#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
Melanie-Levenberg

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!

Blueprint Mentorship Spotlight: Gloria Eid

  Our mentorship cohort that graduated this June all achieved, learned, and grew in many ways over coffee chats, workshops, and hard work for six months together. Each one of them reflected that these relationships gave them new perspective into their careers and selves, more clarity on where they were headed and how to get there efficiently, and a ton of support.

In anticipation of mentee applications opening again for our 2016 cohort in just one week, September 1, we highlight one mentee's experience.

 

Gloria Eid

Current Job: Program Manager, UBC

Blueprint Participant: Mentee

 

What were your goals for YWiB Vancouver's Blueprint program?

In October, I had an idea to start a blog focused on communication, creativity, and teamwork. In only the first few years of my career, I've learned many lessons from the workplace and I wanted to build an avenue to share these experiences with other young professionals. I was interested in learning more about the entrepreneurial lifestyle and the transition from working for a business to having your own.

Describe your mentor, Conny Millard, and how she was a good fit for you.

It feels like I could not have had a better fit for a mentor! One of my favourite things about her approach to business is that she is full of strategy and planning, yet so naturally starts from the heart in all that she does. It's also how I aspire to live and work.

What was something Conny said that really stuck with you?

After I launched my blog, Conny published a blog post herself that featured me. It took me by complete surprise, but it was so touching. That small action really meant a lot to me, as she was one of my biggest supporters and motivators behind launching my blog.

What inspired you most about Conny?

The boundaries she has learned to set for herself to build a life and business she loves. I'm also inspired by her own dreams that she is currently building and putting into action. It's inspiring to see my own mentor take on new challenges and growing as well!

What were the most valuable lessons, conversations, or development that came out of your discussions?

During one of our conversations, I was focusing a lot on feelings of disappointment during a time of a challenge and change management at work. Only a few months into the change, I couldn't help but feel like I was not doing enough, and was being hard on myself. She listened and let me share it all, and then simply said, "Now tell me, from your work in these last few months, what are the changes you have made so far? What are the things you are proud of?" It took me a few moments to shift my mindset, but I was able to share five or six significant changes and contributions, both big and small, I made in my first few months of the role. I felt a release after that exercise, and was reminded to be gentle with myself.

In another conversation, Conny was sharing some of the work her clients do and with my background in professional communication, she asked me for some thoughts around presentations/public speaking and other communication practices. Her response and comments to my suggestions were so positive and encouraging! She showed such interest and excitement in what I had to say, and I truly felt like I was offering expertise and valuable suggestions. I felt validated in my knowledge and experience, and was reminded that I do have things to offer in the world of professional communication and people development.

Did you use anything you worked on with Conny in your career?

So much. One example: as with many of us with a job that is driven by emails and meetings, I have difficulty carving out time in the workday for project work and thinking time. In a conversation with Conny, I proposed that I would block out time in my calendar during the first hour of every morning strictly for project work, and will never start the day with a meeting. From 11:30-1pm, I block out time for exercise and lunch. The last half hour of every day is meant for a wrap-up and a plan for the next morning's hour of project work. I'm excited to see how I keep this up throughout the summer months, when work gets into really high gear.

Another example is removing the fluff from my emails. As someone who values professional and respectful communication, I spend a lot of time crafting emails - the tone, subject line, sign-off, etc. - even with emails to my direct team. Recently I told my team to not expect all the fluff anymore. My responses will be short and direct as much as possible to my team, so that I can spend the time on emails to people and partners who need the effort. My direct team was very supportive and encouraging, and, in fact, felt permission to do the same when they need it! While I thought I would be viewed as choosing not to be thorough with them, they all understood it was just a way to keep things simple during challenging and hectic times. Keep communication clear and open first, then just keep it simple.

I feel very lucky to have been given the opportunity to participate in the program and have absolutely loved the relationship I've built with my mentor.

Blueprint-Gloria+Conny2

Want to apply for YWiB Vancouver's mentorship cohort starting January 2016? We are accepting applications starting September 1, 2015. Just go to the Blueprint Mentorship page for more details!

 

#YWiBbtgc: Meet Dr. Alexandra Greenhill

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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Dr. Alexandra Greenhill

Founder of MyBestHelper.com

 

Alexandra T. Greenhill is an award winning health leader and tech CEO, who believes entrepreneurship is the answer to the greatest issues today. Dr. Greenhill sought to solve one of those issues by founding MyBestHelper.com, an app and website that connect “helper” workers to the people who need them. What are “helpers”? Greenhill’s app includes nannies, childcare workers, housesitters and keepers, senior caregivers, petcare giver and even tutors. In a realm where personal references and word of mouth only connect you to so many people, Dr. Greenhill sought to make these people more accessible to seeking employers. Much like online dating, MyBestHelper.com provides an easy way to discover and vet multiple candidates.

This new approach to caregivers clearly met a real need as it has caught on and been adopted throughout the Pacific Northwest and won 1st place winner Startup Weekend Vancouver 2011, 3rd place in New Ventures BC 2012 and one of 20 BC Emerging Ready to Rocket 2014 and 2015 company as well as Deloitte Fast 50 BC finalist.

How did Greenhill come up with this solution? How much as the online industry changed since she started and what kind of innovativeness is keeping her ahead of the game?

Hear the answers to these and more at YWiB Vancouver’s Beyond the Glass Ceiling panel and networking session on Thursday, September 17th.

Want to ask Dr. Greenhill something specific? Tweet at us prior to September 10th at @YWiB #YWiBbtgc

Check MyBestHelper.com out here! https://www.mybesthelper.com/

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.

 

TFSA vs RRSP

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.

YWiB Yoga with Matt Corker

Come join YWiB Vancouver at the lululemon store in Kits for a 45-minute yoga class and goal-setting workshop. If you were laughing and rolling around on your mat with us at the Roundhouse last year, you know why #YWiByoga was so popular.

We’re so excited to have Matt Corker, Product Quality Operations Manager at lululemon and Lifestyle Designer/Founder of Matt Corker & Co., back as our source of laughter, inspiration, and pigeon pose instructor. He’s proof that attitude can get your far in life, and that’s largely what his mantra is all about. Last October, he had us envision our ideal life ten years from today and slowly trace the years and milestones backwards to identify the path that got us there. Think of Hansel & Gretal’s breadcrumb trail.

How often do you paint yourself full picture of your future – career, personal/family life, hobbies, lifestyle, location, and all? With downward dog-induced relaxation, this type of visualization and planning goes hand-in-hand with yoga’s introspective intention. We want you to put that picture into full colour: set your trajectory, map your path and go get it!

lululemon Kits | 2113 West 4th

Thursday, August 28th | 7:30-9:30pm

$10 | tickets here!

Bring | a mat, H2O, and a notebook

#YWiByoga Returns!

Come join YWiB Vancouver at the lululemon store in Kits for a 45-minute yoga class and goal-setting workshop. If you were laughing and rolling around on your mat with us at the Roundhouse last year, you know why #YWiByoga was so popular. We’re so excited to have Matt Corker, Product Quality Operations Manager at lululemon and Lifestyle Designer/Founder of Matt Corker & Co., back as our source of laughter, inspiration, and pigeon pose instructor. He's proof that attitude can get your far in life, and that's largely what his mantra is all about. Last October, he had us envision our ideal life ten years from today and slowly trace the years and milestones backwards to identify the path that got us there. Think of Hansel & Gretal's breadcrumb trail.

How often do you paint yourself full picture of your future – career, personal/family life, hobbies, lifestyle, location, and all? With downward dog-induced relaxation, this type of visualization and planning goes hand-in-hand with yoga’s introspective intention. We want you to put that picture into full colour: set your trajectory, map your path and go get it!

lululemon Kits | 2113 West 4th

Thursday, August 28th | 7:30-9:30pm

$10 | tickets here!

Bring | a mat, H2O, and a notebook

Beyond the Glass Ceiling: Meet Nora Ahern of Village&Co.

Leading up to our Beyond the Glass Ceiling: Executive Inspiration event on April 30, we're taking the time to introduce the amazing women behind this powerhouse panel! Keep an eye out for each instalment and get ready to meet them in person for a panel and networking session to remember. #YWiBbtgc Meet...

Nora Ahern Managing Director & Co-founder of Village&Co. @noraahern

Before I figured out what I wanted to be when I grew up, I worked at DDB as VP Group Business Director. While I was there I lovingly took care of the Canadian Tourism Commission (CTC) account resulting in it being crowned Marketing Magazine’s 2009 Marketer of the Year. Being Irish and having moved to Canada five years ago, selling Canada to travellers was a remarkable opportunity. I love travel and it loved me. Canada had such an effect on me that I couldn’t help but become a Canadian Citizen.

Before moving here, I worked at various agencies in Ireland working on a variety of categories — automotive, fashion retail, utilities and technology — adding up to over 16 years experience in the communications business. Being Managing Director of a Village is my dream job. The only thing that I love more than social media is helping clients love social media.