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Women in Work Boots – An Entrepreneur's Story

2014 marked the 20th anniversary of the Business Development Department of Momentum. To celebrate, we collected 20 stories about past participants who have thriving businesses.  Written by Marnie Schaetti of RaiDo Dynamics, these stories reflect the diversity, innovation and hard work of the inspiring participants who come through our doors every year to take one of our many programs.
This is one of those stories.

Entrepreneur Name: Jill Drader
Programs: Women’s Venture Program, E-Ventures, Women’s Venture Accelerator
Program Years: 2009, 2013
Business Description: Online network of people with resources, training in the skilled trades and business.
Website: www.womeninworkboots.ca

Jill Drader inspires by example, teaches by leading, and succeeds by waking up each morning able to adapt to the day’s surprises. It wasn’t always so.
After graduating from university in 2005, Jill was unmotivated, dissatisfied and struggling with an addiction to alcohol. She knew she had to make a change in her life. She traveled the world, freed herself from alcohol addiction and was ready to start again.
By 2007 she was an instructor at a community college, a job for which she had all the qualifications but which left her unfulfilled. One day she watched restoration being done on nearby stonework. She thought of the stone buildings she’d seen on her travels and realized that part of their beauty came from resting on strong foundations. She decided to strengthen her own foundation—literally and metaphorically—by honouring her love of stone and construction.
She became an apprentice tilesetter, in training all day and still working at the college in the evenings. Commuting between the two jobs, she changed clothes in her car, swapping her tile-setting work boots for college-instructor high heels. That transformation is the basis for her business name: Steel Toe Stiletto.
As a journeyman tilesetter, Jill already knew how to work in her tile-setting business, but it was her training with Momentum’s Business Development programs that taught her how to work on the business. Jill has come full circle now, coaching in Momentum’s programs and acting as an Ambassador for the organization.
Her extremely successful digital business offers resources, training, coaching and networking to those interested in the trades. It’s the perfect business solution for Jill, passionate both about helping other women find good careers in skilled trades and about having time with her children.
Stigma-stomping, innovative, collaborative and named one of Calgary’s Top 40 Under 40, Jill strides forward with great confidence no matter what her footwear.

Learn more about Momentum’s Business Development programs.

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