In 2007 Katrina Carroll-Foster and Louise Kozier founded Y.E.S! Vancouver. Arriving in Vancouver from London , UK five years ago, Louise set about building a new network and found it very hard to do. She craved connections with like-minded women and sought opportunities to interact with women from different backgrounds, age groups and industries.
With long weeks dedicated primarily to work, Katrina wanted to find a meaningful way to contribute in the community and to engage with new people. She wanted to leverage business knowledge and personal passions towards making a difference. And she wanted to encourage other women to do so too.
Fast-forward to 2007, where Katrina and Louise meet via the Board of Dress for Success (DFS) Vancouver and are tasked with the challenge of helping DFS diversify its fundraising base and develop a cadre of future board members.
In their joint quest to bring business and philanthropy together, raise all important funds for Dress for Success and shake up Vancouver ‘s networking scene, Y.E.S! Vancouver was born.
Katrina and Louise soon inspired other Vancouverites to donate their time and energy to help build Y.E.S! After a successful launch gala at then recently opened Holt Renfrew, some of Vancouver’s biggest brands and latest hot spots wanted a piece of the action. Y.E.S! events quickly became known as networking with a twist. Forget the coffee and stale muffins. Y.E.S! gals engage on business issues while sipping cocktails and enjoying the occasional manicure, mendi or shopping discount.
Louise and Katrina were determined that Y.E.S! be more than your typical networking group, and for the impact of Y.E.S! to carry well beyond the end of each event. Connections made through Y.E.S! have led a member to jump on a plane to Africa to start a new career, given some the insight needed to switch industries, encouraged many to be active volunteers at Dress for Success, forged mentoring relationships and cemented new friendships.
While Y.E.S! members have made strides forward in their own lives, supported by one another, their contributions have in turn helped the clients of Dress for Success Vancouver take charge of their destiny as they re-enter the workforce. For Katrina and Louise it has always been about women helping women, in turn giving a boost to even more women.
Today, having mentored and developed a new generation of Y.E.S! leaders, Louise and Katrina are Board Directors of Dress for Success and active ambassadors of Y.E.S! in the community.
Louise Kozier is a Client Partner at Longview Communications, a corporate and financial communications firm in Vancouver and Katrina Carroll-Foster is Principal and Owner of WiseWinston Strategic Marketing.