Just over a year ago, Carly Kuntz (owner of The Waters ~ An Urban Spa Retreat), Lesley Warren (owner of Lesley Warren Design Group) and Janet Weldon (owner of Urban Wellness Studio Inc. and PIVOT Strategic Planning) sat around a boardroom table with the intention of “mentoring” each other. We had so many things in common, we are mothers of children under 10 (5 boys and 1 girl between us), we are entrepreneurs, we are wives, we are sisters, we are daughters and we face hurdles, big and small, each and every day. Despite having so much in common, we each had our own strengths we brought to the table and felt that we all had something to learn and something to teach. Two things happened at this meeting, the vision for Merit Publishing was born and we learned the power of having no agenda.
Sitting around that table we simply started to talk. Overall not one of us was any more an expert than the other as would be expected in a traditional mentoring relationship. So, rather than offering text book advice, we challenged the traditional mentoring paradigm and used story telling to begin to talk about how we had handled situations both personal and professional. This gave the listener the freedom to ask questions and choose the pieces of the story that were relevant to them and their situation. If no lesson was learned, well we were entertained! Soon this began to evolve in to telling stories that other women in our lives had shared with us that we had found to be valuable. It was in this moment that we realized that perhaps mentorship was something less formal than what we had read about in books or learned about in school. We also realized that each of us had learned in both formal and informal ways from many other women in our lives and that these women had something to share on a larger scale. From that realization came the vision for Women of Merit.
There are so many women in our communities from whom we can learn so much. Yes, we sometimes get pieces of wisdom from books, interviews, articles in newspapers and magazines, listening to award acceptance speeches or at networking events. But, where the truly valuable mentoring starts to happen is when you get to know the woman behind the profession, and that is what we have done our best to share in Women of Merit Magazine. Like the three of us, each of the women profiled have many things in common, they are authentic, they act with integrity rand they are forever grateful for those people who have believed in and challenged them along the way. They are both humble and courageous.
A year after that first meeting, we often look back on that day laughing. We should have expected that the vision for another business would come out of a meeting with three strong-willed entrepreneurs. Over the past year, we not only collaborated to build Women of Merit together, but we have truly deepened our co-mentoring relationship in the process – and for that, we are grateful.
Tell us about your business
Women of Merit magazine honours extraordinary local women with real stories who have achieved notable success personally or professionally. These stories are informative, interesting and inspiring and are intended to present each woman as a role model for others in the community. Merit Publishing celebrates these success stories. We are pleased to introduce in each issue the people and the passion behind the profession.
What is your inspiration?
To inspire women to journey towards their own personal and professional success using informative, interesting and inspiring stories told by women in their own community.
How are you hoping to connect with conference attendees?
We are hoping to meet many Women of Merit at the WIBN conference, to share the inaugural issue of Women of Merit magazine with conference attendees and to share the opportunity for attendees to have the first opportunity to own the Women of Merit license in their community.
Do you have a special offer or incentive for conference attendees that you would like us to share?
Merit Publishing would like to offer members of the WIBN first right to the Women of Merit license in their community.