TORONTO ─ A panel of women supply chain executives kicked off the inaugural Full Tilt conference, organized by Canadian Women in Food and held in conjunction with the Canadian Restaurant & Bar show, on November 4 at the International Centre in Mississauga, Ont.
The panelists included Jane Gaynor, president of Gain your Edge Coaching; Vanessa Yeung, creator of Aphrodite Cooks; Helen Langford, co-founder of HSL Consulting; Janice Bartley, founder of Foodpreneur Labs; and Paula Cooper, founder of Dine Aware.
Asked to identify qualities that have helped them on their leadership journey, Yeung pointed to perseverance as her leadership trait, while for Bartley “It’s all about empowerment. It’s important to show up with the right mindset,” she offered. “I work with a lot of young women and see the lack of confidence in many of them. It’s important to help them build the confidence to know what they want.”
Bartley also stressed the importance of “riding your own journey, no two are alike. It’s important we don’t compare ourselves to others.”
Dine Aware’s Cooper stressed the importance of “cultivating your inner circles. You are the sum total of the five people you spend the most time with,” she said.
While many of the panelists focused on various qualities necessary for success, for Langford the establishment of a morning routine helps create a positive day. “Taking a bit of time for yourself is important,” said Langford, “coffee creates joy for me,” and eating a healthy breakfast helps the consultant start off the day on the right foot.
The women were also asked to identify some of their strengths and weaknesses. For Yeung, being shy meant she tried “not to ask for the world. Shyness gets in the way of getting what I want, therefore it hindered my growth.”
As for advice, Langford stressed how important it is to talk to people, while Cooper reminded women operating their own businesses to focus on bookkeeping. “If it’s not your strength, hire for the weakness.”
Yeung told attendees to stop comparing yourself to others and “looking over your shoulders. Once I did this, the whole world opened up to me.”