I had a fabulous day in Toronto last Thursday. Not only was it International Women's Day, but I was fortunate to attend DELOITTE  WOMEN OF INFLUENCE LUNCHEON SERIES with 900+ women in the ballroom of The Royal York Hotel.


courtesy of Lynne Knowlton 

These are not photos of the Ballroom, but instead are photos of the Royal York Lobby, which will give you a fairly good idea of the decor and ambience in the Ballroom. 

courtesy of Lynne Knowlton

I attended the luncheon with two Toronto Tweeps. Here I go again, extolling the virtues of twitter, but it happens to be true. I met Robin Siegerman, a Toronto Interior Designer, on twitter a year ago and IRL a few months later. I'm beyond impressed and certainly influenced by Robin because since I met her, she has  authored  RENOVATION BOOTCAMP  a fact based, humorous look at renovating a kitchen from her own professional perspective.  This is a MUST read for anyone who is about to undertake the daunting task of a kitchen reno. Robin also hosts a  Web Talk Radio Show  interviewing other pros in the design and building trades, and garnering valuable information on all aspects of home design and renovation.
My other friend Lynne Knowlton, also an Interior Designer is known on twitter as 'The tweep who lives in a Treehouse'. Lynne pens the blog  DESIGN THE LIFE YOU WANT TO LIVE ... a blog about design, travel...and a treehouse...tons of photos and oh so much more, written with a hefty dose of reality, sprinkled with tons of humour, a full cup of strength, and iced with with pure honesty....a true JOY to peruse!  FYI... Lynne was kind enough to allow me to use five of the photos she took at the luncheon, in this post.
I realized I was sitting in the presence of two very INSPIRATIONAL women... (cue the AWE...really and truly)...and that was in advance of the guest speaker being introduced....

....Sarah Richardson....

courtesy of Lynne Knowlton

SHE IS WOMAN... and I've been watching her ROAR...from a pixelated distance, since she designed and sewed her first cushion cover on 'Room Service', and have followed her career path from Design Inc through to Sarah 101. She and I have chosen the same career,  design and decor,  and you can bet that her aesthetic has at times influenced my own decor choices, but I was most impressed yesterday with her story of her humble beginnings.
Sarah has a degree in Visual Arts, but it was her determination to improve and decorate her fellow students' dorm rooms that eventually landed her first paying job as a behind the scenes prop stylist on CTV.  She didn't shy away from being underpaid, working serious overtime and grunt work ... I loved hearing this. After appearing on several home design based TV shows as a guest, she became host of FIVE...count 'em FIVE television shows. Sarah also designs several product lines and has her own signature Para paint collection available at Lowes.

Sarah was funny...Sarah being 'Sarah' explained that the Ballroom luncheon decor would have to be tweaked with her own branding....therefore paint cans filled with tulips on fresh, spring green tablecloths and freshly painted white chairs adorned each table of ten.

via twitter  @PARAPaints
courtesy of Lynne Knowlton

Sarah was honest.... "'that's good enough', will never be good enough for me"...my mantra as well

Sarah was sentimental... she credited her Mom with being the most influential mentor in her life

Sarah was blunt... 'it's not WHAT you know...it's WHO you know! Your social network!'

Sarah IS influential... "winning the work-life balance is all about perspective"

If I wasn't already Sarah Richardson girl crushing ... I certainly was after her down to earth speech.

Yes indeedy, last Thursday was a great day, in the company of smart, ambitious, multi-tasking, bright and funny women. And we all, who thankfully do not take ourselves THAT seriously, managed to enjoy this heavenly chocolate mousse.

courtesy of Lynne Knowlton