To get inspired, I’ve gone through a little exercise: I tell myself about myself in the early years of my life, when I moved from a small Ontario town to a high school in Montreal. I found a Montreal of ease, of opportunity, of expansion and excitement. I sought out groups of friends from Montreal and across Canada to form the Canadian Club. Not everyone was the right match, but we were more like family than friends.

Then I was doing mandatory counselling, and the conversation turned to the idea of starting a club for the female population, similar to the Canadian Club. After thinking about it, I realized that there were only five other girls in that counselor’s class and none of us had even heard of the Canadian Club. So we’d be the only club in the class. And as in most of society, girls weren’t included in that world; girls and women were just outcasts and outcasts in the world.

The world was turned upside down.

Before I had settled in, it was still a time where women weren’t allowed to drive or run businesses. It was a time when women could not vote. It was a time when we were told we would never reach the highest echelons of politics, business, sports, media and the arts. We were girls. And I wanted something different.

To have a place to belong, I wanted a place to feel comfortable and secure.

So in high school, the Canadian Club started to build a women’s club. I joined, and over the years, I’ve watched the club grow and even become women-owned and -operated. And it is the center of my work to always give back and help as many women as I can, despite my very limited resources. It is important to get involved; it is important to have a place to belong. There’s more to life than yourself.

Finally, I learned to be optimistic, to look to the future and fight for what I believe in.

As with all things, it takes sacrifice and hard work. But as you grow and become successful, you’ll get opportunities to help others. You’ll even become mentors, both to those who are lucky enough to receive your help and to those who benefit from your work. Be prepared to follow up on that commitment.

It’s important to look for opportunities to be able to use your influence and your success to help others.