2021 Year End Review

With a few more days left before we close out the year, we once again find ourselves asking where the time went. The last twelve months were amazing as I set big goals for myself, achieved those goals, launched my online store, partnered with great brands, virtually sat in rooms that changed the course of my business for good, ran a successful Pitch Conference and three marketplaces, took well deserved breaks, healed, and most importantly, reset. Yet, with all those achievements, challenges not mentioned, setbacks and major wins, I couldn’t have asked for a better way to end the year; putting myself first and soaking in the calmness and serenity of the last few weeks. As I sit down to review 2021, I encourage you to take stock of your year as well. Mind you, the natural tendency is to look back (some with regret) and wish that you had fulfilled and achieved a lot more along the way. But let’s do it differently this time around. Instead of focusing on what went wrong, let’s look at the things we perceived as negative and see them as room for improvement in the New Year. It’s amazing how the very things that we were challenged with start to work in our favour once we change our mindsets.

November 11th was a very special day for me. I was the recipient of the Alumni Ambassador Award from the University of Windsor, awarded to two individuals each year who are in the mid-level of their career. Each recipient was nominated for making an impact in both their career and in their communities. The ceremony was a round table discussion with a Q&A at the end for the recipients. The most memorable part of the ceremony for me was being surprised by my first year university Chemistry professor. He was the definition of sponsor for my career. Being a Black woman pursuing a Chemistry degree, he directed and guided me on which paths to take and played essential roles in my decision making, which is why I am in the career I am today. It was so nice to be able to thank him amongst his peers. I tried not to be emotional but the fond memories of working for him at the lab while in university came flooding back to me. I remembered how I called and emailed him everyday for two weeks because I was so eager to work in the lab. He eventually responded to my emails and got me a position in his lab. Then one day, he pulled me aside and advised me to go off to college. Honestly speaking, I thought he was joking and completely out of his mind. In my head, I thought “thank you for the advice, but you definitely don't know the kind of parents I’m going to have to deal with when they hear the word “college””. But he persisted and so I did it anyway! I went off to college and landed my first industry job. And while I was working, I was going back to the university and taking all the science courses possible which the company I worked for, paid for. I’ll never forget those days. He pushed the younger me to be the best version of myself then and over the years, made me want to commit to becoming a mentor to students of colour, especially women in science. Being a mentor is one of the goals I have for 2022 and I can’t wait to take it on. Almost like paying it forward.

As I sign off Inside Conversations for 2021, I’d like to share some of the buzzing Christmas spirit and holiday joy here at CSBW with you. During the year, we got to create some great and awesome partnerships along the way, which is why we are excited about our giveaways this December. And although there are only a few more days left, you can still participate. Be sure to follow us on Instagram for a chance to win.

With the New Year in a few days and the current COVID restrictions in place, I hope you still get to spend quality time with your immediate family. Personally, I’m really looking forward to the quality time, as I don’t quite care for all the hustle and bustle anymore. Believe it or not, I used to be that girl in NYC standing in the lines at Macy’s on the 24th, shopping for gifts for the 25th. But gone are those days.

As you look back over your year, may you remember to count your blessings and to be thankful for what you have, regardless of how little it may be. To my CSBW community, a  heartfelt “Thank You” for your continued support and dedication throughout the years. I look forward to a great 2022 as we have some big things planned in store for you.

I wish you and your loved ones safe holidays. Happy New Year in advance!