By Jeannette Tossounian
October 25, 2018
Since I was a little girl, I aspired to be a rich business woman. I would have fantasies of owning my own corporations and ruling cities. I made lists of goals I wanted to accomplish in my life and as I kept achieving my goals, I would cross them off my list. First, I would cross off the small short term goals, then the medium goals were being crossed off my list. Soon I realized there was nothing left but the big ones to go for, so, why not? There are people out there who make it from nothing to something and I didn’t see why that couldn’t be me.
It turns out reaching for those near impossible goals is, well, nearly impossible.
Now middle-aged and re-starting my business, dreadfully once again, I am researching the past ways I have gone wrong and new methods to rebrand myself, after all, I am a go-getter by nature. If I am not focused on a goal, unattainable or not, then my life has no meaning. I started wondering who the hell has reached these rag to riches goals anyway.
It was clear to me as a young business woman many years ago that I didn’t go along with the man’s world of business and I had to create my own path. So I figured why not, after all this is an equal opportunity world, right? There was no successful self-starting notably rich women to compare myself to, to aspire to be like, who had carved a path for others to follow. Well, there is Oprah, but she’s in the States and I live in Canada and it’s a whole different business game up here. I looked towards the womens business networks, but they seem to be full of women who remind me of the cheerleaders I never liked in highschool, who would stick together as a concealed group and cut down anyone trying too hard to forge ahead with a different approach, so it didn’t surprise me to see only mid-range success there.
So where are the top richest women in Canada? Of course I got to Google it!
Guess what? There is no richest women in Canada list. The closest thing that comes up is the richest woman in Canada, that being Sherry Brydon, who has that title because she is part of the Thomspon Family, the richest family in all of Canada. Well, I don’t think I could aspire to be part of the richest family in Canada being born from modest means, but perhaps I could at least be on the richest list of people in Canada, of which there are several. I guess I would have to be stuck being that pioneer if there was going to be any top woman players.
Browsing through the richest people in Canada lists, its all mens names or family names. The only name I recognize as female is currently listed 29th richest in Canadian Business Magazine and that is Heather Reisman, who is named beside her husband Gerry Schwartz. She is not listed independently, but still a great accomplishment, none the less.
There has to be at least some successful independent self-starting Canadian business women out there, but if not at the top competing with men, then where? When I adjusted my Google search, I found women as leaders of charities, government organizations and appointed to corporate boards. Although successful and well deserving of it, only on recent lists have I started noticing more entrepreneurial type women, like on the Women’s Executive Network Top 100 list. However, the bar still seems much lower among just women than society in general where the men dominate. I don’t want to be woman making an effort to keep up, but as woman who holds my own.
Unfortunately, I spent the first part of my business growing years fighting off the sexual advances of men in the political/business world. This was an enormous barrier stunting my success. I could open up a business, market my business, make decent sales and pay my bills, however, I also had to deal with men who knew they could just walk into my business and that I was there alone. The independence I was proud of turned out to be my biggest weakness. Being on my own path isolated me. Eventually, these men just aggressively took the sex they wanted from me, whether I consented or not, and there was nothing I could do about it because they are the ones who rule all governing authorities.
It took me a long time to realize what my choices in business were: I can run a business and be single but put up with constant sexual assault; I could be in an relationship with one man then have to put up with him; or I could crawl under a rock and wait to die.
No wonder women marry, it’s dangerous being alone when swimming with the sharks.