She Summits – Carla Cupido and Laura Vanderveer
Carla Cupido and Laura Vanderveer are the driving force behind She Summits which is an organization that elevates women of all ages through movement inspired events, film festivals, and consciously curated products and services.
Tell us about your business and how you came up with the idea.
She Summits developed organically. I (Carla) was practicing as a chiropractor and leading movement classes in Lynn Canyon when I stumbled across an Australian-borne female-centric film festival. I felt like bringing this film festival to North Vancouver would be a great way to pull our community together and celebrate strong, capable females. It was a great success and it led to a collaboration for an event in April 2019 with Vancouver International Film Festival (VIMFF).
That event along with the connections I’d built in the movement and health space over the past decade led into more and more events and a growing community. After our October 2019 festival, Laura van der Veer, a long time business contact and acquaintance approached me with the idea of partnership. I knew Laura well enough to know that she’d be a fantastic partner and we shared the same mission – to elevate more multi-generational females.
Laura and I both believe that one-by-one, if we all live lit up, we make the world a better place! COVID changed so much, but not our mission. We’ve added new offerings and deepened our support tools – from movement classes to small business mentorship. What a journey we’ve both been on individually and now together to get to this point!
How are you hoping that your clientele will benefit from your offerings?
It’s our ultimate mission to elevate more womxn of all generations through the development of their own sense of agency. We believe this begins within the body, which is why we believe movement training is such an important part of She Summits.
When we train the body, we naturally train the mind and lift the spirit – this is the foundation and when we add elements of inspiration and education, we believe the flame is lit in someone with the inner and outer strength necessary to take the action they feel is needed for either themselves or our world.
It’s all a cycle. When womxn are lit up – they make change – they lead in entrepreneurship, making things, creating products and services our world can benefit from, this is where the marketplace comes in and of course, our mentorship offerings. When these women thrive, they support more womxn and the cycle repeats, growing the number of multi-generational womxn leading in their lives with clarity and creating a ripple effect of positive change around them.
The current environment has caused you to make a major pivot. How is that going, and what are your biggest challenges?
Oh yes! It really has. It’s been another organic development for us. COVID of course shut down our 2020 Tour and so we pivoted to our areas of expertise. As co-directors with different strengths, we stepped into areas we knew we could generate income and went for it. I (Carla) am a chiropractor and have taught movement classes for years, which led me into teaching online classes. Laura’s background is in mentorship and community development, so that was a natural progression for her to launch our mentorship program.
It was amazing how these were added out of necessity but we now realize that these facets of She Summits are what make us the full-circle, holistic business we are. We don’t want to inspire womxn and not provide tools to help them make the change they wish to see. We have a beautiful community around us and are able to truly support our community – of speakers, participants, filmmakers, entrepreneurs, fellow movement lovers.
You have been involved with some interesting companies over the years. Tell us about your most significant business learnings.
Laura and I would have different answers here as we’ve had very different experiences over the years in business pre-She Summits. However, if we’re going to talk within our past year of working together, we wouldn’t select the company, we would select the people we get to work with within the company.
Jessica O’Dowd with Arc’Teryx made so much happen for us that would have been such a grind without her support. We can say the same for FOX and RaceFace when Lina Gomez was on their team. Ripcurl’s Nick Russell has taken an extra awesome stand as both a corporate supporter and father of two daughters. Filmmakers have been amazing like Bjarne Salen, Travis Rummel, and Ben Knight! Athletes like Andreane Lantheir Nadeau, Lynn Hill, Farinaz Lari, Tara Llanes, and Mathea and Sanoa Olin. Community leaders like Judy Milay and Shayla Stonechild.
It’s the people who make a company work. It’s the people on our team like our designer Iveta Lekesova, our filmmaker Tavi Parusel, our tech supporter Dylan Morgan, and of course our advisors of whom we have many.
It’s our volunteer team. It’s our family. It’s our friends. Our community is who we learn from every single day. They show us how we can be better. They lead us and we’re doing our best to keep our minds and hearts open to keep learning so we can continue to grow and serve this beautiful community even better.
Have you had some mentors along your business journey, and what value have they added?
Mentorship has been invaluable to us. We’ve been so blessed to have incredible people truly get behind us and generously share their time and wisdom with us.
We’ve had powerhouses like Brent Martin, the former owner of Ryders Eyewear; Lotte Davis of One Girl Can and AG Hair; Director of VIMFF Alan Formanek; Therese Quigley, one of the first female Canadian University Athletic Directors; Andrea Southcott of Redshift Collective; and countless more who have invested their time in us and very palpably, their belief in Laura and myself, in addition to our mission.
What advice would you give other entrepreneurs?
If you believe in what you’re doing – keep going. It’s not easy. Business is something that will kick you down and you need to be able to get back up, time and time again. When you believe in your mission, it’s all worth it and if you’re wise in your decisions, things will work out.
Seek mentorship and support along your path. Give yourself mental holidays. Ask for the opinions of people who are experts in areas you are not. Be humble. Be open. Most importantly, trust yourself.
What brought you joy this week?
Both Laura and I found joy this week in watching our daughters. Laura’s daughter just turned 21 and is a true go-getter and is just on fire chasing down her goals, especially this week. This brings Laura great joy watching her daughter thrive.
My girls are 5 and almost 8 and watching them adapt to the new ways we’ve taken on learning (school) during COVID has been really inspiring and has brought me a whole lotta joy.
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