Yesterday, I attended my first Ladies Who Lunch (LWL) event! The theme was: “Where the wild Things Are” and it was held at the Canadian Museum of Nature. LWL is the brain child of Catherine Landry, well-known in the Ottawa area for not only being an organizer of some of the hottest events but also for her tireless charitable efforts. She does all of this on-top of her day-job. She’s CEO of Cherry Pie Productions and Call Betty! and Head of Marketing for Big Rig Brewery. Whether it’s helping the homeless, rescuing animals, or raising money for numerous local organizations or individuals in Ottawa, she has a way of inspiring people to pay it forward and get involved in the community. I met Catherine when she came to our first Dine for a Cause event at Fiazza Fresh Fired supporting a mutual friend’s daughter, Phoebe Rose-Doull Hoffman. Since then, Catherine has continued to be a strong supporter of our initiatives, often promoting our efforts or recommending us for various foodie events in Ottawa. In 2011, she started the first LWL event at the Arc Hotel; it was attended by 35 local business women. Since then each event has been a sell-out and has grown to 150 attendees and tickets literally disappear within days. The vision of the LWL is pretty simple: Create a positive network for local business woman that allows women to support one another, to share experiences and resources, and one that inspires people pay it forward. The LWL Facebook group recently grew to over 5000 members. On top of everything, Catherine continues to moderate the hundreds of posts a day in the Facebook group offering advice, encouragement, positivity and fields a wide-range of questions that come from this group of dynamic women. Many new collaborations and businesses have formed right within the group and I’m continually inspired by the connectivity and influence of this group. The event was kicked off by host Julie Beun, a well-known journalist and publicist in Ottawa. Catherine was presented with a Guardian Angel Pin from The Ottawa Hospital Foundation for her idea “Do the Blue”. A campaign that launched last November with the Ottawa Hospital’s focus on self-care and encouragement for women to prioritize their own health and well-being, even as they take care of family and friends. It was great to see Catherine recognized for her countless contributions to our great city. All of the guests were asked to come with their nails painted blue.
For each event, Catherine scouts outs local businesses to showcase their products at the events, this time was no exception: “Where the Wild Things Are” featured:
- Marketplace vendors including:
- Guest speaker, Komal Minhas DREAM, GIRL producer. Dream, Girl is a film about female entrepreneurs set to premiere this fall. Watch the trailer here!
- Fashion show by White House | Black Market with floral bouquet by Flowers Talk Tivoli.
- Showcase of the youngest LWL business women:
- CHEF BATTLE was a live cooking demonstration between chef Karly Ireland and chef William Carter. Meat vs> veggie. The battle also featured 14 year-old, Ben White as one of the sous-chefs.
- Guest speaker, Catherine Clark
- Robin Vandekleut and Jenn Campbell, two founding members of Ottawa’s 100 Women Who Care. (100 Women Who care is a community group of volunteers that bring together Ottawa’s caring, giving women for four events a year for 1 hour and each woman is asked to donate $100 to one of the three featured charities.)
Guests arrived to a beautifully set up dining room bursting with colour -- perfect for spring. Each chair was draped with fabulous swag generously donated by sponsors of the event. The first food course featured a duo of salmon tartar and smoked duck. The main course featured a duo of bison and beef filet and then the meal was finished off with a martini glassed filled with chocolate pate, popcorn, cream cheese and a double stack cookie.
In between inspiring and moving speeches, Catherine and Julie drew door prizes from what seemed like a never ending pile of goodies. Thousands of dollars’ worth of door-prizes that were donated by many of the woman within the group, and showcased the products and services that they offer. One unique prize was a $2500 gift certificate for the Leslie Rohonczy Band where the winner would have a song written and produced for them. How cool is that!!
My first LWL experience was more than I could have imagined. I didn’t really know what to expect, but I left there yesterday feeling incredibly inspired. I’d made new friends and contacts, had the opportunity to listen to some pretty amazing women speak and had a great meal. All in all it was a great afternoon. If you can snag a ticket, this is a must do for really any woman in Ottawa. The energy of the room was incredible.
For more photos from the event, visit Throne Photography’s (official photographer of LWL) Facebook page here.