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Changing the World: It's Women's Work

Enterprising WomenEnterprising Women is an organization that brings together thought leadership from inspiring women who run their own businesses – and still find time to engage in extra-curricular activities that change the world.

With a magazine, TV, foundation and annual awards ceremony Enterprising Women calls itself ‘the voice of women entrepreneurs’. The organization provides a forum for discussion and a platform from which they, and the women involved, actually make things happen.

KANDY Outdoor Flooring’s co-founder, Kelly Niessen, was recently recognized by the organization as one of 22 Class of 2016 Enterprising Women of the Year Champions. She traveled from the corporation’s home base of Vancouver, B.C. to Miami to attend the conference and accept the award. But she got more than she bargained for out of the experience.

“The 20 seconds of recognition on stage was such a tiny, tiny part of the experience for which I am grateful,” says Niessen. “I was purely and simply blown away by every workshop, every presentation, every keynote speaker, every panel discussion, every conversation.”

Niessen says the conference has fueled a bigger vision for her personal volunteer activities as well as those of the KANDY brand. She was exposed to stories like that of Cindy Monroe, founder, CEO and president of Thirty-One Gifts.

Monroe started a home-based crafts business in 2002 that has grown into one of the largest direct-selling companies in the world. Ten years later, as a way to give back, Cindy launched Thirty-One Gives: a foundation that focuses on helping girls, women and families. Already Thirty-One Gives has donated more that $80 million USD in cash and product, and has touched more than 8.5 million lives.

KANDY’s Niessen also learned about the milestone reached recently: five per cent of all US government contracts awarded to companies owned, run or founded by women. Behind this milestone is Women Impacting Public Policy (WIPP), a partner organization to Enterprising Women.

It was BC’s Women’s Enterprise Centre, headed up by Laurel Douglas,  that nominated Niessen for the Enterprising Women award, and she believes her nomination was successful in large part due to the ten years she served on the board of the Forum for Women Entrepreneurs, started by Christina Anthony in 2002.

Kelly Niessen, Enterprising Women Award“To both organizations, I extend my thanks for everything they’ve done to support my growth as an entrepreneur, and kudos, for everything they’ve done for women entrepreneurs,” Niessen says.

What the conference fuelled in Niessen is the crystal clear realization that there is MORE. More than growing KANDY Outdoor Flooring, the brand she started and cares for today. There is more than delivering on KANDY’s purpose, which is to expand home experiences with new outdoor flooring for condo balconies, ground level patios and rooftop terraces. There is more than providing awesome experiences for clients, more than giving back to the entrepreneurial community. The fun now is in choosing where to dedicate the energy of the KANDY brand and the people associated with it.

“I honestly feel like anything is possible,” explains Niessen. “If I believe it is possible, then it is possible. And it is all thanks to my experience while attending the 2016 Enterprising Women Conference.”

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