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Technology holds the power to work anywhere, with people everywhere

At Rogers Talks Ottawa, perfume maven Barb Stegemann spoke to the power of using technology to grow her business and connect people

A woman smiling in a red jacket

In our constantly connected world, running an always-on business is becoming crucial to success. This past autumn, professionals with diverse personal and career experiences came together at Rogers Talks in Ottawa to discuss how technology can best support their work and life goals.

Barb Stegemann delivered the keynote talk. When her best friend was seriously injured in an axe attack during a peacekeeping mission in Afghanistan, she created The 7 Virtues®, a fragrance collection helping countries around the globe rebuild after war or strife.

The power of technology

Available in bricks and mortar department stores, Stegemann’s brand also does brisk business on major retail sites like Sephora. A large segment of her customers buy and do the majority of their research online—not only for high-quality products, but also for socially conscious ones. As she noted in her talk, 60 percent of North Americans choose brands with clear causes, while 90 percent of digital-savvy Millennials do.

A few tips, for business and for life

Technology is key to Stegemann’s success, in part because it’s allowed her company to become truly global. Not only does her business take her around the world, but it also employs and connects people everywhere. Here are a few of the suggestions she shared during her keynote:

Use technology to connect, work and grow. 

Internet and social media technology are crucial for connecting Stegemann with her oil suppliers around the world. This is particularly important in one case: “I can’t go to Afghanistan. But DHL delivers and I’m Facebook friends with Abdullah,” her Afghan essential oil supplier. This strong online connection led eventually to her meeting Abdullah’s family in San Francisco.

“This is what technology can do,” said Stegemann, “We’re family and we’ve never met.” It can connect people who wouldn’t otherwise interact. It can support a thriving Canadian company with a global, humanitarian focus using superior, ethically sourced products—while employing people in depressed and growing economies. 

Listen and be curious.

If “people tell you that you can’t do it, don’t take it personally.” Instead, “ask a good question back,” and you may learn something that will help you succeed. Also, talk to everyone; Stegemann learned a great deal about business working as a flight attendant in business class speaking with the professionals and entrepreneurs she served there.

Go with friends.

“Make sure everyone around you believes in you,” she insisted. And be open to receiving support from unexpected sources: The HBC perfume buyer returned her cold call in ten minutes because they were both from Nova Scotia. As Stegemann summed up, “Emotional capital is worth more than all the financial capital in the world.”

For Rogers Talks 2019, we’ll be focusing on the next step in this conversation—building the always connected business with the right technology, approaches and people. We’re meeting soon in Montreal, Calgary and Vancouver so get more information and register here.