PARO Centre for Women’s Enterprise Formally Recognizes City Councillor
Representatives from PARO Centre for Women’s Enterprise traded their blazers for ball gowns recently as Shelby Ch’ng, Owner/Operator of Unveiled Bridal Boutique and Northwood City Councillor, was presented with PARO’s first-ever Enterprising Women Alumni Award. The recognition is one of ten awards that were presented at PARO’s Enterprising Women Awards, to be held on November 12th at the Valhalla Inn.
Ch’ng first received recognition from PARO’s Enterprising Women Awards as the 2013 recipient of the Young Entrepreneur Award. “Shelby has demonstrated her dedication to the community, her inspirational approach to business, and her support of PARO time and time again,”
says Rosalind Lockyer, Founder and Executive Director of PARO Centre.
“Since Shelby’s initial desire to become a small business owner, she has embodied the enterprising spirit of PARO women and the innovative spirit of northern entrepreneurs, making her the ideal recipient of the first Enterprising Women Alumni Award. Her success has also translated into the political world, as she just celebrated her one-year anniversary as a City Councillor.”
Ch’ng adds; “I am very humbled to be recommended so highly among my peers. PARO is a great organization that lends credibility to new female business owners and I am proud to be considered within its ranks. I hope to see everyone out supporting one another at the upcoming Enterprising Women Awards.”
Enterprising Women Awards attendees had access to business education through networking opportunities, workshops, speed mentoring sessions, and a keynote lunch. Lockyer continues; “It is PARO’s focus to always educate women in the community, even when we are celebrating them. The Awards are one part of a full-day event PARO has planned to grow regional businesses and inspire current and future enterprising women through unique business education opportunities. The goal is to impart knowledge and ignite a spark in participants that drives them to take action. Shelby is an example of a woman who has taken her knowledge and
applied it in a way that benefits the entire community.”
High-profile entrepreneur and Top Game Changer on CBC’s Dragon’s Den, Barbara Stegemann, was PARO’s keynote lunch speaker. In addition to her successful participation on the reality business venture show, she talked about her experience building an international, socially responsible perfume business; an industry traditionally dominated by men. Says Stegemann; “I feel it is our responsibility to swing open the doors, and allow others to rise to their potential through economic empowerment.”
Lockyer continues; “The Enterprising Women Awards, and everything PARO had for the full-day event, had something for everyone. The tag line of the Awards is “dream, share, succeed.” Whether you are looking for networking opportunities, business advice, or some inspiration, we
encourage current and future enterprising women to attend this unique event each year to dream, share, and succeed together. If Shelby is any indication of the potential we find in Northwestern Ontario, this celebration is only the beginning for the enterprising women we are
Rosalind Lockyer, PARO
“ Shelby is a model I think for young, professional people in our community. We want to encourage young entrepreneurs to stay in our community, to build our communities. Shelby has a wonderful business, been part of the SHIFT network, the Chamber of Commerce and been
elected to council. She is an innovator, leader and model for young people of finding what they most like to do, building what they love to do and staying here and leading the way. It is not only about building your business but wanting to do good in the community and finding ways
to make positive change.”
“ I was shocked to receive this alumni award. It was very nice and heartwarming.
Some of the success that I have comes from organizations like PARO. I used to sit at a desk, which was fine, but I starting thinking about a bridal business. PARO helped me build my business plan, secure funding through NOHFC and get the confidence and the ability to move
forward. After I opened my business I realized there was no one on city council of my age or someone that represents me. I decide to run and it wasn’t easy but I got in.”
“ I really love being an entrepreneur. I never want to work for somebody else again in my entire life which is odd now that I am on council and have 10,000 bosses in my ward. It gives me freedom and I really like the autonomy so when I make a decision I know I made it
and nobody can lay me off or fire me. It’s really a powerful position to be in. I used to think it was the money that made you a success, but I can tell you I made more money sitting at a desk with benefits and a very comfortable life. But you start thinking is that all there is. I created opportunity for myself in business and politics.”