Boissvain business owners, Cora Champion and Megan Hamilton, had a vision to host an event where women in business could join together in a setting where like-minded women are shoulder to shoulder.to network, to share with each other and to learn from each other in the realm of owning a business.
Champion is an accountant with BMO and is passionate about small businesses. She stepped into the role of being a business-owner having seen the opportunity to work with small businesses. "After a little while in public practice, I decided to start my own business and I realized pretty quickly that I couldn't just poke my head into the office next door and ask questions. I had to branch out, network and reach out to other people who had similar experiences, similar challenges."
"Operating a business is very different when you're actually doing it," shares Champion. "There's a lot to learn and a lot of things to overcome. People weren't always easy to find and connect with but the ones I found were amazing individuals and they helped me on my journey. Because of that I wanted to create something in our community that offered that opportunity to other women in business."
Boissevain pharmacist, Megan Hamilton, reached out to Cora Champion when she purchased Hazelwood Drugs a few years ago. "When I took over the business, I desperately needed Cora's expertise and that's been invaluable. Since I've owned Hazlewood Drugs, I've had the opportunity to attend networking events and conferences outside of Boissevain, and the benefits that I have been able to access through those events are boundless."
"Like Cora said, you meet people, you network, you can learn from the experts," says Hamilton. "So, bringing opportunities like that to our own community and our own group of businesswomen, it seemed like the perfect fit. Why wouldn't we want to bring it here!"
An invite was shared over local media and social media to attend the first evening 'meet & greet' at Boissevain's Sawmill cafe, to listen to the story of one woman's journey as an entrepreneur. The committee was astounded at the number of women who attended the event!
A few months later, another invite was shared to come and listen to Mayor Judy Swanson's journey of how she was a supervisor with Canada Post covering the large southeast corner of Saskatchewan with hundreds of employees under her direction. Again, there was standing room only!
This validated the desire for women in business to learn from each other 'how to do business' and the evening meetings continued over the year. "It was funny, here we were all of us at the Sawmill together and we're looking at each other and thinking 'oh my goodness, I didn't even realize there were this many women in business in our very own community," says Champion. "It was excellent!"
Hamilton agrees. "We've been overwhelmed by the positive response to the events. I remember that feeling of all of us women saying, 'There's a ton of women involved in business that we didn't even realize!"
Champion and Hamilton have now launched their first Women in Business conference to be held at the International Peace Garden on Thursday, October 12th. The one-day conference will feature keynote speakers, breakout sessions, and networking over a cup of coffee and lunch at the beautiful Conservatory at the Peace Garden.
"This conference is the opportunity for more in-depth learning," says Hamilton. "The evening events were wonderful, but it's hard to include all the meat and potatoes of all the things we want to talk about and learn about, and share. So, that's the idea of the conference, was to take these events, expand them and really listen to the surveys and feedback we got at those events and tailor this to the people who have been showing up."
"I kind of want to describe it - this specific event and the Women in Business committee and the events they put on - we're trying to build the toolkit," adds Hamilton. "So. for anyone involved in business, interested in business, involved in any capacity, we're building the toolkits; making sessions, information, and people available to you so that you can access them, and thrive and grow personally or in your business."
Please listen to Cora Champion and Megan Hamilton below, for more on the upcoming Women in Business Conference!
Visit the Boissevain-Morton website for more information, and to register... OR click HERE!
In response to Canada's Online News Act and Meta (Facebook and Instagram) removing access to local news from their platforms, Discover Westman encourages you to get your news directly from your trusted source by bookmarking this page and downloading the DiscoverWestman app.