While a plethora of us will have our own "Ellen Timms" moment (and rightfully so) I want to share my one as it's had such a profound impact on both myself and Modern Mississauga Media, the company I own.
I met Ellen in 2012 when I was working at Mississauga Life - Spirit of the City magazine and while we didn't become BFF's after our first meeting (that's what the kids say these days, right?) I was warmly welcomed by her to the Port Credit community. Yes, Mississauga Life was a city-wide magazine but as we were headquartered in Port Credit, there was frequent interaction with Ellen as well as the wonderful Beatrice. Over the years, we became friends (both in real life and on good ol' Facebook) and I valued her thoughts, opinion and friendship.
Fast forward to early 2016 - I'd launched the Modern Mississauga website after deciding to venture into the world of entrepreneurship in autumn 2015.
I knew there was a massive uphill climb for me to launch a new magazine/media company in our city as I was on my own as the proverbial "new" guy. There were several established publications that I had to compete with for readership and advertising dollars. While I had a few "what have I got myself into?" nights paired with mornings of "is this the right decision for me?" moments, I knew that launching this company to serve our city is what I wanted to do.
So we're three paragraphs in and you may be thinking "Ummm, Jay? I thought this article was about Ellen?"
Ok, ok, let's get to the heart of the matter, shall we?
My extremely lengthy list of prospects to connect with to pitch my at-the-time unpublished magazine had Ellen's name at the top.
After a brief email exchange, I ended up at the Port Credit BIA headquarters sitting across from her and with a deep breath, I gave her my quick, concise pitch with hopes of a "maybe" at best.
(Because it's a huge ask for someone to invest in you when you've only produced a prototype.)
I'll always remember Ellen's smiling response and her saying "we would be happy to support you and Modern Mississauga, Jay."
And with that, I had my first community advertising partner and a reaffirmation in myself and Modern Mississauga that I could, indeed, make this work.
When you're starting something new, that first sale, first account, first win will often remain with you...at least it does for me.
She's introduced me to oh-so many people with the warmest and kindest of introductions and she always says "this is my good friend and local entrepreneur Jay Kana" which always makes me smile.
The more I got to know Ellen, the more I realized how much she means to the community.
For me, she not only was my first supporter (well, outside of family) but she also continuously encourages me, champions me to her network, challenges and pushes me and genuinely wants to see me succeed. And it's not only me she does that for...there are several other people, businesses and groups she puts the same effort in for.
She's truly a one-of-a-kind person channeling intelligence, community spirit, acceptance, kindness, gratitude, support and happiness throughout her actions.
In a large way, Ellen helped launch Modern Mississauga Media by agreeing to support me through my first year and for that, I'll forever be grateful.
As she moves into a new chapter, she will be missed but never forgotten. She's truly made a memorable impact on the community and I owe her a thousand thank you's for believing in me, supporting me from day one and for standing beside me as I'm fortunate enough to continually produce Mississauga's magazine.
For everything, for yesterday, for today, for tomorrow...thank you, Ellen.