There is a new movement of support for entrepreneurs and enterprise leaders and it is being created through mentorship.  A powerful exchange of information that starts with sharing stories.

In our gig economy, we often work in isolation from our colleagues and work teams using various platforms to connect with specific deliverables and key performance indicators.  I believe it is fast becoming an effective tool to breaking barriers and encouraging personal and professional success.

There are companies and organizations that are now building  incubators of support for current and emerging leaders.  The concept encourages innovation, collaboration and teamwork.

They are familiar roles that often become interchangeable throughout our careers as we learn new skills and navigate change.

Mentors…and our strategic role.

As a volunteer mentor, I have been associated with an organization that supports mentorship for women by women. Through the Forum for Women Entrepreneurs (FWE), introductions are made based on industry experience, interests and location with many meeting either in-person or on-line. 

This is my second year participating as a Mentor, assisting other individuals to break barriers and create their own definitions for success. FWE provides an organizational structure as a special interest group…female entrepreneurs who are supporting other women in business.

Opal and I were introduced based on our love for fashion, business innovation and commitment to customer service. 

She is the founder of Sun Vixon Swimwear a destination on-line company that was started to fill a market niche – stylish designs and selection at your fingertips.

I would be described as a serial entrepreneur with over 25 years brand experience. I have an ongoing commitment to life-long learning with first hand experience to both the risk and reward of entrepreneurship.

We connect remotely, for one hour per month, discussing various topics that ultimately encourages outside the box thinking.  We confirm the topic before our call to ensure that we have relevant information to share.

I have to be honest – this relationship is symbiotic.

We tell stories that often lead to lightbulb moments.

When I review my notes, I learn something from every conversation that sparks an idea or encourages a connection within our individual networks. Opal and I have a mutual understanding and respect for our experience and openly share stories that truly inspire great ideas.

I believe that is the secret to a successful Mentor/Mentee relationship – the ability to share roles within the role!

We are helping each other to succeed!

For me, mentorship is personally rewarding because throughout the year we are able to share both the opportunities and success’ that started from our conversations. They support our business ideas and give us the confidence to pursue our dreams knowing that someone is available for discussion and support.

We encourage success through sharing stories… and every connection starts a new conversation.

As a Mentor, it is an honour and a privilege to support another individual in their goals, building trust that will forge long term relationships.

Working with Opal has been an honour with her keen interest in finding solutions to the everyday challenges that we all face in the business of our business.

Mentee’s perspective: 

I was introduced to Trish after being accepted to attend FWE’s Toronto e-series, a valuable 3 day intensive for female entrepreneurs.  Part of the e-series program is a one-year mentorship with a business leader.  For me, this was the most exciting part of the program.  I’ve worked with mentors and coaches in the past and know the value and positive impact they can impart, if you are open.

I was paired with Trish because of her background as a fashion buyer and experience with businesses in the online space.  For me, this pairing was perfect, timely, and invaluable.

Together, Trish and I committed to a date and time we would meet each month on the phone.  Trish suggested that I submit a topic for discussion a week or two prior to our call. This would be the focus of the conversation and allow Trish to prepare and find additional resources.

Sometimes our conversations would be more in-the-moment, but having a topic decided in advance ensured that our chats never fizzled out from lack of direction. 

I truly believe that this is one of the keys to a successful mentor/mentee relationship.

Looking back on my year with Trish I feel that my business and personal life have benefited from our time together. Once a month I got an energetic infusion of entrepreneurial spirit from an experienced business professional. Through stories of her experiences, great words of wisdom and endless ideas, Trish made me feel like I was never alone.  Every entrepreneur feels isolated at some time or another and it is one of the main challenges we face. Trish made sure I knew I could get in touch whenever I needed anything.  Anytime I felt challenged I could bring her strong, steady voice with words of encouragement to mind and instantly feel better.

My sales revenue has tripled over this time last year. I can accredit part of that success to the mentorship program.

There’s intrinsic value created in sharing stories, experiences and ideas with others. They will form the foundation of your business achievements if you are open to them.

What is the secret to a successful Mentor/Mentee program?
We both agree, share stories, experiences and ideas…they are the new currency for success.

Opal Hurteau is the founder of Sun Vixen Swimwear Inc. an online destination for women to shop for exclusive designer swimwear brands.

Trish Tonaj is a Master Coach Practitioner and Coach Trainer providing keynotes and workshops on Mentorship…breaking barriers, starting new conversations and creating a new definition for success.

“Mentorship…sharing stories to inspire great ideas!”

“May your legacy create a footprint of success
for the next person who steps into your shoes”

Trish Tonaj is a speaker, coach and author, on mentorship sharing stories to inspire great ideas . She is Managing Partner in The Mechanics of FLOW2, online resources for You and Your Growing Business and host of the Share Your Story blog series. She is the author of two books and co-authored a complimentary e-magazine, W2.
Visit Trish @


1) Tell us a little something about your business…
At Sold Right Away, we are impacting the real estate industry though our innovative marketing tools and strategies. We give real estate agents the confidence and support they need to grow a successful business. We are a service company. It all started with me in my basement. I was selling my own place and wanted to take photos of the 
 property for the Realtor to use. She loved them! From there, we went from 1 employee to 13, from working with 1 Realtor to over 400 and having 2 office locations! I have big goals to expand Sold Right Away in multiple cities throughout Canada / U.S.

2) When was your lightbulb moment?
I have been considered a leader since my childhood. Getting in trouble sometimes and helping my friends start entrepreneurial ventures from a young age! I grew up in a rough community and moved out of my parents house at 15 years of age. I started this 
 company from scratch, I had absolutely no help financially, neither from friends, family nor the bank. I risked everything I owned. It took over 6 years of very hard work, 
 working over 110 hours per week before I was able to truly live the success that I had built. Lots of sacrifices and hard work is all I can say about this success story. I put everything aside in my life to build this business and I am very proud of what it is today and what it will be in the future.

3) Three words of advice…
Being coachable, always seeking innovation and believing in continual education are keys to success and growth that I live by every day!



Sold Right Away started with nothing, no capital investment, no help, just Maude and her passion for photography and marketing. Maude goes above and beyond to ensure her clients are taken care of and achieve success. She is the driving force behind so many others’ success as well as her own. Visit Maude & Sold Right Away @


“May your legacy create a footprint of success
for the next person who steps into your shoes”

As a Thrive Global follower, I noticed this post in my social media feed last week that started a new conversation…these 6 non-negotiables are right on point.

For me, they speak to setting the stage for a lifetime of personal and professional success. Success that is clearly defined to encourage a journey both personal and unique.

I began to think about some of the fantastic conversations I’ve had this year with people who have been breaking barriers. Entrepreneurs and enterprise leaders who have taken a leap of faith to put themselves out there, share their passion and vision with a true commitment to making positive contributions to their communities.  They are creating a new definition for success.

During one conversation, we started to list all of the times when life presented challenges that when converted to opportunities, changed our direction.

These events most often occur when we are in a state of transition, a rut some would say or experiencing a feeling of discontent.  We were moving down a particular path and all of a sudden we found things were beginning to change.  The master plan was no longer creating the desired results and we had to think about finding new solutions.

In fact, the timing, at times, was not ideal, we may not have been at our best and we truly felt uncomfortable.

When we analyzed each turn of events we found that most often the journey took us to a place much better than the one we had left behind.

Change, as we all know, is tricky business and the timing is different for each individual.  Sometimes we resist and stand in our own way because deep down we know we are going to be uncomfortable.  We are afraid of the unknown and what we may encounter when we forge into new territory.

We need to get comfortable with the idea of being uncomfortable!

For example, I am a serial entrepreneur and have over the years gained experience in all types of preneurship.  I’ve been a  intra, entra and now solopreneur. 

I started my first company when there were very few women in business.  The highest rung on the corporate ladder was middle management within a large corporation.  We started our careers at the bottom and worked our way up!  At the time, I was uncomfortable with the status quo.  In my mid twenties, I had already reached upper middle management with nowhere to go.  I wanted more, and I had to build my own opportunity, get out of my comfort zone and start something new.

It wasn’t easy, but, it has been one the most rewarding things I’ve ever done!

I was able to design a new definition for success.  One that met all my goals and objectives and took me on a journey that indeed broke barriers.  It was a time to set the stage for the next generation of current and future leaders.

After all these years, I’ve finally come to a place where I am able to recognize their is now another new definition for success. Being outside our comfort zone is not only where the magic happens but it encourages lightbulb moments. We develop unique definitions based on our personal goals and objectives. 

As a Master Coach, I have the privilege of helping others navigate their own definition that speaks to their unique journey and supports their vision and purpose.

What is the secret to this new definition?

You truly need to become comfortable with the idea of being uncomfortable.

Get out of your comfort zone.

Create your own list of non-negotiables!

Trish Tonaj is a Master Coach Practitioner, and Certifed Coach Trainer offering keynotes and workshops on Mentorship…Breaking barriers, starting new conversations and creating a new definition for success. 

“May your legacy create a footprint of success
for the next person who steps into your shoes”

Trish Tonaj is a speaker, coach and author, on mentorship sharing stories to inspire great ideas . She is Managing Partner in The Mechanics of FLOW2, online resources for You and Your Growing Business and host of the Share Your Story blog series. She is the author of two books and co-authored a complimentary e-magazine, W2.
Visit Trish @


1) Tell us a little something about your business…
If you have ever wanted more for your life but have felt lost, frustrated and questioned your self-worth, I have felt that way too. From a young age, I struggled to fit in and feel valued for who I was. I often felt different from other people, struggled to find where I belonged and went through a depression because I felt invisible.As I got older, I became tired of feeling ignored, overlooked and questioning my self worth. That’s why I decided to start learning about psychology and style and my career has grown from there. Through my image consulting practice, I combine my education in psychology with my passion and training in image consulting to work with clients developing their confidence through style. I offer a 10-week online program, Confidence Through Style, which encompasses developing a confident mindset, defining an authentic personal style and brand, and designing your lifestyle for the new you.

2) When was your lightbulb moment?

I’ve loved clothes from the time I could walk but it wasn’t until I decided to take charge of my own self-worth that I realized I could use clothing to get noticed and feel valued. I realized that when I was proud of how I looked, people started treating me the way I want to be treated. The moment I discovered image consulting as an industry, I knew it was going to be my lifelong career. It was the perfect combination of psychology with style and I knew I was born to serve women in this way.

3) Three words of advice…
In Gabby Berstein’s book “The Universe has got your back”, she writes “those who are certain can afford to wait, and wait without anxiety.” I believe that to achieve your goals, you have to have a clear vision that you are passionate about, you have to believe in it so much that you won’t quit, and you have to have the patience to enjoy the journey and let your business unfold the way it is supposed to, in it’s own time.



Julie Murrell  is a certified image consultant and speaker who helps
professional women look good and feel confident so they can move forward in their career and life.Visit Julie on her social media @ or


“May your legacy create a footprint of success
for the next person who steps into your shoes”

Mentorship is by definition an exchange of information between two people or groups of people.  It starts a new conversation and creates a foundation for both collaboration and business innovation while encouraging change and transformation.

When I started my first company over 25 years ago, there were no mentors for women by women.  It was all blue suits and red ties.  Inspiration was gained through a willingness to learn, fuelled by a passion to succeed while making a positive contribution to our communities.   

Thankfully,  times are changing!

We now live in a gig workforce where our ability to learn new skills changes at lightening speed.  Things are constantly in flux and we need to rely on a very strong network to assist with our success.

As an entrepreneurial coach, I have found the most successful coaching relationships are with individuals who have had one or more mentors.

I often refer to these discussions as a positive energy exchange. They usually occur socially through breakfast, coffee or lunch.  Based on an exchange of information through experience, expertise and eduction.  I believe mentoring is an introduction to experiential learning.

So how do you choose a mentor?

There is no doubt that these relationships are based on a personal connection of trust and integrity.  The mentor and mentee have common interests, are like-minded and enjoy each others company.  Although there are many opportunities to establish a connection, I have found three common types of introductions:

1) Organic
This may be as simple as meeting someone at a networking event or business meeting.  You establish a connection with someone who you feel may contribute to your  and you meet periodically to share stories.

2) Referral
Introduction from a colleague or friend who creates the opportunity based on a solid connection.

3) Formal
You will find a number of organizations offering formal programs through various business models, Most often, the mentor volunteers their time and is paired with a mentee who is interested in the same industry, product or service.

Each of these connections are effective and at times may work in tandem with each other offering input that builds personal and professional confidence.  The duration of the connection is based not only on the discussions but friendships that develop as part of ongoing communication.

A invaluable resource when you may simply have a great idea and are just thinking about an entrepreneurial journey.  I have  known very successful entrepreneurs who have established life-long friendships with their mentor that follows them throughout their career.

These relationships are the foundation for current and future success.

Our ability to meet and share stories is a very powerful tool in the growth and development of every business.  Mentorship is no longer a luxury but a necessity as it provides an opportunity to brainstorm new ideas that contribute to not only the success of your business but lifestyle choices. 

Find a mentor…they contribute to your ongoing success!

“May your legacy create a footprint of success
for the next person who steps into your shoes”

Trish Tonaj is a speaker, coach and author, on mentorship sharing stories to inspire great ideas . She is Managing Partner in The Mechanics of FLOW2, online resources for You and Your Growing Business and host of the Share Your Story blog series. She is the author of two books and co-authored a complimentary e-magazine, W2.
Visit Trish @


It’s that time of year when we are all looking towards the holidays and taking time off with friends and family to enjoy the weather. We vacation to take a mental break from the everyday routine of life, kick back and enjoy.

No chores, alarm clock or agenda!

When was your last holiday?

Have you planned your vacation or stay-cation yet?

As you sit by the pool, lake or on the patio here is a list of a few things that you may wish to consider and incorporate into your time on vacation:

1. Eat a healthy breakfast
2. Keep hydrated
3. Eat mindfully; nourish your body with healthy food choices
4. Get plenty of sunshine, wear sunscreen
5. Get enough sleep
6. Walk regularly
7. Engage in “fun” exercise
8. Practise random acts of kindness
9. Encourage the art of appreciation and gratitude
10.Nurture relationships with friends and family

I bet you’ve read the list and realize that it’s all common sense; and it is… but, how many of us forget to do a few things found on the list?

Have you ever noticed when you come back from holidays you have a new perspective.  It creates an opportunity to reconnect with our core values and purpose.  It may even give you the chance to make a few lifestyle changes when you return to the daily routine of life.

I have found that even a long weekend is liberating, it encourages a whole new sense of adventure.

No matter what you choose to do; taking our vacation will be a great way to take a break from our usual routine and just “be.”  Sometimes I think that we are so focused on the busy pace of life that we actually don’t remember what it feels like from year to year to not wake up to the alarm clock.  This simple step may be very liberating…

Whether you are enjoying the sites in the city in which you live or if you’ve decided to venture further away, this time of year encourages rest and relaxation.

We will get back to the chores, alarm clock and agenda soon enough.

Life is busy, technology keeps us on our toes and I think the challenge may be for us to simply enjoy the dog days of summer…

Enjoy the sun and take a break. 

You deserve this!

“May your legacy create a footprint of success
for the next person who steps into your shoes”

Trish Tonaj is an author, coach and speaker, sharing stories to inspire great ideas 
while creating a culture of wealth and wellbeing. She is Managing Partner in The Mechanics of FLOW2, online resources for You and Your Growing Business and host of the Share Your Story blog series. She is the author of two books and a complimentary e-magazine, W2.
Visit Trish @