My latest article for Women’s Post was a list of the top web-savvy Canadian women of 2010. Some are friends, some are mentors, and some I hope to get to know better in 2011. Check out the original article, or read on below for my list.
2010 just ended, and you know what that means: holiday parties, Christmas vacation, and of course year-end wrap-up articles. I’ve read some great ones so far this year, including the Top 10 Startups of 2010 and the Top 10 SMB Tech Tools, both on ReadWriteWeb. Since this is Women’s Post, I thought I’d take a different approach to a recap list and profile some of my favourite female Canadian entrepreneurs and web personalities. These women are all very different – some of them started a company this year; some kept building their already-successful businesses. There are social media gurus, and communications professionals. But they all have one thing in common – they’re leaders in their field, and are a shining example of how success comes to those who work hard and play nice. So here, in no particular order, is my list of the top 8:
Casie Stewart – Casie is one of Canada’s most well known online personalities, and a true force to be reckoned with. Whether it was helping build MuchMusic’s online brand; winning the coveted title of Toronto’s Virgin America Provocateur; or creating unique and entertaining content on her CasieStewart.com blog; Casie has spent 2010 building her online portfolio, all with her signature spunk and sense of humour. Warning: Don’t start reading her blog if you have a lot to do – it’s seriously addictive.
Erica Ehm – I think I can only use one word to describe Erica: multi-talented. The former MuchMusic VJ still gets recognized from her days playing music videos, but also for her many other endeavours. She’s an accomplished singer/songwriter, playwright, and journalist. She’s also the founder of YummyMummyClub, one of Canada’s largest online communities for moms. This year alone she’s worked with companies including Disney and Energizer – not too shabby.
Sarah Prevette – Sarah is the founder of Sprouter, the company I work for, but she would be on this list regardless. As founder of Sprouter, an online community for entrepreneurs, she has become a uniting force for start-ups in Canada. Her Sprout Up events routinely attract 400+ attendees, and she was named as one of Inc. Magazine’s 30 Under 30 Entrepreneur this summer – the only Canadian on the list.
Erin Blaskie – When I met Erin last year in Ottawa I instantly noticed that her petite frame in no way reflects her larger-than-life online personality. The entrepreneur and video blogger calls herself a ‘lifestreamer,’ and I couldn’t have thought of a better word for it. She blogs, Tweets, vlogs and shares her thoughts on everything from must-use business tools to her recent title as mom. If you’re intimidated by social media tools you should follow this fearless social media star – and if you run into a problem along the way, justAsk Erin Live.
Hailey Coleman – Have you ever been sick of wearing your Damn Heels? Hailey was, so she developed a cute pair of foldable flats inside a tote bag that have been flying off shelves across Canada this year. The recent Ryerson grad won a business plan competition in the spring for her idea, and made a deal with Arlene Dickinson on Dragons’ Den on this season’s premiere episode. She truly embodies the entrepreneurial spirit, and she’s saved my feet from hours of pain.
Soniya Monga – 2010 has been a great year for Soniya. She joined LinkedIn Canada as one of their first employees north of the border. She wrote countless articles as a writer atTechVibes, and emerged as a voice of the social media and start-up community, as evidenced by her many speaking engagements (I had the chance to appear with her on a couple panels and it’s always a pleasure). If you can’t tell how passionate Soniya is about digital marketing and online trends then you should see her speak – you’ll walk away feeling energized and excited about your ideas.
Tara Hunt – Tara has been on my radar for years, ever since I was introduced to her at a SXSW party in 2009. She’s a great example for aspiring female entrepreneurs who want to do it all – she’s an entrepreneur (she launched her social shopping start-up Shwowp this year); an author (she wrote The Whuffie Factor, one of my favourite business books); an in-demand speaker; and an evangelist for the Montreal technology community. And she does it all with her cute dog, Ridley, at her side, who is a social media star in his own right.
Rachel Young – It’s hard not to notice Rachel, and not just because of the bright orange in her hair. She’s a fixture at Toronto entrepreneurship events, and an entrepreneur herself; she launched Toronto co-working space, Camaraderie, earlier this year. Rachel was also the lead organizer of FreelanceCampTO, a recent conference for freelancers. She loves visitors, so drop in to Camaraderie in the New Year if you can – there’s a board game there with your name on it.
Obviously I could have made a Top 100 list as there are so many talented and successful women in Canada. This list is based on people I’ve met at events or online, and people I often see referenced in the press or at community events. And I tried to include new faces instead of well-known figures like Maggie Fox, Jen Evans, and Amber MacArthur. Who would you add to this list?
Photo courtesy http://listenlearnmusic.com/