In her interview with CanadianSME Small Business Magazine, Klaudia Zinaty shared her remarkable journey from a math teacher with a passion for fashion to a leading figure in the media industry, with over 12 years of experience including roles at the NBA, CityTV, and FLARE magazine. Klaudia’s diverse background paved the way for her to lead a non-profit organization in the fashion and beauty industry during the pandemic, which ultimately led to the creation of the Women Empowerment Awards. This initiative, born out of the alarming impact of the pandemic on women’s employment, aims to celebrate and empower women across Canada, recognizing their achievements in various fields. The awards include categories like Leadership, Mentorship, Entrepreneurship, and Businesswoman of the Year, each designed to spotlight and advance women in their careers. Klaudia emphasizes the importance of these awards in bridging the gender wage gap and serving as a platform for women to inspire and support each other. Her advice to aspiring female entrepreneurs is to believe in themselves, embrace their strengths, and build a supportive network, embodying the principle that “we rise by lifting others.
Klaudia Zinaty is a business entrepreneur with over 15 years of experience in the media and marketing industry including print, television, events,digital and social media. Formerly the Regional Director of the non-profit organization, Fashion Group International Toronto and a Professor in Business, Marketing, Media and Public Relations.
Currently, she is the President and Founder of Women Empowerment Awards, a platform that been created to recognize and celebrate the diverse achievements of women in Canadian business, leadership, mentorship, diversity, inclusivity & equality, community service, and lifetime achievement. It is designed to empower women as key change makers in our community and support female entrepreneurs with their business and to help them advance in their careers. This year, she launched The Women Empowerment Foundation, a non-profit organization that envisions a future where every woman has the ability and rights to excel, irrespective of her background or circumstances. Foundation will launch this year with programs, initiatives, and awards designed to break down barriers, bridge gaps, and shape a future where every woman has the opportunity to thrive.
Klaudia is also a motivational Speaker, published fashion editor and stylist and has been featured on the cover of Spencer Magazine, Forward Fashion Magazine as well as Living Luxe, Vegas2LA, York University Magazine, efe Magazine, Anokhi Media and HOLR. She is a firm believer that we rise by lifting others and is a mentor to many women entrepreneurs, students and members of the community.
How has your career progressed as a highly motivated professional with over 12 years of significant experience in the media industry?
It has certainly evolved so much over the years as I started out as a Math teacher who loved fashion since high school. After I finished university I started my career working for the NBA in marketing, media and events, then went into broadcasting at CityTV, then publishing for FLARE magazine. After a few years of consulting for clients and leading a non-profit organization in the fashion and beauty industry during the most difficult of times of the pandemic, the Women Empowerment Awards were born as a way for women across Canada to empower other women and to recognize their diverse achievements in their careers and across all industries.
What motivated you to launch the Women’s Empowerment Awards? And what are you hoping to achieve through your work?
It was an initiative I wanted to do a few years back and after seeing the impact that the pandemic had on women especially, the statistics were staggering. Here’s a few stats:
- Almost 350,000 Canadian women who lost their jobs during the pandemic had not returned to work as of February 2021; consequently, women’s employment has fallen to a level not seen in the last two decades.
- Women lost a disproportionate number of jobs in those sectors particularly hard hit by the pandemic.
- Most job loss is concentrated in low wage occupations where women make up more than half those employed, suggesting a disproportionate economic impact on already low-wage earners.
- Low wages and a persistent gender wage gap contributed to women leaving the workforce. COVID-19’s economic impacts have stalled progress on closing the gender wage gap as it remains unchanged since February 2020.
- As women continue to be forced out of the workforce, the long-term implications for an equitable economic recovery are dire unless immediate and targeted policy actions are taken.
The Women Empowerment Awards has been created to recognize and celebrate the diverse achievements of women in Canadian business, leadership, community service, and lifetime achievements. It is designed to empower women as key change makers in our community and support female entrepreneurs with their business and to help them advance in their careers.
We are firm believers that we rise by lifting others. The Women Empowerment Awards is a movement and platform for women to share their stories and experiences, to have their voices heard, to promote and motivate other women. We want to celebrate the women leaders and entrepreneurs who have made an outstanding impact in our society and empowered others to do the same.
What different categories do the awards include? And how will these aid in assisting female entrepreneurs’ businesses?
There are 10 different categories in Leadership, Mentorship, Entrepreneurship, Diversity, Inclusivity and Equality, Mantella Corporation BIPOC Entrepreneur Award (with a $10,000 grant to the recipient), Innovator, Global Impact, Rising Star, Businesswoman of the Year and Lifetime Achievement. These are designed to empower women as changemakers in each category with their careers, shed a spotlight and recognition in growing and developing their business to the next level and to help them advance in their careers.
What, in your opinion, are the obstacles that women entrepreneurs must overcome? What are the means by which they can overcome these obstacles?
There are over 19 million women and girls in Canada, representing about 50% of the total population, and of those over one million are self-employed women in Canada as of 2018, accounting for 37% of all self-employed women entrepreneurs.
Of those women, just 8.5% of the highest-paid positions in Canada’s top 100 listed companies are held by women, close to 1 in 4 (23%) women are immigrants, and almost 1 in 4 (23%) women belong to groups designated as visible minorities, with indigenous women and girls making up 5% of the total female population in Canada.
With such a strong number of women in business, women currently earn approximately 76.8 cents on every dollar compared to men in similar full time positions, and female entrepreneurs earn approximately 58% less than their male counterparts. By creating this platform and movement where women are empowered by other women and recognized for their diverse achievements in all sectors and industries, we hope to build a strong community of women leaders, advocates, and entrepeneurs and bridge this gap in equality. In addition, we want to represent these incredible women as role models for the next generation of young girls to show them that anything is possible and there are no limitations to what you can achieve.
What specific suggestions do you have for women aspiring to become entrepreneurs?
Don’t let fear stop you. Believe in yourself and what you can achieve and don’t allow others to stop you or your determination to succeed. Empower yourself first in recognizing your strengths and successes no matter how big or small. Surround yourself with empowering women and mentors you look up to who will lift you up and celebrate your success with you. Continue to build your network and support others along the way. I’m a firm believer that we rise by lifting others and we all succeed by doing this.