Tag Archives: communication

Websites and the 5 W Principle

Sheralyn

Are you looking to do a refresh of your website? Is it time for an update or perhaps a wholesale change to your content? Today we talk tips on creating short, snappy website content that resonates! Similar in nature to when we looked at blogging for business, we’ll take a brief look at the “5 W Principle.”

To begin, keep this in mind:  Treat your website like your resume and engage in TARGETED MARKETING.  Like a resume, what do people most need to know about you? Do they need to know every job you’ve ever held, from that very first day working on the fry line at a fast food chain or do they only need to know that which is most relevant to the business you are engaged in now? Certainly you should talk about any relevant prior experience but brevity is key. No need to share your life story, just clearly talk about your product or service by answering the “5 W’s” – the who, what, where, when and why questions. In doing so, you’ll create an edited version of your skill set that still sells you and your product or service, just like a resume “sells” you to a potential employer.

Here are your key considerations:

Be targeted (or very specific) in narrowing down your potential audience. You do this by answering the question “who x 2?” That is, who are you and who is your intended audience? It’s actually not limiting your business by weeding out potential customers before you even speak to them, rather, its good time-management. You’re preventing unwanted, time-wasting phone calls from people who will probably never do business with you anyway.  To help with the “who” question, you also need to clearly identify your “why?” Why do you do what you do? This is where your passion for what you do will come through. Use thoughtful, engaging language that helps others understand why you are so passionate about your business. Sharing your passion is what engages potential “right-brained” customers. By addressing the questions of WHAT and HOW (how do you do what you do) you will engage with potential left-brained customers who both need and want specifics in order to determine whether to do business with you. Providing some level of detail will appeal to them. Answering the where and when is easy and somewhat self-explanatory. Finally, I’ve said it before and I will probably say it again as it comes up in all of my seminars; always make sure that your website content is “CORI” content. That is create content that is:

  • Current
  • Original
  • Relevant
  • Interesting

By creating and maintaining content that’s fresh and relevant to your industry – you are demonstrating that you are “on top” of industry trends. Keep your website updated by blogging, posting specials, providing seasonal information and by sharing tips and tools that matter to your customers. Give information away for free to establish goodwill and credibility. But always remember, don’t be that annoying person who shares and posts constantly just to be heard because you risk being ignored or “unsubscribed” instead! So when it comes to websites, practice the “5 W Principle” for a wonderful website that works.

As Owner and Principal partner of “Writing Right For You” Sheralyn is a Communications Strategist – working together with entrepreneurs to maximize profit through effective use of the written word. Looking for web content that works, blog articles that engage or communications strategies that help you get noticed?  Contact Sheralyn today. Sheralyn is also the mother of two children now entering the “terrible and terrific teens” and spends her free time volunteering for several non-profit organizations.

Sheralyn Roman B.A., B.Ed.

Writing Right For You

Communications Strategies that help you GET TO THE POINT!

416-420-9415 Cell/Business

writingrightforyou@gmail.com

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Listen to Hear not to Respond

 

Sheralyn

When I speak to groups of small business owners and entrepreneurs on the topic of communication, my message is consistent. Of the three elements needed for effective communication to take place; listening, writing and speaking, the most important of these is listening. Why? Because it is in the listening that we ensure there is understanding.

Listening isn’t just about opening our ears either.  It’s about being open and receptive, in principle, to new ideas, suggestions and considerations. Listening is ACTIVE. We must lean in, participate, nod our heads to encourage continued conversation and we need to ask questions to ensure clarity. Most of all however, we need to listen to HEAR not to RESPOND. What do we mean by this?

Listening to hear is about patience. It concerns the principle that we must be actively engaged in the conversation from the perspective of gaining understanding, not listening for the sole purpose of formulating our own arguments in response to what is being said. Listening to hear is about waiting for the “whole.” Waiting for the speaker to complete his / her thoughts, pausing to think about those words and then responding. Too often we are each of us poised and ready to pounce in response to something we heard at the beginning of a sentence, to the exclusion of all that came after it. That’s not listening, that’s debating. It’s a “point – counterpoint” approach to speaking that suggests a “Who will win this conversation” point of view.

Listening to respond is also about remaining IN the moment. Connected to the speaker and not connected to any of our many devices. Few of us can actually multi-task effectively and most of us are much better off to focus on one task at a time. Active listening means put your phone down. It’s time to be connected, to each other rather than our devices. Finally, from a customer service point of view it’s about listening to what your customer is actually asking for, rather than telling them what you think they need.

Active listening and listening to hear, not to respond, help bridge the gap between you and your intended audience. It is the key to effective communication. Let’s all put our devices down for just a few minutes and practice #beinthemoment. Make it your personal mission, starting today, to actively listen – whether to your kids, co-workers, spouse or customer. Drop the constant need to hashtag your conversations or to answer back in defensive mode.  Instead #GiveActiveListeningATry. (Oh the irony…..we just couldn’t resist!)

As Owner and Principal partner of “Writing Right For You” Sheralyn is a Communications Strategist – working together with entrepreneurs to maximize profit through effective use of the written word. Looking for web content that works, blog articles that engage or communications strategies that help you get noticed?  Contact Sheralyn today. Sheralyn is also the mother of two children now entering the “terrible and terrific teens” and spends her free time volunteering for several non-profit organizations.

Sheralyn Roman B.A., B.Ed.

Writing Right For You

Communications Strategies that help you GET TO THE POINT!

416-420-9415 Cell/Business

writingrightforyou@gmail.com

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Let’s Play A Game

Sheralyn

Sometimes in this space we talk about communication. Well, ok – usually in this space communication is ALL we talk about!  Occasionally it’s tips and tools, sometimes it is general open-ended advice applicable to any business and today, we would like to share something we do each week in an effort to engage both new and existing customers. It might seem a little self-indulgent but we hope you’ll go along with us and possibly pick up some helpful advice along the way.

There are two things we do each week to engage and interact with our audience. If you’ve never followed the links at the bottom of this post in order to view our business facebook page, I invite you to do so, in order to see what it’s all about. Once there, you might consider how you can adapt the concept to best suit your business.  Perhaps you are hoping to drive more traffic to your website. Maybe your facebook page needs more likes. Either way, we encourage you to consider “having a conversation” with your customer, as a means to potentially increasing your bottom line.  In today’s digital economy, communication often takes on a new and unique meaning. Conversations don’t necessarily take place face to face and in fact, you may never meet your customer or client in person. How do you have a “conversation” without ever speaking a word? Well one of things we do at Writing Right For You is play games and share information!

Each week we play “Wordplay Wednesday”™ and “Fun Fact Friday.”™ Wednesday is an opportunity to engage followers in a challenging exercise usually involving homonyms. We interact with our audience as they attempt to guess the word of the day. Occasionally, a Timmies gift card is the prize. Playing our Wordplay Wednesday challenge drives traffic to our facebook page and website too. We engage and interact with both existing and potential customers in a light-hearted and fun way that involves absolutely no sales pressure whatsoever.  This is followed up each Friday with our Fun Fact word of the day where we share the weird and wonderful world of the English language, explaining the meaning behind such unusual words as “quidnunc.” (Yup, it really is a word!)

Not everything in business needs to be about “the sale.” By engaging customers in new and unique ways however, a sale might just be the end result. Consider what you can do to engage, interact and have a “conversation” with both new and existing customers, without ever picking up the phone. Stop by our page first….increase your vocabulary, share your new found knowledge with your own customers and hey, you might win a coffee while you’re at it!

 

As Owner and Principal partner of “Writing Right For You” Sheralyn is a Communications Strategist – working together with entrepreneurs to maximize profit through effective use of the written word. Looking for web content that works, blog articles that engage or communications strategies that help you get noticed?  Contact Sheralyn today. Sheralyn is also the mother of two children now entering the “terrible and terrific teens” and spends her free time volunteering for several non-profit organizations.

Sheralyn Roman B.A., B.Ed.

Writing Right For You

Communications Strategies that help you GET TO THE POINT!

416-420-9415 Cell/Business

writingrightforyou@gmail.com

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Dealing with Negative Comments on Social Media

Teach Me Social Blog - dealing with negative comments on social mediaIt’s happened to all of us. We work hard to publish an article or a social media post only to have someone come along and respond with a negative or defamatory comment. It’s disheartening, frustrating, upsetting and even angering and it takes every ounce of patience to not want to write back an equally negative and snarky reply. I’ve been there, and I’ve felt the same way. But I can honestly tell you that the best way to respond to negativity on social media is with positivity.

Sir Isaac Newton described his 3rd Law of Motion by explaining that “Every action has an equal and opposite reaction.” In elementary Mathematics, we are taught that a negative and positive number of the same absolute value cancel each other out in an equation (ie. -4 + 4 = 0) What does this have to do with social media? Well, the same notion of countering forces can be applied to all positive and negative forces, energy and comments.

As a rule of thumb in customer service, it is always best to respond to customer complaints in a calm, professional manner. As business owners, we need to recognize that the customer just wants to feel validated for their complaint. This can be handled in a number of ways, but it is always best to acknowledge their negative experience and try to offer a solution. There may not always be a mutually agreeable solution, but remember that an angry customer has more potential to do damage to your business’ reputation than a happy one.

Here are some important Do’s and Don’t’s when considering how to respond to customer complaints, reviews or feedback on Social Media…. KEEP CALM AND RESPOND WITH CALM Poster

What not to do –  

  • Don’t ignore it. It might be tempting to try to delete the comment, or hope it quickly fades down in people’s newsfeeds, but there is never any guarantee. It is always better to respond and address the problem than ignore it and hope it goes away.
  • Don’t respond back with negativity. In the world of debates, two negatives never equal a positive! Responding with anger or offence is just going to add fuel to the fire. It’s upsetting for everyone involved and surrounds your business with negative energy.
  • Don’t get into a battle. There is nothing to be gained from trying to have the final say. Anyone following the discussion on your social network will be able to “see” the entire battle unfolding and each of your followers has an easy click to unfollow you and refuse to see any future posts from your business.

What to do instead –

  • DO take time to formulate an appropriate response before typing any reply to the comment. If possible, ask a colleague or trusted friend to read your reply first before you publish it online. Taking time not only allows you to respond with a clear head, but it also has likely given your disgruntled customer a chance to cool off too.
  • DO respond with professionalism and offer to address the complainant’s concerns offline, perhaps via email address or over the phone. Offer a solution to the problem right up front so that the next step is in their hands to either take you up on the offer, or to walk away.
  • DO end the discussion quickly, after a single, well composed reply. There is nothing to be gained by carrying on the discussion if you first response did everything to address the complaint, offer a solution and provide a non-social media form of communication to use to continue the conversation.

Teach Me Social owner Kelly Farrell has been helping empower Canadian Small Business owners through social media for over for years. Teach Me Social now offers services ranging from training sessions for small business owners and their teams, to full-service social media account management. Visit teachmesocial.ca to learn more about our service offerings or to contact us today for a no obligation consultation, including an audit of your existing social media channels.

Kelly Farrell - Teach Me Social -headshot (2)

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Business Without Borders – The Advantages of Outsourcing

Praveeni

The word outsourcing has a notorious reputation in the business community, you’re either a lover or a hater. Often times there is very little middle ground when it comes to views regarding outsourcing work. As a Canadian business owner it’s easy to get swayed one way of the other on the idea of letting someone else, possibly on the other side of the world do work for you.  However outsourcing can have some tangible benefits especially for small business owners. Here are a few advantages I’ve noticed while outsourcing some of my projects :

Cost Efficient
In most cases outsourcing will cut down your expenses significantly if you choose the correct market to work with. I say this because outsourcing services  are often advertised via online bidding websites such as elance. These sites allow you to choose from different bidders many of whom are located in emerging economies whose currency exchange rate is fairly low when compared to the Canadian dollar.

Focus on Core Principles
Delegating work via outsourcing will leave you more time to focus on your core business practices first. In many cases back office operations such as administrative and HR services can be outsourced. It’s easy to get caught up in back office tasks and lose focus of your core business processes. Outsourcing allows someone else to handle them so you are free to examine the heart of business and what makes it tick.

Time Differences
Although working with international partners can sometimes be challenging, a large time difference can also be advantageous. While you’re a sleep they’re working and vice versa. There is always someone working on improving and maintaining your business. Communication is key when working across time zones so make sure everyone is on the same page when it comes to dates and deadlines.

Flexible Staffing
As a small business owner your workload can fluctuate. Hiring on-site staff whether permanent or on contract can often be cost intensive. Outsourcing tasks according to demand will allow your business more financial flexibility as you can increase or decrease the number of outsourced projects easily. Essentially you can expand or scale back your staff as needed.

 

Praveeni Perera is the CEO and co-founder of Professional Edge Consulting a corporate training company based in Ottawa offering training and coaching services to clients around the world.  She can be reached via WebsiteTwitterFacebook or her Blog.

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Taking care of you is good for business

sandra

As entrepreneurs it can be easy to get so caught up in what we’re doing that we forget to take care of ourselves.  When you’re passionate about what you do, it’s easy to lose track of time as you get lost in a project.  Of course, none of us can survive on passion alone for long.  We need to make sure that we have fuel in the tank because running out of gas is detrimental to our health as well as our businesses.

We need to keep our tanks full in all areas of our personal life; mind, body and soul in order to give our best to our businesses.  Not only do we need to keep our bodies nourished, hydrated and in good physical shape, we also need to keep our minds sharp and focused.  We also need the emotional strength to deal with the inevitable setbacks that will present themselves at some point or another. Easier said than done, right?

The ability to function at optimum levels in all these areas takes discipline. Daily routines that make sure your constantly replenishing your internal resources are a must!  When we don’t make the time to take care of ourselves in order to do more for the business, we do ourselves a disservice.  Unless you’re one of the few who can sustain full power on no sleep, food or mental rest, there is no way you’re giving your all when you’re not at optimal health.

You want your business to run smoothly.  You want foolproof systems in place.  If you have a team, you want them to be responsive to client needs.  You expect everything to function at its highest capacity so that you can offer the best service to your customers.  You know that if the systems aren’t maintained, they won’t run efficiently.  You know that if you don’t maintain good communications with your team, the vision and mission will be lost.  It’s the exact same thing with you!

If you don’t listen to your body when it tells you it needs rest, you’re going to get sick.  If you don’t get enough sleep, you’ll eventually lose focus and stamina.  If you don’t quiet the mind, how will it ever be able to be open to new and exciting opportunities?  We also have to remember not to ignore our relationships either.  It’s important to have clarity on what your priorities are at all times.  Yes, there are going to be times when balancing your personal and business life will be a challenge, but we have to make sure we aren’t neglecting the things that are important to us.  If you’re not clear on what those priorities are, you’ll be pulled in way too many directions and overwhelm is inevitable.

We all want to be successful in our entrepreneurial endeavors.  Our passion for what we do can consume us if we allow it to.  It’s important to find a way to coexist with passions, so that we can serve them, and feel fulfilled in doing so.  This means making sure that we take care of ourselves in order to give our best in all that we do.  Are you ready to make yourself a priority?

Sandra Dawes is a certified life coach specializing in helping women who feel unfulfilled with their 9-5 follow their dreams and pursue their passions. She holds an Honours BA, an MBA as well as a certificate in Dispute Resolution. She has completed her first book,Embrace Your Destiny: 12 Steps to Living the Life You Deserve!

Connect:

www.embraceyourdestiny.ca

www.facebook.com/embraceyourdestiny

www.facebook.com/embraceyourdestinythebook

www.twitter.com/sandradawes

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Creating “C.O.R.I.” Content

 

Sheralyn

Much has been written (by me, for CSBW, never mind from all those other experts!) about creating great website content and how to blog for business. Today, I would like to add to the narrative by sharing my short and simple acronym for creating meaningful content that works.  It’s “C.O.R.I.”  When writing about your business in any capacity and particularly when creating content for your website, make sure that it’s Current, Original, Relevant and Interesting.

Social Media encourages, to some degree, a tendency to “over share.” I attended a networking event recently where a person told me they shared to Facebook 7 or 8 times per day!!! I am not sure when they were getting any work done but unless you are actually in the business of Social Media, providing this as a service to clients as part of their business strategy, this is probably a little too often. It also begs the question are you sharing relevant information or just re-posting randomly? So unless you’ve hired an expert like my good friend Kelly Farrell at Teach Me Social, stick to the C.O.R.I. principle.

Your website content should always be current.  Create a schedule where you build time into your business to regularly refresh and update.  There is nothing worse than searching for something on the web and coming across a Christmas special at Easter. Your product or service may not necessarily change but you can tweak the wording, offer a seasonal special or post a blog all of which could help your rankings if a search engine like Google thinks you are posting new content.

Make sure your content is original. First and foremost if it isn’t that’s plagiarism and we all remember the consequences of that from school. Secondly, if you are posting and sharing excessively, from other sites, again your rankings could be affected because Google sees it as duplicated content. Besides, your website is about you, your product and/or your service so it SHOULD be original.

Relevancy is a big one for me. This is not so much about your website content because it is assumed if you are describing your service, the content is relevant to your business! However, when sharing information across your other social media platforms it is imperative that you share content that is related to your business. Sharing stories about cute kittens or babies sucking on a lemon is not only irrelevant but frankly, might just annoy your potential clients and see you placed on their “blocked senders” list.

Finally, when it comes to content, do your best to make sure that it is also interesting. Provide tips and tools that your potential clients can actually use.  Share a news story that is current, interesting and related to your industry. Perhaps, offer a little known “fun fact” about your product that people might not already know. Post something regularly that engages your audience without inundating them.

By creating content that is current, original, relevant and interesting you will create an audience that comes looking for you rather than you having to seek them out! Be an original. Share responsibly, not randomly.

As Owner and Principal partner of “Writing Right For You” Sheralyn is a Communications Strategist – working together with entrepreneurs to maximize profit through effective use of the written word. Looking for web content that works, blog articles that engage or communications strategies that help you get noticed?  Contact Sheralyn today. Sheralyn is also the mother of two children now entering the “terrible and terrific teens” and spends her free time volunteering for several non-profit organizations.

Sheralyn Roman B.A., B.Ed.

Writing Right For You

Communications Strategies that help you GET TO THE POINT!

416-420-9415 Cell/Business

writingrightforyou@gmail.com

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6 Tips for Managing Your Employees

Praveeni

Managing people is a tricky job, even for the most skilled business school grads and experienced professionals. Running a business and managing staff is more than just delegating tasks and supervising employees; it means you are accountable to both your clients and your staff.

Here are a few tips for managing people :

  1. Delegate work according to skill level and capability
    As an entrepreneur your staff is there to help you achieve your goals and grow your business. Being in charge is doesn’t give you the right to palm off tasks you don’t enjoy on your staff. You must delegate work according to your staff’s skill level and capabilities. Each member of your staff is unique and has different strengths and weaknesses;  it is your job to recognize their strengths. You need to get to know your staff and their capacities in the workplace. Remember to be fair in your delegation, resist the urge to pile work on your strongest staff members and delegate easier tasks to those who might be struggling. Make sure everyone has a fair share of responsibilities within their assigned roles.
  2. Hold weekly meetings
    Weekly meetings are a common practice in most workplaces as it gives co-workers and managers alike a chance to discuss progress, plan the coming week, and initiate new tasks. Make sure you get status updates on the work you’ve delegated and ensure the participation of all your employees in weekly meetings. This  will allow you to assess how employees are dealing with the workload and determine where changes need to be made.
  3. Schedule open door time
    The “Open door” policy isn’t always the best approach to increase productivity. As a business owner and manager you may need time alone in your office to work, brainstorm, meet tight deadlines, and sort out your thoughts. However, your employees will have questions and concerns to discuss with you, designating a time when you will be available to address these concerns is a great way of showing your concern and approachability. It’s a good idea to schedule “open door time” every day or at least 3 times a week; this way employees know they can talk to you about their concerns.  This practice is often adopted in academia where professors have “Office Hours” within which students can meet them to discuss grades, assignments etc.
  4. Exercise open and effective communication
    Open communication is the key to effective management. Bosses are often the bearers of good and bad news. Inform all employees at the same time. Some business owners feel that they should only share information with certain employees who they determine “need to know it” or for whom it is “relevant”. However this scenario often results in closed door meetings between bosses and just a few staff members, leaving other employees feeling left out, suspicious and anxious.  Engaging in closed door meetings of this sort is highly discouraged as it promotes division and suspicion. Of course some information needs to remain confidential but as a business owner you must be discrete about how you go about disclosing information to staff.
  5. Keep it professional
    Sometimes as a business owner it may be tempting to befriend your employees since you hired them and they work directly for you, but it’s important to keep it professional. You may be closer to certain members of your staff than others but attempt to maintain the same level of interaction with all employees. Avoid going out to lunch with  the same staff members every week or sitting next to the same people at meetings. This makes others feel like you’re playing favourites and will result in jealousy, competition, and workplace conflict as everyone wants to be close to “the boss”. You can engage in conversations with employees outside of working hours but remember to keep your composure.  Be polite and keep it professional, don’t get too personal.
  6.  Introduce team building initiatives
    Initiating team building activities is a good way to foster a collectivist environment within your business and make employees feel included and welcome. Introducing office outings such as a lunch out of the office will allow you to connect with your staff in a new environment and boost morale. If going out is not feasible, organizing a potluck or simply celebrating employee birthdays with a cake or dessert is a great way to promote interaction. As a business owner you need to make sure employees are team players working toward a common goal.

Praveeni Perera is the CEO and co-founder of Professional Edge Consulting a corporate training company based in Ottawa offering training and coaching services to clients around the world.  She can be reached via WebsiteTwitterFacebook or her Blog.

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IWAA 2016 Award Recipients: Canadian Small Business Women of the Month of February 2016

iwaa-international-womens-achievers-awards-site-logo1

 

Marcia Brown  (Changing Lives Award)

Marcia Brown founded Trust 15 Youth Community Support Organization in 2011.  She started her career with the Toronto District School Board as an Educational Assistant in 2005.  She has been working diligently to educated mentor and inspire the young men and women in her community ever since.

Marcia recognized that there was a significant need in her community for a place where youth could come and feel safe and accepted, and receive much needed support.  So she decided to walk from door-to door-in the neighborhood asking parents if they would allow their children to participate in this enriching after-school program.

Earning the trust from the community and the 15 girls that showed up on the first day the program started, led to the name, TRUST 15.  Then came 3 programs that changed the community of Etobicoke.  The programs are Ladies on the Rise, Men of Distinction and Girls on the Rise.

Marcia Brown has acted as the active link between education, community and family.  She has engaged parents and community members in the success of our youth and encouraged the engagement of our youth in their own success, through education and mentorship.  The young ladies and young men have showered Marcia with praises and appreciations for her care, compassion and support.  She has provided them with better access to jobs, resources for university, and access to achieving career and life goals.

Joy Foster:    (Art & Culture Award)

 Joy Foster, an accomplished Motivational Speaker, Singer, Professional Recording Artist and Television Talk Show Host “Future Prospects” she will help unlock the invisible door that so often stands between people and their ultimate personal and professional goals. Whether its leadership, communication, change management, or stress Joy’s training is fast-paced, information-packed, interactive and guaranteed to deliver skills, techniques that can be used right away. She has a natural approach with her audience on the issues of self-esteem and motivation in the competitive marketplace. 

Close to her heart Joy has taken up a mission to empower our future generation today’s youth towards greatness. To leave the pain they may endure and pursue, discover the diamond they are born to be! Her presentations have embraced and delivered messages that leave student body and teachers wanting more! Joy pulls no punches and allows no excuses to be expected only solutions. Students are allowed to talk openly feeling their opinions are heard and not judged but listened too with an empathic ear. Sharing her own real life stories students are touched, empowered and inspired towards their inner greatness.

Joy shows great compassion with students and also holds a very safe, supportive, respectful and inclusive space for the training and learning to take place. She is able to perform with students and not lose them in the process. She also has a unique presentation delivered to parents titled “Parents Curtain Call Please!” Joy grew up in a home where her parents had not known how to communicate to their children that contributed to a concrete wall for all her siblings including herself. Joy endured pain, loneliness and confusion throughout her childhood. Constant arguments and a dysfunctional home life she decided enough is enough and found the strength to overcome her adversities. She knows the importance of love that parents today MUST employ to their children everyday. Communication is vital to the improvement of our youth today. They need their parents not media but parents whom love them unconditionally. “Parents Curtain Call Please” is an eye opener for all parents to attend and learn the true meaning of parenthood.

Yvette Thakurdial: (Women In Business Award)

Yvette Thakurdial was born in Kingston, Jamaica. She migrated to Canada in 1987. Yvette is a graduate of Centennial College, where she receives a diploma in Automotive Technology in 1994. Yvette launched her career in Automotive Sales and Customer Service, she is currently the Co-owner of Meineke Car Care Center, an Automotive Franchise here in North York.  Yvette has over 20 years experienced Sales and Customer Service industry.

Yvette believes it is the responsibility of business owners to give back locally and internationally as much as possible to those in need.  She currently lives in Maple with her husband, 3 daughters, 2 grandchildren and 3 cats.

Grace Nakajje: (Humanitarian Ambassador Award)

Grace Nakajje is a Ugandan Health Advocate. Nakajje founded Grace Works Initiative, a not-for-profit organization promoting healthcare for less-privileged women and children in Uganda. Nakajje Authors a book “Voice in the Jungle” that brings to light the depth of Africa’s cultural crisis of Female Genital Mutilation, child marriages, and girl education.

Nakajje Nakajje is an alumni of the International Leadership Institute. Currently, she is pursuing a degree of Master of Science Public Health at the International Health Science University, Uganda. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree of Journalism, an experience that paved her way for recognition at UMAC Annual meeting in USA as the best female UMC Communicator from Africa. Nakajje wants to see a free world where women will have right to healthy life with dignity.

Salina Khan: (Positive Impact Award)

Salina Khan is an ambitious recent graduate student from the University of Toronto with an honors degree in Health Sciences.

She has devoted her time, energy and education in hopes to improve Clinical Research studies within the realms of Cancer. Having worked as a Clinical Researcher in Thoracic Surgery within Oncology at UHN, she hopes to work toward bettering our understanding of different causes, developing strategies for prevention, diagnoses, treatment plans and cures for Cancer. Presently, she is working on her publication on various techniques that can be used to better identify cancer antigens suitable for testing in vaccines.

Her hard work and dedication have been appreciated by The University of Toronto, JYI, The Peel District School board, Toronto General Hospital, Princess Margaret Hospital and the Premier of Ontario.

Alongside her research, she spends her free time volunteering with Let’s Talk Science – a national charitable organization who aim to engage children in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. She is also a member of Canadian Helping Arms –a non-profit organization currently working on the Syrian Refugee Crisis. Furthermore, she is apart of SMILE- another non-profit organization whose mandate is to develop awareness of the limitations faced by children with disabilities and critical illnesses.

 Sophia Findlay: (Media Award)

Sophia Findlay is a Toronto-based journalist and advertising executive. She is currently employed to The Gleaner Company and G98.7 FM Radio.

Sophia has written for print and online publications, which includes The Jamaica Observer Newspaper and its magazine, All Woman; The Toronto Star Newspaper and its glossy magazine, Sway, as well as, Huffington Post and The Globe and Mail.

She also specializes in content branding, marketing and promotions. But before all of her prestigious appointments and job roles, she describes her journey as “cut my high teeth” at Contrast Newspaper, Canada first Black newspaper, where she did her internship.

Sophia studied the Arts at The University of Toronto at the beginning of her post-secondary education but later changed to Ryerson University when a placement became available in their journalism programme. During those years, she maintained a regular part-time position at the main branch of The Royal Bank of Canada, downtown Toronto.

As a businesswoman in the country of her birth, Jamaica, which she had returned to in 2003,  after living in Canada for over 17 years, she owned and operated a franchise as an authorized dealer of one of the island’s largest telecommunications firm, LIME (Landline, Internet, Mobile and Entertainment), formerly Cable & wireless Ltd.

Nina Hallie Dixon: (Youth Leadership Award)

Nina Hallie Ruth Dixon is the Founder, Producer and Host of In the Loop.

She made her mark as a producer when creating the online interactive program in 2010 which transitioned to television shortly after. Dixon has been a successful correspondent with Rogers TV since 2011. Her area of special interest is helping youths and other members of society become their best selves personally and professionally by bridging the gap between community’s members regardless of their age, race, gender or economic strata. Known for her devotion to volunteerism and hard work Nina has established herself as a woman who cares about her community and she brings that unique talent to In the Loop, as it continues to break borders and blaze paths through communities and within the entertainment industry.

At a young age she surrounded herself with mentors and leaders in her community which opened the doors to much of her success in print and the world of entertainment media. Since then she has graced the sets of movies such as 16 Blocks starring, Bruce Willis, Four Brothers starring Mark Walberg, Tyrese Gibson and Andre Benjamin and Ice Princess starring Kim Cattrall. She has conducted exclusive interviews with (but are not limited to): Toronto Maple Leafs’ Alumni, Johnny Bower, Bill Derlago, Dave McLIwain; Canadian Olympic Gold Medalist, Brianne Jenner, CNN Strategist, Roland Martin, CBC News Anchor, Ann Marie Mediwake, fashion designer, David Dixon, Lead Reporter of ET Canada Rick Campanelli, renowned singer, Percy Sledge, member of Parliament, Senator Don Meredith, artist Beress Hammond and many more.

Nina can be found volunteering with various charities and speaking at events geared to youth who she encourages to participate in charitable work and contribute to their communities. She is an active member of the Rotary Club of Brampton Flower City Centennial; an international group compiled of over 1.2 million leaders who work together create change and positively impact communities around the world.

ALMAS JIWANI: (Lifetime Achiever 2016)

A global voice for gender equality and women’s economic empowerment “People often ask me why we choose to focus specifically on women. My answer is simple – we focus on women and girls because evidence accrued over decades of international development work has proven that the status and role of women is the best clue to a nation’s growth potential, and is a key factor in determining a society’s standard of living.” UNWNCC President Almas Jiwani, HSBC Canada, November 2012 Almas Jiwani, President of UN Women Canada National Committee and CEO of Frontier Canada Inc, is a fiercely vocal champion for gender equality. She is internationally renowned for her efforts to encourage women’s social, economic, and political empowerment. She spearheads initiatives where corporate growth intersects with humanitarian development.

A model of perseverance and determination, Ms. Jiwani’s efforts to strengthen women’s economic capacity as entrepreneurs and producers have earned her accolades. She plays a crucial role in building networks among charitable institutions and socially responsible businesses. Ms. Jiwani is a powerful and influential speaker and she continues to travel across the globe to deliver keynote addresses, speeches, and presentations on improving the status of women. She addressed over 400 parliamentarians from 42 countries on the benefits of economically empowering women and the roles and responsibilities of parliamentarians at the International Assembly in the Dominican Republic and Quebec City. More recently, she addressed the Pan Africa Media Conference, Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, World Bank, Women in Leadership Forum in Abu Dhabi, African Development Bank conference, and the World Forum alongside Nobel Peace Laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu and holistic health/New Age guru Deepak Chopra.

She is CEO of Frontier Canada, a communications and marketing company based in Toronto, Ontario. In 2013, Ms. Jiwani was appointed as a member of Magna Carta Canada honorary committee alongside with former Country Prime Ministers and high level political dignitaries. She was also appointed as good will Ambassador of the World NGO. 2 In 2012, Ms. Jiwani made history as a state visitor in Pakistan when she addressed one million women on gender inequality. In June 2012, she was appointed as a Global Ambassador of Peace by the Universal Peace Federation. She is a member of the Global Advisory Board of Women in Leadership – NASEBA Corporation in the Middle East and Dean, Faculty of Law at Istanbul University in Turkey, Pamoja Kenya Mentorship Alliance, Enerdynamic and Global Warming Prevention Technologies. Ms. Jiwani has gained international recognition and commendations from governments and the media: •

 Tylaine Duggan: (Diversity Award)

Tylaine is a driven and passionate entrepreneur with an ambition to conceptualize, operate start-ups, and has created winning solutions and profitable organizations under her unique management.

As an only child raised in Europe by Corporate Executives, she wrote her first business plan by age 8, formed her first company at age 11 in a foreign country, and has not stopped since – now into her ‘50’s.

In 1995 as CEO she sold the Canadian Profit Magazine “Top 100 Profitable company ISDN” (a 24/7 newswire sending Press Releases for Publicly Listed Traded Companies to the Stock Exchanges, Governing Authorities, Financial Brokerage Firms and Media).  It later merged with BCE Emergis (Bell Canada), and she is noted in the “Canadian Who’s Who” for her telephony and IT expertise.  Ms. Duggan continues to operate 4 companies in myriad genres including natural body care products, an import export construction company, plus concurrently for the last decade YOUTH DAY Global – a free family festival celebrating the positive achievements of young aspiring artists to enable them a place of expression and find their passion to build self-esteem towards a bright future.  The Volunteer driven event now attracts over 32,000 people in one day each summer in Toronto.  Her 4th is poised for market.

Having lived and travelled from Europe to Dubai to North America, her 6 languages have served her well in International negotiations and diplomacy to meet the goals and objectives of her entities to improve social, solutions driven companies – while driving their financial operations without outside investment.

Tylaine has also been recognized as the recipient of the International Women’s Achievements Awards for Arts & Culture; is a regular invited Speaker at the United Nations; is known for her relentless and dedicated Community work; her International efforts; and has received numerous Proclamations for her creation of an “Event of Municipal Significance for the City of Toronto” for the unique YOUTH DAY platform festivals designed for our young people.

Stella Ebere Opara: (Woman of Distinction Award)

My name is Stella Ebere Opara from Imo State Nigeria. Born 8th January 1981, I am married and blessed with two beautiful girls. I am a graduate of Federal Polytechnic Oko from the department of Business Administration and Management. I have worked with the following organizations; NAL Bank Plc (now Sterling Bank Plc) 2004 – 2005 Industrial Training Staff Michael Imodu National Institute for Labour Studies 2007 – 2008 National Youth Service Corps Staff Standard Alliance Life Assurance Company Ltd 2009 – 2011 Financial Planner I currently work with these following organizations in various capacities; Managing Director Moniseed International Limited Stellamaris Cooperative Thrift and Credit Society Ltd registered in 2012 Founder and President Federation of Agricultural Commodity Associations of Nigeria (FACAN). Coordinator Imo State Chapter since 2013 till date Women in Agriculture & Entrepreneurship Cooperative Thrift & Credit Union, as the Founder and President since 2014 till date. Association of Non-Bank Microfinance Institution of Nigeria (ANMFIN) Vice Chairman Imo State Chapter National Banana/Plantain Growers, Processors and Marketers Association of Nigeria (NABPAN). National Treasurer Nigeria Cassava Growers Association (NCGA) State PRO & Organizing Secretary

Through my participation in these organizations and working hand in hand with the State and Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Ministry of Industry, Trade & Investment and members at the grassroots, I have gotten the opportunity to promote the interest of women in Agriculture and farmers in general who live in remote areas and have no access to agricultural assisted programs by the Nigerian Government. I look forward to recording more progress in all my endeavors.

Dwania Peele: (Entrepreneurship Award)

Dwania Peele is the founder and Executive Director of Canadian Small Business Women, a website and blog that aims to provide aspiring small business women of Canada a place to find all the resources required to start a business. It also provides marketing tools for current business owners who wish to take their businesses to the next level.

Kemi Amusan: (IWAA Volunteer Award)

 Kemi Amusan lives in Toronto, Canada. She is the Executive Director of Global Women Ambassadors. The Organization celebrates women leaders, empowers women through life skills training, mentoring, family mediation, referrals and counseling. She is a voracious advocate for eradication of violence against women. Madam Global as she is fondly called volunteers a huge percentage of her time supporting women based organizations, planting unifying community-based groups and also promoting stability in homes, with the ultimate aim of having stability in our communities.

Andrea Tabnor: (IWAA Role Model Award)

Andrea Tabnor was born at Kingston Jamaica in1970. She migrated to Canada at age seven to be reunited with her mother and father.  Tabnor and her family moved to the Jane and Finch (J-F) area in 1978 where her mother known as “Mama Ivy“ resides to this day. Tabnor grew up in the J-F and attended Yorkwoods Public School, Oakdale Junior High, and Westview Centennial Secondary School.  Tabnor became a mother at age fifteen and a grandmother at age twenty-nine. English was Tabnor greatest strength but attendance was her weakness so she decided to drop out of school in grade nine and took her educational skills to the streets.  While out of school with no job and financially unstable she made a decision out of desperation and no sense of direction to live a life of crime to gain financial stability. She became a notorious shoplifter, sold drugs (cocaine), walked with gang members, (Bloods and Crips), exposed to guns,  and lived a lavish lifestyle in dancehall with a girl crew called Lushus Crew.

In August 2010 she sat down in a backyard in the Firgrove community and she said to some community members that she was tired of the gun violence, funerals, and separation within her community. She said we need to stop keeping BBQ’s that separate us and instead try to do something in the name of “Unity”. With just a thought she brought her idea to the J-F Community Ministry and executed it on August 28, 2010. She had the Fire Department bring out their Fire Truck to talk about safety and for the children to explore, an experience they never had. The police were not involved because she never understood the concept that police also engage in community events. She thought they were only there to arrest criminals and with her background she had much fear in going to the police. Toronto Community Housing never gave me permission to access space so a community member named Kerri without hesitation gave me access to space which was her home.  She sent a promotional flyer into the community that had a poem on it called GUNS. Tabnor is a Spoken Word artist and the poems that she writes can relate to people that have walked in her shoes. Through her poems she delivers a message to a community that doesn’t engage but can relate to her.

The first J-F Unity event was so successful she was asked if she would be interested in doing it again. Tabnor is now the founder of the J-F Unity BBQ and J-F Unity Soccer Tournament and President of the Jane and Finch Unity Organization, a non-profit organization that has been created to decrease gun violence between the Bloods and the Crips, engage community relationships with the police, and to bring an impact around cultural diversity within the community. Her partner Ironman owner of Ghetto Entourage Sound is the one that takes care of entertainment and stage management. His motivation and dedication has brought J-F Unity to an impact level. Since then the J-F Unity org has been sponsored by business, organization, politicians, and community members. J-F Unity BBQ now has the yellow cruiser, mounted police unit, police on bicycles and the community engages with them at this event to promote decreasing of gun violence through unity.  J-F Unity org has collaborated in events such as Kiddie’s Caribana Flags and Colours Parade, which Tabnor was the organizer of the Jamaican float that was featured on Cp24. Also Bright the Night BBQ with Enbridge Gas, Oakdale Toy Drive with City Councilor Anthony Perruzza, Harriet Tubman Track-Field, and J-F Culture Village Unity Festival that was organized to welcome the Pan Am /Parapan Am Games 2015 coming to J-F by the Culture committee which Tabnor was part of. She was also a member of the Host Committee, Economic Working Group, and the Torch Relay representing the Pan Am Games.  She has performed her spoken words at Youth Day in July 2012 at Dundas Square, Mayfair event at Yorkwoods Library, Churches, and at her J-F Unity BBQ.

Jessica Ama Oppong: (Academic Award)

Jessica Ama Oppong . My hobbies consists of soccer, basketball and also like playing the alto saxophone. My favorite subject is math and I love debates. I plan to be a lawyer when I grow up. I do have a great role model which is my mom.”

Janet S. Fearon: (Academia Award)

Samantha Fearon has been making a significant contribution to Jamaica’s education system for fifteen years.  She loves working with children and believes there are myriad lessons to be learnt from them, including forgiveness. She took charge of the Kiwanis Club of Hopewell sponsored K-Kids Club in 2008. Their first major project was the beautification of the wall at the entrance of the school. The students and Miss Fearon decorated the wall by painting letters, shapes and words. Since then they have done many other projects such as: visit to Blossom Gardens Children’s Home, painting of the school bathroom; as labour day project, they have cleaned up beaches as Saturday projects, visiting  basic schools in their local community and offering assistance to the teachers. They have helped the Sandy Bay Methodist Church in their labour Day Projects to paint walls and create a garden. Under Miss Fearon’s dedicated leadership the K-Kids have done a Christmas Concert to raise money for the club. They have also done a lemonade sale to raise money for the Kiwanis International Eliminate Project.

Miss Fearon received an award from the Principal of Sandy Bay Primary School for outstanding contribution to K-Kkids, award from The Kiwanis Club of Hopewell in recognition of outstanding service, a certificate of appreciation on the occasion of Kiwanis International’s 100th Anniversary and award for Outstanding Leadership of the grade 2 classes at Sandy Bay Primary School.

Miss Fearon’s most recent act of selflessness and significant contribution to academia is her stewardship in guiding twenty-five students in the Kiwanis Sponsored Bring Up Grades (BUG) Program that encourages students to improve their grades from one grading period to the next. All twenty five students improved their grades and will be awarded with their BUG Certificates at the start of the new school year.

Naomi Ackerman: (Community Leadership Awards)

Naomi  Ackerman  the founder and executive director of The Advot (ripples )Project was born in the United States and then immigrated to Israel in her childhood.

Served 2 years in the Israeli Defense Forces and then received a BA in Education and Theatre from Hebrew University as well as a special-ed teaching credential from the David Yellin Teachers Seminar. Naomi is an experienced actress, who has trained extensively in varied settings and methods.  Her credits include theater, musicals, films, television as well as being an accomplished street performer stilt walker and professional clown.

Founding member of “View Points” an Arab Jewish dialogue theater produced by the “Shimon Peres Center for Peace.” Naomi was the creator of the Jerusalem municipality children’s clown school. Writing and initiating programs that used performance art to engage the entire community .She was part of the first groups of clowns in Israel to engage in medical clowning.

She wrote directed and performs the acclaimed one woman show “Flowers Aren’t Enough” that deals with the issue of domestic violence and has been featured over 1900 times globally. Including the United Nations for the Commission for the Status of woman. (CSW). Flowers has been translated to 4 different languages.

Naomi works internationally consulting, training, speaking and creating curriculums that use drama techniques to deal with social, gender and educational issues, as well as exploring identity and promoting tolerance and dialogue between diverse participants.

In 2011 she founded The Advot (ripples ) Project that uses theatre for transformation .

Naomi is the creator of  the “Relationships 101”; “Out and UP” ;  “listen to me when I speak” curriculums. The Advot project works with incarcerated girls in the Los Angeles County probation incarceration facilities.  Naomi  is a social activist who produces events and gatherings that teach engage and call to action communities and individuals to take a stand, and find their voice to fight injustice.  But most important of all she is the mother of three beautiful girls Zohar, Ella and Hadar .

Recipient of the KCET –Link Local Hero 2014 Award, Naomi and the Advot project were featured in the Bobbie Brown giving back glam Superwoman episode 8 – 2014

Manesha Annie Persaud: (Entertainment Award)

14 years old Manesha Persaud, also known as Annie by family and friends have been singing since she was 7 years old. She has received a lot of support from her family and friends, especially from her older sister. She is a talented young woman, who is ambitious and inspiring to others. She is a caring individual and she also loves animals. Over the years, Annie has accomplished many things such as winning competitions, performing at many different events, as well as meeting many major artists such as, Lady Luscious, Vanessa Bling, Luciano, Gyptian, and many others.

Annually, since 2010, she enters a competition at the Canadian Music League of Music. She has also performed at fund raisers since she started singing. Another achievement was entering JAAMM Idol in 2013 to 2015, which was founded by Jannett Scott who is also the President of JAAMM Idol. Annie Persaud was the runner up of JAAMM Idol for 2 years in a row (2013 & 2014) and with a lot of determination and persistence; she finally won JAAMM Idol in 2015. She also won a trip to Jamaica to perform at Mini Miss Portland on July 26, 2015, which was sponsored by the President of Mini Miss Portland, Sonia Patterson. While in Jamaica, she recorded cover songs, appeared twice in the Jamaica Star newspaper, and was interviewed on CVM Television, as well as on Sun City Radio, which was an amazing experience for her. After her trip to Jamaica, she went to Ottawa to perform at Jam Day, where she met many more artists.

In 2014, Annie had the opportunity to perform at the International Women Achievers Awards on March 8th.  Recently, Annie Persaud was invited to perform for the President of Guyana, His Excellency David Arthur Granger, on September 12, 2015. She also had a chance to perform at a Relief Concert for Dominica on the 25th of September 2015. Another opportunity that Annie received was to perform at Oakdale Park Middle School’s 50th anniversary, which was on October 3, 2015. Annie was also invited to perform at the Annual Banquet & Scholarship Awards on November 7, 2015. So far, the experience has been wonderful, and she looks forward to what the future has in store and following her dreams and passion. She would like to thank everyone for all of their love and support, as well as those who have given her the opportunity to perform.

Learn more about these empowering ladies, meet them at this year’s IWAA 2016 Award show being held on March 6th.  For more information, visit their website at www.iwaawards.com

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