Fall, Finances, and Fabulous Females

Welcome, you beautiful MAWBsters, to the MAWBBlog! Well, it’s October. The warmth of summer is gone, the sweaters have come out of storage, and the cold rains have started. But have no fear, we are bringing you some exciting events, both daytime and evening, to keep you busy. There will be more on this below. 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 Founder 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.

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 Page 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.

Top Secret MAWB Agenda

Christine started the meeting with a great big WELCOME to all the new members and first-timers in the room. Considering we had a much smaller group than usual, 50 people rather than 70+, we still had 12 newbies in the room. Because of the intimate size of the group, Christine started with a TWOFER—2 seconds and two things—your name and your business. With our usual packed room and packed schedule, we have never been able to do this before, and it was nice to know who the ladies on the other side of the room are. A quick run-through of the statistics shows membership at 1894, with 64 new members in the last month, and 1574 of those members actively participating in the Facebook Group. This is a 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 October it is #mawboctober. Next month it will be #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. There is the MAWB Book Club, moderated by Cake by Sadaf’s Sadaf Khalid Palijo, and 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.

TWOFER TWO

Our next TWOFER was 2 people, two minutes each, to introduce yourself. I was seated next to the ever lovely Fernanda Silva, Mary Kay Director, and since we know each other quite well already, I used the opportunity to ask her about her 50th Anniversary Cruise. Imagine that—50 years! What an accomplishment! Congratulations, Fernanda.

MUSKOKA, BABY!

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, although we are about two-thirds booked. The second instalment was due on October 15, for this incredibly reasonably priced, information-packed weekend of business development and personal improvement. If you are interested and want to know more, please contact one of the Retreat Commitee members, Carrie WhiteduckDonna Smith-MajorFarrah Murray SnyedAmber 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, and the first 20 registrants were given a vendor table as an early-registration bonus. 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.

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! And, as a perk of early registration, I get early check in at the resort––1:00 instead of 4:00, so I can pre-game the Friday night Welcome Party. Woohoo!

10-Second Success Story

Christine gave the room the opportunity to pat themselves on the back and share a recent win, whether professional or personal, with 10-seconds to share their joy.

  • Kaoutsar Entifi Taoud, the Macaron Lady, won a 1000+ piece corporate order for holiday gift-giving to their clients
  • Bhie Beltran has lost 10 pounds
  • Susie Beghin won the Mississauga News Readers’ Choice Platinum Award as the Best Daycare for Alpha’s Discovery Kids
  • Nadia Desroches, of Mary Kay, added four people to her team
  • Laurel Best, visual artist, had a client say “ I want to take art classes with you until I die!”
  • Araceli Hernandez changed her schedule so she gets up at 5:00am, and she is getting more done
  • Linsey Denham got on Instagram
  • Kate Unger is having a CD Launch party
  • Tamiah Johnston is on Day 6 of a daily yoga plan
  • Huma Haider is in a just-released documentary
  • Fernanda Silva had 5 people join her team, and just celebrated her 50th Anniversary
  • Jamie Grant opened her new spa location in Oakville
  • Bushra Noman earned a trip to Sydney
  • Sadaf Khalid Palijo has been busy every weekend because of the MAWB

If I missed your shoutout, I’m so sorry—success stories were flying at a really rapid pace!


TWOFER TWO TWO

For the second two-minute, two-person breakout, I was paired with Sadaf Khalid Palijo, The Cake Lady in the MAWB. She is currently looking for occasional help with her cake business. She needs someone to do prep work, clean up, etc., so she can focus more on concept creation and execution. If you know anyone with an interest in baking who is available for a couple of hours at a time, when needed, please contact Sadaf directly.

LinkedIn Link Up

Christine took a minute to generate traffic to the LinkedIn profiles of everyone in the room. Apparently there is a simple way to connect to a large group of people, all at once. The steps are as follows:

  • Open LinkedIn app
  • Tap on Friends icon
  • Tap Manage My Network or Friends+ icon
  • Tap on Find Nearby
  • If Bluetooth is on you can connect with everyone else in the room

WINNER/GAGNANT

Our door prize sponsors this month were Azadeh Razavi, from the Nutrition House location at Heartland, whose gift basket of nutritional supplements and goodies was won by Realtor Colette RabbaFouzia Tariq, a Floral Designer from Simply Elegant created a magnificent, autumn-themed arrangement, won by Huma Haider, Hypnotist (what great alliteration!). Finally, Crina Cretu, Nutritionist and Live Blood Cell Analyst, donated a free Live Blood Cell Analysis, which was won by first-timer Madison Mai, a CPA. Our snack sponsor for the day, Kaoutsar Entifi Taoud had the opportunity to speak about her business importing macarons and other French pastries from France. She brought a selection of both sweet and savory macarons for the group to sample at the Meetup. Now, as a foodie, I am insanely curious about the savory macarons, which Kaoutsar said work really with charcuterie, but I got there too late to try any. I think a coffee date is in order.

And then we gathered together in the middle of the room for our group photo, then a break before our featured speaker of the day.

Elleverity=Her Truth

Zainab Williams is a Financial Planner and owner of Ellerverity Wealth, and was the featured speaker at the meeting. She delivered an informative and insightful presentation on how important it is for women to be involved in their financial planning, and three key areas you should focus on to take control of your financial freedom:

  • Create a Spending Plan: You have to identify your priorities; separate obligations from habits disguised as obligations; this is about trade-offs, what can you cut out or cut back on to achieve your savings goals.
    “If you don’t assign a job for your money, it starts to find its own role.”
  • Investments: Statistics show within 5 years of widowhood, household income decreases by 40%; women live 4 years longer than men, but only earn $.69-per-dollar that men earn. This last stat means women have lower CPP contributions, lower RRSP contributions, lower savings, and a higher risk of poverty. Know what you need to consider when making investment decisions: What is your plan? Do you need liquidity? Are the products presented to you in your best interest, or are they the products your advisor has? What is your risk tolerance?
  • Managing What You Have: Is your insurance coverage adequate for your needs? Do you have Income Protection Insurance? Understand and manage your credit score.

In a nutshell, you need to understand your money story. You need to have a clear picture of where you are, where you want to be, and how you can get there. You need to own your financial truth—Elleverity. What I recapped here is such a bare bones synopsis of all the information Zainab imparted. I can’t even begin to convey the essence of her presentation, so I encourage you to book a coffee date with Zainab as soon as possible, so you can get to know (and like and trust) her. To conclude, I will leave you with one of her mottos, “Money is a tool and wealth is an energy.”

Big Breakout

Our final breakout was with a larger group, and the question posed was about our last quarter business plans: “How are you going to meet your revenue goals for the rest of the year?” I was seated with Kay Davies-Brucki, an esthetician at K-Spa, Zainab Williams, our illustrious speaker, and Fernanda Silva. Kay talked about not being on the same page financially as her husband, and that she doesn’t really have a plan. Zainab talked to her about having the hard discussions and how it sometimes helps to have a third party there. I am in the same boat as Kay in that I didn’t really have a plan for this year, although next year will be a very different story. Fernanda has had a lot of special events (hello, 50th Anniversary!) this year that have thrown her off course, so she needs to buckle down and double her sales for the next two months.

What Is Your Ask?

Christine posts this question at the end of every meeting. It’s not about buying and selling, it’s about connecting—meet me, follow me, share my posts or event, let me practice with you, give me a testimonial, or let’s go get coffee/non-coffee. You know how much we MAWBsters love our coffee dates. It’s amazing what schemes get hatched over a cup o’ joe. So, please everyone, schedule a date or two this week and meet with someone new. Have a good one!

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