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Working Women On A Mission

Artemis Assessment & Treatment Centre; First Steps Child Care Centre; Crock A Doodle Windsor; Sonata Piano Studio; Love The Bump; Pink Posies Bowtique

This issue we honour local women giving back to the community, such as 100 Women Who Care Windsor-Essex featured in our cover story. And now, for THE PARENTING BIZ we turn our attention to women-led businesses catering to families and children.

According to Lee McGrath, Program Director for the Women Entrepreneurship Strategy (WES) at the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Centre (SBEC), in Windsor Essex, their clients currently include 468 pre-start-up companies with the associated contact as female (54%) and 651 client companies that are owned by women.

Along with the SBEC, the current WES funding is led by a partnership between Build-A-Dream, WEtech Alliance, the University of Windsor’s EPICentre, Workforce WindsorEssex, and Windsor Essex Capital Angel Network — its four streams are focused on youth, start-up, scale-up, and growth. (For further details on WES please refer to: WEbusinesscentre.com under “How Can We Help.”)

Now at the end of the third year of funding for our region, WES has provided training, mentorship and support for 4,094 women to start, expand or strengthen their entrepreneurial skills.

Stats Canada reports businesses majority-owned by women accounted for 17.5% of all private-sector businesses in Canada, in the second quarter of 2022.

They are more prevalent in service industries, such as health care and social assistance; professional, scientific and technical services; and retail trade.

This low percentage proves we need more female entrepreneurs to build and strengthen our community!

We introduce you now to local working women in many different industries who face many of the same challenges, but have been able to find the keys to success.

Artemis Assessment & Treatment Centre

Artemis Assessment & Treatment Centre has offered psychoeducational (Specific Learning Disability) and attentional assessments (Attention Deficit /Hyperactivity Disorder aka ADHD) for all ages, along with assessments for gifted children and adolescents; ADHD and executive functioning coaching for children, adolescents, adults, professionals and parents; plus therapy and psychotherapy, since 1993.

Tara Carman-French, Owner of Artemis Assessment & Treatment Centre in Windsor, has been onboard for about 10 years. She purchased the company — which has an original Burlington location — five years ago, and opened a Windsor location at 552 Pitt Street West, Suite 107, just before the pandemic began in 2019.

“I personally specialize in ADHD assessment and coaching,” she states. “I have been writing large portions of our psychoeducational and attentional reports for over 10 years and assisted in creating the recommendations we offer for both ADHD and learning disabilities — plus, I am currently in training to become a Registered Psychotherapist.”

Carman-French’s team of six are 100% about helping people, and specialize in all forms of attentional disabilities, autism, Asperger syndrome (currently folded into autism spectrum disorder), specific learning disabilities, OCD, anxiety, depression, bi-polar disorder and many other psychiatric concerns.

She tells Biz X that she never had a goal to become an entrepreneur.

“However, I am thankful for the ability to direct Artemis along the assessment and treatment pathways that best service our clients and help them to create positive change in their lives,” she says. “After having primarily done assessments for Artemis for five years, I was excited by the opportunity to grow the treatment side of the business, as I have always been driven by a strong desire to help people to achieve their goals. Being able to help my clients identify their strengths and their weaknesses, work with them and/or their parents and develop an ongoing treatment plan is extraordinarily rewarding.”

She also shares with our readers abouther all-too-common negative experiences of being a woman in professional settings.

“Individuals I am negotiating with will often speak over me, ignore, or belittle my questions and generally treat me with a less than professional attitude,” she comments. “When asking about how my business is going, I have literally been asked ‘How is your little business going?’ in a derogatory way.”

Despite the nay-sayers and belittlers, Carman-French feels she is part of an extraordinarily supportive and celebratory community of female professionals.

“I have had the opportunity to work alongside and network with some amazing women dedicated to helping and raising up other women,” she says. “I have seen overwhelming support from other female business owners, therapists, coaches and other female professionals.”

First Steps Child Care Centre

Opened in 1997 at 169 Irwin Avenue in Essex, First Steps Child Care Centre is a one-stop shop for parents/guardians in need of daily child care — Monday to Friday from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Their licence accommodates 97 quality child care spaces for children aged two months to 12 years.

A second location opened later at 13291 Tecumseh Road East in Tecumseh.

“This site was opened January 2000 and licensed for 77 quality child care spaces (174 in total across both locations) for two month-olds to 12 year-olds,” notes Sue Sherk, Owner of First Steps Child Care Centre. “At this time, I remained supervisor of the Essex location, which kept me closer to my children in school and my former partner, Karrie Garant took on the supervisor role at the Tecumseh location.”

By 2014, Sherk became the sole owner of First Steps Child Care Centre and the director of both locations with Keri Rush taking over the supervisor role at the Tecumseh location.

“This was a more challenging time, since I had been recently widowed with four children between the ages of nine and 19, while operating two child care centres,” Sherk shares. “Looking back now I think of the transitions and the accomplishments of both myself and my staff. I would not have made it through this time without them.”

For Sherk as a mom and business owner of two child care centres, the struggle was real.

“Balance was my biggest challenge while having a family and operating a child care centre, which has always been my dream,” she says. “I always thought that to have an amazing family life or an amazing career you had to be all in with one or the other; I was determined to have both.”

She continues: “When opening the site in 2000, having a newborn onboard and being self-employed simply meant this was going to be my most flexible baby. My staff could help look after my babies during the day while I was busy running the business — and of course I could check in any time I like.”

Over the next few years — after weighing the pros and cons — First Steps Child Care Centre made the transition to not-for-profit.

“We now have a Board of Directors that we are accountable to,” Sherk indicates. “They are also a great support group when we need ideas or resolutions.”

Their staff of 37 employees (22 in Essex and 15 in Tecumseh) includes 16 Registered Early Childhood Educators (RECE), 19 RECE Assistants and two full time cooks.

“Looking back, the last 25 years have brought me tremendous success,” says Sherk. “Seeing children that have attended First Steps Child Care Centre mature into adults who bring in their own children is the most amazing feeling.”

The Parenting Biz continues on page 32.

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