Last night, my assistant Gabriella Luchetta and I attended the “Making it in High Heels” mixer and schmooze-fest, hosted by Sanjay Burman of Burman Books, a successful Toronto-based publisher specializing in motivational and transformational books.          http://www.burmanbooksmediacorp.com/20160119_192814The venue, Toronto’s Hard Rock Cafe, was soon filled to capacity with young women, many  of whom were emerging entrepreneurs, as well as established business leaders and women of influence.  Sanjay presents these networking events throughout the year and has established “Making it in High Heels” as one of the most popular mixer events in the city. His authors deal with all manner of inspirational and business-focused how-to’s and autobiographical subjects, and many were in attendance last night.20160119_194755DSC00317 DSC00313 DSC00323I ran into a number of fabulous ladies, including Raj Girn (below), founder of Anokhi Media and host of her own web-TV show  http://www.openchest.com/DSC00302I really liked Raj’s groovy “boot muffs”…DSC00308Sanjay (below) also welcomed this hard-working media maven and leading light in the South Asian community…20160119_194228Gabriella was kept busy, snapping away throughout the crowded Hard Rock Cafe …everywhere you looked, there were cool ladies and we were all excited to meet the special guest Sanjay had lined up to inspire us.20160119_19443620160119_19463820160119_194518Greetings and introductions were made, then Sanjay invited his guest speaker to the stage….IMG_2387Please meet Vivian Risi…DSC00351Vivian took the stage then captivated us with her tales of making it on her own, in her own way! The entire room was hushed as she regaled us with funny, scary, emotional and inspiring stories of climbing the success ladder one hard-fought rung at a time, starting in the 70’s when the male-dominated real estate sector made it almost impossible for young women to rise above anything other than a secretary.IMG_2391Vivian’s real estate career began in 1974. When she discovered that the company she worked for had been sold, and she was faced with a very uncertain future, Vivian risked everything in order to create my own destiny. With little business experience or money, she bought the company!  In just 15 years, she turned a sales office of 18 people into Your Community Realty, with 12 offices and over 1,000 realtors, and has become the top broker and #1 independently owned franchise for Royal LePage in Canada. For 10 consecutive years, her company owned the number one market share in their local market. Vivian told us that one of her greatest gifts has been her ability now to contribute to more than 30 charities each year. “It’s not always about money, it’s about time,” says Risi. “Donating your time is a great way to give back.”

This outstanding Ontarian has been the recipient of the Shelter Foundation’s Philanthropist of the Year Award, the YMCA Peace Medallion, Richmond Hill’s Mayor’s Award for Business Excellence, the York Region Business Excellence award, and the Vaughan Chamber of Commerce’s Philanthropic Business Person of the Year award for her charitable efforts.  www.yourcommunityrealty.com

Vivian took our collective breath away! And the minute she left the stage, she was surrounded by congratulatory crowds of women wanting to share their own stories with her, seeking snippets of advice and her encouragement.IMG_2397 20160119_205942…and I was thrilled to see Gabriella spend some time with Vivian who was so kind and patient with all her fans.20160119_211527What a great night! Sometimes you go to these things not expecting much or maybe thinking you’ll leave after an hour or so, but Sanjay always delivers and this was definitely one of his best events to date. Even his adorable mum, Mini Burman, came out to support the night (below).20160119_210357I definitely recommend attending the next “Making it in High Heels” which is scheduled for sometime in October (the book launch for Vivian’s new book) – you just never know who you’ll meet and what opportunities will present themselves.DSC00372 DSC00375IMG_2396IMG_2395