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XpoCity Is Not an Expo, It’s an Experience
Written by Fresh Vancouver   
An Evening Designed for the Vancouver Woman

bar code looking like a city skyline with a date belowOn September 25th, the Socialettes will launch their premiere event, XpoCity Vancouver, at the Four Seasons Hotel from 4 pm to 10 pm. XpoCity is a “social shopping” expo which combines a ladies’ evening out with experiential product and service testing and shopping. Founding partners of Socialettes, Prianka Dhir and Sonal Haria bring female entrepreneurship and leadership to the forefront by highlighting innovative female-focused businesses from across the west coast.

XpoCity represents the everyday woman of Vancouver and all aspects of her life: home, health and fitness, beauty and fashion, business and career and food. By showcasing premium local businesses and highlighting some of the best products and services the city has to offer, XpoCity is designed to bring the ultimate social experience to the Vancouver woman.

The Socialettes had been working with numerous female-focused businesses, from which inspiration sprang to create a large-scale event dedicated to showcasing companies that empower a woman’s lifestyle - companies that make a woman feel more confident, healthy, radiant or even career savvy at any point in their life.

The expo market in Vancouver has focused heavily on a distinct time in a woman’s life; for instance, weddings, babies and home design expos seemed to be endless in number. Not fitting into any of those categories quite perfectly, the Socialettes knew that they couldn’t be the only ones. XpoCity was created from a need to have an event that catered to the everyday woman. Young or old, athletic or girly, studying or working, most women have a need to explore, experience and get connected.

Local businesses and exhibitors played a huge rule in bringing XpoCity together as the Socialettes wished to focus on local companies that are built on values of innovation, quality and customer care.

“It was incredibly important to showcase local success: successful women, businesses and brands that have grown in our own backyard. Vancouver has a lot to be proud of, and our business community is truly one of those powerful elements,” says Dhir.

As women in business themselves, Dhir and Haria also felt the need to bring together like-minded women from all backgrounds in a setting that was both inspirational and influential. A professional women’s networking session will jump start the evening by providing a beautiful setting for women across all professional backgrounds to have a place to meet and mingle. Experts will be showcased from the five categories of XpoCity including fashion bloggers, beauty experts, health and lifestyle professionals and food industry professionals.

“Having attended numerous networking events when we first started our own business, we realized we were learning just as much from women from other professions as women in business. Some of our most memorable lessons were taken from lawyers, fashion experts and fitness professionals,” says Haria.

XpoCity will feature over 70 businesses, a book signing by local author Megan Williams of Our Interrupted Fairytale, a pre-event networking session and complimentary access to expo services such as the mini manicure bar, hair styling, make-up touchups, food sampling, wine tasting, and much more.

Every woman deserves a night of pampering and the chance to experience what her city’s premium businesses have to offer. Xpocity delivers just that and more. For additional information, a full list of exhibitors, or tickets, visit

Monique Hurteau
Written by Rachael Biggs   

photo of MoniqueModern day Renaissance woman Monique Hurteau paints, writes, performs stand-up comedy and produces documentary film -- all with a degree of success that has been a delightful surprise to her. Fortunately, this funny lady was generous enough to spend a little time with us to share what she’s up to.

Can you tell us how you went from working in land titles to all of this?

My first of three car accidents was a huge catalyst for change. When I got the insurance settlement, I decided come hell or high water I was going on a holiday. At 30 years old, a solo 2-week trip to Cuba was my first time off the continent and first holiday in 7 years. I returned a different person. My eyes opened to a world outside of what I had been doing and my envy of people doing things I wanted to be doing became painfully impossible to ignore. Within a few years, I jumped into theatre-sports and improv, left the business of land titles, bought a motorbike, sold my house and began performing stand-up comedy across Canada.

Why is doing what you love important in your opinion?

I think insanity is doing what you don’t love. It’s trite, but life is too short. What if this is all there is?

What was the process of learning to do all of the things you do and what that was like?

Monique's artworkI’m naturally curious and I question almost everything. I love research and I like knowing how things work. My relentless and dogged pursuit of things that interest me leads me to books, courses, workshops, videos, talking to all sorts of people and asking them tonnes of questions.

You’ve got a documentary coming out; what can you tell us about that?

My husband (actor/director Lorne Cardinal) and I are in the midst of producing a documentary film about the 2012 theatre production of King Lear at the National Arts Centre. As a young theatre student in the 1960’s, August Schellenberg saw King Lear and dreamt of one day acting in it. Over the next four decades, his dream gained strength and evolved to an all-Native production of the play. When my husband received the call to do double-duty in the role of the Duke of Albany and to Assistant Direct, he knew this King Lear would be history-in-the-making, so he pitched the doc, not knowing if or how it would get done. He just knew it had to be documented and I stepped in as the documentary’s producer.

And an art show...

Monique's artworkYes, an art show! “The Artist’s Way” sparked my creativity and prompted me to buy a kid’s painting kit about five years ago and I haven’t looked back. I’m showing my work at Roam Gallery at City Square from Aug 17-Sep 28th. I will also be there painting on Thursday September 25th if people want to stop by and say hello.

Anything you’ve yet to try that you’re looking forward to?

I’d like to try other mediums including welding, sculpting, carving and painting with oil, as it offers so many more options for blending. I also have two concepts for feature films I’d like to direct.

For the Love of Fall
Written by Larissa Shulgin   

It’s that time of the year again; fall is around the corner. Your hair feeling dry and brassy from those warm summer days on the beach? The next thing on your mind is what’s happening with the hair this season. Typically for fall, we tend to go darker with our color choices and usually towards the warmer tones as the summer days vanish away. Rich coffee, mocha, chocolate brown, caramels and reds, of course, will be in the spotlight.

woman with dark hair with lighter colour at the ends Softening the contrast from the light, brassy balayage or ombré is a win with the warmer tones. Toning the ends with some warmth is perfect for the cooler season as well as getting that shine back into the hair. The severe ombré is gone.
woman with hair in a top knot Out with the sock bun; in with the new top knot. Fresh, soft, and easy-to-do. Leave some pieces out around the face to relax and soften the look.
woman with hair in a half up top knot The half-up top knot is becoming the newest trend! This is a great way to change things up. It gives your face a nice lift, which softens the look and gives it a real, sexy feel. Want to experiment with some brightness or dip-dye, but with no commitment?
woman with dark hair with bottom coloured pink Want to change up the colors when you are feeling bored, but afraid of making it permanent? Well, it’s totally temporary, and after just a few shampoos, there will be no trace - ideal for the weekend, an event or a big night out! Hair Chalk is a great way to play up your fall moods. Have fun with the season.

Hair & written by: Larissa Shulgin, Senior Stylist at Ignite Beauty Lounge
Makeup: Sue Woo, Make-Up Artist & Senior Stylist at Ignite Beauty Lounge
Photographer: Derek Cheng at

Teri Nicholas: It takes a Village....
Written by Rachael Biggs   

TeriTeri Nicholas has devoted her career to helping children and their families. From working one-on-one with street kids to her current position as president and CEO of BC Children’s Hospital Foundation, Teri has remained focused on the simple but powerful goal she set for herself as a young girl: to help people.

Q: You’re in a role now that is very meaningful and hugely important. Can you give us some idea of where it all began? Have you always had a passion for philanthropy?

A: I always knew that I wanted to make a difference and that I wanted to help people. I had two older sisters that were teachers and they definitely inspired me. I studied sociology and upon graduating at the age of twenty, I started down this path as a childcare worker. I worked closely with kids who suffered from emotional and behavioural issues, were runaways or had parents that couldn’t look after them. I wasn’t much older than some of them, but I held them accountable for their behaviour, which often made me unpopular. I was giving them a sense of value and I knew that that was more important than being liked. After several years of working with kids, I saw that I wanted to make changes in a larger way which led me toward an interest in policy, so I pursued a business certificate from Simon Fraser University and a Master’s Degree in Social Work with a focus on policy. In 2000, I became the CEO of Family Services of Greater Vancouver where I spent ten years until I was offered my current job. Making the leap from Family Services to running this amazing foundation was really not that big a change, though. Our mission is the same: we want to inspire excellence in care for the people that need it most.

Q: Has spending the last thirty years in the social service sector given you any insight into the problems of homelessness and addiction that are so rampant in the lower mainland? Any ideas on how we can make changes?

Teri outside beside sunflowers wearing a wool coatA: My belief is that homelessness and addiction are downstream effects of other causes.  Poverty, family dysfunction, and unrecognized mental health issues underlie many of the social problems we see. At the Foundation, we strongly support Children’s Mental Health programs and aim to bring crucial services to those whose suffering might otherwise go without proper attention. By bringing diagnostic, pharmacological, and therapeutic help to a formerly underserved population of BC’s children, I like to think we’re effecting positive change for future generations.

Q: Being at BC Children’s for four years now must be an eye-opening and often heart-wrenching experience. Can you share what your time there has been like?

A: It has been an incredibly rewarding few years. Of course, there are very trying times, because we work with families whose children are faced with serious and sometimes life-threatening conditions and yet they still find the strength and the courage to share their stories. They make this selfless contribution because they know that by telling their stories they can bring additional support to the hospital through our foundation and in so doing, help others. I find that very inspiring.

During times of crisis and heartbreak, I try to focus on the fact that the hospital gives families years together that they wouldn’t otherwise have had and improves their quality of life while they’re here. About 65 per cent of the 230,000 patient visits to BC Children’s are on an outpatient basis, meaning these children come in for an appointment or treatment and return home the same day. Beyond the emergency room visits and the life-saving surgeries, a lot of what we do is helping children with a vast range of medical conditions live life to the fullest. Sunny Hill Health Centre for Children and the research institute are about helping children maximize their capabilities so that they are defined more by what they can do and who they are than by their medical conditions.

Q: What have you learned so far in this role?

Terri standing beside driftwood art and wearing a blue dressA: I am reminded daily of the value of life and the importance of spending our time wisely, living well and appreciating the people around us. My husband Lee and I have always tried to live healthy lives, but seeing how hard the staff at the hospital and research institute work on the areas of injury prevention and healthy living has helped us deepen our commitment to staying fit and active, and I hope that by example I have embedded healthy habits in my children and grandchildren. My work has made me appreciate what we have in terms of health and family and has re-emphasized the responsibility that each of us has to look after ourselves and society’s children.

Q: BC Children’s Hospital Foundation enjoys a high profile and a lot of public support. With a lot of friends in the community, do you ever find it hard to manage all those relationships?

A: We are very fortunate that so many British Columbians understand the importance of the people and programs our fundraising supports. Every year, over 100,000 people make gifts in support of BC Children’s. I wish I could say I’m able to meet with each of them, but the truth is that even though I often attend events as many as five evenings a week and meet with our supporters throughout my working days, I’m barely scratching the surface.

Luckily, I have a great team; I’m not alone. Our board chair, for example, David Podmore (chairman and CEO of Concert Properties), devotes many hours to this cause and plays an invaluable role in supporting the foundation and the hospital, and Don Lindsay (CEO of Teck Resources) is also a board member and chaired our recently completed $200-million capital campaign from 2008 until we completed it in November last year. I am always amazed that so many people are willing to step forward and put countless hours into volunteering despite having families and busy careers. These commitments don’t go unnoticed and we are very grateful.

We reach out to our donors in a variety of ways and we are lucky to have the support of community partners such as Global BC TV, the Vancouver Sun, and the Pattison Broadcast Group who help us keep people in every corner of the province informed.

I hate to use clichés, but it really does take a village!

Q: In November you announced that you had completed your $200-million capital campaign to support the construction of the new BC Children’s Hospital. How is that coming along?

A: Construction of the Teck Acute Care Centre, which will be the heart of the new BC Children’s Hospital, is really gaining momentum. For years, we have been talking about the transformation of the site, and it’s finally evident that this is taking place. A lot of work has been done to make way for the new building, but what we, and our colleagues in the hospital, have really been preparing for is a transformation in the delivery of pediatric care both at the hospital and around the province. The new hospital, which will open in 2017, has been designed to enable this transformation, permitting, for example, greater participation by parents in caregiving because we know this ultimately helps the child. And hospital staff will be able to do their best because they will be working in facilities designed with their input.

Q: Can you tell us about some of the facilities at the new hospital?

A: The Teck Acute Care Centre will be the heart of the new BC Children’s Hospital. It is going to provide us with much more space than we have right now and will house all of the critical care areas, such as Emergency, the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, larger operating and procedure rooms, medical imaging, inpatient units and the Cancer Centre.

The new facility will offer tremendous benefits to patients, their families and our staff. For example, the new Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, where BC’s most seriously ill and injured children are cared for, will be exclusively private rooms unlike today’s largely open-ward format. This will help on so many fronts, including better infection control and room for parents to remain comfortably at their child’s bedside. Also, the patient rooms on the various wards, where children sometimes stay for days, weeks or even months, will be equipped to close to the same level as the ICU rooms, so that in times of crisis, staff can come to the child’s bedside rather than having to move the child through the hospital for care.

The Cancer Centre is another area that will be vastly improved in the new building. Today, services for children undergoing cancer treatment are spread out across three floors of the hospital. This can be disorienting for children and their families, and means our medical staff spend more time than they’d like travelling through the hospital. In the new facility, all the cancer services will be on a single floor, right at the top of the hospital. This will be more convenient for families and staff, and will better protect children with weakened immune systems.

A few years ago, we recruited a new head of cardiothoracic surgery, Dr. Sanjiv Gandhi. He brought considerable experience with him, including extensive experience with heart transplant. Today, we have a pediatric heart transplant program, one of only three in Canada. Now, thanks to the work of Dr. Gandhi and his team, we aren’t sending children out of province for any cardiac procedures. The new hospital has been designed to make the work of all our subspecialists and their teams easier. For example, Dr. Gandhi and his team will have an operating room designed specifically for cardiac surgery, and a Cardiac Intensive Care Unit, where a highly specialized team will care for children with heart conditions.

Q: Is there such thing as spare time for you and if so, how do you like to spend it?

A: Many people have jobs that demand more time than perhaps they should.  However, that doesn’t change the necessity of regenerating one’s own person by rest, recreation, etc. Managing work/life balance is regular topic of discussion at the Foundation. I’m very lucky because my enjoyment of my job energizes me. Other things that contribute to my recharging are walks and talks with my husband, good books, having coffee and breakfast on our deck, dinners with friends, EXERCISE, my fabulous children and grandchildren, being outdoors (when it’s warm) and vacations in Maui when it’s not.

Q: What’s next for you?

A: I’m going to continue to work closely with hospital leadership and our board members to ensure our donors’ interests in the new hospital are well represented. At the same time, we are developing an ever-closer working relationship with the hospital’s administration, clinical and research leadership with an eye to better identifying and supporting specific areas of need. While it is important that we continue to meet the urgent and immediate needs of the hospital, research institute and Sunny Hill, we also want to support initiatives within those institutions that will help take pediatric clinical care and research to the next level. We aren’t just interested in Band-Aids; we want to play a role in the evolution of care, because that’s what will ultimately make the greatest difference to the children.

Photographer: Erich Saide
Producer, Creative Director & Stylist: Crystal Carson
Makeup Artist: Cait Callahan using MAC Cosmetics
Hair Artist: Brianna Errelat using Aria Beauty tools
Photo assistant: Tess Lobmayr
Stylist Assistant: Erin Harder
Location: Special thanks to Shawn Williamson
White silk shirt with black bow tie / Alexander McQueen / Holt Renfrew / $1,475

A Little Skin in the Game
Written by Ann Kaplan   

magazine cover discussed in articleThis summer, for my cover debut on Fresh, I opted to pose wearing a Jean Paul Gautier gown with a plunging back—if only to show off my nifty marketing gizmo – my shoulder-blade-emblazoned “scan-able” barcode. It was all meant in fun, of course – S.M. – (social media) fun – with the idea being to draw attention and direct readers to a site raising money for medical research. And, after all, once you factor in all the space-taking cover-line art, why not tattoo the only uncovered real estate?

How gauche of me.

Apparently, such a tawdry tactic was deemed offensive by a few Vancouver women on Twitter, one in particular who intimated the result was an overt and provocative sexualizing of the female “Renaissance entrepreneur” I'm “supposed" to represent.

For goodness’ sake, get over it.

If I am representing anyone, I am representing “me” and if I want to give “back,” so to speak, that will be my choice. I was never handed a script, an outline or a business plan that described how my character was to dress or speak. Besides, whether I don a black blazer versus a bare back should not be the focus here.

I’m an independently successful business woman because of my abilities which include how to represent myself in the very demanding arena of finance. I deal with men in pinstripes on a daily basis and I assure you I draw from a sea of grey to be neutral. (I pray they do not realize that under it all I may actually be capable of wearing La Perla.)

So with all this undercover work, is it too much to permit me to embrace MY woman within, however I choose her to look on any given day?

There are a number of socially oppressed women that would love to pick apart anyone and anything that states, looks or even hints at the controversial – usually somehow related to perceived sexuality. But take a closer look and it’s evident those S.O.’s tend to have a default penchant for seeking out that someone or something to criticize.

But guess what? It ain’t the ones they’re picking on who are truly suffering. Take Lady Gaga, Beyoncé, Katy Perry and others idols of their ilk. Adult and teenaged female fans clamour for the attention these superstars so deservedly get. And quite simply, they get it; the women who watch these extremely talented divas don’t just want to be entertained—they choose to be entertained.

And then they follow, read and Tweet about them, obsess over and even scream (as weakened teens are wont to do) at the sight of them, packed like sardines into hot houses, swaying, crying and desperately wanting more of these brilliant women. They feel like they know them, intimately. And that, my friends, is what ultimately and without licence allows these acolytes to feel they’ve earned the right to bash and criticize the very famous females that feed their fandom.

But what about other, more plebeian women, so to speak—those of us who are only just slightly “out there” in our getups and our garb—the likes of us for whom introductions to countless people is part and parcel of our day-to-day businesses (both in-person and by way of social media)?

What if we should happen to go off the expected path and ditch the drab? Does going vogue somehow mean we have gone rogue?

Is there an accepted outfit we should wear, even when not working, that indicates our competency? Heavens to Betsy that we show even the slightest sense of humour or utter words like “YOLO,” “Biotch,” or “Tot's” (please God, don’t ever let me say “Tot's”), or even do something so crass (OMG) as use acronyms in an email.

Nope! I am, after all, a business woman and nothing fun or interesting has ever crossed my mind. I would never shorten a word, Google or Facebook (leave that for the new generation. My children were born of Immaculate Conception (actually, come to think of it, I would have preferred that in my first marriage) and I have yet to even glance at the male dancers while taking in a ballet or watching Magic Mike on Netflix.

So weigh it out: If you are to expose yourself on the cover of a “beauty magazine,” do you don that black suit (I have a closet-full as that was my only get-up for more than a decade) and a white shirt (another closet-full) and pose like you just entered a photo booth?

By virtue of being a "woman in business” does that mean you’re somehow stuck with your hair in a bun wearing high collars, nude nylons and flats? Do you throw the conditioner away, eschewing your habit of colour-matching your lipstick to your mood? Are we, as women, expected to dress down our femininity, say, like a man, to best demonstrate our cerebral cortex actually encompasses something active, excluding a flutter of frill factor?

There we are; if I am representing women (as the S.O. so subtly indicated to thousands of Twatters), then I apologize for exposing my scapula. The next time I am on the cover of a magazine (my gosh; the phone rings off the hook for these opportunities), I will aim to look more serious (maybe not wax my upper lip). And if I want to set up a social media campaign to raise money for a good cause, well, I will keep that to myself and hope (pray) for someone to read my mind and write a cheque.

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