Why don’t I have just ONE female role model?

I was asked the other day who was my female role model in business and/or personally. I couldn’t give them as answer.

I don’t have just one. It depends on the topic.


My mother. She wasn’t a strong person, she wasn’t educated, she didn’t have a lot of worldly advice to give me. I felt like I was the parent most of the time. However, what she did provide me with is my ability and confidence to entertain, to feed a large group with only a few minutes’ notice.  She taught me to always have ingredients in the cupboard or premade pies and sauces in the freezer. She taught me how to bake from scratch, all by feel and taste. I still have a hard time measuring today. I was canning before canning was popular. I learned to can all types of food…except the meat, I drew the line at that, yuck!

She taught me to knit and sew and I am still a big knitter today. Sewing, not so much, but if I need to repair something I can. I just don’t have the patience to sew. Knitting I can do anywhere at any time. Included on zoom calls…shhhhh don’t tell anyone.

More importantly, I was taught independence. Since I didn’t grow up with money, whatever I wanted to had to earn on my own. My parents would help, but it was up to me to forge my own path with their support.

I am who I am today because of my mother.

My Mother-in-law. Boy was she a force to be reckoned with. She was a stay-at-home mom who was widowed in 1964. She was in her early 40’s with 10 kids, ranging in age from 2 to 19. This was before social assistance, so no financial help for her. So she packed up her kids in the station wagon (before seat belts and car seats were mandatory), and drove from Calgary to Ottawa to get a job. She was bilingual, so that helped her get a job in the federal government. She moved in with her single 2 sisters while she got organized and had enough money to move into her own place. Can you imagine your sister and her 10 kids moving in with you? I am glad to see company leave after a weekend.

In 30 years, I never once heard her complain, she was dressed to the 9’s every day, and she was so busy I couldn’t keep up with her and her activities. This woman in her 80’s flew out to Calgary to drive her brother’s 5th wheel over the mountains to BC, because he was not confident to do it! (oh boy, that was scary for the whole family)

This woman raised 10 kids on her own and didn’t receive any financial help. All her children turned out to be successful in their own way. That is absolutely amazing.

Two very different women whom I admire and respect for who they were and what they did in their lives.



Oprah Winfrey. Who could not be inspired and in awe of this completely self-made woman. We all know her history. Despite her poverty and sexual abuse, this woman took charge of her life, worked hard, got a scholarship and used her communication skills to advance her life. She didn’t sit back and wait to be helped, she took it upon herself to rise above the negative and build a better life for herself.

She didn’t spend her time looking in the rearview mirror, she spent her time focusing on what was ahead.

Her dedicated philanthropy, global impact, and business diversification are an inspiration to women around the world.

Heather Reisman. I know a strange pick for me…see how I put in “pick”. I first heard of Heather from “Heathers Picks” at Chapters Indigo. I love the fact that she inspired others to read. She took her love for books and created a very profitable business. Yes, she may have started off with money, but I admire the fact that she took charge, grew, and sold businesses that aligned with her passion for books. As well she is also a philanthropist. I love that about successful women.


My Industry

I have yet to find a female role model in my industry. I am sure there are many women out there, who have forged the way for others like me in the insurance & financial services, estate and family succession planning fields but, they must be flying under the radar.

Over my 38 years in these industries, I have used bits and pieces of the women I have met or read about to develop my own business strategy. I hope that someday I will be a role model for other young women or women of any age.