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RURAL GIRL FEATURE: Alberta Women Entrepreneurs (AWE) CEO has Rural Roots

Last week, we sat down with super stylish Marcela Mandeville, the new CEO of Alberta Women Entrepreneurs. AWE is the only organization in Alberta dedicated to enabling women to build successful businesses. Women entrepreneurs can obtain financing from AWE and have access to its tremendous start-up and growth programs.

Marcela, an entrepreneur herself, hails from Beaumont, Alberta and is intent on seeing more rural participation in AWE. Her vision for the organization got us so excited that we invited Marcela to speak in High Prairie in 2017. Stay tuned for that RFG Women in Business talk!

We met Marcela among the rich textures of Edmonton's Hotel MacDonald lounge and portraits of The Famous Five, five Alberta women who, in 1928, worked to have women recognized as 'persons' under the law so that they too could be appointed to the Canadian Senate. It was the perfect setting. These gals were sophisticated with a touch of badassery, just like Marcela. 


Marcela is wearing a statement red jacket by Tribal ($153). It's the ultimate colour and length. A definite confidence boosting jacket for women in business.

Q. What was it like growing up in Beaumont, Alberta.

My hometown shaped me. We had dirt roads and four way stops. It looked a lot different back then. My friends lived on farms and acreages. My family was the diversity at that time. My mother is Mexican and my father is First Nations. We moved to Beaumont because it had a good reputation for French immersion. Mom, as an immigrant, wanted her kids to speak both of Canada's official languages and have a strong sense of community. Growing up rural was grounding and people seemed to fit in even though they were different or outcasts. For the most part, my classmates were intrigued when I came back from Mexico every year. I would bring gifts for everybody from the markets. I suppose it opened their eyes to the world, too. 


Q. Why do you like to support local businesses and women in business?

I like supporting those businesses because I saw them shut down when I was a kid. It's that reciprocity economy that fits into all of the cultures that I'm from. In rural places, what you have, you share. It’s just in the culture. You help each other. You give to and buy from each other. I'm currently participating in the #Buy16in16 campaign which encourages consumers to "buy with purpose and buy from women in 2016. WEConnect International is challenging buyers to purchase at least 16 products or services from 16 different women-owned businesses. My new shoes and clothes from Rural Fashion Girl will be a part of my 16 in 16 challenge!


Marcela is wearing a LUXX Ready to Wear multicoloured blazer with magnets. It looks great open for flowing look or closed for an architectural look. (Reg. $155. Now $75).

Q. How would you describe your style?

[Laughs]. Good question. Not sure. I’d have to ask an outside person. Classic for the most part. Rather, it's classic with a touch of edge. Not in your face. There is always something in my outfit that I find interesting and different. I don’t subscribe to one style. I come from so many different places that it changes day to day. One day I’m in jeans and a t-shirt, and the next I'm wearing a sexy black dress. It's a far cry from the SAAN days of Beaumont though! We all shopped there. We literally wore the same outfit on the first day of school: jelly shoes, stirrup pants, and sweatshirt with a mouse on it. [Laughs}.


Q. What are your rules for dressing professionally?

I don’t believe in a lot of rules. Stick with what makes you feel confident. It will shine through. As far as specifics, a good fitting blazer is essential. I also love dresses. Someone from my board said that I inspired her to wear good dresses. That was nice to hear. 


For more information about AWE and Marcela, please visit http://www.awebusiness.com/team/.

Here's an article about Marcela's recent talk in Beaumont as the keynote of the local Chamber of Commerce: http://www.thebeaumontnews.ca/2016/10/27/bringing-change-equality-for-female-entrepreneurs





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