New group aims to mentor businesswomen

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A new organization for Ottawa’s most successful businesswomen will offer female business owners guidance they can’t get from existing groups, its organizer says.

Boomerang Kids co-owners Heather Meek and Krista Thompson.

By Jacob Serebrin

When the Ottawa chapter of the Women President’s Organization had its official launch earlier this month, the group already more than 10 members, said Krista Thompson, the group’s chair and the president of Boomerang Kids Franchise Corp.

While there are organizations for professional women and young female entrepreneurs in Ottawa, Ms. Thompson said there weren’t any groups for women who own and run successful businesses.

“There’s a lack of resources for women in the second stage of their business,” she said. “Ottawa is one of the last major centres in Canada to not have a Women President’s Organization chapter.”

Based in New York City, the WPO currently has 10 chapters in Canada, including three in Toronto and one in Montreal.

According to Ms. Thompson, all of the WPO’s members have “created and sustained startups. The group is only open to female executives who have an ownership interest in a business that generates over $1 million in service revenue or $2 million in product revenue.

“There’s a different mentality between an executive who’s an employee” and an owner, said Ms. Thompson.

The goal of the group is to “accelerate the growth of these women’s businesses,” she said, with a focus on peer mentoring, where members meet to discuss issues at their businesses and work to solve them together.

Ms. Thompson said that for entrepreneurs like her, meeting with other businesswomen is important.

“Women bring their whole selves to their businesses,” she said. At the WPO, “there’s no apologizing for that … in a male environment there’s more of a compartmentalization. Sometimes in a group of men you feel like you have to hold back.”

She said the group is drawing owners from a wide variety of businesses, and she’s already had to turn a couple of people away the group doesn’t allow business owners who are in direct competition to be members of the same chapter.

The current Ottawa chapter will accept up to 20 members, the maximum allowed under WPO rules, Ms. Thompson said, adding she thinks the city could accommodate another two chapters.

“There are 700 women in Ottawa who have businesses that generate over $1 million in revenue,” she said. Of those, 400 have businesses that generate more than $2 million in revenue.

Organizations: Boomerang Kids Franchise

Geographic location: Ottawa, Women President, Canada New York City Toronto Montreal

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