loader image

Durham women hone business savvy in Whitby – Whitby This Week

Durham women hone business savvy in Whitby

Connect.Women event draws business leaders from across region

Girl Power. WHITBY — Whitby Chamber of Commerce’s inaugural Connect.Women event featured keynote speaker Jody Steinhauer. Ms. Steinhauer is founder and president of The Bargains Group, a Canadian company that provides clothing, accessories, toys and other items at discounted prices for families. March 21, 2012 Sabrina Byrnes / Metroland

WHITBY — The strength of Durham’s business women was on full display during the inaugural Connect.Women event. 

The event, hosted by the Whitby Chamber of Commerce, was aimed at creating links among businesswomen in the region.

“We’re hoping to connect, inspire and empower women to take a chance and live their dream,” said Teresa Shaver, member services manager for the chamber. “It’s really about supporting each other.”

The event, held at Tosca Banquet Hall on Wednesday, March 21, featured a panel including Betty Penny of Appsmakerstore Canada Ltd., Marissa McTasney, owner of Moxie Trades and Whitby-Oshawa MPP Christine Elliot.

“It was really interesting to get their feedback and learn more about their experiences,” said Helene Wright, who owns a bookkeeping business in Whitby, of the panel. â?¨ Guest speaker Jody Steinhauer, president of The Bargains Group, shared her tips for how to find bargains within a business and the importance of offering customers the best deal.

“There’s a bargain revolution happening,” Ms. Steinhauer told the crowd of more than 250.

“Everything we do is growing and evolving around better value for a lower price. We’re all looking for that better deal.”

Ms. Steinhauer stressed the importance of reputation in business, noting that exceptional service, bargain prices and a commitment to giving back can provide valuable PR through word-of-mouth recommendations.

“It’s all about the wow factor, whatever you do, you have to do it 25 per cent better than your competitor,” she explained, noting consumers’ desires for bargains won’t be going away.

“People talk about how when the economy recovers people will go back to overpaying, but that’s not going to happen. Once people are used to getting bargains and educated in how to do so, they’re not going to go back.”

She recommended people look for bargains within their own business by using rewards programs to get extra value from company credit cards and empowering employees to offer their input on how to save money.

Erin Guillemette, of Oshawa software company Three Wise Men, said she would be taking valuable insight back to her workplace.

“I’m excited to bring it all back to the business and find bargains in the company,” she said, noting the event was more than she had hoped for.

“It’s amazing to be around so many women, you really felt a connection with other women in the area.”