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Ladies Who Lunch networking event connects crowd of inspiring local female entrepeneurs

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The first speaker of the afternoon was Sabrina Meherally,  volunteer leader of both the InnovativeCommunities.Org Tanzania Initiatives Team and Centre for Communications and Marketing.  She spoke about the power of intuition and listening to the gut feeling sometimes pulling you in a certain direction, and about risk, leaving a 9 to 5 job to follow her dream of volunteering abroad.  She reminded us that our ducks will never all be in a perfect row, that you can plan tirelessly and endlessly and you'll never be ready.  Just make a move.  Take action.  As Maria likes to say, you don't have to be perfect coming out of the gate - you just have to come out of the gate.

Christina Washko was the incredibly fun and entertaining second speaker who lived out her dream of travelling and exploration from Germany to Fiji to the Bahamas, opened a cafe, "Strawberry Lounge" and published her book "Very-Berry Extraordinary" about a mother, her teenage dream and recipies for a buzzing business.

The ladies were now ready for some high fashion please.  International designers, Xsenia and Olya featured a collection of their stunning summer line showcasing flowing dresses, shorts, flowy pants and vests - any of which would be the perfect outfit for a poweful lady looking to dazzle and wow this season.  My personal favourite was a blue and white power blazer worn by Kim Appelt of StylebyKim xo, a wardrobe, personal stylist and personal style blogger.  The whole collection of Xsenia and Olya was dreamy, romantic and fiercly feminine.  Divine designs.  Note to self - must buy a piece, soon.

(photo courtesy of Cliff Ma)

The last speaker was Calli Meister, who shared her courageous story transforming personal trauma into a triumph and through determination and will of the human spirit and mind, anything can be done.  She asked us to get up, breathe deeply, stand tall and feel our power as we raised our hands high, proud and triumphant.  This is the “power stance” and it is used by many powerful leaders and atheletes before performances.  It felt good.  It reminded us to always stand in our light and power and stand on top of any of our darkness.  Her powerful story can be read in the best-selling book “Pebbles in the Pond” compiled by Christina Kloser.

(photo courtesy of Alexandr Gerchikov)

As the agenda for the afternoon was wrapping up, Maria graciously thanked everyone for attending and announed the door prize activity.  The ladies business cards were drawn for some of the following prizes:  A Red Diamond Intensive Workshop package courtesy of Taaja Kayler,  yummy "Granola Girl" packages, Julie Salisbury's Inspire a Book Publishing Workshop.  Some on the spot donations included a Stella and Dot courage bracelet from Bling PR's Eleni Tsapas and photo sessions with photographers Neil Pelman and Jonathan Cruz.

Maria donated another ticket for the next Ladies Who Lunch event, won by the lucky Sandra Garcia of Conscious PR who coincidentally also won her ticket to the event that day.  I personally had a little bit of luck as my card was drawn for a complimentary cut or style with stylist Sarah Braim in Gastown.  So looking forward to getting fabulous hair soon.  Generous sponsors of the event included, Modern Working Woman, Pink Lotus Photography, Bella Garnet Hair Salon, Flowerz, Wonderstruck Events, and Smashbox Cosmetics.  Partial proceeds of the event would be going back to Ladies Who Lunch charity of choice, Caroline MacGillivary's Beauty Night, an organization that builds self-esteem and changes lives of women and youth living in poverty through three streams of programming: wellness, life skills development and makeovers.

Networking at its finest followed with the ladies exchanging cards, introductions, and making valuable business and social connections.  The positive energy of like-minded women connecting, supporting and as a result, empowering one another, was palpable.  The ladies were diverse and varied in their domains from realtors, to writers, to coaches, to fashion designers, even silver medal Olympians - to many other unique entrepreneurs and new business start ups in attendance.  But their commonality was their ambition to achieve their goals, dreams, inspire and be inspired to connect and feel connected.

The supportive and empowering energy filled the space of the room to the ceiling, spilled out of the doors of the room, beyond the four walls, out onto the street and into the world outside.  The event unfolded effortlessly with credit to Maria's vision, tireless effort and determination, including  the expertise and savvy of social media queen Jenneil Peters of Modern Working Woman and event planner extraordinaire, Ariel Chiu of Wonderstruck Events.

One lady stood up during the "Ladies in the Spotlight" segment and exclaimed, "this is the best event I've been to all year!"  The message was clear: Be fearless. Take action and work hard to achieve your goals and by all accounts ladies, dream big, because anything is possible.

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