Inspiring Women Entrepreneurs in our Hamilton Community Share Their Stories

Chef Nancy Henley, our client and an entrepreneur in the Hamilton area.

In honour of International Women’s Day, we wanted to take the time to appreciate the achievements of female entrepreneurs across the globe by featuring a few of our local clients.

Here at Mindspin, we enjoy working with exceptional business leaders who help make their communities better places to live. So we interviewed a few of our clients: dynamic female entrepreneurs doing what they love. We salute their strength, creativity and passion. Get to know these hardworking women and their insights as entrepreneurs.

Brooke Shackleton

Evolve Pilates & Wellness

Brooke was in a serious car accident when she was 19, leaving her with significant, long-lasting injuries. She was introduced to Pilates and osteopathy as part of her recovery and immediately discovered their power. While healing her injuries, these treatments also revealed her passion for helping others. Knowing firsthand how difficult and challenging the road to recovery can be, the experience inspired her to create a space where others can heal. Evolve Pilates & Wellness offers osteopathy services to complement fun Pilates classes with very detailed attention to correct form and modifications—all right here in Hamilton.

What do you do to achieve balance between your work and home life?

“It’s taken me years to balance my work life and home life. When I first opened the business, I worked six to seven days per week from very early morning to late evening. After burning myself out in my third year of business, I learned to say no to clients who wanted to book appointments during my breaks and my limited days off. I now make it a point to turn my phone alerts off (email, texts and phone calls) when I leave the studio for the day/evening. I never mix business with pleasure.”

What challenges will successful women entrepreneurs face in the future of business?

“I honestly feel challenges women may face in the future of business will decline. Women are becoming more and more innovative, and their autonomy in business is continuing to rise. I view any challenges I face as building blocks to make me better and more equipped to face the next challenge that may arise.”

What’s your best advice for up-and-coming women entrepreneurs? 

“Be willing to take risks and work outside of your comfort zone. Be passionate about your work and, most importantly, believe in yourself and your product or service. Personal development is necessary to continue to grow and master your skills. My motto is ‘do one thing—and one thing only— really well before you branch out into other areas.’”

Michelle McDowell

Evolve Massage Yoga & Chiropractic 

Evolve Massage Yoga & Chiropractic is the sister company to Evolve Pilates & Wellness. The businesses have a common goal: relaxation, rehabilitation and restoration. Combing the three is how the sister companies support each client’s well-being. Evolve Massage Yoga & Chiropractic offers massage therapy, chiropractic adjustments, Reiki, acupuncture, hot yoga and other wellness services in our city of Hamilton.

What made you decide to start your business?

“I wanted to start a family and be able to spend as much time as I possibly could with my children with a flexible schedule where I could make my own hours.”

What person provides you with the most inspiration?

“My daughter. I want to be able to provide the best life for her, so I work hard for her!”

What are the most important steps to achieve success in business?

“Education, training and having a background in what you’re trying to achieve. Know the business you’re in and take small steps. You don’t have to overload yourself right away.”

What’s your best advice for up-and-coming women entrepreneurs? 

“Work hard and never give up! It’s OK to make mistakes.”

Chef Nancy Henley (pictured above)

Tree House Kitchen 

Fuelled by a burning passion for food and a love of empowering others to cook, Nancy began building Tree House Kitchen in Dundas. Via this food literacy company, Nancy aims to improve the abilities and lives of home cooks through her comprehensive knowledge of food, cooking and nutrition. A growing resource for cooking videos, articles and recipes, think of Tree House Kitchen as your virtual chef mentor.

What struggles did you have trying to achieve your goals?

“As a successful female entrepreneur, I’ve had all sorts of struggles. You name it, my company has had it on a small scale. Yet, all my struggles honed my understanding of my customers, my services, my brand, my community, my place within my family and my path.”

What are the most important steps to achieve success in business?

“I am a strong believer in education, on-the-job training, and self-directed study. I also support my employees taking time in all these lines of study to reach their fullest potential.”

What’s your best advice for up-and-coming women entrepreneurs? 

“Don’t forget your meaning of success; and the values for yourself and your company that must be part of success. If these meanings are ill-defined or not revisited, they can undermine your focus, strength and brand, and undervalue phases of learning and growth.”

Tanja Groos

Mindspin Studio 

A passion for strategic thinking and creating beauty led Tanja to launch Mindspin, a branding and digital marketing agency. Mindspin has been a partner to many of its clients for more than 15 years, flexibly adapting as they expand. In addition, Tanja is an artist, exhibiting regularly in Hamilton and beyond, creating original and commissioned paintings.

Did you have a mentor or strong supporter?

“I’ve learned a lot from my dad and my clients. My dad’s very sharp mind helped him successfully accomplish what he set out to do. Working with hundreds of businesses over many years, I’ve seen which attitudes and corporate cultures propel companies and which hold them back. I’ve also seen firsthand that no single definition of a successful business exists. We all have our own dreams to follow and ways to help our communities.”

What do you do to unwind and reset?

“As a marketing consultant and artist, I crave new experiences, insights and perspectives. To satisfy this craving, I learn new sports, arts or activities and read daily, often about psychology and wellness. Travelling to other countries and engaging with people with different experiences and viewpoints is a great creativity generator. Fitness and meditation are fantastic ways to keep mindful through it all.”

Celebrating Together

Successful women entrepreneurs are making an impact worldwide, and their work continues to inspire us every day. On International Women’s Day (March 8), we celebrate women’s achievements in political, social, economic and cultural arenas across the globe. Working together to accelerate gender parity makes the world a better place for everyone.

Share this article with an inspiring female founder in your network.