November is Canada Career Month. This year, the theme is it’s possible. This month, CPC’s News Feed will feature a series of posts that builds on that theme. We believe it’s possible to create a bright future. Young women emerging in the workforce today show us the possibilities.
Reflecting on the Past
As I reflect on CPC’s theme, “It’s possible to create a bright future,” I think of the late Beverly Mascoll, a trailblazer who paved the way for many Black women, including me, to start businesses. Bev was denied loans from banks to launch her own business. These banks asked that her husband sign on her behalf, clearly signalling their belief that a woman could not run a business on her own. They also did not see the feasibility or potential of a Canadian market for Black beauty supplies.
Bev never gave up on her dream because she saw possibilities. In 1970, armed with a $700 investment of her own money — and ambition — she started selling hair products from her car. After years of hard work, the Nova Scotia-born African Canadian succeeded in building a multi-million dollar business, Mascoll Beauty Supply. Bev’s company had become Canada’s largest supplier of ethnic beauty products to major department stores and pharmacies.
Why this story? It exemplifies what’s possible when women pursue their dreams, despite rejections.
Encouraged by the Present
This past October, I joined three other members of Career Professionals of Canada to host an Innovation Hub – Paving the Way for Youth – as part of Plan International Canada’s Girls Belong Here program.
My segment of the presentation focused on creating resilience through lifelong learning and skills development. As I listened to the young women tell their stories and share their uncertainties and excitement for the future, I saw possibilities in their faces.
It was gratifying to hear one young woman talk about learning how to code after she discovered that coding was not just for men. She said, “Sometimes you have to take things into your own hands to get better and realize that if you work hard, and involve yourself in these opportunities [offered by Plan International Canada], you can be successful. That’s a huge part of career development for me.”
The group proved to be a determined lot who are eager to build their skills for success. They are motivated, active participants in their own professional development because they understand they own responsibility for their career growth. We discussed failures and bouncing back afterwards. I quoted one CPC member, Jenet Dutti-Bhopal, who is also one of the 21 women I collaborated with to write my most recent book, 21 Resilient Women: Stories of Courage, Growth, and Transformation. “Your challenges and failures are experiences that shape your character. They are teachable moments. They will help you build and strengthen crucial skills such as self-awareness, emotional intelligence, and grit.” Like Beverly Mascoll, we cannot give up after our first encounter with failure. Failure helps us grow; it is the tuition we pay for success.
Excited by the Bright Possibilities of the Future
A few days after the event, one Innovation Hub participant, Teagan Foord, reached out to me for an informational interview. During our discussion she said, “Daisy, when you said we should not listen to naysayers but surround ourselves with possibility thinkers, it struck a chord. I have always wanted to write a book but it didn’t seem possible until I heard you say you had written three books. Listening to you, I now know it’s possible.” Teagan shared that there have been many times in her life as an early-stage career professional where she felt disempowered by the people in her network. She now strives to connect with motivated, supportive, and positive like-minded professionals.
Through her participation in the Innovation Hub, Teagan emerged feeling empowered to become a change-maker. Driven to help other women meet their fullest potential, the possibilities of making a difference — even in the smallest of ways — inspire her.
It is a privilege to be associated with Career Professionals of Canada. Our organization truly believes in the possibilities of youth. The Innovation Hub provided a space for us to listen to the voices of these thoughtful young women as they offered concrete advice on how CPC can pave the way for youth as they prepare for and enter the emerging world of work.
With this impressive cohort, and the support of Plan International Canada, the future is in good hands and looks bright indeed. I look forward to watching as these bright young women turn possibilities into realities.
Daisy Wright is a Certified Career Management Coach and the Chief Encouragement Officer at The Wright Career Solution, where she helps executives, managers, and mid-career professionals tell their career stories and get hired faster. She is the author of two books, including the highly-acclaimed No Canadian Experience, Eh?: A Career Success Guide for New Immigrants. Daisy is a founding member of Career Professionals of Canada, a CPC advisory board member, and a Certified Résumé Strategist.