Sharp Women Central Alberta | February 2021

Page 1




Photography: Infinity Brand Photography Attire: Michelle Bossert - Enchanted Ever After Bridal & Events Make-up Artist: Dymond Dei - Bombshell Beauty In this month’s cover: Ruby Cole-Ellis


“The Editor reserves the right to proof and edit content, without changing the intent.The Editor reserves the right to challenge statements and assertions of fact where citations or proof of fact is not offered. Sharp Women Magazine reserves the right to reject material that promotes, in the view of the publishers, unsafe or unhealthy practices, hate speech or other inflammatory content. Online comments are subject to review and deletion if deemed inappropriate. The material and content on this site are for information purposes only. Sharp Women Magazine assumes no liability or responsibility for any inaccurate or incomplete information, nor for any action taken as a result. Content has been contributed by individuals, events and/or organizations, and, as such, may not have been verified by the publishers. The opinions expressed in articles, features, ads and editorials are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions and views of the publishers. Any reproduction of the content and material in Sharp Women Magazine, without the express written permission of the publishers is strictly prohibited, though sharing links to the magazine and/or its articles on social media, with credit, is permitted.”

22 ||





RUBY COLE-ELLIS editor in chief

RACHELLE SCRASE director of photography

LUCI MORALES executive assistant

KELSEY EVANS administrative coordinator

RACHEL BRAUN assistant editor



BRENDA KOLASA business column

JILLIAN VUKOVICH finance column

DR. CANDICE STANIEK KIM BERUBE health & wellness column personal growth column

KARI LOTZIEN leadership column

MELANIE MITCHELL-EPP spirituality column

CHERYL VICZKO relationships column

CHERYL CHERKOWSKI great resources column

JANISE SOMER social media column

CINDY NEEDHAM livin’ your best life

TABITHA ASTALOS professional development column

JANICE HRUSHKA food column


letter from the editor

LOVE IS IN THE AIR! February 2021

With Valentine’s Day smack in the middle of February, it is hard not to think of February as the month of love. With the perpetual influence of pop culture, many use Valentine’s Day as a reason to celebrate their partners and revel in the romance of the holiday. But Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be all about hearts, flowers, and love. Well, it can be about love, but it doesn’t have to be the love we see in romantic comedies or hear about in love songs. Instead, February can be about celebrating other kinds of love. Love to our families and friends, love for our community, love for the Creator, and of course love for yourself and your career. From the complexities of working with your family, to finding how to keep the romance alive, in this month’s edition, we explore love in all its shapes and forms. We dive deep into how to keep “balance” amongst all things we care about. Balance… a little world with the power to literally change lives, depending on which way the scale tips. Especially when it refers to work/life balance. Too many hours at work can bring on stress, a decrease in productivity, lack of sleep, and a lowering of the immune system. That’s not a good outcome, especially in these times of COVID-19, when some of us are still working from home and it is hard to draw the line between when the workday begins and ends. Thankfully, Dr. Candice Staniek on her piece “When You Should Visit the Doctor?” shares with us why it is important to take care of our bodies and how a visit to the doctor can help restore our sanity. In addition, both our feature Sharp Women, Janelle Leer and Kelsey Evans, share with us their personal journey and how they have managed to keep a healthy balance in their lives and mental health. Tabitha Astalos shares her insights in her piece “Dear Reader: Here’s the Secret to Falling in Love with Your Job” and Brenda Kolassa shows us her tips on “How to Fall in Love with your Business Again”, for the times where it feels the honeymoon stage is over with our career. So, remember: Love isn’t just about finding a special partner. It’s embracing and loving the good things in your life. It’s also the quest to find more and be your true most authentic self. So in true SHARP Women fashion, take this issue as permission granted to get out of your chair, out of the workspace, and go find a bit of balance. Let’s put down the phone and ignore the inbox for a little while. Let’s get some of that cool fresh air in our lungs and have a good belly laugh with our loved ones wherever they may be (thank God for Zoom!). Go and enjoy a delicious parfait without guilt (yes, healthy recipe inside!) and don’t forget to tell that person you love them! Be well my friends and enjoy the read.

Ruby Cole-Ellis Editor-in-Chief Instagram: @rubycoleellis Photo by Infinity Brand Photography


|4 |



from the CEO

RANCHELLE IN THE RAW The Day Science and Spirituality Met b y Ra n c h e l l e Va n B r yc e



Up until 2019 I kept my ‘woo hoo’ side to myself. I wouldn’t say that I kept it hidden per se, but rather I didn’t talk about it unless I saw someone else wearing healing stone bracelets, talk about energy or see crystals hanging from their neck.

in motion and the end result is a different outcome, result or circumstance. This is often referred to as The Universal Law of Cause and Effect, which is a subsidiary law of The Law of Attraction, or what I prefer to call, The Law of Manifestation.

My spiritual journey started young. My Dad sobered up when I was 14 or 15 years old. He introduced me to some pretty amazing authors, Deepak Chopra, Wayne Dyer, Norman Vincent Peele to name a few. Attending Alateen allowed me to have a relationship with my Higher Power so that there was a lot of healing there; my many pleas to God for help felt like they were unanswered until I went to Alateen.

Living by the Universal Laws

There were many days that I thank God for Alateen, correction, there ARE many days I thank God for that program, it saved my life.

What’s Woo Hoo? So, for me, the tiny journey from being spiritual in nature to also being ‘woo hoo’ didn’t seem like a stretch. Perhaps this is a great time to share my definition of woo hoo. I believe in energy work, past lives, spirits, and other supernatural ways. I believe that disease is linked to how we think. I’ve had miracles in my life due to energy work, specifically Reiki. I also believe in God. I sometimes refer to God as Creator, Spirit, Higher Power or Divine Intelligence. I believe in forgiveness. I am more spiritual in nature vs religious. I am proud to say I have an incredible relationship with ‘the God of my understanding’. So, when I became a certified Reiki practitioner after my daughter became sick, I realized it was a stretch for a LOT of people who believed in God. I was shocked. To me, I saw the correlation between the two. So, I became careful about who I shared this with.

Dimming My Light This wasn’t the first time that I dimmed my light so others would be comfortable around me. Perhaps you have done the same thing? Someone that you love or admire isn’t comfortable with what you believe, who you are becoming, or how you want to change? A few years later, I found myself dimming my shine even further and forgetting to live the principles of Alateen, energy and spirit. I lost my way. I lived in fear. I was facing bankruptcy, the end of business relationships and finally, the end of what I thought was a good marriage. One of my favourite quotes from Wayne Dyer is, “when you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change”. This is very important. In my world, your beliefs, how you think and what you think, send a cause

Towards the end of 2018, as I re-entered the life of spirituality, I stumbled upon an author, Rd. Joe Dispenza who wrote a book, Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself. I began researching how the brain is wired and how we can rewire it. I love reading about neuroscience, neuroplasticity and how habits are formed or broken.

Science and Spirituality Meet As I was diving deeply back into spirituality, I recognized some very limiting beliefs and wanted to crack them wide open so I could re-program and rewire my brain differently. I whittled away and day by day, worked on a limiting belief so I could live my life with purpose and on purpose. There is a system that I use when I recognize that I am operating from a limiting belief so I can look at the situation differently, and therefore, have a different outcome. In science, this is referred to as activating the RAS (Reticular Activating System). A great example of this is when you buy a new car. Let’s say you buy a blue car and previous to the purchase of that car, you rarely saw a car that was the make, model and colour you just bought. Once you have purchased your car, you start to see your car everywhere. This is because your RAS has been activated. You provided a new stimulus and now it sees it everywhere. Some of my favourite books are Lisa Wimberger’s Neurosculpting, anything by Dr. Joe Dispenza, Limitless by Jim Kwik, The Hoffman Process, by Tim Laurence, and Atomic Habits by James Clear. This is a combination of brain science, healing trauma, and ways to develop new habits. Recently, I started sharing with my clients the marriage between science and spirituality and how the two work really well together, that an either/or approach is not necessary and, in fact, the two work so well together that I am seeing some really awesome results with my clients. Till next time, stay Raw. XO


a date with danielle


me there” (which is what I actually named this process) when I need to get myself unstuck and move from an unhealthy, unproductive headspace – that limits or punishes me - into a clear, constructive headspace that serves me and moves me forward. Here are the nuts and bolts of it: • • • •

What happened The Sh*t (all the yuck) The Good Stuff (what else is possible that might be a different, healthier viewpoint to consider) The Learning (My ahas, boundaries, goals and affirmations)

Joy and Meaning Journaling

I do a lot of journaling. It is a big part of my morning practice and I look forward to it every day.

Why Journal? One word: clarity. I journal because, often, I can’t identify my feelings. I know I am feeling something, whether yummy or yucky, but sometimes I just can’t put my finger on what true emotion I am experiencing. And, even if I can identify my feeling, there are times that I don’t know what to do with it. I get “stuck in yuck” and can’t see any other perspective or possibility than my negative headspace. Journaling gives me a chance to get it all out on paper and reflect. It also gives me an opportunity to make a different choice for how I look at things and opens up options for moving myself forward.

What Do I Journal About? There’s no right or wrong way to journal. Just write down some stuff! What’s happening in your life, how you feel about it, what you’re grateful for, your goals, your relationships… really, anything. There’s long form journaling with pen and paper bullet journaling, voice recordings on your phone – whatever works for you is great. I utilize several different journaling processes, but here’s a favourite I came up with that really helps “Get



I’m sure you’ve heard that gratitude is all the rage these days. Between Oprah and Brené Brown, we’ve all been exposed to the power of having a gratitude practice. I recently became aware, in fact, that gratitude actually rewires your brain, elevating your mental function, increasing your clarity, decision-making capacity and ability to focus. That’s powerful stuff! I’m working, not just to have the basic three-point, end-of-day, here’swhat-I’m-thankful-for list, but to consciously step into gratitude all through the day. I want to view myself, my life and the world as a whole through a gratitude lens. So, I knew I’d need to bring the big guns to my gratitude game. But what is that? I wasn’t sure. I have been rereading Brené Brown’s book, The Gifts of Imperfection, and, near the end, she discussed joy and meaning. She stated that sometimes, in our quest for achievement, accomplishment and striving to reach our goals – which we think will bring us joy and meaning - we can overlook the joy and meaning we already have in our lives. Being forward-looking comes with a potential hazard of not being fully present. And, as a massive benefit, those who subscribe to the universal law of attraction know that like attracts like, which means that the more I focus on the joy and meaning in my life, the more of it I will bring into my experience. Way cool! This seriously inspired me, so I sat down with my journal a few days ago to journal about all the joy and meaning I have in my life. I decided to start with relationships, because that matters to me more than anything else, and I worked my way through health, time, finance, growth and business. Guess what? I focused in on my primary relationship – my significant other – and wrote two full pages. That was it for day one! On day two, I wrote about my business partner.

Day three, my sister. Day four, my kids. That’s where I’m at now, and I plan to write about my grandkids tomorrow (and possibly the next day, too, as that will be a biggie!). I had no idea that, once I dug in and really thought about it, I’d be embarking on a journaling journey that could easily run for a month or more, but I’m loving it! Here’s what it looks like: “I have joy and meaning in my relationship with ___________ because ___________”. I just write that sentence over and over and end it with whatever comes to mind. By the time I’ve journaled for ten minutes, my heart is overflowing with love and appreciation for that person. Yup… GRATITUDE!

How to Eat an Elephant Maybe the thought of journaling is overwhelming. Seems like a big thing to take on, right? Like, why try and add this seemingly huge undertaking into your already overflowing schedule? Perhaps you think if you can’t do it right, maybe you shouldn’t do it at all. Here’s something I learned from another book I highly recommend, Atomic Habits by James Clear. Often, we avoid doing things because we think they will take a lot of time and require a lot of learning or stretching. So, because we don’t have an hour to dedicate to the activity, we don’t do it at all. The two-minute rule changes all that. It says, “Just do it for two minutes.” Anybody can do just about anything for two minutes, right? I mean, excepting planking! Don’t rob yourself of the joy of journaling and the opportunity to step into some pretty powerful gratitude just because you’re busy. Journal for two minutes. That might mean you get two sentences down. That’s fine. That’s two sentences you didn’t have yesterday, right? I love journaling so much that I teach it! Join me for my next Effective Journaling workshop - or buy my journal! I am having a Your Life, On Point journal published, and you can pre-order it now. Just get in touch. Meanwhile, enjoy your journey into journaling and, above all, stay Sharp!


livin’ your best life

THE MAP by Cindy Needham

This past year, I turned fifty. I decided to check-in with myself to reflect on how my first fifty years have gone. I took a mirror and saw how the hands of time have shaped my face. Life’s experiences have given me some tremendous lessons over the years, and it showed. The first thing I noticed were my eyes. I caught myself thinking how wise and confident they appeared. Then in a slow and deliberate manner, I began tracing my finger along my face lines which appeared connected, like a map. The trails of this map have formed around my eyes, forehead, cheeks and lips. At first, I was quite critical, and tried to lift and stretch my skin to catch a smoother, younger look. Then it hit me. My face lines really are a map of my life. Each and every line holds a memory and tells a story. The lines around my eyes represent the last five decades of life-changing events and decisions. Most recently, being challenged with breast cancer, learning how to live with the fallout from cancer treatment, and making the decision to leave a secure job to write a book and pursue my true passion. 10


The deeper lines between my eyebrows are from squinting while having enjoyed many hours outdoors. I am not sure how these got the name of “frown lines”. Most of the time when I was driving, hiking, paddling, playing sports, or sipping my coffee in the morning sun, I was relaxing and enjoying the moment, even though my brow may have been furrowed by the brightness of the day. I decided that I am very proud of my cheek lines. They are a direct result from the joy I have felt from being around great people and surrounding myself with love and laughter. I know there have been countless times that my cheeks have physically hurt from smiling and laughing. My lip lines have formed from the many, many hours of sipping beverages. When I think about the quality time I spend with people, it is usually going out for a beer, meeting for coffee or sipping a glass a wine. All of that consistent lip-puckering over glass rims while indulging in deep conversations have definitely left its mark, and I wear that mark proudly!

After my mirror experience, I started to look at the peoples’ faces around me to see what stories their maps might tell. There was a fouryear-old boy at the park with his Dad. Even though he didn’t have any permanent lines to speak of, when I watched him express himself, I clearly saw the start of his life’s map. Then on the other end of the life spectrum, when I looked at the photo of my ninety-nine-yearold Grandma, I saw a map that showed a long journey, full of deep memories. I remember the lines on her face were in We all have complete alignment a starting with the emotions point and of her stories. Her an ending deepest cutting memories matched point in life. perfectly with her The space deepest etched lines. in between Granny told me is a wild many stories over the years, yet I know and magnificent that she shared only journey, a fraction of what the designed just lines on her face told. for us. The map I liked best on my Grandma’s face was right before she smiled. Her eye, forehead and cheek lines would lift up with ease, and she got a sparkle in her eyes that showed how happiness had been a huge part of her journey. We all have a starting point and an ending point in life. The space in between is a wild and magnificent journey, designed just for us. We may have forgotten many of the roads we have taken over the years. but the emotions of those moments have been mapped out and have become part of the fabric of who we are. The next time you look at your reflection in the mirror and start to criticize your lines, reframe how you view them. Instead of having “oldlooking wrinkles,” consider them to be the map that tells the journey of your life. Smile and be the proud owner of them all, for they tell your story, represent who you are, and are proof that you are a living part of this world!

Cindy Needham is a Breast Cancer Warrior and Mindset Mentor. Author of “The Pink Mountain: How to stay positive through breast cancer from diagnosis, to treatment and beyond”. Connect with her at

| 11



Keys to Success as a Couple i n B u s i n e s s To g e t h e r by

Kari Lotzien

Deciding to start and grow a business is a brave undertaking. Doing it together as a couple and tying the results directly to the welfare of your family makes the stakes and rewards even higher. I interviewed six couples in different industries to find out what sparked their interest to go into business together, what were the keys to making it work, and what advice they would give to other couples on a similar journey.

The Spark When couples reflected on what sparked their decision to go into business together, they spoke with admiration and gratitude. For many, they knew early on what roles they would play, and what they would bring to the business that would complement the other. Donnie Lysons, owner of Lacombe Auto Service, shared confidently that Elaine was the “smartest woman he knew,” while Elaine smiled easily in response. Their mutual respect was palpable. It seemed that after years in business and marriage, they had found a flow and an ease



to it all. This was their third business venture together. Each change was led by what would be best for their family at that time. For other couples, their spark came from necessity. Kim and Randie shared that they started a business after working together as employees of another company that laid everyone off suddenly. Resilience, determination, and commitment to their existing clients led them to start up their business over a weekend. They figured everything out together. In contrast, Crista and Wade reflected that their Airbnb rentals were sparked by a desire to spend more quality time together as a family. They wanted the flexibility to manage their schedules, while sharing their love for the mountains with international visitors.

Keys to Making it Work Each couple shared similar keys to making it work, despite working in diverse industries.

family time, especially when working from home. For example, no work after dinner time, and hold business discussions in the home office rather than in the kitchen.

Top Advice 1. When talking business, talk to each other with the same tone as you would a respected colleague. In the words of Kevin and Bobbie Schmidt “don’t fight like a married couple”. They also shared that their lighthearted banter and humour was part of the company culture, but tough conversations were never conducted in the presence of clients or staff. 2. Don’t get complacent in your business or your marriage. Continue to develop, learn, and grow. Marriage and business are always evolving. You must keep putting in the effort. 3. Understand there will be times when the hours are long, and the rewards seem few. Know when it’s time to step away. Finding space away from the business and developing separate hobbies or interests can be very healthy. 1. Make big decisions together. All couples shared that they collaborate around major decisions in business and at home. 2. Hold separate roles and responsibilities in the company. Commonly, one partner took on the front line (customer service, employee management), while the other took on the behind-the-scenes (finances, marketing). Phil and Kirsten Duncan, Business Development Consultants with Pendragon Solutions, shared that contributing unique skill sets creates a natural boundary. To prevent conflict, they outsource tasks that neither person is skilled at. 3. Be transparent and open with each other. At times, you might find yourself wanting to protect your partner, but it’s critical to find ways to have those hard conversations. 4. Create time away from the business to focus on the relationship. Toni and Greg Holtby of TopTech Communications suggested that having clear boundaries helped them to separate business from

As a business and leadership coach, I know that self-reflection combined with the ability to communicate clearly and effectively is directly correlated with success in life and business. For couples in business together, learning to navigate challenges together with clarity can make all the difference.

Kari Lotzien is a Business and Leadership Coach. She helps business owners and managers develop the “people part” of their business. She combines neurology and psychology to work with your nervous system to coach skills for clear and effective communication. Her education and experience in occupational therapy brings a unique perspective in understanding why people do what they do, while guiding you to lead with intention.

| 13



by Melan i e Mi tc h ell-E p p Have you ever said something matters to you but then neglected to spend any time or money on it? It is easy to do. The demands of work, family, marriage, community, bills, and groceries can make us feel like by the time we have taken care of all our commitments and responsibilities, there just isn’t any time, money or energy left over for the things that we say matter. The reasons we give ourselves for not investing in what we say matters can sound noble and legitimate, probably even loving. Our families need us. Our bosses need us. Other things are more important right now. But when it comes right down to it, if what we say matters, if what we say we love isn’t showing up in our calendars or our bank accounts, we probably don’t really love it. In scripture, God connects love with priority. In Matthew 6:33a He says, “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness.” It isn’t a random, egocentric request; it is an invitation to love. He shows us that our love is revealed by our priorities. What we give our time, energy, emotion, thoughts, and attention to is what we love.



Prioritizing Those We Love For years, I have said Seek first the that you can tell what kingdom of someone’s priorities are by what shows God and His up on their bank statement and their Righteousness calendar. If something doesn’t show up there, it is because their heart isn’t in it. If they tell themselves it matters, but it doesn’t show up, they are fooling themselves. Recently, I found myself having repeated conflicts with my husband over all my commitments. I would argue with him, telling him he was my priority, and telling myself he was my priority, but he was the last in my calendar, the last in my busy schedule, the one I “prioritized” after I had taken care of all my other obligations and responsibilities. He wasn’t feeling the love and the truth was he wasn’t my priority even though I believed he was. How I was treating my husband was largely a reflection of how I have treated myself. I’ve spent a lot of my life telling myself that I matter. But if I want to know if I’m truly loving myself, I have to look at my priorities and see where I show up. Is my health a priority? My fitness? My enjoyment? My dreams? My relationships? I soon discovered I needed to love me more. I’ve told myself that someday, when all my “priorities” have been taken care of, that there will be plenty of time for me. But I’m fooling myself. Unless I choose to love me more, my priorities won’t change. They are a pattern that comes out of my heart. If I get more time or more money or more energy, I’ll just keep spending it on what I already love and prioritize. If my priority is work and I get more time, I will work more. If my priority is family and I get more time, I will take more care of our family. I will continue to do what I love. And if I’m not loving myself now, I won’t love myself when there’s more.

Loving Ourselves Means We Are a Priority Loving ourselves means we are a priority. There’s time to take care of ourselves. There’s time to explore and enjoy and grow. There’s time for what matters to us. Many of us have believed that this would be selfish, an indulgence, to

put ourselves ahead of our world. But Jesus connects our ability to love others with how we love ourselves. His words in Luke 10:27, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength and all your mind, and love your neighbor as yourself” tell us that how we love ourselves is the basis for how we love others.

There are seasons that require us to do whatever it takes. But if you constantly tell yourself that you will love yourself when you have more time, or money or energy, I challenge you to rethink it. You just have today. It’s up to you to decide, “There’s time for me.” That’s love.

Melanie Mitchell-Epp is an author, speaker, pastor, and coach. Melanie’s passion is using her story to help others change their story. She is the creator of “Your Wholehearted Life”, an online program where people experience transformation as they find freedom from pain, patterns and powerlessness. Connect with Melanie at www.

| 13|


great resouces

REPRESENTING YOUR BUSINESS GENUINELY ONLINE by Cheryl C he rko w sk i Three years ago, I left my job as an Education Assistant to work full-time as a web designer. It has been a great outlet for my creativity. I have such a sense of accomplishment when I complete a new site for a customer. There are many things that go into creating a new website to ensure it reflects what the customer is looking for, while also attracting business. When people look at a website, they are looking for a business that will offer them a solution to their needs. No matter what service they are looking for, they will tend to choose a business with a website that is up-to-date and looks professional. They will also look to see if this business gives them a sense that they are genuine. Think about your website as your storefront. In many cases, it will be the first impression that someone will have of your business. You want to take the time to be sure that you are establishing a genuine (and positive!) impression.

Combine Images and Content What makes a business seem genuine online? A huge aspect is the combination of images and content on the site. Images need to be unique and pertaining to the business itself. If you have a massage company, having images of a field may look pretty, but does not pertain to your services. 16


Matching images to the right content are also key. If there is a description of Think about your service about acupuncture, the your website as image with it your storefront. should be about acupuncture, and not a sunset (for example). Content and images need to be relevant, or your website will look unprofessional and like you rushed your work. There are many ways to be sure that you have quality images on your website. Multiple free image sites are available for commercial use, while still looking professional. Here, be sure to not take images off a Google search. They may be copyrighted and using them could cause you to end up with a large fine. The best solution, if possible, is to have your own images. Hiring a professional photographer for your headshot, products, services, and store will create a web design that looks both genuine and professional. People will be able to see for themselves what you truly offer.

Be Mobile Friendly Another thing to think about is that the site needs to be mobile friendly. Some platforms do not allow for a site to be mobile friendly. A lot of the time, people are on their phones when searching for a specific service. If your site is not able to shift in size according to the size of one’s device it will come across as unprofessional, and potential customers may just leave your site if they can’t see everything properly.

Introduce Yourself Lastly, be sure that there is an “About Us” page or section. This is important because it gives your website a more personable approach. It gives people knowledge about who you are and what the company is about. People like to feel that there is a real person attached to a business. In this world of technology, that connection can become lost sometimes. Having that personal touch to your site can help put potential customers at ease. They’ll feel like they know something about you and the company itself, not just the services or products that you provide.

Cheryl Cherkowski is a wife, mom, and entrepreneur. Her and her husband have been married for almost 22 years and have 3 wonderful children. The oldest has set off on his own, one is halfway out of the nest, and the last one has a few more years to go. Cheryl enjoys reading, cooking, winter and being creative through painting, drawing, graphics, and web design.


| 17

professional development


b y Ta b i t h a A s t a l o s Thank you for holding space for me and allowing a part of me into your life. My name is Tabitha Astalos. I am a mother, wife, sister, auntie, granddaughter, and friend to many. I am passionate, empathetic, optimistic, confident and proud of who I am. I have strong faith that leads me through life, and that is faith within myself, the universe, and God. My mission is to empower women to take inspired action and align their inner desires so they can live a life of abundance, confidence, happiness, and fulfilment. When women are empowered to unapologetically be themselves, they shine bright. The more they shine bright, the more they light up the world and positively impact the greater good of humanity.

You are Divine Women are amazing and divine beings. We spend years, sometimes decades, pouring into other humans. It is a magical, beautiful, and powerful thing. However, the truth is that you cannot pour from an empty cup. We give and give some more, put others before ourselves, and bury our desires underneath other’s. This generosity is part of our nature and it’s a beautiful thing, but we can lose ourselves in the process. It’s okay to choose yourself. In order to fully love your life and all that is in it, you must love yourself first. When you do this, what is meant for you will flow with ease.



You Know the Secret Want to know the secret to falling in love with your job? It is simply to look inside yourself. The answer is in your heart and soul. It is part of who you are and what you desire. Any desire that is calling out needs to be released. Your desires have been planted in you for a reason, and they are simply awaiting for you to let them shine.

You are Perfect as You Are We are all unique, and that is something to fully embrace. There is nobody else in this world of 7,874,955,825 people that is exactly like you. There may be people who are similar. They may look like you, act like you, wish they were you, or aspire to be you, but they will never be you. You have desires and talents that nobody else has. You were created the way you are for a reason: You are a gift to this world. God did not mess anything up when he created you.

Be Willing Be willing to listen to yourself. To follow your heart. To feel all the feels. To embrace all that you are. Everything you need to be successful is already inside of you. It’s okay to be scared but do it anyway. Before you know it, you will be living the life you have always dreamed of. Hugs, Tabitha Astalos

| 19





The anticipation builds. Will it be flowers? Maybe a candlelit dinner with wine and soft music atop a patio under the stars? Her heartbeat increases with every breath. Her hand trembles slightly as she turns the doorknob. What awaits her when she enters? Damn, nothing is different than any other day. Nothing. Why me, she thinks to herself, why don’t I have the romance I’ve observed in the movies? Why don’t I get swept off my feet or have the most amazing time of my life? Taoist (pronounced ‘dow-ist’) students believe that there is a balance in life called Yin/ Yang energy. Everything has both aspects, using a basic understanding that the two are opposites, but both need each other. We look at the Yang as Day, Sun, Masculine, and Action, and Yin as Night, Moon, Feminine, and Passivity. You cannot have one without the other. They are interdependent. It takes the masculine and feminine energies combined to create the child. Look at these two opposing and separate energies as always needing each other to find balance and harmony.

The desire to feel romance, love, and attention is the ‘Yin’ in life. It is the wanting and the desire that is required to make manifest the balance of Yin/Yang energy. Picture in your mind’s eye two glasses of wine, a symbol of romantic experience. The wine glass is Yang energy. When it is empty, it suggests a possibility, but that open, passive, Yin energy creates the space for content. It is this combination of the two where the balance or the Yin/Yang is visible. Let’s face it, it is also more enjoyable to drink wine than to look at an empty glass The Yin/Yang symbol is one of the most recognized symbols in any culture. There is so much wisdom and subtle lessons encompassed in this widely known image for balance and harmony. The entire symbol is a whole circle. If you were to take the Yin out of the circle, the wholeness is incomplete. The small dots or ‘eyes’ in each half introduce the concept that there is no end and no beginning, for the Yang is a part of the Yin and the Yin is a part of the Yang. The curved “S” shape between the two is the symbol for “Wu Wei” and the importance of the space between… the space between our breath, our words, or our thoughts. Taoism is

| 21

the study of life, of energy, of ‘the way’ of living simply, honestly, and in harmony with nature, our environment, and each other. Feng Shui is also a study of energy and nature, having its roots in early Taoism. Feng Shui stems from Taoist belief in chi, or the life force that inhabits everything. Chi is made up of yin and yang aspects. What does this have to do with romance? We anticipate that romance is only achieved when someone does things for us, surprises us, and fulfills us. What if we have this backwards? How do you define romance? Is it like the dictionary’s definition: “a feeling of excitement and mystery”? Or are we programmed to believe that romance is flowers, jewellery, fine dining, and gifts, as shown in the media? This supposedly means that my partner is romantic or that they surprise me, fill me up, or love me. Yet, we often neglect that no one else can complete us and that no one else can love us unless we first do these things for ourselves.

look at yourself and your environment through Feng Shui or energetic eyes, I have no doubt that there will be some ‘aha moments’.

When we give out the vibrational frequency of love and romance that we want, we attract those same attributes in our partners. Spend some time defining ‘romance’ for you, and then let me know what happens. If romance for you means partnership, equality, kindness, love, or any combination of these, what is being reflected in your environment? Is there imagery of individualism, of singularity? Is there room for romance in your life? How do you feel about surprises or mystery? Understand: You attract the same vibrational frequency that you are. When was the last time, you were romantic with you? When you start to

Cheryl Viczko is a certified Feng Shui practitioner and channel of Spirit. She is passionate about tuning into the energy of a space, and guiding others to gently create and allow romance into their life. You can connect with her at:



| 19| 23

personal growth




As we face the longest weeks of winter and ache for spring, now is the perfect time to discuss mental health as a key influencer of physical health. When our mental health is in rough shape, good luck finding the motivation, ambition or energy to take care of the body. Conversely, when we are plagued by physical health challenges, quite often our mental health is simultaneously fragile. These last ten months have become ‘strange Covid-times’, and as a direct result, mental health has taken a beating. During the month of January, I had dozens of personal requests come in for mental health management suggestions from friends, former clients and acquaintances. The circumstances and outcomes of lockdown have created a unique surge in isolation and loneliness, depression, worry and anxiety, financial and family stress and an even more sedentary way of life. If this is not your experience, consider yourself lucky.

When Life Throws a Curveball Circumstances are those situations and conditions that are outside of our control. Although they happen around us, not necessarily to us, they often do feel personal. While circumstances are generally neutral, our thinking applies meaning to events. Our thoughts, based on our beliefs, generate feelings. Our feelings create our mood. Feelings and mood influence actions and habits, mostly unconsciously, but it is our actions and daily habits that determine our results. When it comes to habits like stress-eating or over-drinking, we are attempting to self-soothe, but the result isn’t aligned with what we say we want. When we are fearful and stressed, we are thinking future-dated. When we are angry, ashamed or feel guilt, we are rehashing old stories. One commonly used statistic suggests that humans think upwards of 60,000 thoughts daily, and most of those are outdated recordings of old thoughts being replayed unconsciously, ad nauseum.

What I am thinking right now? In order to notice our thoughts, we must remain aware of our mood and emotions. Rising emotions like anger or vengefulness, and sinking feelings like hopelessness and sadness, can signal us to examine our thinking. Then, we have the opportunity to choose a new thought. As you can see, in one of my own examples, by

changing the thought, I can create a new result. Example 1 • Circumstance: Adult kids won’t visit because of COVID-19 regulations. • Thought: “They don’t miss me. They don’t need to see me.” • Feeling: Sad. Depressed. Lonely. • Action: Put pressure on kids, create tension in the relationship. • Result: Kids feel frustrated, disrespected and avoid calling me. Example 2 • Circumstance: Adult kids won’t visit because of COVID-19 regulations. • New Thought: “I have responsible kids who are considerate to the health of others.” • Feeling: Pride. Love. • Action: Tell them how proud I am and how much I love them. • Result: Deeper relationships, more Facetime phone calls with good conversation. If this seems overly simple to you, just know that there is work that can be done to improve the quality of our thinking. Mental health and physical health are interconnected. One can’t exist without the other. No system works alone. We are complicated, delicate, resilient, creative, and courageous beings who are running on old habits, new stressors and the feeling that we have no control. And we are right. We control nothing outside of ourselves. Not the economy, not a virus, not the government, not our bosses, our children or our partners. Changing mental and physical health outcomes is entirely in our hands, and the power is in our thinking. Kim Berube is a certified strength and nutrition coach who specializes in personalized wellness coaching for individuals and for corporate teams who value employee wellness

| 25

health & wellness

WHEN YOU SHOULD VISIT THE DOCTOR b y D r. C a n d i c e S t a n i e k

D r. C a n d i c e S t a n i e k is a licensed Naturopathic Doctor. She has developed a five-step program for individuals to regain personal health. Her expertise includes fatigue, GI issues, and mental health.



Have you ever been at home wondering if it’s time to go to the doctor? So many times, we’re in a situation where we’re not sure any longer if the symptoms we’re experiencing are normal or simply “normal” for us because they’ve been happening for such a long time. Another reason we think symptoms are ‘normal’ is because others are experiencing the same symptoms. However, here are some abnormal symptoms related to important body systems. If any of these are checked off, it signifies an imbalance in the related system.

Abnormal Symptoms Checklist • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

Gas or bloating Constipation or diarrhea Fatigue that doesn’t resolve Rollercoaster fatigue Excess bleeding during menses PMS (tender breasts, cramping, moodiness, bloating) Eczema, rashes, vesicles Headaches, migraines Burnout (i.e. adrenal fatigue) Disrupted sleep: waking between 1-3 am or 3-5 am Difficulty falling asleep Difficulty staying asleep High blood pressure Muscle or joint pain post motor vehicle accident that has not resolved despite treatment Dyslipidemia: high cholesterol, high LDL, low HDL

What to Expect I know this might seem like a short list, and it is.

These are some of the most common complaints that are brought up during a patient visit in my office. During a medical appointment, all systems are reviewed in detail in addition to reviewing your top 3-5 chief concerns. These types of appointments typically take 60-90 minutes. That’s 50-80 minutes longer than those in the traditional medical model.

During the second visit, we will spend time reviewing current blood work, supplements, medications, and applicable imaging. This can be very insightful for most people. You’ll better understand how the details of your blood work pertains to your symptom picture. You’ll understand your supplements better and whether they are suited for you. You’ll also understand if your medications are resulting in functional deficiencies. Have you ever gone for blood work and heard that all results are “normal” and yet you intuitively feel that something is off? You’re likely correct! I have reviewed hundreds of lab results and I’ve only had two sets of results that I haven’t had any comments on. I use the lab results to educate patients on values that are appropriate given their health history. I also use the lab results to track progress, especially when we address thyroid hormones, infections, liver health, and cholesterol, among others.

Why Is This Important? It comes down to what and how you’d like to live your life. If you’re not sure, I’d recommend taking a few moments to consider what you want out of the next five years. Are there any changes that you’ll need to make to make that possible? Many people come to my office seeking more energy or weight loss because deep down they are seeking more vitality. Wouldn’t it be beautiful to live vibrantly? I used to have extreme fatigue and the thought of walking up three steps was utterly exhausting. It was also extremely frustrating because everyone around me had more energy and concentration. Before my illness, I was very active and out five or six nights per week socializing. Without any notice, I found myself literally laid out. The worst of it was that it happened when I was in medical school, which made studying nearly impossible. I pursued naturopathic medicine because my personal beliefs aligned with the fundamental training. Your body has an innate ability to heal. We call this the VIS (pronounced “veece”). As a Naturopathic Doctor, it’s my responsibility to provide individualized tools and support so you can heal, and live your best life.

| 27



For me, the month of February is a welcome distraction from a dreary and frigid winter. Romance is in the air. Desire for an early spring begins to breathe hope into my entire being. This is the time when I generally feel a pull towards the things I am passionate about, and the people that I’m most connected to. As an entrepreneur, I am lucky enough to feel that passion towards my businesses. Most days, I wake up excited with the possibilities a new day will bring. I look forward to seeing what progress I can make from my efforts, not only for myself, but for my clients also.

An Entrepreneur’s Love Story If you ask me, being an entrepreneur is a bit like a love story. There are times when: • Your business is the love of your life and nothing else matters • You survive on “rinse and repeat” simply out of comfort and wanting to staying safe 28


• You can’t stand the thought of dealing with any chaos in your business After being self-employed for 25 years, I can honestly say that I still go through all three on a weekly basis. On days when I feel stagnant in my business, I become a master at finding excuses. Goals end up in the lost and forgotten ‘goal drawer’, and unfinished priorities shift from one day to the next. Some days, my lack of confidence makes me want to hide and never come out. I feel unmotivated, unfulfilled, scattered, and small. On the flip side, when I feel completely in love with my business, I am planning, creating, scheduling, hitting my deadlines, and crushing my to-do list. I am connected to my clients and feel on top of the world. To me, this feeling is as exciting, exhilarating, and fresh as a chilled pinot on a hot day in July (as lovely as February is, summer can’t come soon enough, am I right?!). It becomes empowering to sit down at my desk, know exactly what’s coming up, and see what I need to do to hit my businessbuilding priorities. My list gets done in time

Win a free “Love Your Business” strategy session! (Valued at $150)! Email: with the subject line ‘I want to love my business again” before March 1, 2021.

always easy. Sometimes I need to borrow intention and courage from someone else. For example, one day I will borrow Oprah’s unwavering calm, and the next, it could be my Dad’s eternal optimism. I use whomever inspires me that day to help me build trust, and be able to step into my courageous and authentic self. When deliberate thought and action is paired, you will see me shouting out my love of my business from the rooftop. My imposter syndrome dissipates, and stress and overwhelm are at a minimum. I am focused to the point where my blinders just don’t allow for any distractors vying for my attention, and I end the day feeling that I’ve absolutely crushed it! It’s not easy to be in business, especially right now. With so much chaos going on, one thing can be certain: If we can give ourselves permission to use this time to make positive and powerful shifts in our thoughts and actions to become a master of our business, we set ourselves up for resilient success.

to spare without excuses, distractions, or overwhelm. Days like these remind me of the confidence I have within myself. With enough focus, I am able to push aside any self-doubt, fear, and anxiety that comes at me.

Loving Your Business Deliberately 1. Deliberate thought. This happens when I work to become my own champion and recognize the power of patience and selfunderstanding. Deliberate thought enables me to be able to work through any selfimposed excuses, limitations, worries, or fears. I have to admit though, sometimes it takes an honest coaching session with myself. Believe me, we have some doozie conversations, but I usually end up with some great advice. 2. Deliberate action. This happens when I can acknowledge limitations, and do what is needed anyway. This comes from intention, courage, and processes, which isn’t

Brenda Kolasa is an award-winning entrepreneur, speaker, and leader in personal development and peak performance strategies for business. Her passion is teaching entrepreneurs and corporate leaders how to create the life they desire within a clearly focused and thriving business. Brenda teaches her unique Kaizen-based system to those looking for more clarity in their goals, and ways to become more positive, focused, productive, and purposeful in their business.

| 29


FOR THE LOVE OF MONEY by Jillian Vukovich

you feel and why you feel that way. Is it based on something you were told, or I love money. an experience you There, I said it. had? This can be challenging enough when you are single, and possibly even more challenging in relationships. The ones we love also have their own feelings about money, and sometimes that can cause friction. One spouse could be very comfortable with debt, where the other may not sleep if there is a considerable amount of money owing. Additionally, one spouse may not feel comfortable discussing earnings, where the other is excited to talk about income. Sometimes, one person takes care of all the bills, feeling the pressure of monthly deadlines, while the other may take on less of the financial burden. And then there is the topic of goals. This can lead to challenges and constraints on the relationship. Sound familiar? If so, you are not alone.

Strategy #1 I love money. There, I said it. No shame, no guilt, it’s just the truth – my entire world revolves around it. I have found many Canadians have a hard time with wealth and their feelings towards it, good, bad, indifferent. Everyone feels about money, yet many of us are taught it is distasteful to talk about it. Is it shameful to discuss how you don’t have enough? Is it gloating if you talk about being in abundance? Why can’t we just celebrate each other where we are? In my experience, most people pick up these feelings from their loved ones. Our parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, siblings, and friends all have their own experience with money and impose their feelings upon us. When you are young and impressionable, it is surprising how much that sticks, and as an adult it becomes scary because now it’s real. I’m here to encourage you to take a deep dive into your feelings about money, and discover how



The first strategy I encourage my clients to implement is to work together in the same direction. Imagine you and I are neighbours meeting for a coffee. We both start from our homes, and are making our way separately to the coffee shop. We might drive the same route, we might not. There are many ways to get there. Maybe I’m not comfortable with highways, but you are. Maybe I think I know

a shortcut but get lost. There are multiple variables that can get in the way, but if we are headed to the same place, we will both get there on our own terms. I believe this is the same for creating a financial plan. You don’t need to agree on everything. You may want to take different paths, you may earn and spend differently, but if you are both heading in the same direction, you will get there. The

plan. 60% percent of women between 45-54 do not have a financial plan, but it’s never too late.

The Final Step The final step: Start actioning your plan. If you don’t know where to start, you are not alone. Seek professional help. A Financial Planner will guide you in knowing where to start and engineer a map for you. Set goals, be proud of your progress and embrace your financial success.

important first step is knowing where you are going. Have conversations about short-term and long-term goals. Be open to the other person’s feelings. You may not always agree but try to be respectful of their opinions.

Strategy #2 The second strategy would be putting a timeline on when you want to achieve your goals. An annual vacation, a new home next year, a new car in three years, a plan to retire at 60? It seems simple but when you start to calculate how much you need to put aside to realistically achieve those goals, it may be surprising. You want to be on the same page in achieving those goals because it may mean giving up some other spending, such as dinners out, subscriptions, or impulse buying when you go to the store for “just one thing”. This is much easier to accomplish if everyone involved is on board and if you have made that commitment to yourself and each other. If you have made it this far, congratulations. It isn’t always an easy conversation, with yourself or a partner, but it is essential in developing a

Jillian is a Financial Advisor and Division Director with IG Wealth Management. She takes pride in her proven ability to create strong, meaningful, and longterm relationships. Her philosophy and scope of practice focuses on educating and empowering her clients to achieve financial success.

| 31






Janice Hrushka

Ingredients • • • • • • • •

½ cup of plain yogurt or alternative yogurt 1 teaspoon of honey ½ teaspoon of ground cinnamon ¼ cup of blueberries ¼ cup of blackberries ¼ cup of strawberries 1 tablespoon of sunflower seeds ½ teaspoon of chia seeds

Instructions In a bowl, start with the plain yogurt, add the honey and ground cinnamon on top. Add the berries and seeds. Enjoy! Makes one serving.

Notes Switch out the fruit for variety! Nutrition Benefit: Chia seeds are very easy to incorporate into a healthy diet. They are very rich in fibre, antioxidants, minerals, and healthy omega-3 fatty acids.

Balanced Terrain Analysis Janice Hrushka (403) 952-1920

| 33



| 35


HOW TO LOOK YOUR BEST IN PHOTOS As a brand photographer and strategist for ambitious female entrepreneurs she creates scroll-stopping images and brand strategy that is message driven so that you stand out with impact. Her mission is to empower entrepreneurial women to share who they are, what they do, and how they do it differently – their brand story – so others may see and know the amazing work they are doing. The majority of women are very reluctant to have their photo taken and are most critical of themselves. As a brand photographer it is my job to guide you so you look and feel your best while being photographed, but I also want you to feel confident whenever you find yourself in front of a lens. We live in a day and age where everyone has a camera in the palm of their hand, yet many of us run in another direction in fear or apply a filter to feel better about ourselves. All too often I hear, “I don’t like having my picture taken.”, “I don’t look good in pictures.”, “I’m not photogenic.” There are a few easy-to-control variables that can take you from looking not-your-best to confidently owning the camera. Knowledge is power. Once you have awareness around the best practices when being photographed, you will feel comfortable and own your beautiful self. 36


Rachelle Scrase is the photographer behind the lens at Infinity Brand Photography.


These 5 principles, when put together, will yield photos you are prepared and excited to be in: 1. PRACTICE – draw attention to your strengths by becoming familiar with what is flattering for you 2. ANGLE – we are not symmetrical. Decide which side of you is best. 3. POSING – body positioning in ways that flatter you 4. DETAILS – clothing choice is important in photos 5. LIGHT – has the biggest impact on photos. Soft, natural light is best.

Download the free guide How to Look Great in Photos – 5 Tips You Can Use for further details around these principles and how to apply them to your next photo opportunity.

| 37

young entrepreneur


Helping Women Fulfill their Dreams by Ruby Cole-Ellis



Her main goal in life is helping female entrepreneurs find balance and tools so they can fulfill their dreams. Kelsey Evans is an online business manager and owner of Kelsey Lynn Consulting, in Blackfalds.

Looking back in the early stages of her career, Kelsey shares she committed what she now calls her cardinal sin. “I just took anyone and everyone who would be willing to take on a virtual assistant, not my ideal clients. I wanted to prove that virtual assisting was a viable and It was her search for her own work/life fulfilling career and to me, that meant having balance that made her stubble upon the paying clients, when that wasn’t it. I mean, I new trend of remote work. wasn’t happy. I had some clients I enjoyed but the majority of my clients were not creating the life of my dreams” she admits.

Discovering the World of Virtual Assisting

Kelsey was born and raised in Red Deer. After high school, she took some time off. She recalls dabbling in college but struggling to find her true calling. However, she always loved the administrative side of things. Soon, Kelsey discovered that she truly enjoyed empowering business owners to achieve their fullest potential by helping take tasks off their plate. Years later, when her and her now husband were expecting their son, everything changed. “After I had my son, I knew I didn’t want to go back to work. I didn’t want to leave my son… With my husband working away, I didn’t want to feel like my son was being raised by someone completely different other than his parents. I knew he was already missing so much of a dad in his life because he was working away. I didn’t want him to feel that from my side as well. And so, that’s when I decided to look in to see if I could do anything from home” Kelsey recalls.

However, it was not an easy realization. Kelsey and her family have been through what thousands of Albertan families have gone through in the last decade. The ups and downs of the oil and gas industry hit home for the Evans family. “We’ve gone through to layoffs… and those were the hardest times. When your husband’s trying to find a job like thousands of other guys in the province and you don’t know if we’d be able to pay all our bills, it is hard to take a step back and say, ‘I’m not enjoying my job right now’ and just let go of clients who were paying each month”, Kelsey shares. “It was scary as hell to let go paying clients. One of them was when my husband was laid off and I had to say no to a client because it wasn’t working anymore. It was so hard to literally say no to my highestpaying client when your husband just came home with an EI slip. However, I knew finding the right clients would make me love my job tenfold,” she adds.

The biggest shift for Kelsey was her own awakening. “The biggest change came from my own life experience and really seeing what I wanted for myself. It really came down to growing and learning myself and becoming In 2010, Kelsey read about the new Virtual really my ideal client. Once I realized this, it Assistant certificate program at Red Deer was a lot easier to go out and look for others College. She was immediately drawn to it and like me” Kelsey explains. enrolled. She remembers the days of being in school, raising her son and managing all the home duties as stressful and tough at “Others like me” times. “2011 was truly crazy. Trying to juggle all the responsibilities at home while diving Kelsey realized that she was not alone. She deep into a new business. Plus, no one really was not the only woman that wanted it all: A knew what Virtual Assisting was in Canada balance of career, family, love, and business. at that point. It was starting to get traction In her quest to find her own balance, she in the States, but it hadn’t really got any discovered who her ideal client is. traction up here” she points out. “The biggest thing I’ve learned is by having the right fit clients around me, they’re also surrounded by the same like-minded people. The Cardinal Sin In my own quest to expand my business I

| 39

found women who needed help building their empire. Women love referring to women and helping one another. One client referred another and that one referred another to me. Letting go of some clients to make room for the ideal ones has been a great blessing” she shares. Being fulfilled with the right clients not only has made her career more fulfilling, but it has also allowed Kelsey to be in the right mindset at home. After suffering from anxiety, Kelsey struggled with also keeping a balanced mental health. “I was able to be present for my clients, but I wasn’t a good mom. I wasn’t a good wife. I was snapping on everyone. I was unhappy. It just felt like when I put my work hat on, I was putting on a character” she recalls. With the help of her family doctor, support from her loving family and friends, community resources like Primary Care Network, and busy days with the right clients, Kelsey has achieved that balance now. “My clients fulfil me, in more ways than just the paycheck. There’s nothing more rewarding than having that right client where they truly understand you, like if you were to text them one day and say ‘I’m sorry, I can’t do this today. I just need to take a self-care day’. They all understand and support me, just as I would understand when they are having a rough day/week/month, too. When you find the right fit client, they don’t just become clients. They turn into your friends and family. This is such an amazing feeling because you don’t ever really feel like you work anymore. I look at my calendar, and it never feels like it is full of appointments for the day. It’s more like, ‘oh, I’m having a conversation with six different friends today’ and never ‘oh my gosh, this is going to be such a stressful day!’”.



The Gift of Working from Home Due to the flexibility of her virtual job, after COVID-19 hit last year, Kelsey and her husband decided to allow their son to continue homeschooling. “If it was not for the flexibility of being able to work from home, I would have never had the opportunity to allow my son to stay home and experience online schooling in a way that was supportive. I’m here for him. I’m able to block out time in my day and be there for him so that when he has questions in the school, I can help them. I’m not running home at five o’clock, tired, or stressed,” she shares. In addition, being her own boss allows Kelsey to truly be in control of her calendar and manage clients as it suits her best. “(it has) allowed me to now live the life we all want. When my husband is home, I make sure my calendar loads lighter so we can enjoy it as a family”, Kelsey explains. “Before COVID-19 restrictions, on my husband’s days off, we were able to go out and have lunch dates. If I had a regular nine-to-five job, that would have been impossible. I have the flexibility of saying I’m not available between 11:30 AM -12:30 PM to my clients so I could enjoy some quality time. That is what I want for my clients too” she shares.

Designing YOUR Dream Life Kelsey’s own flexibility is what allows her to be able to help her clients in truly custom in unique ways. Kelsey Lynn Consulting offers support in virtually every area of a female entrepreneur’s life. Whether they need help with their social media presence, updating the back end of their website, the logistics of their calendar map with appointment scheduling, or even leverage and automate their business to be more efficient to carve in personal and family time.

when they get back, but it’s still growing. The biggest joy in the world is being able to create a life for yourself where you can enjoy the little things, and I want that for every woman in the world.” For more information on Kelsey Lynn Consulting services, you can reach her at

“I am just here to help them out and support them in their quest for their dreams. I love walking alongside these businesswomen and reviewing their goals no matter how big they are” Kelsey explains. “I help women entrepreneurs who are at the point in their business where they can no longer manage all of the day-to-day tasks alone without giving up something, usually attention to their clients, family, or themselves. My drive is, I want my clients to be able to comfortably take off the entire day or the entire week to go somewhere with their family and know that their business is not only still there for them

| 41



For RSM Canada’s partners and associates, the Power of Being Understood® starts with the power of critical thinking. At the Red Deer office, team members employ critical thinking skills in order to best serve their clients as well as inspire critical thinking in their clients.

“With COVID-19 really affecting a lot of businesses, many of our clients are having to become quite innovative and creative,” explains Marsha. “We work shoulder-toshoulder with them as a trusted advisor and team member to really look at their business needs from all angles.”

Marsha Smalley and Kris Poulsen, both partners in the Red Deer office, and Karen Brault, director of financial accounting outsourcing, all feel that critical thinking involves:

Kris Poulsen agrees. “It’s our job to help clients look at things from all angles and consider things they may not have thought of. In this time of constant change, we help our clients gain clarity and make the best decision for them, both in the short and long term.”

▪ ▪ ▪ ▪



Thinking outside the box Staying ahead of emerging issues and trends Taking the time to think of creative solutions Asking good, thought-provoking questions


Clarity comes with understanding, and confidence comes with being understood.

“With COVID-19 really affecting a lot of businesses, many of our clients are having to become quite innovative and creative.” ~ Marsha Smalley , RSM Canada

RSM’s people live by core values they call the Five C’s, which means that they are Caring, Curious, Collaborative and Courageous Critical thinkers. While there are always economic and business environment challenges, this past year has been one of the most challenging for businesses on record. The team at the RSM Canada’s Red Deer office are experienced, knowledgeable and genuinely invested in supporting business sustainability and success for their clients.

For more information on


The RSM Canada Red Deer team is here to help you navigate these difficult times and set yourself and your business up for success.


Pictured: Marsha Smalley, Karen Brault, Kris Poulsen


| 43





went quickly from there. We met in November, were married in September the following year, and had Maddie in December! But I just knew that Tim was my guy, I knew he was my person. We have been married for 28 years” she adds. After their daughter was born, Janelle moved to Edmonton for three years as Tim finished his degree. When they moved back to Central Alberta, Janelle started working with her parents in the bakery they had owned years prior. This experience sparked Janelle’s interest in weddings. “When I worked at the bakery, we had balloons, but also people would come in and ask for advice, and I’d plan to decorate their weddings. I fell in love with the industry. I fell in love with weddings, I fell in love with love... I always knew I wanted a wedding store” she adds. Three years later, Tim and Janelle had Ryker, and five years later Parker was born.

For the past 16 years. Janelle has been the Owner & Operator of “Your Wedding Place Ltd.”, a boutique that specializes in Bridal Couture and Formal Wear in Red Deer. But she is no stranger to owning a business. Her parents have owned many businesses in Central Alberta through the years, which led to them calling her a ‘store baby’. “My parents owned the local bakery in Eckville when I was very little, and then when we moved in grade 4 to Stauffer, my parents owned a small country store that had a gas station and post office. My parents did the mail run and we lived out there. So, I have worked in a store since I was a child… I remember having to stand on the milk crates to ring people in!” Nothing could have prepared for her what was ahead. In 2001, Janelle’s brother Jamie passed. Janelle recalls. With time, Janelle realized that she wanted to have something of her own. A year later, she decided to go back to school. “I always knew I Finding True Love wanted to be a mom and have a career. I wanted to do something for me too” she adds. Janelle has always been “in love with love”. Her parents have inspired her with their love and marriage of 50 years, but her own love story is worthy of a movie feature. In 1992, when Janelle was 17 years old, her picture was posted in a local rural paper featured as the “Western Girl”. Tim saw her picture and decided to call her. Things picked up quickly. “He called the same week the feature came out and soon he started playing hockey with my brother. Things

| 45

This was no easy decision to make. It took courage to go back to school after almost 12 years. “I would look in the newspaper and I’d see ads mentioning different post-secondary programs and I thought to myself, ‘How could I do that? I can’t even type!’. I thought, if I went back to school everybody’s going to be younger than me and they’re going to know all the computer stuff and I’m going to know nothing! But I found some courage and enrolled. I remember my first day of school…I was so nervous, I felt like I was in grade one all over again... My kids knew more than me (laughs)!” To Janelle’s surprise, she realized that she wasn’t alone and quickly caught up in her studies. “I took a few classes at Academy of Learning Career College to learn how to do computer work. I enrolled there because I could set my own hours, which was important since I still had small children. I was very happy to find out the other students were women like me. Shortly after, they hired me, so I taught adult learning there for a couple years” Janelle explains.

Pursuing Her Dream It wouldn’t be long before things would turn full circle for Janelle. “The Academy of Learning happened to be right next door to Your Wedding Place. I walked by it every day and would stand in wonder of this beautiful store. One day, I went in and approached the owner of the store of 21 years and said, ‘If you ever decide to sell, let me know’. The following year she was ready to retire, so I bought her store in 2005 in partnership with my mom,” Janelle recalls. “I was so excited about the new business, but after I lost my brother, I got severe depression and anxiety. Having to deal with being a mom, wife, and business owner while simultaneously dealing with mental health issues privately was quite difficult. Sometimes I just wanted to quit” Janelle recalls.

Pivoting With the help of her mother as a business partner, and the support of her family, Janelle has overcome those tough times. “Tim and my parents would help with the kids and I so I could manage the store. Little by little, I learned 46


the ins-and-outs of the industry, which started making things easier for me… I also learned how to take better care of myself, from eating, to exercising, to asking for help, to knowing the symptoms of a panic attack” Janelle shares. Weddings are a roller-coaster of emotions, and Janelle has been able to transfer her knowledge to her client’s experience. “When clients come in, I can tell they’re anxious or if they are going through mixed emotions. I can listen to them, share advice that has worked for me, and make them feel comfortable. I swear, at the store we are equal parts consultants and counselors! (laughs)” she shares. The last 16 years have been extremely fulfilling for Janelle, as she knows she is changing her client’s lives. “My favorite part of my job is when a lady comes in and is maybe a little shy or just doesn’t know what she likes and leaves saying ‘Yes to the Dress’, leaving the store feeling beautiful, feeling a little bit more confident… just standing a little taller. Ah, it is just the best feeling and would not change a thing about it!” As she reflects on her journey, a key lesson stands out from owning a business: “Above all, you must always respect where you came from. It is such a small world, and your community supports your business and your name. Always respect the customer and take pride that they chose to do business with you. People respect you when you ask questions, take care in their needs, shake their hand, or hold a door open. Respect is what takes you the furthest in business and life. The people we worked with years ago come to our business now and that shows us we did something right. We appreciate that beyond words.”

The Bright Future Ahead Today, in loving memory of her brother Jamie, Janelle is involved with and a strong advocate of the Red Deer Foundation, the Festival of Trees and other community initiatives, keeping his legacy alive. Janelle is still in partnership with her mother at Your Wedding Place. Recently, her daughter Maddie has joined the team, bringing a fresh new vision to the store. “Maddie has her degree in Communication & Marketing which has been the perfect fit for us. As a new generation, she has brought a new approach to how we reach our clients through social media” Janelle shares.

“People respect you when you ask questions, take care in their needs, shake their hand, or hold a door open.”

Her dream is for Your Wedding Place to continue to grow, expand and evolve. “I see us elevating ourselves, keeping on trend and being the best in Central Alberta at what we do… and keep celebrating love!”

| 47

social media


Even though I am a Baby Boomer and I just turned 56 years old, I have fallen head over heels in love with social media. I really could live online 24/7, but I don’t. We all need people, nature, and balance in our lives. I think most of us would agree that we are all very grateful for social media, FaceTime, Zoom, and other digital technologies that have kept us connected during this pandemic. Many people who didn’t grow up with an iPhone in our hands, like those in my generation, have a fear of social media. Unfortunately, we need to get over our fears because like it or not, social media is here to stay! And it’s incredible that we have these amazing tools at our fingertips and, right now, they are all free! Yes, FREE! Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Snapchat, TikTok … all completely free tools to get you and your business noticed, and to generate sales.

Where Do I Start? So where should you start? Being in communications and in the nonprofit world, I taught myself how to use social media tools over the years because we didn’t have budgets 48


for advertising or expensive promotions. We barely used the Internet when I went to University, so I certainly didn’t learn it at school. If I can learn it, you can too! I am going to give you five quick and easy ideas to “up your social media game” that you can easily implement over the next week, or weeks. 1. Change all of your social media handles so they are the same, even your website (domain name), if you can. For example, your website might be Your social media handles for Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter (the big three) and LinkedIn (the up-and-comer for business) could be @123organization. This creates consistency in your branding and is easier for everyone to remember. If your social handle is already taken, try adding your location to the end. For example, @123organization_ ca, or _ab, or _RedDeer. 2. Plan out your content. “Content” is simply what you are going to share to add value for your followers, encourage new “follows”, and to promote your business. It’s easy to put together an Excel spreadsheet with ideas for what you are going to share on a monthly basis. Check into special days of the year that align with your business, like “Drink Wine Day” on February 18th (oh ya!). What can you share to make people laugh? After all, people only tap into social media for information or to be entertained. What tips can you provide? What sales or events do you want to promote? What community events, or a friend’s business, can you share? 3. Get into the community. Social media is, um, social! Don’t expect people to “like” your page if you aren’t liking theirs. Don’t expect people to comment on or share your posts if you aren’t commenting or sharing theirs. Get out there and make friends! 4. Post quality images. With tools like Canva. com, there is no longer an excuse for putting out content that doesn’t match the quality of your business. If you have never used Canva, try it! Canva has templates for all social media tools. With the paid version, you can animate posts and re-size the same post for the various platforms. It’s also a great tool to create your platform headers, which should be consistent as well.

5. Don’t let social media rule your life! Please shut off those pinging notifications and popup banners. Instead, set a timer at the same time each day and commit to one hour to post, comment and share. Then shut it all down and get on with the rest of your business and life. Social media is fun! Pick even one platform and start doing the above. Once you have mastered one, add another. It gets easier. Fall in love. It’s worth your time. I promise. Janise Somer has been in marketing & communications for 25+ years, mostly in the nonprofit sector. Janise currently manages communications and programming at the Central Alberta Crime Prevention Centre. She just announced that she is running for City Councillor in the City of Red Deer municipal election on October 18, 2021. To connect with Janise, visit or on social at @somerforcouncil

| 49

Ruby Cole-Ellis






FIND ON FACEBOOK swift-insurance-financial/

| 51




| 53