Select Page
Women of 2020

Women of 2020

Name: Leslie Hughes
Business: PUNCH!media

Leslie Hughes is a LinkedIn Specialist, a LinkedIn Profile Writer and the Principal of PUNCH!media.

Leslie has been in the digital landscape for over 20 years and founded her digital agency PUNCH!media in 2009.

In addition to teaching Digital Marketing at The University of Ontario Institute of Technology and ACCES Employment, she has worked with companies such as Investment Planning Counsel, The Children’s Wish Foundation and Guardian Life Insurance Company of America to help them optimize their professional presence and convert clients.

Leslie has been called a “Social Media Guru” by CBC Radio, and has also been a guest on CTV’s “The Social” talking about “How to Manage your Digital Identity.”

She is the author of “CREATE. CONNECT. CONVERT,” which is designed to help you own your value and build a powerful professional presence (without feeling like you’re bragging).

Leslie’s lessons from 2020

What I learned in 2020:
One thing I’ve learned (that isn’t necessarily specific to 2020), is that most people are nervous about standing in their value and letting other people know how competent they are. 

I thought it was a Canadian thing, then I thought it was just a female thing. Turns out, almost every client I’ve ever written a LinkedIn profile for, in any country, at any level, will state that they don’t want to share their accomplishments for fear that people will judge them as arrogant.

There are three ways you can tackle your impostor syndrome as it pertains to LinkedIn:

  1. You’re supposed to include your accomplishments on LinkedIn. The psychology of LinkedIn is quite different than other channels. It’s your professional presence.
  2. You are a brand. If you don’t toot your own horn, no one else is going to do it for you. You bring a lot of value and people want to work with the best. So, if your prospects, colleagues, or audience don’t know you’re great at what they do, you’re doing a disservice to them.
  3. If you write your Summary/About section for the reader, and highlight that you are there to provide value and help them, then your accomplishments won’t come across as if you’re bragging, you’ll appear as if you’re coming from a place of service. 

A quote often say to my clients is: “When you’re inside the jar, you cannot see the label”.

You probably don’t see how much value you bring to your network. Most of us struggle with this. Things that may come easy to us, can be very challenging to someone else. Even the most successful celebrities in the world struggle with doubt, so you’re not alone.

I promise that if you take baby steps to step outside your comfort zone, you’ll find that telling your story gets easier over time.

The second thing I learned specifically for 2020 is to cut myself some slack.

The pandemic has forced many of us to reprioritize what’s important. I’m more likely to focus on friends, family and health instead of running on the hamster wheel of “busy”. 

In the immortal words of Ferris Bueller: “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”

What I’m planning for 2021:
I’m gonna keep on, keepin’ on, in 2021.

I remind myself frequently that I have to be comfortable with being uncomfortable, and to try new things.

Like other animals, our lizard brain (the amygdala) is hard-wired to avoid putting ourselves in harm’s way. In the 21stcentury, we humans aren’t likely to be running away from predators, but our brain has been conditioned to avoid anything that will “hurt” us – including rejection.

Whether I’m pitching myself as a source to the media, I’m reaching out to make a new connection with a senior executive, or simply doing something I’ve never done before, I remind myself that we all have to start somewhere. With each baby step forward, I’ll often look back at my journey and realize how far I’ve come.

I challenge you to think of at least one thing you’ve accomplished – and see how far you’ve come too!

Find Leslie on social media:

Women of 2020

Women of 2020

Name: Ana Milne
Beauty Foundations Clinic

At a very young age, Ana was exposed to the fashion and beauty industry due to her mother’s profession. She always saw how the personality of women would flourish when they felt confident about the way they look. She decided to become a nurse, which derived from her enjoyment of helping other people.

While in nursing school, Ana was diagnosed with Graves Disease. One of the many complications from Graves Disease is protrusion of the eye (exophthalmos). She didn’t realize it then, but she developed a more introverted personality. Ana noticed she had been avoiding to look people in the eyes and no longer felt comfortable socializing. Thankfully, the complication resolved itself over time and she came to the realization that her calling as a nurse was to help people become the best version of themselves.

After taking continuing education courses for the safe administration of neuro-modulators and dermal fillers, Ana became hungry for more knowledge. She has made it her mission that at least once a month she will attend a course, conference or workshop to upgrade her knowledge in everything pertaining to cosmetic injectables or new technology. She does this so that she can provide her clients with the best care possible.

Ana’s lessons from 2020

The one thing I learned in 2020:
To take care of myself. It’s okay to relax, it’s okay to take time for YOU, to appreciate and enjoy the things that you work for. That you cannot keep taking from an empty space, you must take the time to replenish, to organize your ideas and time to focus on what matters most; family, friends, pets, whatever it is that makes you happy.

What I’m planning for 2021:
To keep growing and developing, not just professionally, but personally and by helping the community as well and finding ways to empower women to become whatever they want to be, and breaking the stigma of what beautiful is.

Find Ana on social media:
Instagram @beautyfoundationsclinic
Facebook: Beauty Foundations Clinic

Joining forces with Durham Region’s women to glow up and create the life of our dreams

Joining forces with Durham Region’s women to glow up and create the life of our dreams

It’s been just over one week since 100 women from across Durham Region—ready to take their personal and professional lives to the next level—gathered at the first-ever Durham Women’s Network (DWN) retreat, re:Create 2020.

We carved out time from our busy schedules to re:Set, re:Charge, re:Evaluate, re:Discover, re:Imagine, re:Organize, re:Design and re:Invent ourselves and our lives for 2020—a new year and a new decade!

Whether or not you were able to make it to the premiere DWN retreat, let’s revisit the magical day with these with beautifully captured moments—courtesy of our amazing photographers, Denise Wilkins of Lifeart Designs and Josie Cipriano of Josie Cipriano Portraits.


The wonderful Kerri King and Jennifer Santos, co-creators of the Durham Women’s Network, welcomed us to re:Create 2020—and genuinely thanked us for making the choice to invest in ourselves, take charge of our lives, and develop our best selves; reassuring us that we’re not alone in our path to creating the life of our dreams.

With a network of powerful women around us, we can’t fail!

Photo by: Josie Cipriano of Josie Cipriano Portraits.

Jamie Kozlinsky of the Mississaugas of Scugog Island First Nation led us through a smudging ceremony to purify us and our space for the day.

Photo by: Denise Wilkins of Lifeart Designs.

Dr. Ana Candia, a Naturopathic Doctor practising at Family Chiropractic and Homeopathic Centre in Ajax, shared how we can take control of our lives and health by looking at the root causes and simple solutions to the overwhelm that ails us.

Photo by: Denise Wilkins of Lifeart Designs.

Natasha Nesrine, Life Coach and Found of the Better Life Project, guided us through the gorgeous re:Create 2020 workbook and spoke about how we can use it to clarify our goals for the year ahead.

Photo by: Denise Wilkins of Lifeart Designs.

The gorgeous flower centerpieces at each table, created by Ania Doiron of Ania’s Flowers & Events, were a subtle reminder thought the day that all great ideas start as a small seed and can grow and blossom into something absolutely beautiful.

Photo by: Josie Cipriano of Josie Cipriano Portraits.

We took the time to give our bodies the love they deserve though an energizing yoga session with Carol Baxter, Owner of Glow Yoga Wellness Studios in Whitby and Author of The Confidence Project.

Photo by: Josie Cipriano of Josie Cipriano Portraits.

Celina Caesar-Chavannes—Former Member of Parliament for the Whitby riding, business woman, and true Canadian Icon—brought us an epic speech about being a bold woman! We laughed, we teared up, but most of all, we were inspired to go big, or go home. Check out Celina’s Top 10 List or watch the full 15 minute video!

Photo by: Josie Cipriano of Josie Cipriano Portraits.

Dr. Karen Beal, Chiropractor at Family Chiropractic and Homeopathic Centre in Ajax, shared some ways to reconnect with our body and heart—and how to hear their subtle messages that help us to flow into more balance and health.

Photo by: Josie Cipriano of Josie Cipriano Portraits.

Jade Schofield, Environmentalist and Sustainability Expert, gave us practical and compelling advice on how we can use sustainability minded thinking to live our best lives.

Photo by: Denise Wilkins of Lifeart Designs.

Effy Nicopoulos, Owner of Organize That and KonMari Certified Consultant, led us through a Joy Mapping exercise, and left us with a thought-provoking quote from famous Japanese organizing consultant and author, Marie Kondo“The best way to find out what we really need is to get rid of what we don’t.”

Photo by:Josie Cipriano of Josie Cipriano Portraits.

Kelly Melanson, CPA, CMA, Owner of Kelly Melanson Professional Corporation, led us though an exercise on financial freedom—and shared the importance of getting on track and developing a road map that will show us how the choices we make today will affect our future.

Photo by: Josie Cipriano of Josie Cipriano Portraits.

Jessica Nowak, Environmental Change Maker and face behind the Instagram account @WorthTheFuss, took us through an exercise about thinking, working and living outside the box—and how that involves getting outside of our comfort zones.

Photo by: Josie Cipriano of Josie Cipriano Portraits.

Rock and roll queen, Kate Boothmanenchanted us with a special and intimate performance.

Photo by: Denise Wilkins of Lifeart Designs.

We enjoyed a fabulous healthy lunch catered by the Royal Ashburn Golf Club and networked with our old and new-found gal pals.

Photo by: Denise Wilkins of Lifeart Designs.

Throughout the day, the super talented Pamela Price of Priceless Beauty in Pickering (who was voted Makeup Specialist of the Year in The Toronto Hair & Beauty Awards 2019) got us glammed up for headshots by Josie Cipriano of Josie Cipriano Portraits.

Photo by: Denise Wilkins of Lifeart Designs.

Our Keynote Speaker, the brilliant Crystal Andrus Morissette, Women’s Empowerment Coachbest-selling author and Founder of the S.W.A.T. (Simply Woman Accredited Trainer) Institute, shared with us the importance of empowering ourselves. Crystal’s talk was just the reminder we needed about the powerful affirmation of woman energy and the ability found within us all.

Photo by: Denise Wilkins of Lifeart Designs.

The calm and soothing energy of Kate Carson, Owner of Mindful Creativity, helped us tap into ourselves on a deeper level and connect with our mind, body and spirit through a meditation session.

Photo by: Denise Wilkins of Lifeart Designs.

To end off our amazingly inspirational day, the lovely Natasha Nesrine of the Better Life Project helped us to loosen up and get a little silly before leading us through an exercise where we selected one goal for each quarter of 2020 that we’d like to focus on to get us closer to the life of our dreams.

Photo by :Josie Cipriano of Josie Cipriano Portraits.

To connect with a dynamic network of more than 4,000 women in Durham Region, join our Facebook Group. You can also follow us on our new Instagram and Twitter, and Subscribe to The #Connected Vodcast on YouTube.

Photo by: Josie Cipriano of Josie Cipriano Portraits.