We would like to congratulate one of our amazing supporters, Cybele Negris! Cybele has been recognized as one of the Influential Women in Business by Business in Vancouver. She is the founder of Webnames.ca, and was a speaker at Beyond Pink 2008. Cybele has been selected for her outstanding achievements in business and influence in the business community.
Cybele's fellow honorees include: Janet Austin, CEO, YWCA Vancouver (past YWiB speaker) Ida Goodreau, Corporate Director and former CEO LifeLabs and Vancouver Coastal Health Sarah Morgan-Silvester, Chancellor, University of British Columbia (past YWiB speaker) Janine North, CEO, Northern Development Initiative Trust
Lifetime Achievement Award - Julia Levy, Corporate Director and Co-Founder QLT Inc.
Congratulations Cybele, and thank you for your ongoing support of YWiB! See below for an exclusive chat with Cybele on her thoughts for women in business:
where do you go for inspiration? I have chaired the e-series Program (entrepreneur training for high-growth businesses) at the Forum for Women Entrepreneurs for a number of years. each year we choose 15 women entrepreneurs to participate in a 6 month program of education and mentorship. we bring in the speakers/instructors who are entrepreneurs themselves who have done it all before or experts in specific topics who are the top of their industry. I get inspired by the women participating as well as the speakers. even though I have witnessed these sessions numerous times over the years, each session I attend still re-energizes me to keep driving my own business to the next level.
when balancing your life, what actually works? it is still a work in progress for me. between Webnames.ca, a construction business with my husband, serving on the boards of 4 organizations (Small Business BC, Vancouver Economic Development Commission, Small Business Roundtable of BC, Forum for Women Entrepreneurs), chairing a charity event (Canary Derby – technology community building and racing soapbox cars to raise money for early cancer detection for the BC Cancer Foundation) and 2 young children, time management is key.
luckily, I don’t need a lot of sleep and I tend to be up until 1 or 2am quite often to get everything done. I actually keep a spreadsheet which includes my top tasks for the week prioritized under each of the above commitments. I’m also starting to learn how to say “no” which has not been easy for me. I try to limit events outside of work hours to 1, maximum 2 a week and other evenings and weekends are dedicated to family.
what advice would you give to your 20-year old self? simple - get yourself a mentor and network, network, network.
as a woman working in technology and web, what were the most difficult obstacles to overcome? I don’t feel I have experienced any obstacles because I’m a woman in technology. in fact, it has been an advantage because there are so few women, especially those in executive positions, in technology. I have learned over time that it is a good thing to standout and to embrace it.
the technology industry as a whole for men and women moves extremely quickly so it is important to keep up with changes and not be left behind. this can also become very distracting so balancing keeping up with the next big thing with focus on goals and objectives is always a challenge.
where do you find the most support in vancouver, as a woman in business as well as a mother?
- there is no lack of support for women in business in Vancouver. personally, I have been involved with the Forum for Women Entrepreneurs since its inception in 2002. Initially the focus was on high-growth business and this was a great fit for Webnames.ca. Over the years, programs have been expanded and developed to support other types of business at various levels of growth; now with seven core programs. I suggest all women in business join here.
- women in technology should join Wired Woman. Membership is free and their mentorship program has benefited over 330 women since launch in 2007.
- mothers should really check out the MomCafe Network with chapters in Vancouver, Calgary and Toronto or Enterprising Moms Network with 8 chapters throughout BC and a Toronto chapter.
- looking for money to start or expand your business? The Canadian Youth Business Foundation provides youth (age 18-34) with start-up financing of up to $15,000 based on the character of the business and a great business idea with flexible three to five year repayment schedules. They couple this with pre-launch coaching, business resources, and mentoring to increase the chance of success of these companies. The Women’s Enterprise Centre offers loans up to $150,000 for BC women.
- young women really need to join Young Women in Business (YWIB) and I would not say this without having seen firsthand the level of leadership and quality of conferences and events hosted by this group. To see such young women achieving their level of success and inspiring other young women is very special.
- the Women’s Enterprise Centre has a comprehensive list of organizations that support women in a variety of businesses and geographical locations.
what is your hope for young women just entering your field? I do hope first of all that more young women choose the technology field and that more strive for executive level positions. I also think of “my field” as entrepreneurship and I do believe more and more women will choose this path. ninety-eight per cent of businesses in BC are small business (defined as 50 employees or less) and 35% of these are currently owned by women. since the mid-seventies, the Canadian growth rate for self-employment in women (5.3%) has been almost double of that of men (2.2%). With more women balancing career and family and the flexibility self-employment affords owners, I see the number of women entrepreneurs continuing to grow. I hope that more women own and run higher growth businesses.
guilty pleasure? I don’t get much chance to watch TV and I hate to shop but I have to admit really enjoying the TV show “What Not To Wear”.
do you have a mantra or small bit of advice to share with the members of YWiB?
- advice: same as what I would have told my 20 year old self. get a mentor and network!
- mantra: work hard, be grateful for what you have and give back to the community.