Q & A with Kyle Mason of North End Family Centre

by Admin 26. May 2016 09:01

 

Have you ever wanted to start your own non-profit?

Kyle Mason grew up in the North End and watched his family and community struggle. Fast-forward years later, he decided to stop watching and start doing.

He founded North End Family Centre in 2009 and devoted his new business to help families in the North End break the cycle of poverty. Since his opening, he’s watched his business grow and make a positive impact on his community. Before he joins us on May 31, at our next Toasting Winnipeg, we asked Kyle to share some of his inspirations and tips. 

What motivated you to start the North End Family Centre?

I grew up in the North End with my single-mother and siblings. We were poor and we had to make ends meet. My family could’ve used a place like the North End Family Centre. So when I moved back into the neighbourhood eight years ago, I wanted to give back to the community.

What was the first big step you took when starting the organization?

It was a year from when I first had the idea; it was 13 months later from idea to opening. I knew we would be a small organization to begin with and I wanted to make sure our time and energy and our donors investment would be used to its full potential. So to do that and really to find the gaps in the community, I did community assessments for the first six months. I didn’t see a point in duplicating a service. For example if someone decided to duplicate 529 in the North End, it probably wouldn’t succeed.

The following six months was setting up the legal framework and setting up the board of directors and getting the initial fundraising. After all of that we opened our doors. Until this day, I make sure everything at the North End Family Centre is well thought out, well prepared, and is the first place people go.

In 2015, the North End Family Centre moved into a larger location further down Main Street. What is the single most important factor that attributed to your growth?

We consistently reached out and made sure to hear the community. We listen to the people that we serve. We ask what they want and what they need and move to do that. And when the community feels like they have real input, which they do, they respond. Our initial facility was pretty small – only about 1,000 square feet, but we were seeing up to 1,400 visits a month. The community responded to what we were doing because we were listening to what they were saying. So our small facility reached its capacity so we had to move to a bigger location nearby to respond to the community’s demand.

What are three advantages of operating a business in Winnipeg’s North End?

i) The community. The people of the north end are beautiful people. They are no different than other people in other parts of the city. They want the best for themselves, their family, their kids, and their community. Beautiful, beautiful people.

ii) We get to be part of a large organization with people that work hard who wish to have a positive impact on the city as a whole. What happens in the north end is good for people as a whole and the city.

iii) It is exciting and rewarding to be a part of the north end. It is exciting to see the impact we are having at the North End Family Centre.

What is the best business advice you’ve ever been given?

Work hard, listen to people around you and surround yourself with smarter people than you.

 

Toasting Winnipeg is a breakfast series that celebrates innovative, original and inspiring business stories in our city.  Our goal is to shine light and share stories from our membership proving business success is possible, especially in Winnipeg. 

 

Buy tickets here, and join us for our next Toasting Winnipeg breakfast on Tuesday, May 31, and hear more of Kyle’s success story.

 

 

 

  

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Q & A with Louise Champagne of Neechi Commons

by Admin 24. May 2016 12:34

 

Bannock, bison tacos and beautiful Indigenous art – that’s what you’ll find at Neechi Commons. Louise Champagne, President of Neechi Foods Co-Op Ltd., built the community staple that serves as one of the only grocery stores in the neighbourhood. Next Tuesday, May 31, Louise will share her secrets to success at our next Toasting Winnipeg breakfast. Before then, we asked Louise a few questions about what inspired her to start her business and why she chose the North End.

1.        What inspired you to open Neechi Commons?

The desire to have a successful and sustainable business model that serves the community by providing employment, quality food, and a market outlet for Aboriginal-produced goods that sustains traditional harvesting practices in communities outside of the city such as wild rice, fish, and berries.

2.        What are three advantages of operating a business in Winnipeg’s North End?

It has the highest concentration of (urban) Aboriginal people in Canada. There has been a lot of media talk about an inner-city “food desert”.  Well, a flowering oasis now exists at Neechi Commons. It includes a full-range neighbourhood supermarket, with a produce courtyard, bakery, full meat service and affordable pricing. It also includes a lovely restaurant, catering business, seasonal farmers’ market and a beautiful art store and gallery.

3.       Neechi Commons is an Aboriginal Co-Op, what does that mean to your business and your community?


With 50 employees, most of whom are Aboriginal, Neechi has become the largest commercial employer of First Nations and Métis people in Winnipeg. Through Neechi Niche, its arts store and gallery, Neechi is now also supporting the livelihoods of 230 Aboriginal artists, crafts artisans, authors and musicians. Most of these people live in walking distance of Neechi Commons.

Neechi’s restaurant, conference room and on-going cultural events have transformed Neechi Commons into a center for the celebration of Aboriginal culture and into a community hub for both Aboriginal and other citizens. Neechi stands out for its regionally harvested freshwater fish, wild rice and fruit and vegetables. It hosts a Friday afternoon farmers-market and supports gardening by neighbourhood youth. Neechi has partnered with a variety of school, employment and training programs, especially youth focused programs, and hosted the Aboriginal Chamber of Commerce as one of its office tenants. 

The cooperative’s employee ownership model offers an opportunity to become business owners and entrepreneurs to many people who otherwise would not have that chance, and to do so in the context of community building and positive self-esteem. In short, we believe that support for Neechi Commons will be paid back many times over through its very positive social impact on adjoining neighbourhoods, on the Aboriginal community in general, and on the city of Winnipeg as a whole.

4.        How does your business stay competitive against larger grocery chains?

By doing some things that the larger stores cannot do; notably in regard to regionally harvested foods.

5.       What is the best business advice you’ve ever been given?

       Don’t give up.

 

Toasting Winnipeg is a breakfast series that celebrates innovative, original and inspiring business stories in our city.  Our goal is to shine light and share stories from our membership proving business success is possible, especially in Winnipeg. 

 

Buy tickets here, and join us for our next Toasting Winnipeg breakfast on Tuesday, May 31, and hear more of Louise’s success story.

 

   

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BOLD Radio Experts: Settling disputes with Canada Revenue Agency

by Admin 18. May 2016 11:20

 

Canadians will be watching their bank accounts in the coming months for tax refunds (and hopefully not a statement of what they owe). We know there are times when you need an expert to navigate these issues, and so we asked Peter Ward, associate at Winnipeg law-firm Taylor-McCaffrey LLP, to fill us in on resolving a tax dispute with Canada Revenue Agency. 

Click here to watch the in-studio BOLD Radio clip.

 

  

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Chamber Golf Classic to Help Food Matters Manitoba

by Admin 18. May 2016 10:29

On June 1, The Chamber will be moving our office to the greens to enjoy a day of golf and networking at our 26th Annual Chamber Golf Classic.Each year, we partner with a Chamber member from the social impact sector and have them join us on the course as our Putting Green host and Charity of Choice to fundraise for and raise awarenes of their organization.

This year, we are happy to partner with Food Matters Manitoba. With only two weeks before the big day, we spoke with Stefan Epp-Koop, acting executive director, and asked him what our members need to know about Food Matters Manitoba and what our golfers can expect when visiting their hole.

1. What are the top 3 things you should know about Food Matters Manitoba?

       I.          We believe all Manitobans deserve good, healthy food to eat.

      II.          We help kids learn healthy food skills that will last a lifetime through cooking classes, gardens and Indigenous food skills programs. We’ll be highlighting these cooking classes at the putting contest.

     III.          Our work takes us across the province to help make this happen, including here in Winnipeg and in 13 communities across northern Manitoba. 

2. What is your favourite Food Matters Manitoba program and/or initiative?

Right now, I’m really excited about the North End Garden of Nations, a newcomer gardening space we’re building next week on the Old Ex grounds. I love that we are able to help over 300 newcomer families feel at home in Canada, growing foods from around the world right here in Winnipeg. As a newcomer once told me, getting a chance to garden is “a dream that has become real.”

3. What specific impacts has Food Matters Manitoba had on our community?

In many of our programs, people get a chance to grow or make good, healthy food. The good food, though, is just the tip of the iceberg. For example, when kids learn cooking, they gain skills they need for a healthy lifestyle, gain pride and self-confidence, build bridges with their neighbours, make new friendships and learn job skills. I continue to be amazed at how great things can happen over good food.

4. Why did you apply to be The Chamber Classic Charity of Choice?

It has been great to participate in Chamber events over the past couple of years. The Chamber is a great way to connect with our community and make new connections. We’re excited to meet everyone out on the course on June

5. How can Chamber Golf Classic golfers participate in the Putting Green Contest?

For $10 you get three putts. Each putt that you get into the target zones gives you tickets into a draw for a great prize at the end of the night. Want to try something new? Support our kids' cooking programs by trying your hand putting with a selection of kitchen utensils.  If you’re successful, we’ll double the tickets you win. We hope to see you on the putting green!

It’s not too late! Don’t miss out on a day of golf, networking, prizes, drinks and a wonderful menu catered by Pine Ridge Golf Club. The Chamber Golf Classic is a perennial sell-out. Spots are still available, but don't wait too long - register you and your team now by clicking here.

 

 

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BOLD Radio Experts - Be a hometown tourist

by Admin 3. May 2016 09:11

 

Sometimes in life, you just need some good advice. No one is an expert at everything. That’s why we’re proud to present the BOLD Radio Experts series where we welcome a qualified and experienced individual to offer sound advice on an aspect of running a business.

By nature, Winnipeggers tend to be humble. But the reality is, sometimes it’s actually good to brag! Especially when it comes to bragging about what our city has to offer. We are pleased to feature Cody Chomiak, Director of Marketing for Tourism Winnipeg, to talk about what is means to be a hometown tourist.

Click here to watch Cody's in-studio Expert segment.

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Leadership Winnipeg Through the Eyes of Mary Pidlaski

by Admin 2. May 2016 11:58

Leadership Winnipeg - A Day of Arts and Culture

 

What makes Winnipeg a vibrant city? Is it our cold winters, sandy spring streets, unbearably hot summers? If you were looking on a map and deciding where to travel in Canada as a tourist, you may not choose Winnipeg for these reasons. Yes …we are the coldest city of its size in the entire world … achieving this world record doesn’t seem to draw people here.

 

Culture. Arts. Music. Dance. Colour. Winnipeg is a hub town.

 

Friday, April 22, was a tour into the life of Winnipeg’s Arts and Culture Districts. I have a newfound love for the Manitoba Museum. I remember shining a piece of soapstone and putting it on a piece of pink string in Grade 1, then bringing it home to my Mom. Apparently they still do this.

 

Claudette Leclerc is the CEO, opening my eyes to much more. If you haven’t been to this museum in a while, I guarantee there is something for you. The organization is probably larger than you thought, providing $13.7 million annually in economic input to Manitoba. There is an “access for all program,” where approximately 60,000 admissions are redeemed each year, a sponsored sleepover program for at-risk youth (I want to sleep at the museum!).

 

The museum is growing, too. There is a $116-million capital renewal program, where some new highlights will be a travel section, keeping up to date with Canada’s stories, including HBC, newer immigration exhibits, and more aboriginal history. There is going to be a community space that you can hang out in outside, that you don’t have to pay for.

 

Debra Fehr is director of sales, marketing and programs, who realized a huge market is the adult population. Have you been to Yuri’s Night held in the Science Gallery on April 12? I checked it out for the first time this year. It celebrates Yuri Gagarin’s first time in space, the first human to do so, completing orbit on April 12, 1961. This is not for children. You get to be a big kid all by yourself, doing crafts, “touching” all of the things, making a race car or creating animation. The world-class planetarium hosts a DJ with unbelievable sound for you to dance to or just sip a cocktail with friends.

 

We heard from some of Manitoba’s leaders in film, television and music. We host two of Canada’s “Royal” companies; The Royal Winnipeg Ballet and the Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre. The talent in our arts industries is world class. We learned of the roles leaders and members play in organizations such as the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, Manitoba Opera, Manitoba Music, Manitoba Film and Music, On Screen Manitoba and what exactly the Manitoba Centennial Centre Corporation is to this district.

 

In the afternoon we heard from the president and CEO of the 2017 Canada Summer Games. It excites me to hear what goes into the planning of such a huge event, taking three years from start to finish! This will be its 50th anniversary, and is also falling on Canada’s 150th anniversary. It is Canada’s largest multi-sport event, bringing in about 20,000 visitors. Economic Development Winnipeg estimates there will be $153 million in revenue next summer.

 

The Games’ pledge is “athlete’s first,” and 50% of our Olympians have played in these Games at one time or another. 500 volunteers are required now in leadership positions, and 5,500 more will be required for the actual event. My own son has asked if he can volunteer next year, and is hoping to be a participant one day soon, in soccer. Yes, I will facilitate this in our busy schedule somehow. :)

 

I also enjoyed hearing from Mariette Mulaire, president and CEO of World Trade Centre Winnipeg, also the co-chair of Canada Summer Games. Upcoming on May 25-27 is an international networking event called Centrallia. They work with 52 countries, trying to establish business-to-business relationships. It is like a “speed-dating” event, but for business, and very targeted for creating lasting relationships you may not otherwise have an opportunity to experience. Mariette has a lovely way to showcase Manitoba to guests. Want to know what is great about this province? Ask Mariette, she is an ambassador for us!

 

Neat facts: Our hydro and electricity is the lowest rate in North America, we were built on fur trade, and “we can walk on water, and then swim in it.” Manitobans are amazing!

 

What will I get from this day? I have created connections with people I had never imagined. It makes me even more excited to call Winnipeg my home.

 

 

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Leadership Winnipeg Through the Eyes of Kathryn Balzer

by Admin 2. May 2016 11:31

As soon as the April 22 Leadership Winnipeg agenda landed in my inbox, I knew it was going to be an extra special day. The theme was Arts and Culture and we were to hear from some of the top business leaders within Winnipeg’s thriving artistic and cultural communities. Being a musician myself (and a HUGE fan of the arts) this was right up my alley! The venue for this class, the Manitoba Museum, was a treat in itself. To be honest, the last time I had set foot in any of the museum’s galleries was with my high school science class and I was very excited to return after so many years. As soon as I walked through the doors, a wave of nostalgia hit me like a ton of bricks (the bison display!...the Nonsuch!...the Planetarium!...Touch the Universe!). What a delight to revisit such a treasure in our city.

The morning started off with a presentation by Claudette Leclerc, CEO of the Manitoba Museum, and Debra Fehr, director of Sales, Marketing and Programs. They introduced us to some exciting projects currently underway at the museum, such as the expansion of Alloway Hall for traveling exhibits as well as future projects that will be implemented in phases over the next few years. They also spoke about the challenges of operating the province’s largest not-for-profit heritage and science centre.

After their informative presentations, we had the pleasure of hearing from a Cultural District Panel made up of Trudy Schroeder, executive director of the WSO, Larry Desrochers, general director and CEO for the Manitoba Opera, Camilla Holland, GM of the Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre, Rob Olson, CEO of the Manitoba Centennial Centre Corporation, and Claudette Leclerc, CEO of the Manitoba Museum. Again, it was extremely interesting to get a glimpse into the behind-the-scenes operations of venues that have hosted so much talent and so many important performances over the years. An hour flew by due to the lively discussion which took place, not only amongst the panelists, but the entire class as well, and soon it was time for the next panel of leaders to speak about the Cultural Industries.

This particular panel included Carole Vivier, CEO and film commissioner for Manitoba Film & Music, Tyson Caron, local director and screen writer, Matt Schellenberg, musician and band member of Royal Canoe, Nicole Matiation, executive director for On Screen Manitoba, Sean McManus, executive director of Manitoba Music, and Patrick Clement, producer with Manito Média Inc. and CFO for Media RendezVous. Hearing their stories drove home the notion that it’s absolutely possible to make a decent living as an artist and small business owner in Winnipeg, and that the talent pool in this city and province runs as deep, if not deeper in many ways, than any major city in the world. What a great reminder that there are so many support systems in place for the artistic community and those who want to develop their art forms. I know this to be true from first-hand experience. An inspirational morning indeed!

After a delicious lunch, we started the afternoon off with a presentation by Jeff Hnatiuk, president and CEO of the 2017 Canada Summer Games. He covered some of the exciting projects that are currently underway to revitalize many of the sports venues being used for the games. The estimated economic impact from the games will be around the $153 million mark! What an amazing opportunity to showcase our city!

Our last presenter of the day was Mariette Mulaire, president and CEO of the World Trade Centre. She was there to tell us about Centrallia - a business-to-business conference involving approximately 35 countries and over 700 delegates. The cool thing about this particular conference is that it incorporates 14 “speed dating” sessions of 30 minutes each, which helps facilitate the exchange of ideas and information between many businesses in a very short amount of time. She also gave us an overview of how she promotes Winnipeg and Manitoba to other countries as a great place to do business.

The day ended with a fun-filled tour of the Manitoba Museum, led by one of our own Leadership Winnipeg participants Scott Young, manager of Science Communication and Visitor Experiences, and Debra Fehr, director of Sales, Marketing and Programs.

Scott knew where to take our group first, which was full of “kids at heart”: the Science Gallery (previously Touch the Universe!!!). Some of the classic exhibits from when I was a kid were still there, but a good portion of them had been updated, integrating technology like touch pads and LCD screens into the newer exhibits, which was great to see!

Next was the Planetarium.  As it turns out, there’s been some upgrades to the technology in that area as well. It now offers visitors the “Digistar® 5 All-Dome” digital projection technology, which dramatically enhances the visitor experience using two wide-angle video projectors to cover the entire dome. Scott showed us an example of what the shows look like now, and it’s pretty darn neat!  

To end the day, we got to explore the treasures found on the 6th floor: the Artifact and Conservation rooms. What I never realized is that there are so many artifacts that aren’t on display at any given time. It’s a veritable treasure trove of amazing objects (Antiques Road Show times 100) all in climate controlled rooms to preserve them for as long as possible. And not all objects were expected. Who would have thought that My Little Ponies are now considered artifacts? Maybe I should have kept mine instead of throwing them away! The Conservation room was our last stop, where we learned the difference between conservation and restoration (two completely different jobs and areas of expertise). We were also lucky enough to sneak a peak at a buffalo head that was being worked on for display purposes. So cool!

As I left the Manitoba Museum, newly enamored with my city, I couldn’t help but feel a little overwhelmed by how many amazing leaders there are in Winnipeg; leaders who are using their smarts and creativity to develop and change the city for the betterment of everyone. What an amazing day! 

 

 

 

 

 

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Leadership Winnipeg Through the Eyes of David Wolodarsky

by Admin 26. April 2016 07:59

I Hope You Like Puzzles

April 25, 2016

As each Leadership Winnipeg session goes by, it becomes increasingly clear to me that our city’s leaders new and old need to enjoy and be great at working on puzzles.

We all know there are many different types of puzzles and the best approach to building one is to start with the edges and work your way into the centre. It’s simple, right?

What I’ve come to learn is that building and maintaining a thriving city is one of the hardest puzzles out there. You have the "must have" pieces like healthcare and education; they’re the edges. At the centre, you have the pieces that make up our city’s identity - like our arts community, sports teams, how we integrate those new to Canada and more. What makes these kinds of puzzles so hard is that there is only so much money to go around and so many different views on where to spend it. 

There’s a lot at stake and if you place a puzzle piece in the wrong spot or lose one, you can change the cultural identity of our great city faster than you might think. As future leaders, it’s important that when we play with the puzzle, we ensure the pieces are going in the proper spots. One trick, work collaboratively with the other leaders in the community to figure out how they fit together.

 

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BOLD Radio Experts - Insurance considerations for succession & estate planning

by Admin 21. April 2016 13:22

Sometimes in life, you just need some good advice. No one is an expert at everything. That’s why we’re proud to present the BOLD Radio Experts series where we welcome a qualified and experienced individual to offer sound advice on an aspect of running a business.

We are pleased to feature Tyler Evans, Insurance Specialist from Credential Financial that works in partnership with Steinbach Credit Union. Tyler brings his expertise to the subject of insurance considerations for succession & estate planning.

Insurance is an important investment to make in many facets of your life. Tyler talks about the insurance considerations a business owner should make when it comes to succession and estate planning.

Click to watch Tyler's in-studio Expert segment. 

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Auto theft with keys: How businesses can stay vigilant

by Admin 20. April 2016 04:41

Across Manitoba, more and more vehicles are being stolen because thieves are getting access to vehicle keys. Over 80 per cent of passenger vehicle thefts in Manitoba occur with the use of keys. In the majority of these instances, vehicles are being left running or keys are being left in the ignition or somewhere else within the vehicle such as the console or glovebox.

Manitoba businesses are not immune to this crime of opportunity. From company vehicles to moving vans to delivery cars, any business vehicle can be stolen at any time when keys are not protected. In addition to the public safety risk of stolen vehicles being driven unsafely, auto theft of a business vehicle can have many other undesirable consequences including stranded employees, the loss of company and personal belongings, business downtime and unsatisfied customers.

How can businesses protect against auto theft with keys?

Protect your business from having company vehicles stolen with keys by following these easy-to-remember tips:

•    Never leave keys inside a vehicle.
•    Always keep vehicles locked.
•    Don’t leave vehicles running unattended. This is one of the most common ways vehicles are stolen. Perpetrators can hop in and drive away in a matter of seconds.
•    Don’t leave packages, money or other valuables in plain view. If items have to stay in the vehicle, lock them in the trunk.
•    Be mindful of where keys are at all times. Use a keychain, lanyard or zipped pocket to avoid losing keys or having them stolen.

Vehicles left with unattended keys are at a higher risk for theft, and that can be bad for business. As a business owner, take the time to educate your staff on ways to prevent auto theft.

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