New Beginnings
13 Mar 2018

New Beginnings

Almost two years ago we started this project of love called fitinyourdress.com with the intention of creating a go-to website where women could go to get support for fitness and wellness in a healthy way, with some other content. Being a man who as expected knew little of women’s perspectives, and in order to understand our market I started to have conversations with women. First, one, then 10, then almost a hundred. Talented intelligent women talking about their lives, their challenges as women working in male dominated industries. The challenges of having a baby and try to remain competitive at work. The weight of forming a family and supporting their husbands while dealing with harassment and a glass ceiling at the office.  Because of this, the project grew and we started engaging more women to shape our vision and mission as a company.

The first to join in that capacity was Delphine DiTecco. Joining originally as a contributor on sexuality education soon our conversations expanded. We’ve been friends for many years now (we met in a movie set where we were both extras, back in the days when she had a theatre company and I was a touring musician trying acting), so it was easy for us to share and listen. We engaged more and more contributors to expand our scope, then we realized we needed to do more than just publish content. We then started the Women 2 Watch program to interview inspiring and talented women and give them a platform to promote their projects. We soon started developing the idea of the Fitinyourdress.com foundation with the sole purpose of helping girls go to university. Then, as things were growing, I was diagnosed with cancer. After trying to ignore this diagnosis for a few months, it finally hit me that I had to put my efforts into buuilding a tangible future for my daughter, so we put Fitinyourdress.com on ice as it was still not a profitable endeavour.  And for all sense and purposes, in baseball lingo, I dropped the ball and disappeared. I didn’t tell anyone about this diagnosis, just a couple of friends. Delph would text and call me worried, she knew something was off but never pushed.

Then one night after finishing a radio show with Cheryl Besner, as she was giving me an earful about my new drinking habits, I divulged. She didn’t stop for months until I accepted her taking me to a new doctor to get a second opinion and look for options. Finally with the help of our friend Betty and amazing Dr. Vanoonoo at Montreal’s Jewish Hospital, we found out I had been misdiagnosed, with a less-worrisome growth in my liver that could potentially be treated. I was in the middle of a toxic friendship at the time, and then I walked away from that. A month later, new MRI showed the growth in my liver had all but disappeared, miraculously really. Dr. Vanoonoo sent me off to take advantage of a brand new life.

Delph continued to call and text until finally I told her what had happened. The same I did with everyone involved in the project. Most were empathetic and supportive, some were self-centered and insensitive, but we all live in our own movie reel, it’s never personal. I still knew one day we would come back, as this is a beautiful project and simply the right thing to do. Finally in January Delph and I sat down to talk again. She said “I will do whatever it takes to get back”. With that alone, she earned her new role as Chief Operating Officer and new shareholder and partner status for the company. Strategizing began, resuscitating an effort involving tons of people across North America is no easy feat, especially with limited funding. But that we did with the daily, positive and endless drive and passion of Delphine’s, her endless stream of ideas and goals.

We recruited new contributors, re-defined our mission to create a platform which provides the tools for women not only to get important educational real-life content, but to provide a space for more women to share their stories and get the support they need. We established a partnership with MediAlpha.ca to provide exclusive low-cost blood tests at home in the Province of Quebec, the first of many partnerships in the works which will allow us to provide the Fitinyourdress.com community with services they can use in their daily lives. We redesigned our platform and engaged the entire team of our sister company Westmount Solutions to make it even better than before. In that process, we engaged and welcome our new Director of Marketing and Outreach, Nadine Moukheiber to drive the efforts of reaching out to more women and men across North America and go into schools, events and all areas possible to continue educating and providing the tools required for women to succeed.

In these difficult times of #MeToo and the kind of misogynist and obnoxious men occupying positions of power, it has also become our mission to embrace the movement and continue to create awareness and education, and to push for men to get a clue, get a grip, no means no, and not because you hold the big office you can just expect the cute woman down the hall to go out with ya bruh!

Also important is Body Positivity, #BoPo, which we have now incorporated into our content, and combined with our nutritional and fitness content and programs, which we consider essential for women and girls understand that being proud of their bodies is what’s most important, fit in YOUR dress is exactly about feeling comfortable with who YOU are, in YOUR skin, with YOU.

We’ll soon be developing entrepreneurial programs to assist women start and run their business, with the assistance of self-made entrepreneur Sara Follador. Also, after my run with toxic relationships last year, I’ve personally pushed to ensure we provide tools and services to eliminate toxicity from our lives. Sandrine Thibault will be covering how to eliminate toxic products from our lives, Cheryl Besner will continue talking about self love which is essential to stay away from toxic situations, Angela Solo joins us as resident yogi and will be working to give us daily tools with yoga which help us live a happy life and identify and eliminate the toxic from our surroundings.

And to put our money where our mouths are, we’ve pledged 10% of all Fitinyourdress.com profits and 5% from all Westmount Solutions profits to the Fitinyourdress.com foundation and we’re focusing on hiring an all-female engineering task force with Westmount Solutions.

So much to do, beautiful team, so much to share.

We’re back, re-energized and happy to have you. Stick around and we’re always ready to hear from you!

With love,

Carlos


Carlos Zappien

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