needs in a way that promotes dignity and empathy for those using their services The goal of 100 Women Who Care Mississauga chapter is to far exceed 100 women as members so they can do as much good as possible

36- CanadianSME-March2023

On March 8th, 2023, at their Winter Giving Circle, 100 Women Who Care Mississauga are celebrating International Women’s Day! This year ’ s International Women’s Day theme is #EmbraceEquity. From the International Womens Day website, “Equity isn't just a nice-to-have, it's a must-have A focus on gender equity needs to be part of every society's DNA And it's critical to understand the difference between equity and equality Equality means each individual or group of people is given the same resources or opportunities Equity recognizes and

100 Women Who Care Mississauga is also striving to build a strong community within the group, developing a supportive network of women who are building friendships, supporting each other’s businesses, and growing the group through their own personal networks. At a recent social networking event, members were asked to wear purple and strike the #EmbraceEquity pose for a social media campaign leading up to the March 8th Giving Circle/International Women’s Day

opportunities needed to reach an equal outcome ” If you look at the history of the 100 Women Who Care Mississauga Chapters Giving Circle donations, you will see they have trended towards nominating and voting for charities that promote embracing equity within our community by awarding funds to organizations that help elevate and provide dignity to underserved and disadvantaged groups, often women and youth By elevating and empowering women, we are working towards a more equitable community for all When you improve equity, you are providing families with more equitable opportunities in life: less food insecurity, access to mental health services, parenting resources, educational resources, etc

If you would like to learn more about 100 Women Who Care Mississauga and find out how you can become part of this growing movement of women ’ s philanthropy, please visit our website at 100womenwhocaremississauga com We invite you to join us as a guest at our next Giving Circle on June 14th, you can find the details on our website on the Meetings page

Please follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn.

Christine Hull, Chapter Founder Vivian Singh, Member, Image Consultant Nita Kang, Member, Realtor
Women Entrepreneurship 37- CanadianSME-March2023

Celebrating International Women's Day 2023

International Women's Day serves as a reminder of the ongoing fight for gender equality worldwide While significant progress has been made in recent years, there is still a long way to go Women continue to face discrimination and systemic inequalities in many areas, including education, employment, healthcare, and politics

To make real change happen, it is essential that we all do our part On this International Women's Day, let's pledge to act for equality in our lives, communities, and beyond

We can do this by standing up for women ' s rights everywhere We can do this by speaking out against discrimination and advocating for policies that promote gender equality It's also important to support women fighting for their rights, whether donating to organizations empowering women or simply offering encouragement and solidarity

Another way to promote gender equality is to champion women ' s rights This means supporting initiatives that aim to increase women ' s access to education, healthcare, and economic opportunities. It also means challenging traditional gender roles and stereotypes that hold women back and limit their potential.

Finally, we can promote gender equality by simply supporting the women in our lives. This includes our friends, family, and colleagues, as well as women in our local communities and around the world. By listening to their experiences and perspectives and by actively working to uplift and empower them, we can help create a more just and equitable world for all.

In conclusion, let's commit to making real change happen on this International Women's Day. Let's stand up for the rights of women everywhere, champion women ' s rights, and support the women in our lives. Together, we can create a more just and equitable world for all. #EmbraceEquity.

Put your hand up.

It takes a lot of incredible women to make our communities, our economy, and our country what it is

We know that investing in the success of women entrepreneurs isn’t just the right thing to do, it’s the smartest thing we can do for a strong and diverse economy –because when women succeed, we all succeed

That’s why our government is committed to supporting Canadian women through historic solutions: $10-a-day childcare; paid parental leave; legislating the Pay Equity Act; combating gender-based violence; and applying genderbased analysis to all of our policies

And why I lead the Women Entrepreneurship Strategy, a more than $6-billion investment that has helped over 10,000 women start new businesses, and over 12,000 grow theirs.

So as we celebrate International Women’s Day, let us not forget the women who have gotten us here – and those who will have a brighter future because of the work we do today

This International Women's Day and beyond, to fully #EmbraceEquity, I inspire you to put your hand up Put your hand up for that job For that promotion That raise Put your hand up to earn your worth For that board position That new opportunity Put your hand up for others Give your time to mentorship Go beyond that and sponsor someone Put your hand up for more inclusive workplaces

Trailblazers didn’t wait for things to change to forge their own path They built the road themselves Sometimes all it takes is for us to put up our hand

In 2020, the Ontario Chamber of Commerce released the She-Covery Project: Confronting the Gendered Economic Impacts of COVID-19 The report notes decades of progress toward economic empowerment for women and girls. Let’s keep that momentum going by fiercely advocating for ourselves and others.

Celebrating International Women's Day 2023
Hon. Mary Ng of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade

Women entrepreneurs and business owners are forging ahead in the business world I believe in the importance of recognizing and celebrating their achievements on International Women’s Day, and our work to build a diverse, equitable, and balanced community doesn’t stop there

At UPS, we are committed to using our insights and experience in international supply chains to support diverse-owned SMBs through dedicated programs The UPS Women Exporters Program is a global initiative that seeks to improve participation by women-owned businesses in exporting by providing targeted trade and export-related education I’m excited to be bringing this initiative to Canada later this year enabling a more inclusive society and economy by unlocking the tremendous potential of women-owned and women-run businesses

This International Women’s Day, I encourage everyone to reflect on the importance of community and how crucial it is to find a peer group that inspires and challenges you.

It's tough running a business and wearing multiple hats, all while bearing the pressure to be everything to everyone Yes, it can be satisfying pursuing your passion and pouring in all of that sweat equity, but it also can feel isolating and lonely at times

There are many ways for women in business to find a community to share ideas, support each other, and feel part of a larger cause For example, there are great networking groups such as Monday Girl or Girlboss that provide an open space to build relationships and get inspired

Women entrepreneurs bring so much to the Canadian economy, including unique perspectives and experiences, but you don’t have to do this alone

Celebrating International Women's Day 2023

Stephanie Dexter President UPS Canada Faye Pang Canada Country Manager, Xero

Women naturally tend to be more empathetic, and the business world has long led us to believe that empathy is a weakness This International Women’s Day, I’m urging female-identifying entrepreneurs and businesspeople to lean in to their empathy In this economy, caring about your people, ensuring they’re okay, and encouraging them to be their true selves at work is crucially important to create a culture that team members want to be a part of Empathy also means running businesses that have a purpose beyond making money - for us at Willful, that includes committing 1% of our equity to SickKids via The Upside Foundation, and encouraging legacy gifts in wills Empathy is our secret weapon against the typical “hustle and grind” culture in startups, and we should lean into it more in 2023 in order to drive our businesses forward.

“Every International Women's Day, we come togethe t recognize the many ways in which women of all age backgrounds act as agents of change within our so

In particular, there is no better testament to this po our country's force of female small business owners entrepreneurs From job creation to social innovatio stories and accomplishments speak volumes about can be achieved as a nation when we foster the ful equal participation of women in business and socie

However, achieving this all starts by creating places spaces where women thrive As we mark Internation Women's Day this year, we are called to collectively #EmbraceEquity – a call that requires us to change systemic and structural barriers that get in the way gender parity.

At RBC, we hear this call – and we wont stop using our voice to inspire greater inclusivity in our workplace and communities Together, let’s forge a world with true equity and equality for all women ”

Celebrating International Women's Day 2023

Embracing equity is welcoming diversity and inclusion within all corners of work, society and culture As a woman in a typically male-dominated industry, it’s not necessarily so much about the large, obvious examples of inequality that one experiences, but the small and seemingly trivial habits of the industry that are inherently problematic Being bold, persistent and following your passion while focusing on your long-term goals - but staying flexible with how you get there - is important Simply having the experience of being a woman can be helpful to bring a perspective of the underrepresented to the table. The issue is not necessarily about proving how a woman can be better at the job than a man, but how positive reinforcement of new ideas and innovations can lead to improved performance, increased success, company growth, more profits, and an overall higher-performing business

International Women’s Day is a great reminder that we should be celebrating and advocating for women and their achievements, not just today but everyday This year ’ s theme of “Embracing Equity” encourages us to reflect on how we can build a more balanced and equitable community, where we can be free of bias, stereotypes, and discrimination,” said Rachel Huckle, President and Chief Operating Officer, Staples Canada. “In my eyes, that’s a world where difference is valued, sought after and celebrated. As allies to each other, let’s never stop motivating and inspiring one another to reach our full potential Today and beyond International Womens Day, I urge women in Canada and across the globe to collectively #EmbraceEquity

Celebrating International Women's Day 2023

There may not be anything more powerful than women supporting women Together we continue to make strides and create opportunities for more equality in our communities Every difference we make, every small change we create is a part of something so much bigger in creating the world that we wished we grew up in

Equality is not just a core value at Salesforce. It is a fundamental part of our culture It underscores our belief that businesses can be powerful platforms for social change and that it is our responsibility to further equality for all

But, without intentional systems in place designed to drive equity, equality cannot be realized You can’t have one without the other Solving the multifaceted challenges faced by women and all underrepresented minority groups requires meaningful action

As I reflect on the theme of this year ’ s IWD, Embracing Equity, it is a potent reminder that the conversation is no longer about convincing people that this needs to be a boardroom imperative It’s about setting transparent goals, creating shared accountability, and putting systems in place that target the specific challenges employees face today

We need to continue to build workplaces that reflect the beautiful diversity across Canada, where everyone feels seen, heard, valued, and empowered to succeed. There is more work to be done, and only together can we build a more equal and equitable country for all.

Celebrating International Women's Day 2023
Chau Lui Co-Owner - Paris Jewellers

As a woman in leadership, woman of colour, and an immigrant to Canada, I’ve had a unique opportunity throughout my career to advocate for, and encourage, equity for women in the workplace, in leadership, and in business Coming from a family of side hustlers and entrepreneurs, I have seen first-hand the undeniable challenges that entrepreneurs face, especially women Our recent Intuit QuickBooks survey found that Canadian women-owned businesses face greater financial strain and more than a third report feeling out of depth at least once a week Despite this, women business owners are chasing entrepreneurial success and expansion at the same rate as their male counterparts This International Women’s Day, I want to tell women small business owners that we recognize the bold and fearless contributions they make to our communities and the economy Know that myself, and the team at Intuit, are with you every step of the way

Advice that has always stuck with me is ‘Surround yourself with women who would mention your name in a room full of opportunities’ I not only strive to have that type of support system around me, but I aspire to be that woman for others. Equality for women has come a long way, but there’s still lots of work to do. The amount of VC funding raised by women founded startups significantly dropped in 2022 – yet almost half of start-ups in 2021 were formed by women It starts with us; women supporting women, lifting each other up, presenting opportunities, having hard conversation, investing in women-led companies, and making diversity across our team non-negotiable

It’s an amazing time to be a woman in business, and we are coming for everything we deserve!

Celebrating International Women's Day 2023

When I reflect on the changes over the last 20 years of my career, I applaud the strides made towards equity for women At Hootsuite, our executive team and board are 55% and 50% women respectively That’s something to celebrate within tech where only 11% of CEO and senior leadership positions are held by women There is still much work to be done

In the spirit of this year ’ s IWD theme, #EmbraceEquity, my challenge to us all is to ask ourselves how we’ll continue these conversations at work within our teams, at home with our families, and in our communities everyday beyond International Women’s Day

The everyday decisions we make have the power to inspire equity by celebrating and elevating one another, breaking down bias, and choosing to challenge ourselves and others. It takes a great deal of bravery to act on those decisions, and we should acknowledge these wins every single day.

What I love so much about International Women’s Day is the reminder it serves to pause and celebrate each other

As a female founder and as a mother I have really made it my mission to advance women around me We have a duty to lift each other up, to push each other ahead and to grow as a collective

Celebrating International Women's Day 2023

It’s important to recognize the challenges that women of color face in entrepreneurship and the need for society to #embraceequity I am very proud of our commitment at FACE to support Black women entrepreneurs Equitable access to opportunities is necessary for a just and prosperous society; we have to hold space for women and other marginalized groups in their pursuit of economic empowerment FACE has worked with many inspiring women who have successful businesses that are making economic and social impact This IWD, let’s focus on breaking down prejudices within our own sphere of influence, so that collectively we can take tangible steps to #EmbraceEquity

Over the past 13 years, we ’ ve learned the real impact on the lives of women we treat is not just the oral healthcare provided but a fundamental change in the individual’s sense of wellbeing when they feel included and have autonomy to make decisions about their own health and wellbeing It’s crucial we continue bringing attention to the impact and traumas from incidences of sexual abuse, physical abuse, and other forms of gender-based violence When we create a more gender equal and inclusive world, we create a better world.

Celebrating International Women's Day 2023
Tiffany Callender

In 2020, only 2 3% of venture capital went to female-led companies, and less than 1% of this to companies run by people of color This shocking statistic reveals how important it is for women to support one another When I first launched THE LNK, all of our funding came from business-minded women looking to invest in the next big thing They had confidence in me and my vision for THE LNK as the first online marketplace to exclusively represent ethnically diverse brands I’m now running this international business with the support of an incredible network of fiercely intelligent advisors and investors, both men and women from all backgrounds To #EmbraceEquity, we need to do more of this and make female-owned startups a common fixture of the future

This year ’ s theme of #EmbraceEquity is a call to action for the corporate world The pandemic shone a spotlight on the countless inequities that women and communities of colour always knew existed but weren’t fully exposed until the system ground to a halt. Now more than ever, it’s incumbent on all of us to examine our business practices through a lens of equity to root out systemic disparities in the wage gap and ensure a culture of fairness and antibias in the workplace As a female entrepreneur from a South Asian background, I know firsthand how tough it can be to break into a business world that routinely underestimates and overlooks female BIPOC talent

Through 1Milk2Sugars and double shot, I’m dedicated to challenging the status quo and creating a more equitable world for my own employees, for BIPOC content creators and for the next generation of female leaders

Celebrating International Women's Day 2023

Leading my first International Women’s Day in 1995 left a mark on me I was in the railroad sector, with a small representation of women leaders I gathered a group of women from all backgrounds and we exchanged stories to support one another Many conversations revolved around the ‘the glass ceiling’ concept I was 25 and realized then just what this day would symbolize for me in the future I’m 52 today – I push hard every day, but even harder on this day to emphasize the power women have in the workplace and the change that’s still necessary to ensure we ’ re on the same level playing field as men, consistently As Ruth Bader Ginsburg eloquently said: “Fight for the things that you care about but do it in a way that will lead others to join you ” Women of all backgrounds, and our allies, are instrumental in making us better

We cannot fully #EmbraceEquity unless we think about feminism and gender equality from a global perspective From a Western lens, women in leadership have long fought against misogyny in the workplace and we ’ ve been building programs to empower women and create access to higher education, opportunities and advancement However, we also must remove ourselves from our realities and take a close look at inequities from a global lens. What can we as leaders do to bring attention to their plight and provide these females with opportunities? We at Zoho Corporation are addressing global gender inequities through programs such as Marupadi, an educational program at Zoho Schools focusing on women re-entering the workforce, and Kalaivani Kalvi Maiyam, a rural educational initiative for kids in villages who otherwise would not have access to quality classrooms

To me, #EmbraceEquity means addressing inequities for those who are not privileged enough to take part in this conversation

Women's Day
Sandra Lo Head of Global Corporate Communications at Zoho

According to McKinsey, it will take 118 years to reach true gender parity in the C-suite – unless we create change now This is an opportunity to reflect and recognize all the women leaders who are rising up with confidence, purpose, and integrity while building a more inclusive and sustainable society for all.

It is important that we annually celebrate women and their successes, achievements, and progress on International Women’s Day. It is even more important that we continue every day to support each other in a way that respects and acknowledges everyone ’ s unique differences break the systematic barriers that women experience We must acknowledge the biases that exist and use that to fuel change towards a more inclusive society Equity is something we can work towards and celebrate the successes along the way

The reality is that the world continues to fail women The playing field is not always equal Women are still undervalued, underpaid, and underrepresented Indigenous women, Black women, women from racialized communities face additional barriers and obstacles as societal systems disrespect both their race and gender

There has been some progress, but it is important that we understand where we are to get to where we rightfully want and need to be

I recently had the opportunity to join a delegation of Canadian business leaders at the North American Leadership Summit alongside meetings between President Biden, Prime Minister Trudeau, and President Obrador in Mexico City There were 15 business leaders from each of US, Canada, and Mexico Canada’s delegation had equal representation of women and men and was the only country to have Indigenous and 2SLGBTQ+ representation This was a decision made with intention that I was proud to bear witness to That is progress

Celebrating International Women's Day 2023

On International Women’s Day, we must recognize the barriers that women around the world continue to struggle against If we take a look at the humanitarian importance of the situation in Iran, millions of people - particularly women - are protesting for equality and their freedoms at a time when their voices are being silenced

Progress doesn’t happen on its own - we must be positive agents for change As Gandhi so eloquently put it, you must “be the change you wish to see in the world” We must be the voice for those who don’t have one at this turning point in history Stand and act in solidarity with the brave women and men striving for change Women Life Freedom

Dear Women of Canada,

You are fierce, talented, and unstoppable! Your entrepreneurial spirit and dedication to your industry inspires us all

In a world where gender inequality still exists, women have proudly shown that we are just as capable of running successful businesses as anyone else. We have proven overtime that when given the opportunity, women can thrive and achieve incredible things

As we celebrate International Women’s Day this year, let us continue to embrace equality and support each other It is up to all of us to keep pushing for change, and to make sure that every woman has the opportunity to succeed

Let’s continue to dream big, take risks, and make our mark in this world Cheers!

Celebrating International Women's Day 2023


Not just today but every day, for every woman around the world That means education, healthcare, employment, entrepreneurship, and justice for every woman

On this day where we are to celebrate the achievements of the women ’ s rights movement, I encourage you to ask questions

Why do women owned businesses receive less funding?

Why do some women live with period poverty?

Why are some young women prevented from going to school? Are you your sister’s keeper?

This International Women’s Day, I’m focusing on what I can do to uplift or open the door for other women in my community and around the world I challenge you to do the same

I’ll leave you with one of my favourite quotes. We must always attempt to lift as we climb.” – Angela Davis

This International Women's Day, I’d like to celebrate the amazing women across Canada! This special day recognizes our achievements and continued strength, resilience, and perseverance in the face of challenges, including the motherhood gap

To the women working hard to juggle multiple roles professionally and personally: let's cheer each other on. Balancing work and family while tackling challenges like the motherhood gap, is difficult, but you are not alone. Being a mother and a woman in tech taught me the importance of seeking support, flexibility, and resources from loved ones, leaders and colleagues Don’t be afraid to communicate what you need to feel empowered to overcome these challenges

Do your best to invest in yourself for a healthy work-life balance itll enable you to continue making important contributions in your professional journey Together, we’ll grow and work towards creating more equitable workplaces for women Happy International Women's Day

Celebrating International Women's Day 2023

The technology industry moves forward in so many ways

yet progress for increasing women ’ s representation in the sector has slowed We must continue to work toward inclusion and equality for all As innovators, our instinct is to dive in headfirst to combat challenges such as this, but as industry leaders, we need to remember that approaching from a place of empathy is key to success as well

It is a fact that having diverse representation is a cornerstone to growth Now is a time to reimagine how businesses can drive greater success with inclusive workplaces That includes welcoming coworkers from all walks of life and recommitting to your business’ DE&I framework

The women of Canada’s technology sector may be small in numbers, but we are mighty As we navigate this turbulent time, I urge leaders, decision-makers and mentors to uplift those around us We will get through this storm, together

As a female founder and a mother of three, I know I have an immense responsibility to set an example for my children by continuing to carve my own path in what I believe in and empowering others to do the same. This is why I started Back to Earth Skin -- to ensure a better and cleaner future for my children and those around me by setting the new natural skincare standard There have been thousands of chemical compounds introduced over the last few decades in the skincare industry and I wanted to create products using natural ingredients that are transparent and clean In the end, we can make every day a better day by getting Back to Earth and focusing on what we are truly passionate about

Celebrating International Women's Day 2023

Filomena Tassi

Minister responsible for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario

International Women’s Day is an opportunity to celebrate the importance of having women at the table When we add women, we add thoughtful discourse, challenge traditional narratives, and adopt new and innovative ways of accomplishing tasks

Women in Canada have come a long way in the last 50 years. We have grown our percentage of labour market participation and more than doubled the average wage.

Canadian women entrepreneurs are starting businesses that are creating good jobs and growing the economy, in the construction industry they are developing plans for eco-friendly infrastructure, and in STEM they are creating innovative and sustainable products that will benefit us for years to come

Yet the path forward is not without roadblocks

It is up to us to continue standing up to challenges We know what women can do when we come together to work toward a common goal

Women are strong, driven, and principled When we build women up, theres nothing they can’t do

International Women's Day means so much as a female business owner I truly believe it is important to support and empower female entrepreneurs. Our community needs to work together to create a stronger future for women both here in Canada and around the world

Celebrating International Women's Day 2023

As a female business owner for the past 20 years, the theme for this year ' s International Women’s Day #EmbraceEquity really connects, as it digs into gender equity, the process of fairly allocating resources, programs, and decision-making without discrimination When launching my PR agency in 2002, providing an equitable workplace and meaningful opportunities that would allow all genders, but especially women, to grow and thrive, was a core mission and something I personally invest a bulk of time towards. As we grow, we continue to prioritize providing staff of all genders with inclusionary programs and opportunities and are committed to having an equitable hiring process in place

On this International Women’s Day, I reflect on how much the themes for this year Everyone Woman Counts (Canada) and DigitALL; Innovation and Technology for gender equality (United Nations) play such a significant role in my life Although we are making progress, women continue to be underrepresented in many sectors, especially in STEM industries Technology companies flourish when women are given opportunities to fully express creative solutions and drive innovation Therefore, we all need to do our part to continue promoting gender equality As a mother to a daughter, I continuously take the opportunity to empower her to chase any dream she sets her mind to and that goes for all women We can take on any challenge, at any stage in our life, and it’s essential that we empower and support each other as we do it I encourage every woman to set goals that will help them reach new heights It’s time we all Aspire Higher!

CelebratingInternational Women's Day 2023
Senior Vice President Sales, Canadian Growth Markets, SAP Canada

Revolutionizing the Way We Illuminate Our Spaces

Recently, CanadianSME had the chance to sit down with Jesse and Tamara, cofounders of Everlasting Candle Co , who discussed how their family's invention is providing a way for people to connect and share a love for entrepreneurship and home décor with an ever-growing demand for clean burning products, the significance of having candles that go well with a variety of personalities and interior design themes, the challenges they overcame on their path to entrepreneurship, and future goals of Everlasting Candle Company

When did you begin your entrepreneurial journey? What motivated you to start Everlasting Candle Co.?

I think the most effective strategy to scale a small business is to look to prioritize key performance indicators over hours spent working If you meet each week to review the KPIs, you will be able to identify what is and what is not working When you micromanage time, and you start getting into how people use one hour of their time, we notice a lot of micromanagement, and people end up dreading that work model, whether it's remote or in-office.

How is this family invention offering a method to connect and share a love for entrepreneurship and home decor with an ever-growing demand for clean burning products?

In terms of entrepreneurship, our invention has allowed us to share our passion for design and sustainability with a wider audience, creating a business that reflects our values and beliefs We believe that by providing a product that is both aesthetically beautiful and eco-friendly, we are offering a solution that meets an ever-growing demand for clean burning products We hope that our commitment to sustainability and customer satisfaction will continue to set us apart in the candle industry and inspire others to embrace more sustainability and innovative practices in their own businesses

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Co-founder, Everlasting Candle Company

What did your initial collection consist of?

Why is it crucial for you to have candles that complement a variety of personalities and interior design themes?

At Everlasting Candle Co , we believe that everyone should be able to enjoy our product, regardless of their interior design theme or personal style That's why we initially launched our collection of steel candles with a clear, minimalist vase inspired by Scandinavian design, which we named after our son, Wylie We wanted to create a product that was accessible to everyone and not just limited to a niche market. As our initial collection gained popularity, we realized that offering a variety of color options would enable us to cater to a wider audience and their varying aesthetics It's important to us that our candles complement a variety of personalities and interior design themes, so that our customers can create a warm and inviting ambiance in their homes that reflects their individual style

What are the obstacles that you faced on your way to entrepreneurship? How did you overcome them?

As entrepreneurs, we faced various obstacles on our journey to success One significant challenge we encountered was when we decided to venture into the US market after establishing a strong brand in Canada and building a robust wholesale program While the US market showed huge potential, we struggled to find a quick and economical way to ship orders to new customers and wholesale vendors. Shipping internationally proved to be less than optimal and costly, which prompted us to pivot our strategy. We decided to partner with a fulfillment center in the US to ship locally, which has had a significant positive impact on our business Overcoming this challenge not only allowed us to expand our customer base and reach, but also helped us streamline our operations and cut down on shipping costs

What sets your business apart from the other companies offering candles? What goals does the Everlasting Candle Company have in the future?

Everlasting Candle Co differentiates itself from other candle companies through our focus on customer experience and sustainable innovation We believe in building strong relationships with our customers by seeking their feedback, responding to their needs, and creating experiences that leave a lasting impression. We recognize that word-of-mouth marketing is crucial and aim to make every customer feel valued and heard

As we look to the future, our goals include continuing to innovate and develop new sustainable products, expanding our reach across the Canadian and US markets, and ultimately, becoming a global brand in the home decor industry We are committed to our mission of providing high-quality and sustainable products while maintaining our focus on customer satisfaction and innovative experiences

Small Business

How Consistent Branding Elevates Customer Experiences

We had the opportunity to sit down with Ray Sheehan, the head of business development at Old City Media, who shared his motivational journey, discussed about how investing in marketing initiatives can help a business grow and realize its full potential, how companies can provide customers with memorable experiences that are consistent with their brand, reputation, and products, and the role of social media in promoting experiential marketing initiatives and expanding reach

Ray Sheehan is the Managing Partner of UpcomingEvents com, a North American event production and marketing company He has a background in strategic planning, marketing, event management, and advertising and has helped the company expand from one city to over twenty states Before this role, Ray owned and operated philly2night com, a production and news company in Philadelphia and South Jersey He oversaw all aspects of the business and produced a nationally syndicated television show. In 2020, he launched the G.I.F.T Program as part of Old City Media. Ray is recognized as a leader in the special events industry and an innovative thinker in the Philadelphia community and beyond.

What are your responsibilities as the owner of Old City Media, Inc.?

As the owner of Old City Media, Inc , I am responsible for all aspects of the business, including strategy, finance, marketing, sales, and customer service. While I have overseen various areas over the years, my primary focus has been business development. Currently, our main goal is to expand our business on a national level I have collaborated with brands and retail locations to host our strategic partners to achieve this

In addition to my business development efforts, I also oversee the GIFT program, which aims to bridge the gap between our most loyal partners and their desired customers Through the GIFT program, we have hosted over 25,000 events and distributed millions of dollars in partner payouts This program provides a straightforward, flexible solution to keep our field marketing and sales teams active

And how has your journey been as the owner of, being recognized as a beacon of the special events industry and an idea innovator in the Philadelphia community?

It's been a fantastic journey. I love bringing people together by way of events. This was always part of my DNA, dating back to my college days We just had the benefit of launching philly2night com right when social media was becoming a thing We were essentially a social network for people looking to go out - where to go, what to do So, the timing was perfect It was the perfect storm Beer and liquor companies were shifting their marketing budgets from print to radio Those early investments from Anheuser-Busch, Miller Lite, Coors Light, Absolut Vodka, etc , helped us grow and impact many people positively, not only in Philadelphia but also nationwide

How, in your opinion, can spending money on marketing initiatives help a firm expand and reach its full potential?

I hate using those catchphrases, but it's really true in this case You need to spend money to make money However, you need

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to develop a strategy first You need to have a plan You need to clearly communicate your story or your brand message That's very critical before going to market

Maximizing revenue through datadriven decision-making is a strategy that retailers are increasingly using to increase sales and foot traffic in their properties By leveraging customer analytics, retailers can gain a deeper understanding of their customer's behavior, preferences, and purchase patterns.

How can businesses give their customers distinctive, memorable experiences that are consistent with their name, reputation, and offerings?

It really depends on the business segment However, there are simple things that could be done that are universal Starting with customer service Something so simple as good customer can win over a customer I come from the special event space, so attention to detail is always respected and noticed One thing I've always seen success in implementing is loyalty or rewards Make your customers become an ambassador for your brand. One area that's been lost over the years is accountability. If something is not correct, own it You would be surprised by the reaction when you humanize something Finally, all brands should try and discover what their CSR mission is This could be something very small / done on a local level Or larger brands might have a larger impact on the global economy

As social media is used almost by every business these days, how do these platforms help in promoting experiential marketing efforts and reaching a wider audience?

Its a great tool to tie in the online and offline worlds Now those offline experiences/interactions have a longer shelf life online This gives your brand some personality This allows you to connect with your target audience and find new customers

What are some successful business partnership tactics that can help them grow their client base and reach new markets?

Successful business partnerships can be a game changer for any brand One of the key factors in creating a successful partnership is identifying potential partners that align with your brand's mission. This requires extensive research and understanding of the market, customer needs, and the competitive landscape. Once you have identified potential partners, creating a strategy ensures a successful partnership is essential This includes developing a clear understanding of each partner's goals, establishing mutual trust, setting clear objectives, and developing a shared vision for success Negotiating partnership agreements is also a critical element of successful partnerships This involves determining the scope of the partnership, identifying key performance indicators, and outlining the terms and conditions of the agreement Finally, leveraging partnerships to increase brand visibility is essential to the success of any partnership This involves cross-promotion, co-branding, and joint marketing efforts to increase exposure to new audiences and build brand loyalty

What expert advice would you like to give to the companies who intend to use experiential marketing to expand their businesses?

The most important part is the planning stage You need to make sure you are working with an agency (or professional) that is asking you all the important questions before even heading out into the field. We've all heard the saying that people don't plan to fail - they fail to plan So, my advice would be to sit down with a team and develop a strategy What are your goals? What are your objectives? KPI's? Who is your target audience? Or who do you think your target audience is? What is your budget? There are many more questions to ask, but you get the point If someone is just pitching you experiential marketing, run You need someone who can fully understand your needs and develop a plan based on that insight

Digital Marketing

We recently had the opportunity to speak with Vinayak Madappa, a Strategic Advisory Partner for Capgemini Canada He discussed his duties at Capgemini, his thoughts on the most recent "What Matters to Today's Consumer" report from Capgemini, potential strategies to help consumers who expect businesses to help them during the difficult times, and ways that businesses can ensure they keep up with the changing demands of customers who want reduced prices.

Vinayak is a Strategic Advisory Partner for Capgemini Canada. He is an experienced leader with more than fifteen years of experience in a variety of progressive leadership roles focused on Advisory and Data and Analytics

The Top Priorities of Today's Consumer: Insights from

Capgemini's Latest Report

He enjoys working with clients across different industries on applied intelligence and helping them realize the tangible value of data-powered enterprises impacting the ecosystem of business operations. Prior to joining Capgemini, Vinayak held positions with PwC and KPMG in Canada, South Africa and India.

When did you start your professional career? What are your responsibilities at Capgemini?

With over 17 years of experience in a variety of leadership roles focused on Advisory, Data and Analytics, I have worked with clients across industries helping them realize the tangible value of datapowered enterprises impacting the ecosystem of business operations

Since joining the Advisory team at Capgemini in 2021, I’ve been working with my team to enhance and grow Capgeminis footprint in the Canadian market Specifically, my role is to identify where the market is headed and position which of our capabilities and solutions we offer to help clients meet their strategic objectives

Before joining Capgemini, I held positions with PwC and KPMG in Canada, South Africa and India My original career focus was to be a professional cricket player and I represented my province at the national level before I went into consultancy full-time.

What do you think of the most recent "What Matters to Today's Consumer" report from Capgemini, which emphasizes the ongoing cost of living crisis?

The report provides a snapshot of the current reality for Canadian consumers Amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, geopolitical crisis and especially the cost-of-living crisis, consumer spending behaviours have shifted and retailers need to pay attention in order to keep consumers engaged

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Consumers are becoming more sophisticated and nuanced in their purchasing behaviour, shopping with more forethought and cutting back on non-essential and impulse purchases during these challenging times. The report highlights the reality people are facing and showcases the need for businesses to adapt to new consumer behaviours and preferences during the period of economic uncertainty

We are seeing that average Canadian households are struggling to afford necessities and are looking to companies to play a role in navigating through this difficult time with the likelihood that they will reward the most considerate brands with longterm loyalty and continued business both now and post recovery

We reported that while 68 per cent of Canadians are concerned about their financial situation and 74 per cent expect companies to provide more discounts to help purchase essential items and in doing so, 85% of the consumers will be loyal and reward companies with increased basket sizes and purchases in the future

Consumers are making adjustments to their purchasing decisions and companies will need to adjust to remain competitive by being innovative in helping reduce cost.

Considering that most consumers expect firms to help them during this challenging time, what do you think are some potential strategies to assist consumers in this regard?

Businesses need to consider the long-term relationship with their customers As the cost of living continues to rise both consumers and companies will have to make adjustments

Forty-three per cent of Canadian consumers have reduced their overall spending this year Additionally, 3 in 5 consumers are spending more time looking for deals and discounts online and by shopping at different physical stores

Firms can retain loyalty by launching cost-saving campaigns to help consumers in the short-term and in return gain long-term favourability This is supported by the data which shows that 85 per cent of Canadian consumers say they will be more loyal to companies that help them through this difficult time

We have already seen examples of brands and retailers standing up to support consumers struggling with the cost of living. In 2022, British supermarket chain Waitrose launched the “Super Saver recipe” which offered easy, low-budget meal options to customers

Another UK supermarket Asda reduced the price of over 100 popular items, and Currys, a technology retailer, introduced an exchange program called “Cash for Trash” which allows customers to recycle old technology in exchange for vouchers These measures are not new In the 2008 financial crisis, loyalty programs boomed, growing 19% between 2007 and 2009 Canadian businesses can follow suit by introducing similar cost-saving campaigns including loyalty programs, lowering the cost of essential goods, and pinpointing cost-saving items or actions the consumer can take to spend less

Technology Services
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Retail businesses should also consider dramatically reimagining their operational strategy to weather this storm and pass on price benefits to consumers By identifying new revenue streams, creating new markets, transforming operations, and optimizing costs, businesses can succeed without compromising on overall customer experience Harnessing technology for intelligent demand planning, inventory management and automated operations can help reduce costs and maintain margins

How can businesses make sure they keep up with the changing demands of customers who want reduced pricing for the necessities for their families?

Our data shows that the majority of consumers (74%) do expect companies to provide more discounts to help Canadians purchase essential items during this difficult time While businesses may be wary of reducing costs or making goods more accessible Those who do will see the long-term benefit Eighty-one per cent of Canadian consumers have shared that they will purchase more products/services in the future from companies that help them through this difficult time and 85 per cent of Canadian consumers have stated that they will be more loyal to companies that help them through

What are your thoughts on customers' demands that businesses give up excess earnings in order to serve society? What are the most important resources that brands need to employ in order to address this issue and meet the demands of their customers?

Retailers have an opportunity to rethink operational strategy for cost reduction, sustainability and experience Businesses too are grappling with challenges such as increased energy, labour, and transportation costs, yet according to the report, 63 per cent of Canadian consumers say that brands and retailers should offer lower prices for the products their families require Consumers expect companies to make operational efficiency changes to lower costs Fifty-six per cent of Canadians expect companies to use technology to lower prices (e g replacing staffed check-out counters with self-service payment areas to lower overheads).

This is a moment of opportunity for businesses. The report highlights three key actions that will help brands and retailers to capitalize on opportunities that these evolving trends offer

First, companies must drive cost reductions by rethinking the way they operate and how the supply chain is organized to ultimately be able to pass on cost savings to consumers For example, brands and retailers can use technology such as data and analytics, AI and automation in their planning processes to optimize costs

Second, brands and retailers must identify new revenue and channel growth opportunities For example, by leveraging the power of social media influencers and expanding into newer channels to reach customers, brands can unlock new revenue streams and growth opportunities Gen Z shows the highest engagement here, with almost half (48%) discovering new products through online influencers and 32% going on to purchase.

Third, companies must lead with purpose and help consumers through this difficult time to build goodwill and loyalty in the long term Retailers must empathize with consumer concerns by keeping prices fair and consider how they can reduce their operational costs to be able to pass on cost savings to the customer via promotions, discounts, price freezes, or other means

Technology Services

Bringing The Cleanliness Of Home Care To Skin Care

Nisha Grewal grew up in a proud Indo-Canadian home and was accustomed to a life of natural remedies and cultural rituals Her family used herbs, spices, and adaptogens for skin health and pain treatment

From a young age, Nisha has always enjoyed athome skin care procedures As she administered adaptogens topically, she witnessed the healing power they have to maintain skin barrier integrity.

As a young adult, she became interested in medical spas, particularly chemical peels The daily skincare routine was second nature to Nisha, but it wasn't until she began visiting medical spas that she noticed a true difference in her skin

Business Woman Of The Month

Forever the entrepreneur, Nisha realized she needed to be the one to bring performancedriven skincare to the market for all consumers She knew the skin could transform with just one treatment and was determined to make it happen

Through her years of using adaptogens, high concentrations of acids, and research, Nisha discovered something incredible The combination of powerhouse actives, smart adaptogens, and broad-spectrum oil.

Thinking beyond the box, Nisha and her team of experts designed result-driven formulations for every skin color and skin type that would improve skin tone and texture, promote radiance and luminosity, and assist in erasing fine wrinkles

The result was Ambari, the unique, performance-driven skincare product Nisha developed for herself and others

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The Modern Blend

When Nisha started working on Ambari in 2019, they had about 25 revisions on every product

Hence, they partnered with the finest labs and chemists to create a proprietary concept called The Modern Blend which combines clinical actives, smart adaptogens, and broad-spectrum oil Together, they protect and enhance the skin's natural beauty

These three ingredients work together; adaptogens go into your skin, remove any environmental stressors and impurities, and bring your skin up to a healthy pH level so that the active ingredients can go in and do their work

Ambari believed that self-care starts with skincare They knew there was a way to bridge the gap between pure ingredients and performance and wanted a luxurious, athome experience that combined the best of the old and new worlds.

They are committed to sourcing only nature's purest yet most powerful ingredients Each product is highly concentrated with the finest and most active ingredients available, so each has a deliberate purpose for your skin, sans fillers

Ambari's mission is to provide you with medi-spa results in the privacy of your own home. Their products have undergone third-party verification of broad-spectrum oil levels to ensure transparency and customer satisfaction.

All Ambari products are vegan, crueltyfree, and formulated without silicones, parabens, fragrances, PEGs, or phthalates To learn more about their products, visit https://ambaribeauty com/

Small businesses must explore the possibilities of innovative technologies and discoveries into their operations to provide better services to their customers. To read more about these inspiring businesses, subscribe to CanadianSME Small Business Magazine For the latest updates, visit our Twitter page at @canadian sme

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Celebrating Canada's Top

Women Entrepreneurs:

5 Inspiring Stories Of Success

Women entrepreneurs are integral to the small business industry and the Canadian economy By identifying gaps in the industry, they provide a value-based solution to the existing problem They are go-getters who spread their charisma in everything they do because they are driven to make a difference

Here are five women entrepreneurs who have made great strides in their respective industries, bringing innovative, holistic, and value-oriented change.

Alexandra Carnio is a business leader with over ten years of experience in industries ranging from non-profit to corporate and everything in between She has extensive experience in social media strategy, branding, management, content creation, digital advertising, and, most importantly, starting and selling strong businesses

For 25 years, Shauna Levy devoted herself to building and promoting the design industry But at 46 and the height of her career, Shauna developed a disabling chronic pain condition Even after medical consultations, nothing worked Finally, she tried cannabis-infused products and was able to put her life back together again At the same time, she met many women aged 40 through 70 who experienced symptoms similar to hers but were reluctant to try cannabis because of stigma, fear or lack of knowledge

During the pandemic, Shauna designed her next career move focused on women ' s wellness and launched MADGE AND MERCER MODERN APOTHECARY, a curated collection of cannabisinfused self-care products They are the first science and research-based cannabis wellness brand designed exclusively for women.

She is the founder and CEO of ProducKIDvity, which provides a premium licensed childcare academy and co-working facility under one roof where you can access a quiet workplace while knowing your child is in the best hands only steps away They aim to create a better life for working parents through child-friendly workspaces

Dr Golnaz Golnaraghi is a gender and racial equality campaigner, facilitator, educator, researcher, published author, and social entrepreneur She has 15 years of corporate marketing expertise with large international corporations and 14 years of experience designing and delivering transformative learning programs for youth, women, and early career leaders She founded Divity Group Inc , which offers facilitation, learning and program design, leadership development, and equity and inclusion education.

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Accelerate Her Future is a mission-driven career accelerator offering personalized programs to self-identified Black, Indigenous, and women of colour to help them launch their careers in business and STEM while developing networks of solidarity and action They believe that Canada has motivated bright BIWOC who can develop their professions if they have access to thriving conditions such as influential networks, mentorship, solidarity, tools, skills, and various chances

Michele Bailey founded My Big Idea, a company focusing on well-being, goal setting, and employee engagement initiatives that create individual and corporate success She was crucial in forming Canada's first Women Presidents' Organization (WPO) chapter and currently serves on the WPO board as the organization's global representative Her book, The Currency of Gratitude, published by Forbes Books in 2021, provides an inspirational and clear guide to enabling company growth by embracing gratitude as your currency

While in college, Marie Chevrier began working with experiential firms, where she distributed product samples in grocery stores and on street corners Soon she realized that product sampling could be much more targeted and measurable Marie sold her first client in August of 2013 with only a few rough drawings of the technology she envisioned and two months to bring her idea to life

Sampler was born to deliver data-driven product experiences that create personalized relationships between people and brands. Today, they are the leading digital product sampling platform helping brands deliver product samples to digitally targeted consumers Since 2013, they have worked with brands like Henkel, L'Oréal, Nestle, Mondelez International, and Kimberly-Clark

My Big Idea is specifically developed to promote employee concentration and engagement while aligning with company culture, resulting in a work-life balance that improves employee wellbeing and engagement In addition, they facilitate workshops digitally and in person that are transformative experiences tailored to the needs of the individual.

Small businesses have always been risk-takers, taking the road less traveled to explore the possibilities, innovative technologies, or creative ideas that significantly change their industries Women entrepreneurs are among the business owners at the forefront of bringing these fresh and new ideas to the market Their contributions are irreplaceable and must be acknowledged for the change they bring

Small business owners must always be open to new ideas and explore the possibilities they offer. To read more about these innovative entrepreneurs, subscribe to CanadianSME Small Business Magazine For the latest updates, visit our Twitter page at @canadian sme.

Marie Chevrier Schwartz CEO & Founder at Sampler Michele Bailey Founder & CEO , My Big Idea
Women Entrepreneurship

Cloud computing is a revolutionary invention that has helped store a wealth of data securely and access it easily For small businesses, this is especially advantageous as it gives them the flexibility to store and access data and scale up and down according to requirements without any hardware investment or extra expense of maintaining an IT department to take care of it as service providers manage it.

The Advantages

Cloud computing is a time and money-saving, collaborative, and inventive tool for businesses It facilitates work from anywhere worldwide by allowing access to data from any device and location Keeping data online rather than on your computer or a server in your office removes the need for expensive equipment to manage data and networking in an organization.

With the best cloud file server for small businesses, people always have access to the most recent file version, as cloudhosted files are stored in a single, central location, allowing data to be automatically synced between all devices

Data loss can occur for various reasons, from natural disasters to system failures. Cloud computing helps prevent such crises by storing and making important data accessible

Cloud computing is less expensive, requiring a lower initial investment to begin commercial activities and saving your data for you instead of having to purchase and maintain hardware and networking infrastructure, which takes time, knowledge, and money

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Amazon Web Services

Cloud computing is a time and moneysaving, collaborative, and inventive tool for businesses It facilitates work from anywhere worldwide by allowing access to data from any device and location Keeping data online rather than on your computer or a server in your office removes the need for expensive equipment to manage data and networking in an organization


JustCloud backs up all machines to the cloud using a little desktop application As a result, files are constantly backed up and may be accessed from any device in the world at any time Their cloud storage is simple, quick, and safe, automatically backing up and protecting your photographs, documents, and other files to the Google-powered cloud In addition, their sync folder enables synchronizing several devices to a single account without transporting hard drives to and from the office


Dropbox is a perfect site to keep your life organized and your work going They strive to build a more enlightened way of working with over 700 million registered users across 180 countries Dropbox simplifies your work and life by providing cloud storage and sharing solutions, eSignature, document tracking, and backup More than 90% of user data is stored on their custom-built storage infrastructure


Began in 2008 as a virtual drive

OpenDrive has since evolved into a multiplatform solution for online storage, syncing, backup, and cloud content management Its strategy is to be an online storage, backup, and synchronization software and a centralized solution with storage, apps, and services such as tasks, social networks, and project management integrated into a single interface to create a uniform experience available from anywhere

Small businesses must make use of cloud services to optimize their business operations Along with strategizing their business, entrepreneurs must also ensure the security of their data and choose service providers who can guarantee a holistic service

In the current debate on data privacy, small businesses must ensure their service provider aligns with their principles and conducts their work with ethics In addition, while data is increasing in size and requiring more storage space, data attacks are also on the rise Hence, a cloud computing service provider who can handle all these requirements must be chosen

Cloud computing has become an integral part of small business operations To read more about these topics, subscribe to CanadianSME Small Business Magazine

https://lnkd in/dbqmSKN For the latest updates, visit our Twitter page at @canadian sme

Cloud Technology

With the new year opening new possibilities in business opportunities and operations, retailers must up their game to stay relevant in the increasing competition in the small business industry. Especially when technological tools and resources simplify how we conduct businesses, retailers must keep themselves updated about the changing trends and latest innovations and be open to the flux.

Explorations Through Metaverse

The retail industry is stepping up as customers increasingly rely on the internet for shopping and demand their brands to have an online presence By incorporating Metaverse technology into their shopping, brands can deliver a more than real experience to customers by taking them through a 3D virtual world of your store instead of the 2D images of products they see on the site

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Incorporating Augmented Reality

Retail businesses use AR technology to allow customers to virtually try on garments and test things before purchasing them using an electronic device such as a smartphone In addition, AR can assist users in exploring a store or identifying specific products, creating new and engaging customer experiences

Driven by Edge Computing

Edge computing is a new computing paradigm that involves a variety of networks and devices that are placed at or near the user It enables data processing closer to the point of generation, allowing for faster and larger processing speeds and volumes, resulting in more relevant real-time results This enables retailers to make data-driven, intelligent decisions, ensuring personalized and effective customer service

Hybrid and Omnichannel Customer

Customer behavior is highly demanding these days They are present on multiple online platforms where they look for brands and their products in all these social media places However, they also prefer to go out and check a store for a physical experience. Hence, retailers must exist hybrid with a physical store and an online platform that allow customers to shop seamlessly in omnichannel

Cashless and Contactless Transaction

As the world becomes more technologically oriented, transactions become increasingly cashless and contactless As a result, businesses must ensure that they have a point of sale that can accept such payment methods and information that customers provide during checkout is secure In addition, they must provide multiple payment channels like cash, cards, net banking, and mobile payment

Increasing Digital Marketing

Digital marketing is the trend, and is being explored in newer realms to optimize marketing strategies The increasing online presence of customers demands retailers to incorporate the strategy into business operations The latest trends in digital marketing also include influencer collaboration and Tiktok videos that can quickly familiarize customers with your products and services

Enabling AI-powered Chatbots

Interactions with customers are integral to ensuring seamless customer service In the digital shopping market, customers expect a quick and constant response from brands Incorporating AI chatbots help respond to their queries and provides a personalized experience, providing suggestions and recommendations to guide their purchase journey better

Emphasis On Sustainability

Sustainability is never out of trend in entrepreneurship It is always a unique selling proposition that retailers can use for their branding purposes and welcome customers to an ethical and eco-friendly collaboration Customers genuinely support a brand that incorporates sustainable practices into their business operations

Small businesses must keep an open mind towards the changing technological trends, learn what best suits their business structure and incorporate methods into their business operations Staying relevant and accessible to customers is the most important and easy way to improve sales and reach a wider customer base.

Retailers must explore the possibilities that the market has opened for them To read more about these tips and trends, subscribe to CanadianSME Small Business Magazine For the latest updates, visit our Twitter page at @canadian sme.


Amazon Prime is a subscription-based service offered by Amazon that provides numerous benefits to its users Some of the key features of Amazon Prime include free and fast shipping, access to streaming of movies, TV shows and music, early access to select lightning deals, unlimited photo storage and access to free ebooks Additionally, Amazon Prime members get access to Prime Video, which offers a vast selection of movies and TV shows, including original content such as:


The Boys

Nine Perfect Strategies

Amazon Prime also offers users access to Twitch Prime, which provides free games, in-game content, and a monthly channel subscription to one Twitch broadcaster The service is available in many countries and offers a 30-day free trial, after which users can opt for an annual or monthly subscription

Content promotion: Amazon Prime leverages social media to promote its content, including original programming, exclusive access to popular shows and movies, and other features of the subscription service

Influencer marketing: Amazon Prime partners with influencers and brand ambassadors to promote its services and reach new audiences.

Amazon Prime's social media strategy focuses on creating awareness and engagement among its target audience through organic and paid tactics Some critical elements of its strategy include:

Multi-platform presence: Amazon Prime has a presence on various social media platforms, allowing it to reach a broad audience and engage with customers on their preferred platforms

Customer engagement: Amazon Prime uses social media as a customer service channel, responding to customer inquiries and addressing concerns promptly and professionally

User-generated content: Amazon Prime encourages customers to share their experiences with its content and services on social media, using user-generated content to build brand trust and increase engagement

Social media ads: Amazon Prime uses targeted social media advertising to reach its target audience and drive awareness and subscriptions

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Increased brand awareness: By having a solid presence on various social media platforms, Amazon Prime can reach a broad audience and increase brand awareness, helping drive service subscriptions

Customer engagement: Using social media as a customer service channel, Amazon Prime can engage with customers in real-time and address their concerns, building trust and loyalty

Content promotion: By promoting its content, including original programming and exclusive access to popular shows and movies, on social media, Amazon Prime can drive viewership and subscriptions

Influencer marketing: By partnering with influencers and brand ambassadors, Amazon Prime can reach new audiences and build brand loyalty among its target customers

User Experience Sharing: By encouraging customers to share their experiences with its content and services on social media, Amazon Prime can build trust and increase engagement with its audience

Improved customer experience: By actively listening to customer feedback on social media, Amazon Prime can improve its services and offerings, enhancing the overall customer experience

Increased ROI: Using targeted social media advertising, Amazon Prime can reach its target audience more effectively and drive more conversions, resulting in an increased return on investment

Meme marketing has become one of Amazon Prime's biggest weapons in building brand awareness and engagement with its target audience Memes are relatable, shareable, and often humorous, making them an effective tool for connecting with customers on a more personal level

Some of the ways Amazon Prime leverages memes in its marketing include:

Creating original memes highlighting the features and benefits of Amazon Prime, such as access to exclusive content, fast shipping, and more Sharing user-generated memes showcasing customers' enjoyment of using Amazon Prime further builds brand loyalty and trust Utilizing popular meme formats, such as reaction memes, to engage with customers and create shareable content that drives awareness

Incorporating memes into social media advertising campaigns to reach its target audience in a fun and relatable way By using memes in its marketing, Amazon Prime can connect with customers more personally and increase engagement with its target audience Additionally, memes are easily shareable, which helps to drive organic reach and increase brand awareness

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The world is becoming a smaller place International travel is easier than ever before, and the Internet has made it possible to do business with people all over the globe As more borders open up, more countries are offering citizenship programs than ever before, such as the citizenship by investment st Lucia program With this in mind, more business owners and entrepreneurs are considering second citizenship as an option for their family's future security. This article highlights some of the benefits of seeking second citizenship Copyright: Convertkit on Unsplash l Licence: CC0 Public Domain

Protecting Your Assets and Family

There are many reasons why a business owner or entrepreneur may want to pursue second citizenship One of the most important is the ability to protect their assets and family from government interference, criminals, and other countries

There are many ways that governments can interfere with your life as an individual or business owner They can seize your property without due process of law, they can confiscate your assets without compensation, and they can imprison you without trial for years on end if they so choose (and often do) These actions have been taken against many innocent people over the years by corrupt governments around the world; in fact, there are still some countries where this happens today!

To protect yourself against these kinds of abuses by governments (or their agents), it's essential that you have access to another jurisdiction where those powers don't exist-or at least aren't exercised very often!

Protection During Times of Political Duress

The second most important reason for seeking second citizenship is that it is hard for the government to move against you if you have a second passport

For example, if you are living in a country with unfair laws and/or corrupt officials, or if your government has been taken over by an oppressive regime, then having another citizenship may be helpful when trying to protect your assets and family from being seized by authorities

A second passport can be used to help protect your personal wealth from confiscation or seizure by a government, which is becoming increasingly common in countries with high levels of corruption or political turmoil You never know when circumstances might change suddenly-and when they do, having dual citizenship could mean the difference between losing everything or keeping everything intact!

It's also nice knowing that if things get really bad where you live, then there are other countries where you can move with peace of mind knowing that they won't try taking away everything from them just because they were born somewhere else

Visa-Free Travel

The world is becoming more global and interconnected More people are traveling, working, and studying abroad than ever before. A decade ago, it was rare for a student to spend time in a foreign country. Now it's not uncommon, and as students get older, they may consider moving there permanently

In addition to this rising trend of international travel and migration between countries, governments are also cooperating more than ever on matters like immigration policy Suppose you have a second passport from one country that allows you visa-free travel throughout Europe or another region with open borders (like Canada) In that case, getting another passport won't be difficult For example, you can travel visa-free to over 100 countries with an American passport

Second Citizenship is Becoming More Common

More countries are offering citizenship programs than ever before. The trend is expected to continue as more and more entrepreneurs and business owners look for ways to expand their opportunities while also protecting themselves from increased taxation, political instability, or other risks

The reasons for this shift are many: some governments want to attract wealthy individuals who will bring investment capital into their country; others see it as a way to boost tourism; others still want a skilled workforce in exchange for permanent residence status (and eventual citizenship) There's even been talk that rich countries may start selling passports to raise revenue during difficult economic times!

As the process of obtaining second citizenship is becoming easier, it is important to look at the associated business-related advantages Becoming a second citizen in a country will:

Grant you the opportunity to buy and rent out property in the country. This can assist with generating passive income

Allow you to pay reduced taxes

Help you to build and expand your business in a different country

The Benefits of Attaining Second Citizenship

The world is becoming more global and interconnected This means that it's more important than ever to protect your assets, family, and future Investing in second citizenship can be a great way to do so, and there are many options available today for entrepreneurs who want to take advantage of these programs

Copyright: Anete Lusina on Unsplash l Licence: CC0 Public Domain

Keeping your people safe at work sounds obvious, but its not always easy to do.

As a small business owner, you ’ re constantly wearing different hats You might be acting as a manager, an HR rep, or a sales consultant depending on the situation and who you ’ re talking to Factor in labour shortages and the rising costs of doing business, and its easy to see how one of the most important things to running a successful business, the health and wellbeing of your team, can be taken for granted

No matter what industry you ’ re in or how many people are on your team, you can take steps today to reduce the risk of workplace injuries and illnesses by improving your health and safety practices The result will be fewer absences, less turnover, lower recruiting and onboarding costs, and a more engaged team

A provider can help your business reduce the risk of incidents, improve ways to help people get back on the job after a work-related injury or illness, and help you earn rebates on your WSIB premiums –and those rebates are doubled in 2023 for businesses with 1-99 full-time employees

Create a positive workplace health and safety culture

Regardless of whether or not you join a health and safety program, you need to create a positive health and safety culture

Creating the right culture starts with involving your team members in meaningful discussions and decisions about health and safety It’s critical to have open conversations with your employees and empower your team members to bring their ideas to the table about improvements that can be made in your business and then act on their feedback

Visa-Free Travel

Joining a workplace health and safety program can be a key part of your journey to reduce the risk of workplace injuries and illnesses

If you ’ re an Ontario business covered by WSIB insurance, for example, you can register for the Health and Safety Excellence program. You’ll work with a WSIB-approved health and safety professional, known as a program provider, to develop an action plan to address your unique health and safety needs, from controlling a hazard to emergency preparation and everything in between

When you work collaboratively with your team members, you send a message that you value their wellbeing and that health and safety is everyone ' s responsibility

Leverage the data available to you 3

You can feel confident that you ’ re focusing your efforts on the right areas for improvement when you collect, monitor and act on the health and safety information available to you.

Internal tools like inspection reports, audit assessments, meeting minutes and employee surveys can provide valuable insights into what’s working and what’s not in your business

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Through external resources, such as Glassdoor or Google reviews, you can learn more about what people are saying about your and other businesses when it comes to health and safety

The WSIB’s Safety Check also provides information on the safety record of businesses across Ontario and allows you to compare health and safety results of similar businesses in your industry And if you ’ re covered by WSIB insurance, you can use our online services to find data about your business’s health and safety trends, history, claims and costs

Knowing your health and safety track record and using the data at your fingertips can help you identify the gaps in your business and invest in the areas that will make the biggest difference

Build your peer network 4

Leveraging your network and talking with other businesses like yours to share experiences, tips and templates can be another great way to help you develop your health and safety practices

You can reach out to organizations like your local Business Improvement Area, Chamber of Commerce and Small Business Enterprise Centre, which can help you connect with your peers

You don’t have to re-invent the wheel when it comes to health and safety So don’t be shy pick up the phone and start the conversation

Get involved with health and safety associations 5

Health and safety associations or organizations are another valuable resources any business can tap into

Associations provide you with health and safety advice and best practices, information about innovative and costeffective health and safety solutions, as well as sector-specific products, services, training and networking opportunities

If you ’ re registered with the WSIB, you are automatically a member of the provincial health and safety association that represents your industry Every province has health and safety associations that provide support to workplaces

With so many great resources available to you, it just makes sense to get involved

So now that you know about all these resources available to you, start today and take it one step at a time to make your workplace healthier and safer

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Workplace and Health

Regulating IT Security Risks with Remote Staff

In recent years, mainly thanks to the recent global pandemic, we have witnessed the birth of the world's largest remote workforce as millions of employees transitioned into working from the comfort of their own homes IT departments have been tasked with setting up work-from-home arrangements for entire enterprises

Moving millions of people, their computers, and valuable data out from a secure office setting poses significant data security vulnerabilities at the best of times, let alone when the transfer is rushed The COVID-19 pandemic has drastically transformed the cybersecurity threat environment, highlighting a number of security and privacy concerns associated with remote work activities like remote access to the internal computer systems, virtual videoconferencing, and staff information security training.

Cybercriminals find it easier to target home users because they are often less secure than at the office or their on-site workplace, where security measures and protections are in place (to at least some extent) In order to do their responsibilities, these remote employees must link to multiple servers and generate personal, sensitive information from their less-secure home office setting

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Because the risk of losing sensitive data or getting hacked at home is significantly higher, let's go over some key aspects of secure remote work and top advice for staying safe from cyberattacks.

Cybercriminals are taking advantage of the COVID-19 outbreak by conducting ransomware assaults on businesses that are unprepared and vulnerable, which is a sad but unavoidable reality. Cyber threats against the financial industry soared by 238% between February and April 2020, owing to the COVID-19 spike In addition, those polled said that attempts at the damage, rather than just data breaches, are becoming increasingly regular

Another key research, the Acronis Cyber Readiness Report, reveals more concerning facts regarding the hazards, difficulties, and patterns that have emerged since people began working remotely Here are some of the key findings from the report

Nearly half of all IT managers said they had trouble training and securing remote personnel

On average once a day, cybercriminals attack 31% of international firms The most popular sorts of assaults were phishing attempts, DDoS attacks, and videoconferencing cyberattacks

92% of global institutions have to adapt to new technology to complete the move to remote work. As a result, during the pandemic, 72% of global agencies witnessed an increase in IT costs.

Despite increased technological investments, successful attacks remain widespread because organizations aren't focusing on increasing defensive capabilities effectively.

During the pandemic, video conferencing threats were reported by 39% of all enterprises

Companies can take a variety of additional actions to create and sustain a secure remote work atmosphere, in addition to securing company data Collaborating with IT companies and wisely choosing IT services to protect your business from cyberattacks should be a top priority However, here are some other alternative ways to achieve that

The speedy work-from-home transition has raised the demand for multifactor authentication, network management monitoring, and strong password creation Make sure your company ' s systems are protected with a strong firewall and passwords

According to Joseph Carson, chief security scientist at Thycotic, a cybersecurity company in Washington, D C , having the correct access to appropriate applications is important for remote workers' success

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A solid authentication and authorization solution can help automate the process of switching or provisioning remote workers to the proper access techniques and materials Implementing 'least privilege' involves giving an end-user, application, services, or system only the credentials they need to do the work they've been given to help limit the risk of exploits without affecting productivity or requiring IT

Additionally, make sure to request a twofactor authentication when logging into your systems

Not only should credentials be longer than 8 characters, with uppercase and lowercase letters, digits, and symbols included, but there should also be an additional method to ensure that the person logging in is your staff member Sending a code to the employee’s email or phone after logging in can be an effective solution.

Instead of attempting to resolve technical issues on their own, your staff should be encouraged to approach the IT support team. This will guarantee that problems are treated as promptly and safely as possible, thereby preventing a larger problem from emerging in the future.

The first step for all remote workers should be to safeguard their network When the risks are this high, relying on Windows' own security software isn't sufficient. Rather, engage in a solid Virtual Private Network (VPN) and antivirus software from a respected company that is routinely updated

Verify that the platforms used for company-wide interactions, such as voice and video conferences, are secure While staying interconnected is necessary, it should not come at the expense of security

It's critical to have network security systems, including firewalls, antivirus software, and spam detection tools, on each gadget that remote workers use to obtain company or customer data

Setting up a work-from-home security policy is only the beginning Now its up to you to make sure that your team has the support and technologies they need to stay compatible Make sure your remote staff has all of the resources they need, from a VPN to a strong password to antivirus software, so they can concentrate on getting the work done rather than worry about compliance

Concluding Thoughts

Many businesses throughout the world are still unsure whether they will be able to return to work in a safe manner. With cybercrime on the rise, now is the moment for businesses to implement the software, procedures, and tools necessary to assure continuity of operations and protect against ransomware attacks By following the above-mentioned tips you will surely be one step closer to that

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The Generational Trust Gap:

CanadianSME sat down with Josh Cobden, Executive Vice President, Proof Strategies, to discuss the 2023 Proof Strategies CanTrust Index - one of the largest annual studies of trust in Canada, which examines trust in leaders, sources of information, institutions and more The results this year reveal that younger Canadians are less likely to trust business and business leaders, the economy and even people they meet, compared to older Canadians Proof calls it the generational trust gap

Generational differences run through all our trust research Younger Canadians, including millennials and Gen Z, are significantly less trusting of many parts of how Canada operates

For example, when asked if most people can be trusted, just 39 per cent of Gen Zs and 45 per cent of millennials said yes, compared to 52 per cent of boomers and 76 per cent of Canadians aged 75 and older Looking at aggregate trust in the core pillars that underpin society (which includes businesses, governments, NGOs, and media), trust remains flat at 35 per cent among millennials compared to boomers, at 45 per cent.

In general, trust in business leaders is low, but especially among younger adults In 2023, only 25 percent of millennials trust large corporations to do the right thing While small and medium sized businesses fared better, they are still only trusted by 38 per cent of millennials. Put another way, if you ’ re an SME, six out of ten young adults don’t trust you Similarly, just 36 per cent of Gen Zs and 37 per cent of millennials trust their CEO or most senior boss compared to 48 per cent of boomers

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There are many possible reasons for this mistrust in business Highly publicized corporate scandals, greed, unethical decisions, growing income disparity, and not enough diversity in the senior ranks are fueling “the three D’s” among young people: they’re disappointed, disillusioned, and desperate for progress Now add the possibility of a looming, deep recession, and you can add in a fourth D: despair All of this erodes trust in business leaders who younger workers expect to make things better

To start with, representation matters

There’s still a dismally poor representation of gender and diversity at the highest decision-making levels of society, including business Young people want role models from whom they can learn, but also that reflect themselves and their experiences When asked about what makes a brand more trustworthy, 56 per cent of millennials said that diversity and inclusion policies do, compared to 44 per cent of seniors So, if you run a business, ask yourself whether you can do more to diversify your workforce, create upward mobility for disadvantaged groups and market the business in an inclusive way Arguably, taking these steps should be easier in smaller businesses with less bureaucracy.

Environmental sustainability and social impact also matter – but in this case, not just among young adults Sixty-one per cent of Gen Zs and 62 per cent of boomers are more likely to trust companies that commit to environmental sustainability Similarly, 56 per cent of both millennials and boomers are more likely to trust brands that support charitable causes Both areas present an opportunity to build trust simultaneously with two age cohorts For SME’s, small changes can have big impact – especially when you involve your employees and customers

business leaders signed up for, but younger Canadians want and expect the business community to show up and speak up When asked if business leaders have an obligation to speak out about issues affecting their community, 61 per cent of Gen Zs said that they should do so regularly Additionally, 57 per cent are more likely to trust a company that advocates for positive social change, compared to 46 per cent of older adults This doesn’t mean hollering from the rooftops on every issue But it does mean business leaders need to know where their key audiences stand on any given issue and proceed accordingly

Canada has a long way to go when it comes to building trust among youth. When our future workforce and eventual leaders have trust issues, we should be concerned.

But theres hope: what we know is that trust can be built by demonstrating ethics, transparency, and community involvement Leaders who understand their audiences, communicate their values, and ground their decisions on these values can get us there

This is a big one. Around the world, a lively discussion is occurring about whether CEOs should speak out and take a stand on matters such as diversity and inclusion and climate change This isn’t what most entrepreneurs or

Learn more about the 2023 Proof Strategies CanTrust index at

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We help The Power of Diversity and Inclusion:

Why Equal Representation Matters in Tech and Beyond

We had the privilege of speaking with Joanne Helm, Lead (Senior Vice President) of Strategy at iQmetrix, about the most practical ways to achieve equal representation of women in tech, keeping in mind that women ' s leadership entails much more than just running a company, the role iQmetrix has played in advancing women in the field, assisting in closing the gender gap and giving them the favourable working conditions they deserve, and the most frequent challenges they face.

Joanne has been with iQmetrix for over 12 years where the majority of her tenure has been focused on leading the company’s Strategic Partner Alliances

Recently, she now oversees iQmetrix’ People Operations and Acquisition

Success Joanne is known for her energetic optimism and genuinity

Outside of work she holds a love for gardening and gushing over her nieces and nephews

How would you describe your 10 years at iQmetrix, working in Integrated Solutions, Business Development, Enterprise Omnichannel Sales, and now as the Lead (SVP) of Strategy, focused on steady growth and experience within iQmetrix's current partner ecosystem?

I would describe my 10 years at iQmetrix as exciting and challenging, filled with incredible and deep relationships.

The last decade of iQmetrix has seen tremendous growth within our SME retailer base, securing us as the number-one pointof-sale software provider in the North American wireless sector This was followed by a market shift to focus directly on enterprise and carrier business, which paralleled the industry’s aggressive consolidation as well as new entrants into the industry The telecom industry undergoes a great deal of change annually, let alone over a decade, and it’s been our job to ensure that our products and services continue to provide value enabling our retailers to stay ahead of these changes They rely on our foundational products to keep them innovative and adaptable

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This is what makes iQmetrix both an exciting and challenging workplace – between our workplace culture and the changing nature of our industry, we have organically created the opportunity for iQers: to wear many hats of responsibility, gaining experience and making an impact across many areas of the business; to be comfortable and confident with change in prioritization, product expectations, accountabilities; and learning quickly from both our wins and our failures to become stronger

What makes iQmetrix different from most tech companies is the relationships that we have with our colleagues, clients, and partners Our business is focused on hard work, lifting each other up, being humble, and being kind This resonates through the industry and has been a linchpin of our success, no matter what the change in the industry Looking back at my decade-plus of memories, it’s these extraordinary relationships and moments that resonate the loudest

Both mentorship and sponsorship initiatives from female leaders, starting as early in the career as possible Through time flexibility and internal programs, encourage your women leaders to spend time coaching others on how to navigate through their careers, based on their own experience and network

Have Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging strategies for your business that are led from the top. These strategies need to be woven into a culture of empathy, communication, and understanding. As Aiko Bethea says, “DEIB work is never transactional if we want it to be transformational ”

Review your pay and recognition to ensure you ’ re compensating equally; the data won’t lie

What do you believe are the most practical approaches to achieve equal representation of women in tech, considering that women ' s leadership entails much more than only managing a business?

There are hundreds of initiatives that can be used in striving for an environment of equal representation, not only for equality of women but for a fully DEIB-led organization I believe this strategic thinking needs to be led by two macro-pillars First, this needs to be led from the very top; you need a board and/or executive team that truly wants an equally represented workforce Secondly, you need a culture that uses diversity as a superpower, enabling all voices to drive value in your business A culture of equality is not something that happens naturally, unfortunately It must be something you cultivate through actions of all your leadership

Enable a flexible working environment where clear boundaries are viewed as a healthy mechanism for strong leadership Policies, such as flexible time, and benefits overarching need to be created using feedback from women directly Especially from those who face challenges outside of the office that are unique to women

such as a mother returning from maternity leave, a woman going through menopause, or a woman going through transition Business leaders must seek feedback from the source on what is required or desired for the most inclusive working culture

Finally, more female-led businesses need to be funded, period (Pun intended )

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How has iQmetrix aided in the advancement of women in the field, helping to reduce the gender gap and providing them with the favourable working conditions they deserve?

Our parent company, Chrysalis, has a clear vision focused on “The Art of Being Human; to create a world in which people bring their whole selves to whatever they do and engage creatively and constructively to the benefit of all ” iQmetrix is built from this foundation and has a very strong culture of empathy and communication. This culture is the center point of enabling an equitable workforce.

At iQmetrix, we are fortunate to have strong female leadership within our Executive and our Senior Leadership teams, representing 40% and 50% respectively This started with deliberate decisions made by our board many years ago to strive for diverse voices and opinions Through the years, mentorship and sponsorship has continued as a strong internal focus to accomplish this balance In our telecom industry, which is still very male dominated, we view this as a competitive advantage both for employee experience as well as for our external voice to clients and partners alike

Tactically we have many ways in which we ensure equal pay and benefits We audit our compensation bi-annually; benefits are reviewed annually to ensure we ’ re providing competitive offerings both for mental and physical health support; we offer multiple ways to support women through paid time via our Trusted Vacation and Sick Leave (both unlimited, “take-what-you-need” programs), generous maternity/parental/adoption leave, and Community Involvement and Learning Days

Lastly, and I believe most importantly, we acknowledge that we are not perfect. We’re transparent internally with areas of our business where we believe we need to strive for better It’s this vulnerability that provides a safe space for iQers to speak up where they feel we have gaps and, best of all, to come with proposals on what other companies or industries are doing where we should perhaps trial or adopt within iQmetrix

What according to you are the most common challenges faced by women? And what are the possible solutions to overcome these challenges?

Unfortunately, there are a number of ceilings left to crack I’ll highlight two overarching challenges. The first one: the need to change societal norms. Easy, right?! Women are still the predominant contributor within the household and in raising children Even if we have supportive partners that are, for example, willing to be the one to leave work to pick up a sick kid from daycare, the typical reaction is, “She’s a bad mom because she’s putting her career first ” While most of us felt we were making significant strides the last decade, a global pandemic occurred and pulled us backwards again Staggering numbers of women left the workforce during Covid to care of children or parents and unfortunately the data still doesn’t show a strong return Forbes reported in January that 53 women CEOs are now leading Fortune 500 companies marking –for the first time, that we hit 10% While this is exciting to celebrate, it’s a stark reminder of how much further we have to go There are numerous conversations to tackle: Federal and Provincial legislation; education curriculum, program funding and mentorship for girls starting in early education; workforce training focused on biases to eliminate male vs female prejudices; the list goes on What I will say is, as women, we need to continue to push to change these norms – bringing all women, no matter age or colour, alongside us If we arent challenging the status quo, no one else will

Diversity and Inclusion

The second overarching challenge is to challenge ourselves We can be our own worst enemy when it comes to having confidence in our experience, education, self-worth and this leads to daily imposter syndrome quotes such as: “I can’t apply for that job I don’t have enough <insert personal let-down here>”; “I’m scared my boss will think Im not doing a good job”, while being the best performer in your department; “I’m not sharing my opinion, I have no idea what the answer is” while being the most informed individual in the room Focus on changing this narrative by: doing the personal work of knowing who you are with clarity on the values you hold; create appropriate boundaries so you can enforce the balance your work and personal life requires; work hard, be prepared, and showcase your skills through strong outputs This will supply you with the confidence to shut off that devil on your shoulder and allow you to sit at the table, because you deserve to be there

What expert advice would you like to provide to all the aspiring women out there in order to motivate them to realize their potential and take part in the decision-making process?

A few words of advice from my viewpoint:

Do not be afraid to take on experiences or projects that are not a part of your daily job. If there are opportunities that present themselves where you can learn something new, work with a new stakeholder in the business, or expose yourself to a different department, jump in and try it These are key avenues to building and exposing your brand both inside your company or also, potentially, externally to clients or partners Oh, and you ’ re likely to learn a new skill add that to your resume

Acknowledge and become comfortable with the fact that you’ll screw up many times throughout your career If you ’ re not failing at something that means you ’ re not taking on risk in your role The key part to failing is: owning the failure through acknowledgement with your manager and/or team, don’t blame someone else for it; if youre in control of fixing what you broke, fix it; learn from the failure; finally, share your learnings with others so it’s ideally not repeated.

Never stop learning This does not mean you have to achieve your MBA or a PHD, though those are good things too, this can be as simple as having a monthly coffee with a colleague who’s career path you admire Reading, listening to podcasts, being mentored, being a mentor, job shadowing, networking, etc. Find avenues to continue to expand your thinking.

Your career journey is a long one, don’t be in too much of a rush: Take time for sabbaticals/vacations to let yourself breath; if you aspire to have a family, don’t be worried if there will be available work on your return - there will always be work; focus on your mental and physical health by actually blocking the time into your calendar

You will get tons of leadership advice throughout your career Some of that advice will suck, some of that advice will be life-changing Don’t conform to every piece of advice thinking that it’s all good Listen, acknowledge, deliberate with yourself on what matters, and consume only what aligns best with your values and career path.

Lastly, let me highlight a fellow Canadian, Rupi Kaur, who has better advice than anything else I’ve highlighted: “What’s the greatest lesson a woman should learn? That since day one, she’s already had everything she needs within herself It’s the world that convinced her she did not ”

Diversity and Inclusion

Giles Sutherland, VP Business Development, Verification, Interac, was available to speak with us about the most intriguing findings from Interac's recent research on data privacy, the changes that data privacy has undergone recently, the upcoming big trend in this field, steps that need to be taken to increase Canadians' sense of security regarding their online privacy, and his advice for companies looking to adopt more robust security measures for their online platforms

Canadians want more control over their online information

Interacisencouragingorganizationstoreflectontheir practicesandimprovetheirunderstandingofconsumer attitudestowardprivacy

What are the most interesting findings from Interac's new research on data privacy? What implications do these findings have for businesses?

The majority of our lives are conducted online In a recent survey by Interac Corp , Canadians told us that control of personal information online is top of mind According to the survey, nearly eight in 10 Canadians (76 per cent) are worried about protecting their online privacy and seven in 10 Canadians (74 per cent) want more control over their online information

Of particular interest, the survey uncovered that more than half of Canadians (53 per cent) believe organizations are primarily responsible for protecting their online personal information and nearly seven in ten of them (69 per cent) would hold a company accountable in the event of a data breach

The results demonstrate how imperative it is for companies to provide clear guidelines on how personal information belonging to customers is managed and protected

How has data privacy changed in recent years, and what do you think will be the next big trend in this area?

Our lives and activity have shifted online now more than ever before As this transformation continues to progress, Canadians are increasingly relying on technology to access new government and business services In fact, our survey showed that nearly seven in 10 Canadians (69 per cent) expect to be able to access all government services online

Accessing these services means that Canadians are regularly exchanging critical information as part of their daily lives As consumer behaviours and expectations continue to progress, so too does security to help protect the personal information of Canadians who want to transact in the digital economy

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This shows us there’s a clear need for authentication options in both the private and public sector that can protect that personal information in a future that is only expected to involve more time online

What do you think needs to happen for Canadians to feel more secure about their online privacy?

When Canadians sign in to any online service, they’re putting their trust into that provider to keep their data safe However, there are many concerns that Canadians face when it comes to their personal information

Our research shows that nearly seven in 10 Canadians (69 per cent) worry about how their personal information is being sold or transferred without their consent and that only six per cent of Canadians feel their personal information is being used for its intended purpose Instead, most feel it’s being used for nefarious reasons like tracking their location (58 per cent), manipulating their beliefs (32 per cent), and stealing their identity (31 per cent).

These findings show us how critical the initial moment of sign-in and verifying your information is –especially for businesses and organizations to build trust with their customers Verification solutions available to adopt today can empower Canadians to take advantage of convenient digital services, supported by trusted authentication that allow them to maintain control over their personal information, including who can access it, and when

Education is also critical Seven in 10 Canadians (69 per cent) revealed they would like more information to be readily available about how to protect their online information What’s more, only a third (33 per cent) admit they know what to do if their personal information or data is stolen online

What are the benefits of implementing more secure sign-in services for firms? Do you think providing more secure signin services will help combat fraud and cybercrime?

Implementing more secure authentication and verification services, such as at the moment of sign-in, will allow customers to feel more in control of who and where they put their data. With so many Canadians (76 per cent) worried about protecting their online privacy, the moment of user sign-in is of utmost important to build that trust with the customers they serve Verification services can be a key enabler to a more trustworthy digital experience to help keep Canadians safe and secure when transacting online, while also automating processes to help businesses better manage sensitive information

Through the research we conducted, we learned that Canadians are holding organizations accountable for the use and storage of their data, as well as putting their trust to keep it safe Enhancing security, control and online safety at the moment of sign-in will not only help build trust but can help mitigate outside threats and reduce the cost of fraud through identity theft

What advice would you give to businesses who are looking to adopt stronger security measures for their online platforms?

Because theres a need for verification options that protect personal information, this should be top of mind. An example of such a solution is the Interac sign-in service, helping users leverage their existing online banking information to access any participating private sector and government services This is done instead of having to create a new username and password Our research found that almost half of Canadians (49 per cent) are in support of using their financial institution login credentials to authenticate themselves during the sign-in process

Another common but critical way to help adopt strong security measures is to include prompts at the beginning of the customer sign-in experience Canadians should be reminded to create strong passwords avoiding common words or numbers, and ensuring passwords are complex and changed frequently

Payment System

Leading with Diversity and Inclusion:

An Inspiring Journey with Amber Winters, Marketing Director at Pizza Pizza

We had the opportunity to speak with Amber Winters, Marketing Director at Pizza Pizza, who shared her journey with us She talked about how it felt to be a woman of South Asian descent in a Canadian heritage brand and leading organization, the significance of strong female leadership in today's environment, the ways that companies encourage an inclusive environment for all employees, the challenges that female entrepreneurs face most frequently, and more.

A marketing professional, Amber Winters has spent almost two decades at Pizza Pizza She started her journey at Pizza Pizza as an administrative temp and has risen up the ranks to her current role as the Marketing Director

Amber was drawn to Pizza Pizza due to its culture, purpose and everything that went into the food they served to provide millions of meals a year to Canadians across every walk of life

Her current role is focused on overseeing brand, media, promotions and cross-channel sales performance. Most recently, she contributed to Pizza Pizza’s new brand platform work ‘Everyone Deserves Pizza’ which was launched last summer to further build the narrative around the heart and soul of Pizza Pizza. Amber is also an active member of Pizza Pizza’s D&I Council.

Amber has a Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of Toronto and in her personal time, she loves spending time outdoors with her husband, toddler son, and dog She also enjoys ordering the Cauli Pesto pizza and wings for the family

How would you describe your career with more than two decades of experience in the Quick Service Restaurant (QSR) industry and your dedication to fostering a culture that supports better equity, growth, and mentorship for women across all levels?

I feel very fortunate to be a part of an organization that has always believed in equity and the growth of our team members across the board Although in the earlier days the D,E & I focus wasn’t as deliberate, there was still a foundation of diversity Since Pizza Pizza has always been a ‘pizza of the people’, there was a natural tendency of the corporate culture being representative of the customers we serve

As someone who started out as an administrative temp, and was first-hand supported by my Leadership team and my peers (some of who are now also part of the Leadership team) throughout my tenure at Pizza Pizza, I am grateful for the opportunities that have unfolded and the way our team supports and encourages talent at all levels.

Fast forward to today, the environment has changed so drastically, especially in recent years, that it’s now become necessary for organizations to better understand the need for equity and inclusion. As a founding member of Pizza Pizzas D,E & I Council, which is only just over a year old, it’s an exciting time to be able to create impact by working with the organization to accelerate change

How does it feel, as a person of South Asian descent yourself, to be a female leader in a Canadian heritage brand and leading organization?

I definitely feel privileged to be in this position Though I’ve worked hard over the years and feel like I’ve earned it, I wouldn’t be here without the support of those around me

The initial appeal of working at Pizza Pizza (aside from the amazing food!), was that the brand’s principles and values really lined up with my own So just by being authentic within this environment, it’s allowed me to thrive.

As a Canadian heritage brand, I also feel the responsibility to ensure we ’ re not only shaping a strong & effective culture for our future leaders within the organization but also setting a great example for other Canadian brands

What according to you is considered strong female leadership? And why is it necessary in today’s environment?

I believe having the confidence that your input and role is equally valuable as anyone else’s in the room is key Be authentic to who you are as an individual and your own values, so that you bring your own unique voice to the table, sharing your views and perspective

Don’t overthink it and handle the situation as necessary. There are some occasions where asserting yourself might be valuable, or other moments where being empathetic is what your team needs - what’s key is not comparing yourself to others, but doing what makes sense for you

Why, in your opinion, is it crucial to mentor new talent? And how can businesses encourage an inclusive atmosphere for all employees?

At Pizza Pizza, we believe mentoring new talent is an invaluable investment in our overall business Creating a culture of engaged team members lays the foundation for our success We want to ensure there’s a good balance of giving our new team members autonomy while also offering the support they need

Conversely, learning from the new talent and encouraging them to share their ideas and experiences, as we continue to evolve as a business, benefits our bottom line as well

To encourage an inclusive atmosphere for all employees, ensure the two-way relationship and trust are established so that employees feel safe providing valuable & honest feedback In this day & age, virtual work environments are more common than not, so finding ways to connect, even if it’s a quick informal check-in weekly, will earn trust with your colleagues and team members From there, it’s always important to keep your ears out and listen and ideally, there’s also a formal feedback process With that process in place, your team can provide constructive feedback to ensure your business is working towards inclusion in a way that’s meaningful to all team members

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What difficulties do female business owners encounter most frequently? What are some potential solutions to those difficulties?

It’s difficult to give this question a blanket response as it can really range, but here are a few common examples Be intentional about appointing qualified women to your executive team, corporate board and C-suite Pizza Pizza’s representation of senior leaders is over 25% Only a couple of years ago, this was hovering around 10% so we ’ re moving in the right direction This has been achieved both by grooming talent internally and promoting within, as well as seeking talent externally where applicable.

Listen to women colleagues, take a look at your “go-to” people at work; is it a diverse group?

At Pizza Pizza, over a year ago, we formulated a D,E & I Council The Council is designed not only to communicate the changes being put forth by the organization, but invite feedback in this space, take action on behalf of our team members and the priorities identified, and measure progress annually

Even if you don’t have the means to create a Council if you ’ re a smaller business, you can weave the feedback process into your standard practices for collecting feedback from your team in order to keep your finger on the pulse and still action accordingly

Switch the focus to productivity and results, and not time spent at the desk, or seek out managers who currently work flexibly and find out what works and what doesn’t

At Pizza Pizza, we ’ ve made huge strides in this area as we have added more rigor to our performance goal setting and feedback, where the team member and their coach are more focused on productivity and results. As well, this method has been an opportunity for some team members to show that they had more than a full-plate and so adjustments needed to be made As a result, all of this has drastically improved work-life balance scores within our organization in just a couple of years In late 2022, we were even recognized by winning Waterstone’s Canada’s Most Admired Corporate Culture Award, so we believe we ’ ve made a lot of progress in listening and meeting our team members’ needs

What are the expert tips you would like to offer women that will help them to navigate the workplace and build successful careers?

Hone in on what skills and qualities you carry that make you uniquely you and be confident in what you have to offer

Be sure to reach out to people you admire, even a short conversation with them might be loaded with tips or insight as a result of their experiences

Both you and your organization will evolve over time; know that you can make an impact in how your organization evolves

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The importance of liquidity for an organization facing difficulty is huge Liquidity can be equated with cash, and it is sustenance, a resource to meet threats, a fuel for recovery It is also likely scarce

Cash is king, it is lifeblood Cash pays for needed goods and services to ensure that the organization can continue to operate while it seeks recovery It is also used to manage risks that appear rapidly and in multivariate form Cash is also necessary to execute and implement a plan to reverse any decline

Necessity and scarcity set the platform for liquidity enhancement Husbanding resources and controlling disbursement are supported by daily and weekly cash reports. The daily report provides on the spot information concerning cash availability. The weekly report encompasses a projected period that ideally looks a few months forward

The process of liquidity enhancement renews corporate discipline, reveals much about the balance sheet and operations, conserves resources and seeks new sources of capital Taken together these measures provide a real chance at recovery

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Together the cash reports will:

Provide an early warning system in terms of expected financial performance

Establish a basic platform that rolls forward every week clearly identifying obligation and priority, resources, and timing. Includes information concerning key cash drivers.

Is used or integrated with other information to track performance.

Ensures operating loan compliance and anticipates any changes. Their preparation will yield a whole host of information concerning the organization and its operations.

Together these reports provide an accurate “dashboard” with essential information concerning the organization They also provide a platform that assists in husbanding resources allocating them by priority in a disciplined manner.

However, they are of little value in establishing control without ensuring adherence to a rigorous corporate discipline This requires establishing a narrow band of authority for determining priority and authorizing payments

With timely accurate information in hand together with a strong corporate discipline, it is important to seek additional capital In the preparation of the cash reports all liabilities should have carefully been reviewed and verified This should be expanded to create a new balance sheet that is accurate and reliable by:

Visually inspecting tangible assets and verifying intangible assets

The latter must include A/R, patents, trademarks, leases, and interests in other entities

Professional valuation of all assets must reflect the current situation for the company and the marketplace for assets. Confirmation from all sources for current loan balances with particular attention to such things as contingent and third party liabilities.

Verification by competent legal counsel of all encumbrances, liens, and mortgages.

The completion of a current Balance Sheet will reveal opportunities to improve liquidity through the sale or leverage of assets some of which may have been unknown Similarly, a source of capital may be found through amendment, mitigation or increase of liabilities

Completion of this process creates a reliable Balance Sheet and the Cash reports provide an accurate view of liquidity for some time moving forward

The reinforcement of vigorous corporate discipline ensures control of resources Will also set the basis for a long terms business plan and be examined in a favorable light.

Payment priority is a zero-sum game. Therefore, it is based upon absolute necessity or legal requirement.

The process of liquidity enhancement renews corporate discipline, reveals much about the balance sheet and operations, conserves resources, provides a platform for a comprehensive business plan, and seeks new sources of capital

Taken together these measures provide a real chance at corporate recovery

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We had the pleasure of speaking with Sandra Healy, an organizational psychologist and the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Inclusio She shared her thoughts on how her company ensures that it assists businesses in understanding their employees and fostering positive workplace cultures, the significance of implementing the Talent 4.0 principles in order to manage diversity, equality, and inclusion, and the difficulties that Canadian companies encounter most frequently when attempting to manage these issues

Insights from Inclusio's CEO

on Building Empathetic and Engaged Workplaces

How will you describe your career with over 20 years of experience in the global telecoms industry and five years at Dublin City University establishing the DCU Centre of Excellence for Diversity and Inclusion?

I started initially studying graphic design in London and then went on to work in global telecoms for over 20 years as a technical consultant and then into senior leadership roles This is where the idea of inclusio was sparked, ‘I realized that I had clear KPIs on one side of the work I was doing and I was doing this very meaningful work in diversity and inclusion with no way to evidence the impact to the business

I was studying Organizational Psychology at the time, learning about the science of people in work and the importance of culture, I thought there has to be a way to combine technology and science to solve this problem

I moved to Dublin City University (DCU) in 2016 as Head of EDI, and in my discussions, I said “I have an idea I want to build this platform, so in 2016 I brought the idea with me to DCU, I secured Enterprise Ireland commercialization funding, and over four years of research and development, we built, tested, designed, and researched inclusio spun out of DCU in December 2020

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How can Inclusio ensure that it helps businesses understand their employees and create positive workplace cultures? What distinguishes Inclusio from other businesses?

There is nothing else like inclusio in the world In 2016, inclusio set out to solve a problem and bring a scientificevidenced approach for employers to listen to the collective voice of their people and to measure, track and act on Diversity and Inclusion. Our software helps organizations pinpoint and focus Diversity, Equity and Inclusion actions more strategically We are now beginning to create international and sector benchmarks with a focus on leading the way globally in this space

How important do you think it is for businesses to adopt the Talent 4.0 principles in order to manage Diversity, Equality, and Inclusion?

In this disrupted world of work, business and HR leaders are dealing with multiple and changing demands

- from managing the return to the physical workplace and employee mental health, to driving productivity with new technology adoption, to navigating the war for talent, and more.

inclusio’s software helps employees as it gives them a voice in work with their answers remaining confidential and employers as it gives them a way to both measure diversity and inclusion and act on the feedback received from employees to improve the workplace.

Leading organizations are quickly incorporating Talent 4 0 principles to seize this environment as an opportunity to evolve and thrive Talent 4 0 is an emerging concept, based on the premise of continuously adopting innovative methods and tools to improve the employee experience, supported by technologies and practices such as predictive analytics and AI

A truly diverse and inclusive workplace can boost business by promoting innovation and enhancing reputation Employers who treat diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) as a “tick box” exercise are missing a valuable opportunity to improve, not only their organizational culture but also their ability to attract and retain talent and improve business performance and profitability

So far, the data collected has revealed a few interesting facts For example, consistently seven percent of workforces are made up of LGBT+ people and inclusio hasn’t yet had an organization with reports of less than 12 percent of neurodivergent people

This provides a better understanding of their customers, and their customers’ needs which improves commercial performance and boosts the bottom line

For organizations, the benefits of hiring a diverse workforce include access to a greater range of skill sets, experiences, and perspectives that reflect the reality of the society around us

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What challenges do you believe Canadian businesses most frequently face when trying to manage diversity, equity, and inclusion effectively?

From my discussions with leaders globally, the number one issue is getting beyond gender Across the board, gender remains a core focus area for diversity metrics and we know, what gets measured gets managed The challenge for leaders today to how can we shift beyond gender in a way that show real intent and authenticity with your employees.

What are the moral, legal, and economic mechanisms that businesses should use to effectively get these policies?

inclusio’s software helps employees as it gives them a voice in work with their answers remaining confidential Through our research we found that employees do not want their employer to hold personal and sensitive data about them and have this linked to HR or internal systems

Leaders today are expected to respond to increasing external demands for evidence of good culture and that they are leading a sustainable and ethical business Inclusio address this problem in a time and costefficient way

People in work want to contribute their voice to the culture and they do not want to be marginalized for doing so. Creating the opportunity for people to be counted and have a voice at work is the fairest and most effective way for employers to make progress on culture and EDI.

What expert advice do you have for businesses planning to embrace diversity, equity, and inclusion strategies in the workplace?

Through the voice of employees our independent, scientific data helps leaders respond to these demands, for instance, ESG reporting, Gender Pay Gap, financial regulators on culture, Board and shareholder reporting We have solved the challenges related to capturing, measuring and tracking culture and EDI data for employers, developing sectoral and global benchmarks to chart progress

By intentionally creating a diverse workforce and a socially responsible organization that takes DEI seriously, you are opening the door to new markets, customers, business partners, and employees At inclusio we make difference count, we are the voices of your people in work

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How women are powering progress in the auto sector

If you open almost any newspaper or magazine covering the automotive sector, the front-page often focuses on vehicle electrification This is for good reason: the climate crisis is real, and automakers are literally racing towards both corporate and the UN’s Sustainable Development goals to dramatically lower the overall carbon footprint of cars and trucks by 2030.

But there’s another sustainable resource that can shape the future of the automotive and mobility sector: women That’s right, women

Women are helping power the industry’s shift to sustainability since many are employed across the sector, with the Ontario government hoping to increase the proportion of women as the sector expands As reported in a 2020 report from Deloitte[1] titled Women at the wheel, women make up about half of the total labour force, but only a quarter of the automotive manufacturing workforce1 Women like Amanda Sayers are working diligently to change that

As the Director of Skills, Talent and Workforce Development at the Ontario Centre of Innovation (and a 2021 McKinsey Achievement Award Winner), Amanda leads and designs Ontario’s automotive sector talent strategy She manages an all-female team that executes this strategy, and one of their key mandates is attracting and training underrepresented talent in a sector that many don’t immediately consider for their career With significant public investment from the Ontario provincial government and approximately $12.5 billion in electric vehicle and EV battery investments from automotive manufacturing giants like Ford, General Motors, Stellantis, and Honda[2], it is a prime time for women to move into the industry

“The Skills, Talent, and Workforce Development Team is making a concerted effort to positively change the statistics for women in auto From how we design our programs, courses, tools, discussions, and research – we factor in how to attract and retain a more diverse talent pool talent There are many exciting years to come for the industry and with that will come many opportunities for women ”

As part of OCI, the Ontario Vehicle Innovation Network (OVIN) is the province’s flagship initiative to drive economic development and catalyze a future that builds safer, cleaner, and more efficient transportation It also



supports the development of a sustainable and futureready workforce that includes the expertise of women and other equity-deserving groups With its Talent Strategy & Roadmap, OVIN positions Ontario’s automotive and mobility sector for long-term success by outlining key objectives and initiatives to develop a highly skilled, adaptable, and diverse workforce in the sector Such efforts will be reinforced by a world-leading network that provides tailored and responsive initiatives to meet the workforce’s evolving needs. Many of the sector’s workforce development needs can be met by engaging more women and equity-deserving groups from across the province

OVIN’s Skills & Career Navigator platform is another tool developed and designed to help Ontarians who are interested or currently working in the automotive and mobility sector to better understand the sector’s transition, and to navigate learning and career pathways based on their unique experiences and skill sets

There are many opportunities for women to advance in careers on the factory floor - and beyond – including Engineering, IT, Human Resources and Management

To compete globally, the industry needs to keep diversifying its workforce Diversity fosters innovation, with the companies that attract the most talented and diverse workforce succeeding as the world evolves at an increasing pace And the industrys leaders know it

“Competition breeds excellence when we can open up the field of play, and give everyone the chance to compete”, said Cheryl Thompson, founder of the Center for Automotive Diversity, Inclusion & Advancement, in her TEDxWindsor talk from 2019 A veteran of the automotive industry, Thompson has 30 years of experience at Ford Motor Company and American Axle and Manufacturing in positions ranging from skilled trades, operations, engineering, and global leadership

In her talk, Thompson sites York University professor Aaron Dhirs book Challenging Boardroom Homogeneity[3] to underscore the value women bring to management roles including strong performance, sound decision-making, and introducing diverse perspectives “Women prepared for board meetings having read the material, which caused the men to show up better prepared so the performance in the non-dominant group improved the performance in the dominant group ”


According to Dhirs study, women take longer to make informed decisions, which involved dynamic conflict, but it brought the decision making back into the more neutral setting of the boardroom and “off the golf course, away from the country club or even in the nightclub”, which are venues that have been associated with maledominated business practices Women also focused more on long-term impact, stakeholder value over shareholder value, with a greater focus on the “environment, the community, and the employees”

According to Thompson, having more women in leadership leads to greater balance at the top Like balancing on a BOSU ball, it’s tricky and you fall off But there’s an immense amount of core strength that is developed which allows for more agility and more flexibility In the end organizations with balance are stronger, from the inside out ”

Although there has been a long and sustained call for diversity across all industries and in the boardroom, only 15% of North American Fortune 500 companies have a female CEO. The Deloitte Women at the wheel study noted that 82 percent of women believe industry bias toward men contributes most to a lack of diversity in leadership positions

As the industry continues to pivot toward a more sustainable and competitive future, there’s a big opportunity for women in Ontario to help drive it forward Whether that’s on the factory floor, in the engineering department, in automotive boardrooms, and beyond To learn more about OVIN's Talent Strategy and Roadmap and opportunities within the automotive and mobility sector, visit ovin-navigator ca

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