International Women’s Day is here, and we’re delighted to champion the women in our worlds who inspire us, push us and motivate us to be our best. Auburn Lane is dedicated year round to highlighting women’s achievements, with our #wcw posts on Insta, to our interviews and profiles on women in business, tech and culinary. We’re passionate about propelling things forward and bringing balanced media, and telling stories that are unique.

In that lens, here’s a few women that have shaken up their industries, dominated their corner of the and are living their best lives.

JEANNETTE ANDRASHEWSKI- Farmer and Canola Ambassador

Jeannette Andrashewski
Josh Tenn-Yuk courtesy of Canola Eat Well

I grew up on a family farm where my mother worked alongside my dad. She truly was the essence of a farm woman. Day in and day out she was involved in all aspects of the family farm. From running farm equipment to tending to farm animals to making business decisions. She would even stand her ground with my father when it came to buying a piece of farm machinery that may or may not have been needed and for how much. For me, to watch my mother be a farmer, business partner as well as wife and mother was just simply normal. She was always open to learn what needed to be learnt.

Years would go by where I did the post-secondary route , got married, had the kids and the career as a preschool teacher for 22 years. It was always in the plan that we would take over the family farm. This transition occurred slowly until one day my husband and I decided it was time to move ahead and take over the family farm from his parents. In his mind he needed my involvement for this to be successful. So I left my teaching position and with a hell ya I too was farming. Now on a farm you need to learn quickly and not ask many questions. No one has time to explain things twice. Learn or leave! From the beginning of our new farming roles I impressed Dwayne how I went from cultivating young minds to actually crawling under a farming cultivator for repair -willingly. We also started a canola seed rep business. Farming can be isolating at times , this new role allowed me to connect with people which I desperately missed. In order to be more confident when understanding farmers needs I took a Certified Sales Professional course. I love learning and challenging myself. On a farm, you can learn something about what lies within you if you’re willing to push yourself right in the middle of it. Trust me I’ve had to learn to drive combine, manage seed and inventory, I even negotiated and bought a piece of farm equipment on my own.

Years later, I still am learning and willing to being open to new adventures. I have the privilege to represent 43,000 canola farmers from across Canada as a Canola Ambassador for the remarkable team of Canola Eat Well. This new role has me coming to Toronto several times a year to share with urbanites that may have never meet a farmer before. It also feeds my soul to build beautiful connections with people who are curious about who are the people in charge of growing food for my family. Many occasions I leave Toronto with a great pride knowing that my role as a farmer like my mother is where I will keep learning.

TINA GRIFFIN – Director of Blitz Facial Bar

Tina Griffin

My career path began early on with a love of fashion and beauty. I grew up surrounded by artists and fashion designers and because of this, I spent many years drawing and giving my friends makeovers.

I think this is the reason I decided to go to fashion and make-up school. It was there, that I discovered a love of skin care because as an artist, a beautiful palette must begin with a clean canvas, and to me, this applies to skin care.

I spent the first few years perfecting my craft at some of Yorkville’s most exclusive spas before opening my own facial spa. As my clientele grew, I found it difficult to find well-educated estheticians so I spent a lot of time training the estheticians to ensure they had the knowledge and perfection to perform the facials, and educate clients on skin care. This revelation led me into teaching and curriculum development at the college level.
I was introduced to Laura Polley, owner of Body Blitz Spa, who knew the importance of skin care and had the vision to open Blitz Facial Bars. I knew of her great reputation and was immediately captivated by the Blitz Facial Bar concept. As an advocate of skin care and the importance of regular facials, I was thrilled to become a part of the Blitz Facial Bar team in its infancy.
I utilized my skills to build and train our medical esthetician team and develop our facial menu, which not only includes our signature Blitz + Glow facial but facials incorporating oxygen, microdermabrasion, chemical peels, and laser.
Body Blitz Spa / Blitz Facial Bar has created a skin care line incorporating clean, natural and effective ingredients. This area is one of the most exciting for me, as I love the research and development behind the creation of our skin care products.

Barb Stegemann at Toronto media launch for 7 Virtues. Photo credit: Sonya Davidson

BARB STEGEMANN – Founder of The 7 Virtues, and author of The 7 Virtues of a Philosopher Queen

Barb’s career began as a journalist. When one of her friends was wounded on his mission to help liberate women and girls in Afghanistan, she took on his mission of peace while he was being healed. She quickly learned, as a woman, there were many obstacles in her way. But that didn’t stop her. She began to empower women by harnessing women’s buying power and voting power to end corruption, poverty and war.

She launched her fragrance line with no financial support from the banks on International Women’s Day and two weeks later she was front page of the Globe and Mail. Today, the Canadian company based in Halifax, Nova Scotia, is considered as one of the world’s most socially responsible perfume creators.

Barb sources her natural ingredients including essential oils from only from legal, fair trade farmers and supports areas that have suffered from tragic circumstances. Countries include Haiti, Rwanda, India, Madagascar, Iran and The Middle East. Suppliers her company has sourced also have created co-ops to support local citizens so they could learn valuable skills. For example, she sourced jasmine from India that supports blind students to study perfumery and become future perfumers. Purchasing from these suppliers means putting more resources in the right hands.

“We pay the farmers $8000 for a litre of orange blossom oil, for example, to help get the farmers off the illegal poppy crops in Afghanistan and help to stop the farmers stop their daughters from becoming opium brides.” said Stegemann at the Royal York Hotel  recent media event in Toronto for the launch of the company’s new line.

You can learn more  by watching Perfume Wars, a documentary that brings awareness to this fair trade mission.  By the way, it also won Best Humanity Film at the Sedona Film Festival.

7 Virtues mission is to “Make Perfume Not War. To make rebuilding more exciting than destruction.” They value the dignity and empowerment of others through jobs through social enterprise supporting famers and their families in nations that are rebuilding with peace in mind. The line is vegan, phthalate free and paraben free.

Recently the company launched a new line of singular note fragrances that have natural healing properties. Beautiful on their own but exciting to discover how to layer them they way you like! Not surprisingly, the line is being well receive by both women and men.

The 7 Virtues line is available at Sephora thanks to the beauty retailer’s Accelerate Program that is dedicated to building a community of innovative female founders in beauty.

Learn more about  The 7 Virtues here.

Interviews may have been edited for spacing, grammar, clarity and length.