Category Archives: Career

Feeding Your Passions

Today’s story will whet your appetite for some tasty home-cooking!  It comes from Shelley Adams, author of the highly popular, award-nominated Whitewater Cooks cookbook series, and former co-owner of the Whitewater Ski Resort in Nelson, British Columbia.  You’ve already seen her recipe for Hungarian Mushroom Barley Soup featured in my Soup Column.  Now you can read how the cookbooks happened, and how she ended up carving out a unique and personalized life for herself, simply by doing things she loved.  Here is her story, as she was good enough to relate it to me.

Cooking as a Career Path

I was always interested in food because my mom was a really good cook and we ate really well.  She always laid a beautiful setting and used good, local food.

But I was actually unsure what I was going to do with myself.  I was working at a restaurant, a summer ski camp restaurant, and a woman who was working with me said, “The movie business is starting to build in Vancouver and they really need catering.  I’m wondering if you would come and be my assistant because I’m going to start a company.”  And I said, “Sure, I could do that – you know, until I decide what I want to do at university.”

What If Doing Our Best Were Enough?

I am pleased to offer a post today from Pascale Pageau, founder of Delegatus Legal Services Inc., chair of the Canadian Bar Association’s Women Lawyers Forum, and mother of four young children.  Pascale became something of a pioneer in the Quebec legal community in 2005 when she launched a law firm that offered out-sourced, consulting-based, made-to-order legal services  – a true novelty, as you will know, if you know anything about how law has traditionally been practiced.  Today, her firm is thriving, and she herself enjoys a full and satisfying life.  In this post (a repeat of a text she published recently in the newsletter of the Women Lawyers Forum), she explains a part of the philosophy that has guided her through her many accomplishments.


The quest for perfection, a characteristic often found in women, and even more so in female legal professionals, is useful to us in many ways. Excellence in the quality of work, methodology, concern for detail, meeting of deadlines and budgets, and the list goes on. When it comes to the practice of law, the quest for perfection is essential.

Get Out of Your House

Ever notice how the days when the kids spend all their time in the house, staring at screens or kicking around with no fixed agenda, are also the days when they bicker the most about the pettiest things?  Like whether X is allowed to go into Y’s room without asking; or whether Y should have to clean up the toys, since X made “most” of the mess and Y cleaned up “everything” the last time; or why X “always” gets to choose which Wii game to play, and “never” cares what anyone else wants; or why Y is allowed to get away with stuff that X was never allowed to; or whether X or Y started the fight; or whether Y or X is being more annoying; or which one said what offensive thing to whom first….

Yikes.  It takes all my best refereeing skills to get through days like that.  Although you and I both know that if I’m smart or have the available time, I can cut all the squabbling short by doing one simple thing: getting them out of the house.

Being the Driver in Your Own Life

Today’s contributor: my aunt, Else Pedersen, owner/operator of Perceptive Edge, a thriving human resource consulting company. When I was a kid, I saw her as the free-wheeling, be-your-own-person aunt (as I recall, her motto at that time was “Live-Love-Laugh”). Today she is still all those things in spades, and as her story shows, those qualities have been important drivers in bringing her to a successful and satisfying place in her life, both personally and professionally, despite a few detours and bumps in the road.

Here is her story, in her own words.

My mantra:

Everything happens for a reason…so pay close attention.

My beginning:

I immigrated to Canada from Denmark when I was two years old, with my parents and three older sisters. Within a few short years, the number of my siblings grew to seven, making me a true middle child. We lived in small rural towns for my entire childhood and adolescence. The largest one, Zephyr,  had a population of about 500 people.

How to Get There from Here

Heather Greenwood Davis is a friend and colleague from my days practicing law at a large Canadian firm. We met after we had both chosen to make career detours that took us off the partnership track and onto a small team driving an unpopular new initiative that most members of the firm wanted nothing to do with.

Hmmm.  Interesting career move, you say?  You’d be right.  And it gets more interesting.  Today, Heather is a widely-published freelance writer about to embark on a year-long, blog-recorded trip around the world with her husband and two children.  Here, in her own words, is how she got to that place.


When Linda asked if I’d be a part of the stories told on this site, I had two minds about it. On the one hand, I’m honoured. I love what she’s doing here and I believe in its importance. On the other hand…what to say?

I decided I wanted to share the one thing that has been a common thread and the most use to me throughout my life…losing control.

Starting points

First, a bit about this blog.

Like the title says, it’s about women, and about the lives they live. Not famous women, necessarily, or spectacular women, but ordinary women, like you and me, and like your mother, sister, daughter, neighbor, colleague, teacher, student, friend….

It’s also about the pieces that go together to make a life, and how each of us chooses to arrange them. Pieces like love, family, money and health. Work and marriage.  Children (or not). Your past. Your future. Your self-esteem. Sex. Faith. Education. Loss. Etc .

Imagine sitting down to make a list of all the elements of your life that are jostling for time and space and attention, both inside and outside of you. Imagine taking the time to think about how all these pieces fit together, and how they have come to be arranged in the way that they are. (Imagine you had the time to do that – it’s a stretch, I know, but bear with me…)

Now imagine that lots of women you know and even more that you don’t all made their own lists. Imagine getting the chance to look at their lists, and hear them talk about why their lists look the way they do. If you like the sound of that, stick around.  Because that is what I hope to do with this blog.