Community Roundup: Entrepreneurs We Love!

It's Valentines Day! What better way to celebrate than by featuring some exciting pieces from entrepreneurs we love. Many members of the AWE community share useful and interesting things online, and we like to draw your attention to these posts from time to time on the blog. Enjoy!

Watch this space for more news from friends of AWE in the coming months.

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Business Growth in Supply Chain

Supply Chains are important within every business and every person’s life.  A supply chain is the network of all the individuals, organizations, resources, activities and technologies involved in the creation and sale of a product, from the delivery of source materials from the supplier to the manufacturer, through to its eventual delivery to the end user.

Everything we do, everywhere we go, every business and person uses a supply chain at some point in their daily activity.  Eating, drinking, living, moving, commuting, these are all daily activities supported by supply chains.  When you consider business growth, volume, velocity, and distance are the three most important supply chain factors.

Volume is a primary driver of the type of supply chain you use.  When we first start out, our volume of service or product is usually low, and as we grow it begins to build.  A low volume supply chain has a higher cost than a high volume supply chain on a per unit basis.  As your volume increases, your supply chain should also shift.  The supply chain becomes less expensive per unit because your costs are spread out across more units.

The second key factor is velocity.  Are you in a hurry?  If yes, it will cost more (FedEx overnight is a lot more expensive than FedEx 2-day service).  The question to ask is – how long can someone wait for what they need?  If the answer is “a while” then pick the slowest delivery method – it will always be lower cost than faster.

Finally, the farther you go to deliver, the more it will cost.  If you are buying and selling product in your own city delivery costs are low.  If you are buying or selling product overseas, your costs will be higher. So if you are a small business that is just starting out, try to deliver and sell locally first and then to other cities, provinces, and countries after you have built up more volume.

As your business grows, the type of supply chain that you use and how much it costs shifts.   The important thing to know is that as your business grows the type of delivery system and supply chain that you need will change.  If you go from shipping a few cases to thousands of cases, but you are using the expensive courier model, then you will have a declining rate of return and your profitability could be negatively affected.  Understanding how your services and products are delivered and how much it costs is an important part of containing operating expenses to ensure maximum possible profit.

About the Author


Corrie Banks is a supply chain costing and solution design expert with 20 years of experience implementing technology and supply chain efficiency projects. Corrie has worked for Canadian Pacific Railway, Canadian Pacific Logistics Solutions and Parmalat Canada with a progressive career starting as administrative assistant progressing to Senior Management to President of Triskele Logistics.

Corrie has managed $25M transportation budget including fleet, warehouse, and 3 rd party freight carriers. While at Canadian Pacific Corrie created statistical analysis systems for Mechanical Services, managed IT projects for Customer Service, and managed many aspects of Canadian Pacific Logistics Solutions including 3rd party logistics for a large CPG company, a large alcohol producer and steel pipe manufacturer. Her technical, analytical and operations management experience has resulted in ~7% - 10% annual cost reductions year over year for the organizations that she has worked with.

Corrie has a Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of Athabasca, a white belt in Lean Manufacturing and a green belt in Six Sigma. Corrie is the Chair of the Calgary Logistics Council, a member of the Van Horne Institute Women In Supply Chain steering committee, a past project advisor the Van Horne Youth In Supply Chain project, a working group member for the Canadian Supply Chain Sector Council - Supply Chain Links Part II: Connector project, and the Chair of the Supply Chain Management program advisory committee for SAIT. She is passionate about people, getting involved in helping others and supporting them in their career development.

Hear Corrie and many other great speakers at this year's Learning Day! Get your tickets today!


Building A Resilient Business

Now more than ever resilience is the key to surviving challenging and changing times in business.


Resilient businesses (and business owners) are better able to manage change, deal with crisis, collaborate and manage the challenges that get in the way of success.  Resilience is like a bank account, you have to keep depositing into the account for wealth to accumulate.  If you take withdrawals without making deposits, the account will run dry. The same is true for resilience.

Charmaine Hammond, expert in leadership, and business success will be sharing strategies for resilience in business at the upcoming AWE conference. 

When businesses are not resilient there are a number of difficulties that can (and likely will) occur, many that can be catastrophic for business success.  Businesses lacking resilience are likely to:

·       Experience high degrees of wasted time and energy, duplicated efforts and inefficiencies.

·       Jeopardize relationships and communication with clients, and customers.

·       Make costly mistakes.

·       Experience more conflict, turnover and personnel issues, and,

·       Make reactive or emotionally based decisions instead of well-planned decisions.

There’s good news!

These results are avoidable and resilience is teachable.

As a leader, these 3 consistent actions can boost the resilience in your life and business.

1.     Take at least 30 minutes each day to refill your resilience bank account. That could be simple activities like a walk outside, a hobby, reading a good (not work related) book.  This “ME” time goes a long way in re-energizing you.

2.     Bookend your day. Frame your day in the morning. Decide how you want to show up. Set one goal you must achieve.  End your day in a meaningful way (not checking email or doing work minutes before bed). 

3.     Watch your language. Are you saying things like “I am too busy”, “I can’t keep up”, “I’m exhausted.” The words we say and think frame how we show up and ultimately the results we experience. Instead consider statements like “I have energy to get my most important priorities done”, “I can ask for help when the list gets too big” and “the pace I am choosing allows me maximum efficiency.”

At the Conference Charmaine will share what it takes to supercharge your results and business success without stress. 

Learning Day is less than a month away. Have you got your tickets yet?


3 Reasons You Should Attend Learning Day

As an entrepreneur, you know that being in business for yourself is not always easy. Being an entrepreneur takes long hours, hard work and endless amounts of caffeine. It also takes a certain level of tolerance and resiliency.

On February 22, 2017 we are bringing together the best of the best to present Learning Day: Growing a Resilient Business at MacEwan University in Edmonton. The day will be filled with countless opportunities to grow your network and grow your business with valuable advice from our keynote speaker, Charmaine Hammond, specialists from within the entrepreneurial community and experts from organizations such as ATB Business and Business Link.

While there are many reasons to attend Learning Day, here are the top three reasons why we think you should attend!

1. Expand your business tool kit through a number of workshops

Education is the key to moving towards your goals. In a world that is constantly changing, continuous learning is vital as a business owner. At Learning Day you will be able to access a variety of workshops with topics including sales, human resources, marketing and scaling your business. 

2. Connect with like-minded professional women and the business community

Being an entrepreneur can sometimes be isolating. It can be hard to relate to friends or family about your business pains and peaks. At Learning Day you will be able to connect with like-minded women who understand what it's like to be in business for yourself. You will also have the opportunity to meet service providers and partner organizations who are doing amazing things to support entrepreneurs just like you! 

3. Learn best practices to grow your business

From accessing a variety of workshops to connecting with like-minded women and partner organizations, there is so much to gain from attending Learning Day. We are sure you will be inspired after attending the event and hearing from our keynote speaker, Charmaine Hammond who is an expert in conflict resolution and igniting resilient workplaces. 

We are so excited to see this event come to life. It will be a day to remember!

Questions about the event? Reach out to us

Register today!


5 Tips for Hiring the Perfect Employee

 5 Tips for Hiring the Perfect Employee

Whether you are making your first hire, or are looking to hire additional employees as your business grows, you want to make sure you are moving forward with the employees who will help your business to thrive. 69% of employers said their companies were adversely affected by a bad hire last year, according to a recent study by CareerBuilder. 41% of those businesses estimated the cost of a bad hire was over $25,000! So how do you know if the person you’ve hired is really your next star employee, or just charming in an interview chair?

Holiday Greetings from Marcela Mandeville

What a year! 2016 was certainly filled with change, challenge, and opportunity. As winter solstice arrives and we prepare to bring 2016 to a close, it seems like the perfect time to look back on our year and to look forward to the longer days and adventure that awaits in 2017. 

As you will see, we already have great things planned to kick off the new year.

Of course, I could not look back on 2016 without mentioning taking on the CEO role, which has been a great opportunity to lead a dedicated team who model purpose every day in our efforts to help women entrepreneurs build successful businesses. 

Trying to determine highlights for the year has been quite a challenge - there were so many moments, stories and experiences. When I pulled together these pieces, what emerged was a picture of why we proudly saw Alberta lead Canada in exceeding parity in participation rates of women as early stage business owners and why we are so committed to helping women in our province reach their entrepreneurial dreams.

As we move into 2017, we aim to connect more entrepreneurs into our ever-growing, amazing community of women business owners who contribute so much to Alberta by taking risks, building strong local businesses, innovating new products and processes, role modeling business savviness, supporting other entrepreneurs, moving into new markets, and overall making the world a better place.

We are so thankful to our clients, funders, sponsors, partners, families (pets included, of course), and friends for your valuable support. From our AWE family to yours, we wish you a happy and safe holiday season. 

We are excited to continue our journey with you in 2017!

Community Roundup

Many members of the AWE community share useful and interesting things online, and we like to draw your attention to these posts from time to time on the blog. Enjoy!


  • Boreal Services Group, founded by Deidra Helmig shares the five products that saved their business. From Quickbooks to Basecamp, we're sure many entrepreneurs can agree that these tools are more than helpful to any small business.
  • Knowing yourself is an important part of being an entrepreneur. In her latest blog post, Ashley Janssen (Principal at Agile Style) shares tips on how to manage your time, your relationship and your work.
  • Michelle Hordal, Founder and Executive Director of Adaptabilities recently hosted their third annual Respite N' Rejuvenate event. This organization is doing amazing things for so many families in our city. 
  • Making Calgary and area homes beautiful is what Shannon Lenstra, President of Kon-strux Developments specializes in. Shannon and her army of interior designers made the 30 Best Interior Designer Companies in Calgary list with Point 2 Homes. 
  • Michelle Cotton, President of Solstice Canada has the perfect place for business owners to rent a small office or desk (and we hear it's close to Duchess Bakery..)

Do you have exciting things happening in your business that you would like us to feature? Be sure to share them with us on social media or send us a note to 




Michelle Hordal- Support To Step Into Uncomfortable Territory

Michelle Hordal- Support To Step Into Uncomfortable Territory

Michelle is the founder and Executive Director of Alberta AdaptAbilities Association, a registered charity providing special needs children and young adults with a variety of quality programs that target the development of the whole individual, while providing peace of mind to the families in the stress of everyday challenges. Michelle is an alumnus of the PeerSpark™ program.

Meghan Dear – Making the Most of International Expansion Opportunities

Meghan Dear – Making the Most of International Expansion Opportunities

Meghan is the founder and CEO of Localize, an awareness platform to educate shoppers about where their food comes from. She leads the vision to build a service that shares better food information at the shelf’s edge, so consumers can finally shop in peace with the right information at hand. Meghan was the 2016 AWE Emerging Innovator Award recipient.

7 Ways To Build Loyal Customers

7 Ways To Build Loyal Customers

In a world of endless options, it is increasingly tougher to gain the loyalty of a customer. However, the effort invested to build the loyalty and keep them coming back is absolutely worth it. Studies have shown that it costs 6-7 times more to acquire a new customer than to provide service to an existing one (Ciotti, G.). According to a study done by Consumer Insight Group, those existing customers who develop a sense of loyalty to your brand will show their love in different ways: 78% will spread the word, 68% will buy more, and 54% will refuse to buy other products. Does that sound like something you’re interested in?

Entrepreneurs Ready for International Expansion after BWIT Trade Mission

Entrepreneurs Ready for International Expansion after BWIT Trade Mission

Over the past two weeks, AWE had the exciting opportunity to accompany a few of our most driven entrepreneurs on a dual-city trade mission, led by the Business Women in International Trade (BWIT) Program at Global Affairs Canada. The mission included stops to Atlanta, Georgia for the Women in Business: North America Summit, followed by a stop in Orlando, Florida for the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) National Conference and Business Fair.

How CSR can enhance a business of any size!

How CSR can enhance a business of any size!

CSR…that’s when large corporations donate huge sums of money to social causes, right? Well, not exactly. Corporate social responsibility is a deceptive term, as it includes that scary ‘C’ word, but essentially it means a business is operating ethically and responsibly across the triple bottom line (socially, environmentally, and financially). It is also something that is absolutely achievable for your business…without the overwhelming price tag associated with this type of strategy. In fact, entrepreneurs are some of the most powerful people to implement socially responsible strategies. This is because as passionate people, entrepreneurs rarely start a business with the sole purpose of making a lot of money, but rather they are usually committed to fulfilling some kind of social need, making them of the mindset to limit social grievances. 

How an AWE business loan will help you grow

How an AWE business loan will help you grow

This week I sat down with Lori Thexton, wife and mother of two, cross-fit enthusiast, and expert loan portfolio manager with Alberta Women Entrepreneurs. Lori came to AWE from the credit industry, having previously worked for Ford Credit Canada Ltd., and has now been with us for 3 years, lending money to women who are helping to build the Albertan economy. I asked Lori a few questions about our loan program to give entrepreneurs considering taking out a business loan a better picture of how we can help them at AWE.