“Going to SVI Vancouver last year was like finding a door into a wonderful, new world – every person I met understood the power of collaboration and community. I have since worked with many people I met during those magical three days, and I also received tremendous support and advice for my own growth strategy and business development.” – Megan Sheldon

Last year, I walked into the Vancouver Public Library without a real sense of who, or what, the SVI community was. Three days later, I felt like Alice, somehow inhabiting an entirely new world.

Vancouver has often been dubbed ‘No Fun City’ and has been criticized for a lack of community and connectivity. My experience as an entrepreneur the past few years has poked many holes in that theory, and SVI alone has played a large part in dispelling the myths of how Vancouverites connect. Since SVIVancouver last year, I have connected with hundreds of people who all feel the same way about business as I do – we want it to matter. We want it to matter to ourselves, to our friends and family, and to our community. This values-based approach seems obvious, and yet it is a constant challenge to make wise business decisions that continue to steer you down this path.

Last year’s SVIVancouver consisted of a day and a half for women entrepreneurs only, and a day and a half with both men and women. While the latter was powerful and thought provoking, something magical happened when 80 female social entrepreneurs came together to collectively discuss how we can change the world.

My small community grew three sizes that day.

This year, Hollyhock heard our call and has responded by hosting a 3 day conference in Vancouver for women entrepreneurs. SVIWomen kicks off today and I know it will not only invite more game-changing women into my life, it will also continue to expand my definition of what it means to collaborate and build community. On Friday, I will be giving a workshop to the SVI Women on Brand Storytelling and I am looking forward to sharing some of the stories that I have collected under the Narrative Communications umbrella. Most of all, I am looking forward to continuing to chase the rabbit down the rabbit hole…it always seems to lead me to places that feels like home.