Welcome to the Bossy List! I’m so happy that you found this page. What is the Bossy List, you might be asking? Well, this past summer I started to look around and realized that I knew so many amazing humans who were their own bosses, from starting their own life-coaching business to making and selling vintage plates with feminist slogans on them. I wanted a place where I could feature the work that these women-identified and gender non-binary folks. To be on the Bossy List, you must:
- Be your own boss in some capacity — whether it’s your “just for fun” hobby that you turned into an on-the-side job, or you’re your own boss all the time.
- The work you do is influenced by your feminist, queer, and anti-oppressive politics.
- Or, you are a human being that is invested in feminist and/or queer and/or anti-oppressive politics.
The point of the Bossy List is twofold: Promote amazing women-identified and gender-queer folks who are doing awesome work in the world AND to help make it easier for you to support those/get support from those whose politics resonate with your own.
I’ve tried to make it easy for you to find the kinds of services that you’re looking for by dividing the page into different categories: Artistic Visionaries, The Care Department, Community Builders, Fashion Yourself, Go to This!, and Read This! But many of the folks in the Bossy List could be in multiple categories, so take a moment and go through the page and be surprised by all of the amazing things that these bosses are doing in the world. I hope that this page will help you figure out how to support those folks whose politics reflect your own!
Here you’ll find crafters, music makers, photographers, and other folks making art.
Anna Eidt, Crafts Maker & Freelance Writer
Boss @ Lou Brown Vintage
Over the past few years Anna made the major transition from full time teaching in Toronto high schools to full time self-employment from an impossibly beautiful studio space in Peterborough, Ontario. She spends her days altering plates, managing migraine, writing articles about managing migraine, and hanging with her partner and two cats by the pool.
Lou Brown Vintage: There are so many hundreds of thousands of pieces of beautiful old china wasting away in cupboards, boxes, and garages. They’re truly works of art, so by adding something a little cheeky, Anna updates your grandma’s china to make unexpected, unrepentant, and sometimes subversive wall art for everyone you know.
Yuli Scheidt, Co-Founder/Photographer, Art Director & Designer
Boss @ Kindred Studio
Yuli is a photographer, art director and designer currently based in Toronto. Yuli’s photographic work looks to center women, non-binary and trans flox, and bigger bodies. Shooting almost daily since the age of eight, Yuli finds photography to be their most natural form of communication but is always learning and expanding their skills and craft.
Kindred Studio is a multi-disciplinary design studio made up of passionate freelancers who work for happy companies.
Katarina Young, Founder/Creator
Boss @ Sisters of the Vaginahood
Katarina currently works and lives in Toronto and is hoping to pursue a career in public health while continuing to build on Sisters of the Vaginahood.
Sisters of the Vaginahood is a collection of feminist art pieces. Each piece of the Vaginahood is handcrafted with (mostly) recycled materials to be completely unique. The Vaginahood collection is made with the intention of empowering viewers to embrace and build on their own definition of femininity and their experience of having a vagina.
Kritty Uranowski, Singer / Multi-instrumentalist / Producer / Manager / Arranger
Boss @ Lady Pineapple Records & Baby Pineapple Studio
Kritty is an artist from Toronto, Ontario, Canada. She would like to help you make your musical dreams a reality.
Baby Pineapple Studio is a safe and inclusive environment for musicians who want to learn and improve on their current skill set. Technique is taught through whatever material is of interest to the student, lessons personally tailored to the needs of the individual artist.
Focused mainly on youth, female, queer and POC artists, Lady Pineapple Records is a subsidiary of Baby Pineapple Studio. A small independent record label created to support artists who may not normally get label attention and support.
Website(s): Soundcloud.com/LadyPineappleRecords & Babypineapplestudio.com
Instagram: @babypineapplestudio & @ladypineapplerecords
Twitter: @babypineappleTO & @ladypineappleTO
Sarah Mangle, Artist, Writer, Educator
Boss @ Illustration, zines, colouring books, writing, art instruction, short films.
SARAH MANGLE has been making zines since the early 2000s. Her work has also shown up in Shameless, Carte Blanche, Make/Shift, FUSE, No More Potlucks, Queersafe, and Bound to Struggle. Recently, Sarah put out a couple of all ages colouring books: The All Ages Colouring Book of Worries and Reassurances and The Affirmations Colouring Book. You can check out a movie series she is working on here: vimeo.com/160610698
Becca Lemire, Photographer & Creative Director
Boss @ Photographer / Something Blue Custom PhotoBooths
Specializing in: Wedding, Engagement, Lifestyle and Portrait Photography
Becca is obsessed with taking great photos — it’s been her job since 2009. She lives in Toronto’s Junction area but loves collecting plane tickets when the right job calls. She’s also obsessed with a good ol’ natural lens flair, art direction, anything vintage and yoga. Becca loves coming up with an original concept for a photoshoot to take your personal branding to the next level. She knows Toronto incredibly well. She’s also available for Wedding photography and custom PhotoBooths, taking on a select number of Weddings every year. Becca specializes in capturing candid moments at events, shooting in natural light or with on-camera flash, and conceptualizing and collaborating with & for creatives and brands of all kinds.
Website: www.beccalemire.com & https://www.facebook.com/SomethingBlueWeddingPhotographyTO/
Formerly called “Adulting,” the Care Department offers everything from life coaching and match-making to alternative forms of health and healing.
Barbara Erochina, Emotional Wellness Coach, Multi-Passionate Entrepreneur, Badass Self-Care Rep, and Founder of “Be With”
Boss @ Be With. Barbara has a private practice in emotional wellness coaching, and has recently launched “Be With,” which offers resources and tools for emotional wellness. Their first product “Be With: Cards for Self-Care” will be available for pre-order in the fall through Indiegogo.
Barbara is an emotional wellness coach, multi-passionate entrepreneur, and badass self-care rep. After careers in pastoral care, performance poetry, personal support work, and communications, Barbara decided it was time to synthesize all she’d learned and start a private practice offering one on one emotional wellness coaching. “Be With” is the expansion of that practice and Barbara’s vision for a more a compassionate way of relating to ourselves and others. She’s schooled in Gestalt psychotherapy, Co-active Coaching, Pastoral Care and Creative Writing, so don’t ask her to change that bike tire, cause she doesn’t know how to. Her favourite mug has two unicorns on it, and her house has three in residence including herself, her sweetheart Tanya and their cat-unicorn Thatcher.
“Be With: Cards for Self-Care”: A beautifully illustrated deck of cards containing prompts to help you find ease and clarity to nurture your emotional wellness. Based on the study of self-compassion, this deck offers mindful activities to help you slow down and bring the benefits of therapy into your everyday life. Learn how to motivate yourself with kindness rather than criticism, and discover that the best way to speed up is to slow down.
Emotional Wellness Coaching: If you’re done hustling for self worth and want to live from the freedom of knowing you are already enough, I would love to support you through a coaching relationship that will teach you how to give yourself a break and enjoy your own company. I see clients in person here in Toronto, or by Skype worldwide.
Carly Boyce, Feelings-Witch & Facilitator
Boss @ Tiny Lantern Tarot & Suicide Intervention For Weirdos, Freaks, and Queers.
Carly is a 33 year old white genderqueer femme witch-for-hire. She likes bitter foods and yarn, and hates bananas and capitalism. Their work revolves around body autonomy, community care, grief and loss, sexual health and relationships, communication and consent.
Tiny Lantern Tarot: Lot of folks who either can’t or don’t want to access traditional therapy will see a community healer or occult practitioner to spend some deliberate time thinking through a problem or worry or decision. Carly loves being able to offer that to people. Tarot offers a structure for a conversations about whatever is taking up someone’s brainspace, and a way to connect with intuition. Carly also writes a tarot-based advice column for GUTS Magazine (see “Read This!” for more on GUTS).
Suicide Intervention Workshop: Carly developed this workshop for folks who do informal suicide support with their friends, family, and community members, and who want alternatives to mainstream mental health and emergency services. She did this workshop for the first time about a year ago, and is continually surprised that the demand for it keeps growing. She plans to keep running it, and taking it to other cities, as long as folks want to keep having these hard and important conversations.
Christine Lafazanos, Life-Cycle Celebrant
Boss @ Woven Threads – Handcrafted Ceremonies
Christine Lafazanos is a ritual maker and story weaver. As a Life-Cycle Celebrant she creates custom rituals and ceremonies to mark life’s significant transitions and moments like celebrating partnership, grieving the death of a loved one, marking the change in season, welcoming new children, moving through gender transition, becoming an elder. She listens to and weaves the life stories of people she works with in to engaging and meaningful moments of transformation. She believes that through ritual we stand grounded in meaning, gathering as chosen family and community to support each other, affirm our interdependence and build resilience. As a queer identified person Christine is an active ally to LGBTQ+ communities and poly folks. She is proudly building an environmentally conscious, independent small business based in Guelph.
Claire AH, LGBTQ+ Matchmaker
Boss @ Friend of a Friend Matchmaking
Claire AH is the new Toronto LGBTQ+ matchmaker for Friend of a Friend. She’s also a sex educator, public speaker, freelance writer, co-host on Sex City Radio on CIUT 89.5 FM, and co-host and producer of the Tell Me Something Good live sexy storytelling night (as well as its podcast offshoot on Swingset.FM). Her first degree was in opera (actually) and she’s back in school studying psychology and sexuality. She believes in connecting with pleasure and the pleasure of connection.
Friend of a Friend Matchmaking offers affordable personal matchmaking for creative singles in Toronto. Claire’s practice acknowledges that matchmaking has not always been particularly LGBTQ+-friendly, and even when it is open, it’s pretty normative and limited in scope. She draws upon her background in sexual education/advocacy and her “lovably cranky” intersectional feminism to find ways to be more inclusive, open, and accessible. Applying this focus to matchmaking, she takes the personal approach aspect of Friend of a Friend and runs with it, undoing much of the pigeonholing associated with dating and encouraging people to explore and determine gender, sexuality, relationship modes, and relevant romantic/sexual interests for themselves.
Or Har-Gil, Art Therapist & Creative Workshop Facilitator
Boss @ Perfectly Imperfect Workshop
Or Har-Gil is an Art Therapist, Creative Workshop Facilitator, and recovering perfectionist in Toronto. She’s passionate about helping people re-ignite their creativity, developing greater self-awareness and self-compassion through the process. In addition to her Perfectly Imperfect workshop, she develops and facilitates custom workshops for conferences and organizations on creativity and wellness.
Perfectly Imperfect Workshop: You’re a high-achieving woman who knows that boldly pursing your goals, in work and life, demands stepping out of your comfort zone, making mistakes, and taking some risks. Still, you sometimes hold yourself back because of that little voice that tells you you’re not ready or not good enough. Through creative exercises, journalling, and group discussion, you’ll learn how to silence that inner critic, flex your “courage muscle,” and embrace the beauty and power of being perfectly imperfect.
Kathryn Meisner, Career & Salary Coach / Guidance Counsellor for Adults / Salary Doula.
An engaging public speaker and workshop facilitator, Kathryn has spoken to and facilitated workshops for more than 20,000 people globally and even has a TEDx on one of her favourite topics – building resilience.
Find a job you love. Ask for more. Kathryn Meisner helps people navigate the new job without relying on resumes or gross networking. She has helped her clients land dream jobs with salary increases of $5k-$50k through her one-on-one coaching services and online programs like Guidance Counselling for Adults and Ask for More (her salary negotiation course for women-identified folks).
Figure Out Your Next Step – a 7 day email course to help you get started with exactly that.
Salary Negotiation Guide for Women – 7 strategies to help with your next negotiation.
These bosses are committed to community-building, from event planning to running an art and design studio for activists, through to advocacy work.
Amanda (Ama) Scriver, Freelance Writer, Event Planner, and Social Media Strategist
Boss @ AmaScriver.com and Ama Scriver Creative Inc.
Amanda is a passionate community builder and body image activist based out of Toronto, Ontario, Canada. She was the co-founder of the blog, Fat Girl Food Squad, and her activism work has been profiled by Mashable, Bustle, CBC Metro Morning, Now Magazine, and The Toronto Star. She has written throughout her career for Paste Magazine, Sprudge, Hello Giggles, The Gloss, and View The Vibe on a variety of topics. In her spare time, she enjoys a good cup of coffee, trashy reality television shows, and partaking in a good chip buffet. Amanda is fluent is GIF.
Services: Content writing, digital marketing; social media and community management; community building, engagement, outreach; event planning and coordinating.
Sheila Sampath, Principle & Creative Director
Boss @ The Public
Sheila Sampath is an artist, educator and activist living and working in Toronto. She is a founder and creative director of The Public, an activist art and design studio working from feminist, de-colonial, participatory and collaborative frameworks, the editorial and art director of Shameless Magazine, a feminist magazine for teen girls and trans youth, and an assistant professor of alternative and speculative practices in the faculty of design at OCAD University. Her first book, Letters Lived, was published in Fall 2013 under the Three O’Clock Press’ Women’s Press imprint, and her current art practice deals with themes of speculation, memory, diaspora and ritual.
The Public is an activist design studio specializing in creative interventions that operate from queer, feminist, de-colonial, anti-oppressive and community-based frameworks. They provide design as a service to unions, non-profits and social justice groups, and engage in participatory and community-centred processes and popular education to build design capacity in communities. In Fall 2016, they will be launching an activist and workshop space and new self-initiated programming in the interest of democratizing design. More info at www.thepublicstudio.ca
Viktoria Bitto, Co-founder / Membership & Community Coordinator / Singer & Songwriter
Boss @ Sexual Assault Action Coalition, www.portraitsofchildcare.org (OCBCC), Meanwood
The Sexual Assault Action Coalition is Viktoria’s grassroots initiative to engage survivors in advocacy and provide support for survivors BY survivors. The Sexual Assault Action Coalition is a grassroots initiative to empower survivors through community collaboration, art and advocacy. https://www.facebook.com/SAACTO/
She also works full time in advocacy and community outreach at the Ontario Coalition for Better Child Care. The Ontario Coalition for Better Child Care is a non profit organization that advocates for affordable, accessible and universal child care; her project “Portraits of Child Care” highlights the impact and importance of high quality care in communities across the Province. Find out more: www.portraitsofchildcare.org & www.childcareontario.org
And is also in a band called Meanwood, where she likes to think they provide safe spaces for all people to enjoy music with a hint of feminism and rock and roll. Meanwood is Viktoria’s heart and soul. She writes from a feminist perspective and is proud to contribute to Toronto’s awesome music scene. https://www.facebook.com/meanwoodmusic
Looking for a gift for someone (or for yourself)? From lipstick to up-cycled clothing to hand-crafted jewelry, these bosses have you covered.
masti khor, Artist & Creator
Boss @ Femmeboyant Designs
masti khor is a brown, queer, crip, introvert, genderqueer femme who deeply values femme adornment/ armor/ care strategies and so makes pretty things. she’s a multi-disciplinary artist and therapist in training. all of the money from femmeboyant designs goes into her somatics training fund so that she can be a better therapist for queer/trans people of colour and crips.
Femmeboyant Designs creates jewelry and bow ties for queers, pervs, radicals, weirdos and pals. Affirming customized wire words in necklaces, rings, collar chains, and earrings as celebration and armor.
Brooke Manning, Owner & Buyer / Musician
Boss @ Likely General / LOOM
Brooke Manning is a queer artist, age 32, currently living in Toronto, Ontario. A graduate of OCAD, Brooke opened her store Likely General in 2013 with the intention of creating an accessible and socially conscious space for consumers and artists to intermingle.
Likely General is a shop, gallery, event, and workshop space that strives to make the space accessible and safe for all. They sell and promote handmade goods with a conscious. The gallery in the back of the shop offers an accessible venue for up and coming artists to show work and experiment with installations; they offer workshops run by the artists they support and promote, and the space is often home to book launches, musical performances, and various gatherings.
LOOM is a musical project that began in 2010. It is organic and ever-present in Brooke’s life. She invites various musicians to create alongside her, and much of the time that creation is improvised. The project is based on love and fear, with often very heavy feminist subject matter hidden within the lyrics and articulated by the soundscapes created and formed.
Kate Schwan, Founder & Owner
Boss @ Fierce Deer
Kate is a postdoctoral fellow at the Canadian Observatory on Homelessness, where she works on how to mobilize research to end homelessness in Canada. Kate received her PhD in Social Work from the University of Toronto this year and is currently working on transforming her dissertation into a graphic novel. When she is not thinking about homelessness, she hangs out with her tiny white cat, drinks white wine, and runs Fierce Deer with her little sister.
Fierce Deer began in the hot summer of 2010, during which Kate spent countless hours in her attic making brooches that no one wanted to buy. With a lot of experimentation and a little luck, Fierce Deer eventually blossomed into a little jewelry company that Kate loves and runs with her sister, Lana. They have been lucky to work with lots of beautiful folks over the years and have focused on investing some of our profits in various social and environmental justice efforts over the years.
Natalie Amber, Owner & Designer
Boss @ Eclipse Vintage
Natalie Amber’s mom still doesn’t know how to tell people what her daughter does for a living: life coach, urban gardener, emotional communications expert, upcycled clothing designer and DIY homesteading guru, Natalie Amber’s state of mind is “professionally retired.”
Eclipse Vintage is a curated selection of vintage, upcycled and original hand made pieces for the 90’s nostalgic heart! Natalie started this business slowly, as a way to challenge herself to strengthen her sewing skills and to have a creative outlet that felt fun and rewarding. As it has grown, so have Natalie’s skill sets and my opportunities. She now partners with Take Time Vintage in Guelph, ON.
Sheda Johnson, Owner
Boss @ Ajani Cosmetics
Sheda is a 20 something year old female entrepreneur, trying to change the world one lipstick at a time.
Ajani Cosmetics makes handmade, vegan, and cruelty free liquid lipstick.
Go to this!
Looking for feminist-run, queer friendly events in Toronto? These bosses run outstanding lecture/speaking series and storytelling events that will make you laugh and cry.
Kate Barss (Founder and Co-Curator) & Temma Pinkofsky (Curator)
Bosses @ Girl Crush
Kate Barss is a queer writer currently living in Toronto. Her work has appeared online at The Hairpin and The Awl, and also in Nat.Brut and Qwerty magazine. She is the founder and co-curator of the speaker series Girl Crush. www.katebarss.com
Temma Pinkofsky is a pop culture fanatic living in Toronto, Ontario. She is passionate about the relationship between the arts and social justice, which she explored while completing a Master’s in Legal Studies at Carleton University. You’ll likely find her having a pint with friends discussing the most recent episode of Black-ish or making miscellaneous movie references. She is the co-curator of Girl Crush.
Girl Crush is an intersectional feminist speaker series based in Toronto, dedicated to both celebrating and critiquing what it means to identify as female. They seek to explore gender politics in a way that is critical, reflective, supportive and fun. They also hold dance parties.
Laura-Louise Tobin, Executive Producer
Boss @ Raconteurs Storytelling
Laura-Louise started Raconteurs on a lark in 2010 and had no idea it would grow into the organization it is today. Apart from her work producing Raconteurs events and running the organization, she’s a freelance radio producer and has done some writing here and there. Her career path has been anything but straightforward! Since moving to Toronto in 2007 she’s always been active in various community projects – running a matchmaking service for Fake Prom, serving on the board of directors at Tranzac. Laura-Louise loves being a part of such a supportive arts and culture community.
Raconteurs Storytelling started as a live events series, featuring true personal storytelling told live on stage. After 5 years of events, Raconteurs incorporated as a nonprofit and, along with regular monthly events, they run storytelling workshops, collaboration, a podcast, a YouTube channel – and more! They’ve collaborated with CBC, WORN Fashion Journal, The Canadian Opera Company, and have partnered with The Action Group’s Access to Justice Week this October for an evening of storytelling about human experience within the legal system.
Not sure what to read? Looking for a fresh take on feminism, anti-oppressive, and queer politics? These are a few of my favourite publications!
Bosses: Editors – Cynthia Spring (co-founding and co-managing editor), Nadine Adelaar (co-founding editor and web designer), Natalie Childs (blog editor and senior editor), Rebecca Blakey (co-managing and contributing editor), KL (editor), Carmina Ravanera (editor), Brett Willes (editor), Sydney Gautreau (copy-editor) Jonathan Dyck (designer), Martha Hunter (copy-editor), Maneet Dhaliwal (events coordinator)
GUTS is a digital, volunteer-run feminist magazine and blog. Their biannual magazine publishes literary essays and reviews, long-form journalism, interviews, fiction, poetry, and new media to further feminist discourse, criticism, and community engagement in Canada. Their website also regularly posts informal and accessible content featuring up-and-coming feminist projects and persons of interest, short essays, prose, letters, reviews, updates, and rants.
GUTS began in 2013 when co-founding editors Cynthia Spring and Nadine Adelaar finished school and were embarking on the uncertain path that so often characterizes the post-graduate school job search. Cynthia and Nadine were inspired to think outside of the academy to undermine oppressive institutions and discourses in their everyday lives, and to create an online kitchen table that might facilitate conversations amongst fresh perspectives on the state of Canadian feminism(s). Today Nadine is a website designer, Cynthia is an editor and researcher, and GUTS consists of a 10-person editorial and creative team dispersed across Canada, located in Edmonton, Saskatoon, Winnipeg, Toronto, and Sackville, NB.
With/out Pretend is an independent Toronto-based publisher focused on producing, promoting and distributing works by women, including those who identify as femme, queer, trans, and persons of colour. Erin started With/out Pretend as a way to publish her own projects, collaborate with other bad-ass artists and writers, and make space for important stories and diverse voices. She believes that feelings can be art. Interested in collaborating one day? http://www.withoutpretend.com/
Sheila Sampath, Editorial & Art Director
Boss @ Shameless Magazine
Sheila Sampath is an artist, educator and activist living and working in Toronto. She is a founder and creative director of The Public, an activist art and design studio working from feminist, de-colonial, participatory and collaborative frameworks, the editorial and art director of Shameless magazine, a feminist magazine for teen girls and trans youth, and an assistant professor of alternative and speculative practices in the faculty of design at OCAD University. Her first book, Letters Lived, was published in Fall 2013 under the Three O’Clock Press’ Women’s Press imprint, and her current art practice deals with themes of speculation, memory, diaspora and ritual.
Shameless is a national feminist magazine and media justice organization for teen girls and trans* youth, rooted in principles of social justice and anti-oppression. They publish a print magazine three times a year, maintain an active blog, produce podcasts and host youth-centred events. Run on 100% volunteer power, Shameless has founded a youth advisory board, and annual creative writing prize and relies on community support to stay alive.