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A Day in the Life of Women Serving in the Canadian Navy

I grew up in a military family.  My Dad proudly served in the Canadian Air Force for 25 years.  This career gave him an expertise, and our family a stable paycheck.  Yes, we moved a lot but new schools aside, I loved our life.

It was probably hardest on my mom as she had to pack us all up, leave the house so clean that the floors gleamed, (yes, we had a military inspection), and then help us all to adjust to new communities.  Being a kid, it never occurred to me that she also left friends and great jobs behind.  Society dictated that she be a good wife.  Mom never let on if she felt resentful.  She supported Dad’s career with an attitude of ‘here we go, off on another adventure.’  I am grateful to her.

Pamela Chatry women serving Canadian Navy 1

On July 5th, I had the amazing opportunity to experience life on board the HMSC Regina as part of Women Leaders at Sea.  When the invitation popped into my email box, I couldn’t respond fast enough!  This would give me an opportunity to see our modern military in action, and introduce me to the changed role of women serving our country.

Women are now serving equally alongside men in battle, flying rescue helicopters, or posted to positions in the submarine service and navel ships.  By spending the day at sea with VIP’s such as Rear Admiral Art McDonald, Commodore Marta Mulkins, and Honourary Colonel Diane McCurdy, the day gave myself and 100 other professional women the opportunity to see both women and men contribute equally in day-to-day working operations of the ship.

In addition to traditional roles such as medicine, we were introduced to women serving as Engineers, Fire Fighters, Gun Operators, and Military Tacticians. The culture on board the ship was that everyone is equal, with each person playing a part in the safety and security of the ship, along with their team members.  We were given tours of the numerous departments of the ship, and experienced how the modern-day military fights, but more importantly, protects and defends.  Canadians should be proud that we still encourage our military to serve as peacekeepers.

I am grateful to the Women Leaders at Sea day with the Canadian Navy.  It gave me lessons that translate to my business.  We saw the navy demonstrate team building and negotiation skills, create a positive and respectful workplace, train in non-traditional careers, and best of all, actively support the belief that women can do any job.  It validated that we just need to be given the opportunity, then trained and supported in our roles.

After an amazing day at sea, I now know that there really is, “No life like it!”

Pamela Chatry women serving Canadian Navy 2


Pamela Chatry women serving Canadian Navy 3

A guest blog post by Pamela Chatry.

Pamela Chatry has been a trusted and highly skilled Premier Business Advisor and Mentor for over 25 years. Pamela’s knowledge and expertise have helped numerous business owners develop and implement outcome-based solutions to overcome the challenges posed by growth businesses. More about Pamela here.


Interested in being a guest blog post author for BPW Abbotsford? Please contact us at bpwabbotsford@gmail.com.



BPW Member Profile – Arlene Simpson

Hello our wonderful BPW community! September is almost here and that means that we will start our monthly meetings again! Until then, we have another MEMBER PROFILE for you, this time of our fearless leader, Arlene Simpson.




Photographer & Owner, photoart by Simpson


How I got started in my line of work, and the best lesson I learned along the way.

In 1978, after graduation, I went to work for Andrew Simpson – photographer and owner of Clearbrook Photo Studios, aka photoart by Simpson. I didn’t know anything about the field I was getting into. Andrew had done my graduation portraits and, in that hour, we talked about life and his dreams and aspirations. Within 2 months I was working at the studio, learning things that had never occurred to me could be a career.

Throughout the next 30 years, I enrolled in classes and took week-long seminars. I learned my craft and made sure I remained up to date with new trends and styles. Andrew and I work well as a team, the ying and yang of 38 years in partnership.

I learned in life that no matter what you do, when you wake up in the morning you have a choice. You can choose to either have a great day or a bad day, to either love or be annoyed with the person you are with. I learned to choose to surround myself with positive people at work and in my personal life.

My greatest achievement and my biggest challenge so far.

My greatest achievement is two-fold:

My partner, I could not have found a better man with whom to spend 24/7.

My 2 beautiful children, who have given my life such purpose and happiness. Ashley is exactly like me and Andrew William is a lot like his father. Both of our children have careers in the photographic arts.

My biggest challenge so far was acknowledging that my career has taken a big shift with the digital age and things are not as easy as they once were. My profession is not always taken seriously, but it has been my life. I wish people would not think of my field as a hobby (although for some it is) but as a profession. This is partly why people perceive photography as a “lesser” career compared to others.

Character traits one should have in order to be successful in my line of work.

In my job, you need all-encompassing character traits. You need to be friendly, compassionate and a good listener. In addition, I found that as a woman I needed to be strong. I wasn’t always outwardly strong… that came in time, but I always felt fierce on the inside, something that needed calming at times. You have to be able to laugh with your clients as well as understand the emotions involved in a photographic session. You have to be able to do what it takes to achieve your goals, not to give up and to just love people.

A resource (book, website etc.) that helped me professionally.

As a member of The Professional Photographers of Canada/BC for the past 30 years, I was able to attend lectures and receive instruction from world famous photographers and business speakers. I have been inspired to do better and broaden my expertise, as well as grow my business. Without my association with the Canadian photographers I would not be who I am today.

A person whose life and/or work I admire, and why.

I wouldn’t say that I admire any one person over another. Each person that has come and gone in my life has left an imprint and I have taken that and added it to the rest.

My take on work/life balance.

Early on in our work/home relationship, Andrew and I decided that no business conversation between us would be conducted after 8 pm. This separates our work and home life, leaving us time to relax.

I enjoy gardening, kayaking, hiking, white wine on my deck with friends, travelling abroad and weekends in Vancouver. Over the years, we opened the world to our children by having them with us when we travelled. I plan to do a lot more of all of this in the next couple of years, only this time it’s going to be just Andrew and I.

Advice to a young person just deciding on what career they are going to pursue.

Choosing a career these days is different than years ago, because now careers change every 7-10 years. I would suggest that you choose something that makes you happy… to love what you do.

It is very important to take a business course, especially if you are an entrepreneur, in both big and small business. As a photographer, you must know more than “how to take pretty pictures”. Knowing your worth is what your business will be founded on. This is a great career and the art industry is a fantastic way to move through the world, either through your clients’ eyes or your own.

How my best friend would describe me.

From my friend, Vivian:

“My long time sisterly-friend is one of the strongest women I know and respect. She is ambitious and hard-working. She protects and shares her joy and peace. She supports her family and friends. She is exceptionally inclusive and kind. She stands up for what is right, even if she has to stand all by herself.”

The title of the last book I read.

The last book I read was by Robert Goolrick, “Heading Out to Wonderful” a rousing and intoxicating historical potboiler!

My favourite thing about BPW.

In the beginning, my favourite thing about BPW was the opportunity to have lunch with like-minded business women from our community.  I did not know much about the organization. I had been told that this group would be a perfect place for me, and I thought I would give it a try. After a couple of luncheons, I became a member and was “volunteered” into the Woman of the Year 2015 organization committee.

I didn’t realize the impact that BPW has until I attended the National Convention in August 2016. My role quickly changed from Treasurer to President, one I was hoping I could fulfill with energy and new ideas. The friends that I have made through this group have been amazing.

Most of us probably don’t even notice important situations that are affecting women all over the world, unless we are somehow affected by them. I want to think that now I am there for the young women currently fighting the good fight, that I am part of the change.



BPW Member Profile – Maggie Reimer

Hello dear BPW community! We hope you are enjoying your summer and we can’t wait to reconnect in September, when our monthly meetings begin again. In the meantime, as promised, we are debuting out newest feature: the BPW Member Profile!

The first BPW Abbotsford member being profiled, and our guinea pig for this feature, is Maggie Reimer. Maggie has been a BPW member for 15 years, and has served on the executive for most of that time.

Maggie Reimer has been an active and devoted member of our community, however – as we are publishing this blog post, she is starting her second career: enjoying life with her family and traveling. And she deserves it! We can think of no better way to honor her commitment and hard work than by sharing this interview and her advice to ladies in the club and not only.


BPW Member Profile – MAGGIE REIMER

Investment Advisor & CFP, RBC Wealth Management Dominion Securities Inc.


BPW Member Profile - Maggie Reimer
How I got started in my line of work, and the best lesson I learned along the way. 

How I got started in my career goes back to my first job with the Royal Trust Company in Edmonton. I literally went door to door in downtown Edmonton asking if they had a job for me. Turns out – Royal Trust was looking for a clerk in their investment department… that was May 1970. I remained in the financial services industry for all of my career – 47 years. I retired from RBC Dominion Securities after 11 years and would do it all over again! The best lesson I learned along the way is to have faith in yourself and just go for it!

My greatest achievement and my biggest challenge so far.

My greatest achievement was being accepted and respected by not only my clients but my male counterparts. There are few women who become Investment Advisers in wealth management and we seem to have to work harder to prove ourselves. My biggest challenge would be trying to balance work and life style, especially with a child who was terminally ill. During the Global Financial Crisis, I ran from the hospital to my office for four months, back and forth, because I had a son to care for but I also had many, many clients who needed me to be there for them also. Oh! Not to mention my husband and my other two children.

Character traits one should have in order to be successful in my line of work.

First and foremost, you must be honest, be a person of high integrity and compassion. You need to listen to what your clients are telling you. You also need to be a good teacher and guidance counsellor.

A resource (book, website etc.) that helped me professionally.

I started increasing my knowledge by taking courses offered through the Institute of Canadian Bankers at UBC and SFU. I also took courses offered by the Canadian Securities Institute and the Canadian Financial Planning Standards Council. Additionally, there are yearly education credits required to maintain your accreditation in the Advisory role.

A person whose life and/or work I admire, and why.

There was no “one” person whose life I admire but there are many who influenced me.

My take on work/life balance.

Work and life style balance was always weighted to work. If I could have changed something in my career, it would have been to have learned to say “no” and go home on time!

Advice to a young person just deciding on what career they are going to pursue.

I have told many young people to follow their passion… find a job you are best suited for and become great at doing it.

How my best friend would describe me.

My best friend would say that I care too much for people and care too much for what people think of me. I take on too much and try to squeeze that one more thing into a day, which often causes me to be late. I am a “cup half full” type of person and I love my life and the people in it.

The title of the last book I read.

Because my job required me to read so much research, I read purely for enjoyment and the last book I read was The Patriots Club by Christopher Reich.

My favourite thing about BPW.

My favourite thing about BPW is that it gives me an opportunity to meet interesting people and increase my knowledge by listening to their stories.



BPW Abbotsford Membership Benefits

i May 10th No Comments by

Dear BPW community, today marks the first entry we make into our brand-new blog! We are beyond thrilled about the topics we have in store for you!
Since we are currently running a very special offer on our yearly membership, we are excited to begin our blogging adventures with a post about BPW Abbotsford membership benefits.

BPW Membership Benefits

BPW Abbotsford Membership Benefits

We want to help you succeed! In order to do this, we combine the advantages of the greater BPW International organization with a few opportunities that we created especially for our chapter members. Here they are:

Member pricing:

  • $10 reduction in the monthly lunch/dinner cost.
  • Member pricing when attending events at other chapters (i.e. Langley).
  • Special member pricing at member’s businesses.

Exposure for your business:

  • Advertise your business on the BPW website, newsletters and social media channels.
  • Promote your business in a 5-minute presentation at BPW lunches or dinners.
  • Display information about your business (flyers, brochures, business cards etc.) at the Member Table available at every BPW meeting.
  • Promote your events on the Event Calendar on the BPW Abbotsford website.

Develop your personal brand:

  • Network and build friendships with like-minded women.
  • Develop your leadership capabilities, self-confidence and networking skills in a supportive environment.
  • Meet and listen to inspirational guest speakers each month.
  • Learn more about issues affecting women, as well as about how you could help.
  • Connect with members of other BPW chapters in Canada and internationally.

Make a difference for women in our community

  • Help select two senior secondary school graduates to receive the annual BPW Abbotsford $1,000 bursaries.
  • Contribute your organizational and creative skills to organize the Woman of the Year gala every 2 years.
  • Apply your leadership skills to an Executive position and build closer relationships with the other women on the Executive.

Influence change globally

  • Attend BPW Provincial and National Conventions.
  • Contribute to the advocacy work that BPW members all over the globe lead.


  • Personalized plated name tag.
  • Special events hosted by the club in support of other organizations.
  • And… drum roll…

 The “BPW Member Profile” – our newest feature!

Every month, BPW Abbotsford will publish an interview with one of its members on this blog. The interview will highlight, among other things, the member’s achievements and any advice for women just beginning their professional journeys. The Member Profile blog post will be featured in the BPW Abbotsford monthly newsletter and on our social media channels.


Please contact us at bpwabbotsford@gmail.com if you have any questions about membership. We would love to tell you more about BPW Abbotsford and the wonderful women it brings together.

Thank you for reading our first blog post! We encourage comments, questions and suggestions and we hope to see you at our next meeting!




The BPW Abbotsford Executive.