Jake Hassel-Gren: LEAP Learning Lab

Jake Hassel-Gren

Business:  Founder of LEAP Learning Lab

What is at the heart of your business?

Enabling women to join forces and turn their combined resources and expertise into the power they need to make the life, and business they want.

Why did you join a women’s coworking and wellness community?

Because I believe women are more powerful and successful together.

What does thriving look like to you?

Thriving is about feeling good in my skin, giving to others, and contributing to my community.

Shecosystem’s core values are openness, community, collaboration, accessibility, sustainability, feminism, and wellness. Which of these resonates most with you and why?

Community for sure! In fact, I believe a community is foundational to the future economic model for women entrepreneurs. To thrive, women entrepreneurs need to be willing to bring their businesses together to collaborate and build revenue in a likeminded community.

What do you wish to give and/or receive from this community?

I will give my time and my expertise. I am also willing to be a mentor for younger women in the community. I wish to receive support for my new business and hopefully access opportunities to deliver workshops, talks, and small group sessions based on topics relevant to the community.

Tell us one way you integrate self-care into your working life: 

I am an avid Crossfitter and I am in my Crossfit box 5 mornings per week without fail

What’s your top piece of advice for other women entrepreneurs?

Seek direction from women who have gone before you, find your niche, find your community, hold your breath and leap!


Website: leaplearninglab

Twitter: jakehg8

Instagram: Jake_hassel_gren

Facebook: leaplearninglab 

YouTube: LEAP Learning Lab


Pat Kack “the Get it Done Girl” is a Startup Enabler

Name: Patricia Kack

Business:  Simplified Communications

What is at the heart of your business?

I am a startup enabler


Why did you join a women’s coworking and wellness community?

 Want to empower female entrepreneurs


What does thriving look like to you?

Progression over perfection.


Shecosystem’s core values are openness, community, collaboration, accessibility, sustainability, feminism, and wellness. Which of these resonates most with you and why?

All of them – I am an open-minded, collaborative, community-driven feminist, who believes in simplifying life to be sustainable and ensure opportunity and longevity for all.


What do you wish to give and/or receive from this community?

Support, networking, goodwill.


Tell us one way you integrate self-care into your working life: 

I don’t. I need to learn how to do this consistently.


What’s your top piece of advice for other women entrepreneurs?

Don’t be afraid to ask – for help, for more.


Anything else we should know about you?

I am the Get It Done Girl – I can help, all you have to do is ask.


Connect with Patricia!




Finding my Tribe

This morning as we gathered in our Opening Circle, I pulled a card that landed upside-down – facing out into the circle. The card had an image of a redhead with a rose in her hair surrounded by laughing, dancing women, and it read:

“Find your Tribe.” 
Finding your tribe goes way deeper than just having like-minded people around. Your tribe are the people who step in to uplift and defend you, to help you build and grow.

I feel the power of this tribe every single day that I witness – and experience – the many ways in which this community connects.  Shecosystem has grown to over 50 members who work and play together.  There’s a palpable feeling of belonging, support, and trust in this expanding circle of folks who get it.

This month, the tribe is springing into action – and it couldn’t come at a better time.

After seven months of forcing myself to wear too many hats, I’m tired. It’s not the kind of tired that I can fix with a screen-free weekend or a long nap after work. It’s the kind of sustained weariness that can ONLY be remedied by asking for help.


So with the help of my Shecosister Mathura, I’m piloting a Summer Energy Exchange program. The means that rather than one overstretched and exhausted woman at the helm, Shecosystem now has a team (we’re calling it a Coven because we’re magickal like that) of seven committed women. We are truly becoming a Shecosystem – interconnected, resilient, diverse, governed by patterns and processes that naturally tend toward abundance!

At the first meeting of our Coven, I sat in awe as each woman described the kinds of work that bring her joy. The greatest part: their zones of genius are all so different from mine.  I’ve always said that diversity makes a Shecosystem thrive, and we are now putting that into play by harnessing different skills, perspectives, and personalities.

The women in the coven will be here to woman the space all day every day (so I’m free to leave and work on the business), each bringing a different vibe and new ideas. They won’t just be sitting around doing data entry and welcoming guests; they’ll each be leading an exciting project that makes the most of their unique talents and lets them do the kind of work they enjoy.  This means that the stalled projects that I’ve found too challenging or draining to pursue will get done, joyfully and willingly by competent experts. And it means that I can reconnect with what I do best, and fall in love with my work again.

The coven includes:

  • MATHURA our coven’s head witch who brings order to my vision and keeps us all flowing
  • JOY helping our members and our space shine online
  • ERIN our smooth operator making our events and scheduling accessible and efficient
  • PAT our get shit done gal levelling up our tools and systems
  • LINDSAY a people person extraordinaire who will make everyone feel at home
  • MELANIE a networker who will spread the social love far and wide
  • KATE a green goddess making sure we’re making a positive social and environmental impact

You’ll be hearing more about these wonderful women over the next few months. And without a doubt, you’ll be reaping the benefits of their work.



Emily Rose Antflick is Shecosystem’s founder and Chief Community Cultivator. Get in touch with her at emily@shecosystem.ca

Dreaming Together: Shecosystem & Nurture’s ‘Dream, Girl’ Screening

Shecosystem and Nurture Retreats recently gathered over 30 women for a screening of Dream, Girl: a documentary profiling ambitious and inspiring women entrepreneurs. This film, with its all-woman production team and its  portraits of diverse models of women entrepreneurs and investors sends a powerful message.

It is a message that when venture creation is done in a way that honours our whole selves, it is a tool for women’s economic, social and spiritual empowerment, and in turn a force for changing the world.

Some of my top takeaways from the film:

1. The business case for vulnerability: According to investor Joanne Wilson:  “Vulnerability is one of the most powerful places we can be: it’s where we deeply connect with people, it’s where we engage people in cases that are bigger than themselves.”

3. Entrepreneurship builds resilience: Even someone as “successful” as Marie Forleo still admits to feeling fear and self-doubt.  As Clara Villarosa says, “You melt down, and then you melt up!”

2. Peers are powerful: Filmmaker Komal Minhas says of her ability to accomplish her goal, “It was always there…I just needed to surround myself with ambitious women so I could see it in myself.”

I loved watching the movie together (and snacking on Sonja’s truffle salt popcorn!) but even more powerful was our talking circle afterwards.  We created a safe container to name our fears and voice our dreams.

At registration, we gave each attendee two blank cue cards.  We asked them to write down a dream on one and a vulnerable share on the other, and to place them anonymously  in paper bags. After the screening, we pushed our chairs into a casual circle and passed the paper bags around. Each woman grabbed a “Vulnerable Share” card and read someone else’s fear aloud, commenting on how it landed with her.  Not surprisingly, each card resonated with someone in the circle, and this sharing sparked honest conversations.

Next, we passed around the “Dream” bag and encouraged each woman to speak up and own her dream when she heard it read aloud. Every time, the circle erupted into cheers of validation and support. From providing accessible healthcare services for seniors to going national with an eco-fashion line for kids, these women are visionary dreamers and courageous doers, passionate disruptors and uncompromising in their commitment to serve their communities.

Seeing the nods of agreement and relief around the room when each woman read her anonymous “Vulnerable Share” cue card and the cheers when we claimed our “Dream” cards reinforced Shecosystem’s purpose.

We are creating a space where working on your own dream doesn’t mean working alone.

It’s a space to give yourself permission to break out of isolation and into a space of innovation.

I hope you’ll join us, dream girls.

 Sign up for a 10-Pass of Coworking Day passes for the price of 6!

Sale ends May 31. Info here

Wisdom Wednesdays: Who’s Blocking Your Driveway?

Have you ever been in a hurry to get somewhere, you’re ready to go, you’re on your way and a parked UPS van is blocking your driveway?

These kinds of annoyances are everywhere. And our responses are usually the same: Are you kidding me?!” “How can they be so inconsiderate?” “Didn’t they notice me backing up?” When you’re so wrapped up in being the victim, all you see is an intolerable impediment to your progress. When we’re hopelessly caught up in the snarl of cars or people (and even construction), how much effort would it take to heed the sage advice, “You need to watch where you’re going”?We heard it a million times when we were children. If we didn’t watch where we were going, Mom and Dad warned us, we’d bump into things and people, fall into a hole or walk into oncoming traffic. Or worse! As adults, we know that obstacles are part of life. Our journey is littered with people and things blocking our way, causing detours and delays.


Instead of suffering the physical consequences of not paying attention like when we were children, we now face the deeper pain associated with money, people, work, family, and health. All have the potential to be, and often are, unpleasant, and all too frequently we don’t meet our obstacles head on. We avoid them, walk around them, step over them, and even ignore them.


So why are we so impatient with blockages? Why do we so quickly jump to conclusions? Perhaps we need to explore who’s really blocking our driveway or sidewalk. Spoiler alert, it’s probably you and here’s what you can do about it:


  • RECOGNIZE without judgment. One of the hardest things to do when we’re faced with an obstacle is to put the brakes on and notice what’s happening. Do you have a hold on your thoughts or do they have a hold on you? Notice how your body feels, where your breath is, and what’s going through your mind. Facing an obstruction is where negative, absolute statements don’t help. (Do they ever?) Notice when you say things like, “I’ll never get a good job”; “I’m always struggling to make ends meet”; “I can’t catch a break.” Recognize these negative thoughts and don’t judge them. They’re real. See if you can passively observe them they may start to ease their grip on you.


  • RESPOND with compassion. Responding is very different from reacting. When we react, rational thought quickly goes out the window and we move into blame. When we respond, we’re taking the time to reflect on the bigger picture. When you do nothing but focus on that boulder blocking your path, you miss out on the wider landscape that reveals alternative routes to your destination. What would happen if you approached an obstacle with compassion instead of conflict? Who are your allies and companions? Make use of the supports available to you whether they’re people, services or organizations. When you realize that isolation isn’t necessary and can be remedied, anger turns into kindness and kindness makes space to see around obstacles and reveal new possibilities.


  • RESET by taking baby steps. It’s all well and good to turn that frown upside down and focus on the positive in a negative situation. But life isn’t that simple, nor should it be. You can’t step away from the facts. Maybe you don’t have enough education to change careers (yet) or there isn’t enough money to buy new shoes for your kids (yet). Maybe you’re just too damn depressed to get out of bed in the morning (today). Overwhelm is the killer of hope. It constricts movement until obstacles appear insurmountable. So, how can you chip away at that boulder one little chunk at a time? Simply focus on one small thing you CAN do right now. Maybe it’s opening a LinkedIn account or phoning that employment agency someone told you about. It could be as simple as calling a friend and making a plan to get out. By taking action you’re breaking a negative, disempowering pattern. One small step can lead to another one until that boulder may not seem as ominous anymore.


Breaking down an obstacle is not obliteration in one fell swoop. Movement forward is a process that requires your attention, kindness and intentional action. Whether it’s the UPS truck or a traffic jam, trust that you have the manoeuvres to navigate through life’s detours and roadblocks. No matter how fast or slow you’re moving, remember to celebrate both the destination and the delays along the way.


This post was originally written by our member Shari Lash on her blog. Wisdom Wednesdays is a collection of content submitted by our members.


Shari Lash, M.A. is the founder of WholeSTEP.  She is a writer specializing in authentic bios and profiles and a workshop designer/leader focusing on self-compassion, career exploration, resiliency, and transition. She can be reached at shari@wholestep.ca

Healing my Energy Body by Pressing the Red Button

I’ve been working with a healer for a couple of months to get my energetic house in order so that I can do my work (big picture work, not just my 9-5) with clarity and grace. At her instruction I’ve done some purging, some candle-lit journaling, some mantra chanting.


Last week’s advice was a bit unconventional.


Let me rephrase that: it would have been perfectly conventional advice, had it come from an SEO specialist or a business coach. But I was a bit surprised to hear that this week, my spirit guides are asking me to post more videos on social media.


And you know what? It’s the hardest spiritual challenge she has given me so far.


In spite of  my full awareness of the practical (and apparently spiritual) importance of sharing video content, it makes me deeply uncomfortable. I can post a boomerang of my dancing feet or a video of other people at our coworking space, but am terrified of flipping the lens on myself. I can admit my ignorance in a meeting or bare my soul on a panel, but when it comes to video I think I have to be perfect. I’m  touched and inspired by the vulnerable video shares of some of Shecosystem’s members – Barbara and Sam‘s instagram stories, for example – but when I think of doing it myself, here’s what floods in:

Negative personal associations

A tendency toward self-effacement

Pressure to be original


Any of these holding you back? Here are some of the hesitations that arise and how I’m flipping them.


1. Negative personal associations: Talking to a video triggers visceral memories of an ex who was a serial personal development vlogger, hijacking special moments by talking excitedly to his camera. The moment I flip that screen, I hear his Aussie accent shouting, “Live youah best loife!” The 5-easy-steps-to-success tone makes my skin crawl.

FLIP | Creating new associations: Is it really video that’s triggering? No. It’s the overblown, hyper-positive tone that so many adopt when they are speaking to perceived audiences of tens of thousands. But there are lots of others out there who vlog from the heart, with a full range of emotions in their videos. So instead of rejecting the entire medium, I ask myself

  • Can I speak as if the video is just a mirror with only my own loving gaze on the other side?
  • Can I speak as if the video is my journal, a record for me to flip back to when the only thing that helps is remembering my own resilience?
  • Can I come to associate posting videos with MY voice, not (insert annoying video personality here)?


2. Self-effacement: My business is not about me – it’s about holding space for others to work and connect, so who cares about my voice? I don’t want this to be a cult of personality so I’d better stick to being the invisible hand behind the scenes rather than the star on the stage.


FLIP| Self-love: Today on the Becoming Wise podcast I heard Pico Iyer talking about the Icarus myth: that we deleted the part about Daedalus warning his son not to fly too low or the wings would become weighted down with moisture. We only see one side of hubris – flying too close to the sun – and forget that limiting our own ascent is equally destructive.

My business is about me. I brought it to life through my own creativity and my ability to connect with others. Reading reviews online, about half of my clients mention me by name – my smile, my vision, my commitment to service – and keeping myself out of the frame doesn’t help anyone.

Showing your face and speaking your voice do not equal stroking your ego, and erasing yourself only means that you are depriving others of this connection and this message.


3. Pressure to be Original: I’ll never be able to come up with original content. There’s enough of the same inspirational pap out there, why bother creating more useless internet noise.

FLIP | Honesty and Integrity are more powerful than importance or originality: First of all, the internet is a big place and by putting more content out there, I’m not displacing anyone’s “more important” or “more original” message. I know that what makes a text resonates for me is not necessarily its originality but often the opposite: it’s when I read something and think, “I know that is true in my heart of hearts! That’s just what I’ve been wanting to say!”

(Side-note: I’m laughing at myself as I think, “I should look up that thing by that famous person about why we don’t need to be original.” Please know that  just as you don’t need to be “original” you also do not need to substantiate what is deeply true to you by quoting someone famous who said something similar).

Maybe you’re reading this and the Icarus thing made your feel the weight of your own waterlogged wings. Or maybe you were just scrolling around on Facebook procrastinating from recording your own video and this is exactly what you needed to hear. If I stop myself from recording because I think it needs to be original, I miss out on those small moments of connection.

4. Self-judgement: I sound like Ernie. My ‘s’ sometimes whistles. And what’s with that wrinkle between my eyebrows that makes me look worried all the time?


FLIP | Showing up authentically: This is the reason I started Shecosystem: a safe space for people – especially women – to show up in their work-lives without the social pressure to look perfect, hide their flaws and failures, and appear to be always on top of everything. If I can’t show my wrinkles on video, then say goodbye to #3 (Integrity!).

Practising the core values of my business with integrity means giving myself permission to show my imperfections in the same way I encourage others to. Instead of letting self-judgement make me feel ashamed and afraid, I let it be fuel for another courageous leap.

So here I go. Healing my energy body by pressing that red “record” button, going live with my imperfections, and sending an unoriginal but honest message to the people out there who just might hear an echo of their own soul in my voice.

How are you showing up for yourself?

It was dead quiet here on the morning after the buzz of International Women’s Day, and it felt like a hangover. Instead of appreciating the peace and letting my introverted self regroup after expending so much energy on Wednesday, I panicked and decided that Shecosystem is doomed and I may as well quit now. I anxiously scrambled to take action on scattered projects, and in no time was overwhelmed by the number of to-dos on my list.


From being on top of the world and flushed with gratitude I plummeted into fear and exhaustion.

Sound familiar?


The beauty of having moments like this at Shecosystem is that there are people around who truly empathize, and we don’t have to hide our emotional reality from 9-5. That’s one of the reasons I started Shecosystem: because I know I am not the only one who wants to be able to show up completely authentically at work.


Heather, the only member working at the space that day, went out for lunch and came back with a donut and bottle of Kentucky bourbon and we took a break to drink and cry together.


As we sat there getting buzzed at 2PM, a woman I’d never met before walked in the door. She apologized that she hadn’t made it the day before for the Open House and wondered if she could have a tour. Sure, but first would she like to have a drink and experience what Shecosystem is really about?


Without shame, I let this stranger witness and join in this very vulnerable and “unprofessional” moment. We talked about life and business, and it turned out to be exactly what all of us needed. For her: a moment to slow down, reflect, plus some pretty real insight into how this coworking space is unlike others. For me: validation that there is a purpose behind what I’ve created, and a gift that has helped me stay centered since Thursday. She asked me ‘a very coachy’ question:


“How am I showing up for myself?”


I have not been showing up for myself very well lately. I push, over-commit, eat saltines for lunch at my computer, book meetings during times I promised to keep open, prioritize networking over working out, and say yes to things I know are “shoulds”  while my personal projects shrivel up.


How do you show up for yourself differently than you would show up for anyone else: a friend? A colleague? A child? I have no problem committing to other people’s standards and timelines, serving and loving others, but struggle to do the same for myself.


Here’s how I want to show up for myself this week:


  • Being compassionate and forgiving myself when I say no to invitations.
  • Keeping appointments with myself. Firm.
  • Not shaming myself when things don’t go as planned or when I feel crappy
  • Accepting offers of support – and asking for help when it doesn’t arise spontaneously
  • Being committed and disciplined in personal development projects that I know will have a positive outcome in the long-run
  • Practising what I preach and sticking to my core values


I love that it’s a question, not a statement like “I will show up for myself”  (too much pressure!) because in some moments the answer to that question is, “not very well.” I can lovingly accept that in the moment.


I wrote it on a post-it note and stuck it on my laptop, and over the last couple of days, it has disrupted some of my negative mental habits and helped me make better decisions. It will stay there, on my keyboard and on my mind, as I try to re-fill my tank this month. And as that tank fills up, I know that I’ll be showing up better for others.


How are you showing up for yourself?

I want to invite you to show up with us this Spring.

I’m offering 10 Day Passes to use at your leisure between now and June 30.  Grab yours here.

Get the 10 Pack before March 31 for only $180 – that’s $18 a day instead of $30! 

10 ways to celebrate International Women’s Day in Toronto

It’s palpable, this groundswell of sisterhood in the 6ix.

For 35 years of my life I’ve been inundated with stories and images of leaders and change-makers who are male and white. Finally I’m seeing and hearing about a gorgeous diversity of women in this city who are galvanizing and working their asses off to manifest a more positive future.  It’s not an echo chamber or an algorithm, because this goes way beyond social media.

But for all of the positive impacts women are having, and for all of the support we are feeling in our communities, celebration is underscored with struggle. It’s impossible to deny that the feminine is rising, and it’s equally impossible to ignore what it’s rising against.  

So this year on International Women’s Day, I celebrate, and struggle with, the women of Toronto who are courageously carving greater and greater pieces of this city into safe spaces. Spaces where we can enjoy the rights that we deserve, express ourselves authentically and vulnerably, wield power as  responsibility, build relationships with empathy, and change the world.

Here’s our list of 1o ways Toronto women are making it happen on or around March 8


1. Organize! The Women’s March wasn’t just a parade… | March 6


The Women’s March Committee is hosting a Town Hall event to bring together community organizations who are at the forefront of advocacy and activism in Toronto. The organizers are hoping to have around 10 organizations on board including Idle No More, International Women’s Day Committee,  and the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty.  This is a chance to listen and learn and to find opportunities to get involved.


2. Party with some Nasty Women at the AGO | March 2


For this month’s First Thursdays, the AGO partners with OCAD to explore, through a feminist lens, a future that imagines possibilities for diversity of representation and experiences—a future that is more open, more free, more feminist, and non-deterministic. Headlined by d’bi.young anitafrika and featuring performances and installations throughout the gallery.


3. Gather to sustain yourself, your business, and the environment (because after all, they’re the same thing) | March 9-10


Studio.89 and Raine Network present the second annual Power of Women (POW) Symposium, a two-day celebration incorporating community, collaboration, conscious living, mentorship, and networking. In support of Studio.89’s youth and community programming, the symposium features power-mentorship sessions, professional development workshops, keynotes and an onsite female artisan market! It’s also the launch of their 2nd annual #WritesForWomen campaign!


4. Give Marginalized voices the spotlight | March 1


Celebrating Our Voices highlights the contributions of diverse young Black, Indigenous, women and trans-feminine people of colour to Ryerson and the broader Toronto community. As a part of Fondation filles d’action – Girls Action Foundation National Day of Action activities, this event aims to understand young women and trans-feminine peoples’ histories and cultural diversity, empowering them to become leaders for change in our communities. Featuring speakers from Black Lives Matter, Ryerson’s Newcomer Students’ Association, RyePride  and more.


5. Seal the Deal with Women Entrepreneurs & VCs | March 8

Startup Toronto has gathered a panel of Women Venture Capitalists and Successful Entrepreneurs who will give you their best advice on how to Seal the Deal and get the financing you need.  


6. Feel the goddess energy an interactive art performance | March 4


Woman Unmasked promises to be a visceral experience, commemorating International Women’s day through a series of performance pieces, live installations, and visual art. Described as “very sensual, goddess oriented,” the show will transform a Geary Ave warehouse into a dreamscape featuring the National Ballet of Canada’s First Soloist Chelsy Meiss, aerial performance, and live music. The event is a fundraiser for The Canadian Centre for Abuse Awareness.


7. Join in Resisterhood at the annual IWD March | March 11


IWD has been celebrated for more than 100 years, with the first march in New York in 1909. March with thousands of social justice, labour, health and women’s rights activists. Join the rally at King’s College Circle, march in solidarity, and attend an info fair at the Ryerson Student Learning Centre.


8. Raise the sisterhood vibration with a global meditation | March 8


Join a worldwide synchronized meditation for International Women’s Day! Thousands of women worldwide unify through an online broadcast of a Sacred Sisterhood Heart Meditation, transforming ourselves and transforming the world. There are a couple of live gatherings around Toronto – check the website for locations.

9. Write Her-story (or at least edit it) | March 4


Join the local international Art+Feminism Wikipedia Edit-A-Thon. Bring your laptop and your Wikipedia account, and put the AGO’s thousands of artist files and books to use as reference material for building up Wikipedia content on topics related to art and feminism.


10. Share our space for the day | March 8

This year’s IWD theme is Be Bold For Change, and Shecosystem is boldly changing the face of entrepreneurship.  Spend the day being Bold for Change at a free coworking + Wellness open house, with our regular opening and closing circles, a lunchtime Potluck & Perspectives, an afternoon movement break, and lots of time to connect, get your work done, or just exist in this safe space for a day. See you at Shecosystem! 


Women’s Coworking is more than blowouts + “No Boys Allowed”


In the first two weeks of 2017, as the moon swelled to fullness, so did Shecosystem. The first week back was quiet with kids still out of school and people staying home enjoying some solitude after the busy holiday season. But day by day, old and new faces started showing up.


They came to get back to work, to reconnect, to be witnessed as they shared their intentions for the New Year.  They came to socialize, and to work quietly. They came to hug friends, to meet clients, to host workshops, to ask for and to offer help.


They came for yoga classes and meditation circles, Coworking + Wellness, Meetups, the Women in Biz Network Mentor Mastermind, and our first All Member’s Meeting. In 2017, I know that there are lots of reasons people will come to Shecosystem.


Apparently, women’s coworking is kind of a thing right now. Just ask the Wall Street Journal and Business Week.


I’m not crazy about the “No boys allowed” tone of these headlines. Shecosystem is a women’s space, that’s for certain, but we welcome both women-identified people and allies of all genders. This is a controversial stance in many feminist circles that we will continue to evaluate based on member feedback. As I see it, we’re all about honouring feminine capital (see Orser & Eliott’s excellent book on this) in business for anyone who feels that these competencies, qualities and values have been suppressed and devalued by the patriarchal working world. It’s not about creating a club where girls rule and boys drool, as this condescending headline implies. We’re adults creating safe spaces for ourselves to exist and express – not exclude.



Another thing that irks me about these articles (which were clearly written in response to a kick-ass PR campaign by New York’s http://rzocoruse.comThe Wing” ) is how much airtime they give to blow-outs, expensive quinoa bowls and boutique beauty products. And it kills me when  the Bloomberg article says:


A man walks through the elevator doors, and Gelman throws him a friendly wave. “That’s our AV guy,” she says. “He’s basically the only man that comes through here.”


As if a space that boasts a library of over 1000 books by women couldn’t find an AV gal in all of New York City? I’m sure there’s much more to this space than “Women who look like they stepped out of an Urban Outfitters ad.” The Wing’s members are smart, fierce businesswomen and my beef is not with them – it’s with the media coverage.


Granted, The Wing does position itself as a pit-stop for women who don’t want to schlepp home to Brooklyn to change and do their hair between work & play.  In contrast, part of the reason I started Shecosystem is to give women a place to gather that’s NOT about shopping or beauty. A place to gather that’s about the wholeness of women’s experiences.

Shecosystem is less about dressing for success than it is about showing up to greet success in all your realness. It’s about succeeding by cultivating a positive relationship with the messiness of business and life rather than sanitizing or prettifying it.


These articles get women’s coworking on the map – and that’s a great thing – but I’d love to see some coverage that focuses more on the real value of women-positive coworking spaces and their role in advancing the aims of the feminist entrepreneurship movement (more on that in Liisbeth Magazine).


What do you think about our gender-inclusive policy? Do you wish we had a blowout bar? Get in touch – I want to know.

 And if you want to try working at Shecosystem and see if this feels like your work-life space, come spend a week here for free. 

women founders fund startup canada

WE WON! Startup Canada’s Women Founders Fund

I’ve been watching Marissa McTasney’s Facebook feed over the last few days. The founder of Moxie Trades and pink work-booted sh*t kicker is a little bit pissed off about how things are going for female entrepreneurs looking for capital:



This is no surprise to me. Over the past year I’ve been talking to a lot of women about what the greatest barriers are when it comes to building their businesses. Accessing capital is ALWAYS near the top of their lists – again, not a shock considering less than 5% of venture capital goes to women owned businesses.

It’s why I became a SheEO Activator, committing $1000 to build a million dollar pool that will be divided among ten women-owned ventures as an interest-free loan.

It’s also why I am so grateful to  Startup Canada and Evolocity Financial Group for choosing Shecosystem as a recipient of the Women Founders Fund grant.

Launched in August 2016, the Startup Canada Women Founders Fund aims to alleviate some of the financial barriers women face when starting up by providing micro-grants that can be leveraged to support operations and access to growth opportunities including trade missions and skills development.

McTasney, who also happens to be the Startup Canada Women Entrepreneur Fellow and one of the Fund adjudicators, says, “The Startup Canada Women Founders Fund provides opportunities for women to start-up strong and prepare to scale. We look forward to seeing the recipients grow their companies and create meaningful impact in their communities.”

I am proud to join three other recipients of the Startup Canada Women Founders Fund. These women are innovators who share a commitment to improving the wellbeing of the people they serve, from the hearing impaired to the elderly. The other winners are:

 * Spreza, a transcription company that provides automatic speech to text and live captioning for greater information accessibility.

Welbi, a platform that helps families take care of their elderly loved ones using uses smart watches to monitor and analyse the health of seniors.

YUMiBOX by YUMiTRITION, a subscription box company that sells whole grain products to support diabetic blood sugar control.

With Shecosystem only two weeks away from the official opening of our coworking and wellness space, this funding will allow me to strengthen my operational capacity so I can focus on serving my community of women entrepreneurs. It’s not sexy, but this moolah is going straight into systems and tools that will help me be a smooth operator, spending less time on admin and more time serving my Shecosisters.

Thank you to Evolocity Financial Group for supporting women founders across Canada, and to Startup Canada for giving us the tools, networks and resources to create meaningful impact in our communities. 

Help us tear down this barrier

Women owned businesses are still under-financed, and most funding decisions are still made by men. I encourage anyone who cares about supporting women – and our world changing businesses – to join me as a SheEO Activator and commit an act of Radical Generosity. And if you are a woman running a business that takes in over 50K in annual revenue (we don’t qualify yet, but someday…) apply as a venture to have a shot at your share of this $1,000,000 pool.

They’ve just extended the deadline to November 30! You can become a 2016 SheEO Activator here and apply to be a 2016 Venture here. 


Financing is not my area of expertise, but I hope that Shecosystem will become a platform and hub for women seeking capital – and for people with capital who want to support female founders. It’s up to our members and partners to cultivate this seed.

Does this sound like something you could contribute to our community? If so, let’s talk.