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the Ottawa Cancer Foundation, Queensway Carleton Hospital Foundation, CHEO and the Sens Foundation – those are the groups we tend to partner with, but we certainly give outside of those groups. I also sit on the board of Equine Canada – the national organization for horse sport and recreation in Canada. In addition to your professional and philanthropic career you are a mother of two. How do you find time to balance your family and professional life? I’m pretty good at not taking work home. The kids, when they are in front of me, are my number one priority. I may answer an email here and there, but I don’t take the stress home because my number one job is being a good mother. It’s a line in the sand that I have drawn and I refuse to compromise it. Knowing your background in competitive show jumping, how important was it to get a world-class equestrian park in Ottawa? The whole project kind of happened in a funny way. It wasn’t our plan for the Wesley Clover Foundation to take it over – it just kind of fell into our lap as an opportunity. We decided to capitalize on the opportunity and it worked out well for me because of my background in show jumping. I was able to translate my detailed knowledge and experiences in competitive show jumping to the business, which is a great opportunity. Princess Anne recently visited Wesley Clover Equestrian Park. What was that experience like? It was an honour to have her come to the park. They had approached us, which was a huge honour. Princess Anne has an interest and background in horses, so it was a great experience. We provided a lovely itinerary and a really great tour within the realm of something she is actually interested in. The experience helped solidify the partners, staff and students that the park was legitimate. It showed that what we are doing is different and special, and bring a positive impact to the community. Wesley Clover Equestrian Park will play host to Horse Day – what is this event all about? It’s a national initiative from Equine Canada, who approached me to host it. Toronto Horse Day has been a huge success and we wanted to

promote horse sport and recreation to non-horse people in Ottawa. In essence, bringing horses to people who don’t know about horses. Ottawa Horse Day will take place the first Saturday in June with the goal of encouraging other cities to host a horse day as well. It’s a free event that offers pony rides, jumping shows and so much more. What other events do you hope to have at Wesley Clover Park? Will there be any sporting or concert events? We have some exciting things in the works that will be released soon. It will be a concert site in the future and some really interesting things yet to come. This year, we are hosting a national-level horse show with an international horse show coming in 2016. We also play host to charity runs, and soccer fields will be coming online in 2016-2017. There’s also a campground next to the park that we run as well. Ottawa sometimes takes a backseat to Toronto with respect to a business community. Do you feel Ottawa has a strong business community? For sure. Ottawa has a very strong history in tech, and Kanata was one of the fastest growing cities in Canada in the early 2000s with the area being called Silicon Valley North. There are some amazing things happening again, and I feel that excitement building again. I really feel that the tech sector is coming back strong. There are also some great companies that have come out of Ottawa, so I do feel we have a strong business community. What’s your philosophy on business? Perseverance, tenacity, work ethic – whatever it is you want, if you believe in it and work at it you can accomplish it. If you fall off the horse you get back up on it. What advice do you have for aspiring young women with an entrepreneurial or business mindset? When women are confident or tenacious it can come across as aggressive or wrong. I’m generally a nice person, but I don’t mind being hard when needed. I also almost never lose my temper. You don’t need to get angry to be firm and get results. I would say that women need to be perseverant, confident and stick to their decisions. @KarenASparks

“Perseverance, tenacity, work ethic – whatever it is you want, if you believe in it and work at it you can accomplish it. If you fall off the horse you get back up on it.”

23 | March 2015

FACES Magazine March 2015 - Curtis Lazar  
FACES Magazine March 2015 - Curtis Lazar