On Monday March 23, just in time to kick off Toronto’s World MasterCard Fashion Week, the Fashion Group International honoured iconic Canadian fashion businesswoman Bonnie Brooks with the International Award of the Year. If you aren’t familiar with the famous fashionista, Ms. Brooks is the reason Hudson’s Bay Company went from near-failure to now being one of Canada’s best department stores, offering top name brands and working with the likes of Saks Fifth Avenue and Top Shop.
Brooks’ career is not one to go unnoticed, having held the position of editor-in-chief of Flare Magazine and working for other major department stores Lord & Taylor, Asia’s Lane Crawford (operating hundreds of stores in nine Asian countries while she was based in Hong Kong), and Holt Renfrew.
As Toronto’s top fashion industry gathered in the offices of Shopify, it was clear everyone was extremely excited to hear Brooks speak. Television journalist and FGI board member Glen Baxter introduced the lady of the hour, who humbly began her speech by charming the audience and staying very “real.”
Listening to this successful woman speak about her life –the high points, the pitfalls, the days she didn’t want to get out of bed– it’s clear that she is just like the rest of us. Perseverance and passion are key. She reminds us how lucky we are to work — especially in an industry that we love. But she communicates that there will always be days that won’t be easy and balance is key.
“Listen to your hearts and listen to your heads. Our pursuit in life is to balance these two,” says Brooks. We all know balance is key but when it comes from a woman who has been able to bring huge retailers major growth, it hits home that much more.
“If you can dream it, you can do it,” she says as she finishes a speech that got the fashion crowd buzzing about how remarkable this woman truly is.
Congratulations to Bonnie Brooks on all her achievements and this very important award from the FGI. And thank you for the inspiration.
See who was at the Bonnie Brooks luncheon here.