On Oct 19th, 2013, I was invited to Ladies Who Lunch with Maria Kritikos to cover her Event, which was of interest to me since it first launched earlier this year. Those who know me know I am an avid networker, community builder and I love to see female Entrepreneurs succeed and flourish.
I was enticed by the great lineup of speakers who would be sharing their inspiring paths to success and Entrepreneurial wisdom with an intimate group of high-profile women. The build up to the event had me wondering what would really be in store.
From the moment I walked in the elegantly decorated room to the moment I left, I felt inspired and excited.
We were given time to mingle and connect with women, some of whom I hadn’t seen in years, some whom I have just formed business relationships with this past year and others who were new to me this day.
There were a diverse crowd of Bloggers, Photographers, Fashion Designers and Business Owners, to Editors, Executive Directors to stay-at-home Moms who were looking to reconnect.
Music was wonderfully performed by International Musicians Sharon Bryson and Karla Sax. It was upbeat and had you engaged right away.
The theme of the event was “Secrets to Success.” Fashion TV Host, Mandy Ross, was the MC for the afternoon and addressed the room by saying “if you’re not making yourself happy, you won’t achieve the success you are looking for. The actions you decide to take are just as critical as having a positive mindset!”
She introduced Maria, the Founder of Ladies Who Lunch and she shared with us her intent for this group.
“I am creating a social business and philanthropic place to come to Network and share your Business. I want woman to know NO limitations. I am passionate about connecting and inspiring women. She says, “You are who you surround yourself with, and I like to surround myself with visionaries & philanthropists.”
So just what is Ladies Who Lunch? Maria shares, “It is a group of Powerful like-minded women who inspire each other to be Fearless & Fabulous!
Maria’s success tips are “Never chase the money, because when you do what you love the success will follow. How do you know what to do? Just do what’s in your heart, stay true and listen to your gut.”
Maria concluded by saying, “Ask yourself what makes my heart sing? Seek it out. What you seek is seeking you. Identify your true desire by listening to your heart. It will never steer you wrong.”
The highlights from the guest speakers include Jennifer Halinda, Executive Director from Dress For Success in Vancouver. She shared how this International Organization is made up of 70% single mothers. Some are immigrants. Some have had it all and lost it all. Some have been out of work for 20 years. DFS helps these women get back into the workforce and provides them with support. She expressed how our financial donation, having a volunteer position or dropping off a suit can benefit these women in the community.
After losing her own job, Jennifer kept volunteering at DFS, knowing she was going to make some changes in her life, and make a difference in the lives of other women. This past Spring Jennifer became the Executive Director. She inspired those of us in the crowd to look into ourselves and posed the question, ”If all jobs paid the, same what would you be doing? If you didn’t get paid for work, what would you be doing? Follow your heart and passion to find what you were meant to be doing.”
Next we had the lovely Tracey Drake, Editor in Chief for Niche Magazine share with us her passion in creating a Published Fashion Lifestyle Magazine. She took us back through her journey from a pivotal moment in her life when she decided as a young girl that she wanted to be in the fashion and publishing industry. Tracey had previously worked as a business consultant helping many companies with their Initial Public Offerings (IPO). During those consulting years she read a book about your IPO in Business and now sees that Entrepreneurial woman can make a spin on it for a personal IPO. She believes that success is a blend of your natural DNA and personal IPO (Integrity Passion Opportunity)
She lives by these few valuable tips:
I – Have Integrity…never make a promise you can’t keep
P – Passion…Let it speak for itself
O – Opportunity…There is opportunity everywhere you go. Meet and understand who each person in front of you is.
There should be no disconnecting between our personal and professional life.
She concluded by saying, “Like the little black dress… Smart, savvy women with integrity never go out of style!”
Last up, we had the beautifully confident Miss Canada, Casar Jacobson. She told her story of how she was a former farm girl and that when she looks at what took her to the Stage of Miss Canada, she feels success came with each failure (if you want to call it that) or experience. She shared how she forgot her own name on stage, even tripping on stage during her pageants. But she recognizes that it was the tripping and failures that allowed her to learn how to celebrate success. She eloquently said “I’ve never done anything in my life without first failing… failure is a stepping stone.”
The luncheon was incredible! The gourmet cuisine choices were perfect and being served champagne was a special treat. The creative pink cupcakes by NeetsTreats were delicious. I even brought one home for my grandson whose face lit up when he saw it and kept saying “Yummy, Yummy, Yummy” the whole time he ate it.
Having Fashion Designer, Jason Matlo showcase his gorgeous collection with styles that really work with a woman’s shape, was a highlight for me. Jason mentioned that his 2014 collection marks his 10th year in the fashion business. His marked success in one of the hardest industries is attributed to his belief that “success is basically hanging on when everyone else has let go and that behind every great man, there is a series of great women.” Great job Jason with your show!
The door prize gifts were awesome and wouldn’t you know, I won the prize from Aria Beauty (the Professional Turquoise Hair Straightener) which I was so ecstatic to receive! Thank you to Leah from Aria Beauty for that!
From the gorgeous floral arrangements, fabulous food, positive energy exchanged in the room to the passionate speakers & fashion show, I thoroughly enjoyed my afternoon! The choice group of women all inspired me with who they are and I look forward to staying connected to this group as it grows and morphs into more future success. Kudos to you Maria for creating a beautiful atmosphere for women to come together and be inspired!
Written by Sarah
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