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My First Year at APBOT

Posted 5 years ago on · Permalink


Hadriana Leo

Within months of starting my business, I joined the Ajax-Pickering Board of Trade (APBOT). That statement encompasses one of the best moves I could have made as a new entrepreneur.

In the last year I celebrated my first year anniversary as a business owner as well as my inaugural year at the Ajax Pickering Board of Trade. And what a year it has been. Here is a brief synopsis of what I have gained from my membership and learned in the last year, and why I have set my annual membership to automatic renewal!

1. From Zero to One Hundred: my Board of Trade membership allowed my very young business to be regarded with legitimacy and credibility. It allowed me to be viewed personally as someone who was in the business for the long haul even though I was just beginning. When I said that I was a member of my Board of Trade people listened to what I had to say, every time!

2. This is Serious: In mingling with the fellow business owners at APBOT I realized quickly that this was serious business. This organization was not designed for people who wanted to play shop at home or those who bought work pyjamas but never got out of bed. This organization was designed to serve business owners who are willing to put the work in to become game changers in their field. Hobbyists need not apply.

3. Experienced Mentors: I cannot begin to explain the wealth of insights I was able to tap into from people who didn’t just read about success but actually experienced success. Those who could speak from their own failures and tests and could offer a word of advice to help me dodge some of the bullets that they got struck with when they started out. That went a long way to helping me maintain a more steady footing as I maneuvered through my first year.

4. Change is Good: I remember being asked to facilitate one of the groups at a Networking After 5 meeting and being at a table of only men. That is memorable because, at the time, I represented myself as a Women’s Finance Coach. How ironic! This was the beginning of a rethink about not just what I offer but why and it led to change for me. Now, as a Money Navigator to all I can offer my service to everyone because everyone needs it!

5. Bring Your A-Game: Two things I will share on this point. First, in order to “bring it” I had to show up. I had to be present, to attend the events of the board and to participate. Secondly, I had to come with my best foot forward every time! I learned that I had to present a consistent face when was representing my business. It also became so much easier when the face I presented was my authentic self and not the one some self-help book said I should.

6. Opportunities Abound: At any Board of Trade event, I could literally go from speaking to brand new start-up owners to multi-million dollar, legacy brand owners in the space of seconds. In my case, this meant that there were endless opportunities for my business to create relationships with collaborators, mentors, clients and potential evangelists. I can honestly say that I have made friends in, not just high places, but in all places.

7. Relax Already: As serious as the world of business ownership can be the members of the Board of Trade reminded me that I could take a load off and not take myself so seriously all the time. Oh what fun times I had with the Young Business group and being a non-golfer on the Golf Committee. It was a welcome relief to know that one can let their hair down with people who understand the pressures of entrepreneurship and can appreciate the break.

There’s more that I learned, like the value of giving to community, how other’s success helps our own, how to measure success in currency other than dollars and cents but I may end up exceeding the word limit for tasteful blog posts. I can however say that joining the Board of Trade ranks high in the top 5 best moves I made as a business owner and I can encourage others who have not yet done so to get moving.

I also wanted to say thanks immensely to Ms. Kathy McKay and her Amazing team (Iris, Brenda, Nicole, Nathan, and the co-op students) for the work they put in day and night to ensure that this Board of Trade is THE board of trade to be a part of. I know that change is afoot but change is good, right?
So here’s to another year of fruitful membership at the Ajax-Pickering Board of Trade.


Hadriana Leo, CCS is a Money Navigator at Crescendo Financial. She offers Behavioural Cash Flow Planning™, Financial Coaching and is available for speaking engagements. She can be reached by email or phone 416-856-5931.