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Lessons learned from the incredible Kelly Rizzo, Eat Travel Rock

Lessons learned from the incredible Kelly Rizzo, Eat Travel Rock

Gotta admit, I’m a bit of a fan girl. When I got the yes, Kelly Rizzo would love to speak at your Durham Women’s Network event email, I may have jumped up for joy. In fact, the highlight of my entire spring was getting to interview the talented and business-savvy entrepreneur, who joined DWN for a live chat to talk food, travel, music and branding.

I originally came across Kelly’s phenomenal Eat Travel Rock YouTube channel years ago and instantly fell in love with her creative approach to exploring culture and mixing delicious cocktails. I resonated with her because I saw a lot of parallels at the time between her and myself—both of us have had some major changes—including a career pivot and marriage breakup—in our 30s (who knew that’s the age when everything happened).

It also clicked because of my love for promoting cool people, places and things. Kerri and I worked together more than a decade ago promoting Durham Region as a tourism hub of delicious local food, great live music and unique experiences. That was well before we started DWN and pre-dating an era of masks and social distancing.

Through the COVID-19 pandemic, I have experienced and seen the effects of fatigue from virtual meetings. I knew that we needed to pull in top notch talent for our live events—and we did. From hosting a DWN virtual vacation in Barbados, helping Author and Former MP Celina Caesar-Chavannes launch her new book, to chatting with Durham College VP of Alumni and Fundraising Linda Flynn about leadership; and reintroducing Radine Corr to the world with The Wyld School. We have brought some amazing experiences to the women of DWN in the past six months.

A lot of people have asked me who connected me with Kelly…the answer is me. I reached out. And, if you had told me that a year ago, I wouldn’t have believed it. The simple fact is, I wanted to do something and so I did it. I truly had no idea someone with 120k + Instagram followers would say yes. But it happened.

Not only did it happen, but Kelly dropped some amazing insights on our 30-minute chat.

Don’t be afraid of no’s

You will undoubtedly be on the receiving end of the word “no.” Accept that, and don’t let it stop you from going for more. Be confident in your ability to sell yourself and your ideas, whether you’re talking to the CEO or you’re pitching a client. “Get used to people saying no,” Kelly explained. “Be fearless when it comes to presenting yourself and your vision. The worst anyone can say is no.”

Communicating is Everything

How do you make a name for yourself and become the kind of professional that people want to work with over and over again? Level up your communication skills. Kelly notes that she is keen on returning calls asap, answers her own DMs and gives business partners the information they need before they ever need to ask. Under-promise and over-deliver and always tell people exactly what’s going on. Kelly explained that she learned this valuable skill from her career as a realtor. “The extra communication will set you apart from the rest,” she explains.

Take things at your own pace

Good things take time. Kelly took a decade to grow her brand to where it is today. In fact, for a number of years she  juggled her full-time career as a realtor while starting up and nurturing her successful Eat Travel Rock venture. She also provided advice about post-COVID travel “Do what you feel comfortable with,” she explained, whether that’s a day trip, road trip or involves getting on a plane again.

The conversation enlightened me about my own vulnerabilities and nervousness. As someone with an introverted nature who thrives behind the scenes, I can find it difficult to put myself out there—even if I want to. What surprised me the most was that Kelly was so down-to-earth, approachable and accessible. In fact, this whole experience taught me to keep moving towards my goals—because we can all do hard things.

Speaking of new challenges—what other social media influencers, speakers, authors do you recommend we interview in future?

Check out our discussion with Kelly and let us know what you think.

A Mother’s Day Offer for DWN Members

A Mother’s Day Offer for DWN Members

Editors Note: Mother’s Day is just around the corner! In these lockdown times when we can’t visit and must socially distance, let’s send some love to all this year!

In honour of the upcoming celebration, Durham Women’s Network would love to hear what your mothers, grandmothers, aunties, and anyone that you love has passed down to you, whether it be words of wisdom, a recipe, family heirloom, cherished stories or anything else you’d like to share. We would love photos as well! Share your stories and photos with us via email.

We will be drawing from all entries for a chance to win a  special Buffalo Plaid Fleece KoolKape liner gifted by Koolway Sports to your special loved one this Mother’s Day!

A message from Jennifer Gallienne, Koolway Sports


About Koolway Sports

Koolway Sports designs and manufacturers custom outerwear, for all seasons and individuals of all ages, using mobility and enabling them to achieve their maximum level of independence in all aspects of their life, their family and caregivers lives each and everyday.

The Koolway Story Behind the Hummingbird Logo

Koolway Sports is now a worldwide company. God bless our mothers Daphne and Wilma  (DW) for showing us the path from above and what life really means: “The art of giving back to those and understanding why we are here.”

We continue to have conversations with both Daphne and Wilma, and using their example as mentoring from above as we continue to find solutions for the challenges of dressing.

Each day we are guided in our vision and mission by our two mothers and our logo shows on the left their DW Hummingbird Wings, always ready to guide and strengthen our desire to ensure those using mobility can live to the maximum level of independence in all aspects of their life and that of their families.

We thank them for their wise words and for teaching us, that above all else, the greatest achievements in life are not the ones that earn you a trophy or money or even a powerful position. But it is the quiet determined accomplishments that no one hears about until years later.

Daphne and Wilma were placed on this earth for a purpose and our source of joy, inspiration, pride, and light is directly from their examples of what life means. May their memory be a blessing for all of us, and may we carry that light with us always and teach others their way.

We are honoured to share our DW Hummingbird story with another important group of women the Durham Women’s Network (DWN) and so fitting that our initials overlap like two rings attached in one common loop.

For those wishing to purchase one of the special Buffalo Plaid Fleece KoolKape liner for Mother’s Day please contact and subject line: Mother’s Day 2021 for a special DWN discount. Please us code: DWN21

Let us work together to create something wonderful and special for our grandmothers and mothers in Durham Region or wherever they reside this 2021.

Thanks for giving us this special opportunity during this difficult times…stay safe.


Learning and Growing Through the Pandemic

Learning and Growing Through the Pandemic

When you look back at 2020 what will you remember most? 

The past year has been a completely different experience for women across the world. For some, it has been challenging; for others, devastating. For me, it was an opportunity to reflect on my life and make some serious decisions. I almost feel guilty to say that I appreciate the year 2020 for all it has brought me. It wasn’t all easy—far from it—I just haven’t talked about it much. This year I looked inward and learned how to learn again, which has benefitted me in many ways. The constant hustle of pre-2020 had me spinning in different directions—not only me, but my kids. Understanding how important it is to be still and listen has evolved me to the place where I am today.

Today, I guard my time fiercely. I feel gifted with the amount of time that has come back to me as a result of the pandemic. As an introvert, this is something that I just can’t get enough of. Growing my business in the midst of a pandemic has meant more time to focus—and I do. I know what I need to be on top of my game. This includes the right amount of sleep, working with my support network and taking good care of myself. Of course, I miss people, but I don’t miss having mandatory plans each and every weekend. I feel the true pleasure of seeing a friend for an outdoor, socially distanced walk and no longer take it for granted.

Socially I have come into a fabulous group of women within Durham Women’s Network new XWN group. This intimate group is made up of women who are committed to personal and professional development, but most of all it has been the camaraderie of regularly scheduled Zoom calls that has been a highlight for me. I can’t wait until we can meet in person. Kerri King and I are planning some truly exclusive opportunities for this group moving forward. I can’t wait to share the details with the broader DWN network. If you’re considering joining this team of incredible women, I encourage you to do so now.

In the coming months, we are going to start highlighting members through full feature profiles so you can learn more about them, and their journey. Because, after all, DWN is a platform where we can elevate each other and celebrate our achievements collectively.


First XWN Cycle kicks off Feb 6!

First XWN Cycle kicks off Feb 6!


MaximizingU with Celina Caesar-Chavannes


If you always keep your arms and legs inside the vehicle, you will never feel the full rush of the ride called life. You need to take some risks.


Because at the intersection of all your strengths and flaws, beauty and vulnerability, brilliant moments and massive screw ups, you find that which makes you, authentically you.


How do you find the real you? How do you make being unapologetically, authentic work?


Let’s take that journey together.




Module 1: Butterflies & Fear – Don’t shy away and don’t let it control you. Use the fear, stress and adrenalin for good. Those butterflies in your stomach are a sign that you are about to embark on something courageous. Go for it and use that energy to get the job done. 
Tackling our fear and leveraging it for good.


Module 2:  Worth It & Deserve It – If you don’t ask, you don’t get. Asking for help can be hard especially when your pride gets in the way. However, it is only in asking that you can receive. Ask. You deserve it. 
Objective: Overcome imposter syndrome and create a plan to get what you want.


Module 3: Ms. Take – Let me introduce you to the best teacher I ever had. She is your teacher too. Did you just take her gifts of guilt and shame or did you learn from her. 
Objective: Learn how to deal with difficult situations, by developing the skills and strategies to avoid future pitfalls or dampen the negative impact.


Module 4: The Universe is Unfolding – Time to shift and smell the roses. Drop the plan. Remove the blinders and see the life around you. Start to live. Start to love. 
Objective: Learn how to be still. Be present.


Module 5: Grateful & Expectations – To whom much is given, much is expected. Be grateful for the millions of moments that happened, since the beginning of the universe, for you to be here in this moment. Now pay those moments forward and give back. 
Objective: Understand the power in gratitude and giving back.


Module 6: Hard Work & Value – Time to roll up your sleeves and not be afraid to get dirty. Living your fullest and best life is hard and may require some sacrifice in order to build resilience. Hard work is as much a mental exercise, as it is a physical one. Get your head in the game. 
Objective: Strategies to build resilience, understand reality and figure out what you do best.


Module 7: Swallow your pride – Not because you like the taste of bad medicine, but because you know that you must swallow it to get better. So go ahead and take a gulp. 
Objective: Strategies to create circles of influence to help you get what you need.


Module 8: Growth & Doubt – Get uncomfortable, step outside your comfort zone, stretch yourself and grow.  Undoubtedly, this growth with create doubt. Let’s learn how to make good judgements for You, Inc. 
Objective: Start to cultivate your village and Board of Directors for You, Inc. You will need these people when doubt starts to creep in.


Module 9: Playful You – If Superman can take the cape off every now and again and not save the world, why can’t we? Being everything to everyone and saving the world all the time is not a sustainable way to live. In fact, it may be the most effective way to get sick. Take off the cape and relax. You do not have to win every race or conquer every mountain. Take some time to play. 
Objective: Learn how to prioritize self-care.


Module 10: Go Big or Go Home – When I die, I want my headstone to read: “The only thing she had left to do was die.” Living life to the fullest requires intentional commitment to taking some risks. It also means letting go of your ego. Don’t fall into the trap. A big ego fills your head, and a full head is closed for learning. 
Objective: Develop the 30 second elevator pitch for You, Inc. without the filter and facade.


Module 11: Rushing Fools – Why don’t we outsource our problems the way we outsource other challenges in our lives? Just think about it. If your toilet starts leaking, unless you are a plumber, you pick up the phone or Google a local plumber and have them come in to assist. We spend so much of our time rushing around, doing tasks we are not capable of doing. Time stop overthinking and procrastinating, and start doing. Objective: Learn how to prioritize and outsource tasks to help achieve your goals.


Module 12: Dollars & Sense – Never take the first offer. How do you know not to take the offer, if you do not know what you are worth? Let’s take some time to conduct a valuation of You, Inc. 
Objective: Understanding how to place value on everything your put your time, energy, love or resource into.


Module 13: Authenticity and DEI – Does authenticity work in a world that is desperately trying to hold on to the status quo? Well, we can only find out once we stop trying to blend in, and start living out loud.  
Objective: Create steps to start creating equity, and a positive environment, within your own sphere of influence.


Mark your calendar for the following one-hour discussions with Celina


  • Saturday, February 6 at 11 a.m.
  • Saturday, February 27 at 11 a.m.
  • Saturday March 20 at 11 a.m.


Are you ready to invest in yourself?




Invest in yourself with XWN

Invest in yourself with XWN

Take it to the next level in 2021 with a new offering from DWN.

Durham Women’s Network has created a brand new opportunity with XWN. There’s no time like today to invest in yourself.

What’s included?

  • Access to self-development courses from worldwide experts.
    • We start in February with a brand-new course led by Celina Caesar-Chavannes.
    • Moving forward, different authors, coaches and personal/professional development experts will lead structured program cycles with up to one-hour per week time commitment.
  • Get connected with like-minded women in leadership in an exclusive and private Facebook group.
    • Monthly check ins with this intimate group on Zoom.
  • Be the first to receive special offers from Durham Women’s Network.

Learn more and sign up today.