By Ewa Chwojko-Srawley

Georgina’s entrepreneurial spirit shone brightly at the Wonder Women: Women in Business Conference, held on International Women’s Day, March 9, at The Link in Sutton.

Celebrating its 5th anniversary, the full-day event with keynote speakers, panel discussions and workshops organized by the Georgina Chamber of Commerce, provides support and inspiration for women in business.

“Georgina lacks a prominent employer that defines us, such as Honda in Alliston,” said Regional Councillor Naomi Davison.

“Instead, we are characterized by numerous small businesses, many of which are owned and operated by women. Entrepreneurship is a big part of Georgina; it’s what our community is built on.”

“It is incredible to see so many women entrepreneurs and to observe the extent of their contributions in our community.”

Andrea MacLeod, a former RCMP officer turned artist and art entrepreneur, has been attending the Georgina Women in Business Conference for the past four years. This year, she took the stage as a keynote speaker.

“I came to these events to be inspired and to find support. It’s important to learn from each other. I’ve learned from other women over the years; today I share my own journey hoping others will be inspired,” MacLeod said.

Her keynote message stressed the importance of kindness in business relationships.

“It’s easy to get caught up in competition and pressure, but kindness should never be overlooked. Kindness builds trust; let kindness be your guiding principle,” she said.

While the goal of the conference is to recognize women’s achievements and provide space for networking, attendees also participate in workshops on essential skills like marketing strategies and website development.

Jennifer Anderson, Michelle Vacca & Annabel Slaight
Jennifer Harrison & Andrea MacLeod
Claire Acott, Andrea Macleod, Melissa Sedore, April Jones & Wendy Cohen
Zaheeda Rahim, Felicia Savella & Ernestina Migliozzi

“This year we’ve made some changes to our event. We’ve allocated more time for networking and sharing stories, as our participants suggested,” said Jennifer Anderson, the Executive Director of the Georgina Chamber of Commerce.

“One crucial theme that emerged is the delicate balance for women in business, juggling between personal life and work commitments.”

This year the keynote speakers were local women entrepreneurs, and all attendees were from Georgina.  

“I may not know everyone by name, but I recognize familiar faces,” Anderson said.

“The atmosphere is warm and welcoming; even if you’re meeting someone for the first time, it feels like reconnecting with an old friend. Feeling connected is really important and shows how working together helps us succeed.”

“This room is filled with love,” added media pioneer Annabel Slaight, one of the keynote speakers.

“I shared my experience about running various business and social initiatives, but I also spoke about friendships and love.  Georgina used to be a place people didn’t like so much, but now so many positive things are happening here.  The women gathered here today are changing our community for the better. It’s thrilling!”

Nearly half of the event sponsors are businesses owned by local women, which shows that women entrepreneurs can achieve success, and pave the way for future generations.

Daniel Guthier, who moved to Georgina last year, agrees. The owner of TwinBytes, he was one of two male attendees.

“I decided to sponsor this conference to show support for women in business. I have daughters who might be business owners one day, and I know that they will have strong support, here in Georgina,” Guthier said.