WEWednesdays! Women Empowering Women is elated to showcase this amazing female entrepreneur, who found that through having her own business, has made it been able to create her own schedule and take time off at her choice, Jane Cotnam.
I am a feminist.
I am a mother.
I am an entrepreneur.
I am a perpetual optimist.
I am a dreamer.
I am a volunteer.
I choose to believe the best in everyone.
I have strong beliefs that I am passionate about.
I love a good debate.
Working for myself never seemed to be a big goal when I was younger. I followed the flow; school, job, got my first apartment and started living. The only problem was that I wasn’t happy, but I didn’t know it! I moved from Montreal to Toronto, joined my father’s business and saw what it was like to work for myself. I knew I had found what I wanted to do.
Starting a career in insurance , I immediately gravitated to the group benefits side of the business, and I enjoy it still. In ’84 I assisted in developing the Canadian Organization of Small Businesses, an association plan that allowed small businesses to have group benefits that had previously been unattainable. This later morphed in what is now known as a ‘Chamber of Commerce’ plan. I also put together the first online billing system for group benefits. I am proud of being a dedicated independent group benefit plan broker and advisor, and I specialize in groups that are hard to acquire benefits for.
I got involved with Insurance for Children when I went to a seminar introducing the “fastest growing alternative to the RESP”. When you are a licensed insurance broker, you have to do 30 hours of continuing education every two years, in order to maintain your license. This way, I stay educated on new products as well as rules and regulations from both CRA and our governing board, Financial Services Commission of Ontario.
Insurance for Children took on a whole new meaning for me. It is a product that has been around for 150 years, and the insurance company, Equitable, has been in business for 100 years.
I realized very quickly, how this could help so many parents. It has become personal. I have a daughter who is fighting for her health. She has had to quit her job, which she loved, as she is no longer able to work while on the meds she is on. Had I had this in place for her, I could very easily have presented her with an alternate means of financing herself. She has had to move home, and though I am happy she has, I’m quite sure she would have preferred not to!!
I am a firm believer in giving back. Through my own business, and the fact that I have been able to create my own schedule and take time off, I have volunteered with organizations that touch my heart and mean much to me. I am a hearing-impaired member of CHS (Canadian Hearing Society) and had the privilege of teaching ASL (American Sign Language) to kindergarten children in a play environment. I am still a member of the CHS Board. I was also involved in the Weekend to End Breast Cancer, Pancreatic Cancer Canada (following my mom’s passing) and that lead me to being a Palliative Care Liaison Volunteer running workshops at Credit Valley Hospital. I have also volunteered with my children’s schools as a fundraising chair. This coming September, I will have the honour and privilege of volunteering at the Invictus Games.
Being an entrepreneur has allowed me to be available for all the big events in my family’s life. With four kids and four dogs, life is always busy, bordering on hectic. I wouldn’t change any of it!
“Nevertheless, she persisted.”
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