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Bow Valley Chamber: Women in Business ~ March 2024

Bow Valley Chamber: Women in Business

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Through the BVCC’s Coffee Connector morning events and via a poll conducted through the Chambers various social media platforms, local women entrepreneurs expressed great need and interest in establishing a networking resource led by women, for women and all who self-identify as a woman and non-binary.

The intent of the Bow Valley Chamber: Women in Business is a pilot project in partnership with Field Law, this will be an ongoing series offered 2 times each year, exclusive to women and all who self-identify as a woman entrepreneur of the Bow Valley. After a successful first event we will be running 2 events per year date TBA, and then a yearly event on or close to International Women's Day. Thanks to a recent donation to help with future events from the TEDx Canmore Committee and our partnership with Field Law.

The event will build and grow an inclusive community from diverse backgrounds to provide opportunities to have their voices heard, empower one another through learning, and to network with their peers to build lasting connections and collaborative opportunities.

Our first ever Bow Valley Chamber: Women in Business ran on March 7 2024 with a speakers panel of business contemporaries from diverse sectors and a moderator leading discussions on business topics important to participants - the learnings of which they can grow their businesses for business success, follow by informal networking.

The evening event was held at Cornerstone Theatre in Canmore, AB, on Thursday, March 7, 2024, in honour of International Women’s Day, a global event that recognizes the achievements of women, raises awareness of ongoing challenges, and encourages all people to participate in a more inclusive society. We see International Women's Day being an annual event for the Bow Valley Chamber: Women in Business, the next event March 2025 date TBD.

The Bow Valley Chamber: Women in Business was born out of a recognized gap of gender-equality opportunities for women and all who self-identify as a woman entrepreneur of the Bow Valley and is intended to build community connections for new and existing women-led business chamber members and beyond.

Women-led businesses of the BVCC make up approximately 40% of total BVCC members – a significant number. The idea will benefit the 50 participants with the opportunity to connect with their peers, to establish collaborative networks, and to grow their business, with those who will benefit from this one event, extending far beyond the participants only.

The format of each event reflective of the feedback received by participants of the pilot project from March 7 2024. Their feedback will drive the strategy and process to ensure success of future events. More details to come very soon!

We welcome individuals of all genders, encouraging everyone to participate in this experience to discover innovative ways to support and uplift women, fostering a collaborative environment that empowers us all to thrive in the future of business.

Bow Valley Chamber: Women in Business March 7, 2024, Panelists

Moderator

Kristy Wolfe (She/Her) Conversation and connection leads the work Kristy does through both her business, Kristy Wolfe Stories, where she facilitates one-on-one and group digital storytelling workshops, as well as in her role as the Executive Director of the Wolfe Pack Warriors Foundation.

Her experience as a medical mom, photographer and teacher lies at the heart of her passion for storytelling and advocacy.

Kristy lives in Canmore with her husband and two sons. You can usually find her creating digital stories, hosting podcasts or speaking to groups about the power of storytelling, if she hasn’t snuck off for a Bow Valley Chamber networking event.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Panelist

Naomi Langer-McIntosh (She/Her) has lived in the Bow Valley for over 30 years. She loves outdoor pursuits such as snowboarding, skiing, biking and gardening that get her outside into the mountains whenever possible.  If she can do that with her business and life partner Jeff, and 14 year old son Fergus, then even better!

Having been part of the hospitality and events industry since coming to the Bow Valley, Naomi founded Mountainscape Events, with a focus on corporate events in 2004.  With the help of her partner, the company grew to include Mountainscape Weddings and Mountain Event Rentals.  As Creative Director, she uses imagination and creativity to create lavish, unique, dramatic, and stunning transformations of any room into a magical space.

As a local business owner, she has made strong relationships and connections with local vendors and venues. She feels very lucky to work, live and play in the Bow Valley.

 

 

 

 

 

Panelist

Siona Gartshore (She/Her) Banff Tea Co was established in 2007. Siona then took over the Business in 2013 as owner with her partner Michele Hamel coming onboard full time the following year. They have made it to their 15th year this coming April!

Siona first showed entrepreneurial spirit when she was 8 years old and set up a shop in her family’s back garden so she could sell confectionary to the local street kids. The after-school kiosk was so successful that the owners of the ‘real’ candy store in our town (who lived close by) complained to her parents that my ‘pop up’ was taking away some of their business!

Siona's Father had his own consultancy business while she was growing up and as a home-schooled kid she watched his routines, whether preparing for pitches, writing reports or conceptualizing.

Siona found being a student pretty tough but after cultivating self-discipline she graduated from university in Graphic Design & English. One of the most transferrable aspects that my degree provided, was learning early web design theory which has proven invaluable to my skill set as a small business owner. An understanding of advertising/marketing were also beneficial.

Since the pandemic she have taken a step back from daily operations and moved to a more directorial role. This has allowed me to take up some rewarding volunteer opportunities including Mentoring for Smartstart and currently Business Link as well being a part of the Environmental Working Group for the Town of Banff. You often wear many hats as a small business owner and it’s invaluable to keep the one/s that allows you to grow and keep learning.

 

 

Panelist

Karina Birch (She/Her) is co-owner and CEO of Rocky Mountain Soap Co. She and her husband Cam nurtured the company from its beginnings in 2000, as a small shop in Canmore to now 13 retail locations and a 17,000 square foot workshop. Rocky Mountain Soap creates small-batch beauty products using simple, natural and fresh ingredients. Building relationships with Canadian farmers to use high quality, healthy skin care ingredients in their recipes.

Karina spends her time directing Rocky’s strategy, product development and brand.  Since their earliest days, she and Cam have focused on fostering a strong company culture that empowers people to ‘Give it a Go’, reminds them to ‘Be Kind’, and encourages ‘Positivitude’.

Rocky Mountain Soap has been included in the Profit 100 and Alberta Ventures ‘Fastest Growing Companies.’ Karina has been honored as an AWE ‘Celebration of Achievement’ recipient, female entrepreneur on the ‘W100’ list. She is a current member and past board member of Entrepreneurs Organization (EO) Calgary. She has also completed the Harvard Business School’s Owner/President Management Program (OPM).

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