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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.

We Are All On This Journey Together

We Are All On This Journey Together

Hello beautiful One,

As we find ourselves in yet another lockdown here in Canada, many of us are struggling with all the feelings, fears, and trepidations about what is to come. We have all been through so much over the past year – with so many ups and downs as we try to understand what is happening and what we can do about it to stay safe; and keep those around us safe and healthy.

The past month has been an emotional roller coaster for all of us. I don’t know about you, but I’ve been struggling to hold it all together, and have been reliant on family, friends, and self-care to keep me strong mentally and physically.

I have come to realize how important it is to access all the “tools” available to me to manage these ever-changing times.

One of the tools available to us is getting back to nature. To the simple life.

This past week I had the opportunity to live in a yurt and a treehouse a few miles away from my home as a guest of my dear friends Paula and Geordie Lishman. It was pure magic. 

Kerri King
Bed in a yurt
Cleo Wade What the Road Said Book
Treehouse view

Although we aren’t sure where the road is leading at the moment, it’s so important to remember that we are all in this journey together.

Last night Jennifer and I had a great discussion with our friend and yoga teacher Carol Baxter. It felt so good to re-connect witas oh each other even though it was only virtually.

Carol is hosting a very special virtual full moon dance next Tuesday, April 27. Will you join us? As a member of XWN, you are invited to participate in exclusive events like this.

We would love to have you join us, and greatly appreciate your support for the work that Jennifer and I do for Durham Women’s Network by joining our membership.

Learn more about our FULL MOON celebration and join XWN today.

Thank you for sharing this remarkable journey with us.

Sending love and light.


You’re Invited to a Full Moon Virtual Dance Party!

You’re Invited to a Full Moon Virtual Dance Party!


Have you ever been to a full moon dance party?

One of the most memorable ones for me was in Ko Pha Ngan, an island in south east Thailand that’s renowned for its monthly Full Moon Party. 

In my early thirties I was fortunate to take several trips to South Asia with my brothers and sister. We would spend 3 to 4 weeks exploring rice paddies, temples, and inevitably would find ourselves in some precarious places. A full moon party was definitely one of them.

My sister Lori and I wrapped up one of our family trips with a trip to the Ko Pha Ngan with a couple of friends from Canada. We attended one of the famous night-long celebrations tied into the lunar calendar. This party draws revelers from all over the world, and is one of the most memorable travel experiences of my life. I have a photo (which I wish I could find) which captures the sense of freedom that I experienced. I was dancing with a complete stranger – and it is one of the most beautiful photos that I have of myself. True Freedom. Geez I wish I could find it!!

Sadly, all of these types of parties are cancelled due to the pandemic.

But for those of you who, like me, have a deep yearning for the connection and joy that you feel when you are dancing with a group of people, and feel that deep connection to yourself and the music, you can have a very similar experience in your own home right here in Durham Region.


On April 27, during the next full moon, my dear friend and yoga teacher, Carol Baxter is offering a very special FULL MOON DANCE PARTY to XWN members only.  I have had the pleasure of participating in many of Carol’s incredible workshops, and they always take me on a powerful, healing journey. I’ll admit, this full moon dance party will be different  from the boisterous celebrations at the full moon party on Ko Pha Ngan, but I do promise you that it will take you on a wonderful journey with women in our DWN community.

If you would like to learn more, Jennifer and I will be chatting with Carol via Facebook Live on April 19. We’d love for you to join us! 

As many of you know, the FULL MOON is a powerful time for manifesting, and for letting go of that which no longer serves us.

You may wish to use this sacred full moon energy that is upon us for the next few days to release the past, and surrender.  What would you like to let go of?

To assist you, here is an excerpt from one of Carol’s recent IG posts via @carolbaxterglow: 

Full moons always give us the opportunity to let go – and since this is the first full moon since the Equinox, the energy is especially powerful. This is an easy ritual that will cleanse, release and empower your intentions.


–          Light some sage

–          Open a few windows

–          Move through your home or sacred space gently with the burning sage

–          Bring in your intention for this new moon cycle through the spoken word.

–          “I release my thoughts that keep me from reaching my highest potential. Instead, I now surrender to the flow of the Universe, trusting that all things are working for my highest good.

–          Intuitively, continue this process, repeating the mantra at least three more times.

Sending full moon Libra blessings.

Wonder Woman VS The Sabre Tooth Tiger

Wonder Woman VS The Sabre Tooth Tiger

Spring is here–and there is so much to celebrate….

I’m sure I’m not alone in feeling an overwhelming sense of joy that the weather is warming, the sun is shining, and we are all starting to come out of winter hibernation and months of lockdown seclusion.

I think there have been challenging moments for everyone this past year, and because of that this spring just feels extra special to me. A time for renewal, and leaving winter (and the past) behind as new bulbs start to peek out of the soil, and new life starts once again. Hallelujah!

I thought I would write a little post to capture some of the discussion with the XWN group this past Saturday morning. For those of you who are not aware, the Durham Women’s Network launched an exclusive membership for women (XWN) who are looking for a greater connection, learning/ mentorship opportunities, personal / business profile opportunities and access to inspirational speakers, authors, and exclusive events.

This Saturday marked the last segment of best-selling author and DWN member, Celina Caesar-Chavannes’ Maximizing U course. Special thanks to Celina for making time for us, inspiring us, and gifting all of us with your special edition journal for XWN members only.

Celina kicked off our session by delving into the topic of FEAR, which one of my earliest mentors informed me stands for FALSE EVIDENCE APPEARING REAL. As a group. we deconstructed the notion of fear and Celina made reference to FEAR with a sabre tooth tiger metaphor. We talked about how fear can either push us to fight for what we want in life or it can can drive us to run the other way. (FIGHT OR FLIGHT). Then, Celina asked us to consider this question: “where do you put your energy?”

I shared that I have been doing some powerful self-inquiry work wherein I am taking a deep dive into a fear or darkness that I have likely been running away from (or burying) since I was a little girl. As painful as this process has been, the process of facing my fear has brought me a greater sense of clarity, understanding and freedom. It’s like I’ve just faced the sabre tooth tiger, and wrestled her to the ground instead of heading for this hills. This whole process has left me feeling rather like Wonder Woman!!!  

What sabre tooth tiger are you confronting in your life? Are you ready to look her in the eye?

Now in as much as it is important to do the self work, without the women in my life, I really don’t know where I would be. I am sure that I am not alone in feeling that the supportive conversations and learnings shared by the women in the first XWN cohort over the past couple of months has created a sense of connectivity, unity and strength that we all needed. Thank you to all of the wonderful women who I now feel such a genuine, close connection with. YOU ARE AWESOME!

There is something incredibly powerful about being in community with a tribe of women who’s sole purpose is to support one another – and to be able to give AND receive.

Moving forward, Celina has graciously agreed to join us for a monthly XWN group mentorship call. We plan to meet the third Saturday of the month at 11 a.m. for an hour with different topics of discussion.


If you are considering joining XWN and have any questions, and would like to discuss how we can support you, please reach out to us for a chat.  My commitment to the XWN community is to offer every woman a one-hour mentorship consultation either early morning or on the week-ends. It’s my way of giving back.  I have had the honour of quietly supporting leagues of women personally and professionally providing care and support for decades now. And it brings me great joy!

If I can be of service to you, please email me or text me at 289-356-6077 and we can set a time to connect.

Learn more about the XWN membership.

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.


Digging Deep: My Five Takeaways From Celina’s Saturday Session

Digging Deep: My Five Takeaways From Celina’s Saturday Session

Thought I would take a moment to acknowledge all of the XWN members who joined us yesterday for a very special chat with Celina as part of her MaximizingU course.

It was incredibly heart-warming to spend an hour with this amazing group of women who are sharing in a very special process that is inspiring all of us to DIG DEEP.

I think for many of us, making the commitment to review the course material, do the self-inquiry work, and show up for the zoom call took many of us out of our comfort zones – and I’m happy that we did.

I don’t know about you, but the pandemic has left me feeling very alone so much of the time, and it feels so great to have such a supportive group of women to brighten my days. Thank you and congratulations Linda M, Laura R, Denise, Linda F, and Jennifer G for showing up and sharing the way you did.

Huge thanks to Celina CC, who despite her incredibly hectic book launch and media schedule, showed up looking like the ROCK STAR that she is and led us through an engaging and enlightening session. I am truly grateful.

Here are some of the highlights of the session that resonated deeply with me: 


We discussed the IMPOSTER SYNDROME, and going it alone in life. This topic touched me deeply. It reminded me of a time when my dear friend Lori Speed had to sit me down and said – “Kerri, don’t you remember who you are?” 

Celina shared this powerful book that she highly recommends by Kristine Barnett–The Spark. The notion of grieving our losses, and not running from pain, fear and other challenges in life. The importance of trusting our intuition, and investing in ourselves. Looking forward to doing a deeper dive into this content when we get to chapter 9.

By the way, for those of you who would still like to join us, you can still jump in. Just let us know, and we will bring you up to speed! The session link is posted in our XWN private Facebook group.


It is so easy to lose ourselves – especially during these ever-changing times.

Sometimes it takes our closest people (the people who wear our t-shirts in life) to be there for us in this way.  Who are the people who wear your t-shirt? The mentors, supporters who you can go to in life to for support? Who are the people that you would like to add to this list? 


“Bits of our humanity are lost when we do not share our stories. When we act as if the fibres that connect every single one of us as human beings do not exist, and therefore try to hide the shame, guilt or pain that makes us who we are. That makes us more resilient.”

– Celina Caesar-Chavannes

This topic of resiliency and resilient leadership was also highlighted last week in our DWN chat with Linda Flynn last week. If you missed it, the chat is posted on our DWN CHATS podcast.


When is the last time you really stopped to smell the roses in life?

Following the session, we sent Celina some roses to thank her for the session and for keeping her commitment to giving back to her own community by investing in women in her community even though she is being celebrated around the world.

It is so beautiful to see Celina shine as a best-selling author in only a few weeks of launching her new book, CAN YOU HEAR ME NOW?

Here’s to you Celina, I hope you are able to stop and smell the roses today and celebrate your MASSIVE book launch success!

On that note, what does stopping to smell the roses mean to you?

For me, it meant just sitting quietly this morning with my coffee and observing everything around me – and just breathing life in for a precious few moments.

Seems simple, but it these quite moments truly bring you back to who you are.


Enough said.