Ladies, Meet Heather Odendaal. Founder and Curator of WNorth Conference.


Anyone using hashtags #womenontherise and #womenhelpingwomen is definitely someone we want to feature! I met Heather briefly at a Pink Shirt Day Women’s Luncheon committee meeting and was impressed hearing about the WNORTH Conference she founded. Fast forward to a couple other connections later (thank you LinkedIn and Women’s Web), I had a chance to talk to her in more detail about it and the inspiration behind the conference. Having founded Pink Tank on the premise of having more genuine connections where we can connect, motivate and inspire each other, we loved hearing how the WNORTH Conference was born from a similar need. Conferences that encourage participants to engage and interact allow the attendees to take away so much more rather than having someone speak for an hour with no interaction. Read on to find out more about Heather and the amazing inspiration behind the WNORTH Conference being held on Friday, March 6th! 9 days left to purchase tickets!

Can you tell us a little about yourself?

I live in Whistler with my husband Mike who is originally from South Africa.  We own a company called Bluebird Strategy that specializes in Event Execution and Sponsorship Consulting.  We love to snowboard, travel and drink wine!

What inspired you to create WNORTH?

regularly attend women’s networking events in Vancouver and I recognized a consistent challenge was that there was limited engagement opportunities; there wasn’t that breaking down of barriers and level of engagement that I had seen at some conferences that I had attended in more destination locations, such as Whistler.  I wanted to create a forumwhere driven and dynamic women who are the next generation of senior leaders in  business could come together in Whistler, network and work to elevate one and other’s careers.

With WNORTH, alongside the speaker talks and programming there are number of additional events that allow our attendees to get out and enjoy the resort with their new friends from WNORTH including a Wine Reception at the Firerock Lounge, a trip to the Scandinave Spa and Connect Dinners at Araxi and Alta Bistro where attendees and speakers mingle.

What are you hoping people will take away from attending? 

Our theme for this year is “Conversations”.  At many events, I sometimes feel as though the speakers are talking at me not with me.  I would like WNORTH attendees to have conversations that willinspire them and help them succeed in their career.  Engagement will be our focus; we hope to challenge attendees with new insight, to help them forge new networks, and to leave the event as an engaged an active community of women, who are inspired by their experience, who will go out and to help lift other women as they climb in their careers.

What is the best thing about creating WNorth Conference? 

The overwhelming support and encouragement that I have received from people (both men and women) who I hold in high regard – and the validation that there is a genuine need for what we are trying to create.

I love the diversity of your speakers! Which speaker are you most interested in hearing?

Oh that’s tough to say.  They each bring such unique and valuable insights, and experiences and I’m excited to hear what stories they will share. Of the topics, the one I am most excited about is Devon Brooks (co-founder of Blo Blow Dry Bar)  on “Navigating your greatest failures, fuck-ups, and misfortunes” followed by a session called confessions in which attendees will be invited to participate in micro-talks on failure.

Love the name Bluebird strategy! Can you tell us what inspired you to create your own business and how it came to fruition?

Thank you – everybody loves a Bluebird day with blue skies! Bluebird speaks to a state of mind, and the goal we work towards; making all parties feel good about their partnership.  After nearly 10 years’ worth of experience in sponsorship management and consulting, I saw that there was an opportunity in the marketplace (especially on the West Coast) for a boutique agency to take the lead on building strategic sponsorship relationships, with a specific focus on building genuine partnerships.  We’ve helped build sponsorship programs for clients such as Eco Fashion Week, Ovarian Cancer Canada and now my own event WNORTH. I love what I do and everyday is definitely different.

Date: Friday, March 6th

When: 8:45am – 6:00pm

Where: Westin Whistler Resort & Spa

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What’s After Graduation?


Meet Gracelle Bonifacio, PR, Marketing and Events Coordinator at

Written by Ashley Basran

University is extremely stressful. Classes can be a complete nightmare and keeping on top of things is really hard, especially with all the distractions (thanks Netflix). The fear of not landing a job after graduation is no help either. As if being a full-time student wasn’t already a full-time job, future employers expect you to have relevant work experience too. This is all something that Gracelle Bonifacio knows too well.

Gracelle (also known as Grace) attended the University of British Columbia where she earned her Bachelor of Arts in Sociology. She then became a full-time student in the Public Relations Diploma program at Kwantlen University. “I never thought I would find myself in business or marketing. I loved writing and wanted to be an English Teacher,” says Grace.

During her two years at Kwantlen, Grace worked her butt off and said yes to any and every opportunity that came her way. I know this because, I was in the same two-year program and admired her drive and hunger for success.

“My first ever internship was with Beth Richards Swimwear. It exposed me to the PR industry, but it was different then what I thought it would be. This experience opened my eyes to the fashion industry and helped put everything into perspective,” says Grace. She had a first hand view of how hard local designers have to work to put their brand out there. “My second internship was with Dela Cruz PR. I worked in more of a PR Admin role until I moved into a Social Media Coordinator position, which I created for myself.” Interning can be a daunting experience. It can also leave you feeling overworked and unappreciated (depending on your experience). However, Grace is thankful. “I’m forever indebted to my internship experiences. I will never ever forget those people that gave me a chance.”

Here are a few of Graces’ Tips below:

Job Hunting:

  • Make finding a job a full-time job. Its honestly so tough. You have to really pitch yourself and know what you’re talking about. It’s not about handing in your resume. It’s showing that you know what the company is about and what you can bring to the table.


  • Take every opportunity that you can. You never know where it’s going to lead you. If you’ve fallen in love with your internship placement, find a position you can wedge yourself into and show that you want the job! Interning is also a great way to familiarize you with tactical duties.

The Interview:

  • To stand out as a student you need to have a creative portfolio, which helps to show that you’re multifaceted as a potential employee. A lot of employees don’t hire you based on your skill because skills can be obtained. They’ll hire you on the fit of the company.

“Being an Intern and actually being a Coordinator are two completely different things. As a Coordinator you have a lot more responsibilities then you experienced as an Intern. The difference between being an Intern and having a paid job is that your very much more part of a decision making process,” explains Grace of her interning experience.

The transition period between graduation and finding a job can be long, dreadful and feel like a never-ending story.  Give yourself some time and remember that you have worked your butt off! Everything will eventually come together for you.

Grace is an example of how hard work; dedication and taking advantage of opportunities can really work in your favour! She’s a marketing rock star and continues to make her mark within the industry.

Meet Lorena Laurencelle

At 21, Lorena is pure inspiration! I first met her back when she responded to a tweet inquiring about a Pink Tank intern. She was working part time at Banana Republic, going to school full time in Public Reactions, interning at a couple different places and aspiring to own her own business. One busy lady! Flash forward 3 years, she is now my counterpart at Pink Tank, has successfully started her own boutique PR agency called Regalien and is way beyond her years already in her drive, commitment and motivation to become a success. I have no doubt she is headed for big and amazing things! To top it off, she is uber stylish and always has the most perfect shade of lipstick to accompany any outfit. Read on to find out a bit more about Lorena and her favourite moment at Pink Tank:

Say my name: Lorena

Occupation: Co-Visionary at Pink Tank and Co-Founder at Régalien

Three words that describe yourself: Quirky, whimsical and curious.

 Your last purchase: Vintage ring in New York!

 Who inspires you: My grandmother; she’s the perfect combination of badass and lady-like.

 Three things that are always in your purse: Wallet, glasses cleaner, keys.

 Your favourite moment with Pink Tank: The most recent Next Gen event that we hosted; such an amazing turnout with the most inspiring speakers. My favourite event to help plan (especially love putting together gift bags!)

 Name a goal of yours: To travel the world while working from my computer.

 Your go-to drink at Starbucks: Tall Americano!

 A must have app: Google Docs – It holds all my client files, work projects, etc.

 Cat or dog lover: Kitties and puppies.

 Name somewhere you would love to travel to: All over Asia. Currently planning a trip to Paris!

 Favourite quote: “Do what you love, love what you do.”


Getting To Know Nicolle

Nicolle Hodges copy

Vancouver has such a wonderful group of talented bloggers and journalists. Here at Pink Tank, we’re always keeping our eyes open for a great article to read and as if by default, the majority of us begin our day by getting our daily dose of Vancity Buzz. Upon reading an article by Nicolle Hodges, we quickly appreciated her wit and sent her a quick email to let her know so and introduced her to Pink Tank. She’s quickly become a member of our book club and after getting to know her a bit better, we just had to share her story with you! Read on to find out all about how Nicolle began her journey into the world of journalism and her advice for balancing a busy work life.

Meet Nicolle Hodges, Freelance Journalist/Reporter of Vancity Buzz and CTV Promotions Host

Written By Ashley Basran

At six years old, Nicolle began to write. At the age of 12, she sold her first ever written book and was able to buy a trip to Quebec with her earnings. “That was my first experience getting paid for my writing. I thought it was cool and wanted to make a living out of it. I knew I wanted to be a journalist,” explains Nicolle. After graduating high school, she went on a mission trip to Africa. “My trip to Africa was an eye opening experience. I realized that I wanted to tell stories after that experience, but didn’t know how,” says Nicolle.

She also travelled to New York to nanny where she stayed for three months. “I remember one moment in particular when I was walking in Manhattan. I saw people looking at the tall buildings and looking lost and I saw people looking down at their watches and walking with others. It was then when I saw my life in two separate paths,” explains Nicolle. That’s when she decided that she would be the person looking at her watch and thinking of the next place to be and the next person to meet. This led to her enrollment into BCIT’s two-year Broadcast and Online Journalism program, where Nicolle was selected as one of 42 students into the program amongst 1500 applicants.

Fast forward two years later and Nicolle is now working with Vancity Buzz! In her role with the largest online Vancouver magazine in the city, she’s had the opportunity to report from red carpet events like The JUNO Awards and the Leo Awards. She’s also taken part in interviews with rapper Madchild to DJ Nicky Romero, Jann Arden, George Stroumboulopoulos, Tech N9ne, David Childton (The Wealthy Barber/Dragon’s Den) and Jason Priestley (to just name a few)! “I love the fact that I get to meet so many interesting people,” says Nicolle of her experience with Vancity Buzz. “I’ve had the privilege to be with a company that I’ve grown with. I get to pursue anything that I’m interested in or I feel is important,” says Nicolle.

Nicolle also has some advice for anyone who is interested in tapping into the world of media. “Seeking out mentorship is so important. I know it’s cliché but you would be surprised as to how many people say, “yes” if you just ask the question,” says Nicolle. Mentorships are extremely valuable as your mentor can help you with creating a solid foundation that’ll lead you to your end goal. “Another tip is to have an open mind when networking. I don’t see networking as me against them. If you go into a conversation wanting something, you won’t leave with anything. You’re an energy taker not a giver,” advises Nicolle.

With impressive work experience like Nicolle’s, we couldn’t help but wonder how she balances her busy work life. “It’s strange because I feel like it should be harder with all of the things I have going on. I should feel like I’m always stressed out, but I’m not. That’s because I love what I’m doing,” says Nicolle. We admire Nicolle’s encouraging attitude and it’s a great reminder to have passion for your work and what you do everyday! “You can’t make your life work because life is so unpredictable. At the same time there’s a way to intertwine the two to love what your doing. The more lists the better. Manage your madness!” suggests Nicolle.

As we sipped the last bit of our lattes, Nicolle began to tell us what motivates her. “Ever since I was a little girl I just knew what I had to do – I had a dream to write and be heard and now I can finally do something about it. I’m motivated by the fear of not accomplishing the life I imagine in my mind. I want to live a fulfilling life of love and success, and I want to keep learning and making a difference in some way,” says Nicolle. Throughout our interview, Nicolle was extremely genuine with all of her answers and took the time to reflect on her past experiences. We were extremely impressed and truly believe that Nicolle is the person she chose to be in Manhattan, who’s always thinking of the next person/place to see. We can only imagine what’s in store next. Pink Tank Group wishes Nicolle all of the best in her future endeavors!

Planning Life with Style and Love



Meet Marissa Grootes, Creative Director and Designer of Design Love Planner

 Written by Ashley Basran

When Marissa was 14 years old she began to create her own planners. She was always on the hunt for the perfect day planner, but it was something she could never find. This led Marissa to buy multiple planners at a time. She would add her own covers and pockets that were designed to fit her needs. Pulling papers from her binder that included 100 different samples, she would create planners that reflected her creativity and style. Who would of thought that her habits at 14 years old would one day turn into her own business?

With a background in Graphic Design and Communications, Marissa began to work for herself last year and was in need of a new planner. She made her way to Chapters (like most of us would) but didn’t find anything. “Nothing made sense for the amount of work I had to do,” says Marissa. She decided to buy multiple planners. “I laid them out on my floor and decided what was working and what wasn’t. I smooshed them all together and made one,” explains Marissa. She had her new planner printed at Kinkos after assembling it together and applying gold polka dots (each one by hand).

Marissa decided to put her passion to the test and sold her planners on Etsy. “It was a success! I sold out and then manufactured a few more and was able to get a few stores on board,” says Marissa. Design Love Planner was born and is now Marissa’s full-time job. She pours her heart and soul into her business and has created the new it day planner.

Design Love Planner includes two pockets to store notes and business cards. Each month always features an inspirational print that is perforated, which you can take out or give to a friend. A monthly calendar, weekly checklist, a weekly schedule and a budgeting and to-do list are included. Marissa has literally thought of it all in creating a sophisticated day planner for the modern professional woman.

Having the opportunity to work for herself, Marissa enjoys having the ability to create her own schedule. “I respond to myself and I’m my own boss. It forces me to be the best version of myself because no one is going to do my work unless I’m proactive about it,” says Marissa.

While owning her business and facing many new learning curves, Marissa still has some advice to offer. “You have to give up a lot in order to gain a lot. You’ll have to give up your social life if you want to make it. You have to be invested 150 percent because if you’re not invested in the beginning you’ll never really get there,” says Marissa. She also says, “Not everyone is going to understand the choices you’ve made and a lot of people will judge you. Remember to look past it and remember why you’re doing what you’re doing in the first place. Especially as a woman.”

As Design Love Planner continues to grow, Marissa is always looking for lovely young ladies who are just as much in love with stationary as she is. If you’re interested in a different experience and want a first hand look at what it’s like to run a small business contact Marissa!

Click the links below to learn more about Design Love Planner.

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Meet Ashley Basran


Welcome to our new Meet The Team feature! The Pink Tank team consists of 4 wonderful ladies who spend their free creating and implementing for Pink Tank. We love it so much we wish it could be our full time gig! Up first, is the beauty and the brains behind our blog. Ashley has been with Pink Tank for the last year and is such a pleasure to work with. Extremely creative, always up for any challenge and wonderful with people. A perfect mix for our Digital Coordinator!  Read on to find out all about Ashley.

Say my name:



By Day – Promotions Assistant, Bell Media

By Night – Digital Coordinator, Pink Tank

Three words that describe yourself:

honest, trustworthy, reliable

 Your last purchase:

A Tall White Chocolate Mocha (it’s safe to say I’m addicted).

 Who inspires you:

Easy! My mom (she’s literally superwoman).

 Three things that are always in your purse:

  1. Hand Sanitizer (I’m not a fan of germs)
  2. Gum (I’m not a fan of stinky breath)
  3. Lipstick (a bright lip makes the day better)

 Your favourite moment with Pink Tank:

I have two!

  1. The Pink Tank Photo Shoot
  2. Our most recent NextGen Event (I’m still feeling inspired)

 Name a goal of yours:

To create something on my own that will inspire others.

 Your go-to drink at Starbucks:

White Chocolate Mocha and/or a Chai Tea Latte.

 A must have app:

I love photos and being creative with them. #NoCrop and PicLab are great photo apps.

 Cat or dog lover:

Dog lover! (Cats kind of scare me).

 Name somewhere you would love to travel to:

Greece looks amazing in photos… so I can only imagine what it would be like in person!

 Favourite quote:

The dream is free…But the hustle is sold separately.



Its all about Xpocity!


Ladies, there is a new event concept in town! Have you heard about XpoCity? It is the “new” trade show concept that is evolving to the next generation. Gone are the days of the old expo’s that focus on solely one concept. XpoCity represents the everyday woman of Vancouver and all aspects of her life including: Home, Health/Fitness, Beauty/Fashion, Business/Career and Food. By showcasing local premium businesses and highlighting some of the best products and services the city has to offer, XpoCity is designed to bring the ultimate social experience to the Vancouver woman.

We love how this is a chance for networking combined with exclusive promotions and services including a mini manicure bar, last extensions, hair styling with Moroccan Oil, and wine tasting. Did we mention that our favourite author, Megan Williams will also be there signing “Our Interrupted Fairytale“?

XpoCity was created by the Socialettes, Prinka and Sonal, who have impressed us from our very first introduction. We know you will love them as well as the concept behind XopCity.

The event is this Thursday, September 25th and starts at 4:00pm. For anyone in the Pink Tank Community, we have a special promo code that will help you get a 20% off your ticket. Click HERE to get your ticket and enter your promo code “pinktankcity”.

Can’t wait to see you there!

The Pink Tank Team xo