Chapter 1 - Finding my tribe at SVI

The story behind my Fabulously Floral Fluevogs...

Mentor + Mentee

My good friend, Pam, passed along a business card for Futurpreneur and suggested I check them out.  Wow, an organization that defines "young" as "between the ages of 18 and 39", and supports these "young" entrepreneurs with financing and mentorship to help them build sustainable businesses?  SOLD!

Through a combination of timing, fate, and asking for what I wanted in a mentor, specifically a "womentor, "I was paired with the remarkable Hillary Samson from Samson Consulting. Having been supported throughout my career by amazing, generous, and intelligent mentors, I realized they were all men. I wanted to have a woman to share her guidance and experience of juggling career & family & life priorities. 

The criteria I gave to Futurpreneur were as follows:

  1. Woman in business in the service space
  2. Living an integrated life that balances family + work
  3. Supports businesses that believe in a triple bottom line.

Purpose +Passion + Profits

Off the bat, one of Hillary's best bits of advice was to get familiar with LOCO & Social Venture Institute (SVI) to become more connected in the local community of social enterprise and values-based businesses. Finding my people, finding my tribe.

By receiving a scholarship to SVI Vancouver, I attended my first SVI experience in April 2015 where my head + heart were simultaneously exploding for 2.5 days straight.

One of the first people I met at SVI shortly after registering was Kirstin Castro-Wunsch the Founder and CEO of Cleanit Greenit Composting Systems Inc.  We bonded over our love of tea and our guilt of forgetting our travel tea cups (on Earth Day of all days) and whether our desire to have tea in a paper cup on this particular day would be warranted.

Soles + Soul

As sponsors of SVI, John & Ruth Fluevog generously hosted our social event where they donated 50% of all sales towards the SVI Scholarship Fund. To be the supportive girlfriend I sipped wine and tried on shoes with Kirstin, having no idea that I would discover shoes that would literally change my life. 

The Kendra "Elegant Conversations" went on my feet, and they weren't coming off. I shared with Kirstin how one of the reasons I was able to attend SVI was because of the scholarship I received to help fund it.

At the end of the night, when the party wrapped up, Kirstin let me know that she decided to take care of the scholarship portion of my shoes. Her rationale was that if the scholarship brought someone like me to this conference, then she wanted to invest in bringing more people like me to SVI in the future.  As engraved on the soles of shoes, "Listen Loudly, Speak Softy," I was listening and I was speechless... and grateful and moved and inspired.  

Worms + Dirt

Kirstin and I failed to take photos of our new shoes together, so when she asked me to send her a pic I decided the best place to do so would be at Vancouver's Compost Demonstration Garden, City Farmer run by Mike Levenston.

Maria was working that day and educated me on the composting process, the magic of worms, and became my photographer for my fabulously floral photo shoot. Worms tickle.


Humanising Data + Cleanit Greenit

Kirstin and I began working together to measure and communicate the impact that Cleanit Greenit is making in Edmonton by transforming organic waste into compost. By diverting organic waste from landfills, they convert it into compost which reduces greenhouse gases, and produces a high quality soil that replenishes nutrients back into the earth. This compost is then put back into local farms and donated to community gardeners to help make their plants grow. Then to top it all off, the money they raise through their annual spring compost fundraisers is reinvested back into their local community and has helped many schools and community groups. The numbers prove their brilliance.

Give + Take

Because City Farmer were so super at helping me learn about composting and took time out of their day to take photos and play in the garden with me, I donated a percentage of the profits from the project with Cleanit Greenit back their way to help them continue to teach people how to grow food in the city, compost their waste, and take care of their home landscape in an environmentally responsible way.

The Project →

Our Collaborative Impact

the magic of gurus + shoes + bacteria