York University alumni Sharon Vinderine is the founder of the Parent Tested Parent Approved award – the leading consumer awards program in Canada. Much like the grind of studying for exams, it was far from easy.
Aside from being on 150 TV shows, Vinderine was also recognized as one of RBCs Canadian Women Entrepeneurs and one of Canada’s Rising Stars according to Profit Magazine. Last month, members of the York Community heard her speak about her ideas and experience as a part of the LaunchYU Speaker Series – a series of talks by successful York Alumni entrepreneurs put together by LaunchYU and the York Universities Division of Advancement. She describes the beginning of her journey as a “mom, looking to help other parents.”
Vinderine’s first entrepreneurial adventure came in the form of an innovative baby towel that was going to blow people away.
“It’s not only going to be awesome,” Vinderine said, “it’s going to be on QVC, I am going to be a millionaire, and everyone is going to want it.”
She applied to get it reviewed by an award company and paid $5,000 for it, but in the end they didn’t promote her. This experience gave her an idea, however, and she started her own consumer awards company: Parent Tested Parent Approved. She thought she could do it much better than anyone else. Now, with her award being one of the top three most recognized awards in the US, Vinderine has outdone herself.
She was also overdoing it.
It became tough for her. She describes how she became caught up in reaching her goals, and frankly, never giving herself a break. This is what she labels as her fatal flaw: she achieved a lot, but never gave herself the chance to celebrate it. She’d win, take a breath, and worry about the next win.
This added to her already burdening anxiety and it was weighing her down. She even describes herself as “the fidgetiest person on the planet”, so taking a moment to breathe, relax and reorient herself wasn’t something she knew how to do.
That is, until she discovered meditation.
“I am encountering so many more people these days, especially young people, and things like meditation, for whatever reason, eventually allow you to figure things out, calm the noise. It was really life-changing for me.”
Vinderine hired someone to teach her how to meditate and strongly believes that meditation works. Beyond that, she said meeting people and talking about her issues was what let her discover solutions to her problems.
“Celebrate the wins. Set that as a reminder, stick it on your mirror, because celebrating the wins is the best possible motivator to get you through,” she said.
As students, we can often feel overwhelmed by the numerous assignments we receive, especially around the end of the semester. A big part of getting through multiple tasks and taking care of your mental health is self-care and rewarding yourself.
Vinderine’s experience at York University, as she describes, was amazing not only because of the classes she attended, but also because she felt a part of the community. She grew as a person, learning ways to think differently and how to work hard. We all can obviously relate having to work hard as a student. Vinderine felt that her time at York “was an all-around positive experience.”
“I participated in a lot of things, from the debate team to many different extracurricular programs that gave me the confidence to be the person that I became,” she said.
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