Irini Mikhael was at the top of her field in 2008, working as a chemical engineer at a global gas company, when she decided to quit her job. The then-25-year-old was pregnant, and she quickly discovered that finding the right daycare for her growing family was a struggle. So Mikhael engineered her own solution. She bought a plot of land in Richmond Hill, Ont. and built Lullaboo, a brand new childcare centre for her daughter. She never went back to work at that gas company. Today, Mikhael’s business is thriving. Lullaboo has expanded to nine locations across the province, and has several additional locations under construction. On this episode of Editor’s Edition, Mikhael takes us through her unconventional journey and the lessons she has learned along the way. She also provides advice for aspiring entrepreneurs, and takes us through the impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on women in the workforce.
Slacktivism, or the practice of supporting a cause on social media or through online petitions with a low level of commitment, is changing. Ramona Pringle, a technology expert and associate professor at Ryerson University, says in the past year more celebrities have made larger efforts to do more to support causes. She said that the evolution of activism has been substantial. “A lot of the criticism or cynicism around slacktivism had to do with things like campaigns to change your profile picture, where it feels like everyone wants to do good, or they just want to get on board because everyone else is doing it,” she said. That changed last year when K-Pop groups rallied together to help raise funds for the Black Lives Matter Movement, she said. “There was this match a million campaign… where they said to their army, their legion of stans that if they could raise a million dollars among the community they would match it,” she said. “They could have started with that and just brought awareness to it to a global audience, but instead they said let’s raise some funds, put your cash and we’ll match it.”
People are using social media, now more than ever, to build their brand and branch out to sell their products and expertise. Ramona Pringle, a technology expert and associate professor at Ryerson University, says in the latest Editor’s Edition that unlike Rihanna, a pop star who built her social media presence from her existing audience, there are many building their online following from square one. One example is Studio McGee, a family-owned design business that was promoted on Instagram, which led to the family’s own design-focused Netflix show. “This is the social media influencer’s fairy tale,” Pringle said. “It is what everyone is hoping for, a TV show, a product line.” Pringle says that social media has offered people another road to success. “There’s more opportunity for people to make something for themselves,” she said.