Presenters at the WNORTH Conference.

There are some pretty powerful business-driven women in the Sea to Sky corridor and they’re a big part of what makes our backyard so inspirational. The WNORTH Conference was born to showcase these movers and shakers. The goal of the WNORTH Conference is to create a fostering environment where real women leaders come together to have real conversations that are critical to achieving a well-rounded form of success with those aspiring to do the same.

Clearly, we love this concept! Gibbons wants to celebrate the amazing women who have worked hard and are ready to inspire others to do the same, so along with the WNORTH Conference team we selected two inspirational ladies to attend this year’s WNORTH by awarding them with the Accelerate Scholarship.

We had an astounding 60+ applications for the two scholarships available. It was an incredibly hard decision to make as we have many high achieving women living in the Sea to Sky Corridor. This decision was not made lightly, we looked at a range of criteria including:

  • Passion and Focus
  • Education
  • Community Mindedness
  • Vision for the Future
  • Career Development
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Senior Leadership Skills
  • Life Balance

To everyone who applied and nominated we wanted to say thank you. Again, this was a very hard decision and we hope you’ll join us in congratulating and celebrating the two recipients…

Congratulations Megan Maclure and Emilie De Cromrugghe!

Megan Maclure

Megan Maclure was born with entrepreneurial spirit. She runs two very different businesses; Grassroots Consulting, which launched in 2011 and specializes in providing remote workforce hospitality-training programs to Aboriginal people, and Bungalow968, a vintage décor rental and Do-It-Yourself workshop company, which she started last year. Megan has built two companies where people come first – which is rewarding both professionally and personally. Her goal is to turn “I can’t do that” into “I did that!” and this philosophy spills over into her own life as well. She is on a mission to improve herself and set an example for her daughter, beginning with her Brand Ambassador role for Strong as a Mother and her kickass commitment to physical fitness.

We couldn’t wait to meet Megan in person, so we stopped by Bungalow968 (which is lovely, check it out next time you’re in Squamish!) and asked her a few questions!

Megan Maclure

Vintage glamour – Megan Maclure, at Bungalow968. Photo: Abby Dell

Q: What’s the biggest challenge you face on day-to-day basis?

A: Not having enough time! I truly have an entrepreneurial brain that is constantly running new ideas, new thoughts and is always in motion. Figuring out how to prioritize and schedule is key, I like to plan, daily, monthly, quarterly, annually and create 2 and 5 year plans to help me achieve my goals.

Q: What’s the best “one-liner “piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

A: Believe in abundance, anything is possible.

Q: Who are you most excited to hear from at the WNORTH Conference and why?

A: It’s hard to narrow it down to just one person; I’m looking forward to so many. I am really looking forward to hearing Elizabeth Cronise McLaughlin of 40% and Rising. Her drive and path really speak to me, especially her tremendous ability to lead and inspire other driven women. I can’t wait to hear more.

Q: What does success mean to you?

A: The ability to create the life I desire, doing what I love while enjoying a life with my family and friends.

Q: What has been the hardest decision you’ve had to make so far?

A: The hardest decisions are the ones where I have to prioritize something that’s significant to me and facing that I may not be able do it all in the time frame that I would like. That some things need to be shelved for a time, it’s the choosing what needs to be shelved that I find difficult. I’m incredibly ambitious and I want to be more and do more, leaving things I’m passionate about for a time is challenging.

Q: What’s next?

A: Expanding Bungalow 968’s home decor services and our rental fleet. I also would like to start a not for profit organization geared towards empowering and supporting women who are struggling, specifically driven single mothers who are also entrepreneurs.

Emilie De Crombrugghe

Originally from Belgium, Emilie followed her passion for snow and landed in Whistler eight years ago. She joined the Prior Snowboard Manufacturing team in 2011, starting off in sales but quickly taking on the role of General Manager. This is where Emilie’s passion comes through – an efficiency fiend by nature, she likes things organized so she can help the people on her team truly shine in their role. During her time at Prior, Emilie took on an MBA course at Royal Roads University studying Management Consulting. Keeping her work aligned with her passions once again, Emilie shifted to the Chromag Bikes team just last year in the role of Operations Manager. Outside of work Emilie is the event organizer for the Canuck Splitfest in Revelstoke, which raises awareness of avalanche safety in the splitboarding community. She is also the Vice President of the Whistler Squash Club, where she helps to organize the league and tournaments across the Sea to Sky corridor.

We swung by and visited Emilie at Chromag to ask her a few questions as well. If you’re a bike lover, entering the Chromag showroom will make you feel like a kid in a candy shop.

Emilie De Crombrugghe

Like a kid in a candy shop – Emilie De Crombrugghe at Chromag. Photo: Abby Dell

Q: What’s the biggest challenge you face on day-to-day basis?

A: Hm, challenge. See, you can consider things to be a challenge or an opportunity. Many things appear to me as an opportunity to learn and improve. A challenge I probably have is that I would like to be able to do everything every day.

Q: What’s the best “one-liner” piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

A: “You can lose a job in blink, but your friends and family are there for you forever, so no matter how busy you are, keep them close by.” This was my mum’s advice ten years ago and I keep reminding myself every day.

Q: Who are you most excited to hear from at the WNORTH Conference and why?

A: Tough question, as I would like to hear everyone. I am excited to see how different personalities reached their goals in different ways. I am definitely looking forward to meeting Joanna Pena-Bickley from IBM. IBM is a fascinating consulting company that has helped bring consulting to the next level and that has a lot to teach me. Mrs. Pena-Bickley has an incredible background and I’m hoping to potentially talk to her about IBM’s use of the K-curve through their DIOS software, which is an inventory management system that I really believe in.

Nancy Richardson has experience in helping brands grow and develop, which I would like to hear more about in order to further trigger my own ideas. Shannon Byrne Susko seems to be a very knowledgeable person who coaches people to grow personally and professionally. I believe that everyone should grow every day, and I would therefore like to hear her thoughts and experiences. Narges Nirumvala seems to be the queen of communication, so I definitely don’t want to miss her. Communication and its challenges are fascinating, as misperception is so easily created. Kristina Sammut is specialized in executive coaching for women, which I’d like to hear more about as well.

But, as I said, I would like to hear the stories of as many speakers as possible, including Philip Grosch, Lisa Martin, Tori Holmes, Catherine Roscoe Barr (her focus on happiness is crucial), and of course our mayor Nancy Wilhelm-Morden.

Q: What does success mean to you?

A: Success to me means happiness. But what is happiness? Each of us needs to figure this out, which is not always as easy as it sounds. I am a strong believer that people need to follow their heart and I like using the slogan “just do it!”

Happiness to me means: living in the mountains, doing the sports I like, spending time with friends and family, respecting others and feeling respected, supporting good causes, feeling useful, reaching your goals, and improving daily on a personal aspect, professional aspect, and as a team.

Q: What has been the hardest decision you’ve had to make so far?

A: Turning around on a backcountry trip without having reached your goal. I find it very hard not to finish what I started, but if you keep zooming in and out, it sometimes becomes obvious that the best route is not necessarily your current route. Taking the time look at narrow and broad perspectives can be challenging, but it will lead to success.

Q: What’s next?

A: Chromag Bikes is an incredible company to work with and I feel lucky to be part of their team. Next to this, I am striving to further develop my bag of tools as I would like to help more people and companies grow and become more efficient in the sea-to-sky corridor.

If you’re interested in attending the WNorth Conference 2016 check out their website for details. We are excited to see what Megan and Emilie have to say about the conference near the end of the month. Follow along our social channels to hear their feedback about the event. If you feel inspired by these two women and their passion, read their full bios on our WNORTH Accelerate Scholarship page.


Feature image: WNorth Conference

Abby Cooper

A lover of all things outdoors, Abby Cooper is a splitboarder, hiker, adventurer, year-round snow seeker, photographer and writer.