Directors Message 2022

Claudine Pereira, Director of Marketing and PR

March 2020 all of our lives changed and so did business, some of which was for the better! We have been able to attract a global audience and make connections far and wide. We have turned corners, and survived. Well done, as Elton John sings, I’m Still Standing! However, our customers are now looking not just for service, but an exceptional customer experience with our businesses. So it’s time to raise the bar.

In my humble opinion 2022 is all about Leadership in business. I am an avid reader and follow many of the greats, however, I’ve had a hard time finding books specifically as a leader in entrepreneurship, so today, I come to you with my 20 plus year of experience in leadership to offer you some tips as you move through 2022. Remember, at the end of the day, it’s all about people.

  1. Lead as if no one is watching, sometimes what you do in your quiet time is more powerful than what you do in public, now that’s leadership
  2. Be cautious of who you hang out with. Ever heard of Emotional Contagion? You become who you hang out with…. show me your friends I’ll show you your fortune
  3. Beware of the naysayers and joy stealers, sometimes these folks sadly can be your family, but they will have a huge negative impact on you and your business results
  4. Routines, rituals and habits the keys to success! What does your morning routine look like when you wake? Quiet time, journaling, exercise and learning can set your day off on the best note possible for success
  5. Gain control over your schedule, time block, what’s not written down won’t happen
  6. Say No, period how many times do you hear no, what you focus on the most will grow
  7. Social media…..sigh…. my love hate relationship….in England we have a saying, careful how you air your dirty laundry. In life skills we teach that self-disclosure is amazing, however, this has to be for a good purpose, with balance, to help someone. Remember, your brand is all over social media. Would I hire Robin Sharma as my coach if I saw him crying on a fb video over a lost relationship? Think about it. It’s about balance, and brand reputation
  8. Focus on your Brand, it’s not just about the colour of your logo and website, it is about you! How do you show up and what are you saying? Clothes don’t make the man; however, image is key to a successful business brand and reputation. You are only as good as the last comment a client said about your business
  9. Be a professional, a service provider, truly if you can serve you will have the most successful business ever, and you will make money!
  10. Create exceptional value for those you serve, “well coach that costs money” I know it does but, you will make it back spend to make, our limited mindsets surrounding what we spend will hold us back from success. Cheap becomes expensive.
  11. Prepare for the worst and expect the best
  12. Heard a quote at the Richard Robins conference, Real estate, “people don’t know about what you know until they know you care” Enough said it’s all about people
  13. Personalize your marketing, get people’s attention, be real and authentic
  14. Focus on Grit, Determination and Perseverance. Amazing leaders were not born nor made, it is a lifelong process, but will set you up for success in business if you work on it!
  15. Being in business is like being in show business, give us the performance of your life Robin Sharma
  16. You have to believe in yourself that’s the secret Charlie Chaplin
  17. Being a leader is like being a lady….. if you walk into a room and tell everyone you are one, the chances are you are not !!  …… Margaret Thatcher
  18. Whatever it is that you are doing for a living ……… Nothing is more rewarding in life than getting up every morning feeling and knowing that you are making a difference in people’ lives….. and if you are not, than you need to re-evaluate your vision….. Cairo Aboukeer

Susan Patterson
Director, Morning Meetings

I am very pleased to join the CAWEE Board this year, a team I have admired for many years. I have taken the newly created role of Director, Morning Meetings and I hope to bring some value to the role and the board. 

I am fortunate to have an enthusiastic committee with me to put our heads together to find ways to make the morning meetings even better than they already are. The committee members are Heather Freed, Elizabeth Verwey, RaRa Asaro, Helga Teitsson and Nicole Arnold. One of our key goals is to ensure the meetings are engaging, informative, timely and fun! We also hope this will help attract more guests and, ultimately, more members to CAWEE. 

You may already have noticed some changes to the meetings. We plan to integrate two breakout sessions per meeting as members have told us this is one of their favourite parts of the meetings. And to encourage more connection, we introduced a sharing question in the opening chat and a door prize draw to reward members for holding 1-1 meetings during the prior month. 

We will be giving opportunities to a number of members to host the morning meetings so expect to see fresh faces in the MC role over the coming months. 

If you have ideas for our morning meetings or would like to participate in some way, let me know. 

Kudos to our fearless president for handling all these tasks over the past year or so. She has set a high bar!

Anne Falomo, Director of Community Outreach

As the incoming Director of Community Outreach, I was very excited to introduce our Cindy Stradling, Executive Founder of Courage in Action at our October Breakfast Meeting. Courage In Action is our CAWEE Charity of Choice for 2021-2023 and really embodies the type of organization that we strive to foster and support as CAWEE members.

One of the goals we have for the upcoming year is to raise enough funds to provide a bursary of $2,500 to one of the clients of Courage in Action. This is a big goal for us and I look forward to working with the Outreach Committee on ways to achieve it. A big Thank you to Christine Bauer for signing up! We welcome anyone else who may be interested in joining the committee or has thoughts and ideas of fun, engaging fund-raising activities to share. Please feel to reach out me at

Susan Ward, Outgoing Director of Community Outreach

I have been very fortunate to have had the opportunity to offer my service to this association for almost six years. It has given back far more than I have been able to offer.

If you have been considering getting more involved – either as a director or on a committee – I earnestly encourage you to step into the opportunity. The time demand is nominal and the rewards of involvement, making and deepening relationships and the camaraderie and collaboration opportunities offered through the experience, are priceless.

I first volunteered as After Work Events Director. It was fun to have had the opportunity to basically plan and throw parties on behalf of CAWEE (with an educational component). In comparison to doing this during COVID, my job was a breeze, and Terri McDougall has done a stellar job of thinking outside the box to create memorable events and have them well attended.

I am sorry my time as Director of Community Outreach is over. Outreach has two primary responsibilities: select a Charity that assists women to improve their lives (every two years) and select a female scholarship recipient from the Schulich School of Business at York University.

For the last 3 years, CAWEE has been promoting and sponsoring Restore FIBI (Families Impacted By Incarceration). We extended our support for an extra year due to the pandemic.  FIBI serves and supports families who have a loved one in prison.

This year, the recipient of the Schulich Scholarship was Ifunanya Kammelu and based on her brief talk at the CAWEE June breakfast, we’re sure that she has a bright future.

COVID has accentuated the need for collaboration and creative exploration; for CAWEE to ‘pivot’ to stay relevant and engaging without face-to-face networking opportunities. I personally credit the entire board and particularly Judi Hughes and her team for their creativity, dedication and extra time invested to connect personally with so many members and guests as well everyone else who supported the evolution of Zoom meetings, discussions, and connection.

For me, one of the silver linings of COVID was slowing down to recognize what was not needed. To purge the unnecessary, recognize what we miss most when we cannot be in person, highlight what is important, and find new ways to access those important things. CAWEE has demonstrated that we can still maintain and grow connections and create and build new ones, even while sheltering in place.

Thank you CAWEE.

I will be a loyal and engaged Alumni.

Rani Glick

It may not be a surprise but small business and entrepreneurship are drivers of economic growth, contributing to building cities, neighbourhoods and communities.

Today, startups, disruptive innovation, freelancing, co-working, and digital nomads are part of our everyday vocabulary, especially evident throughout the pandemic. Innovation and technology have challenged the traditional ways SME’s have done business, yet small businesses are also part of communities and when they struggle, their local community/network will come forward to help them keep afloat.

Creating, collaborating, and partnering are essential parts to building a healthy community;

  • Inspiring people to come together.
  • Stimulating engagement forging better business relationships.
  • Broadening the customer base and audience.
  • Building long term trust when an investment has been made.
  • Contributing to developing strategic plans for achieving your business’s goals and servicing clients.
  • Growing your bottom line when creating a marketing campaign with your community in mind.
  • Being seen doing good for the community.

This is what CAWEE is about, a group of professional women seeking community.

This is also the foundation for corporate sponsorship. Taking the next step to sponsor a CAWEE breakfast or event for a month will contribute to growing your business in many ways, including:

  • Showing the value your business brings to your clients
  • Educating others about your skills and talents
  • Promoting you and your business within a supportive and trusted network
  • Standing up, being noticed and sharing what’s going on in your business this month with your referral partners.

Think inclusive not exclusive! Creating lasting friendships and solid business partnerships with CAWEE members are the best parts for contributing to a healthy community!

You can download more about CAWEE sponsorship here.

For a personal conversation and find out more about it, please contact Rani Glick and Samantha King at

Mary Lou Heenan, Secretary/Treasurer of CAWEE

As the current Secretary-Treasurer of CAWEE, one of my responsibilities is maintaining records. A recent review of our Board Manual inspired me to provide you with a look back at CAWEE’s roots and where we are today.

The Canadian Association of Women Executives and Entrepreneurs (CAWEE) is a not-for-profit organization founded as the Canadian Association of Women Executives in October 1976. It was in 1985, in recognition of the growing number of members who were business owners, that the name was altered to include “Entrepreneurs.”

CAWEE originally started as a support and lobbying group for Canadian business women. In addition to the social and networking events, a Legislative Committee tackled many issues in the 80’s and 90’s such as equal pay, daycare in the workplace, and inclusion of women’s equality rights in the wording of the constitution adopted in 1982. Between 2004 and 2006, we hosted two delegations: one from Japan, and one from China. Both were delightful and very informative as women from both sides of the world collaborated on issues facing entrepreneurs and women in general.

From 2000 and on, the Association began to focus primarily on being a support and networking group for women in business, specifically in the city of Toronto. But like the original vision, CAWEE continued to attract women from all industries and of a wide age range. In 2021, despite the pivot of twelve months ago due to physical distancing, CAWEE is still a vibrant community of like-minded women, building relationships one by one. A benefit of holding our events on-line is that we now welcome members from outside the city and even outside the province.

Among the Guiding Principles, Goals and Objectives that drive the actions of the Board and the Membership is to continue to evolve with the times in order to continue to add value to the membership. If you have any ideas that will contribute to the ongoing success of CAWEE, please reach out to me at You may become part of our 40+ year history.

Heather Freed, President

I’m honoured to represent CAWEE as President of this incredible organization.  I would like to thank all CAWEE Members as well as our Association Manager, Patty, for making my job so easy.

CAWEE is a unique networking group. CAWEE is a Fun, Vibrant and Productive organization for everyone.  We put building relationships first and giving and getting referrals down the list.  As a result, “business competitors” often work together towards a common goal and often become business partners and / or life-long friends.  

How are we successful? 

We start by having coffee with another member – just to get to know them better – and see where that leads.

We encourage members to join a CAWEE committee.  It helps build relationships and strengthens the association.  We’ve had some incredible events over the years.  Our last in person special event was International Women’s Day in March 2019.  We were exposed to women of different backgrounds discussing their path to today.  Incredibly inspiring. 

Our first Virtual Special event was in September 2020  – where we gathered on Zoom to learn how to make a Tom Collins (and variants) as well as a killer guacamole.  Afterwards, we relaxed with our drinks and snacks and chatted amongst ourselves. No one wanted to leave.

We get together (members only) in small groups that we call Roundtables to discuss business issues and to get to know the other members better.  We used to hold these in a restaurant, but holding them virtually seems to work even better.

If you are not a member, come join us at our monthly BYO breakfast meeting – the second Thursday of the month from 7:30 to 9 AM.

If you are a member – join a Roundtable or a committee and get to know the other members in a new way.

To all of you – arrange a virtual coffee, lunch or end of work snack / drink with another business owner and see where it leads.

I look forward to connecting with you. You can book a Coffee meeting with me – click here –

Rose-marie Fernandez

What the world needs now is love – sweet love!

“For the world is in a bad state, but everything will become still worse unless each of us does his best.” Viktor E. Frankl

We are being bombarded with sad news on a regular basis. There are wars, killings, accidents, natural disasters, pandemics, national and global issues that distract us from our true purpose. We get lost in the fog and perhaps react in ways that we did not want to, because of the fast pace of our lives..  If we know our Why? and are in alignment with our True Purpose – our paths will lead us to where we want to be and create a better world for all of us. All too often when things are going well, we forget the path that we set out to tread on and we get lost in the milieu of external forces that cause us to lose faith and hope in ourselves and in others.

NOW, is the resource that the Universe is providing us with to gift of time to grab the opportunity of getting re-acquainted with our Why? And rekindle the flames of our True Purpose to bring into alignment true fulfillment.  

The current turbulence caused me to reflect on why I am a member of CAWEE and to get involved on the Board of Directors.

I am proud to be part of CAWEE’s commitment to provide networking opportunities to the diverse community of women in Toronto. This manifests in the Annual Scholarship award given to a final year MBA Schulich student, support to a charity of choice, like FIBI (Families Impacted By Incarceration), Homeward Bound and Sistering, the recent International Women’s Day event supporting the theme #EachforEqual. These initiatives are important because it matters. I reach out to our members to be resilient and support each other and other women in these times – with love. 

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