International Women’s Day cites achievements of local business women

International Women’s Day in Saugeen Shores began with a breakfast on March 8th at Southampton Golf & Country Club.

Marked annually on March 8th, International Women’s Day is a global celebration of the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity as groups come together to celebrate women’s achievements and rally for women’s equality. 


Approximately 90 women (+one man) attended the event that featured three guest speakers and an opportunity for women business owners to network.

Hosted by the Saugeen Shores Chamber of Commerce, it was also a farewell to Executive Director, Christine Mitchell, who recently resigned to pursue her own private business endeavour.

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The event featured three guest speakers, each of whom, told her story of how she came to be successful and also to encourage other young entrepreneurs.  Cheryl McNair, Laurie Convay and Judy Azzopardi, explained how they became the entrepreneurs they are today.

                                    (L-R) Judy Azzopardi, Laurie Convay and Cheryl McNair

Judy Azzopardi:  After 30 years in a specialty company of metals distribution, she transitioned into real estate and, after her husband’s retirement, relocated from Mississauga to Southampton in 2016.  “Know yourself first before you know others,” she said, “and have great mentors.”

Cheryl McNair:  Living in Walkerton, she has been a sales director for Mary Kay for over three decades and has earned many diamond rings, trips and two career cars, including the iconic Mary Kay pink Cadillac.

Laurie Convay:  As a 32-year Dental Hygienist, her career has now evolved into a  successful entrepreneurial career with Enjo, a global Austrian-based company. Over her nine years with the company, she has been the top consultant in Canada for eight years and ranked 21st globally.

Saugeen Shores Fire Chief, Ed Melanson, was the sole male to attend the event.  “I believe it’s imperative that the department is representative of the population which is half men and half women,” said Melanson. “It’s all about inclusivity and it’s important that our service attend events like this.’

  Town Staff: (L) Jill Root Director Strategic Initiatives,             CAO Kara Van Myall and Fire Chief Ed Melanson

“On a personal note,” said Melanson, “I did not realize the number of businesses that are owned solely by women. It is truly remarkable.”