Archive for 'Member Bios'

Top Ten Things Every Woman Should Know About Their Car

Thank you to Christine from CT&G Automotive Specialists and Sandra from the Flamborough Women’s Resource Centre for hosting the Car Care Clinic tonight. It was an excellent learning opportunity for women to feel more confident talking to their mechanic.

If you weren’t able to make it, these are the top 10 things every woman should know about their car.

10. The hype about nitrogen in tires.

As of 2008, the government required all light duty vehicles sold to be equipped with tire pressure monitoring systems.  This created chaos at dealerships every time the weather changed.  Air expands and contracts with temperature changes, causing tire pressure monitor lights to illuminate and customers to panic.  Nitrogen does not change pressure as the temperature varies, solving this seasonal problem.  There will be no harm done to your vehicle if regular air is added to tires previously filled with nitrogen.  Tires filled with air can be easily adjusted with the seasons if you don’t want to shell out the extra money for nitrogen, this could cost over $50.00!!

9.  Don’t leave your pre-trip inspection to the last minute!

Driving up north for a couple weeks?  Going down south for the winter?  Don’t leave your pre-trip inspection to the last minute; you may have to delay your vacation because of vehicle repairs!  When you bring your vehicle to a shop for a pre-trip inspection, a good technician will test all the safety features of your vehicle.   Also, they should thoroughly look at maintenance items to make certain they will last the length of your trip; spark plugs, belts, and fluids.  Unless you are incredibly detail oriented when it comes to the maintenance of your vehicle, it is likely that you will need a repair done to your vehicle before you leave.  This may take up to a day or two, depending on the availability of your vehicle parts, so plan ahead.

8.  YouTube and Google are very useful tools!

Ever had a mechanic or service writer tell you that your car needed something that you had no idea existed?  Ever feared that they were just making up a word and attaching a rather large price tag to said word?  Look it up!!!  Over the past 8-10 years, the internet has exploded with consumers sharing their experiences with all sorts of products, including vehicles and repairs.  Search the recommended repair and see what comes up.  Keep in mind, not everything on the Internet is true, therefore take the time to read numerous write ups before you make your final decision.

7.  Your owners’ manual contains a lot of practical information!

Every manufacturer has a different idea as to when maintenance should be performed.   Each manufacturer is unique with what type of oil, fuel, coolant, etc. they endorse in their vehicles as well.  Use your owners’ manual to help you prepare for expenses related to your vehicle.  Timing belts, transmission services and tune ups are among the more expensive items you will be faced with down the road.

6.  Winter tires actually do make a difference.

I’m sure that most of us have been stuck in a snow bank or even some deep snow, some of us have hit a patch of black ice and had the sin scared out of us (if we were lucky!) and we have all watched on as other drivers plowed through as though there was no snow.  Snow tires have come a very long way over the past decade.  They are engineered to stick to the road, keep your car going in the right direction on ice, and muscle through small snow banks.  Snow tires are made of a softer rubber compound than all season or summer tires, this helps when the temperatures drop to bone chilling cold.  Summer tires become hard, much like a hockey puck, while winter tires will remain softer.  Winter tires also have siping in their tread.  This is just small cuts all over the tread to allow the tire to stick to ice and snow.  Think of it this way, you are on a slab of ice, one foot is bare, while the other has a sock on it.  The foot with the sock will stick to the ice, while the foot with no sock will be sliding all over the place.  This is very similar to winter tires (socked foot) and summer tires (bare foot).

5. Your car should not squeak, clunk, shimmy or grind!!!

Pay attention to the noises that your car is making, as well as any sort of vibrations that happen at different times.  These are all signs that something is not quite right with your car.  Paying attention to these issues and having them addressed could save your life and the lives of other motorists as well as pedestrians.   Make sure you know when the noise occurs.  Is it at a certain speed?  When you’re braking?  When the car is idling, going over bumps, cornering or reversing?  This will help your mechanic pin-point the issue to repair it more efficiently.

4. Tires should be rotated.

Tire manufacturers recommend rotating your tires every 10,000km, which works out to roughly every second oil change.  By rotating your tires, you are increasing the-life span of your tires.  Tires are expensive, so maintain them!

3.   The lights on your dash board mean something!!!!

The lights on your dashboard are there for an important reason: to keep you safe while on the road!!  Pay close attention to these lights.  Even that pesky check engine light that “has been on ever since I bought the car” is now more important than before.  If a vehicle has a check engine light on, it will no longer pass the emission test in Ontario.   If your ABS (anti-locking brake system) or air bag warning light(s) are on, this means that these systems will no longer function.  It’s critical because if you are in an accident, your air bags will not deploy, and if you have to slam on your brakes, your ABS system will not kick in.  Be aware of the light show on your dashboard and check your owners’ manual to see what those lights mean!

2.  Cars require maintenance.

A vehicle is the second biggest purchase the average household will make, second to their home, so consider your car a significant investment.  Even though you may be driving a brand new car, it will still require timely maintenance.  Vehicles have hundreds of thousands of moving parts, all wearing little by little every time you start your vehicle.  Minor maintenance, like oil changes and tire rotations should happen every 3-6 months depending on the manufacturer.  Your owners’ manual will give you a better idea of what is recommended for your vehicle.  This will help to keep your investment in good shape and avoid costly repairs in the long run.

1. Know your rights.

Know what is and is not legal going into a repair shop.  Whether it’s the small shop in town or the big dealership in the heart of the city, your rights are always the same.  They are not allowed to make any repairs to your vehicle without your consent.  They are not allowed to hold your vehicle if repairs have been done that you did not authorize.  And even though it is not technically a law, they are not allowed to bully you into repairing your vehicle.  It is YOUR vehicle, and it is YOUR decision whether or not you want that repair done and where you want that repair done.  Take your time to make the right decisions for you, and for your vehicle!!

May 16 2013 under Member Bios, SI-DAF Events

Christine Aarlaht

Hello, my name is Christine Aarlaht and I am a certified auto mechanic/ technician by trade, head mechanic and owner of CT & G Automotive specialists. So, I guess you might be wondering what brought me to the Soroptimist DAF organization in the first place. I had been looking to join a volunteer organization for some time and by chance came across the SIDAF at an awards ceremony. After listening to some women speak, I was “blown away” with all that these women have accomplished for women and girls in our communities. I said to myself….”I want to be part of that”. I joined SIDAF in January of 2012 and am currently on the fundraising committee.

I feel privileged enough to have been born into the most loving family and a free democratic country called Canada. I realize that it’s not that way for many women and girls in the world and even in our own community. For this reason and so much more…..I wanted to be a part of making a difference in the lives of others and be a positive influence wherever I can.

I love animals and have a Siberian husky by the name of Reaper! I love to cook, garden and fish….and when I’m not home you can find me working on or riding cars, trucks and motorcycles.

November 1 2012 under Member Bios

Pauline’s Bio

Pauline was born in London, England and moved to Canada in 2002 with her husband David who is an engineer. They have two children who both live and work locally. Her favourite pastime is eating chocolate. Her biggest fear is flying – she would rather spend three days on a bus or train to get to her destination just to avoid leaving the ground.

Pauline works part time for State Farm Insurance as a licensed representative and she also runs her own business Pauline’s Fine Art. Her artwork is a collection of inspirations, mainly abstract, using all mediums: acrylic, ink, pastels and watercolour. Her work is sold primarily on-line through her website:

Yes there is an Inukshuk in this abstract piece - you just have to study the canvas and I am sure you will find him. Turquoise is the main colour in this piece of acrylic artwork (24x24) which I feel captures the essence of the frozen north.

Yes there is an Inukshuk in this abstract piece - you just have to study the canvas and I am sure you will find him. Turquoise is the main colour in this piece of acrylic artwork (24x24) which I feel captures the essence of the frozen north.

Pauline is currently an SIDAF Board member, she also sits on the Programs committee and the Awards committee. In addition Pauline is a member of The Ancaster Lions.

This piece of acrylic artwork (20x24") was donated to the Soroptimist's as a raffle prize for their "I Love to Rock & Roll" evening. It was a great event and raised a good profit. The subject was inspired by the event.

This piece of acrylic artwork (20x24) was donated to the Soroptimist's as a raffle prize for their "I Love to Rock & Roll" evening. It was a great event and raised a good profit. The subject was inspired by the event.

Since joining Soroptimist Pauline has gained the friendship and support of an amazing group of women whose combined mission is to help improve the lives of women and girls both locally and worldwide, and she feels privileged to be part of that organization.

Pauline’s favourite quote: “have no fear of perfection, you’ll never reach it” – Salvador Dali






Gone ... now proudly owned by fellow SI-DAF member, Brooke

May 2 2009 under Member Bios

Shirley Eden’s Bio

Shirley has been a member since January 2005, served as Secretary,  Vice President and President.

Shirley has been married to her husband Ted for 34 years and has 4 daughters, yes 4 daughters. Her girls are currently 25, 23, 20, and 18 … busy household. She stayed at home as a mom for 17 years, then joined “Curves” and from there “as they say” the rest is history. She opened 7 of her own Curves in Hamilton, Dundas, Mississauga and even Tennessee. Talk about a career change!

Over the years Shirley has enjoyed being a Girl Guide Leader for 7 years while the girls moved their way up through the program, hoping to show them the value of volunteering. Always loving working with young girls and adults, working at and owning Curves just seemed to fit. Mentoring and helping women achieve their goals. Much like being a Soroptimist, helping women and young adults better themselves.

Travelling with the family is a great pastime, especially those yearly trips with her husband, finding a nice warm beach to sit on, getting away and regrouping. Shirley also enjoys their 40 foot motor home for Nascar races.

Shirley has been very fortunate, now that Curves is successful and doing well on it’s own with good managers, she has time to give back. Helping women feel good about themselves can move mountains, improve self esteem, hand in hand we move forward.

Why she joined SI-DAF “Helping other women achieve their best and knowing you made a difference. The friends you make along the way make it all worth the time spent.”

April 12 2009 under Member Bios, SI-DAF Members

Shirley McCoy’s Bio

I have been a proud member of Soroptimist for the past twenty years. Never in my wildest dreams did I even think that joining this club would give me so much personal growth, friendship, leadership development and satisfaction in helping other women and girls in our local communities and throughout the world.  It’s such a wonderful feeling to help others less fortunate than yourself. It makes me feel very humble to know how much the work we have accomplished over the past twenty years and the difference it has truly made in so many lives.

At the club and region level, I was chair for the Women’s Opportunity and Violet Richardson award programs. It was very emotional to read the applications and their stories of hardship and the many barriers they have had face. Receiving the WOA award is an opportunity to make such a big difference in their lives. I have always said, “It is not a hand out, but a hand up“. I have also met the winners at the federation level and to hear their stories is an inspiration to women all over the world.

I have had the opportunity to travel to attend conferences and conventions and have made friends from literally all over the world. I attended my first Soroptimist International convention in Scotland which was an experience of a live time. I was able to renew old friendships and make new ones. It was an awesome experience. The highlight of the convention was the attendance of Princess Anne and to hear her speak of the great work she does in Britain to help the less fortunate children was very inspiring. I stayed in a bed and breakfast for two weeks in Glasgow and had a chance to see many historic and exciting places while I was there.

My latest convention in Taipei, Taiwan was an experience I will cherish forever. I stayed for one week and then travelled to Hong Kong for another week. What an adventure! And of course the shopping was great. For the members that know me I have another passion … shopping! I have always enjoyed fashion and admit I do enjoy the latest in fashion. Over the years I have been able to shop at various places around the world when I am attending conventions!

I have been very fortunate in my life, especially growing up in a loving and caring family. I have been married to my best friend and soul mate, Doug, for the past 38 years. We are proud of our four children, JD (33) who is a doctor and resides in Arizona, Chris (32) who does computer work and lives at  home, AJ (or Andrew, 27) co owns Golden Gate Equestrian Farm, and Jenna Dee (22) is completing her second year of her two year program at the School of Shiatsu and Chinese Medicine in Toronto and is busy planning her wedding that is taking place in May, 2009. We are very excited about Jenna getting married and have been very busy planning to make this a very special day.

My family is my greatest accomplishment. I am not afraid to say that Doug and I still enjoy our “dates” together and love to travel. We are business partners in the Village Treehouse Childcare which we started in l981 here in Ancaster. Our favourite place is Las Vegas, but not to gamble – it’s the people watching, shopping, local attractions, Las Vegas shows and of course the magic shows!  Doug is a professional magician and is actively involved in the IBM (International Brotherhood of Magicians) and local magic club. We often attend Magic conventions together.

I must say that they have always supported me and encouraged me in my Soroptimist journey. Whatever position I held at the club level and region level my family never complained and my husband and children were always there to help with anything I needed. When I was nominated to be Governor of Eastern Canada Region (ECR) I knew that it would involve a great deal of time and commitment (board meetings, planning fall meetings, organizing spring conference to mention a few duties) and my husband Doug was very supportive and understanding. He never once complained or suggested I was spending too much time doing Soroptimist work. He was there for me when I was inducted as ECR governor and I know I could not have done it without his love and support.

The members in our club are a super group of women. I highly respect all the various skills and talents they so generously share with each other and our organization. I have a passion for our organization and think of myself of an ambassador or cheerleader for others to be inspired to be the best they can be. I have always enjoyed working as a team and feel my leadership stressed the importance of having “fun” while doing our work. When I was governor I used the words, “What happens at Conference, stays at conference” and that saying has continued since!

I have grown up in the field of Early Childhood education as my mother operated one of the first child care programs in Hamilton since 1962.  Attending high school from 1964 – 1968, I worked each day after school at the child care and during the summers. I attended Mohawk College from l968 – 1970 to receive my diploma in Early Childhood Education. I have been the supervisor/director at Lucky Day Nursery for the past 39 years and director of the Village Treehouse Childcare for the past 28 years. I am actively involved in the daily operation of both programs, as well as the field of early learning and care through the Association of Early Childhood Educators. Over the past 40 years I have continued my love of learning by presenting and attending many workshops and seminars. I am very excited to be teaching Early Childhood Education at Mohawk College part time. I am an area network leader for the supervisor’s network in Hamilton and sit on the Best Start Network. I was proud to receive the Award of Distinction for the Association of Early Childhood Educators of Ontario two times. I also received the Employer of the Year for 2006 from the Hamilton Board of Education.

Professional Memberships:

  • Registered Early Childhood Educator with the College of Early Childhood Educators
  • Certified member of the Association for Early Childhood Educators of Ontario
  • Member of the Child care Federation
  • Member of Affiliated Services for Youth and Children
  • Board member of the Best Start Committee
  • Area Network leader for the region of Hamilton

I joined Soroptimist to give back to the community that I have received so much from. It gives me an opportunity to help less fortunate women who, for no fault of their own, have had many barriers in their life. It gives me a chance to improve the lives of women and girls in our local community and throughout the world. Through my role as the Governor of Eastern Canada Region I had the opportunity to represent the region and learn so much more about the magnitude of what our organization does worldwide. We all must not just think “locally, but also globally”!

I have had the amazing opportunity to meet leaders of our organization from all four federations in Soroptimist International of the Americas. At the convention in Philadelphia I had the privilege of sitting with all four federation presidents and hearing their views on where our organization is going. I have learned that no matter what position a Soroptimist holds, we all have the same common goals and mission.

I enjoy the many friendships I have made over the years and the love and support the women in our club show to each other. We have a great deal of fun when we do our fundraising projects or our hands on projects. It gives us a chance to share our time and talents to the betterment of others. Being part of this group of successful and positive women is refreshing and a learning experience. We network and help each other to bring out the best for others! Our meetings are informative and allow all members to voice their opinions and ideas. We are like minded women and strive to help make a difference in the lives of women and girls and to help them fulfill their dreams and make this a better world.

I am looking forward to my new position on the SIA federation board and am honoured to represent Eastern Canada Region. I have been blessed with many special mentors along the way who have encouraged, supported and helped me in my Soroptimist journey. We have engaged in laughter, tears, conversation and support! Being a member of Soroptimist you have so much to gain. It is the best gift a women can give herself…..the gift of membership!

March 1 2009 under Member Bios

Jane Oulton’s Biography

Jane is a Registered Dietitian of J. Oulton & Associates, providing Nutrition Consulting Services for Long Term Care facilities. She is also president of Diet Kontrol Inc., a company specializing in software for dietary departments in Long Term Care.

Jane grew up and went to school in Vancouver. She moved to Ontario in 1979 to complete a dietetic internship at North York General Hospital. Following that, she settled in Ancaster and raised her family. The children are grown and now off on their own adventures (the dog and turtle gone too). With her husband as a business partner, Jane is focusing on growing her business, but both take time to enjoy skiing, golfing, travel and time with family and friends. And of course, being a dietitian, all activities must involve food.

Jane at the Grand Canyon

Jane at the Grand Canyon

Jane joined Soroptimist as a charter member of the Dundas Ancaster club in 1987 (now Dundas Ancaster Flamborough). One day while walking with her daughter in a stoller on the main street in Ancaster, the owner of one of the shops approached her about Soroptimist. Eager to meet new friends and do some volunteer work in the community she signed up. Since then, Jane has held several positions including club President, Secretary, Treasurer as well as Secretary on the Eastern Canada Region Board.

“I have made some very special friends in Soroptimist and had the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of others, helping women and girls achieve their goals and dreams. Working together on fundraising and disbursement of monies to worthwhile projects and causes with a group of fun, hardworking and successful women is one of the things I like best. Our meetings and conventions always include food, fun, laughter and friendship.”

February 14 2009 under Member Bios, SI-DAF Members

Sandy’s Bio

Sandra Gray has been a Soroptimsit since January 2004, currently sits on the Board of Directors as Treasurer of the club and is proud to call herself a DAF’er!

Sandy & husband Steve will be celebrating their 30th Anniversary in April 2009. They have 2 grown children, daughter Erin (25) who is just completing studies in interior decorating as well as planning her own wedding for next fall & son Brandon (23) who is co-owner of a busy Active Green & Ross store in Burlington.

Steve & Sandy have been co-owners of Weeks Home Hardware in Waterdown since 1987. The business itself dates back to 1823 as one of the original general mercantile stores in the area and amazingly in 185 years the business has only been in the hands of 4 different families! Having been known as ‘Weeks’ since 1925 it became part of the Home Hardware buying group in the late 1960′s. The Gray’s moved the business from its original location on Mill Street when they built the ‘new’ location in 1989 on Hamilton Street, a 25,000 sq ft store that employs over 65 people.

Sandy has sat on the Board of Directors of the Flamborough Chamber of Commerce for 5 years & was the president of that organization in 2006/07. SI DAF also happens to be an active member of the Flamborough Chamber of Commerce. She has been nominated for many awards recognizing community contributions including an Athena Award nomination & many Chamber of Commerce awards. Having won and been nominated for the FCC Community Service by an Individual Award so many times, that organization has since renamed that award in her honour.

Some of Sandy’s many past times include sharing the love motorcycles and old cars with husband Steve. They both ride their own Harley Davidson Motorcycles, she currently rides a 2008 FLHX. Sandy earned her motorcycle license way back in 1981 when seeing a women riding a motorcycle was a rare thing indeed! They also share the passion of restoring old cars having quite a collection of vehicles that they rebuilt together. Sandy is also one of the lone golfers in the SI DAF club, along with Blanca Pena. Incidentally Sandy accompanied Blanca to Cali Colombia in November of 2007 in efforts to start a Soroptimist club there!

So why did she choose Soroptimist International? Sandy is very passionate about helping others and has assisted many community organizations through her business, but she wanted to find something of her choosing that she could apply her energy to. Having always felt fortunate to never feel there were any barriers to achieving anything she wanted, she realizes that not all women have those same opportunities. To Sandy, Soroptimist International is ‘Women at their best, helping other women achieve their best’ and there is nothing better than realizing that you have truly made a positive difference in someone else’s life.

November 10 2008 under Member Bios

Brooke’s Bio

Brooke on her wedding day

Brooke on her wedding day

Brooke’s background is in engineering physics (BEng) and semiconductor fabrication (MASc), for which she holds a patent. Brooke chose to study engineering after her first job as a teenager assembling circuit boards by hand at her Uncle’s company. She worked there on/off for over 13 years!
The .com bubble burst just as she finished school so Brooke started a career in grant administration at McMaster University. She managed the budgets, reporting and submission of large scale grants that involved many researchers and/or other universities. After so many years of being immersed in technical details, this wasn’t just different but also a challenging learning curve in customer service – researcher’s really don’t like filling out paper work ;)

As well, Brooke holds a Master’s degree in business innovation (MEEi). Her thesis project was to develop a company in Hamilton that engaged researchers and clinicians in the field on Molecular Imaging and act as liaison with industry. The idea came to fruition thanks to the efforts of Brooke’s supervisor and a grant from the federal government for almost $15 million. Upon graduation, Brooke was co-owner of Liquidesign Inc., a web development and marketing firm in Hamilton (who generously donate hosting for this website).  She is was also a member of the Golden Horseshoe Venture Forum and Women in Nuclear, and has written for In Burlington magazine.

She currently works for the School of Graduate Studies at McMaster University as Executive Director of Strategic Planning and Administration. Prior to settling into her new career, she was on a contract with the CPDC in business development, where her role was to identify and capitalize on new markets and commercialization opportunities in the field of Molecular Imaging.
Brooke has travelled to many countries in Europe and lived in England, USA and Japan. She is married and now a resident of Waterdown.

Why Soroptimist?
Brooke attended the annual Christmas Auction in 2006 and had such a great time that when Kerry (the president that year and a good friend) asked her to join, she accepted with excited anticipation. Although Brooke truly enjoys the fun at meetings, what she loves the most is the ability to see the fruits of her labour in real, tangible ways.

Brooke has held positions on the SI-DAF Board of Directors as Secretary and President Elect. She is past Committee Chair for Public Relations and was part of the Programs of Service Committee.

October 15 2008 under Member Bios

Barb’s Bio

Barb McCoy

Barb McCoy, Psychogeriatric Consultant, Alzheimer Society of Hamilton & Halton.

Barb is a Registered Nurse with her B.A. in Sociology and Gerontology and a Gerontological Nursing Certification from the Canadian Nurses Association.  She has worked in the nursing field in both hospital and the community for over 30 years.  Her interest in Soroptimist started with joining the club in 1991, and has served terms as Secretary, Vice President, Chair of Service, Awards and Recruitment committees and now as President (2008- 2010).

What Barb likes best about Soroptimist: the Vision of helping women & girls in local communities and throughout the world, reflects her values.

September 1 2008 under Member Bios