CEO Aquarian Renovations
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MARIE SAINT PIERRE 'Oudaltsova' cropped minimalistic jacket crochet mesh and fine scuba in black, $1190
MARIE SAINT PIERRE basic scoop neck tank top in black, $280
HUGO BOSS 'Viphima' flared skirt with contrasting insert in black and white, $375
SHEREEN DE ROUSSEAU multi strand pyrite, hematite and silver necklace hand knotted on silk cord, $495
JOANNA MAXHAM 'Element' leather two tone shoulder bag in black and white with silver tone hardware, $675
STUART WEITZMAN 'Heist' black patent leather pump - $455
DOROTHEE SCHUMACHER 'Cool Content' V-neck flared dress with 3/4 slit sleeves and waist-accentuating silhouette in blue, $855
REBEKAH PRICE 'Mirabella' necklace plated in antique silver with Swarowski crystals in blue and green, $445
STUART WEITZMAN 'Heist' black patent leather pump - $455
MAX MARA WEEKEND long sleeve silk blouse in flower print, $385
AVELON 'Goldie' pleated 7/8 length layered skirt in black, $860
REBECCA MINKOFF cross body satchel with fringe details in red suede and silver tone hardware, $395
STUART WEITZMAN 'Heist' black patent leather pump - $455
REBEKAH PRICE 'Mirabella' necklace plated in rose gold with Swarowski crystals in clear and yellow, $450
We meet exceptional women every day.
Girl Bosses is our chance to share a few of their stories, their memories, their advice and their humour. Please enjoy.
What is the best advice ever given to you?
The importance of investing time and money in my own personal growth is probably the best advice I was ever given. I truly believe in lifelong learning and self improvement. Life is an incredible journey – I am so grateful. We can make the world a better place and we must start with ourselves.
Looking back, what is the best advice you would give to yourself at age 25?
had a lot going on in my life already at age 25… much of it was good but not everything. So besides telling myself to hold on to my hat, my best advice to my 25-year-old self would be to believe in myself and to follow that adventurous and creative spirit that was inside me. I would encourage my younger self to find my voice and be brave enough to speak up for what was important to me. In lots of ways… that is exactly what I did and what an adventure it has been.
Who have been the influential people in your life?
Certainly my parents were a huge influence. I also admired and was influenced by my grandparents who all immigrated to Canada in the 30s. I often think about how much courage it took for them to leave their cultured and established homes in Europe and come to the untamed wilderness of northern Saskatchewan. It is a feat that I’m not sure many of us could endure these days. With their influence, I’ve had good role models at being brave and creating a world that works for self and others. My parents and grandparents made something amazing out of seemingly nothing. They worked hard and overcame huge challenges! I think I’ve got it easy.
Another powerful influence in my life was the relationship and the time I was fortunate to have with my husband Doug. He was an amazing man, kind, funny, loving, hard working, creative, artistic… and a dreamer. We shared a vision for a better world and building a company that held developing human potential as its core value was a big part of it. We created magic together within our family and our company. We promised each other we would always be good examples of what is possible. He opened my world to unbelievable possibilities of what can be accomplished when we feel loved and use our mind, talent, creative energy and intelligence to make good things happen. Powerful for sure!
Reading the work of great writers and thinkers has also greatly impacted me. I am a huge supporter of reading! Charles Dickens, believe it or not is a favourite author of mine… His little red book called The Christmas Carol is a powerful social commentary about people, life, choices and the impact business can make on a society. He reminds us through his ghostly little story that “mankind is our business” and that we must “change”. This is profound message and I take it seriously – “all the days of the year”. So much of what I have read in the last 30 years really has been about developing the human potential. I start with my own!
What are your favourite qualities in another person?
I love a person with a good sense of humour, who is kind and not afraid to work hard. I think those qualities can make up for a lot of other short comings… Except perhaps being messy.
What is your idea of happiness?
Happiness is when who I am at my core and what I am doing line up in perfect harmony! It is a little like the feeling I get when a dress fits perfectly… the inside fits the outside and it is a beautiful thing... Happiness is the result of good choices and it is an inside job.
What is your idea of misery?
Misery is losing someone you love… It has happened to me. The pain was almost unbearable… I made a conscious choice to use my pain to move me and my world forward. Not easy but essential – the alternative was misery beyond misery. Life is too short for that.
What was your most regrettable fashion purchase?
How about those four-inch shoulder pads with the Velcro… that would about do it. I needed a hat box for them!
What talent would you like to be gifted with?
Oil or Acrylic Painting – my husband could look at a scene and pull the colours out and capture it on canvas… I wish I had that talent – I think it could be so relaxing. He always said nothing hurt when he was doing his art. I think it would be peaceful to paint.
If you could be any historical figure, who would you be?
Queen Elizabeth I – one tough chick, who dressed well and got a lot of work done!
Make three predictions about the future.
I see the human potential movement taking another leap forward and many old and dysfunctional ways of thinking and being in the world will fall away once again… this transformation is not without struggle but suffering as a primary learning mode will be replaced with an awareness of choice, positivity and the possibility of a world that works for everyone.
Personal ownership of our destiny and learning experiences is key to growth, success and happiness. Personal ownership does not necessarily mean financial ownership of the business but a deeper sense of having control over our own destiny and I think our work experience – our businesses will facilitate this. That is truly tapping into personal power and I am all for it.
Tattoos will fall out of fashion.
What is the dress code for success?
Dress up and show up has been a motto of mine for a very long time. I have always loved fashion and dressing for success is about fitting the fashion to the form and the function. When those three line up you’ve nailed it. Dressing for success is part of the daily adventure of getting dressed in the morning! I think it is important to find your own style and sometimes we all need a little help with that… (even me!) Thank goodness for the talent of tasteful shop owners!
How important is image?
Image is a silent communicator that radiates a tremendous amount of information about who we are. We need to think about the message we are projecting by what we wear, how we put ourselves together, our body language and how we interact with others. It shouldn’t matter who is watching.
I am daughter number three from family of seven in Goodsoil SK, a small farming community near the Meadow Lake Provincial Park. I pull much of my strength in life from my family and the solid roots that exist in this community. I earned a Bachelor of Education from the University of Regina and a Master’s in Education from the University of Alberta. Most of my career has been in teaching and leadership roles and the late 80’s I even dabbled in modeling and while working summers as a career councillor with John Casablanca. It was a fun time and then I got a teaching job offer in Southern California and thought I had really struck it big. Of course I went! What an adventure. I moved back to Edmonton to work on my Master’s and at that time I met my to- be husband and business partner Doug.
We started our company Aquarian Networks Corp. in 1991 and at the beginning it was focused on creating art that had a tangible message of peace and goodwill. We had lots of fun dreaming up and creating Earthlights and Peace Candles and all kinds of earth awareness products. We sold them at the fringe and at trendy stores from here to Los Angeles. In addition to the products we created we wanted to build a company that would develop the highest potential and greatest good for all who would be a part of our organization. It was really heady with potential and a bit unusual for the time but we were on the leading edge of something big. At the same time, we were also very involved with a group called “World Service” and we worked to develop and build a holistic wellness centre. We conducted workshops, planning sessions, brought thinkers and healers together and even purchased property for the building of The Discovery Wellness Centre and Community. We both did a lot of reading about future trends and the human potential movement and we were willing to take action on these ideas and make them real. With me being able to handle the financial obligations with my teaching career we had the capacity to follow this dream. The Discovery Wellness Centre land is now the Secord Neighbourhood. We were just a little too far ahead of the rest of the wellness movement - but you can look around Edmonton and see the results of what, in some small way, was our influence. Doug came from a construction background so even with all these pursuits we always had a little construction project on the side. Eventually our company moved completely into the construction and renovation industry and our art is now in transforming people’s living spaces into places of beauty, function and joy. Aquarian is an award winning company and we take great pride in our work, our people and our results.
The real twist of fate in this whole story came about five years ago when Doug was diagnosed with stage four lung cancer. It is a remarkable journey of courage and transformation as I took leave from my teaching career and became his primary caregiver while the treatments and disease progressed. His life was cut so short… and he had so much yet to give. It truly was a tragedy but what can you do? Eventually I took early retirement from the school district and devoted my energy to healing, myself, our son and the company. The challenges of rebuilding, refocusing and moving forward were huge on so many levels. With the support some remarkable family members, staff, friends and clients we did it. Aquarian has had banner years and we have amazing client stories to showcase. Our trajectory is strong and positive and I often wear my Captain’s Hat! A former client and dear friend gave me a plaque that I proudly hang over the computer in my office and it says “Work like a Captain, Play like a Pirate”… It suits me just fine!
My son has just graduated from grade twelve and is enrolled in University with a focus on business. I am so very proud of him and all of us here at Aquarian… I have so much to be grateful for.