In 1994, Michele Bailey founded Blazing, a strategic marketing communications company located in Oakville, Ontario.
Michele wanted to run an agency with a difference. So, she founded an agency with a human-focused approach to business, built on a foundation of strong workplace culture and supported by the diverse and individual strengths of her team. Michele’s approach to business is based on a culture of collaboration, engagement, passion and gratitude. She built Blazing on a commitment to deliver customized marketing strategies and seamless program execution driving measurable business growth for her clients. Celebrating twenty-five years this year, Blazing is still going strong.
Success didn’t come easily. Over the years, Michele faced many of the same challenges and barriers that women entrepreneurs face today. Balancing the demands of family life and long hours that come with building a business can be overwhelming. Sharing experiences and advice with other women in business taught Michele the importance of building a strong support network.
Michele believes in investing time building relationships and will tell you that the resulting network she has built to this day is a critical factor in both her business and personal success. Having benefited from the mentorship of a dear friend, Michele believes in giving back by providing mentorship and support to potential and new small business owners where she can. Michele and her team recently hosted a young lady named Muzna Erum for International Day of the Girl through a CEO takeover #dayofthegirl, offering Muzna the opportunity to experience a day in the life of a business owner—as the business owner—a memorable day for all who participated!
In her book It’s NOT All About You, It’s About the Company You Keep, Michele shares stories of her entrepreneurial journey and the people that have helped her along the way. She advises on the importance of building women-focused support networks and creating opportunities for women. As the founding member of WPO (Women Presidents’ Organization) in Canada and the first woman-owned business certified in Canada with WeConnect International, she actively networks with and supports other women business owners all the while promoting diverse and inclusive business practices.
According to Statistics Canada1, women are less likely than men to become entrepreneurs, and women-owned businesses are generally smaller than their men-owned counterparts. Women often face other unique challenges including social and traditional constraints. Access to financing and established business networks may also be a challenge. Without adequate funding, women often have to bootstrap their entrepreneur ventures, relying on other ways to borrow or raise capital on their own.
For those women that do succeed, their impact on the global economy is huge. Only 16% of Canadian businesses are owned or led by women2, yet studies show that by advancing women’s economic participation in the economy, Canada could add up to $150 billion in GDP3. Imagine the impact women could have on the global economy if given the same access and support!
Every business owner knows that success comes only with a plan and a clear vision. Michele has always believed in setting goals for herself and her businesses and this habit translated to the establishment of My Big Idea®, a unique program designed specifically to help others identify their goals and set out a plan to achieve them.
Michele’s deep sense of gratitude for all the support she has received over the years sparked an idea for an exciting new book, The Currency of Gratitude, to be published by Forbes in the spring of 2020. Expressions of gratitude come in many forms, from a simple thank you note to actively providing mentorship and support to others. Either way it is done, showing gratitude pays dividends.
With a new focus on diversity and inclusion in business, there is more help now than ever to ensuring women have every opportunity to succeed, and when women succeed, we all benefit.