Winnipeg

business, Winnipeg

My first month as Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce Chairperson


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Where it all Began

As I reflect on my first month as Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce chair, I’m taken back to why I got into being in business as an entrepreneur in the first place.  I spent my first professional years ‘job hopping’ and trying to find work that I was passionate about. A few of my initial opportunities had some connections to things I liked, such as event planning, social media, but I definitely gravitated to meetings and workshop facilitation. After getting a taste of doing things  I loved to do, it was hard to go back to anything that I wasn’t 100% passionate about. Some jobs had perks and benefits that kept me longer, like expense accounts and free parking, but at the end of the day, I wasn’t happy unless I was serving my dream. I love that as an entrepreneur I can take my business wherever I want to.

I think this role at the Chamber of Commerce is part of my destiny. I was invited to serve as Chairperson and I have always looked at leadership as service and a responsibility. It is an honour to be asked to serve as chairperson for such a reputable & influential organization. The initial conversation was in 2014 or 2015 and I said yes right away. It’s a responsibility that I take very seriously but at the same time I know I am going to have a lot of fun.

Memorable Moments

A major professional and personal highlight that has already happened in my role was when I introduced Michelle Obama to Winnipeg at a Chamber event on September 24th, 2019. I was Incoming Chairperson at the time and that was definitely my favorite experience. The coolest thing I have ever said on stage was “Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome former First Lady of the United States of America, Michelle Obama!” I still get goosebumps when I say it! 

Our Annual General Meeting (AGM)  and Swearing-In-Ceremony was also very memorable. We invited Elder Norman Meade to share an opening prayer and he lead us in the most outstanding prayer experience. He asked all the men in the room to stand and join him in a prayer specifically for all of the women. It was incredible and beautiful. In my swearing in speech, I shared some thoughts on my experience and vision, and I received a standing ovation. It was a moving experience for me. 

No Surprises so far

Being on the board for nearly 5 years, I can’t say that there have been any ‘surprises’. What has been most impressive is seeing how the staff communicate and work together. It has been fun getting to know our CEO, as we now have more phone calls and check-ins, but they are an amazing group of people who know their roles and I love working with all of them. I am excited about bringing my experience to the greater Winnipeg audience and adding value where possible. I have a lot to offer and I know the Chamber will give me plenty of opportunities to demonstrate that, whether through facilitating meetings, luncheons or other speaking opportunities. 

An Indigenous Woman’s Perspective

I have had a couple of conversations with groups who still see no women on boards and I think it is a shame. Unless your mandate is to simply serve men, you’re doing it wrong. My perspective as a women is proper corporate decision making needs to reflect the community you serve and that means ‘diversity’, and that includes women and LGBTQ+ peoples.

Twenty years ago, I heard that the Indigenous population would be one of the fastest growing populations in our province, and that then it would be ‘our best interest to build relationships and engage with them now’, and today it is even more urgent to engage.  There are a lot of great things happening in our city, but there is still so much work to do. Engaging with Indigenous populations is smart business.

Onto the next 30 days…

So, my first month has been extremely fantastic. I feel like there has been a lot of momentum with celebrating the welcoming stage of the role and in the next 30 days we will have had our first luncheon, business mixer and board meeting! So it’s really time to get down to business, but I will keep celebrating.

Get Involved with the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce

There are lots of ways to engage and you don’t have to wait for the chamber to come to you, come out to us! ‘The Chamber’ is a group of people who are working together to make great things happen for themselves but also for the greater community. Not only can the chamber do great things for your business and network but there are so many people out there with such incredible talent that it gets me excited to imagine all the amazing things that can happen out of new relationships so If you haven’t already, come and check it out.

business, positive, Speaking, Winnipeg

An inspirational day with Michelle Obama


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Interview with Jessica Dumas

by Joel Parent of JPC (Joel Parent Consulting)

You recently introduced Michelle Obama at an event in Winnipeg, how did this all come about?
Original plans of Michele‘s visit was scheduled for November, at that time I would’ve been chairperson of the Winnipeg chamber and the special opportunity to introduce her would’ve been obvious as chairperson. But she came in September which meant Scott Sissons was still the chair person. But he got to introduce Barack in April, so between him and Loren Remillard our CEO, they graced me the opportunity!

How did you prepare for an event like this? Were you nervous?
I was more excited than nervous. I’ve spoke many times and really enjoy speaking in front of a crowd. Preparation for this event was different in the way that the chamber drafted the presentation and it had to be approved by Michelle‘s event crew.

I practiced the script several times because I wanted to have most of it memorized but was thankful I could bring the notes on the stage with me. With all of the practice that I’ve had speaking, my level of nervousness was real low. It was still there a tiny bit, but it was low.

Did you get a chance to personally meet Michelle? What was that like?
I got to meet Michelle twice! The first time was behind the stage, moments before we went up, and second when I got to take a photo with her at the VIP event. 

The first time was like seeing an angel, she really is larger than life, in the way that her aura and energy is strong and loving. She’s very tall and so graceful. She came toward me with her arms out for a hug and said “Hi Jessica!!” I felt like a little girl!

Were you surprised by anything Michelle said?
I wasn’t surprised, I was pleased. Her presentation was so open, so relatable, as a woman I could connect to many of the things she talked about, except for of course presidency and living in the White House. Haha. She could be a friend! And I wish every woman I know could have been there. 

What was your favorite takeaway from Mrs Obama’s comments?
I loved how she confidently expressed “I’m Michelle Obama!” In a way that “Ya, I know who I am, I am a powerful woman and you should know that too!” Something I truly believe in is that when we allow ourselves to shine in our own power, it allows others around us to shine in their own power. 

My Sweetheart often says to me “who are you?” And makes me respond, “I am Jessica Dumas.” And it always makes me shy. Hearing Michelle feel so proud saying her name so confidently makes me feel more confident to say In my own strength and power “I’m Jessica Dumas!”

Were you inspired by anything at the event? How do you plan to use that inspiration?
Michelle Obama is today’s Princess Diana. A strong beautiful woman using her platform and power for good. And yet she says she is just like everybody else. We all have the power to do good things, say good things, be a good person. And whether our platform is big or small, we have the power to do something. I plan to keep that message with me forever. 

How can people get in touch with you to use your public speaking/hosting skills?
They can go check out my public speaking service page right here.
Family, Life, Life Coach, meditation, positive, stress, thinking, Uncategorized, Winnipeg

Plan your thinking, save your life


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think positively

I had a great day today, hope you did too, but let me tell you that my day didn’t start out so great. I had to work at it. I accomplished that by working on my thinking patterns. Often in coaching, that’s my goal of what I want to get down to talking about is peoples thinking patterns. However it is just not that easy to get people to respond to “Tell me everything you are thinking about, word for word, right now!”, haha, so I work on the relationship, which to me is most important.

That’s my mind ninja-customer service trick, getting down to thinking patterns, where it all begins. I have some things going on in life, as all of us do, with kids and work and all that jazz, and I woke up feeling not-so-great. But my bigger mind-ninja trick is more basic really. I PLAN to have positive thinking patterns. It’s work! And it’s a process. You’ll often hear me say that just like we want our emergency responders practicing and preparing and training before the actual crisis, we have to practice and prepare for our stress crisis. It is in the down-time that we have to decide what does positive thinking mean to us? Where do we want to go with our thoughts? And where would we rather be, thought-wise? We should care about these things!

Emergency responders don’t get to a crisis and say “What do we do? I don’t like the way this is going” and desperately seek for resolve, no, they prepare over and over and over and over on how to respond to numerous life or death situations until it becomes a natural reaction. (Maybe there is a way you relate to this? Please let me know. As a mother I know that when I hear crying or see blood, I click into E.R. mode.) Emergency responders are prepared for crisis when it hits because they have practiced scenario after scenario, role play and thought exercises, so that when crisis hits, their mind goes into a focused auto pilot of knowing exactly what to do. (THANK YOU TO ALL EMERGENCY RESPONDERS!!!) They can now respond to the crisis with tools they have practiced and they know what to do! Genius. They respond with sureness and not question that they are going to do their best effort in resolving this crisis. This is what we need to do with our thinking.

Often I am replaying thoughts in my mind of, and making notes in a journal of ‘what I would prefer to happen’ and what the ‘best solution’ would be. I am making lists and focusing on solutions and meditating on goodness, wellness and positive aspects. So this morning when I woke up in a not-so-great mood, my mind would not let me go past a certain point because I have practiced more upward thoughts than not! I am so blessed and thankful for these experiences. My mind went right to reasons I need to appreciate, reasons why I am blessed and all the things I love and appreciate about my life and what I have to look forward to. We all have those things to be thankful for, even when we think we have not.

Every morning we each wake up with a clean slate. Sleep cleanses our thoughts like turning on the dishwasher at night. It is us that makes the mistake of letting our minds wander and remember ‘oh ya, I’m miserable because of…” and there we go again. But if you can start practicing your emergency thought crisis planning now, deciding what that would look like and feel like, you can start to get out of that mindset quicker when the crisis happens. It definitely takes practice. Change is a process!!!

Create positive statements and affirmations to recite at random times throughout the day, especially before bed and when you wake up. Those are precious times. Your mind is between a state of sleep-unconsciousness and consciousness, which is a sneaky way to reach your beliefs. Your beliefs after all, are just what you continue to think about all the time.

Please follow my blog and #hirealifecoach have fun! #lifeshouldbefun

Jessica Dumas

Life, Winnipeg

Livesafe!


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It has been many years since I have strolled down Selkirk Avenue. Today, I start a new journey as a project coordinator out of a Selkirk Avenue office. I came in this afternoon to dust off the desk of the previous coordinator, who is closely at reach for all my questions, Thank goodness. And because I am spoiled, I didn’t bring myself a lunch and there is no Tim Hortin’s on the block. Looks like I’ll be driving to Neechie Commons, which is not a bad thing at all!

I went to introduce myself to an E.D. down the street at another network centre, and as usual, in the midst of a conversation, got called Jennifer, no problem, happens all the time. What was most impressive to me today is that north end “renewal” projects have been physically renewing these buildings and workplaces. It’s awesome. As I have driven through these streets last few years, I didn’t know the extent of the positive changes and active business activities that are happening in these places. The flash backs begin.

The office I am working in I immediately remembered as an old antique store as soon as I walked in. My new roomie was generously Freebreezing the place and it was not as dusty as I remember it at all, and it has been replaced with nice and neat, donated office furniture instead of antique collectibles. Hello Non-profit. The lighting was the same, which makes it all the more fascinating.

One of my responsibilities is to get to know the neighbourhood, so I took a walk to a community network office down the street and when I walked in the door, I remembered walking into this same entrance about 20 years ago (OMG, did I just say 20 years ago?) and the building was joined with the next one and it was filled with discounted house hold furniture then. It was mostly clearance priced couches, bunk beds, tables and household accessories. Now it is a beautifully renovated business space. It was very refreshing to see and to meet the people I will be working with in the community.

I’m closer to family in this work location, this will be new to me too. I look forward to more flash backs and hope they are all as refreshing as these ones mentioned. Helping families and communities work better together and safe living in the community will be on my agenda for the next while. See you around!

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