THUNDER BAY – PARO Centre for Women’s Enterprise celebrated entrepreneurs in the region last night. The 2012 Enterprising Women Awards Gala and Tradeshow were hosted last night to honour nine women from across the North, who have made significant progress and seen success over the last year. PARO Executive Director, Rosalind Lockyer says; “These women are all making such a difference in their communities and are helping move the region forward. They are role models who have experienced success in a variety of sectors; we have someone who was one of the first Aboriginal women to become the Director of Finance at a tribal council, a certified reflexologist, a women that started her own eco-general store, a manic momtrepreneur, and even the founder of a film institute- all women who have built their business while giving back to their community.”
Penny Carpenter has been named the recipient of the ‘Enterprising Women Aboriginal Entrepreneur Off Reserve’ Award. Carpenter is the manager of K-Net Services telecommunications department of Keewaytinook Okimakanak. This department is one of six tribal councils serving the remote First Nations in Ontario’s far North. Penny played an essential role in overseeing K-Net Services transform from a publicly funded First Nations program. Carpenter says; ”When I look up ‘Enterprising’ in the dictionary it says, “resourceful, energetic, ready to start projects”. I think my career over the last 20 years, which has focused on supporting First Nations to build healthy communities, needed all of that mixed in with a little caution, faith, patience and respect.”
The Enterprising Women Awards event kicked off this morning with a tradeshow, workshops and an inspiring address from keynote speaker Zabine Rattansi. Rattansi, shared her story of how being an advocate for women’s rights and gender equality left her wanting to move out of her lucrative corporate career to become an entrepreneur and a philanthropist. Rattansi says; “Your circumstances don’t define who you are, or where you are going to end up. Circumstances change, so find your cheerleaders, take the help and take action. Passion is what gives our life meaning.”
Rattansi worked at American Express, Dun & Bradstreet, Lexus Nexus, and spent the last decade of her corporate career in the Credit Services industry, where she advised Canada’s major banks and lending institutions on the powerful nature of credit data. Rattansi now runs a very successful Lingerie Boutique called LaNuit.
Since 1995, The PARO Centre for Women’s Enterprise has helped thousands of women across Northern Ontario to start, grow or build new business opportunities. In June of 2011, PARO introduced a mentoring program and website at www.enterprisingwomen.ca to help Northern women to dream, share, and succeed, by mentoring, sharing resources, and through social networking.