International Women’s Day, celebrated on the 8th of March every year, is a focal point in the movement for women’s rights.
Quebec is home to a number of business leaders and entrepreneurs who are making waves with their achievements.
In celebration of International Women’s Day, here are some local women who are taking their leadership, businesses, and brands to new heights.
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Sarah Jenna, Montreal
Company: My Intelligent Machines
Position: Co-founder & CEO
My Intelligent Machines was named in Microsoft’s Great Canadian Innovators 2018 Yearbook for the trailblazing work managed by co-founder and CEO Sarah Jenna. The company aims to empower the life of the science industry with big analytical data and artificial intelligence.
Marie Philip Simard, Montreal
Company: Chic Marie
Position: Founder and CEO
Chic Marie is a service-based clothing rental company. For $65 to $96 a month, customers can rent up to three boxes of clothes a month, offering an “unlimited wardrobe that will meet the needs of women from all walks of life.”
Think of it is as the Netflix of fashion: trendy clothes delivered right to your door as often as desired.
Marie-Philip Simard, the company founder, has strived to offer women a way to change up their looks, as often as they wish. “Different colours, styles, fabrics and cuts are all just a few clicks away,” reads the Chic Marie website.
Margaret Magdesian, Sainte-Marthe-Sur-Le-Lac
Company: Ananda Devices
Position: Founder and CEO
Margaret Magdesian is a pharmacologist and biochemist with over 20 years’ experience. She founded Ananda Devices after eight years of research at McGill University, and is driving to improve drug development to treat brain and spinal cord injuries.
Her quest to find out “how the nervous system is broken and how we can reconnect it,” as noted in the video above, is the underpin to Ananda’s human organ-on-a-chip platform.
Magdesian is one of the finalists competing in the 2019 Cartier Women’s Initiative Awards. She is one of three finalists from North America in the running, and among 21 finalists in total. Ananda has sold over 3,000 organs-on-a-chip and can produce up to 500 a day.
Valerie Munger and Silvia Gallo, Montreal
MATLETIK was created in 2017 to empower women to continue living an active lifestyle during pregnancy. The brand focuses on designing clothing that is trendy and comfortable with performance attributes that allow moms-to-be to move and workout in adequate clothes.
“We founded MATLETIK to empower women to continue living their active lifestyle during their pregnancy,” reads the company’s website. “Our goal is to allow moms-to-be to stay healthy and feel great in their skin and perform any sport in a stylish looking outfit, while having freedom of movement and maximum comfort. ”
Carolyne Paren and Mélanie Heyberger, Montreal
Company: From Rachel
Rachel is the story of two young women from Montreal who morning after morning, kept asking themselves, ‘What will I wear today?’
Co-founders Carolyne Paren and Mélanie Heyberger created From Rachel, an e-commerce and subscription box service.
“It’s Rachel’s mission to help shoppers look great and to evolve their personal style by offering a unique product selection of tights, and more,” states the website.
Andrea Merlano, Montreal
Position: Founder and CEO
Party, rinse, repeat.
Andrea Merlano Tascan launched her design of FluteSPa, a simple and elegant solution to the hassle of washing wine, flute, and champagne classes without breaking them.
Tascan has a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Economics and a Graduate Diploma in Management, both from McGill University.
Her FluteSpa idea was pitched on the 2018 season of Dragon’s Den and she successfully struck a deal with Canadian businessman Jim Treliving and his 400+ restaurants and stores.
“With FluteSpa, we can focus on enjoying our bubbly and forget about the mess.”
Béatrice Couture, Montreal
CyberEco is a company that “aims to limit the risks associated with cyber threats by educating businesses and individuals about fraudulent practices.”
A corporate lawyer by trade, Béatrice Couture, the company’s president, also founded and managed InnoCité MTL, the first Canadian smart city startup accelerator that aimed to solve urban issues.
Mahay Dumas-Tremblay & Genevieve Beaulieu, Montreal
Mahay Dumas-Tremblay and Genevieve Beaulieu founded Nuda Canada, a company that offers spray tanning and products as an alternative to tanning beds.
All of Nuda’s ingredients are all-natural and its active ingredient, Dihydroxyacetone (DHA), creates a bronzing effect. DHA is derived from sugar cane or beet root and doesn’t pose any health risks.
Cassie L. Rhéaume, Montreal
Company: Lighthouse Labs
Position: General Manager
Along with leading Lighthouse Labs Montreal, Cassie L. Rhéaume is also the lead of the Montreal chapter of Canada Learning Code, which provides education around coding to women, kids, teens, and teachers.
Founded in 2013, Lighthouse Labs is a modern, immersive education approach for web and mobile software development. The company’s hands-on and accelerated coding bootcamps help people’s careers as software developers.
Chloé Freslon, Montreal
URelles is the first French-language podcast on women in tech. Founded by tech journalist Chloé Freslon, she aims to add more women and diversity into the North American tech industry.