Updated: Jun 11, 2019
My mission in life has always been to bring people together to celebrate life. I was clear on that at a young age.
In my early days, it started with gathering friends up to go skating at the outdoor rink in Winnipeg (that was a hard sell at 30 below!).
In my teens and early twenties, we hosted massive pool parties at the Nowensky Family home in Oshawa. Sometimes my Mom was compelled to put a CLOSED sign on the door to try to discourage everyone who would inevitably show up at our place after the bar.
Fortunately for my Mom, we ended up moving the party to a nightclub that I opened when I was 25 called the MOON ROOM. This hole-in-the-wall, alternative grunge club ended up becoming a beloved live music venue and tour stop between Montreal and Toronto. Canadian touring artists loved how our team welcomed them with open arms, fulfilling every whim on their riders including providing a dog for petting, all-the-right-colour smarties, delicious home cooked meals and plenty to drink of course.
So much has changed since then, but really, so much remains the same.
I still love bringing people together. Over the years, I have been blessed with an incredible career. I started out as an entrepreneur which provided me with freedom to bring people together in a variety of formats starting with the nightclub, then as a concert and event producer. My dream was to work on the largest events in the world; which was realized when I was hired to join the production team for WOODSTOCK 2 in the late 90’s, which was an unforgettable experience.
I have had many wonderful jobs since my serial entrepreneurial days. From community relations to marketing and development, to award-winning economic developer, and now the CEO of an incredible cultural hub in Whitby called Station Gallery. Who says we can’t reinvent ourselves over and over again?
In each and every one of these roles, I have delighted in finding ways to bring people together to celebrate life, and build community. What a blessing that is.
About a month ago, I attended the Whitby Chamber of Commerce Connect Women event. It was so great to meet and reconnect with so many amazing women. Kudos Natalie and her fantastic team at the Chamber of Commerce for producing such an engaging event!
I ended up establishing a new friendship with one of the presenters, Vanessa Valharia. I absolutely loved how Vanessa stood on stage in front of 500 women sharing her story about overcoming her math challenges and becoming the THE MATH GURU.
If that wasn’t enough to get my attention, Vanessa went on to share her deepest desire, which is to be a ROCK STAR and OPEN UP FOR THE ROLLING STONES.
Vanessa and I became fast friends and I committed to help her in every way possible to help her realize her dream. Vanessa gifted me this shirt...and when her band opens for the Rolling Stones, I will be wearing it backstage. 😉
In addition to the new friendship with Vanessa, I also reconnected with a dear friend who I had previously worked with at The Region of Durham, Jennifer Santos.
It was so great to see Jenny again, and we promised to get together to catch up. We both agreed that it was a shame to not see each other as often now that we weren’t working together; and that we should start up a quarterly networking event in order to stay connected with each other and other women who are inspired by to join us. And so, the Durham Women’s Network (DWN) was born.
We held the first meeting in April, and it was it was a success. Local MP, and community builder Celina Caesar-Chavannes was in attendance to help officially launch the DWN. Celina is a Canadian ICON and a national treasure. Celina is such an inspiration to me - I have this photo of her (as featured in OPRAH MAGAZINE) hanging above my computer at work.
Since our inaugural event, the group has grown from less than 50 members to 2000+ members from across Durham Region who are inspired to connect and support each other—all in one month’s time!
Jenny and I are surprised and delighted by the engagement that is taking place on the Durham Women’s Network Facebook platform. We have connected with so many incredible, talented, wonderful women as a result of this new group. They love the fact that there is no agenda – and no strings attached. Just women supporting women. How cool is that?
We are starting to hear stories about how members are equally inspired by the connectedness that is happening in the group, and that so many meaningful connections are happening. Some of the women are sharing their vulnerabilities, and that is creating even more connections and support. This leaves me pondering this question: How can I use my stories and my voice to truly make a difference?
Isn’t it incredible how we can make such a difference in the lives of others when we open up and share our hearts? After all, we are all divinely connected. And, when we focus on achieving the highest manifestation of ourselves as possible, we can truly make a difference in the world.
I would like to wrap up this post with some ideas that I gleened from a discussion between Oprah Winfrey and Marianne WIlliamson on this podcast:
After all, each and every one of our lives is our own platform. Why are we waiting to be stars in our own lives? It’s our time to shine. SHINE ON. QUOTES FROM A RETURN TO LOVE BY MARIANNE WILLIAMSON
"The reason so many of us are obsessed with becoming stars, is because we are not yet starring in our own lives. The cosmic spotlight isn’t pointing at you, it radiates from within you."
"The difference between magic and miracles is magic is when you use you mind to tell the Universe what you want. Miracles is when you ask the Universe what it wants and how you can serve it."