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Name: Micky Fleming

Business: Cherish Living Group,

Industry: Other — Senior Living Development and Management , Canadian-based retirement communities

Location: Victoria, British Columbia, Canada

Reason for starting: The senior living industry has its roots in institutions which is the farthest thing away from what seniors need to age well. This is an opportunity to meet a true social need in a growing market. I became an entrepreneur in 1989 and have had six businesses since then, and currently have three businesses. My most recent endeavor allows me to make a difference everyday by taking a leadership in an industry that needs to change.

How do you define success? Making a positive difference in our community, while loving what I do every day. Helping people help themselves.

Related: Read about other female entrepreneurs working in care for the elderly here. 

Biggest success: Creating a new management model “The Cherish Way (TM)” that has proven to be the right way to do seniors housing. For many years, I did business day to day looking for the right opportunity that was a fit for me. When I became involved in seniors housing it was like putting on a glass slipper. I have been able to use all of my skills in construction, real estate, finance, wellness and hospitality to bring a new style of living to those who deserve it most.

I am an example of someone who started from zero, moving out of the house at 15 years old and being a “youth at risk” and showing people that it can be done if you are tenacious, creative and work hard. I have followed my own path and am very happy with where I am today.

What is your top challenge and how have you addressed it? Being underestimated because of appearance and gender which directly affects access to capital as a woman entrepreneur. Every milestone we have achieved is because we have taken steps to prove that we can do it. This has changed the path of how we are going to achieve our goals, it has taken longer, but the “establishment” can’t argue with results.

My original vision for our latest business is unfolding day by day, bit by bit. How many times have I heard “it’s just you girls?” and it drives me crazy. It has taken longer than we had hoped, however, we are over 90% of the way there for the first building we will own with investors. The first two senior living construction projects we completed, for a client in one complex, is recognized as a leader in seniors housing. Our marketing materials are copied by many, but we deliver where the vast majority are not.

Related: Role Models: First Female TV News Anchor Team

Who is your most important role model? My grandmother. My grandmother was a homesteader in southwestern Alberta. She was a rancher, a mother and leader – tough as nuts and a heart as big as the Alberta sky.

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Edited by The Story Exchange