Community at home, work and play are some of the things that matter most to Stephany. As the Chief Hat Maker for Hats On Dufferin, it is Stephanyâ°ÃÂªs passion to bring as many people as she can together to benefit everyone in her community.
Stephany is the Project Manager for Headwaters Tourism, an award winning DMO in Ontario. Part of Stephanyâ°ÃÂªs job at Headwaters Tourism is to help small businesses tap into resources available to them to promote and grow their business. In addition to her work at Headwaters Tourism, Stephany is also the Financial Officer for the Dufferin Board of Trade and she owns her own management company.
Whatâ°ÃÂªs your Story?
As most women, where I started my career is very far from where I currently am. I went to college to become a veterinary technician and now I manage businesses for business owners and have started my own not-for-profit organization. In December of 2016 our school told us that they had already spent their allocated budget for underprivileged children to go on school trips on winter clothes for kids that did not have any in the school. At the time, I had no idea that we even had a poverty issue within our school let alone our community! From there I decided that something had to be done to help the kids in our community and bring poverty awareness to our region so that we can maybe work on a solution to alleviate some of the issues.
I put a call out to our community for donated yarn and people to make hats. 10 months later, 2900 kids are going to be wearing hats this winter because of the community coming together for a great cause!
What do you love most about the work that you do?
We hosted a hat making event at one of our local farmers markets this summer where a 6-year-old girl taught an 82-year-old woman how to make a pompom for her hat! I donâ°ÃÂªt know of any other organization that is literally bringing everyone from children to seniors together to work as one entity. Because of all the donated yarn, people from any financial background can come to one of our free events to make a hat. This organization has created social inclusion for everyone in our community, how could you not love something where everyone feels appreciated, needed and welcomed!
What did you learn early in your career/experience that has made the biggest difference?
That everyone has something to contribute to an organizations success. From the person who answers the phone, to the person who plows the driveway to the person who leads the charge. Every single person can make an impact within your organization or business if they feel heard and valued.
How important have mentors been in your career?
Mentors are EVERYTHING! They are the ones who are going to listen to you when you are second guessing yourself and your choices. They are the ones who are going to keep pushing you forward and helping you strive for bigger and better things. They are the ones that when your personal life falls to pieces, they will be there to make sure you pick yourself up and keep moving forward. They are the ones that will be your cheerleaders and motivators moving forward and they will be the ones who will understand when it seems no one else in your various circles do. At every stage of your life take advantage of mentors but remember that one day you will need to return the favor, so listen, appreciate and retain everything they tell you because it will be your responsibility to pass along what you have learned but with your spin on it for the people you will mentor later.
What motivates you?
My family. I have a partner, a 9-year-old and a 3-year-old daughter. They are my life. Everything I do is for them. I want my daughters to have a mom that they can be proud of but more importantly I want them to know a family and community that is caring and kind to others and for them to see that if we work together, everyone benefits. Also, that at any age you can impact change and the lives of others in a positive way.
What advice do you have for women who are entering your profession?
Give yourself a break. You will reinvent yourself so many times in your career. Every time you have a child, or your marital status changes or you find out your child is on the autism spectrum and the list goes on. We must reinvent ourselves so we can have the life or family we want while balancing the career that we can handle at that particular time in our life. Do what you need to do so that you lead the life you want for you and your family.