It hardly felt like work but there I was among business women. The Atelier Collective, in its inaugural year, was way beyond a Women in Business conference. It was a day of real talk, inspiration, and a lot of laughs between a sold out crowd of women from all over at a family winery right here in Niagara. The thread raised by the powerhouse panelist was balancing a successful career without sacrificing yourself and your family.
It was refreshing to see the daylight change in the (stunningly decorated) tent instead of watching it pass from a window in a banquet hall. But, more so, it was refreshing to leave feeling inspired. The women behind The Atelier Collective, the panelists, and those in attendance are unique. These women really believe in the power of women supporting women.
There was a time when I was seriously doubting if I’d be a wife or a mother. I worked my ass off to put myself through university; would I be happy putting my career second? Starting a family meant taking time away from that ambition to build a career. I’d worked too hard to take time away. Then, along came Amelia , who we affectionately call Millie, and I’ve never looked back. Here’s the trouble: I found myself completely apprehensive about investing in myself. Everything became about Millie.
Being a working (out of the house) mom is a struggle. I’ve felt incapable of giving 100% at home or at work. I started writing for myself, but I knew I wasn’t the only woman riding this emotional roller coaster. This constant internal battle was not overlooked but was in fact celebrated, at The Atelier. How refreshing!
Angela and Taryn, the masterminds behind the day, are no strangers to balancing motherhood and ambition. A number of the powerhouse panelist also shared their stories of raising a family while chasing their goals–and didn’t hide behind any mask of having it all together. One big lesson came through: nurturing yourself and feeding your soul is so important. It’s just as important for our children to see that. I’ll raise an oversize cup of coffee to that!
The lessons were memorable, insightful, and (best of all) achievable. I walked away ready to be bold. Maybe that’s more than The Atelier set out to accomplish but I was inspired to do more.
So who are the women behind the day. I reached out to Ang & Taryn to share their perspective!
The Atelier Collective is just one part of your life. Tell me about yourselves?
T – I’m a Business Broker specializing in the sale and acquisition of small to medium-sized businesses in the GTA.
A – I work in communications/writing at Ridley College, run Elev8 Events, specializing in corporate and signature events, and am a yoga teacher!
When you first started dreaming up The Atelier what was your vision?
The Atelier actually began as a much smaller event. We had talked about creating a mastermind group – a peer-to-peer mentoring concept to help elevate and bring out the success of each member, with a small number of like-minded women.
After much discussion, this slowly evolved into a bigger event in order to reach a greater number of women. The more we did our research and spoke with friends and colleagues about this idea, the more we found a space for it in the marketplace.
We wanted to create an event that not only supported women in their career ambition content-wise, but also created a space where they felt inspired. The look and feel of the event was important to us, and this played on the energy we wanted to create.
This social climate, especially, needs to have a safe space where women can grow, learn from each other, and willing to put themselves out there without fear of criticism. We wanted to create that safe space. This all stemmed from a place of love and positive intention, and we hope that resonated with our ladies!
What was your biggest challenge throughout this experience of planning The Atelier?
Because this was the first event, everything was trial and error. Some of the leads we went down and spent lots of time and energy on, didn’t pan out, which is always a bit of a bummer. But we definitely looked at every obstacle as teachable moment – we felt open and receptive to the words of wisdom surrounding us, and tried to find positivity even in moments that were not so great!
Planning an ‘out of the box’ type event couldn’t have been without its ups and downs. How did you nurture your mind and body during such an exciting and stressful time?
Oh boy. Well, with juggling other careers, a family, and children who tend to be fickle sleepers, the final few months leading to the conference definitely took a toll on our self-care. But the great thing was that we both supported one another, and we celebrated every single victory, no matter how small it was. This kept the energy and momentum up, and because we are so passionate about this, that helped push us through those crazy long planning sessions!
Tell me about how you balance your career and personal ambition with being a wife and a mother?
I think that when it comes to passion, you just somehow create the balance. Truth be told, the work-life balance had been skewed in the past few months, but luckily we have great families who support us and willing to help whenever we needed it. Also, if we are growing ourselves personally and professionally, we feel fulfilled and this positive effect trickles over to other areas of our lives as well. It’s crazy how job satisfaction changes your overall spirit!
As entrepreneurs, what would be your best piece of advice for women considering a big leap?
Our best piece of advice is simple: just take the leap! There are always a million reasons why you shouldn’t or can’t do something … but at the end of the day it’s just about DOING it. It’s not going to be perfect and that’s OK. If you aren’t failing or facing hurdles – you aren’t trying hard enough!
The panelist at The Atelier were incredible. What attracted you to the women you selected?
We designed The Atelier with our attendees in mind. Asking ourselves “what type of content and advice would be a game changer for them”? And then from there we were able to identify panelists that would be able to deliver those messages based on their expertise and experience. We were so lucky to have such amazing, ambitious panelists and speakers believe in our vision for The Atelier – they were such a core part of our event!
You are both mom to little ones. What is one lesson from your own life you most want to teach your children?
I think what you put in – effort, time, energy – is what you will get out of it. We truly believe there is a natural law in the universe that rewards hard work, passion and positivity. Throughout this process, we never relented with our dreams, and we can look back on June 14th with such pride.
If you had to pick one, what is your highlight of The Atelier?
It would have to be the women there. Wow. Throughout the day we met such vivacious, driven, beautiful souls that we hope to stay in touch with through their own entrepreneurial or career journeys. There was an energy present throughout the day that would not have existed without the presence of such incredibly inspiring women.
With such an incredible event under your belts, what’s next?
We have such big dreams for The Atelier! We are laser focused on how we can support women in our community through their entrepreneurial journey and/or career paths – and we have some really exciting events coming up that we will be announcing soon! Stay tuned!
There you have it. Their goal was to inspire women collectively through conversation and atmosphere. To give women a place to grow personally and apply that growth to their career. I can safely say they were successful. I am so glad I was one of those women.
The underlying message I got from connecting with Taryn & Ang is that success comes after finding your passion. Find that and the rest will follow. It won’t be easy, you’ll be have setbacks, but your passion will keep you going. Now there is a vision I can get behind!
Photography | Philosophy Studio