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Gloria Rajkumar, president and CEO of SIMAC Canada Inc.
Gloria Rajkumar, president and CEO of SIMAC Canada Inc.

Guest Column

Women entrepreneurs swap stories in Rio Add to ...

“When you cease to dream, you cease to live.”

I had heard the famous Malcolm S. Forbes quote before, but it has never resonated more strongly than when I heard it spoken by his great-granddaughter, Moira Forbes, at the Dell Women’s Entrepreneur Network (DWEN) in Rio de Janeiro this week.

I see myself as a successful female entrepreneur. I have built my medical assessment company from nothing to a $12 million venture in just 10 years. I was honoured to be invited to this gathering of some of the most innovative and impressive women entrepreneurs, CEOs and business leaders in the world. I was even a little intimidated, wondering whether I was in the same league as some of the other participants.

But after meeting the incredible women at this conference, and hearing that quote again, I realized that we are all the same. We are women who had a dream, and who had the vision, the strength and the determination to see that dream through.

The conference has been an amazing experience. The energy is incredible and the knowledge being exchanged is beyond priceless. While all of the sessions were insightful and valuable, I was particularly impressed by the Moira Forbes interview with Arianna Huffington, president and editor-in-chief of Huffington Post Media Group. Ms. Huffington’s comments on following your instincts when it comes to hiring really resonated – the people you recruit to support and build your dream can make all the difference in how successful you are.

The Perfecting Your Pitch session was another highlight. The opportunity to present a pitch and receive feedback from some of the most impressive business minds in the world was a bit like being a kid in a candy store where everything is free. It doesn’t get much better.

Over the past year I have participated in a number of events celebrating the success of women-owned and led businesses. With more than $1.3 trillion in revenue being generated by them in North America alone, it is not surprising that so many organizations and government bodies, as well as the media, are giving this particular business demographic its much-deserved respect and attention. Michael Dell is well known for his support of women in business and that commitment is clearly reflected by the structure of DWEN and the impressive calibre of the female executives in attendance.

DWEN was created to give female business leaders an opportunity to “share and learn best practices and to open new doors to business opportunities both at home and around the globe.” The event has been a dynamic and thought-provoking experience and it has allowed me to share my challenges and successes, to gain access to invaluable advice on growing my business and, perhaps most importantly, it has given me a chance to forge relationships with some incredible business leaders.

Special to The Globe and Mail

Gloria Rajkumar is president and CEO of SIMAC Canada Inc., an Ontario-based independent medical examination company, primarily serving the auto insurance industry. SIMAC has receiving a number of awards for business excellence, and in 2010, Ms. Rajkumar ranked No. 4 on Profit’s Top 100 Women Entrepreneurs of the Year.

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