YMCA Board of Directors
Member of the Stollery Women’s Network Advisory Committee
TO ASK ROBYN A QUESTION, EMAIL firstname.lastname@example.org
ANNETTE GORTZ black comfort knit cut out shoulders dress - $985
RON WHYTE criss-cross strappy sandals in pewter - $395
JENNY BIRD Paml Merris layered chains necklace - $198
EILEEN FISHER multi-color split back organic cotton tape top - $125
EILEEN FISHER wide leg silk pant in bone - $325
AGL cork sole leather straps platform sandals - $585
LONGCHAMP Penelope leather tote with tassel details in ecru- $975
JENNY BIRD Palm Rope wooden beads and feathered metal fringe necklace - $110
DOROTHEE SCHUMACHER black wool cardigan with navy slit mohair sleeves - $695
DOROTHEE SCHUMACHER – floral print silk quarter sleeve blouse - $575
PAIGE Hoxton straight jeans in mona color - $280
THE LAST CONSPIRACY white high top perforated leather sneaker - $385
ROCKING VIBE Luminous Soul crystal beads and pearl necklace - $220
ROCKING VIBE Origin plated polished necklace with raw amethyst pendant - $100
MARIE SAINT PIERRE Thompson skinny double jersey pants in bone - $520
MARIE SAINT PIERRE Odile long sleeve zipper up silk blouse in bone- $780
ELIE TAHARI cream modal knit tank top - $85
STEWART WEITZMAN Heist black patent leather pump - $455
JENNY BIRD Fallingwater Collar sterling silver dipped brass chain necklace - $315
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?
As a woman, working with a largely male peer group, I’ve been given lots of advice – good and bad; solicited and unsolicited. The best advice, which I still heed today, is to buy what you’re selling – if you can’t speak with conviction and stand behind your brand, you can’t expect others too. Sounds simple, but it’s worked for me.
As a mom, the best advice I’ve been given is to let them figure stuff out on their own. There’s an overwhelming temptation to do everything you can for your kids, but if you can fight that urge and leave them to sort things out themselves, it’s pretty incredible to see the results.
Looking back, what is the best advice you would give to yourself at age 25?
I would tell my 25 year old self to relax and not to be in such a hurry. I was always pushing myself to get to the next milestone or to achieve my next goal. I think some of that ambition was good and has paid off, but I’m certain that I missed out on a lot of fun stuff along the way.
Who have been the influential people in your life?
Easy – my parents and all four of my grandparents, all in different ways. My grandparents were hard working people and either through genetics or proximity, imparted some of that on me. My Granny and my Po-Po both taught me to love being in the kitchen and I watched them show their love for us through their culinary treats. My Grandpa and my Gong-Gong were perfect examples of what it’s like to have someone love you unconditionally – they were for sure my biggest fans and even today, I measure my success against what they would think of my accomplishments.
My parents are great. They help me and my husband with everything and anything and we try to reciprocate. The best part is that when I watch them with my son, I can see them being to him exactly what my grandparents are to me.
What are your favourite qualities in another person?
I love engaged listeners. People who really hear you and remember what you say. When you speak, they react in a way that makes you feel like you’re the only one in the room. My sister in law, Jenny, has these qualities and I’ve always admired her for that.
I also love people who know how to just sit, relax and visit – the kind of people that you can be with for hours and never feel anxious about wanting to leave or get on to something else.
What is your idea of happiness?
I’m lucky in that I have a lot of sources of happiness in my little world. There are big things like our Hawaiian vacations with my parents and little things like lazy Sunday brunches, but I think the one thing that makes me consistently happy is being able to help other people. Don’t get me wrong, I’m no Mother Teresa or anything, but I definitely do what I can to help out. I enjoy helping my clients with their challenges, I love helping my friends if they’re in a pinch and need another set of hands and I like helping my co-workers to calm down and see the big picture if they’ve had a stressful day. If I can do something that turns someone else’s bad day into a good day, then I’m happy.
What is your idea of misery?
I have the odd bad day every once in a while, but fortunately, I have never known true misery. I would imagine that being alone in this world would be very miserable. Not having friends and family to laugh with and share experiences with would be horrible. There’s just something so great about being surrounded by people who “get” you, so I definitely feel for people who don’t have that in their lives.
What was your most regrettable fashion purchase?
Unfortunately, this is another easy one. I hate to admit it, but I am the not-so-proud owner of a black leather handkerchief top. No idea what I was thinking – it’s just terrible. If I was a litigious person, I would consider initiating a lawsuit against the store that sold it to me.
If you could be any historical figure, who would you be?
This is a tough one, but I think I’ll go with Laura Ingalls Wilder. What can I say? I loved the Little House on the Prairie books!
What talent would you like to be gifted with?
If I’d been asked this 5 years ago, I would have said athleticism, but now that I’m the mom of a 4-year old boy, I will say patience. I would love to be gifted with the patience it requires to be able to calmly and rationally explain the benefits of a regular bed time to an over-stimulated child. Life would be so much easier if only I could patiently weather the unending storm that is weeknight meals at our house. But no, instead I have been gifted with a short fuse and a loud voice…
What is the dress code for success?
Two key things here, in my opinion. Firstly, and particularly in a professional setting, make an investment in your clothing. Every working woman needs at least a few great suits, half a dozen perfectly tailored dresses and a collection of shoes. Sure, we all have our favorite “disposable” sweats and leggings, but you can’t have a whole closet of things like that. Don’t be shy to spend some of your hard earned money on yourself – that includes your wardrobe!
Secondly, love what you’re wearing! If you feel beautiful and confident in an outfit, your day just goes that much better and people respond to you differently.
Oh, and nobody looks good in a handkerchief top. Trust me.
How important is image?
So important! Like it or not, we are all judged on our image and how we present ourselves. Acknowledge that and work it to your advantage - make sure you consciously engineer the first impression you want others to have of you. There’s definitely an art to reading a situation or a setting and then doing what you can to influence it in your favor. That said, the trick is then to follow through and make sure your second, third and fourth impressions are just as good, if not better, than your first!
I’m a born and raised Edmontonian. I grew up on the south side with my parents and a younger brother. After graduating from the U of A with a Bachelor of Commerce, I earned my designation as a Chartered Accountant. I joined KPMG 15 years ago and in 2012 was admitted as a Partner. I work primarily in the public sector and get to serve many of Edmonton’s non-profit and charitable organizations, which I love. I also sit on the Board of the YMCA of Northern Alberta, I’m a member of the Stollery Women’s Network Advisory Committee, I’m the President of my son’s daycare, I coach a U5 soccer team and I’ve recently become involved with the United Way.
At home, I’m a wife and mom. My son, Noah, is a busy 4 year old who keeps my husband and I laughing all the time. His current interests are ninja turtles and break dancing. The kitchen is my domain and I also enjoy gardening.
I like to start my days early, by getting to the gym and either meeting with a trainer or sweating it out in spin class. I also like running and recently got back into half marathons. Looking forward to doing a few more this summer!