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Wendy McDonald, former CEO of BC Bearing Engineers of Burnaby, BC., who passed away Dec. 30, 2012. (Handout)
Wendy McDonald, former CEO of BC Bearing Engineers of Burnaby, BC., who passed away Dec. 30, 2012. (Handout)

Small Business Briefing

Legacy: One business, three husbands, 10 kids Add to ...

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A woman of many empires

Wendy McDonald left quite a legacy when she died on Dec. 30, at the age of 90, the Vancouver Sun writes in this obituary. The former CEO of BC Bearing Engineers incorporated the company in 1944, after her husband, Robert McPherson – who had started the business in 1936 – was sent overseas during the Second World War.

Ms. McDonald was pregnant at the time, and the couple already had two young children. When her husband returned, he took over day-to-day operations and she went back to running the household. In 1950, Mr. MacPherson was killed in a plane crash and Ms. McDonald was once again in charge of the company. By then, she had four children to raise.

By the time her third husband had passed away, in 1969, Ms. McDonald is said to have declared: “Three is enough.” (And by then there were six more children in the mix.)

When she finally retired in 2000 – putting one of her son’s in charge – the business had expanded to 60 locations with sales above $200 million.

Giving back to the community

U.S. entrepreneur Tory Johnson has donated $500 (U.S.) to each of 115 families in New York’s Staten Island to help them recover from hardships suffered in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. The founder of online recruiting site Women for Hire is also the author of Spark and Hustle and a contributor to ABC’s Good Morning America. “I raised $100,000 in donations,” she says on the WABC website. “And I've taken families affected by the storm to get whatever they need. Tools, stoves, clothes, and when I heard that 115 families at this school were affected, I did the math and there are $500 gift cards for every family.”

Worst company to work for?

Last year, the website 247WallSt.com named U.S.-based Dish Network the worst company to work for in the United States. It started the selection process by cruising entries on glassdoor.com, an online service that gives employees a forum to talk about their jobs. Dish is hardly a small business, with tens of thousands of employees, but a there are a number of insights on how the company is run, and what firms of any size can learn from its leadership, in this feature on the BusinessWeek website.


How to tap the Brazilian market

The Brazil Canada Chamber of Commerce has partnered with the Ontario Ministry of Economic Development and Innovation for a seminar entitled Practical Steps to Expand Your Business to Brazil. It takes place Jan. 22, and ‘expert’ speakers will share knowledge and answer some frequently asked questions about exporting and establishing a presence in Brazil. Click here if you’re interested in registering. Cost is $30 for members, and $50 for non-members.

Trade mission to three countries

Canadian companies are invited to take part in a trade mission to Saudi Arabia from March 1 to 3, the United Arab Emirates from March 4 to 5, and Kuwait from March 6 to 7, focused on the infrastructure and green building sectors. Trade commissioners say the trip will introduce Canadian engineering companies to key public and private players involved in the development of infrastructure projects as well as forging new partnerships and alliances in each of these markets. It’s being organized by the Canadian Trade Commissioner Service in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, in Dubai and in Kuwait.


Membership has its privileges

Yes, there are costs to join, but here’s why there’s a net benefit for small business owners and operators to belong to organizations such as board of trades or chambers of commerce.


The other network

When you think of your business’s network, you might think of computers, telephones or electricity. There’s another network that isn’t technically a part of your infrastructure, but it should be, columnist Chris Griffiths wrote in July, 2012.

That’s your professional network, and adding to and maintaining it is one of the most cost-effective and valuable benefits to your business.“Probably finding ones that did work well would be more the exception than the rule,” Mr. Thornhill adds.Got a tip on news, events or other timely information related to the small-business community? E-mail us atsmallbusiness@globeandmail.com. Join The Globe’s Small Business LinkedIn group to network with other entrepreneurs and to discuss topical issues:http://linkd.in/jWWdzT. Our free weekly newsletter is now available. Every Friday a team of editors selects the top picks from our blog posts, features, multimedia and columnists, and delivers them to your inbox. If you have registered for The Globe’s website, you cansign up here. Click on the Small Business Briefing checkbox and hit ‘save changes.’ If you need to register for the site,click here.

Follow on Twitter: @seanstanleigh

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