As I reach my second holiday season as an entrepreneur, I realize more than ever how much learning there is down this path I have chosen. Every day is different. Every day presents me with new ideas and new challenges. It’s all part of the entrepreneurial journey and fortunately, this is only the beginning.

My Giving Tradition

As I sat down to write this year’s “holiday letter,” I looked back on last year’s letter with fondness. In that letter, I shared a bit about my family’s tradition of making charitable gifts as an important part of our holiday season. It felt only right that after my first year in business, I should honour that tradition in my company as well. With all the moving pieces that made up the last year, some things are better left unchanged. Highlighting the positive impact that certain charities can have during the holidays and around the year, is one of them.

As always, each donation I made in support of a charity was made from my heart and has a story. Now comes my annual disclaimer that there are so many deserving charities out there and my family-giving will continue to include a selection of those as well. For my business, here’s what I decided to highlight this year!

WOMEN:  My work with organizations that empower women has been one of the best parts of my year. I have been inspired by the women fundraisers that I work with and the exceptional organizations that they champion. While I have been inspired, I remain, well… somewhat pissed off (yep I said it!) about the gender pay gap and I learned about the health gap, grrrrr. When it comes to unequal pay, the fundraising industry is no exception – and it needs to change. So, with that in mind, I have made a donation to the Canadian Women’s Foundation. They are working diligently to make headway on the gender wage gap, and I strongly believe they can bring us closer to where we need to be. And that health gap needs to be tackled too and I know my friends at Women’s College Hospital Foundation will lead the charge.

NATURE: I support the work of so many nature and environmental organizations. Getting outdoors amongst the trees is life-giving for me. It really is my favorite time. My family continues to chip away at our goal of walking the Bruce Trail end to end. This summer we did the Tobermory end which was beyond beautiful and so different than the part located just beyond our backyard. While we walk, we talk about nature, the environment and how we can protect it. My 10-year-old is learning to be an environmentalist. One of the organizations I have gotten to know this year is also building environmental leaders in our schools. I am proud to support Ontario EcoSchools. It’s doing great work, and watch out they are going places!

INTERNATIONAL CONFLICT: War Child Canada is a repeater on this list and you all know why. This organization has been at the core of my business since the onset, and I could not be prouder of the work we’ve accomplished. Investing in organizations that take care of the most vulnerable people globally has always been a core value of mine. The more stories I hear of the women and children that War Child Canada impacts, the more unbelievable it is to me that we don’t invest more in protecting and providing a way out of the cycle of violence and poverty they face every day. My part is small, but consistent.

Traditions are important! And giving traditions most important of all. They warm your heart and make real change in the world around us. Whether you’re donating your time, money, expertise or material things, I truly hope all of you enjoy some type of giving this season.

My warmest wishes to you. I look forward to connecting in 2019.