Be a Part of Real Change

WCT - mentorship advice and opportunities

I had the pleasure of joining WCT and an amazing panel including: Victoria Lennox - Co-Founder and CEO of Startup Canada, Catherine Cano - President of CPAC and Jennifer Flanagan - CEO of Actua. Susan Delacourt, award-winning political journalist and our fearless moderator, assigned us the task of finding inspirational quotes about mentorship - but here’s the catch, said by women. 

The whole room was buzzing with ambitious women in communications and technology - all with something to say about mentorship. Together, we added incredible insights and stories to the history books - which (let's be honest) in the past, were written by men. 

Here are some of my take-aways from the evening:

Mentorship is reciprocal.

Often people think of mentorship as a one-sided relationship, but that simply is not true. Research proves that mentors are 6 times more likely to be promoted, while mentees are 5 times as often as non-mentored employees.

Adding onto Jennifer's analogy, athletes cannot win without the steady leadership of their coach. Just as a coach cannot succeed without the talented athletes.

Mentorship is a reciprocal relationship based on a connection and a willingness to learn. 


there is nothing wrong with ambition.

You already know what you want. Mentors will help give you the strength to chase it. 

Which brings me to my next point...


confidence is essential

Victoria Lennox quote

Fear is debilitating. It will prevent you from walking into the room and making the ask. Mentors can help you identify the role of fear and how it is holding you back.

Do not let the fear of making a mistake keep you from taking action. 


Three words: make more mistakes.

I've made all kinds mistakes, every single one. Do I regret those mistakes? No. It got me to where I am today. 

That being said, as a mentor, my goal is to help you learn from my mistakes and prevent you from making the same mistakes along the way. 


wct mentorship circles

one word: do

You've seen the benefits of being a mentor or a mentee. Now is the time to be a part of real change. Click here to find out more details of WCT's Mentorship Circle.

See you soon,




“If you hire phenomenal people, that’s it. You’re winning.”

I had the phenomenal opportunity to chat with Rivers Corbett about the foundations of good customer service, with employees who have a full understanding of the brand’s strategies to maintain shopper loyalty. In this episode of Startup Canada Podcast, we spoke about the importance of strong team members, leadership roles in startups, and how to build a dependable base of customers.

Be there, be prepared and...

This week, I had the honour of attending the Harvard School of Business as a Leadership Board Foundation Observer. Immediately, I was transported back to my life as a student; walking around campus, attending lectures and sleeping in a modest single residence room… and I loved it. I was surrounded by the world’s best and brightest of leaders, including Harvard psychologist Amy Cuddy, author of novel ‘Presence’.
The moment Amy confidently took the stage in front of a captive lecture hall; it was hard to believe that she ever had insecurities or doubts about being present.  
Then I realized, haven’t we all been faced with those insecurities?
As entrepreneurs, we are pressured to be the exact opposite of insecure. Whether in an interview, a sales-pitch or a networking event… We’ve all faced those high-pressure moments to be self-assured, captivating and enthusiastic.
Why is that more often than not, we walk away from those moments with regret?

Why did I say that? Why didn’t I say…?

For weeks, months, years even - we have those questions forever looping in our brains. Those tiny moments of weakness that keep us up at night. We waste our precious time wishing and praying for a do-over.
There is something you can do. And no, it doesn’t involve time travel.
Amy tells us to “focus less on the impression you’re making on others and more on the impression you’re making yourself”.
Instead of facing those high-pressure moments with dread, Amy encourages us to look at them with excitement and confidence.  Imagine feeling comfortable in a room full of peers rather than a mob of judges. Imagine taking your shoes off at the end of the day without the weight of regret on your shoulders.
So be there, be prepared and, I know this is cliché, but: be yourself. Only then can you fully be present.

See you soon in #Niceland,



The Three C's to Career Advancement

If you do want to get ahead, a little help goes a long way! 

Here are The Three C's to Advance your career:

  1. Clarity - of your career goals - with an eye on you know exactly where you want to get to next and after that. Have a clear vision for your future but be open to opportunities that are not exactly aligned with what you planned. Leave room for serendipity!
  2. Communication - of those goals. Let people know what you want.
  3. Collaboration - Work with others to move toward your goals and the shared goals of the organization. A favourite Chinese proverb says: You can't help someone up the mountain without getting to the top yourself.

Here are some other key take-aways:

  • A successful career starts with hard work, but hard work is not enough. You need to network so you are involved in conversations that can open up opportunities. Hard work alone won't get you your next ideal gig. Connect with others in your organization and your industry.
  • The best leaders make sure to hear from everyone on a team, and each individual needs to contribute. When we share our talents and expertise with the group, the whole group benefits. Get off the bench and into the game! Share your knowledge and expertise!
  • Get comfortable being uncomfortable. Get out of your comfort zone and let yourself stretch. You can do it!

You are the architect of your ideal career. A strategic approach will get you closer to your goals. Get off the couch and get focused. Think about what you want and then, go for it.

See you soon in #Niceland,


Valentine's Day Gifts that Give Back

This Valentine’s Day, skip the candy aisle. 

Instead, you (and your Valentine) can create a nicer and more sustainable planet. What could be more romantic than that? Simply, shop with purpose. Choose to support companies that make a positive impact on society and the environment.

Show your Valentine you care with these awesome gifts that give back:

Toms will be the perfect fit for your Cinderella. For every pair of shoes sold, a pair of shoes goes to a child in need. 

Lush Valentine

Shower your Valentine with Lush’s soaps and fragrances. Since launching their Charity Pot program in 2007, they've donated more than $10,000,000 to over 850 grassroots charities in 42 countries. Love is indeed in the air!

All you need is love… and a cup of coffee. Caffeinate your loved one with Canada’s very own Kicking Horse coffee beans. Kicking Horse vows to make a sustainable impact in a community near you.

WeWOOD Date watch

WeWOOD’s motto is simple: ‘You buy a watch. We plant a tree’.  Tell your Valentine, that ‘WeSHOULD Date’ with this gorgeous piece

These House of Marley headphones not only look awesome, but are also sustainably crafted with earth-friendly materials. Enjoy listening to your Valentine’s sweet nothings.

See you soon in #Niceland,

- Erin Seegmiller

*All images belong to their rightful owners

SheEO has a bold vision to get venture capital to female entrepreneurs

SheEO has a bold vision to get venture capital to female entrepreneurs
Contributed to The Globe and Mail
Published Saturday, Aug. 29, 2015 3:00AM EDT
Last updated Friday, Aug. 28, 2015 4:19PM EDT
Janice McDonald is president of the Beacon Agency, an Ottawa-based business strategy advisory firm that is conducting a national study on female entrepreneurs and their approach to risk.

When I filled in my credit-card information, I did something more than donate to a cause. I joined a movement. With a swift gift of $1,000, I helped to change how female entrepreneurs in Canada are financed, supported and celebrated.

I easily could have put that same money toward an all-inclusive getaway – something I will likely long for during the mid-February harshness of a Canadian winter. But I didn’t. Instead, I supported SheEO, which offers something better than sunshine: a bold vision to alter the funding landscape for female entrepreneurs.

Vicki Saunders is the founder of SheEO, an organization with a new way to give to and grow female-led companies in Canada. She calls it Radical Generosity. The idea is simple; it is also grand: We need a different model of support and funding for female entrepreneurs to develop their businesses.

Ms. Saunders’ model is designed specifically to tackle the kinds of challenges female entrepreneurs face. The harsh truth is that women in business are chronically underfinanced, undersupported and undercelebrated. The statistics are depressing and have remained so for years. Venture capital funds less than 7 per cent of female-led ventures, according to SheEO. Not only is access to capital more difficult for these entrepreneurs, their stories aren’t covered equally either. Less than 19 per cent of business news mentions ventures led by women.

I am not alone in my desire for a new way forward. Hundreds of Canadian women have opened their wallets to give – without hesitation and without promise of monetary return, but with the satisfaction of knowing they are helping other women succeed.

SheEO is raising $1-million to support 10 female-led ventures in Canada. To be considered, yours must be a Canadian female-led company with at least $50,000 in annual revenue. The twist is that the 10 companies selected will themselves decide how the money is to be divided among them. This model of funds dispersal is fresh and female.

The money will be given and recycled through five-year, interest-free loans. New companies are funded as loans are repaid. An added benefit is that women can tap into the expertise of the donors as well. This is appealing to me – I can contribute my talent, network and expertise and have the option to review, rank and select the 10 initial ventures that will be funded.

Female entrepreneurs are often called risk-averse. In my experience, that isn’t true. But I wanted to investigate further. My company, the Beacon Agency, in conjunction with Carleton University in Ottawa, is in the midst of a national study on female entrepreneurs and their approach to risk. The results of the study will be published in the spring of 2016. The research project is supported by Bank of Montreal.

As colleague Clare Beckton and I travel across the country, we are speaking to entrepreneurs in all kinds of industries and in various stages of developing their businesses. Lack of access to capital is a common theme for female business owners. As an entrepreneur myself for more than two decades, I know how challenging it is to take an idea, launch and grow it. We need people like Ms. Saunders, who not only imagine a new way forward, but who follow up with a plan of action.

SheEO’s bold goal is that by 2020, one million women will have contributed $1-billion and supported 10,000 ventures with zero-interest loans. I like that a lot.