Welcome, you beautiful MAWBsters, to the MAWBBlog! It’s November. Thoughts have turned to the holiday season, and we have an app for that. Well, not an app, but an event. Details, later, but know we are bringing you some exciting events, both daytime and evening, to keep you busy and to help with your business education in the coming months. With our membership creeping towards the 2000 mark, and limited space for all of the in-person events, it is hard for people to stay on top of all the MAWB activity taking place. Each month I recap the monthly Meet Ups, as well as some of the other in-person MAWB events, for all the members who are unable to attend. So, although the Facebook group is incredibly active (more about that later), sometimes life and other obligations make it hard to get out to the events. This blog is meant to keep everyone involved, virtually.
Welcome To The MAWB!
The MAWB is Mississauga and Area Women in Business, a networking group for women entrepreneurs from Mississauga and the surrounding communities. Whether you’re a solopreneur, an employee of a larger organization looking to expand your network, or someone with an MLM as a side hustle or your main source of income, MAWBsters, as we refer to ourselves, come together to support and encourage each other, share ideas, and foster real relationships amongst members. Our group’s sensibility, as established by our Admin and MAWBBoss, Christine Hull, is that people will do business with those they Know, Like, and Trust. While this is an approach that is promoted by many networking groups, it is fully embraced by the MAWB. The opening networking at all of the meetups consists of a lot of hugs and a lot of laughter amongst friends, and everyone is a friend, even if it is your first meetup.
Most of the activity between members takes place online through the MAWB Facebook Group. The Facebook Group follows theme days, which are posted every morning. While you do get the opportunity to promote your business, the idea is to get to know your fellow MAWBsters as people first, engage with each other, and meet in person for coffee/not-coffee dates. Theme days include Marketing Monday, Welcome Wednesday, and Social Saturday. You can find the whole list on the MAWB Facebook Group in the Files tab, or click on the link.
So, as a fair warning to all the newbies out there, don’t be alarmed if someone you don’t know reaches out to you and says, “Hey, you look cool. Let’s have coffee.” This is just how we roll.
Ten-Second Success Stories
Christine started the meeting with a great big WELCOME to all the seasoned members and first-timers in the room. Considering we had a much smaller group than usual, 55 people rather than the usual 70+, we still had 9 newbies there. Because of the intimate size of the group, Christine kicked things off with 10-Second Success Stories—members have the chance to pop up and quickly tell everyone something great that has happened in the last week or so. It doesn’t have to be related to your biz, it can be a personal or life event as well. I don’t usually participate in this, because it is so rapid fire and I am frantically taking notes, but I had something great happen, so I jumped right in:
- Xanthe LeBlanc (that’s me!) got a fantastic new look, making a big change and dying her hair red (and, boy, am I feeling it!)
- Mary Portillo was recovering from an operation, but still managed to get Top 10 in her company
- Donna Smith-Major cleaned out her laundry room and renovated her cabinets
- Dianne MacMillan went out of her comfort zone and completed a 14-day Facebook LIVE challenge and managed to complete her 10KB410AM before the meeting today
- Jennifer Woodbeck completed her book and its about to be published
- Huma Haider had her 1-year anniversary in the MAWB
- Amber Dinda got 2nd place in the MAWB Get Fit group Fitbit Challenge with 85,000 steps
- Sonia Madan, of Asra Wellness, participated in the Kindness Rocks for the World Kindness Day Challenge, with over 100 rocks hidden
- Pockets the Clown (aka Colleen Smith) did her first email campaign
- Susie Beghin worked with Christine Hull and Amber Dinda to organize the Holiday Vendor Showcase at her facility, Alpha’s Discovery Kids, in Mississauga
- Jamie Grant just passed her G test (and also lost 100lbs over the last year, but was too humble to mention it, but it really deserves some attention)
- Hanna Raczkowska just had her best month in terms of income
- Colleen Lowe, who has been off for two months, just had her best sales month
With our usual packed room and packed schedule, we don’t always have the time for this type of sharing. It was fantastic and inspirational to hear all of the wonderful accomplishments of our fellow MAWBsisters.
The (Useful and Sparkly) MAWB Agenda
Christine took us quickly through the Agenda, introducing the two speakers for the day. Susie Beghin will be presenting on her daycare’s proprietary educational platform, the 4 Pillars of Learning. Later on, Heather McCrae will be leading the group through a guided meditation, which will be a real treat. The last time she led a meditation, it was very powerful and half the room was in tears by the end. A quick run-through of the statistics shows membership at 1970, with 65 new members in the last month. With 1574 of those members actively participating in the Facebook Group, the participation rate for the last month of 83%, which is phenomenal! We have consistently posted participation rates in the mid-80 percents since I started keeping track of this statistic. This is so incredible, and it shows how collaborative this group is. So, if you’re a new member and you’re a little bit shy, maybe hanging back and not chiming in on the comment threads, I say take the plunge! You will be accepted and encouraged, and maybe you’ll make some new friends.
We’re going to take some time to mention the other groups and activities the MAWB supports. There is are two comment pods, one for Facebook, moderated by Dianne MacMillan, from Wearable Neurotech and new one for LinkedIn, moderated by Sherri Lojzer, from Mindwave Coaching. If you would like more information on how the comment pods work, please contact Dianne or Sherri directly.
Every month, Christine creates an Instagram Challenge calendar, with suggested content for each day, so you don’t have to generate your own. It’s a lot of work to manage social media content, and this makes it a lot easier. It’s also a way to help track the growth of your following, and to check in on what your fellow MAWBsisters have to say by using the hashtag MAWB(month)—with the month name changing along with the calendar. So for November it is #mawbnovember. Make sure to follow each monthly hashtag so the posts will show up in your feed.
The Events tab in the Facebook Group is the best way to keep on top of all the upcoming Meetups, social events, and Lunch and Learn Webinars. In the Events, please take note of the MAWB Holiday Marketplace, taking place on December 8, at Alpha’s Discovery Kids on Erin Mills Parkway. There will be over 20 vendors and some special activities for the kids, including cheek painting and a Visit with Santa. There is the MAWB Book Club, moderated by Cake by Sadaf’s Sadaf Khalid Palijo, assisted by visual artist extraordinaire, Shelley Foster. Discussions take place both online and in person, and discussion points are posted in the group throughout the month. If you’re interested in participating, please PM Shelley or Sadaf, as this is a closed group. There is also the MAWB Get Fit group, which supports members in their efforts to live a healthy lifestyle. They have weekly challenges, and previous challenges have involved increasing water intake and cutting out sugar. Jennifer Mariuz Hook and Vinnie Coluccio are the moderators of this group, and again, if you are interested in participating, please contact them via PM as it is a closed group.
Finally, there is an online directory for the MAWB. Did you know about it? I have to confess, I know about it but I have not yet entered my information, and I’m betting a lot of you haven’t either. I’m issuing a challenge for the month of November: Go online and enter your information into the directory. We have nearly 2000 members, who offer a wide variety of products and services, and we have it at our fingertips, or at least we would if we all used it. So, everyone, in the month of November go online and enter your contact info! And if you’re already in the directory, just have a peek and make sure everything is as it should be under your name.
Next month we will be having a couple of celebrations for the MAWB’s 2nd Anniversary at the daytime and evening meetups. To that end, Christine is looking for someone to help her plan the celebration for the evening meetup. If you’re interested, please PM Christine Hull.
Oh, Yeah! What happens in Muskoka stays in Muskoka! Except, of course, all the new skills and knowledge you will pick up to help take your business to the next level. Full details are available in the private group for registered attendees. There is still room available for this incredibly reasonably priced, information-packed weekend of business development and personal improvement, so if you have a friend who is on the fence, encourage them to come along. The more the merrier, and the more information there will be available to share. Let’s fill up this place so we can keep it to ourselves!. If you are interested and want to know more, please contact one of the Retreat Committee members, Carrie Whiteduck, Donna Smith-Major, Farrah Murray Snyed, Amber Schmitt Dinda, or Jenn Hook.
Details for the 2020 MAWB Retreat are as follows: It is being held at the Severn Lodge in Muskoka, the weekend of May 22–24, and, ladies, we will have the run of the place. There is going to be a marketplace, so if you are interested in having a table, please contact someone from the registration committee. The price is $475/person based on a double occupancy room (which means two beds with one person in each, not one bed with two people), but if you want to solo it in a room, you can do so for $650. These rates are fully tax deductible, and are all inclusive except for your adult beverages, so remember to byob.
There will be plenty of MAWB activity taking place: workshops––there were 23 in April, but I’m sure there will be many more this time because it is a larger facility and we will have up to 90 MAWBsters there; shared mealtimes; parties; maybe a Polar Bear Dip in the lake, who knows? Activities offered by Severn Lodge include canoeing, kayaking, tennis, and nature walks. There is also a lot of demand for creative workshops, so if you have a creative flair and can teach the skills, contact the planning committee. All I know for sure is that I am already registered and I can’t wait!
TWOFER TWO Times TWO
Once again, we did a Twofer Two—two people, two minutes each to do a quick introduction, sort of like speed dating. I was paired with Sonia Madan, a practitioner of Reiki, hypnosis, and guided meditation. As Sonia and I already know each other, we spent a few minutes touching base. One of the things we discussed was the talent of Bhie Betran, one of our group`s hair stylists and what a fantastic job she did with my hair transformation. Mousey Brown to flaming redhead. If you’re looking for a talented hairstylist, reach out to her. PM her, and go for coffee. You won’t regret it.
For the second Twofer (out of sequence of meeting events), I didn’t have a partner because of where I was sitting, so Christine, who was also sporting a new hairdo, courtesy of stylist Jennifer Hawkins, who does a mean blowout, and I took a selfie, fantastic hair, red lips, and all.
And the Winner is…
Every month we have a few door prize sponsors, usually three or four. As a door prize sponsor you have the benefit of standing in front of the group for a few minutes to discuss your business and what you can provide to our members. You are also encouraged to get together for a coffee date with the winner of your door prize. If this is something you’re interested in doing, please PM Christine Hull to make arrangements.
This month’s door prizes were donated ad awarded as follows:
- Elizabeth LaPointe gave away a house! As a realtor this makes a lot of sense. Don’t get too excited, though. It was a house-shaped display case, won by Dianne MacMillan
- Colleen Lowe, of Enfleurage Organics, a line of body care products, was won by Elizabeth LaPointe!
- Alyson Scott, Owner of Smart Choice Business Assistance, gave a consultation for free website enhancement, won by Jennifer Woodbeck, author and Financial Advisor
- Finally, Donna Pinsonneault of She’s Got Leggz had a stylish pair of leggings for realtor Mary Portillo
After that we gathered together in the middle of the room for our group photo, then a break before our featured speakers of the day.
Four Pillars of Learning for Kids
After the break, Susie Beghin took to the floor to talk about how her daycare, Alpha’s Discovery Kids, and their approach to preschool learning. They follow the 4 Pillars of Learning, and approach they have developed to help kids optimize their preschool learning.
- Language and Literacy: They use creativity, not worksheets, to develop language and literacy skills. The curriculum is child-driven, in real time, so they are interested and invested.
- STEAM: They integrate Art into the traditional STEM fields of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math, because Art fosters creativity and innovation, which advances STEM.
- Physical Activity and Nutrition: Healthy lifestyle habits that are started young are more likely to stick throughout a lifetime, and if you take care of your body your brain works better. They engage in physical activity every day and have a nutritionist-developed meal plan at the school.
- Mindful Awareness: Mindfulness is learning about our body’s signals and recognizing when we’re stressed. They use yoga, meditation, and deep breathing to help the children learn how to self-calm and manage stress.
Susie then had us do an activity, similar to something they might do with the children. We had to team up to build a structure, but the one rule was we were not allowed to talk to each other to communicate. It was fascinating because every structure ended up being completely different, everyone just worked intuitively building on each other’s ideas, with no second-guessing each other. It was really an outstanding presentation, well structured, participatory, and Susie had her ask prepared—if you know of anyone who is looking for childcare, please keep her in mind. And if you want to learn more, contact her for a coffee date.
Alpha’s Discovery Kids Preschool and Daycare is dedicated to providing children 12 months to 5 years with an exceptional program to develop the whole child through our inquiry-based “4 Pillars of Learning” curriculum. Our goal is to give each child the best start in life by providing quality education and a positive learning environment to spark children’s natural curiosity, exploration and inquiry.
Connect with Susie of Alpha’s Discovery Kids here:
Let it Begin With You
Our second event of the day was a guided group meditation, led by Heather McCrae. Heather is an initiate of the Modern Mystery School, a Reiki Master, an ambassador for Mini Me Yoga Canada, and has a Master’s in Special Ed and specializes in working with children and adults who have suffered childhood trauma.
The theme of today’s meditation was Let It Begin With You, and focussed on empowerment. The last time Heather led a meditation at a meeting it was incredibly powerful, so I have to confess I put down my pen, stopped taking notes, and participated. Heather led us through all the chakras, and she can definitely tell you what all that means, so I recommend you book a one-on-one coffee date with her and learn about all the magick she works. The mood in the room was quiet and emotional. As with last time, many were crying.
To end the meeting, instead of posing her usual question, “What is your Ask?”, Christine spent the last few minutes asking everyone to share what they were feeling in the aftermath of Heather’s meditation. The responses included words like calm, courageous, grateful, community, powerful, love, connection, overwhelmed (in a good way), peaceful, and hopeful. It was a very different way than usual to end the meeting, which is usually very upbeat, and maybe a little loud, but in this case the calm was appropriate.
That’s all from November. See you in December for the Holiday Potluck.