Social Entrepreneur Barb Stegemann was in Timmins today, speaking at a Women in Business event held by the Timmins Chamber of Commerce to celebrate International Women’s Day. Barb is an inspirational speaker and she spoke about things that can hold women back and how women can overcome their challenges to make a difference and share their joy. She used humor to talk about some serious topics like war, poverty and the discrimination lots of women feel, being under-represented in their workplace. She got a standing ovation after her talk and left a lot of women feeling inspired and moved.

Barb is the founder and CEO of 7 Virtues Inc., a company that sources organic, fair trade essential oils from countries experiencing turmoil (such as Afghanistan, Haiti the Middle East and Rwanda). Barb came up with the idea when her best friend, a solider, was severly injured while serving in Afghanistan. Barb realized that supporting Afghanistan’s economy was key to building stability for its people. Her essential oils are used to make fragrances that are sold in the Hudson’s Bay Company and now Sephora. With the slogan “Make Perfume, Not War”, her perfumes are sourced from legal orange blossom and rose essential oil crops that free Afghan farmers from the illegal poppy crop that produces heroin and liberates their daughters from becoming young opium brides. She’s taken her philosophy of equality and empowerment around the world to Haiti, Rwanda, The Middle East, India, and Madagascar.

Barb was the first woman from Atlantic Canada to get a deal from CBC’s Dragon’s Den for the 7 Virutes Beauty. She went on to become the “Top Game Changer” in the history of the show for creating her social enterprise. Since then, Stegemann has been named one of Canada’s Top 100 Most Powerful Women in Canada; won the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award in the emerging Entrepreneur category for Atlantic Canada; was ranked as one of Profit Guide magazine’s “Top 30 Cool and Fabulous Canadian Entrepreneurs”; and was also made the first female Honorary Colonel in the history of 14 Wing Greenwood base, Royal Canadian Air Force.

Barb is the author of the bestselling book, The 7 Virtues of a Philosopher Queen, and is the subject of the feature-length documentary Perfume War, directed by Michael Melski. The film tells Barb’s entrepreneurial and inspirational story. It has won numerous awards, including being named Best Feature Documentary, Atlantic Film Festival; Cineplex Audience Choice, Victoria Film Festival; and Best Humanitarian Film, Sedona Film Festival, Arizona.

Barb’s fragrances are on sale at the Hudson’s Bay Company and a new contemporary line just launched in Sephora stores in February.

To learn more about her perfume line, visit the 7 Virtues site here.

For more on this inspirational speaker, author and social entrepreneur, visit her website here.