Oh boy, it’s almost Valentine’s Day, and I met a woman yesterday whose family is partly responsible for bringing me some of my fondest memories of Valentine’s Day as a child. Her name is Karen Flavelle, and she is the owner of Purdy’s Chocolates in Vancouver, a company that currently ranks in the top 50 in Canada to work for. Karen spoke at my mom’s group, mCentred, and she lit up our boardroom full of moms telling us about growing up as the daughter of Purdy’s owner since 1963, Charles Flavelle. Now, as a mother of 3 grown kids, she explained how she and her husband managed to raise them while also lighting their own work worlds in business and finance on fire (lots of planning, teamwork and strategizing).
Apparently, chocolate didn’t play much into her own childhood unless they had parties and dinner guests, but if she and her siblings helped out at the factory on Saturdays, they were allowed to eat the chocolate at the end of the day -tummy aches usually followed. After university, Karen didn’t start out her business life working for her father, but she did work her way up the corporate ladders at General Mills and Cara Operations in Toronto before purchasing Purdy’s from her dad in 1997. She’s been hands on since then while also embodying one of the most dynamic and business savvy women in Canada. It was such a pleasure to meet her yesterday and hear her honest account of both the difficulties and triumphs of being a woman in a predominantly-male field. One member of our group asked her about the proverbial “glass ceiling” in the workplace for women.
Karen replied that the idea of a glass ceiling is directly related to how you look at problems and that a ceiling describes something you cannot control. She prefers to look at difficulties as hurdles. Hurdles are just obstacles to get past: you figure out the best way to do that -over, under, around, whatever -and keep making your way.
Now that’s what I call great advice!
Karen brought us 2 of Purdy’s new artisan Single Origin dark chocolate bars from Peru (slightly fruity, intense chocolate flavour) and Ecuador (roasty, more fudgy flavour) to taste test, and also some Himalayan Pink Salt Caramels to sample. I was swooning!
So yes, I got my chocolate fill yesterday in that boardroom with Karen Flavelle, and also some amazing nuggets of wisdom from a fellow mom and business woman. But I’m still putting together some little bundles of love for my kids for Valentine’s day -I like to give them a small jar to fill with some candies & those beautiful foil-wrapped Purdy’s heart chocolates, as well as a new book. After school, we’ll come home and eat some chocolate and read by the fire before (a super-healthy) dinner. I can’t wait!
Here’s Karen and I signing the ASL sign for CHOCOLATE:
Thanks, Karen! (And I think I owe some credit to my mom for passing on her love for Purdy’s chocolate at Valentine’s Day, too!)
Happy Valentine’s Day to you, and your lovies!