Steward Wise Principal and Founder Andrea Chmielinski will be writing this piece.
International Women's Day has never been so exhilarating for me. When I was employed full time, I was not satisfied. I was not satisfied with the pace of change for good. I was not satisfied by the status quo requirements that governed business decisions. These decisions, guided mainly by traditional marketing strategy, create immense amounts of wasted materials and resources. This is not a reflection on any of the individuals with whom I worked with closely. Wasted materials and resources are always caused by a complex system of business decision makers, priority setters, and organizational leaders that set the pace for change and set the standards for product and packaging selection.
"If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change your attitude." - Maya Angelou
Despite the fear, despite the security of full-time employment, I realized that change had to start with me. When faced with resistance, I realized that change from the inside was not a battle that I wanted to continue. So, instead of accepting the resistance and falling into line, I changed my attitude. I decided I could influence decision makers from the outside. I decided I could achieve a life-time goal of starting my own business, and I decided I could achieve this goal before turning 30.
"Women must try to do things as men have tried. When they fail, their failure must be but a challenge to others.” – Amelia Earhart
Less than a year later, I am happy to report that Steward Wise is up and running, profitable, and helping Canadian business understand what environmental stewardship is all about. I have never been so happy to wake up each morning and get to work. I can't even believe it, but I have been invited to speak at the International Stewardship Forum about topics from my repertoire of knowledge. I will be speaking about traditional resource management (stewardship) programs, but am also happy to report that I have been given the opportunity to share the ideas and concepts being put to the test by other new Canadian ventures. The entrepreneurs I will be speaking about are the change makers. They are young, they are visionary, and yes, some of them are female. I am so excited to share their stories and ideas on the international stage. Hint: most are involved in developing business models for the "circular economy." I can't wait.
“A strong woman understands that the gifts such as logic, decisiveness, and strength are just as feminine as intuition and emotional connection. She values and uses all of her gifts.” – Nancy Rathburn
I hope this short story inspires you to change your own attitude today. If you have experienced fear, resistance, or discrimination, today is a day for you to stand up for yourself as a woman, or to stand up for your Mom, sister, partner, or daughter and face the reality of today's world. Yes, the Women's March and #metoo movements have pushed women's issues to the forefront of popular culture, but never underestimate the power of YOUR decisions, talents, gifts and contributions!
Have a great International Women's Day!
Principal and Founder