Meet Britt Kasco: Taking adventurous women around the world & into the wild!

 

BRITT KASCO

Founder, Origin Travels


 

What is at the heart of your business?

 
Increasing the access to safe, off the beaten path travel experiences for women aged 18-30 something.

Why did you join a women focussed coworking and wellness community?

 

 

What does thriving look like to you?

 
Coming to work everyday and working towards my goal of connecting women across the globe on the shared value of exploration.

 

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

 
Community! As a first time entrepreneur, it is a little rough trying to set up a get organized, be productive and stay accountable while I am alone in my house! I am looking to surround myself with women who are in similar positions, so that we can support each other.

 

What would you like to give and/or receive from this community?

 

I hope that I can be a resource for women who have always wanted to take the travel plunge, but have reservations due to reservations around solo travel. I am also obsessed with talking about sustainable approaches to travel – so chat me any time!

 

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

 
Take long breaks to enjoy the sunshine on sunny days.

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

 
Talk less, listen more!

 

Anything else we should know about you?

I also have a craft side-hustle! @threadandbark_to.

My next Origin Travels Wilderness Trip is coming up on August 26-28. It’s going to be an epic 2-night trip into Ontario’s tranquil Six Mile Lake Provincial Park. Learn to pitch a tent, master a canoe, swim in crystal clear waters, take a hike. If taking it easy is your game, lay out your towel and relax on our own private peninsula overlooking Six Mile River. This trip is open to both first-time and experienced campers!

 

CONNECT WITH BRITT

Follow @OriginTravels 

MEET ELAINE KAO: Making periods healthier

 

ELAINE KAO

President and owner at Lilli Pads


 

What is at the heart of your business?

 
I make periods healthier one woman at a time.
 

Why did you join a women focussed coworking and wellness community?

 

 

What does thriving look like to you?

 
Working with likeminded individuals who are all dedicated towards their own personal definition of success.

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

Community is always a key area of development when it comes to business and success. To me, there may be businesses that focus on financial success, but I feel like there is something missing if you cannot give back to the community that has built and developed you.

 

What would you like to give and/or receive from this community?

 

Life is a progressive series of steps: Your future outlook is largely dependent on the consistent habits that you develop today. Often times, social media makes it seem like results and success are instantaneous but that cannot be further from the truth. Real success is rooted in challenges and endeavours that push your mental and intellectual boundaries. There is no success without pain and pain builds character.

 

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

 
I like going to the spa from time to time. Meditation has been a big theme for me in the past year.

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

 
Take it one step at a time and don’t give up. Patience pays off in the long run.


 

CONNECT WITH ELAINE

MEET ANITA ABBASI: Feminist Filmmaker

Anita Abbasi

Filmmaker at www.cinematekkitsch.com


 

What is at the heart of your business?

 
As a creative, my work centres on identity and belonging. I try to find common ground with different peoples in urbanized places, mainly from the perspective of a racialized human.
 

Why did you join a women focussed coworking and wellness community?

 

 

What does thriving look like to you?

Thriving looks like encountering an obstacle in life, acknowledging its presence, recognizing its impact in your progress, not blaming the obstacle in question, rather learning to either tackle it or maneuver around it, without compromising your core values and without jeopardizing the relationships with people who sustain you. To have that want to achieve a goal that seems impossible and learning to find a way to get there that meets the needs of where you are in life is thriving to me. It’s learning to be respectful of your own pace and that of others, as you seek to advance, whatever that may look like, in life.
 

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

 
Collaboration. All of them resonate with me, but collaboration is something as a filmmaker I must constantly hone, foster and be open to. As someone who spends a large amount of time conceiving and writing a work alone, I am constantly reminding myself that filmmaking is a collaborative enterprise, a group of people, with different skills & backgrounds, joining forces towards a unified goal.
 

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

 
I try to go easy on myself when things go awry or if they simply don’t go my way. I was raised in a rather strict household that placed pressure on me to succeed in a very specific way. The concept of showing compassion to oneself may seem like a no-brainer, but it was a learning curve for someone like me.
 

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

 
Try not to be so precious with your work, be open to the possibility that it needs to be reworked several times and learn to listen to others, who get what it is you are trying to do or want to get it.


 

CONNECT WITH ANITA!

CREATRIX | For Talia Johnson, Sensitivity training and Sh*t Disturbing go Hand in Hand

Talia Johnson’s story is one hell of an inspirational read. A trans-woman working as a “sensitivity editor” primarily around queer, trans, and autism related issues, Talia wrote a poem documenting her experience training to be a Kohenet Jewish Priestess that is part of an anthology that has been nominated for a Lambda Literary Award.

Talia is autistic and navigates living with chronic pain and is an advocate for defining a life that fits the needs of your body, mind, and soul. She shares her story with us below.

 

by Annisha Lashand


 

What identities do you inhabit?

 
Over the years I have embodied many identities. The ones that are current are: A woman, trans/transgender, queer, lesbian, autistic, spoonie/disabled (using social model), Jewish, feminist, and shit disturber.

What is your work in the world?

At its core, I bridge three primary areas, faith/religion/spirituality, mental health, and queer/trans/LGBTTQIA+. I am a writer, poet, sensitivity editor, public speaker, blogger, activist, educator, workshop facilitator, ritual leader, service leader, mentor, coach, and more.

My sensitivity editing is primarily around queer and trans issues, as well as from an autistic perspective. I’m only one person, and don’t represent all trans, queer, and/or autistic people. I offer these services to writers, publishers, and anyone with content that talks about these issues, perspectives, and/or has  characters that fall into one or more of these groups.

Workshop facilitation, public speaking, and education tend to fall into one category. When I provide these services what I present, how I present it, and the discussions that I facilitate are all based on the needs of the group I am working with. Going over basic level information with a group that has already done that work is not helpful. At the same time, not doing the basic work and jumping to advanced topics does not help those who have not done the initial basic work and education.

Ritual leadership and service leadership encompasses a wide range of practices and services. I have led services for larger groups, such as a Friday evening Kaballat Shabatt service, to a ritual for someone about to go for Gender Congruency/Confirmation Surgery (GCS). Again, the service or ritual is designed with the needs of the community or individual in mind. Rituals to mark important points in one’s life are deeply meaningful for many people. When planning rituals for a person or small group, the planning and writing of the ritual is made in full discussion with them. These rituals focus on the beliefs and needs of the individual or group.

My writing and poetry is an offshoot of my work and is informed by my own lived experiences, as well as what I have witnessed through my work and ongoing reading. My current large poetry project is to write poems based on the Netivot, or Archetypes, that are part of the studies and learning in the Kohenet Hebrew Priestess Institute program. 

The Novel I am writing is an SF novel that takes place in the mid twenty-first century and explores what a theocracy based on conservative evangelical Christian theology would look like. My non-fiction project is a sort of memoir using my blog posts over the past nine years as its base. It discusses wider queer, trans, and autistic issues using my own experience as the focal point.
 

Tell us about the “WHY” that drives your business.

 
Any work I do has to have meaning for myself and others. I have never fit in with corporate culture, to a point where I’ve never had a traditional full-time job. In order for me to work best my brain needs to be engaged, and have multiple things to be working on. At the core of what I do is the idea that I can help make the world a slightly better place and help people with their struggles.
 

So many of us learn from each other’s processes, can you share a little about the steps you took to get started?

 
In the past, I have tried to use “self-help” books and guides to starting a business, managing work, etc. For me, they were all mostly useless. They don’t work the way my brain works. Seven Habits of Highly Effective People sent me running in the opposite direction. After finishing my undergraduate work and moving back to Toronto I needed time to work on my health. I took the time I needed, but had to get back to doing things. To get started I examined where I was at physically, mentally, and spiritually. With this baseline I gave myself permission to do what I can do and redefined what “success” means for me.

 

If work is a journey of the soul, what is the most important way your soul has developed through your work?

 
I would say that my soul informs the work I do, and is thus further shaped by interactions with people and meaningful work. Getting out of IT was probably the single healthiest decision I made for my soul when it comes to my work in the world.
 

What does being a feminist entrepreneur mean to you?

 
Being a feminist is part of my core being. I was raised as a feminist, something unusual in the late 70s and 80s. My mum was, and still is, a grassroots feminist and has more academic understandings of it as well. In my work this expresses itself through how I approach the work. I examine things, and act through a mindset of being aware of the nuances and complexities of issues. This means being constantly aware of my own perspectives, biases, and internalized crap. I am white, I know that systemic racism shaped my perspectives. To me part of being feminist is consistently challenging myself to do better, to be aware when I screw up, and do better. Everybody fucks up, some people make it a lifestyle choice. Don’t make it a lifestyle choice. Acknowledging when one messes up is difficult, I try to be honest with myself and others when I do, and take appropriate actions to avoid it in future.

 

Tell us about a collaboration, connection or experience Shecosystem has facilitated for you.

 
With most of my work being independent, and having chronic pain, it’s easy to get stuck in a rut and not leave the house. Working at Shecosystem allows me to more easily connect with others and gets me out of the house. For me, at the moment, this is critical for my own work and well-being.

 

What mindset, mantra, or truth about business/entrepreneurship has helped you along the way?

 
There’s no one right way to do it. To set my own definitions for success, and to allow myself to do what I can do, and not beat myself up if I have to turn something down because my health won’t allow it, or if it doesn’t align with my values. I am constantly working to not overthink, and not overthink my overthinking.

 

We’re all about celebrating each other at Shecosystem, care to share an accomplishment with us?

 
Does getting out of bed count? Seriously, though, sometimes that is an achievement in and of itself when one has chronic health problems/chronic illness, and/or mental health struggles. All of which get intertwined.

Being still alive counts as an achievement as well. The suicide rate for trans people is almost 50% with serious ideation higher than 80%.

My big point of brag and accomplishment at the moment is that my poem, “Holy Love” is part of the anthology, Resilience: surviving in the face of everything, that has been nominated as a finalist for a Lambda Literary Award.

 

 

Connect with Talia at taliacjohnson.ca or on facebook.

 

Check out Talia’s online course starting later this month, Writing Trans Topics & Characters

 

Read “Holy Love” in The Resilience Anthology 

 


 

CREATRIX is a blog from Shecosystem highlighting the people in our community who are giving life to new ideas and innovative businesses. We are the authors of our own identity. Each of us draws from deep, generative wellsprings of inspiration, and we have wisdom to share.

 

ANNISHA LASHAND

Freelance Writer | Editor | Social Media Manager | Brand Strategist Website Builder | Inbound Marketer | Digital Guru
ANNISHA LASHAND

Freelance Writer | Editor | Social Media Manager | Brand Strategist Website Builder | Inbound Marketer | Digital Guru

MEET ALEXANDRA COLLAS: A bit of Peruvian flow in TO

Alexandra Collas

Founder, Owner at www.peruflow.ca


 

What is at the heart of your business?

Peru Flow’s mission is to re-ignite the creative fire of educational and professional communities through 4 joyful practices. Our 4 arts based program is for: new Mothers, children, and professionals finding themselves on crossroads.   Peru Flow 4 Arts helps clients tap into their innermost creative projects and goals through mindfulness, nature teachings, art programs, and authentic movement practices. In a world filled with demands and information overload, we facilitate practices for self-regulation, and wellness to build clarity of purpose.

Our vision is born out of the necessity to foster somatic or, body centred education. Our value stands in promoting tools for wellness, self-awareness, and reflection.

We share a creative wisdom path tool box for clients in order for them to meet and understand the power of their true north and direction.

Why did you join a women focussed coworking and wellness community?

 

 

What does thriving look like to you?

Happiness, Content, positive time-management, and attitude towards life. Creating and building your own definition of success.

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

Openess 🙂 Openess speaks to me because it is the light that leads to transformation and growth.  Coming to Canada at 18 without knowing anyone, I have always seen my openness as a blessing in my path.  I see openess as round and infinite, almost like a tunnel where there is always a away out for transformation and growth.

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

I wish to share what Peru Flow offers in workshops, floral bath, and unique creations.

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

Practicing Mindfulness and frequent pauses.

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

Believe in your light and share it no matter what.

Anything else we should know about you?

 

I love to go for runs in the park, to hike, and do nature walks. I love nature and am looking to do picnics in parks this spring I love to make Peruvian food!… anyone interested in joining? 🙂

 

CONNECT WITH ALEXANDRA!

 

CREATRIX | Or Har-Gil

Or Har-Gil is an Art Therapist who works to help people express and embrace their whole, imperfect, authentic selves. Or starts her day by walking her dog, drinking tea and choosing a tarot card from a crystal laden altar near her desk. She grounds herself with some stretching, pulls a card and journals on any questions that arise, or guidance the card can offer for her day.

Or works from a space of honouring wholeness over perfection and values connection and collaboration— it is, afterall, how she met Emily and became one of the first members of Shecosystem once it opened in 2016.

Or discusses her journey towards Art Therapy and how she is devoted to running her business with feminist values that support and celebrate women. Read my interview with Or below.

By Annisha Lashand

 

What is your work in the world and how are you innovating?

 

As an Art Therapist, I use art and creativity as tools for helping people explore and witness their inner landscape. I combine that with elements of mindful self-compassion and narrative therapy to help people relate to themselves in kinder and more loving ways.

I’m innovating in small, ongoing ways by weaving new ideas or approaches into my work, testing them out, and seeking feedback to help me learn and evolve my offerings. I’ve always been a big reader and learner, so part of the fun for me is connecting the dots between different concepts and trying to apply them to my work.

 

So many of us learn from each other’s processes, can you share a little about the steps you took to get started?

 

I started small, running my first workshops while I was still working in a full-time job. That took a lot of encouragement and support from my husband and friends, because it felt like a huge step at the time. But it allowed me to get my idea into the world in a way that felt manageable, and to see that I already had a lot of the skills I needed to do what I wanted to do. It gave me the confidence to keep pursuing this path, and some outside confirmation that there was interest in what I had to offer.

 

If work is a journey of the soul, what is the most important way your soul has developed through your work?

 

Probably the biggest way my soul has developed is in becoming more compassionate towards myself. I’m a recovering perfectionist, which means that my inner monologue was often incredibly harsh and that my fear of failure and judgment kept me from doing, saying, and going after the things I really wanted.

Having to consistently put myself out there to keep my business going has required me to drop the idea that everything I do has to be (or can be) perfect…and even change my mind that perfection is such a worthwhile goal anyway. I’ve come to be a lot more concerned with creating content and offerings that are real and vulnerable, that express my soul, and that show people that being your whole, messy, human self is way more interesting and beautiful than a two-dimensional illusion of perfection.

 

What does being a feminist entrepreneur mean to you?

 

Being a feminist entrepreneur means running my business in way that aligns with my values: compassion for self and others, authentic and brave self-expression, and meaningful connection.

It means supporting the sh*t out of other women entrepreneurs by hiring them, collaborating with them, and amplifying their work. It means believing that there’s more than enough for everyone, and that being generous and loving is not only the “nice” thing to do, but the thing that’s going to build a thriving business and community for all of us.

Importantly, it also means staying humble and being open to learn about how I can do better in terms of how I communicate about my work and how I make my work accessible to people. It means reflecting on how my privilege allows me to do this work and to move through the world in ways that others cannot and doing what I can to acknowledge and minimize those gaps.  

 

 

Tell us about a collaboration, connection or experience Shecosystem has facilitated for you…doesn’t have to be business oriented!

 

So many connections, experiences and collaborations! I was super lucky to find Shecosystem early on in my journey, when Emily was hosting co-working and wellness meetups at Artscape. Finding a community of supportive, badass women at different stages of their life and business helped normalize what I was going through, reassure me that I wasn’t a total mess up, and introduced me to people, tools, and systems that I otherwise wouldn’t have found.

 

What mindset, mantra, or truth about business/entrepreneurship has helped you along the way?

 

Progress, not perfection. It’s better to get a rough version of your concept out there (whether it’s a website, a program, a workshop…), get real world input on it and make changes, than to spend ages creating the ‘perfect’ version of that thing and never getting it out there, or taking too long, at which point it’s irrelevant or doesn’t meet a need.

 

Take a moment to brag – we’re all about celebrating each other, share an accomplishment with us!

 

I’m proud of running my business in a way that makes space for the fullness of my humanity, and the humanity of my clients and collaborators. That resists the idea that being successful is only measured by money and productivity. That creates spaces for self-expression, for feeling all of our feelings, and for lifting each other up.

 

Check Or out at www.orhargil.com

Follow her at @orhargil  on instagram & @orhargilarttherapy on Facebook!


 

CREATRIX is a blog from Shecosystem highlighting the people in our community who are giving life to new ideas and innovative businesses. We are the authors of our own identity. Each of us draws from deep, generative wellsprings of inspiration, and we have wisdom to share.

 

ANNISHA LASHAND

Freelance Writer | Editor | Social Media Manager | Brand Strategist Website Builder | Inbound Marketer | Digital Guru
ANNISHA LASHAND

Freelance Writer | Editor | Social Media Manager | Brand Strategist Website Builder | Inbound Marketer | Digital Guru

Meet Rob Shirkey: Hopeful Climate Advocate

Rob Shirkey

Business:  Executive Director at Our Horizon 


What is at the heart of your business?

Engaging governments to pass legislation that requires climate change & air pollution warnings for gas pumps. The concept helps to close the ‘experiential gap’ between our use of fossil fuels and their impacts to create greater social impetus to address climate change.

The “heart” of the initiative includes transparency, disclosure, honesty, bravery in confronting challenge, growth through discomfort, etc. There’s a James Baldwin quote that I have on our homepage that I think rings true: “Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.” That’s what I’m trying to make us collectively do through this advocacy. You can learn more at www.ourhorizon.org.

 

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

I’m writing a book about my organization’s advocacy and my personal journey in the environmental sector. I worked out of Shecosystem for a week last fall and found it was a great workspace for quiet writing. I also like how the opening and closing circles provide bookends for the workday and how the 9-6 operating hours create a time constraint that results in a more focused workday. It’s an ideal place for writing and I’m grateful to be here for the next few months.

 

What does thriving look like for you?

I’m not sure but I think hope might be a requisite element; it’s hard to thrive without it. Climate advocacy and government engagement can be pretty discouraging at times and it’s easy to become burnt out. Lately, I’ve been trying to ask myself “What makes me feel hopeful?” and consciously dial into that. A hopeful Rob is usually a more thriving Rob.

 

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

Fun tip: I have lockbox with a timer on it at home that I put my phone in during the evening, just before bed (thekitchensafe.com). I’ve even drilled a hole through it so I can still charge it at night. It’s a simple way of limiting access to what can otherwise be an addictive waste of time and it makes it easier to focus on activities that add value to my quality of life. Let me know if you have any Qs about this gizmo! 🙂

 

Anything else we should know about you?

Recovering lawyer. Puppy aficionado. Once rode my bicycle across Canada!


 

CONNECT WITH ROB!

Website: ourhorizon.com

LinkedIn: Robert Shirkey

 

Creatrix: Sulafa Silim

I meet with Sulafa Silim in the jungle room against the backdrop of a lush, imaginary rainforest I can only dream of exploring. Sulafa has been hunkered down in this space for almost five hours without moving, filling her role as Project Manager for a Digital and Social agency based in BC. She chomps at an apple, “I think I forgot to eat lunch!” she declares. Like most women here, describing Sulafa as hardworking is an understatement.  

We get to talking about self-care and the importance of listening to your body, a conversation I find common in this beautiful space. Caring for the self, and others is at the core of Sulafa’s other gig as Founder of DAWA Apothecary. With DAWA (derived from the Swahili word for medicine) Sulafa runs health and wellness events and workshops for women of colour in Toronto and abroad.

These workshops are centred around the idea that we have 3 ways of engaging: conversation, moments (moving, doing something, dance etc), and connections (creating community). Read my interview with Sulafa below.

By Annisha Lashand

 

What identities do you inhabit?

 

I identify as a Black, Arab African woman

 

What is your work in the world?

 

My work has brought me into the forefront of my life’s purpose in bringing women of colour to be noticed and being valued as worthy of love, care and understanding. This work has really allowed me to unpack how I identify, how I can build on this journey and be aware of my own feelings, ambitions and needs – again making myself aware that I am worthy of love, care and understanding.

 

Tell us about the “WHY” that drives your business.

 

DAWA is 5 months old, but has been in utero for 5 years. The story started in the UK where I used to live with a roommate, both of us working in the field of outreach with young people and teaching resilience. Living in a big city you start to realize there are not a lot of spaces for women of colour to unpack the things they were going through.

Part of it was body inclusivity was lacking, we all straddle different identities there, for me it was a conscious decision to bring forth some of the intersections we exist in. Not as simple as race and gender, there’s also cultural ties.  That kind of venn diagram is something that makes up a lot of women of colour’s experiences. I would say race is something you experience on the street, but in the household it’s culture. When it comes to holding space for these things in community, it was a question of access, but access is not only whether you can afford to do it, but also do you feel welcome?

Whether you’ve experienced being the “other”, or the “token”, a lot of these self-care, healing spaces replicate those experiences even though they are supposed to be a space that is healing me. It eliminates the ability to be honest and vulnerable and have real conversations.

 

DAWA was originally going to be a brick and mortar space, but has evolved into more of a community. It’s a safe space where people can have conversations about the real challenges they’re experiencing. Talking about anti-black oppression, or shadism within people of colour. Talking about perceptions of each other. We’re having those hard hitting conversations.

 

What does being a feminist entrepreneur mean to you?

Being a feminist means that I root equity throughout my work – it means that I center empathy and access to building capacity within women. It means that I am committed to improving my peers’ lives but also being a conduit to the conversation about women of colour in the context of feminism

 

Tell us about a collaboration, connection or experience Shecosystem has facilitated for you…

 

Shecosystem has allowed me to feel sisterhood in a new way – it has opened relationships and support that I haven’t expected from women/identifying who are on similar journeys.

 

What is the one tool you can’t live without?

Meetingbird! Allows me to auto creates meeting invites from emails.

 

Celebrating Black History Month this month, what is meaningful to you that you’d want to share about being a black, female entrepreneur or black woman in wellness?

 

Being a black women entrepreneur working in wellness is important to me because it is focused on improving access and opportunities and showcasing that we have dynamic stories and needs. We are not a monolith.

DAWA Apothecary has a calendar full of events and workshops leading right up to the summer, if you’re curious check them out here.

 


 

CREATRIX is a blog from Shecosystem highlighting the people in our coworking community who are giving life to new ideas and innovative businesses. We are the authors of our own identity. Each of us draws from deep, generative wellsprings of inspiration, and we have wisdom to share.

ANNISHA LASHAND

Freelance Writer | Editor | Social Media Manager | Brand Strategist Website Builder | Inbound Marketer | Digital Guru
ANNISHA LASHAND

Freelance Writer | Editor | Social Media Manager | Brand Strategist Website Builder | Inbound Marketer | Digital Guru

 

Meet Rae Bellefountaine: Turning Bright Ideas into Brilliant Realities

Rae Bellefountaine

BusinessValkyrie Design


 

What is at the heart of your business?

My business has two hearts, like a timelord! First, I offer design and branding service for businesses that are creative, progressive or spiritual. I’m pro small business and anti big business and I like to work with people who think outside the box. Secondly, I want to start a non profit that makes building a business more accessible to autistic and neurodivergent individuals by creating support groups, networks, programs and events that help give them the ability to turn their bright ideas into brilliant realities. Right now it’s just a Facebook group but I want it to be so much more!

 

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

What does thriving look like to you?

Having the freedom to travel and be financially independent, and to be able to fund my non profit and creative projects. I don’t want to be rich but I do want to have the option to be location independent and I don’t have that as a person on disability support. (We can have a whole conversation on that sometime, if you are ever up for it!)

 

 

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

Absolutely all of them resonate with me.

 

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

Looking for support, friendship, collaboration, feedback and advice. Doing this alone was stressful, depressing and isolating. I can offer much of the same, especially when it comes to branding, graphics and websites. I also love to give hugs!

 

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

Walking everywhere when possible! In the summer I want to be able to walk from home to work everyday.

 

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

Don’t do it alone, even if you are solopreneur. Establishing an understanding support network and finding mentorship and guidance is crucial for the well being of anyone trying to pave their own way in the world.

 

Anything else we should know about you?
I’m awkward but friendly! My face defaults in a way that looks like I’m frowning but don’t let that fool you. I’m very approachable and love to make friends!

 

CONNECT WITH RAE!

Website: Valkyrie Design

Twitter: ValDesignHQ

LinkedIn: Rae Bellefountaine

Making magic with The Coven

Shecosystem thrives on diversity and interdependence, and we live these values in the way Shecosystem is managed. Last fall we welcomed seven women on board as part of our Energy Exchange program – otherwise known as The Coven – to help make Shecosystem’s voice, vision, and vibe a truly co-creative offering
The Coven members are making Shecosystem their home base for the next few months, using their professional expertise to further Shecosystem’s mission and foster a comfortable, productive and welcoming space for our community.  

 

We’re gathering around the cauldron and making some magic…meet the West End Witches who are part of this year’s Shecosystem Coven!


 

 Erin Conway is a freelance producer, community builder and philanthropist. Until recently she spent 9 years as the General Manager of The Second City Training Centre, the largest school of improvisation and sketch comedy in the country.  Erin is also the Executive Director of The Big City Improv Festival in Toronto.

Erin is Shecosystem’s Program Coordinator and oversees the Coven. She also hosts our monthly Improv for Entrepreneurs workshops, bringing in the city’s best improvisors to teach us how to say “Yes, and…” in business. She is empowered by seeing women pushing themselves out of their comfort zones at Shecosystem and inspiring change.


 

 Leyla Razeghi is a consultant, trainer and speaker who has worked with both Fortune 500 companies and small businesses. She helps conscious businesses build plans for sustainable growth that are grounded in strong foundations – check her out at Leyla Razeghi Business Strategist

With her years of expertise, she helps out with Marketing and Business Development, helping us build a financially sustainable business while keeping our pricing accessible. She loves that Shecosystem allows her to be productive while having a true work-life balance and having meaningful conversations.

 


 

Annisha Lashand is an accomplished writer, brand builder and content strategist for startups in tech, travel and lifestyle. Annisha’s words can also be found on Electrify Mag, LiveFAST Mag, Toronto Life, The Culture Trip, Darling Magazine and more – check her out here! Like a house cat, you’ll usually find her in the sunniest spot in the room. 

 Annisha acts as the Coven’s Social Media Coordinator, creating  beautiful content that helps us tell the story of Shecosystem and our members.

 


 

 Tasha Jade Banate is one of our three Directors of First Impressions, bringing her friendly healing vibes to the space with creative Opening and Closing Circles and BS-free card readings.

She and Annie work together on our monthly Red Tent women’s circles, and she’s got some exciting event plans coming up for 2018! 

When she’s not helping out as part of the Coven, Tasha is a Professional Noise Witch at Daily Magic, specializing in energy work and sound healing. She works with clients through holistically-minded music lessons and mentorship to awaken the magic within.  Her favourite thing about the Coven is getting to meet the empowering and inspiring women in our community!

 


 

 Lindsay Johnson is another one of our Directors of First Impressions, and she’s got a helpful connection for literally everyone who walks through the door! She is the Radical Connector: an entrepreneur and networking coach has spent 20 years in marketing, sales, and leadership  development roles as well as facilitating professional and personal development workshops.

Lindsay coordinates our monthly Potluck & Perspectives event and hosts several of her own groups here on the regular, including her Use Your Words Content Collective meetup.

She has trained teams, coached individuals, developed sales and training systems and travelled all over North America to work with hundreds of people of all levels.

 


 

 Annie Matan is the Founder and Spiritual Leader of Matanot Lev (Gifts of the Heart), Jewish community in Downtown Toronto. Annie specializes in creating and facilitating meaningful Jewish experiences for people of all backgrounds for life spiral transitions, in workshops and in Shabbat and holiday unservices. 

She is one of our Directors of First Impressions, and her Opening and Closing circles – often involving soulful chanting, candles, and deep intention – are always an uplifting, sacred break in the midst of a mundane workday.  

Her favourite thing about Shecosystem is that she feels free to show up as her whole self in community with others who show up fully too – with our joys, our grief, our complications, our yearnings and our goofiness! Annie says, “This is the sisterhood and community model I have longed for and until now didn’t believe could really exist!”


 

Marla Raymundo is an intern at Shecosystem, as part of a University of Toronto co-op placement. When she’s not here, she’s studying Women and Gender studies, Diaspora and Transnational studies and Sociology at U of T.

Her favourite thing about Shecosystem and being a part of the Shecoven is being in a space which allows the feminine to thrive as well as being around positive, empowering and motivational women who pave their own way to success!