So you’re looking to expand your reach beyond Linkedin, trade-shows, and Instagram but you haven’t met Monica Kretschmer yet? She is the founder and CEO of the Universal Womens Network (UWN). A powerhouse organization connected to the highest-grossing entrepreneurs of our time. The Universal Womens Network™ is a global platform committed to gender equality, by advancing women in their networks, communities, and workplaces.
What’s more impressive is that both men and women are backing this movement. From the likes of Guinness World Record holder Roz Savage to self-made millionaire Micheal Hyatt. The UWN is a giant step forward for anyone looking to expand their circle with strategic partnerships. Join us as we chat with Monica who gives us the inside scoop on her rise up and explains what the Universal Womens Network™ is all about!
Photo Gallery by Francis Shirzadi
What is the Universal Womens Network™?
M.K: M.K: The Universal Womens Network™, connect, celebrates and recognizes the achievements of women along with the men who SupportHER™s. It’s provides you a network of mentors, industry leaders, ambassadors and influencers from around the globe to make you limitless. So, whether you want to grow your brand, or embark on a new business venture, it starts by signing up. Members are given monthly check-ins,
holding you accountable to your goals and desired lifestyle, so you’ll be that rockstar. The memberships range from students to the executive level with Corporate Membership for companies with teams committed to further connect their leadership teams with other like-minded organizations who share the same value and goals to advance women in business.
We host our Annual Women of Inspiration Awards to recognize the achievements of women and the men who SupportHER™ across Canada. People seeking mentors may register for our MentorHER Mentorship Program with access to diverse mentors and Women of Inspiration™ Award recipients committed to your success. Our membership allows you to customize an experience to suit your individual or corporate needs. We have a motivational, and inspirational speakers that can also be sourced from our dynamic list of Women of Inspiration Alumni and members.
Why did you create the UWN?
M.K: When I started this company, I was a single mom going through a divorce as a result of my 15-month marriage. Over the course of my son’s first seven years, I overcame 48oo hours of litigation, 22-day family law trial, and 56 + court appearances and to the Supreme Court of Canada. The Justice System is terribly flawed; the bullies can continue to exert power in the Justice System. I will start to use my voice to make an impact as my story continues. What I realize is that I was tested for a bigger purpose. Through the process, I became fearless and wanted to make an impact when I finally had a chance to start rebuilding my life for myself and my young son. I have put my livelihood on the line for a cause that called me.
A lot of people thought I wouldn’t make it. But I was compelled to start a business with purpose, that was inclusive and helped women to succeed. Today, words like diversity and collaboration may sound sexy, but they were obsolete from the corporate world when I launched in 2014. I saw this need in the market to break down barriers, recognize and celebrate the achievements of women, mentorship, and decided to fill that void. My company is a for-profit social enterprise. Making an impact in the lives of others is the core of the business, not just something that is something as a fancy word on the website. For social enterprise, the grow of my company means a more significant impact can be made. By fusing these core values into our identity and focusing on building a successful for-profit company, we can make an impact to advance women that can create a ripple effect around the world.
I have grown the company investing thousands of hours and putting 1000% of myself on the line to make it happen. Unlike non-profits, I am not eligible for grant funds. I have to raise the money on my own to host events, market nominees, market the awards program, and run the company. I am thankful to my cheerleaders and supporters, mentors, and advisors who believe in my vision. My goal is for every city to be able to participate and recognize the leaders in their community, who inspire and pave the road for others to follow. I am interviewing to partner with like-minded organizations whose values and goals align with our values and goals. I dream big and am set to make it happen! It just proves when you’re doing something you’re passionate about. Others will recognize your efforts.
What is the culture at UWN?
M.K: It’s non-judgmental with shared values, courage, confidence, commitment and integrity. It’s about building meaningful relationships, sharing your leadership wisdom, and a circle of reciprocity paying it forward to help someone on their journey. When you share your knowledge, it paves the path for others to follow. Our “Monthly Success Calls” for members, offer the opportunity for women to learn from others, be accountable to your goals, and forge relationships with women from across Canada from diverse industries and backgrounds. With these pooled resources at your fingertips, you can navigate anything you want to pursue. For example, one of our members, Cynthia Hamilton-Urquhart 2019 Women of Inspiration Unsung Hero, a retired RCMP officer, is currently working towards writing a book about overcoming PTSD. Despite her having no prior experience in publishing, she is now connecting to authors, journalists, P.R. agents, speaking on stages to share her story to inspire others and connect her to many
more that will help her on the journey.
Why is it important to include men?
M.K: You are always stronger together. If you truly want gender equality, both parties must meet at the table. Our organization first started as Canadian Business Chicks, and we relaunched our brand to commit to gender equality. I realized the importance of inviting men into the conversation. And that’s when my commitment to these women evolved to include those that “SupportHER” the men that champion for women in their networks, workplaces and communities.. No one gets to the top without support. So, the Universal Womens Network™ celebrates and acknowledges all those integral to the common goal to advance women personally and professionally.
Tell us about the nomination process?
M.K: Nominations open Jan 1 annually with Awards Gala in the fall. Nominees are nominated by the public and complete and submit a nomination package by May 31 to be eligible. Award winners are announced at Women of Inspiration Awards Gala. Our events are open to the public. It is a memorable experience for everyone and an opportunity to rub shoulders with innovators, thought leaders, visionaries making an impact locally, nationally, and globally. We have women and men traveling from across the globe to attend each year. Last year we had guests from across Canada, Europe, and the USA. Last year we also had a large number of corporate organizations being teams as visible supporters for women in their organizations. Our newest initiative, is to include a members category for Youth Excellence.
We always start with the story. The women who are nominated are so involved with their work; they tend to be unaware of their impact and value they bring to the table. Their stories are always unique, candid, and inspiring. These stories give you a behind-the-scenes look at the adversity faced and their moments of triumph. Next, we look for mentorship, authenticity, and being of service to the community. There are different categories, celebrating the everyday heroes, changemakers, authentic leaders, visionaries and, ale champions who SupportHER making an impact locally, nationally, and globally. There is something for everyone!
Joan Kelley Walker –Founder, Joan Walker Collection, Philanthropist, Speaker, Real Housewives of Toronto Star | 2019 Women of Inspiration Global Impact
Why do people need a network?
M.K: I think the most challenging aspect of entrepreneurship is that you’re starting something with no manual, entirely from scratch and most likely without a network. It’s a huge risk to quit your job and to follow your vision. For me, in the beginning, it was challenging to put myself out there after keeping a low profile during my divorce, I didn’t have a network of support. But, I knew my life experiences and adversity had led me to this point and had been tested for a bigger purpose. The challenges I faced personally gave me a fearless mindset that would become an asset to me as an entrepreneur. In my darkest moments I had one woman (my family lawyer) who believed in me. It was her belief that gave me confidence and accountable to something bigger than myself, and I wasn’t going to let her down. It only takes one person to make a difference, imagine the power when you surround yourself with a network of like-minded people who all belief in you? Ignore the naysayers and go find your network of people who believe in you!
What has been the most rewarding?
M.K: I put a lot of myself into everything I do. Lots of times it can be overwhelming. But the rewarding part is seeing the ripple effect and impact. Watching the nominations come in for these women, and listening to their testimonies. Or, when someone pulls me aside, saying Monica, you have no idea how much my confidence has soared, that I am on the right path, or that being recognized has opened doors for opportunities personally and professionally. That’s what makes all the sacrifices worthwhile.
Any advice to those who want to succeed?
M.K: My best advice is to jump straight in, stick to your vision, build your team of mentors, be part of a support network, and be willing to share your knowledge. Building your online presence is vital. For instance, for our upcoming events in 2020, our monthly subscriptions, forums, and mentorships will be predominantly online. When you use this platform, it enables you to build your circle of influence and network of cheerleaders, sponsors, supporters and advocates. There is also a commitment made that you help another woman on her journey.
Dream Big With The Women Of Inspiration Awards!
Monica recently celebrated her 5th-year milestone as a national platform, featuring the Women of Inspiration™ Awards nationally with galas in Calgary, Alberta and Toronto, Ontario. Two black-tie Gala Awards ceremonies recognized the achievements of women and their male allies across Canada. Since 2015, this annual event has celebrated over 700+ women and awarded 150 Awards across Canada.
Ready to Raise the Bar in 2020?
Are you or someone you know a woman that inspires? Join the movement! Nominations open January 1, 2020, in 25 diverse categories across Canada. Experience the 6th Annual Women of Inspiration™ Gala in Montreal, Toronto, Calgary and Vancouver.
Stay tuned for Universal Womens Network™ Success Summit in Calgary in Toronto on May 22 and Calgary on May 29. Commit to your success and define your next decade as you forge new connections, learn from inspiring and innovative visionaries, thought leaders who share challenges with real-life success stories. Be encouraged with in-depth conversations and ideas on topics around entrepreneurship, leadership, innovation, work-life, mental health, diversity and inclusiveness, social impact and more!
To kick start your 2020 with the UWN or to nominate someone visit: www.universalwomensnetwork.com
To kick start your 2020 with the Universal Womens Network™ (MentorHER™ Mentorship Program, Success Summit tickets) or to nominate a woman of SupportHER for Women of Inspiration™ Awards, visit: www.universalwomensnetwork.com
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