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Cheryl Appleton


Founder | Canadian Women In Food


I’ve been self-made since I started my first paper route when I was eight years old.  By the time I was ten, I had two routes, and a variety of odd jobs from babysitting, to raking leaves and shoveling snow.  I didn’t come from money and I always knew that our family didn’t have the means to pay for the finer things. If I wanted to go to university, I was going to have to work hard to pay for it.

An athlete for much of my younger life, you could say I was a gritty, tough player, although never really built for speed.  People often remarked that I never appeared to actually run. It was more like I rolled across the ground like some kind of unstoppable force, driven ever forward.  

During my young adult life, my work habits seemed to reflect these elements of force and fire, pushing me ever forward even though I had no idea where I was headed.  In looking back, I thought I knew where I was headed, in fact I actually thought I had the world by the horns, and without realizing it, this perspective actually limited me.  

What I needed to learn was that self-made people are much, much better when they work and rely on others.

It can be said in life you “need to be lucky to be good, and good to be lucky”.  I believe that I’ve been lucky to have coaches in my life who challenged my personal prescription for how I lived, worked, and related to others.  It had a huge impact on my self-awareness and truly transformed my whole approach. It became important to me that my goals and objectives in both my personal and professional lives were aligned to their purpose and meaning.

A fan of George Bernard Shaw’s quote about living your life like a torch, and not like a candle that can be easily snuffed out, it was time for the person I was to be to emerge.


A Splendid Torch

This is the true joy in life, the being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one; the being a force of nature instead of a feverish, selfish little clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy.
I am of the opinion that my life belongs to the whole community, and as long as I live it is my privilege to do for it whatever I can.
I want to be thoroughly used up when I die, for the harder I work the more I live. I rejoice in life for its own sake. Life is no “brief candle” for me. It is a sort of splendid torch which I have got hold of for the moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations.

George Bernard Shaw


In 2014 I founded Canadian Women In Food because there was no existing association to serve the needs of women who owned their own businesses in food. I had spent many years in the corporate work world successfully building businesses within business, and it unlocked something entrepreneurial within me. I always knew that one day I would have my own business, and at the time, I just didn’t know that it would become a reality five years later.

In 2019 I launched my consulting agency STRAGENTIUM to help clients develop their go-to-market strategies, and then apply the structure and solutions to take them where they want to go. I never imagined that helping others to build their businesses would become my niche of expertise. Some have called it a talent for “herding cats”, although I prefer the professional definition as “executive synthesis”. In either case, it takes experience, art, and lots of creativity to add value ongoingly.

My life belongs to the whole community, and as long as I live it is my privilege to do for it whatever I can. It is a splendid torch that I hope burns as brightly as possible for many years to come.