#YWiBbtgc: Meet Tea Nicola

Beyond the Glass Ceiling panel event is back again, and this year’s theme focuses on Emerging Industries. We sit with top tier panelists from Vancouver who are sharing their entrepreneurial story.

Meet Tea Nicola, co-founder & CEO of WealthBar.


Tea Nicola is passionate about personal finance and wants to help people understand how small changes can make a big difference. Originally a mechanical engineer, she later spent years working as a financial advisor and advisor trainer. Tea is excited about transforming the way Canadians get personal financial advice.

#YWiBbtgc: Meet Ella Jotie

Beyond the Glass Ceiling panel event is back again, and this year’s theme focuses on Emerging Industries. We sit with top tier panelists from Vancouver who are sharing their entrepreneurial story.

Meet Ella Jotie, co-founder of Barre Fitness. Here's her YWiB story:


my name  |  Ella Jotie

my company  |  Barre Fitness

childhood ambition  |  I always wanted to be a backup dancer for Janet Jackson.

fondest memory  | My fondest memory would have to be sitting atop a sand dune in the desert of Dubai, en route to a show in Kabul, and realizing just how vast the universe really is.

proudest moment  |  When the Barre Fitness team won the award for Top Training Partner at the Workout to Conquer Cancer in 2015.  In that moment all of my dreams for building a business were realized and it was a true reflection of our company’s core values!

biggest challenge  |  Opening Barre Fitness with no experience and even less money!

keeps me up at night  |   Work. Ha! I’m constantly thinking about how to create a better experience for my clients and staff.

how I give back  |  Through Barre Fitness’ Raise the Barre program

perfect day  |   My perfect day is spent with the ones I love the most and always includes teaching a class, because that is my happy place.

first job  |   Newspaper delivery girl. Age 10

favourite quote  |  I have two.

“We should consider everyday lost on which we have not danced at least once.” – Nietzsche

“People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel” Maya Angelou

inspiration |  My clients are my biggest inspiration. Their energy and commitment to themselves day in and day out motivate me to do the same for myself and build a better Barre for them.

#YWiBbtgc: Meet Melanie Levenberg

Beyond the Glass Ceiling panel event is back again, and this year’s theme focuses on Women and Innovation. We sit with top tier panelists from Vancouver who live and breathe innovation. Who are these innovative businesswomen? Today, we’re pleased to introduce you to…


Melanie Levenberg

Founder & Program Director of DANCEPL3Y

There are a plethora of classes to choose from these days. But have you ever bought a pass for something just to use it a few times and let the rest expire? Conventional fitness classes tend to follow the same template: the instructor is at the front of the class and has everyone do the same movement or activity.

Enter Melanie Levenberg. Growing on her background in fitness and health across a number of industries, Melanie wanted to create something that was engaging, interactive and playful to promote a positive, fun attitude to fitness. It was this philosophy that DANCEPL3Y and the 3 Rules of PL3Y were created:

Be positive.

Be fun.

Be yourself.

DANCEPL3Y is designed to inspire everyBODY to feel like a rockstar as they "sweat happy". After learning simple moves from a variety of dance styles, DANCEPL3Y is all about interacting with the others in the class and discovering your own unique style and way of moving. No minimum skill required, and no boredom over repetitive, recycled classes. Just fun being yourself.

DANCEPL3Y runs programs in Vancouver, catered to ages as young as preschool, children, teens, and also adults. Children, in particular, are growing and developing habits – both good and bad – as well as their outlook on things like health and fitness. If children are to have a positive attitude towards these, it’s important that they have a lot of fun doing it. Last year, Ms. Levenberg presented DANCEPL3Y at the 2014 Global Summit of Physical Activity in Children in Toronto.

Come hear Ms. Levenberg talk about her innovative concept this Thursday, September 17th at Beyond the Glass Ceiling: Women and Innovation. Not only that, but she’ll be giving us a demo of what DANCEPL3Y is all about with a quick “refresher” exercise to get up and bust a move after the panel ends!

Last chance to grab tickets for tomorrow's Beyond the Glass Ceiling!

#YWiBbtgc: Meet Julie Gunn

Beyond the Glass Ceiling panel event is back again, and this year’s theme focuses on Women and Innovation. We sit with top tier panelists from Vancouver who live and breathe innovation. Who are these incredible businesswomen? Today, we’re pleased to introduce you to…

Julie Gunn
Julie Gunn

Julie Gunn

VP Customer Success of Vision Critical

Julie Gunn is one of the few individuals who have been at Vision Critical since it’s beginnings in 2000. Ms. Gunn played a role in the early development and management of this Vancouver-based company’s customer experience.

For those who are unfamiliar, Vision Critical’s signature product is a cloud-based customer intelligence platform that offers a range of solutions for companies looking for data-backed insight into their products, services, and brand that will lead to better business decisions. In other words, they help clients ask better questions, listen more intently, and learn what the people they care about think and say.

In order for this platform to achieve valuable results, it’s critical that it be user-friendly and engaging for those in the company's “community” (a defined cohort who a company is interested in conversing with). As such, innovation is a huge part of Vision Critical’s corporate culture, as they need to adapt to society’s changing preferences for interacting online and offline.

Today, Ms. Gunn leads a dynamic and growing business unit within Vision Critical, specializing in community strategy and management. In addition to a multitude of things including overall profits, Julie is responsible for employee retention, development of new offers, organic growth, all of which require innovative thinking and approaches if you want to get results. To encourage innovation and generate valuable ideas for Vision Critical's customers, Julie developed an initiative within the Customer Success team called the "Innovation Circle".

She is involved in a number of other initiatives that span across the organization pertaining to customer feedback on product, adoption of CRM systems, thought leadership, and marketing and customer experience initiatives such as the annual Vision Critical client summit in NYC.

At YWiB Vancouver's Beyond the Glass Ceiling panel event this Thursday, September 17th, come hear Ms. Gunn’s thoughts on being innovative from the point of view of an international and renowned organization that roots itself in innovation.

Check out:


Julie Gunn on LinkedIn

#YWiBbtgc: Meet Lisa von Sturmer

Beyond the Glass Ceiling panel event is back again, and this year’s theme focuses on Women and Innovation. We sit with top tier panelists from Vancouver who live and breathe innovation. Who are these incredible businesswomen? Today, we’re pleased to introduce you to…



Lisa von Sturmer

Founder & CEO of Growing City


Ms. Von Sturmer is an entrepreneur from Vancouver who founded an urban composting company.

With a backdrop as stunning as Vancouver’s, it’s tough not to be conscious of our impact on the environment. The City of Vancouver has ambitious green goals and we Vancouverites love our community gardens, green rooftops, and widespread public recycling. Some residences have begun composting, but in other environments outside single-family homes, where people can collect and use their own composting in the garden, the process is more difficult.

Seeing an opportunity and being passionate about bettering her community, Ms. Von Sturmer founded Growing City to make composting a cinch for apartment buildings and residences, commercial buildings, and restaurants. She even pitched her concept on CBC’s Dragons’ Den.

Growing City customers receive a vestibule to collect their waste, the building’s employees or residents are educated on what can go into their bins, and away they go! Once full, a Growing City team member returns to remove the waste and clean the bins to prevent odour. A full-service company making composting effortlessly simple. As a result, they help clients reduce their waste by up to 40% or more!

An important part in retaining customers is educating and exciting them about composting and its positive impact, Growing City provides progress reports to show clients how much they’ve composted and what that means in terms of methane, CO2, and monetary savings. They even make playful comparisons like the number of household items or Justin Biebers that it equates to in weight! Through this, Growing City keeps clients engaged and feeling good about their efforts.

Ms. Von Sturmer has presented on CBC’s Dragons’ Den, presented a TedxTalk on social entrepreneurship, is the current Canadian Global Ambassador for International Women's Entrepreneurship Day, and is an active advocate for youth entrepreneurship.

Come hear Lisa von Sturmer by grabbing a ticket to Beyond the Glass Ceiling: Women & Innovation, where she will share her perspective on innovation and how that secret ingredient landed her where she is today.

Watch her interview on Shaw's program, the Rush, where she talks about her Dragon experience and her jump into composting!

#YWiBbtgc: Meet Joanna Buczkowska-McCumber

Beyond the Glass Ceiling panel event is back again, and this year’s theme focuses on Women and Innovation. We sit with top tier panelists from Vancouver who have live and breathe innovation. Who are these incredible businesswomen? Today, we’re pleased to introduce you to…


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Joanna Buczkowska-McCumber

Managing Director of The Next Big Thing


Ms. Buczkowska-McCumber is an accomplished social innovation and business strategist with a strong passion in creating social change through entrepreneurship. Her philosophy is that business should not only provide economic value, but also create social and environmental value.

As the Managing Director of the non-profit foundation, The Next Big Thing (TNBT), she steers the ship in advancing the next generation of entrepreneurs. Ms. Buczkowska-McCumber comes across many entrepreneurs with innovative concepts in her role and has insight into how important a quality that is when it comes to starting a company that thrives.

Indeed, TNBT, itself, is innovative. Offering the nation with a rule-breaking fellowship program, TNBT breaks against traditional methods of teaching to get tomorrow's most promising entrepreneurs into the business world. Through this unconventional approach, they empower young entrepreneurs to succeed with resources, hands-on experience, and a network of driven like-minded and renowned innovators.

In 2014, TNBT helped accelerate 10 youth-founded startups. Prior to her involvement at TNBT, Ms. Buczkowska-McCumber was a founding member of the Centre for Social Innovation & Impact Investing at UBC's Sauder School of Business, and co-creator of the award-winning Coast Capital Savings Innovation Hub, a program that 'propels social change through innovation and entrpreneurship.'

Needless to say, innovative has been the air that Ms. Buczkowska-McCumber breathes, and we are so excited to hear from her at Beyond the Glass Ceiling: Women & Innovation!

How to Save Smart!

Considering Vancouver is consistently ranked as the world’s most expensive city, Vancouverites could benefit from being a bit closer with their personal finances. If you missed Forward Finance, our event last Tuesday co-hosted with YWiB Vancouver sponsor, Tangerine Bank, you're in luck because we took notes! Nicole Wells, VP at Tangerine Bank, dished out very helpful tips for saving smart and what you need to consider when budgeting for a home.


Take stock of your debt and savings

If you have debt, do you have a strategy to pay it off? When you're in debt, it's intimidating to even think about how to handle it, but a strategy can be as simple as deciding how much money per month you can comfortably put towards paying it down, and calculating how many months it will take to zero it out. Then make sure to do it. All it takes is a recurring monthly transfer from your chequing account, and you can set that up easily online with most banks.

Are you contributing monthly to a savings or investment account? Hate to burst your bubble (no Vancouver housing market joke intended), but you need to be saving a reasonable chunk of change if you want to be down-payment ready! Whether you pay off all your debt before starting to save is up to you, but take a look at what you're paying in interest. Lots of times it will make sense to pay the debt off first.

TIP:It’s okay to save money and pay your debt down simultaneously. No one says you have to pay all your debt off first.


Identify small sacrifices from your living expenses

Want to boost your monthly savings? Consider everything you purchase on a daily basis. Which items are frivolous and when do you pull out your wallet even without thinking? If owning your own property (or buying a car or whatever your longer term >3-5+ year goal) is worth more than your morning breakfast, then ditch the nonfat, sugar-free vanilla lattes or breakfast croissants. Nicole also gave us an excellent piece of advice: “small sacrifices” are the key to stick to your savings plan. Saving can be like being on a diet: go cold turkey on something you truly love, and you’re likely to fail. So, if caffeine is something you literally can’t be without and a coffeemaker is foreign to you, taper back to 2-3 days per week or pick something that won't hurt so much.



These are two “programs” with different rules. The money you put into a Tax-Free Savings Account is taxed today; you don't pay tax on it later on when you withdraw the funds. Money you put into an RRSP is not taxed today; the tax is deferred, meaning it's paid when the funds are withdrawn.

Which is best? It has to do with the tax bracket you’re in now the one you expect to be in when you take your money out. This means you need to think... When are you planning to purchase your home? If you’re in at a higher tax bracket today than you expect to be when you withdraw, an RRSP is your best bet. You will defer the tax payment until later and it will be taxed at your lower rate.


Time to buy!

Before you start looking at properties, know exactly what you can afford on a monthly basis and draw a big, fat, black line right there. Do not forget to include those one-time costs associated with: legal fees, home insurance, moving costs, and all other expenses associated with buying a home. These add up in a hurry, and they’re not insignificant.

Another reason not to stretch your wallet has to do with mortgage payments. A 5-year fixed rate mortgage is typical…but what happens after those 5 years? Interest rates go up and down, and once your 5-years is up, your mortgage is now subject to change. Unlucky for you if interest rates are higher than they once were. It can add a considerable amount to your monthly payment, and if you only squeezed by during the last 5-years, you can imagine how tough it will be. Tangerine recommends setting aside about 3 weeks equivalent of your salary for time when making payments is tight. TIP: A healthy monthly mortgage payment is roughly 20-25% of your monthly income.

When possible, take advantage of prepayment options. It can amount to saving tens of thousands of dollars over the life of your mortgage!


A huge thank-you to Nicole Wells and everyone from Tangerine Bank!

------------ DISCLAIMER: The above information is not intended for nor constitutes investment, financial, tax or legal advice from either Young Women in Business or Tangerine Bank, and should not relied upon for those or any other purposes. Finances are personal and everyone's circumstances, needs, and goals are different. Consult a financial advisor before making investments.