Why I run (and why you should to)

I am a go-getter. I’ve worked two jobs simultaneously since the age of 18, paid for my post-secondary schooling out of pocket and went to four different countries in the span of a year (oh how I miss 2015). I work a lot. Having spent the last 6 years extending myself between two jobs and school, I’ve learned that focusing on your personal well-being is just as important, if not more so, than all of those things. 

When I started running, it was mostly for health reasons. I was overweight, eating horribly, perpetually stressed out (thanks Ryerson!), and could barely do 2 minutes without needing to stop to catch my breath. Fast forward a year later and I can run a 10K comfortably, workout regularly, and am currently training to run a marathon next spring. In the year that I have dedicated myself to running I’ve seen myself grow in ways that I could never imagine, and to my surprise, it has improved my work life tremendously.

Get uncomfortable

When I first started running I could only run for a couple minutes at a time, but after a couple weeks I was up to about 5 minutes of continuous running, then 10, then 20 and now 5K on a daily basis. Running is hard, mentally and physically, and there are times when it makes you regret all of your life decisions. But it pushes you out of your comfort zone, and that is a quality you can apply to anything in life, including work. Just remember, the end result is only great because of the struggle that came before it.

Once you're dedicated, consistency is easy

Being able to run long distances takes a lot of cardiac ability, and that does not come easy; it’s something you have to dedicate significant time and energy to. Having two jobs and going to school made it easy for me to justify skipping a run because I was tired or had no time. But, when you truly decide to dedicate yourself to something, you make time for it, no matter what. And so, I started getting up at 5:30am every morning to go for a run. Not only did it teach me about dedication, but also how dedication and consistency go hand in hand; you can’t have one without the other. Whether it is with running or work, putting in the work every day is essential for your success.

You're forced to put yourself first

There is no shortage of studies on the importance of exercise on mental health. Regular exercise has been proven to reduce levels of stress, anxiety and symptoms of depression, in addition to improving your physical health and sleeping habits. As start out in your career, it is important to establish healthy routines early on that will last. In the past year that I’ve dedicated myself to running, I’ve noticed a change in my work habits resulting in improved productivity because I am more rested, focused, and my stress levels are at an all-time low. Running has forced me to put my mind and body first; if you can do that, everything else will become a lot easier. 

It’s the purest form of happiness

I cannot express how important it is to find something you enjoy that you don’t get paid for. Whether it is volunteering at a non-profit organization, pole dancing, knitting or painting, having something that gives you genuine enjoyment really is important. When you take money out of the equation, it makes doing something so much more special because then it is truly for you.  

Find something that makes you happy outside of work. I recognize how easy it is to lose yourself in the job; I myself have spent the last six years doing just that. What I’ve come to realize, however, is that work isn’t everything. Fifty years from now, when you're retired with no more work to speak of, what will you have? As Hillary Clinton proclaimed, "Don't confuse having a career with having a life."

Written by: Ashleigh H.

Being a Unicorn: How YWiB Helped Me Launch My Career

Walking into any YWiB event, a few things are clear: There are TONS of young women in Toronto looking to grow their network and start their career, and there is (unfortunately) no formula that can be shared for launching a career. Since launching YWiB, I’ve met women looking for their first job, trying to leave a job they’re unhappy in, women considering entrepreneurship, or sometimes, a unicorn: a woman happy with her job and career trajectory! We all want to be that last woman, and it’s entirely possible – YWiB just happened to help me get there.

In 2015 a friend of mine told me about an interesting organization based out of Vancouver. She wanted to launch a chapter in Toronto. Nearly a year later, we launched YWiB Toronto with a conference uniting 80 women and men interested in our mission.

I became the Events Director for the organization and our team produced vastly unique monthly events, each one bringing in new women to meet, with many of them becoming members and volunteers. Each month we secured a new venue, tried a different caterer, and facilitated a different activity or panel topic. My favourite was a yoga class that ended with free pressed green juice. The events weren’t perfect, but we learned a lot – working with different vendors and partners can give you a pretty comprehensive understanding of the events landscape. More importantly, it ignited my desire to pursue events full time.

A year after launching YWiB Toronto, I began my career search. At the time, I was a community manager for a shared office space and was enjoying the relaxed and social nature of my job. Unfortunately, growth was stagnant and I needed a new challenge. My first challenge, however, was to figure out how to make the move to launch my career.

I looked at all we’d built with YWiB – an active community of women interested in attending our events – and realized this could be a full-time job. YWiB took over the top spot in my resume, I highlighted some of the community events I had organized at my job, and took to my career search.

My search took 6 months but eventually I found success – I entered an industry I had never worked in before into a role where I’m responsible for organizing conferences of hundreds, sometimes thousands, of attendees! The company is small and appreciates the fact that I had a hand in many sides of the YWiB events, and since none of my colleagues have experience with meetup style networking events, I bring something new to the team. Everything I learned from a year with YWiB is being put to use. I’ve reached Unicorn status - finally, I'm happy with my career trajectory!

YWiB has the potential to help you become a unicorn too. It’s simply what we do – whether you meet someone hiring for a job you want, get inspired by the entrepreneurs on a panel, or even something as small as asking for help on the Facebook Group. Keep in mind that unicorns don’t last forever. After a few months into the new gig you’ll undoubtedly begin wanting something more, some job growth, or a whole new career change… and the cycle continues. Become a unicorn, and I encourage you to use YWiB to help you get there. While you’re there, try helping someone else become a unicorn. Thrive, learn, and grow – then start the journey to become a unicorn all over again.

Written by: Olivia Kitevski, Founding Member & Emailing Marketing Coordinator @ YWiB

New year, new books to enjoy

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It's February, which means we're 1/12 of the way through the year! It feels like a lot longer with so much negative news being so negative lately, so why not take this opportunity to unplug and catch up on your reading? There are plenty of perspectives to hear, so curl up with some recommendations from our YWiB community. Here are some books to inspire and motivate:

Steal Like an Artist by Austin Kleon

"In an age where even in art there seems to be a focus on the final product or end result, Kleon's manifesto on creativity is refreshing. At a slim 100-something pages, it is a fast engaging read, filled with doodles and quotes and functioning the way zines your internet friend would send you." -anaïs

Body of Work: Finding the Thread that Ties Your Story Together by Pamela Slim

"I had to keep putting this book down, not because it was tiresome, but because my mind would start processing all the great ideas that came from it. This is one of those books that gets you thinking about the legacy you wish to leave and the body of work that will define you." -Andy Beal

The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell

"In The Tipping Point, Malcolm Gladwell explores and illustrates the phenomenon of epidemic—the dissemination of ideas, products, messages, and behaviour—in today’s society. Demonstrating Gladwell’s penchant for story-telling to brilliant effect, it presents a fresh, compelling look at human societal behaviour and our own role to play within such contexts. Disarming yet altogether convincing, The Tipping Point is a must-read for anyone who has ever dreamed of being a real change agent—especially through the little things in life." -Jessie Ho

Outliers: the Story of Success also by Malcolm Gladwell

"As the subtitle states, this is a book of success stories, and true to his usual style, Gladwell draws on a diverse and interesting set of examples and presents a unique thesis on the ingredients it takes to make a person a success. The first half of the equation is much like Carol Dweck’s thesis in Mindset: The New Psychology of Success . Hard work matters much more than raw talent." -Kressel Housman

How to be a Woman by Caitlin Moran

" I straight-up disagree with her on at least two major points. But the thing is, her arguments for those two points were not ones I'd heard before. They made me think about issues in genuinely new ways. And I spend a LOT of time thinking about these things. She's a fresh and incisive intellect. But in general, this book had a great balance of anecdote and analysis, alternating milk-out-your-nose-funny stories of booze and underpants with cogent analyses of the current Western State of Affairs." -Carolyn

20-Something, 20 Everything: A Quarter-life Woman’s Guide to Balance and Direction by Christine Hassler

"At first I thought it would be another book to motivate and inspire but then as I got more into it, towards the middle and end, it was just more assuring that life is about acceptance and if you really want change to come about - you are the only one who will make that happen. I think the author hit the 20's decade head on - she was able to tell me exactly what I am going through and what I feel, and it's really made me feel better about my situation. I mean I was pretty happy with my life but not I feel like I can accept it more and not feel so antsy to keep trying to get to the top fast." -Hoan

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Year of Yes: How to Dance it Out, Stand in the Sun and Be Your Own Person by Shonda Rhimes

"Who knew this was what I needed to hear? Shonda Rimes did. A gifted writer who has created some of America's beloved television characters, Rimes tells it like it is and reveals her flaws, insecurities, and weaknesses all while sharing the story of the greatest challenge she made for herself. YEAR OF YES gives hardcore helpful advice on how you can't do it all, it's okay to admit you need help, and saying YES to yourself comes in many forms. Highly recommend to all women!" -Rachel Watkins

You are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life by Jen Sincero

"This book was Badass!!!! If you have any mental barriers that are holding you back from achieving your goals then this book is for you! You have to be comfortable with some colorful language, and the idea of the Law of Attraction, but if you're open minded you will get a lot from this book. I've read a lot of books on this subject, but this one was so much more in your face (in a good way) and more easy to put into practice." -Emmy

The Accidental Entrepreneur: 50 Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me about Starting Business by Susan Urquhart-Brown

"An excellent, easy to read resource for anyone starting a business or struggling with new business growing pains. Workbook style 'homework' pages are helpful." -Gayle

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If You Have to Cry, Go Outside: And Other Things Your Mother Never Told You by Kelly Cutrone

"Cutrone is a bully. That's what really made me like this book, because - despite that - I like her. She's an unapologetic, vicious, caring, pushy, understanding, condescending, supportive contradiction. She's also aware of that and embraces it as part of her essential philosophy, which makes her among the most endearing autobiographers I've ever read." -Sarah Draheim

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain

"Wow, this book was simply amazing. Every piece of information found here is something I wish I'd known in junior high school, high school, or even college. And I wish my parents had known more about when I was even younger than all that. I finished the book with mixed reactions though. On the one hand, I feel completely validated, in a way I've never been able to grasp before, and I feel like there are definitely some simple things I can change about my life now that will help me become even better adjusted to daily existence." -Natalie

Catherine is a blogger, writer, and adorer of warm socks. By day, she works as a Communications Specialist and by night she blogs about her first love – books – at Hot Pepper Latte. You can follow her @cat_vendryes.

Featured Entertainment : Emma Elena Grace

We are just 4 days away from our Holiday Party at Henderson Brewery, taking place this Saturday December 10th from 6:30 PM to 10:30 PM . It's going to be an unforgettable night celebrating the completion of our first year filled with good company, holiday cheer, Henderson Brewery beer and entertainment from local talent! Did you buy your tickets yet?! Hurry, before they sell out! Our second entertainment for the night is Emma Elena Grace. Twenty-two year old, Emma Elena Grace, is a folk singer and songwriter with an artistic, distinctive sound from Hamilton, Ontario. She grew up listening to traditional country music her father used to play to her, which influenced her to produce music. Emma Elena Grace released her debut album, This Side of the Room in August, 2015.

We had a chance to sit down with her and discuss her career and why she chose to get into the music industry. Check out our interview with her below:

Why did you decide to become a singer/songwriter?

I grew up in a musical family so I've been surrounded by music my whole life. I've always taken special interest in the singing and songwriting aspect of it, and I dabbled a bit in both growing up. It wasn't until I learned guitar at the age of 16 that I started to really write, and it naturally progressed from there.

Which song that you wrote is your favourite and why?

I have a song that I wrote called "Bricks Of Blue" where the writing process was unlike any of the others. This line popped into my head one night when I was trying to sleep, so I picked up my guitar and started playing, and the song flowed so easily it kind of wrote itself. This has never happened since, so I hold it pretty dear.

What is your favourite moment about the Holidays?

I love that everything is lit up with twinkle lights! I think they should stay up year-round. Also, I love the food!

Do you have any advice of young women who are aspiring to become a singer/songwriter?

My advice would be to write and perform as often as you can to develop yourself. Go after it without hesitation. The Music Industry Arts program at Fanshawe College is definitely worth checking out. It's a wonderful place to grow and I wouldn't be where I am without the help from people I met in that program.

Check out Emma Grace on Facebook, Twitter & YouTube! We can't wait to see her perform Saturday!

Celebrate Our One Year This Saturday!

Join Young Women in Business Toronto in Celebrating the Success of our First Year! 365 Days, 9 Events and Over 150 Members

For Immediate Release December 5, 2016

Toronto, ON - Vancouver based non-profit organization, Young Women in Business, opened it’s Toronto chapter this year. Four young professional women, Miranda McKie, Victoria Stacey, Olivia Kitevski and Laura Downing, started the Toronto chapter because they felt there was a lack of support, network and resources available to young women to thrive in their professional career and personal lives.

Join us in wrapping up the success of our first year, the friends we’ve made and partners we’ve worked with at our Holiday at Henderson’s Party, Saturday December 10th at Henderson Brewery from 6:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. We are also collecting donations for The Shoebox Project, which distributes gifts to women who are homeless or at-risk of homelessness in communities across Canada. Young Women in Business Toronto (YWiB TO) would like to celebrate some of our biggest partners who have partnered with us in the different events we’ve hosted this year: Tangerine, Oracle, RL Solutions, Camp Tech, Wave, Workplace One and Rock-it Promotions among others!

Get your tickets and celebrate a year of reflection, good friends and holiday cheer with us!


About Young Women in Business Toronto

Young Women in Business Toronto (YWiB TO) is a non-profit organization connecting ambitious, like-minded women across educational fields, careers and industries. Our events provide leadership skills, and networking opportunities that allow women to achieve success, reach their full potential and be engaged with members in their communities.

If you have any media inquiries or would like to schedule an interview with the YWiB TO Founders, please contact Nathalie Sehgal, nathaliesehgal@gmail.com. If you have any sponsorship inquiries, would like to be a vendor, or entertainment for this event, please contact toronto@ywib.ca

Featured Entertainment: Mermaids Exist

Happy December 1st! Can you believe there are only 23 days until Christmas Eve and only 3 weekends left of shopping? To get you in the holiday spirit and to celebrate the completion of our first year- we are having our Holiday Party at Henderson Brewing Company Saturday December 10th from 6:30PM to 10:30 PM! It’s a time of reflection by bringing together the community we have formed and celebrating the friends we’ve made and we would love for you to join us to celebrate this special time!

We wanted to give you a sneak peek of one of our entertainment performers that will be at our Holiday Party. Check out Geoff and Jason of Mermaids Exist! They are a local five-piece ensemble from Toronto who has won an independent music award and has performed at notable venues such as  The Horseshoe Tavern and The Home County Music Festival. Their live performances are filled with energy and beautiful vocal harmonies, which will be captured in their first full length album, set for release in the summer of 2016.

Image via Mermaids Exist Facebook Page

Check out Geoff and Jason of Mermaids Exist on Youtube for a taste of their music. Their charm, moves and grooves have us begging for more! We can't wait to see them perform at our Holiday Party!

Get your


before they sell out!

Check out Mermaids Exist on


 and give them a like on