Canadian and Amazon Bestseller featuring stories about an unprecedented year from 22 incredible women in Nova Scotia
Amy Hill was raised in the city with a heart for country living and finally brought her sustainable living dreams to life in 2011 when she started a farm with her (now) husband, David. Together they tend to mixed livestock and a market garden on their small acreage in Cooks Brook, NS alongside their daughter, Ayla (7) and son, Ezekiel (2). They raise pigs and chickens on fruits and vegetables, certified nonGEO grains, and rotated pastures and grow a large variety of spray-free, heirloom vegetables for sale at both Farm Markets, local produce stores and from their own property. Through social media she shares the ups and down of agriculture and tries her best to educate consumers on food production and how to create beautiful, healthy meals with locally sourced products
Amy VanderHeide calls the beautiful and diverse landscape of the Annapolis Valley, Nova Scotia home. She grew up next door to her grandmother’s beef farm and now farms full time with her husband and in-laws on their poultry and crop farm. She and her husband also own a small beef herd on the side. She and her husband James have 3 sons, ages 6, 8, and 12, who can usually be found tagging along with either one of their parents on the farm.
In 2015, she and Katie Keddy founded the Maritime Ag Women’s Network, which connects women in all areas of agriculture and farming throughout the Maritimes.
Amy is highly active in her community, as a 4-H leader, a director on several agriculture and non-agriculture boards. She’s passionate about farming, food and working with youth
Angela Mercer-Penny is a small-town big dreamer, with a soft spot for animals and witchy intuitive gifts that make her super fun at parties. She owns Grit and Grace Skincare and lives in Cape Breton with her husband and is the proud Mother of three children and Lolli to one granddaughter.
Carley Gloade was born and raised in the Millbrook First Nation, she has a strong passion for driving her community forward and being a strong advocate for indigenous people as a whole but specifically for the members of her home community.
Aside from her position on the Millbrook Chief and Council, Carley is the Vice Chair of the Nova Scotia Career Development Association Board of Directors.
Carley attended Saint Mary’s University to obtain a bachelor’s degree with a Major in Sociology and a Minor in Religious Studies. She continued her education via NSCC and enrolled in Interdisciplinary Studies with a focus in Non-Profit Management and later at Dalhousie University in Career Development Services Level I and II. Carley worked for the Millbrook First Nation for 10 years as the Native Employment Officer, the Native Employment Office Coordinator and the Receptionist.
Carley is an avid athlete and participates in sports regularly. She has been playing competitive volleyball for 23 years, has won two NSSAF Tier 1 Championships, multiple Club Championships and is a part of the reigning 7-year champions of the Nova Scotia Mi’kmaq Summer Games Women’s Volleyball team.
Carley was also avid in Track & Field and won three Provincial titles in the 80 m hurdles and set a regional record for the fastest 80m hurdles sprint on a dirt track in 1998.
Carley is currently the volleyball coach for the Nova Scotia Mi’kmaq Summer Games Millbrook Female volleyball teams, North American Indigenous Games U19 Female Volleyball Team and the former, U15 Truro Cougars Assistant Coach, who were the 2019 Provincial champions in their division
Colleen O’Dea is a social influencer and the storyteller behind her lifestyle blog, Curtains are Open. Colleen writes from the heart, always showing her vulnerable side, quite often with a touch of humour. Colleen is a Graphic Designer and sells many of her designs through her Etsy shop, Drawbridge Creative. She is the proud mom of three adult children, is single and empty nesting in her 50s, and most recently…she got a cat
Diane Muise grew up on a farm and was no stranger to hard work. Following in her grandmother’s footsteps, she became a teacher and has taught math to junior and senior high students for 24 years. During this time she raised 3 boys and now has 5 grand-babies, all under 5 years old. She loves rug hooking and making crafts of many types. She will retire in June 2021, and is looking forward to the next chapter in her life including marrying Brian, the love of her life, in August 2021. Just keep going …
Emily Kierstead is a retired United Church Minister and Teacher living in Truro, N.S. She lived much of her life in southern New Brunswick, where she served in churches in Fredericton, Saint John and Rothesay. When her children were young, she taught Elementary School Music so that her weekends would be free. On moving to N.S. she met and married Rev. Don Murray, and ministered in Middle Musquodoboit throughout the 90's.
Ifeoma Esonwune is a Communication strategist. Entrepreneur, Speaker, Leadership coach, Event Planner, Community influencer, Storyteller, award winner and food enthusiast.
She is the Founder, Network for the Empowerment of Women. Founder & President, Little Learners Social Association. Publisher, Rise and Lead Women's Magazine. Owner, Matella Event Concepts and Co-Owner Atlantic Grubs Halifax.
Ifeoma collaborates with businesses to develop successful communication strategies and follow industry trends in assessing impacts of communication plans. She helps businesses generate new techniques to make business communication more effective.
Ifeoma is also devoted to empowering and helping women and girls discover their potentials and turn their passions into profitable business ventures. She loves to inspire and engage the children and youths in her community and around the world.
Ifeoma is the Creator, Inspire by Tales, a storytelling club that engages and inspires elementary school kids. She is also the creator, Rise and Lead Girls' Forum. Ifeoma loves to empower and amplify the voices of ordinary women and girls and provides a platform for them to discover themselves and utilize their innate talents to improve their lives.
Ifeoma’s academic background is in Communication, Management and Leadership, and also in Strategic Planning, Hospitality, Sports and Leisure Management.
Ifeoma has won several awards and recognitions including the Most Inspiring Immigrant in the Maritime Award, Global News Morning Community Star Award etc. She has received recognitions and mentions in the Nova Scotian House of Assembly for her community works.
Ifeoma is passionate about diversity, inclusion and the growth and equality of women in business and leadership.
Josie Ryan is the Executive Director, Long Term Care for Northwood Group of Companies.
As a member of the Corporate Leadership Team for the Northwood Group of Companies, Josie leads a multidisciplinary clinical team providing compassionate, high quality continuing care services for 730 long-term care residents across three urban and rural sites. Josie is the former Director of Organizational Health for Northwood, where she was responsible for occupational health, infection control, workplace safety, attendance management, and promotion of a healthy workplace. Previously with Northwood, Josie has worked to ensure the safety of residents and staff as Infection Control Coordinator/Manager and Occupational Health Nurse. Prior to her leadership at Northwood, Josie was the Associate Director of Care at Shannex and an Acting Head Nurse in Outpatient/Emergency at Moose Factory General Hospital. Josie holds a Masters Certification in Health Care Leadership from Cornell University, Certification in Occupational Health Nursing from MacEwen University, past Certification in Infection Control from CBIC, a Certificate in Business Management from Dalhousie University and a Diploma in Nursing from Saint Rita School of Nursing.
Canadian designer Lisa Drader-Murphy is the owner of the LDM brand, a columnist, and a public speaker. A Progress Club Women of Excellence award-winner, Drader-Murphy has also received Atlantic Business Magazine's Top 50 CEO award, two consecutive years.
After graduating, top of class, in 1990 from Form & Function Design Academy in Calgary, Lisa went on to design products for a variety of sectors, including performance clothing, ladies ready-to-wear, activewear, and children’s apparel, and has contributed to styling and wardrobing for film and television productions. Lisa has held senior positions and directorships with major Canadian manufacturers of technical apparel and has consulted extensively in the design of industrial performance clothing.
Hers is a vertical operation, unique in that it houses the design, cutting, production, and retail of her collections. Lisa has grown her business to include 4 retail locations, studio, Mobile Boutique, Sea Can Fabrics (fabric store), and Willow Vale Estate (boutique resort).
Lisa has garnered coverage including CTV, CBC, Global, TNT, NY Times, USA Today, BFM France, NRJ, Canal+, Entertainment Tonight, Cosmopolitan, ELLE, Flare, and CNN. Lisa has been invited to the celebrity suites during TIFF, Golden Globes, Oscars, and Cannes Film Festival and her styles are frequently spotted on celebrities around the globe.
Margaret’s roots are in rural NS where she and her husband dairy farmed for 25 years.
Tragedy made her a victim. Her own strong will made her an advocate for other victims and finally a Cabinet Minister in the Nova Scotia Government.
Cdr Michele Tessier was born and raised in Grand Bank, Newfoundland. She joined the Naval Reserve at HMCS CABOT in St. John’s as a direct entry officer in 1996, on completion of a Bachelor of Arts degree at Memorial University.
Over the past 24 years, Cdr Tessier’s career has included numerous sea and shore postings as well as participation in international exercises in Croatia, Germany, Norway and Africa. Her career highlights include three previous command tours including HMCS NANAIMO, HMCS GRIFFON (Thunder Bay) and Commander Coastal Forces Pacific. She relocated to Halifax, Nova Scotia in 2018, where she has assumed her position as the first Commanding Officer of the future HMCS MARGARET BROOKE, an Arctic and Offshore Patrol Vessel under construction at Irving Shipyards. She has been working in the Arctic with the Canadian Coast Guard and was a Canadian representative on the multi-national Newport Arctic Scholars Initiative.
Michele was named “Alumnus of the Month” by Memorial University’s Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences in May 2017, and was further honoured to be named one of the Women’s Executive Network’s “Canada’s Most Powerful Women – Top 100” for 2017. In December of 2018, she was named to the Governor General’s 69th List of appointments to the Order of Military Merit.
In her spare time, she enjoys theatre, football, dance and yoga.
Miriah Kearney was born and raised in Nova Scotia. After graduating from McGill and teaching for 5 years in Calgary, Miriah always knew the East Coast was home. In 2015, Miriah founded My Home Apparel, a socially responsible company, supporting Canadian manufacturing and helping to end homelessness in Canada. Miriah currently works with homeless organizations across Canada. She also works with local non-for profits and has been an invited guest to national conferences on ending homelessness.
In 2018, Miriah founded My Home Mercantile, the giftware division that celebrates makers and creators from all across Canada. She currently has a store in Truro and Moncton.
Miriah sits on various boards and committees in her area and believes that by working together, we build stronger communities. She has built her businesses on a similar concept of community, connection and a commitment to help those in the greatest need.
Miriah lives in Truro with her greatest inspirations: her loving husband and two beautiful boys.
Mounfiq Raiyan Abu is an entrepreneur, certified coach, speaker, trainer, facilitator and writer. She is the Vice President of Ahead Fisheries Incorporated- A Canadian seafood exporting company that delivers high quality frozen fish and seafood to clients in Nigeria. As an executive and Leadership coach, she has helped thousands of women to obtain clarity, realize their potential, gain confidence and overcome fears and turn their pain into power. As a result, they are able to transform into the best version of themselves.
She has 13 years banking experience, 5 years of experience as a Bank Manager, 14 years of entrepreneurial experience and counting.
She has been featured and interviewed by several newspapers and magazines in Nigeria; as well as several magazines and podcasts in Canada and the United States of America. She was also a Guest Speaker at the Network for the Empowerment of Women International Women’s Day Event in Halifax.
As an entrepreneur in Halifax, she was nominated at top exporter of the year 2020 in Nova Scotia by Halifax Chamber of Commerce and recognized as a dynamic entrepreneur by Immigrant Services Association of Nova Scotia (ISANS)
Her own personal growth and success came about because of some painful experiences that she endured while growing up, which culminated in the death of my dear mother when she was only 19 years old. Her death compelled Mounfiq to take the role of a mother to her 3 younger siblings and develop a growth mindset and leadership skills to help them succeed in life. She now uses her life experience, career and entrepreneurial skills to teach other people to be the best version of themselves.
She lives in Halifax, Nova Scotia with her husband and 4 children.
Nancy Regan’s life has revolved around communication since she was a child. She had to learn at a young age how to use her voice effectively - just to be heard in a family of six kids!
Writing became a passion as she grew, and her love of language led to an English degree at St.FX University. However her intended path to being a teacher diverged into television due to a lucky series of circumstances. At the ripe age of twenty-two, she became the co-host of Live at 5 - a news magazine with a viewership of over a quarter million people.
Her fifteen years hosting that show afforded her extraordinary experiences - including broadcasting from such varied events as the G-7 and the Academy Awards. She also interviewed thousands of people, from individuals from all walks of life across the region, to some of the world’s biggest celebrities including Oprah, Madonna, Harrison Ford, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Christopher Plummer.
Since leaving Live at 5, Nancy’s career has ranged from other TV hosting roles, to professional speaking, podcasting, acting, and Communication Coaching. She has developed a passion for helping others recognize, embrace, and nurture their own light, and that has morphed into her current creative project - a book about overcoming the fear of public speaking. It is scheduled to be released by Nimbus Publishing in the Fall of 2021.
She is thrilled that her life has led her back to her love of writing, and grateful also to have the opportunity to share some of her “simple but heartfelt” poetry in this beautiful book about resilience!
Nikki Porter is an author, equestrian mindset coach, and podcast host. She teaches equestrians how to grow their mindset to shift them from feeling disconnected, frustrated, and anxious to connected, present, & confident.
Her teaching translates seamlessly into equestrians’ work with their equine partners, allowing them to become the horsewoman or man they long to be while navigating their personal growth journey. Nikki is an empowerer. She uses her teaching experience from the classroom and the barn to allow her to access her client’s limiting beliefs and guides them to clear up their communication with themselves and others.
Robin Legge, born and raised in Halifax, and now resident of Cooks Brook, NS, is a wife, Mom of one, and ‘Mom away from Mom’ of 112 students at the school she is Principal of. She has spent most of her adult life pursuing higher education so she can support, mentor and lead others on their educational journeys. She enjoys spending time walking her dog, with family and friends, and singing and dancing shamelessly as often as she can!
Sam Madore wears many hats. A marketing and event management professional. A speaker, writer, performer, children's book author, and podcast host. A community builder and mental health advocate.
Sam thrives on collaboration, delivering consistent brand messaging, creating and executing checklists that lead to successful projects and events, and being true to herself. Her strengths are empathy, honesty and creativity and she prides herself on being a connector of people and being real.
Dr. Sarah Stewart-Clark is a scientist, mother, advocate and community leader. She is an Associate Professor at the Dalhousie Faculty of Agriculture where she teaches in the aquaculture program. Her research program focuses on helping oyster and mussel sectors prepare for climate change. In 2014 her work was featured on an episode of Land and Sea. Sarah has been a vocal advocate for the mental healthcare system in PEI and has operated non-profit organizations helping mothers and survivors of sexual violence. This passion led to her run for the leadership of the PC Party of PEI in 2019. She is passionate about our marine ecosystems and spends as much time as possible snorkeling along the coasts of Nova Scotia. She lives in Valley, NS with her son Rory and her husband Fraser. By openly sharing her life experiences she hopes to help other women feel less isolated.
Tanya Priske is currently the Executive Director of the Centre for Women in Business, located on the campus of Mount Saint Vincent University in Nova Scotia. Over the last 17 years, Tanya has dedicated her professional life to ensure the participation of women owned businesses in the entrepreneurial eco-system. As the co-owner of a small business in rural Nova Scotia, Tanya understands the unique challenges women encounter. In 2015, Diversity Canada Magazine named Tanya to its Top 10 list of Canadian women who have taken the lead in advancing the status of women, Aboriginal and first nations communities, visible minorities, persons with disabilities and the LGBTQ community. With three decades of experience in economic development, Tanya continues her mission to fill the toolbox to hone the skills of women entrepreneurs. She is also known as Nennie to her two young grandsons, Mom (or T-pain) to her twin girls, and Tan to her husband of 35 years.
Tracy Stuart holds a Masters Degree in Sport Medicine and an Undergraduate (Honors) Degree in Physical Education. She is a two-time World Champion and Olympic Bronze Medalist in rowing. She believes you should eat delicious healthy food, break a sweat every day, and do activities that rejuvenate the spirit. She loves self-care (R+F), being a mom, a wife, and living her best life!
Karen Dean is an entrepreneur, resilience expert, author, and speaker who has lived her entire life in rural Nova Scotia. She finds immense joy in being a single mom to her three amazing children, in spending time with her cute farm animals, and in sitting on her deck looking out over the beautiful Musquodoboit River and her “little piece of paradise”. Her mission is to empower women to live their best life, no matter what the world throws at them, and to give back in huge ways through projects like this book and her Nova Scotia Strong clothing fundraiser that raised $96,000 to support the families and communities affected by the horrible mass shooting that happened in Nova Scotia in April 2020.
This book is a dream come true for me in so many ways.
It has brought 22 incredible women together in a collection that is sure to inspire everyone who reads it.
It is establishing a fund to help women further their education, therefore giving them the ability to live a better life
... something that I am very passionate about.
And, an added bonus that I was told by many of the contributors, it was healing to put the story of 2020 into words.
Some struggled with it but, you will see, they all managed to write beautiful stories.
I hope this book helps you get through your tough times, empowers you and makes you feel less alone in this crazy world.
You can find out more about Karen and her mission at:
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