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Transformative Ideas

The Write Stuff

Lindy Ledohowski, CEO, Essay Jack (Photo provided)


Lindy Ledohowski was on a conference call when an “angel investor” started screaming at her. He was furious because she had declined his offer to buy stock in her company, Essay Jack, after she realized she had enough friends and family eager to invest in her company.

“It was absolutely insane,” the CEO recalls during our Zoom interview, using her hands to animate the wild story. “Shouting is not a way that I would ever invite you to invest in this business.” She characterized him as a tech “dude” so “ full of his own self-importance,” he thinks budding entrepreneurs such as Ledohowski should be groveling for their support.

This incident earned her a reputation for being “prickly” in her business relations, although her cheery attitude recounting the incident makes it hard to believe. Clearly, she has no problem with that label, even embraces it as a woman navigating the fiercely male-dominated start-up tech industry. 

“One of the great things about turning 40 is that you care less about those things,” she says. “I know that the people I care about, my friends and family, if they decide that they don’t like me or I’ve done something wrong, I’ll take that very seriously. But you know, strangers or randos, I don’t care.”

It surely helps that Essay Jack has caught the attention of edu-tech investors and won a bushel of accolades and awards. The software program she helped develop provides tips, tools and video resources for writing essays. She came up with the idea after spending years as a university professor teaching students who were incredibly intelligent, but struggled writing essays. “Essay Jack provides that structure so that you can start writing,” she says, “writing faster and with greater confidence, and going from ‘I have lots of ideas’ to now ‘I’m refining and spell checking my ideas.’”

Instilling greater confidence is a key component, according to Ledohowski. “There is a crisis, especially at the higher education level, with confidence, anxiety, feelings of inadequacy.” She says the program can reduce that suffering by offering tips and techniques so students feel encouraged and empowered to write faster and better.

The application can help any student improve academic writing, but is especially useful as a remedial tool, for those who did not grow up studying in English and last-minute starters as the program provides 24/7 support.

Her company, which launched in 2015, had 12,000 users in 2018 and more than doubled to 30,000 this past spring. During the pandemic lockdown, from March through May, as universities and colleges went online, usage soared by 50 percent, with users around the globe and B2B distributors in Australia, Asia and Canada. And the ceiling is still far off.

Individuals pay $9.99 a month for the service or $99 a year, while bulk buyers such as institutions can lower the per-person fee. The typical user is a keen university student who is willing to put in the work to improve writing skills. Ledohowski says that while the platform is gender-neutral, based on anecdotal data, there are more female users than male. And buyers are more often mothers, who are key decision makers in their children’s education.

The company also skews female, with all the senior positions occupied by women. “When you have a large number of women decision-makers working together, there is a great degree of generosity, collaboration, and a can-do attitude—not just about gender things, but about diversity as a whole,” says Ledohoski.

She and her husband, Rueban Balasubramaniam, a tenured law professor at Carleton University, each own 40.5 per cent of the company with family and friend investors holding the rest. She says her husband doesn’t have an executive role at the moment, but supports her through high-level strategic discussions. 

Their most exciting project at hand is a new partnership with the Ogemawahj Tribal Council, to digitize learning and retention resources for teaching standardized Anishinaabemowin languages in Ontario, with the council retaining ownership of the content.

This new project is one of the many indicators that Essay Jack is growing beyond its initial writing platform, with the potential to support and expand diverse initiatives. Ledohoski expects an upcoming rebranding will include a change in the company name to reflect that. “Essay Jack the name, we’ve kind of outgrown it. A super-duper-writing-platform of awesomeness is kind of what we are now.”

This would be the third name for the company, after starting as Essay Hack—marketing the software as an easy way to improve your writing and “hack” your way into an A+. Conversations with investors and schools prompted that name change.

Growing up, Ledohoski never imagined a life as an entrepreneur though she had an example in her father, who left his position as an economics professor to start a hotel business in Manitoba. Her sister and brother currently run and own the family business, but Ledohowski was determined to carve her own path, aspiring to a life in literature.

She obtained a BA in English from the University of Manitoba in 2000, taught high school for two years, added an MA and PhD in English at University of Toronto by 2008 and, after a post doc then a stint teaching at University of Waterloo, returned to University of Toronto as a tenure-track professor. 

In her 20s, she says her self-worth was wrapped around academic success. With each new degree feeling like another pat on the head, she found that entrepreneurship helped bring her sense of self-worth back into her own hands. 

And that journey has been “gratifying and exciting.” She once thought the reach of her professional career was limited to students in her classes. But Essay Jack has enabled her to help countless students.

“It’s endless how many people can learn to have power over the written word, and then achieve their own goals. There’s this skill set that I’ve been able to develop and translate into software that can now touch millions of people.”

Publishers Note:  Essay Jack is a participant in Canada’s first feminist accelerator program for womxn in digital media, Fifth Wave Labs. The Fifth Wave is a year-round program offered by CFC Media Lab and its partners to support the growth and development of women entrepreneurs in the digital media sector in southern Ontario. All enterprise founders in the Fifth Wave community are selected for both their potential and commitment toward weaving intersectional feminist ideals of equity and fairness into sustainable and scalable business growth strategies. Fifth Wave Initiative is committed to 30% participation by members of underrepresented groups. The Fifth Wave is a LiisBeth Media partner. 

LiisBeth Media is a 100% womxn-owned and led, reader supported media enterprise. If you enjoyed this story and would like to see more, please consider becoming a donor subscriber today!

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Feminist Practices

Feminist Enterprise Commons Launches! Looking for Members and Feminists in Residence

LiisBeth team launches a new feminist learning space. From bottom left: Margaret Webb, Champagne Thompson, Lana Pesch, PK Mutch, Geraldine Cahill, Francesca D’Ambrosio, Abigail Slater, Valerie Fox, and Anita Li. Missing but with us in spirit, Jack Jackson.

The $1 billion+ fragmented feminist economy comprised of feminist enterprises operating in all sectors to advance equity and equality for women, girls, trans, and queer folk is about to come together.

On January 5, LiisBeth Media, Canada’s only feminist business media enterprise with 2,500 subscribers and more than 19,000 online readers, is launching a new service, the Feminist Enterprise Commons (FEC), an online community built with Mighty Networks technology. It will enable the currently far-flung and splintered feminist enterprise community to come together in a safe, supportive, authentic, radical, change-led, and feminist-values-led space.

As part of the community, members will be able to connect, share valuable insights, ask important questions without outside surveillance, contribute tools, find relevant and new feminist research, and glean new insights to advance their own feminist practice, enterprise, and drive for systems change. They also have the opportunity to work collectively to further strengthen the feminist economy by resourcing, and sourcing from each other.

LiisBeth founder, PK Mutch, says, “We decided to build a new online community because we are increasingly unhappy with policies, bias, and breaches of trust by social network companies like Facebook and Google. Recently, Facebook randomly prevented LiisBeth from posting because they said our group site was too political. Apparently you can’t boost or promote a post about feminism’s point of view on current events without giving them your personal SIN number or driver’s licence. We challenged them on it, and the restriction was lifted—briefly. Still, that was the last straw for me. Once our new network gets going, we will be essentially using our LiisBeth Facebook channel to redirect people to a safer, online space.”

Mutch also adds, “We also aim to keep the community small and engaged. We are not aiming for thousands of phantom users.”

What is a feminist enterprise?

Feminist enterprises are typically founded by visionary feminist entrepreneurs, innovators, creators, investors, researchers, and social justice activists who leverage their entrepreneurial, leadership, innovation capacity, and creative skills expressly to not only create enterprises or projects that advance gender, economic, social, political, and environmental justice, but also to experiment with new ideas that can help us begin to conceive an alternative world beyond neo-liberal capitalism and patriarchy where all people and the planet can flourish.

At present there are no other feminist economy or enterprise-oriented networks in existence. Although, there are an increasing number of feminist business coaches popping up in the US.

PK Mutch explains, “Entrepreneurship is a tough path for all who pursue it to surviving or thriving economically in an increasingly unequal, precarious economy. Heavily promoted corporate responsibility efforts to address broken systems give the illusion that we are making sustainable progress, but the truth is lasting change won’t happen without the engagement of the rest of the economy—entrepreneurs and small enterprise leaders—in a conversation about what an economy beyond modern capitalism and patriarchy might look like.

Feminist entrepreneurs have all that to contend with plus the fact their ideas are marginalized because they challenge deeply held beliefs, and because, often, they move at the speed of humanity—versus the speed of technology.

Mutch adds “The feminist economy has been around for over 100 years (think bookstores and women-led credit unions in the 1970s), yet its work and leaders are systemically and frustratingly overlooked or appropriated without attribution. Most enterprises are grassroots in scale and strapped for time and resources, so finding each other and connecting has been difficult. We saw an opportunity to change that. Ultimately, we believe a stronger, more visible and better supported feminist economy leads to more well-supported experiments with alternative economic models and systems concepts. These tens of thousands of small but bright bonfires for real change will lead to the kind of radical social and economic changes we need to see if we are to ever leapfrog past our currently repressed ideas about the kind of world we have the power to make.”

Canada has a feminist government, feminist budget, and feminist foreign policy—and the Ministry for Women and Gender Equality (WAGE) in 2019 announced the historic $400 million Equality Fund, which combines international feminist grant-making with an innovative investment arm, delivering new momentum for women’s movements and supporting the advancement of gender equality globally. It makes sense that Canada should also be home to the world’s first visionary feminist enterprise community.

Mutch and her team envision that the FEC is intended to become a global community over time.

The Feminist Enterprise Commons

Built on the Mighty Network platform (founded and led by Gina Bianchini), FEC is a space where founders, project leaders, and aspirants can freely ask questions and, with the help of others, refine their ideas about how to flourish differently without fear. A core feature of the community will be the “Feminists in Residence” program. The program will bring in feminist thought leaders who are experts at specific topics and tools like “feminist marketing” or “feminist business model canvas” to share their expertise and will offer exclusive member-only workshops.

Investors, funders, and individuals or organizations with resources to share are also encouraged to sign up and support inspiring founders and transformative ideas that they believe in.

“So many corporations and impact investors are working to support gender equity these days but end up creating their own initiatives to do so instead of finding and investing in feminist enterprises or organizations that are already out there doing this work. The Feminist Enterprise Commons would create an opportunity for them to go to one place to find existing, experienced investees or partners instead of spending time reinventing the wheel,” says Vicki Saunders, founder of SheEO.

Elize Shirdel, a feminist tech entrepreneur, says, “When one decides to create a feminist enterprise, it’s easy to feel alone out in the world. Feminist enterprise communities are cross sectoral, grassroots in scale, fragmented, and widely dispersed. Access to aligned startup and growth funding for promising but radical ideas is extraordinarily difficult. This keeps our voices small and weakens our ability to thrive while doing countervailing work.”

Valerie Fox, founder of the Pivotal Point and a LiisBeth advisory board member, says, “I believe in the power of well-connected innovation ecosystems to change the world. So I am excited about this idea. We need feminist enterprises to lead the way if what we want is the ability to imagine what else is possible socially, politically, and economically. It’s especially important to flow investment towards these sometimes ‘hard to love’ enterprises because they work hard to deeply challenge our assumptions about a system that, frankly, works well for some people, but not all.”

Nancy Wilson, founder of the Canadian Women’s Chamber of Commerce, says, “The Feminist Enterprise Commons is a great idea. It seeks to connect unique types of enterprises and leaders with a feminist point of view. Not all women are feminists and not all feminists are women. If they are successful, they will not only be able to strengthen themselves, but also increase their ability to attract resources and influence policy.”

Mutch adds, “This is not a women’s empowerment or women’s booster network. It is an intersectional, queer and trans-inclusive, pro-reproductive rights, and social equity-oriented feminist space where existing systems are critiqued, dismantled, and new status-quo-busting novel concepts and ideas are worked out.”

The Commons is operated by LiisBeth Media, a division of Eve-volution Inc., a for-profit social enterprise and certified B Corporation. However, LiisBeth Media will be spun off into an independent cooperative by June 2020.

Commons host PK Mutch says, “It goes without saying that the leadership, ownership, governance structure, and community conduct agreements will be ultra transparent, developed participatively, accessible, responsive, caring, inclusive, in other words, feminist in every way. We are very clear that we are not going to build another ‘ghost town’ community network enterprise where frankly, the members in the end, are the product, versus the other way around.”

Mutch adds, “We won’t be perfect, but we will be human. We will work through any stumbling blocks along the way together.”

Creating researched and inspirational content to support and advocate for feminist changemaking takes hundreds of hours each month. If you find value and nourishment here, please consider becoming a donor subscriber or patron at a level of your choosing. Priced between a cup of coffee or one take out salad per month.

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Feminist Practices

Time's Up Tech

Dr. Sarah Saska at the #movethedial Global Summit in 2019 (Photo by

There’s a new form of domestic abuse, and so-called “smart” home devices are the weapons.
And, yes, women are more likely to be affected by this perverse use of technology. Here’s how it works: An abuser can lock a victim into her own home using web-enabled locks, and monitor her every move via video security systems. An abuser can expose a victim to extreme heat or cold by remotely controlling a smart thermostat, or wake her up in the middle of the night by blasting music with a remote control.
Smart home abuse is just one way in which technology is disproportionately harmful to women. A few others: Machine learning algorithms can reinforce gender biases inherent in the datasets used to train them, so recruiting tools for tech workers can be biased against women. Crash dummies are based on male bodies, so car safety tests don’t account for female anatomy. Voice recognition software is more likely to understand a male voice. Mapping apps can provide the fastest route to any destination, though not the safest one. And tech gadgets at our service often have female voices, reinforcing gender power imbalances.
Tech’s dark side arises from who designs and builds it—and who’s excluded from the process. When diverse voices are shut out, so too are diverse ideas, perspectives, and values.
According to a 2019 report by Women in Communications and Technology, men in technology outnumber women by a ratio of four to one. Women who manage to break into the sector wield significantly less power. They earn less than their male counterparts and are less likely to be promoted to leadership positions. Little wonder they’re more likely to flee the industry.
The need to include diverse voices in the innovation process propelled Sarah Saska to found Feminuity, a consulting firm that helps tech companies become more diverse and inclusive. Though her firm’s name blends the words “feminism” and “ingenuity,” Saska wants to do more than just get more women hired at tech workplaces.
From left: Dr. Sarah Saska, Danica Nelson, Leen Li, David Yee, Aziz Garuba, and Shavonne Hasfal-McIntosh at a Leadership in Technology panel discussion in 2019.

Feminuity’s version of feminism is decidedly intersectional. When clients come to Saska saying, “We need to hire more women,” the 30-something entrepreneur takes the conversation deeper. “The goal of 50 percent representation of women in any space is not only shortsighted but also wildly essentialist. You could end up hiring only white, cisgender, heterosexual, able-bodied, resourced women. It’s such a limited frame, and we’ll be no further ahead.”
Rather, an intersectional approach takes into account people’s overlapping identities and experiences. For example, black women, disabled women, gender non-conforming people, and women who care for children and elders may face specific obstacles to employment and promotion. Until a company removes those barriers, it will not achieve equity.
It’s an approach that’s been missing from tech workplaces, says Saska, who grew up in a feminist home and earned a PhD in gender studies and feminist research at Western University in London, Ont. While researching innovation theory for her degree, she began to realize a huge gap. “There wasn’t anything related to humanness, such as gender or race,” she says. “It was absent. It didn’t make sense to me. How could we not talk about the human side of things?”
Wanting to apply her understanding to the business world, Saska launched Feminuity in 2014, along with innovation expert Andrea Rowe (who has since left the company). A 2016 Studio Y fellowship at MaRS Discovery District helped Saska hone her entrepreneurship and leadership skills, build networks, and translate her academic knowledge into business practices.
Says Saska: “I got into this space because, right now, we’re at an inflection point. Some tech companies are larger than entire countries. Tech companies have power, and they’re outpacing our laws and policies and playing in new and grey spaces. Tech can exacerbate or make things better when it comes to equity.”
In Canada’s tech sector, she says the need for diversity and inclusion work is especially urgent. To her knowledge, the massively successful e-commerce platform Shopify is the only tech company with a senior level diversity leader and a team, while the US has many more companies investing in this area. “Canadian tech talks a lot about how ‘diversity is our strength,’ and I find that frustrating,” says Saska. “Diversity is not a given. It’s something that we must design for deliberately and intentionally. There’s a lot that needs to happen before we can say diversity is really our strength.”
Now in its fifth year, Feminuity employs between 10 and 20 people at any given time, contracting specialists as needed to work primarily with small and medium-sized companies that may not have the resources to hire a full-time employee dedicated to diversity and inclusion, yet know they need help.
The process starts when Feminuity conducts a holistic survey of the business, collecting quantitative and qualitative data about processes, physical space, products, and policies.
The quantitative data is decidedly intersectional, with survey questions designed to create a layered picture of how women with multiple identities experience the workplace, helping leaders understand, say, the challenges of a racialized single mother with child care issues.
To gather qualitative information, Anisha Phillips, an associate consultant at Feminuity, conducts video interviews with employees who opt in. Phillips says participants sometimes assume they’ll be asked if they’ve experienced discrimination. Rather, open-ended questions prompt them to describe what they like and don’t like about their workplaces.
“Inclusion has many different aspects,” explains Phillips, adding it doesn’t always look the way people expect it to. In training workshops, the Feminuity team refers to an article that describes 34 diversity characteristics, including gender, sexual orientation, race, religion, language, physical ability, cognitive ability, mental health, social roles within the home, and political beliefs, to name just a few.
After Saska’s team gathers data and analyzes it through an intersectional lens, they co-design strategies with clients, help build an internal steering committee, provide resources and training, and prepare the company to implement the plan, which typically takes six months to a year, though some engage in the process for several years.
Feminuity’s approach may touch on any aspect of business, not just hiring and human resource policies. It could mean diversifying a company’s supply chain to include Indigenous contractors, for example, or improving how work spaces function for people with disabilities, or closing salary gaps that may exist between a company’s most junior and senior employees.
In some cases, Saska may act as a part-time chief diversity officer, a more affordable way to build inclusion into leadership for companies that don’t have the resources to hire a full-time employee for the role. But her ultimate goal is to build internal capacity to embed diversity and inclusion practices in a company’s day-to-day culture and operations.
The key to embedding equity lies in helping leaders see the business through a lens of “futurism,” which, to Saska, means being thoughtful about the long-term impacts of a product or service for everyone—not just the dominant group.
“Is there a chance it could exacerbate inequities that already exist?” she asks. “If your goal is shortsighted, if you just want to get wealthy, there’s always a shadow side. You’re going to benefit some people—those who have dominant identities, those with power—and you’re going to leave others behind.”
Saska sees more tech startups and scaleups baking social justice into their way of doing business from the very beginning. It doesn’t take a lot of resources, she says, but does take a sense of intention. Small startups on small budgets can access Feminuity’s open-source resources—offered free on its website—to create inclusive job descriptions, interview practices, benefits packages, organizational structures, sexual harassment policies, and compensation packages.
Embracing diversity can avoid expensive and complex problems down the road. Saska cites Uber as an example of how failing to consider the needs of women can create a flawed business model, as the money-losing company is plagued by accusations that the car-sharing app makes users vulnerable to sexual assault by contract drivers.
As for Feminuity’s internal hiring process, Phillips described it as “a conversation” rather than about credentials or degrees. She says Saska wanted to know, what her research was about, what types of issues were of interest to her. “It was about getting to know me as a person,” she says.
Saska describes the company culture as being in a continual process of growth. The team is moving to a new space in Toronto and hiring new team members, some of whom will work remotely. That has spurred her to study inclusive practices for remote teams, which she’ll test on her own group.
“We are trying to figure out, embody, and actualize the work we do with our clients,” says Saska. The goal is to distill social justice concepts into habits of thought for groups who create technologies, and that’s an ongoing project.

Creating researched and inspirational content to support and advocate for feminist changemaking takes hundreds of hours each month. If you find value and nourishment here, please consider becoming a donor subscriber or patron at a level of your choosing. Priced between a cup of coffee or one take out salad per month.

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Activism & Action Feminist Practices

Homelessness: There’s An App For That

CG Chen, founder of Ample Labs (Photo: David Dines)

Working as a user experience designer at a tech company, CG Chen had done co-design workshops before, but this one was different. Around a dozen young people crowded into a small room at Sherbourne Health Centre in downtown Toronto, to share their experiences with homelessness. They appeared to be  between 16 and 30, identified as LGBTQ2IA, and participated in the health centre’s Supporting Our Youth (SOY) program that promotes wellness for at-risk youth. That day, they didn’t come seeking support, but to lend a hand—and to share their experiences so that Chen’s non-profit startup, Ample Labs, could improve an app to access services for the homeless.

Creating a trusting atmosphere for the youth living on the street took conscious effort. Chen met with SOY staff multiple times in advance to ensure the workshop was a safe space, anti-racist, and anti-oppressive. Then Chen got creative, handing out writing and craft supplies to those gathered around a large table, so they could express themselves authentically and on their terms.

They came from different backgrounds—some had lived in Canada for years, others had recently arrived as refugees—but they all shared a key concern when looking for a place to spend the night: safety. The participants told horror stories of ending up in shelters that weren’t LGBTQ2A friendly—and experiencing violence and trauma as a result.

During this co-design session and many others, Chen and her team of volunteers at Amble Labs also discovered that many initially facing homelessness turned to Google for help as they were often too ashamed to seek out in-person resources. But the Google results that came up were not very helpful. That was one of the main frustrations people in the sessions expressed—service agencies don’t actually involve or listen to the concerns of individuals experiencing homelessness.

Says Chen of Ample Labs’ venture to change that: “We bring the people that we build this product for into our process as much as possible so they’re part of building the solution with us.”

The result? Chen and her team learned that Toronto’s homeless population has high concentrations of people identifying as refugees, BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and people of colour), and/or LGBTQI2A (particularly youth). So Ample Labs decided to focus on creating solutions for individuals between the ages of 16 and 35 who are at risk of or experiencing homelessness and come from diverse identities and situations. One of their first creations was ChalmersBot, a free web-based chat-bot that provides location-based information. You enter what you need—a warm meal, clothing, shelter—and ChalmersBot suggests a nearby resource. After what they learned at the SOY workshop, Chen and her team added a filter to ChalmersBot to identify resources that are LGBTQI2A friendly.

Chen describes working intentionally and directly in a co-design fashion with the homeless community as a feminist approach. The goal is to understand what the homeless need and empower them to contribute to solutions, so services created are actually used by the community. “It’s easy to identify as a feminist organization because with the app and in everything we do, we are trying to promote equality in this community that often times struggles with inequality.”

Could a Sandwich Start a Revolution?

Chen, now 27, can trace the start of her journey to a sandwich. While studying graphic design at the Ontario College of Art and Design (OCAD), she had to pass by people living on the streets of downtown Toronto—and eventually found she could no longer look away. So Chen gathered some friends and started distributing food to the homeless.

A sandwich often led to conversation—and a new perspective. “I think a lot of us really wanted to understand how people ended up there, what they are like. Who I thought the homeless were was turned upside down because I met previous entrepreneurs and really wealthy people who, through a series of unfortunate events, ended up on the streets.” For instance, a highly educated doctor who wound up homeless after going through a rough divorce.

Chen started seeing homelessness in a new light—a difficult situation that can happen to people of all backgrounds. That realization hit home in 2019 when Chen’s own mother experienced homelessness after a surgery made it difficult for her to find work. “If it was your family, how would you look at things? How would you treat that person you see on the street if she was your mom?” Chen asked in a blog post.

For her undergrad thesis, Chen explored how to use design and technology to help the homeless, redesigning a list of City of Toronto resources into a user-friendly website. She took a tech job after graduation, but a trip to Los Angeles reignited her passion for helping people struggling with homelessness. During a visit to LA’s notorious Skid Row, an area of downtown with a high concentration of homeless individuals, she met a woman teaching computer skills, such as how to craft a resume, to people on the street. What struck Chen? While residents of Skid Row lacked a permanent home, they often had cellphones or access to technology. (In a survey of 421 homeless individuals, 94 percent of respondents said they owned a phone and used it as an essential tool for communication.)

That trip helped Chen envision an opportunity to combine her skills in tech and her passion for helping the homeless. As she had done with her sandwich runs, Chen gathered a group of friends to reach out to the homeless community in Toronto and learn more about their needs.

Simon Bunyi was part of the Ample Labs team when he found himself in the same situation as people they were trying to help. He was laid off from a Fortune 500 company and later evicted from his apartment; this is statistically the most common reason individuals end up homeless in Toronto. Those were his “darkest days,” he says, looking back. “It made me think more about how I interact with people.”

Bunyi had been living in an area of Toronto with a high concentration of people living on the street. He came to realize that the only thing separating himself from them was a regular paycheque. When that disappeared, Bunyi reached out to Chen and Ample Labs to help him navigate the complex network of websites and resources for help. They thought it would be simpler if there were an app for this. And that was the beginning of ChalmersBot. (Watch the full story below.)

So, More Apps for That?

Chen never intended Ample Labs to be more than a side project, but after the beta launch in November 2018, the team of 20 to 30 volunteers realized the service had tremendous potential to help the estimated 235,000 Canadians who will experience homelessness. In the past, that population largely comprised of older, single men, but according to the study, Canada has seen a rise of women and youth ending up on the street. With its ability to tailor resources to specific demographics, ChalmersBot generated attention. Ample Labs raised money from a crowdfunding campaign, grants and corporate sponsors (including TD, Google, and Twitter) and found a home in Ryerson University’s Social Venture Zone. The goal is to generate additional, sustaining revenue selling ChalmersBot services to cities. Barrie, Ont., was the first to buy in. Numerous other cities in Canada and the US have shown interest.

Ample Labs now has 8,000 unique users in Toronto and multiple contractors, prompting Chen to quit her job as a UX designer and become Ample Labs’ first full-time employee. She’s recently hired a second employee and plans to continue expanding the team in 2020. Though the non-profit is experiencing exciting and rapid growth, the culture and core values of Ample Labs remain the same.

“Internally, we’ve built a culture of always learning from each other and making sure it’s diverse voices that are teaching the rest of us,” says Chen. “We want to build something with people, not for people.”

Creating researched and inspirational content to support and advocate for feminist changemaking takes hundreds of hours each month. If you find value and nourishment here, please consider becoming a donor subscriber or patron at a level of your choosing. Priced between a cup of coffee or one take out salad per month.

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This article was made possible thanks to the generosity of Startup Toronto.

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Feminist Practices

Righting Who Writes Code

Takara Small, founder of VentureKids Canada

Takara Small is good at many things, but perhaps her greatest strength is being able to compartmentalize microaggressions so she can go on about her day. As someone who runs a non-profit, writes about technology, appears on radio and TV, and hosts two podcasts, she has little time to ruminate on the racism and sexism she encounters.

For instance, at a recent tech conference that she was covering for a leading publication, she was asked odd questions. Where is the bathroom? What floor is the event on? “I was so confused,” says Small. “Then I realized they thought I was staff because the only Black people at the conference were staff workers. They assumed anyone who was Black was not media or not a speaker.”

As a form of self-preservation, she adopts a “forgive but never forget” mantra and channels her energy into creating opportunities for others facing barriers in tech and STEM education.

In 2017, Small, 31, started VentureKids Canada, which brings free coding, financial literacy, product building, and entrepreneurship workshops to young people from low-income and underserved communities in urban and rural Ontario.

VentureKids turns common barriers into non-issues. Can’t afford a coding class? It’s free. Don’t have a laptop? They’ll provide you with one. Couldn’t pack a healthy lunch? Food is taken care of. Worried you’ll be the only girl? Classes are gender-balanced. The non-profit has even given students face time with big tech reps from Microsoft, LinkedIn, Google, and Twitter—an encounter that’s super rare if you’re a teenager from rural Ontario.

Says Small: “There’s a misconception that everyone owns a laptop and has access to the internet. That’s not true. In Canada the cost of data is quite high, and the cost of laptops and phones can be prohibitive for some people. I wanted to make sure I was creating free programs that would help people from financially sensitive backgrounds be able to work in an industry that desperately needs workers.”

Desperate is right. Tech leaders have been going on and on about how they want to attract more diverse talent. The research has made it abundantly clear that a diverse workforce leads to more open-mindedness and innovative ideas. According to studies, it’s also just plain profitable. Still, women, Indigenous peoples, some racialized minorities, and LGBTQ+ workers are less likely to be included in the tech economy compared to men and non-racialized workers. Even if they’re in, they don’t always feel included.

Bias is to blame for the lack of diversity, but so is a leaky educational pipeline that limits some people’s exposure to computer science careers at an early age. With VentureKids, Small is determined to patch up parts of that pipeline by showing marginalized kids that they too can be entrepreneurs and tech workers. Often, she’s one of the only people to show them these possibilities.

 Paying It Forward

When LiisBeth’s editor put out a call for pitches about Toronto feminist entrepreneurs advancing social justice, Small was the first person I thought of. Full disclosure: She’s a good friend of mine. We met at Ryerson University as journalism students. Even back then, Small was striving to make a difference, and this made her very, very busy. Now, on top of running her non-profit (she does not pay herself for this work), she hosts two podcasts: I’ll Go First for The Globe and Mail, and Dial Moving for #MoveTheDial where she talks to leaders about all the things that affect underrepresented groups in tech. She also makes her living as a public speaker and journalist for various media outlets including the CBC, The Globe and Mail, and Refinery29.

Small’s upbringing informs much of the work she does today. She was raised by a single mother in Toronto before they moved to Cobourg, Ont. Thanks to a combination of scholarships and financial aid, she was able to move back to Toronto to attend university and eventually break into the tech and media sector. Her journey hasn’t been easy, which makes her more determined to ease the path for the next generation of marginalized folks. “Not everyone can afford to go to college or university. If I really wanted to make a difference, I knew I had to start VentureKids for the kids and families who don’t have the means to pay for coding programs,” says Small.

This past summer, VentureKids launched its first rural-city program thanks to some sweet partnerships with Northeastern University Toronto, Microsoft Canada, the Town of Cobourg, and loyalty program company Points, along with individual donations. As a result, VentureKids secured free space, talented mentors, breakfast and lunch, and roundtrip train tickets for 20 students from eastern Ontario. Every Friday for three months, students aged 14 to 18 took basic web development classes and brainstormed ways technology could solve a specific problem in their community.

A teenager from a rural farm came up with the idea to start an equipment-sharing website where farmers could connect with other farmers to share the cost of expensive equipment and maintenance fees. The idea took off. Now, she’s getting interest from clients outside of her farming family.

Small says students developed several other promising ideas and everyone stuck with the program, despite the up to six-hour roundtrip commute in one day (some had to wake up as early as four in the morning). That tells her underserved youth are hungry for this opportunity. Says Small, “Not every student will create a business that gets funding, and not all startups end up lasting, but the fact that we have students interested in thinking about entrepreneurship is a success.”

Looking to the future, one of VentureKids’s goals is to expand its rural-city program to northern Ontario so that it can reach out to Indigenous and new Canadian students.

Raising a Village to Raise Tech Kids

Running a non-profit is hugely time consuming. Consider this recent tweet from Small: “Seriously thinking about changing my bio to simply read ‘tired’ lol.”

Small does a lot of networking, reaching out to volunteers, experienced teachers, and community partners to donate their time, money, space, expertise and even their laptops. Workhaus lends VentureKids a complimentary office space in their downtown Toronto location. Carole Piovesan of INQ Data Law provides free legal help. Says Small, “One thing I have learned is that there are people and allies who are willing to donate their time and services because they care about our mission.”

In the New Year, Small faces the enormous task of putting a volunteer board of directors together. The five directors don’t have to have a tech background per se, but a diverse set of skills and experiences certainly helps.

In the two years since becoming a non-profit founder, Small has learned a few lessons. She’s learned to seek volunteers who are reflective of the people they’re serving and who understand the difficulties of breaking into the tech sector. By contrast, one well-known business leader offering unsolicited advice clearly didn’t get the program when he suggested cutting the free breakfast and diverting the money to other things. Says Small: “That advice doesn’t really match with how we operate. I think it’s well meaning but when you consider the fact that the populations we’re serving don’t have the resources, then it doesn’t really make sense.”

It’s a hard slog, for sure, but Small says the benefit of a non-profit is being able to focus on the communities and youth they serve instead of worrying about making as much money as possible to please investors and shareholders.

“Finding ways to keep yourself optimistic is really important and VentureKids helps with that,” says Small. “It’s a ray of hope and it keeps me excited about the future.”

Recommended Listening

On top of hosting two podcasts, Takara Small listens to a few herself. Here are her faves:

Harvard Business Review: HBR has a variety of podcasts on leaders in business, women in the workplace, and advice on work dilemmas.

Blacticulate: A British podcast featuring interview with young Black professionals.

Oprah Super Soul Conversations: Oprah’s personal selection of interviews with thought-leaders, best-selling authors, spiritual luminaries, as well as health and wellness experts.

Science Vs: This podcast explores fads and trends to find out what’s fact and what’s not.

Did you like this article?

If you appreciated this story, please help us work with women journalists who can write more of these stories for fair pay. You can donate here!

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This article was made possible due to the generosity of Startup Toronto.



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Photo by Stevens Marallana on Unsplash



We all know media bias exists. Just take a look at how each of these four Canadian mainstream newspapers positioned the dismissal of Jody Wilson-Raybould and Jane Philpott from the Liberal government’s caucus in early April.

Notice the editor’s choice of photos. Check out the headlines. Was it really necessary to shout “Tuesday Night Massacre” on the front page knowing that for some women, those words might have invoked the memory of a tragic event in Canadian history? The Montreal Massacre happened twenty-eight years ago where 14 women were killed by a male shooter at the École Polytechnique in Montreal, Quebec.

Consider the picture of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on the cover of the Toronto Sun, and the accompanying headline: “Fake Feminist.”

For our readers outside of Canada, all these stories reported on Trudeau’s handling of a local corporate bully (SNC Lavalin, an engineering firm) and its efforts to delay prosecution over its use of public money to pay bribes to governments overseas (illegal in Canada). The situation led to a sizeable “he said/she said” drama between the Prime Minister, his office, and the Office of the Attorney General. The result was the removal of two smart, competent women from the Liberal government’s famous 50/50 caucus.

With great concern for how power influenced process, the nation debated whether or not Trudeau is authentic about his commitment to see women advance in society. Trudeau famously said: “Because it’s 2015” a comment on Canada’s first gender-balanced cabinet, the same man who just expelled two women from caucus.

As the fake feminist/real feminist conversation misted the political newscape of “We the North” land, and even made The New York Times, many of us who identify strongly as feminists, heaved a weary sigh.

In her New York Times Bestseller, Bad Feminist, Roxane Gay writes: “The more I write, the more I put myself out there as a bad feminist…but [at least] I am being open about what I am and who I was and where I have faltered and who I would like to become.” Gay’s book talks about the fact that despite her feminist identity, pink is her favorite colour and she sings along to catchy misogynist hip-hop songs.

Gay compassionately and beautifully makes the point that there is no perfect feminist—and counts herself among one of the most imperfect feminists around. Feminism is a huge, global, social movement. Complex, pluralistic, and hard on those who pick up the gauntlet. Everyone in it is learning. All the time. But rather than give up on the movement’s objectives and demands, Gay concludes her book by saying, “I am a bad feminist. [But] I would rather be a bad feminist than no feminist at all.”

I’m not letting Trudeau and his team off the hook. But as someone who lives in a province (Ontario) with a non-feminist provincial government working to lower the cost of beer, save money by reducing support for mid-wiveswomen’s shelters, library services, and implementing roll-backs on progressive sex-education, I can safely say that I would prefer a bad feminist government, than no feminist government at all.






Feminist Initiative leader Gudrun Schyman meets activists in Norway. Photo: Mimika Kirgios
(Gudrun Schyman centre stage wearing glasses)


If the Nordic diet ensures a healthier lifestyle, what can Nordic politics do for a more inclusive society? The Feministiskt Initiativ (FI) is a feminist political party founded in Sweden almost 20 years ago. Since then, many other European countries have followed suit.

What about the rest of the world? Few know that Canada once had a feminist party. The Feminist Party of Canada (FCP) was founded by Angela Miles. Women and men joined the party in 1979. The purpose was to “participate in electoral politics while transforming them along feminist lines. The media often included the Feminist Party when seeking statements or public appearances from political parties, which gave the FPC a strong public presence.” The party lasted three years. To learn more about it, click here.

Turns out that 40 years later, we are still struggling with the same issues. Perhaps the lack of a feminist party is part of the reason why.

We need to politicize the question of why feminist parties are needed now more than ever until it becomes OBVIOUS.

When film critic and writer Annika Andersson contacted LiisBeth about her idea to interview Sweden’s FI party founder, Gudrun Schyman, we put the story on our list.  You voted yes (LiisBeth December Story Poll) and we commissioned the work.

Andersson flew all the way to Sweden to conduct in person interviews with both Schyman, and incoming leader, Gita Nabavi, to learn how human rights are at the forefront of their mandate and why they’re called the Home Party-party. Read the full story HERE.

Speaking of politics, thank you for voting. This story happened because of YOU. The article won the vote in our first reader poll. You voted, we got to work. #collectiveaction

April 15th: Minister Mary Ng announcing $2.5M investment into SheEO, a Canadian-based, global initiative designed to radically transform the way we finance, support, and celebrate female entrepreneurs. Photo: SheEO Twitter Feed


News media organization Al Jazeera‘s election tracking website says “Nearly two billion voters in 50 countries around the world will head to the polls [in 2019] to elect their leaders.” Realizing that political power is an effective way to drive change—many women are shaking off fears and running as candidates for the first time. But it’s not an easy job to be a politician. Even harder to become a candidate. 

Many of us in the women’s entrepreneurship space in Canada see a lot of the Minister for Small Business and Export Promotiom, Mary Ng.

We thought we would ask Minister Ng about her start in politics. We hope it inspires others to consider the path. See our interview here.

A Nightwood Society panel discussion on the future of food with Michelle Battista, Salt & Straw’s Kim Malek, Alison Wu of Wu Haus, Nong’s Khao Man Gai founder Nong Poonsukwattana, and chef/food activist Arlyn Frank of Platano Rising.
Panel held by Cherry Bombe, a magazine devoted to women in food.


Portland, Oregon, USA. Known for coffee, eco-friendly bike paths, Ursula K. Le Guin and the Nightwood Society. From art to food, and crafts to music, this company has reinvented the idea of horizontal growth: doing a bunch of interesting things that complement each other. They’re complex and super cool.

Nightwood Society is a unique collective that is taking collaboration to the next level. Full story here.

Powerbitches founder, Rachel Hills


What’s so different about this feminist community network? For starters, it was founded by Rachel Hills, a feminist writer, producer, and movement-maker whose work has been published in The New York Times, Washington Post, Cosmopolitan, The GuardianThe Atlantic, Vogue, Buzzfeed, The Cut, and many more. Hills is also the author of “The Sex Myth” which was written to help make sense of the feelings of shame and difference she felt about her own sexual history.

Powerbitches is hosting an event focused on feminist entrepreneurship on May 13th. Fearless Entrepreneurial Feminist Forum (EFF) co-founder Lex Schroeder is on the speakers list. But you have to be a member to participate. To learn more about this organization, read our interview with Rachel Hills here.


Innerspace is a tech company that wants to help Google figure out where you are going while inside a building.  Apparently Google can tell what building you are in, but can’t see if you are in the bathroom or lunch room or at your desk once inside. A few weeks ago, Innerspace received venture investment from the Business Development Bank of Canada’s (BDC) Women in Technology Fund.

Those close to the company questioned its qualifications as a women-led tech company given there was only one woman on the team in the role of Chief Marketing Officer.

LiisBeth decided to dig in and check out the investments made since the fund started in 2016. You can find the results here. The punchline? The fund has a very low benchmark for what qualifies as a women-led tech company. The good news is that with the will to lead, BDC could change that going forward. An even better idea? Get out of the way and hand the fund’s management over to a collective of women in tech.

Have you had an experience with BDC’s WIT fund? Use the comment box at the bottom of the article to share your story or thoughts.


Grammy award-winner Lucinda Williams and a host of top Canadian and U.S. journalists will mark the Canadian Journalism Foundation’s (CJF) second World News Day on May 2nd in Toronto. Brian Stelter, chief media correspondent for CNN Worldwide and host of Reliable Sources, will emcee.

LiisBeth subscribers are eligible for complimentary tickets here with promo code: NEWSMATTERS

Speakers include: Manisha Krishnan, senior writer and host with VICE on covering weed, opioids and #MeToo, Connie Walker, host of CBC News podcast Missing & Murdered: Finding Cleo, and Julian Brave NoiseCat, journalist, on telling Indigenous stories, Hannah Alper, teenage activist, blogger and author, in conversation with Brian Stelter, and more. See the full list of speakers here.

World News Day takes place on the eve of World Press Freedom Day to celebrate the stories, the people, the reporting and the professional news organizations that are dedicated to changing lives, challenging the status quo, holding those in power to account and supporting freedom and democracy.


Pramila Jayapal / Photo: Fathom Film Group


In the era of Trump and the #Me Too movement, Hunting in Packs is a provocative documentary film about three female politicians in Britain, the United States, and Canada negotiating their way through the old-school institution of politics.

“Things have gotten to the point where the absurdity of it all is beyond reason,” says Toronto based filmmaker Chloe Sosa-Sims. “Political farce has long lived as a genre in narrative film, but it no longer needs to exist in a parallel world of fiction, it’s our reality.”

The documentary follows three different women in three different countries who exist in parallel. They speak on world stages and perform with glowing confidence; they are policy makers, advocates and experts in their fields. Behind-the-scenes, their humanity is exposed as we get face-to-face with the reality of their livelihood; battling it out with less than worthy opponents, facing on-going ridicule when not towing the party-line, and encountering harsh contempt from the public. They are entirely different from one another, but are connected by an invisible thread.

Jess Phillips in the UK receives thousands of rape and death threats a year, largely because of her feminist rhetoric. Worse though, is much of the threats come from within her own party – the Labour party.

In the US, Pramila Jayapal has many radical proposals; sitting on the committee that will consider Trump’s impeachment, calling for Medi-care for all, and demanding reparations be paid to families separated at the border. As always, Republicans will shut her down, but there are some moderate democrats who are afraid that Pramila is too progressive and is creating a counterproductive narrative about Democrats seeking open borders.

Canadian Conservative Michelle Rempel believes the liberals are not properly handling the refugee crisis. On the other hand, she is fighting for more supports for the Yazidi community, especially the women who have been violated by sexual slavery.

“These women stand up for what they believe in and don’t let others, and the patriarchal nature of politics, hold them back,” says Sosa-Sims. “They are all forwarding policies that directly benefit these communities. And they are all driven by their personal commitment to feminism.”

Hunting in Packs is in early stages of production. The film is produced by Fathom Film Group, a women-led production company who doesn’t let the patriarchal nature of filmmaking hold them back.

CanWACH Director, Julie Savard-Shaw at a Mobilization event in Edmonton.


Investing in girls and women affects the economy and keeping girls and women healthy is paramount.

The Canadian Partnership for Women and Children’s Health (CanWaCH) catalyzes collaboration among 100 partners who are improving women’s and children’s health globally. CanWaCH will be on site June 3rd to 6th in Vancouver at the Canadian Pavillion at the Women Deliver 2019 conference. The three-day event is the world’s largest gathering on gender equality and the health, rights and wellbeing of women and girls. Over 7,000 experts, journalists, activists, world leaders and youth will come to Canada for the conference, including LiisBeth! CanWaCH is using this huge momentum of the event to push for improved leadership on gender equality.

“We want to ensure that Women Deliver 2019 is not just a moment but springboard for action and real change,” says Caitlin Reid, Senior Communications Officer at CanWaCH.

Exactly one year ago they launched a campaign inviting organizations to host an event at the Canadian Pavillion and over 300 organizations signed on to join as “Mobilizers”. “They are all taking concrete actions to improve gender equality,” says Reid.

CanWaCH’s Month of Action starts on May 7th and will run until the conference begins in June. They will call on Mobilizers, and the public, to take final actions right up to the beginning of the conference. Reid says: “It will be the most important time for us to increase our shared impact and attention at the national stage.”

CanWaCH has secured Steamworks brew pub as HQ during the three-day event. Less than a ten-minute walk away from the conference at the Vancouver Convention Centre, the Canada Pavilion will be the go-to location for approximately 49 different events hosted by Canadian organizations between June 2nd to 7th, alongside the Women Deliver Conference.

Themes for the programming will be focused on women and children’s health. Mobilization events will be about achieving gender equality here in Canada and around the world.

Each event will have its own RSVP process and many will be open to the public and some will be live-streamed. Stay tuned for schedule updates coming soon.

Curbside view of Toronto’s oldest feminist bookstop


Toronto-based feminist bookstore, Another Story Bookshop has been operating in the west end of the city for over 30 years. The store sells a broad range of literature for children, young adults, and adults with a focus on themes of social justice, equity, and diversity. It also holds and hosts over 50 events per year. Its May 6th event at Lula Lounge is sold out. The evening will feature feminist crush adrienne maree brown, author of Emergent Strategy and her new book, Pleasure Activism plus other guests like Chanelle Gallant, a long time activist, writer and trainer with a focus on sex and justice.

A few weeks ago, we visited the shop to learn more about how this independent feminist bookstore has managed to thrive in the age.

To listen to our interview with the store’s event planner, Anjula Gogia, CLICK THE LINK at the bottom of the photo below. And if you didn’t get a ticket to the event (tickets were free but you had to sign up), don’t worry, we got you covered. LiisBeth will be conducting a video interview with Brown at the event. We are excited to share the chat with you all in our next refresh!

Want to order Brown’s latest book, or any book? Another Story ships anywhere! To order, and support indie bookstores, click here.

To hear the interview click here.

Photo: Emmy Legge, Customer Service (Left) and Anjula Gogia, Event Planner (Right)



We have updated our LiisBeth recommended reading list for feminist innovators and entrepreneurs! To download a collectively and carefully curated list of books, articles, and links that are central to the concept of feminist entrepreneurship, click here.

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Seeking: PROFILES of kick ass entrepreneurial feminists.

The City of Toronto contracted LiisBeth for the “Unapologetic: Feminist Founders in the City” (working title)

Hooray! We’ll be doing TEN profiles of feminist entrepreneurs who are changing the way businesses are designed and operated between now and December 2019.

We would LOVE to replicate this series in other cities and towns. But will need an editorial partner. Let us know if you are interested.

If you’re not sure if a business/person/company qualifies, this will help: Does Your Enterprise Meet the Feminist Business Standard?

We’ve got some ideas but we want to hear from YOU. What if we could make this initiative happen in communities around the world?

Send us your pitch HERE. A paragraph about a feminist entrepreneur in your community and why they should be featured.

Last month we asked readers which story we should publish next. We received only a handful of responses. But hey, our view is that it takes time for readers to get to know how this works—and that voting does work. (See Gudrun Schyman story above.)

The winning pitch from last month is: A story of the legacy left behind following the Wakefield, UK miners’ strike which was famously supported by gay and lesbian organizations—and serves as an example of an intersectional movement long before the word was coined. Readers are wondering what Wakefield is like now? Did activism have a lasting impact? We will be contacting the journalist shortly!


Twenty-Three Leading Feminist Writers on Protest and Solidarity

When 53 percent of white women voted for Donald Trump and 94 percent of black women voted for Hillary Clinton, how can women unite in Trump’s America? Nasty Women includes inspiring essays from a diverse group of talented women writers who seek to provide a broad look at how we got here and what we need to do to move forward.

Featuring essays by REBECCA SOLNIT on Trump and his “misogyny army,” CHERYL STRAYED on grappling with the aftermath of Hillary Clinton’s loss, SARAH HEPOLA on resisting the urge to drink after the election, NICOLE CHUNG on family and friends who support Trump, KATHA POLLITT on the state of reproductive rights and what we do next, JILL FILIPOVIC on Trump’s policies and the life of a young woman in West Africa, SAMANTHA IRBY on racism and living as a queer black woman in rural America, RANDA JARRAR on traveling across the country as a queer Muslim American, SARAH HOLLENBECK on Trump’s cruelty toward the disabled, MEREDITH TALUSAN on feminism and the transgender community, and SARAH JAFFE on the labor movement and active and effective resistance, among others.

Jenni Murray gives the lie to Thomas Carlyle’s infamous declaration that ‘the history of the world is but the biography of great men.’ Women have played just as great a role in the story of humankind, only for their own tales to be marginalised, censored and forgotten. Their names should be shouted from the rooftops.

Marie Curie discovered radium and revolutionised medical science. Empress Cixi transformed China. Frida Kahlo turned an unflinching eye on life and death. In A History of the World in 21 Women, Jenni Murray celebrates the lives, struggles and achievements of some of the most extraordinary people to have ever walked the Earth. They ruled empires, they led nations. They were pioneers in the arts and geniuses of science. They led while others followed, spoke truth to power and fought for change. All left behind an indelible mark.

‘Charming…[Murray’s] selection is pleasingly varied… but the strength of the collection lies in Murray’s relaxed and intimate style…  a testament to the achievements and the complicated legacies, of extraordinary women.’ (BBC History Magazine)

Recommended by Another Story Bookshop, Toronto, Canada.


  • Mental health conditions or addictions can get in the way of employment for many. Fortunately, Rise Asset Development, a unique entrepreneur support organization provides training and access to startup loans of up to $10K for aspiring entrepreneurs with mental health challenges. Their seven week youth program for aspiring entrepreneurs starts in July, 2019. If you or someone you know is a Canadian citizen, aged 16-24 and lives in Toronto, sign up today. Sign up here!
  • Slovakia voted in its first female president last month. Zuzana Čaputová, a 45-year-old lawyer and anti-corruption campaigner, won 58.4% of the votes in Saturday’s poll and will take office in June. She campaigned on platform of humanism, solidarity and truth. “Let us look for what connects us. Let us promote cooperation above personal interests,” she told a crowd of supporters in Bratislava. The full article is in The Guardian here.
  • Naomi Klein’s article in The Intercept includes the seven-minute short film “A Message From the Future” narrated by Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and offers this thought experiment: What if we chose to radically change course and save both our habitat and ourselves? See for yourself here.

Huzzah! That was newsletter #52! It brings you up to date for another month.

To donate one time or become a donor subscriber, click here.

Next newsletter will come out in late May! Don’t miss it! 

Peace out,