Paige

Winner
Paige Cey
Founder, Pick Her Brain podcast

Like any university student, Paige Cey found her life thrown into uncertainty by the COVID-19 pandemic. But Cey, a UVic commerce student who was handling a few marketing gigs, saw the virus as something of an opportunity.

“I realized I could talk to people I would never be able to talk to pre-pandemic, with free time and lots of people moving online only with work and taking Zoom calls,” says the 21-year-old Saskatchewan native. So she started a podcast called Pick Her Brain in which she virtually interviews women in business.

So far, Cey has done more than 35 episodes with guests ranging from high-powered CEOs to New York Times bestselling authors. Pick Her Brain, which has appeared on the top charts in 25 countries, has garnered some 10,000 downloads since she launched it last June.

The podcast features a wealth of B.C. content (BCBusiness 30 Under 30 winners Katherine Backman, Karen Lee, Ainsley Rose and Ania Wysocka, for instance), but Emmy-nominated producer Madison Williams is her favourite subject so far.

“It was my second interview, and it was the first podcast interview she’d ever done,” Cey recalls. “It was a fun experience—she kind of created her own role and is just super scrappy. I don’t work in TV production, nor do I think I ever will, but her advice was great, and she had some amazing stories.”

As for what she does think she’ll do, Cey is double specializing in service management and entrepreneurship, with an eye on pursuing the latter. “The podcast re-instilled how passionate I am about entrepreneurship, and I’ve learned that there’s no mould—everyone approaches it differently. If it’s something you’re passionate about, there’s no one size fits all.”

Diamond

Winner
Diamond Isinger
Provincial commissioner, B.C. Council, Girl Guides of Canada

Diamond Isinger says the “linear path of ticking boxes isn’t really a thing anymore,” and just by looking at her career trajectory, it’s hard not to believe her. Case in point: Burnaby-raised Isinger is completing her master’s in public policy at SFU after spending a few years working on Canada-U.S. relations in the Office of the Prime Minister.

She’s also provincial commissioner for Girl Guides of Canada and has worked as an advocacy consultant for organizations like the BC Council of Forest Industries and the Trial Lawyers Association of BC. So even after spending time in the highest office in the country, it seems like she’s just getting started in her career journey.

Asked where she sees herself five or 10 years down the line, Isinger responds with another question. “Do I know what specific role or title I’ll have? No, not particularly. But I definitely think my role will continue to involve advocacy,” she says.

“It might sound a bit cheesy, but I do actually care about making a difference, like working with mission-oriented organizations and helping people achieve policy-related outcomes,” Isinger adds. “I’m not someone to get super jazzed up by selling a specific product or something like that. I’m into helping people achieve their objectives and engage with people, build their relationships.”

Although Isinger doesn’t take the bait when questioned about relations with the U.S. during Donald Trump’s tenure, she observes that “the jobs I’ve held so far in my career, I could not have anticipated in years prior where things would end up. I like to have a plan and goals, but I find the most exciting things I’ve had the chance to do have been the things that I seized where an opportunity came up.”

Samantha Lindeman

Winner
Samantha Lindeman
Owner, Wildeye Brewing

It hasn’t taken much more than some tables, a patio and really good beer for Samantha Lindeman to make a name for herself and her company, Wildeye Brewing. The former wine industry worker opened Wildeye in June 2019, and though there’s no doubt the pandemic made life harder, the brewery that Lindeman started in her hometown of North Vancouver has created enough momentum to persevere.

Yes, sales to restaurants died out in a big way—accounts that would usually order four kegs a week were down to half a keg every three weeks, she notes—but Wildeye built out a covered patio and kept folks coming back, even in the winter months. Liquor store sales perked up, too, and the brewery’s cans are now available for purchase in about 300 shops across the province.

At Wildeye, Lindeman has also focused on collaborations with unlikely partners, like nearby pub Colony Northwoods. “I sit there often and talk to the girls there, and they say things like, We never make decisions on what we sell; it’s always corporate throwing stuff at us,” she recalls. “And I said, What if you got to decide the beer? And they said, Yeah, we’d totally sell the shit out of that.”

So Lindeman got Colony’s head office to sign off on bringing six Colony servers down to the brewery for blind taste testing. The result—a white IPA with mango—sounds incredibly tasty, but it’s likely not as significant as the prospect of women working together to make their mark on the male-dominated beer industry.

We’ll see what happens with COVID restrictions in the coming months, but one gets the feeling that Wildeye and its owner have more good things brewing.