Whether it’s putting a creative twist on traditional product to create a successful business, turning a potentially bad situation around or finding the upside to a serious situation, there are Ottawa women who make thinking outside the box look easy.

To celebrate International Women’s Day on Monday, Metro Ottawa spoke with three Ottawa women who remind us of life beyond the square.

When one of Pascale Berthiaume’s vendors asked her to bring in only vanilla, chocolate and strawberry ice cream, she yawned. “To me, that’s just boring,” said the 30-year-old.


After working three years for the government, Berthiaume attended the Cordon Bleu in Ottawa and began working as a pastry chef at The Wellington Gastropub. After experimenting with ice cream on the menu, customers asked if they could take some home and Berthiaume went from making six to 20 litres in a week. Last year, she launched Pascale’s All Natural Ice Cream, where she focuses on creating preservative-free ice cream ranging in flavours from dark chocolate bacon to vegan coconut.

Arran Elliot also found success in using a creative approach to business. When the 29-year-old was fired from her job, she bought out the owner of Studio B hair salon in the Glebe and as of last April, became the boss of a five-member, all-woman staff.

“Most hairdressing salons are still run by men,” she said. “We need to celebrate strong beautiful women and say, ‘we can do this on our own.’”

Monica Baker knows all about seeing obstacles as opportunities. Since being diagnosed with ovarian cancer three years ago, the 45-year-old has focused on building a sense of humour. “It loosens that tightness and scary feeling about cancer,” she said.

Two rounds of chemotherapy treatment later, her cancer is in partial remission and Baker’s resumed her active lifestyle that includes teaching senior’s fitness classes and giving talks for Ovarian Cancer Canada. “Cancer’s isn’t a sentence anymore,” she said. “It’s a journey.”

Latest From ...