Whether it’s putting a creative twist on a 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 local 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.

She attended the Cordon Bleu in Ottawa and began working as a pastry chef at the Wellington Gastropub.

Last year, she launched Pascale’s All Natural Ice Cream, where she focuses on creating 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.’”

Since being diagnosed with ovarian cancer three years ago, 45-year-old Monica Baker has kept 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 seniors’ fitness classes and giving talks for Ovarian Cancer Canada.

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