Mentor Night was an utter success! It was so moving listening to these 4 inspirational women who’s determination and perseverance made them the incredible people they are today. All of these women underwent difficult times in their life and have learned and bettered themselves from those experiences. They honestly blew all of the MTC girls away, from unbelievable public speaking skills to their natural beauty – inside and out.
The first to speak was Melani Chong, the founder and created of Soya Boutique natural skin care. Although, the process to this point in her life was anything but easy! Melani started off by warming up the group of 62 girls. She told us to stand up and relax, roll our shoulders back and take a deep breath. I felt so much more relaxed and clear after that.
Melani went on to talk about her story: In high school she was an athlete and stood for sport, grit and giving it your all. When she was 17 years old, her dad took her to a mall and “coincidentally” Ford Modelling was holding an international search for new recruits. Melani was not interesting in that new world and didn’t believe she could ever be a model. After some convincing from her father, she finally signed up! Lucky for Melani, she was soon called by numerous agencies and signed to Sutherland Modelling Agency. Melani went on to become an unbelievable model, modelling for companies like Dior and MAC Makeup. She went on in her career, becoming a stylist for magazines, fashion shows, photoshoots… The lesson she learned from this is to take on experiences and never tell yourself you can’t do something, be optimistic and always be open to new experiences because you never know where they will lead you.
Though Melani was going the distance with her “super modelling” and stylizing career, she knew there was more out there to her. She had no intention of closing up opportunities for herself. Melani wanted to leave the MTC girls off with a lesson: Listen to those around you, longevity should be your focus. Always have integrity of what you’re doing and make an impact. With passion, drive and care actions you will be successful… and Melani’s perseverance proved this statement to be very true.
From these experiences Melani Chong developed a personalized skin care line called Soya Boutique!
Katrina was such a sweetheart! She went above and beyond, she read through each one of our bio’s and wrote friendly notes to each of the 62 finalists. Katrina had an inspiring story to share: She was bullied as a child for being the tall girl, being called mean names like big bird. She tried not to let it get to her and focussed her time on sports. Though her sporting career did not go through because of on injury… she needed to find a new dream.
Katrina told us to always keep opportunities open and if something doesn’t go your way try something new! Her friend then convinced her to try modelling. Katrina started modelling but never thought there was a place for her as a size 12, she was always being turned down for not being the right look or weight for the shoot. This made Katrina go to extreme extents to have the “perfect body”, she developed an eating disorder.
By surrounding herself with positive and healthy people, she overcame this and learned to eat healthy again and became a personal trainer. Katrina knew there was more and still had her dream to be on billboards and on commercials. She took the initiative and moved to Toronto!
2 years ago she had her big moment! She was selected to walk in Toronto Fashion week to represent a different figure. The audience applauded when she stepped out on to the run way – she then realized it is not only her who wants a change. It was such a special moment, it showed her that she was not the only one that are rooting for different look in the fashion world.
She also shared five steps to staying confident:
1) Take care of your body and health
2) Find your own way to forget about the world (Have a hobby!)
3) Attitude or gratitude
5) Life’s short, let go.
Katrina wanted to end with one message: Don’t forget that women don’t know everything. Listen, communicate and don’t ever stop developing your skills and talents. You are always growing. She gave us 5 tips: Take Care of your health and beauty, drink lots of water, carry an attitude of gratitude and always forgive and be the bigger person.
Alexandra is an incredible Canadian athlete, her dedication, perseverance and hardwork led her to many great accomplishments throughout her life. She has dedicated herself to 16 years of Rhythmic Gymnastics, she has swept to win every rhythmic gymnastics event at the Canadian National Championships in 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, and 2007. Her wisdom can be found inside the pages of Pursuit of Victory and she has just published her second motivational book, Breaking Through My Limits: An Olympian Uncovered. Alexandra has the ability to demonstrate, inspire, and teach. Her energy and enthusiasm are infectious, and her love of and support for the athletes movement across Canada and the World are strong and unwavering.
Alexandra is a firm believer that each person is stronger then they think they are and we truly saw that throughout her speech. Just like any teenager, Alexandra was faced with many challenges. At 15 years old, she did not know what rejection was – until she experienced it. After missing the top 20 by one tenth of a point in her first Olympic trials, she hit her “rock bottom”. Thought it was incredible for her to reach that point at such a young age, her world came crashing down.
A couple weeks later, she realized that winning is short lived, its about the journey who makes you who you are.
Just like the Miss Teen Canada Pageant there is only one winner out of 62 girls, this competition isn’t about winning for me – that would be amazing – but it it is about taking this experience and using the skills I have learned towards my future. I am so lucky to be here!
Alexandra did not let this experience get to her, she went on to represent Canada internationally and is an international record holder. Her drive and hardwork really paid off! Your dreams really can happen if you try your hardest and don’t let others bring you down. All you need is a little extra effort and passion, and if your realistic, you can always achieve it.
Dr. Natalie Archer is a dynamic Toronto dentist who began her dental career in 2001. She is a powerful speaker and role model, she has managed to have a career and a family while building a career as a hospital dentist. She told us that we should have dreams and goals, however, those dreams and goals should be calculated and educated. You cannot only want something, you need to work and push yourself to get to that place.You need to educate yourself on how to get there and do everything you can to achieve that goal. Dr. Archer gave a piece of advice that really stuck with me, she said to keep as many opportunities as possible open. She used a very interesting analogy to explain this further. She told us to “build your web”.
She gave us four very important pieces of advice that I am definitely planning to follow:
1. Make calculated business risks
2. Set limits, create strong relationships and do not lose yourself
3. Have a family before the time is not right
4. Get involved!
Each and everyone of these women were incredibly inspirational, I feel honoured to have met them and learned about their lives and stories!