September 2013


Wearing pink to stop bullying

Every year, when the Day of Pink rolls around, I remember my own experience and I wear pink to show my support for International Day Against Bullying.

I admit, I wasn’t bullied as a child. I was lucky. Bullying in the playground can be physical, but it’s really psychological and we’ve all read about the damage it can do.  That’s why this campaign is so great because kids will learn that it’s just not cool to be the bully, and they won’t grow up aspiring to be ‘that person’.

When I came across the bullies in my workplace, I didn’t know what was happening. It was only after I left the organization that I started doing some research. My self esteem was low, my emotions shattered and I had to find out what had happened to me. Of course, I was turning the thoughts over and over in my head – what did I do to deserve this?

So I do what helps me the most – I researched and I wrote.

I met other women who had also been bullied. I spoke to experts who had counselled victims. And I also interviewed professionals who revealed, sadly, that bullying was common in the workplace.

But what really helped me the most was understanding the bully, and the motivations behind the actions. Because sometimes through empathy, we find a solution.

Bullies, as the old adage goes, are tormented people themselves. This is true. Most bullies are insecure and hide behind a mask of aggression. The very idea that their flaws could be revealed is too much for the bully.  So they find the one who makes them look the worst; the one who shines, and they take on a mission of torment.

The idea behind this strategy is twofold. First, it shows other workers that the bully should be feared. No one would dare point out the bully’s inadequacies. Secondly, once the victim is weakened, their performance collapses, crowning the bully as the winner.

Perhaps you knew this. But at the time, I didn’t. Imagine the look on my face as I sat in the room with two psychologists who stated these conclusions as facts. I was stunned.

Here I was thinking that it was all me. I recalled situations where the meaner the bully was, the nicer I became and the harder I tried. I was being controlled. Nice would never had changed anything, the experts assured me. She just wanted you to feel that you weren’t good enough, even though she knew the opposite. She was actually more afraid of you than you realized, they explained.

So there it was. The profile, in a nutshell, of the workplace bully.

My experience was many years ago and the bully got her wish in the end – she was promoted into my job when I left the organization.  In her mind, she won. In my mind, I got out of a bad workplace environment. After all if promotion came through bullying and not performance, what did that say about her supervisor?

This behaviour is rampant in the workplace apparently. And sadly I’ve learned that my story is not unique. Bullies get promoted every day and organizations lose good employees and end up keeping the ones who are simply mediocre – but no one says this out loud, out of fear.

There will always be bullies in the workplace. My strategy on dealing with this behaviour is through my understanding of their motives. So when one crosses my path, I don’t confront the behaviour but simply ignore it. I pick my battles and react calmly only if provoked. But I am not nice. I don’t try and befriend the bully. One thing that’s important to note – bullies want to be liked. So let’s not like them.

Toronto Transit Alliance shortlisted for ‘Best Clean Capitalism Project of the Year’

The Transit Alliance, led by Women’s Post publisher Sarah Thomson along with Sarah Patterson, has been shortlisted for the Clean50 award for Best Clean Capitalism Project for the year.

The purpose of the Clean50, created by Delta Management Group, is “to identify and recognize 50 individuals (or small teams) who have made the greatest contributions to sustainable development or clean capitalism in Canada.”

The group allows the public to choose the winner from the shortlisted top fifteen projects on their website.




For more information on the the Transit Alliance check out

You can follow Women’s Post on Twitter at @WomensPost.

Sarah Thomson: My vision for Toronto

Created to tune of The Mull River Shuffle, by The Rankins 

Picture this, it’s 50 years from now on a crowded city street
the corner of Bay and Bloor,
and it’s Monday morning and you’ve just started a long 8 hour day at the office
and the day, the day is ready to begin.

You’re sitting around the board room table
and everyone’s laughing and joking and telling stories about their weekend;
and your about to start a long strategy session
and you look out the window from the 34th floor, and you see…

Big tree’s and green roofs that seem to create a blanket over the city extending as far as the eye can see.
You see big beautiful buildings, works of architecture so grand that those who walk by seem to raise their heads and stand taller as they pass. You identify the subway stations, each marked by architectural masterpieces designed to reflect different cultures, and the diversity that makes Toronto so vibrant.

You look to the south and see the chain of great buildings that sit above every subway station along the  downtown relief subway line, like charms on a charm bracelet some small, others tall and lean. You think about how each one of them has mixed use and mixed income, and about the legislation brought in decades ago that required 10% affordable housing in every new building across the city.  Some of the buildings  have seniors centres and child care facilities mixed in as well, while still others have offices, museums, art galleries, medical clinics and event space.  You look south to the lake and notice the swath of gardens and natural parks and you think about the highway in a tunnel far below them.
You remember the old pictures you’ve seen of ugly strip of concrete holding a highway and a road below it like a wall that blocked people from the waterfront. You see a flock of birds circling the naturalized park land at mouth of the Don river to the east. You remember the old photo’s with telephone poles and hydro wires all long gone, buried when the city decided to take itself seriously.

You’re glad the the old buildings and factories were preserved and restored and see traces of their design in some of the new architecture. You think about the energy that took over Toronto in  the early part of the century when the subway system grew and the people decided to aim for the best and invest all they had into the city.   The traffic on the streets below is light, but the sidewalks are filled with people and activity. Most people live close to their jobs and use the subway to get around.

You wonder what the city might be like if your grandparents hadn’t invested their tax dollars in the early 20s and 30s. The city is known to be one of the leading arts and education centres in North America. You think of slum cities Detroit, Cincinnatti and Baltimore filled with crime, poverty and violence where corruption and lack of investment destroyed the potential they once had. The boardroom door shuts and you are brought back to 2063 and your meeting is about to begin.- The sun glints off the lake and you realize Toronto is still a city of potential.


See more at


Follow Sarah Thomson on Twitter at @ThomsonTO.

10 ways to stay fit and active in the fall

No matter where you live in Canada the fall is a picturesque season with the multi-coloured leaves that cover our trails and pathways. As you walk or run you hear the leaves crunch beneath your feet, however, ‘tis the season for cooler temperatures and less daylight hours. It is the time to wear your sweater for that walk in the trails, or to dress warm to do your favourite activity. The cool crisp air in the early morning is so invigorating – you feel so alive, but there may be times you may feel less energy or motivated to working out and getting that vitamin D.

To get a jumpstart into your autumn workout routine – here are the top 10 ways to staying active.

1. Raking leaves

Raking leaves can be a good workout and the bonus is that your yard work gets done too. It helps build upper-body strength, as well as core strength or strength in your back and stomach according to Barbara Ainsworth, an exercise epidemiologist at San DiegoStateUniversity. Before you start raking, dress in layers, and water bottle with you. Perhaps wear a hat to keep your head warm or if it rains. There are many other outdoor chores such as cleaning your windows.

2. Hiking

Hiking  is a good way to keeping fit and exploring some beautiful trails right in your own back yard. Spend the day with family or friends and make sure to bring some snacks and water with you. If you are beginner, start with an easy terrain. Bring a map or know your route and figure out how long the hike will be. Dress warmly or bring an extra change of clothes. Wear hiking or trail running shoes to avoid slipping or falling.

 3. Outdoor yoga

Try yoga outdoors and enjoy the beautiful scenery around you. Bring a mat or blanket and dress for the weather conditions. It is recommended to dress in layers. Bring some music with you and water.

 4. Washing the car

Consider washing your car once a week. This will help keep you in shape and plus you will a clean car. All you need is a pail, wash cloth and soap. Don’t forget to wash the tires — it can be the most difficult part, but you will work those muscles. Waxing your car afterwards can be a good workout too!

5. Golf

Golfing can be a good workout. Consider walking the course instead of using the cart. Autumn can be a good time to practice your golf game as well as invest in some gear. Dress in layers and keep hydrated on the course.

6. Running

Trail running in the fall is more enjoyable because of the cooler temperatures and the beautiful scenery. It is recommended to wear trail running shoes, dress in layers and bring water with you. If you are new to trail running start with an easy trail until your fitness improves. Know the route so you will not get lost. Watch your footing to avoid tripping over roots.

 7. Picking fruit

Fruit picking can be a great outdoor activity because it is low-impact and is a great family outing. Look in your community calendar for some great places to do some fruit picking or go to the pumpkin patch. Dress for the weather!

8. Walk the dog

It’s a win situation for you and Rex to getting in a good workout. Dogs are good walking companions and also your dog provides safety. If you are a new dog owner start your dog with shorter walks. Walk your dog everyday and try different routes.

9. Biking

Biking or mountain biking can be a great workout and a good cross trainer. Dress for the weather, wear a helmet. Know your route and safety procedures. Bring water with you.

10. Circuit train

Circuit training in the park can be a good cross trainer for the runner who doesn’t go to the gym and to get that total overall fitness. Find a park that has circuit training. Start easy if you have never done it before. Start with a 5min warm-up. Do two sets of 10-12 repetitions of all moves with little rest.





You can follow Women’s Post on Twitter at @WomensPost.


What David Price’s GO station blow-up says about the integrity of the Mayor’s office

If not this, then what?

In the wake of a temper tantrum at a GO Transit station by David Price, Mayor Rob Ford’s director of logistics and operations, the Mayor has done everything in his power to pretend such issues are not occurring on his watch.  However, he may have slipped up when responding to an inquiry from a publication with which he rarely finds himself at odds. I speak; of course, of the Toronto Sun. Veteran Sun City Hall beat journalist Don Peat questioned the Mayor regarding the internal investigation by GO Transit and Metrolinx into Price’s actions. That prompted something of a peculiar response. The Mayor stated, “It’s actually no one’s business what happens in my office. I take care of the people that work for me and they do a great job, as you see.”

That hardly sounds like the candidate I recall demanding “respect for taxpayers” a mere three years ago.

Amid rising property taxes and an ever expanding budget, the Mayor signed David Price, his former high school football coach to handle much of his political outreach to the tune of approximately $125,000 per year at the taxpayers’ expense. As a matter of comparison Norm Kelly, Deputy Mayor of Toronto and elected Councillor from Ward 40, will be paid approximately $102,000 for his service to the City. If this is not the business of Torontonians – those who pay Mayor Ford’s and Mr. Price’s salaries – than I am not sure what else could. To suggest otherwise would be; dare I say, a demonstration of disrespect for the taxpayer.

More to the point; it is comments such as these from the Mayor that harkens back to the scandal-plagued days of the previous federal Liberal government. Mayor Ford and his staff have clearly developed an overwhelming sense of entitlement. It appears as though they truly believe that the rules do not apply to them. It appears as though they have forgotten that they work for the citizens of Toronto and not the other way around.

What will this mean come October 2014?

While I still believe that the Mayor would beat a polarizing candidate on the left in a one-on-one race, it is this sense of entitlement that could challenge the Mayor on the right and encourage conservative councillors such as Karen Stintz and Denzil Minnan Wong to challenge the Mayor. Given the Mayor’s propensity to spending money the City no longer has, perhaps it is challenges such as these he should be worrying most about.


Follow Jordan on Twitter at @JordanAGlass.

Follow Women’s Post on Twitter at @WomensPost.


Check out these great articles:

WATCH: Trailer for new documentary about the TTC

#TOpoli with Sarah Thomson, Adam Vaughan, Andy Byford, and Travis Myers (July 22, 2013)

Toronto’s next Mayor must come from outside city council

Founder of Kik Messenger takes stand against LRTs because they don’t look futuristic enough

WATCH: This guy thinks Lady Gaga’s new video is full of hidden satanism

Lady Gaga’s new music video is rife with secret devil worship code, says Internet crazy person and YouTuber Bible Flock Box.

In the almost 8 minute video he goes over everything from all seeing eyes, Illuminati references, connections to Pope John-Paul II, who according to him was also in the Illuminati, demonic possession, and much, much more.

Although the middle of the video where he plays a recording from the 70s about satanism in rock music is skipable, with the ominous background music it is hard not to give some credence to his tinfoil hat satanic theories. No, scratch that, this guy is totally out to lunch.

Choice quotes:

“This music will make you become possessed too if you keep listening to it.”

“If you are praising Lady Gaga by your applause, if she has become your Hollywood idol, and she represents Satan in this music video, who are you really praising?”

I think we’ve heard enough here.



Follow Travis on Twitter at @TravMyers.


CONTEST: Win a Christopher Kon bag from the Saddle Bag!

Want to get your hands on the hottest selling bag this season?  Well, Women’s Post and The Saddle Bag are giving you the chance to win this Christopher Kon leather beauty. Plus, as an added bonus, all contest entrants will receive a 15% discount coupon to use towards their purchase of a new handbag at The Saddle Bag (valid until November 30, 2013 and excludes LeSportsac). Support Canadian entrepreneurs and enter today!Contest Rules & Regulations:
Contestants must reside in Canada (excluding Quebec) to be eligible to win
Contestants must be 18 or older
Contestants are eligible to enter 1x daily (further entries will not be counted)
Contest closes on Monday, October 14th, at 5 p.m.


This contest is now closed, thanks for entering!

Women of the week: Maryam and Nargues Mansouri

I meet the Mansouri sisters in the presentation gallery of the Perry. Stunningly gorgeous, it is a great illustration of why they are the builders to watch in today’s condo market.

Maryam and Nargues Mansouri are easily recognizable as siblings, sharing a cup of tea and playfully interrupting each other throughout the interview. But this familial dynamic does not affect their work environment. In fact, as the sisters tell it, it helps.

“Siblings bicker here and there and I think as part of the work experience and work life it’s easier to tell your partner how you feel about certain situations rather than keeping things pent up and inside.”

“We’re really honest with each other. It’s not rivalry though, because we’re all on the same team, trying to get to the same goal,” Nargues says.

“We have a really good dynamic and fit,” Maryam adds.

As co-vice-presidents of Mansouri Living, they take on a company created by their father, Sharok. According to the sisters, it was “really natural” for them to join the family business. As children, Maryam and Nargues were often taken by their father to sites to see what he was currently developing. “We were always surrounded by it growing up,” Nargues says.

Both are heavily involved in every step of the Perry’s development, yet each sister chose to explore different areas of the field academically and focus more on the areas that hold their strengths. This was a choice made with solid logic as, as Maryam explains, “You have an incredible mind when it comes to business and numbers and finance and legal so you get it when I don’t, and likewise.”

Their great dynamic and combined grasp of the overall process is vital, given the competition they are up against. Toronto has an oversaturated housing market, with more condos under development that any other city in North America.

“From the beginning we knew it was going to be an issue, so we really tried to make the Perry different. It came down to the finishes, the scale, the location. Just the details we put into every single suite, regardless of the size,” Nargues says.

The result is a design that encapsulates the word elegance. People who come to live in the Perry get beautifully designed suites furnished by Poliform, a membership to the Perry’s executive concierge service, Quintessentially, and access to the building’s incredible extra features, which include a piano lounge and the serenity garden.

What’s a serenity garden? This feature of the building was designed to serve as an oasis to today’s busy business life. The logic behind it: “Take 10 minutes to relax and that makes all the difference,” Nargues says. To businesswomen who spend so much time in the concrete jungle, it is the ideal escape.

As well, the Perry was designed with sustainability in mind. This, the Mansouris stress, was very important. Plumbing and lighting choices were made to create an environmentally-sound structure and green products were (and are) used throughout the building.

In such a competitive market, it is fantastic to see two women rise above the pack and create an all-around quality condo residence that people will be happy to call home. Watch for the Perry as it joins the ranks of successful condo developments. And watch for Maryam and Nargues Mansouri as they join the ranks of real estate titans.