A Celebration of Women™
is elated to Celebrate the Life of this Canadian woman leader that is devoting her life to the betterment of our youth, with a focus on the issue of the Human Trafficking of girls in Canada.
“It doesn’t matter how you fight the good fight – just fight with passion. It doesn’t matter how much you share your personal affluence to influence social change – just give a bit more than you thought you could.”
WOMAN of ACTION™
Margot Franssen, WMM Founding Board Member and Co-Chair, has passionately brought women’s issues to the forefront of Canada’s public consciousness. Founder of The Body Shop Canada, a company recognized for its ethical business practices, Margot focused their campaigning on “Stop Violence Against Women.”
“In 1954, when I was two years old, my parents and I emigrated from Holland. Although my father was trained as a mechanical engineer, no one in Canada would accept his degree, so he and my mom were forced to start from scratch. He learned English, pumped gas, and went to night school, while my mom cleaned houses. I remember a time when there wasn’t enough food to eat, but my parents’ determination to make a good home for my sister and me was a real inspiration. I watched them slowly and steadily climb the ladder to the middle class.
When I was eighteen, we were living in Lethbridge, Alberta. I desperately wanted to be in Toronto. I yearned for the bustle and liveliness of the big city. The second I finished high school, I hopped on a train to Toronto in search of a job. I found a rooming house where I shared a bathroom with six girls and a kitchen with four and paid $12 a week in rent. I was happy as a clam.
Having already worked in retail throughout my teenage years, I decided to look for an office job.
Though confident in myself, I had no marketable skills. I had to fib on all my applications, claiming I could clerk and type.
Miraculously, I landed a job at an investment firm called McLeod Young Weir. I posted retail stock sales and made coffee for $80 a week. I watched these young men come through the office as part of the training program and I’d say to myself, “I could do that. I’m easily as smart as they are.” But when I asked about the program, my boss just laughed. “We don’t pay for women to do that,” he said. “They wouldn’t pass.” The culture at McLeod Young Weir was clearly defined: I would be left posting stock sales forever. I said, “Too bad, your loss,” and left.
My next job was as a secretary in the human resources department at a mutual funds company. I interviewed women and was required to ask the most bizarre and appalling questions: “What is the state of your marriage?” “Does your husband allow you to work?” “What kind of birth control are you using?” Those were the standard legal questions in the 1970s. I couldn’t stand it, so I left again.
Then I got a job as a personal assistant at another investment firm. After I kept bugging them, the company finally paid for me to take the Investment Dealers Association course. I was amazed, thinking I was finally going to be allowed to trade. I passed the first and the second tests easily. On the third test, I even had higher marks than the president of the company, who was taking it at the same time. After each one, I approached management and asked if I could trade.
The answer was always the same: “Maybe next year.”
One day, I stepped back, took stock of myself, and realized I couldn’t wait for others to allow me to achieve my goal. I had watched my mother and father fight their way through hardship. I wasn’t going to let anyone hold me back.”
~ excerpt from “Kickstart: How Successful Canadians Got Started”, DUNDURN
In 2004 The Body Shop Canada was sold to Body Shop International.
Margot is now a leading voice on the issues of funding women’s rights and social justice for women and girls. Margot received the United Nations Grand Award for addressing an issue of vital concern to the UN and was their guest speaker at the World Conference of Women in Beijing.
In 2002 she was appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada. She also received the Outstanding Achievement in the Advancement of Women Award from UNIFEM in 2004.
After selling her company, Margot devotes her time exclusively to the advancement of women and girls.
She serves as Co-Chair of Women Moving Millions and sits on the board of the Canadian Women’s Foundation, where she served as Co-Chair for six years, and was asked to return to the Board when her term ended.
In 2005, while documenting the historicity of visionary donors pledging a million dollars or more to women and girls, Helen LaKelly Hunt received an important call. Her sister, Ambassador Swanee Hunt, made a grand financial pledge for Helen’s use to “raise the bar on women’s giving.” To Swanee’s pledge, Helen added one of her own, and this spark capital catalyzed a major global funding initiative.
WOMEN MOVING MILLIONS created a global contagion of committed, purposeful women making unprecedented gifts of $1 million or more for the advancement of women and girls. Raising funds as well as their voices, this concept inspired other donors to join with them toward amplifying the voices of women worldwide. Phase I of the Women Moving Millions initiative (April 2007 to April 2009) was launched in partnership with the Women’s Funding Network (WFN) and history was made as $182 million was pledged by 102 donors to 41 WFN member funds.
Since 2007, Women Moving Millions has inspired bold levels of giving, creating a new culture in breakthrough philanthropy. To date 210 DONORS have pledged over $500 MILLION plus to organizations and initiatives of their choosing that share WMM’s commitment to the advancement of women and girls throughout the world.
She also co-chairs and serves on the board the CWF Endowment Campaign and the large gift campaign as well as co-chairs the National Task Force on Trafficking of Canadian Girls. In 2012, the Canadian Women’s Foundation launched a National Task Force on Sex Trafficking of Women and Girls in Canada to help develop a strategy to end sex trafficking in Canada.
The Task Force consisted of twenty-four experts from across Canada, including trafficking survivors, an Indigenous Elder, members of the law enforcement and justice sectors, service providers, academics, and all levels of government. The Task Force traveled across Canada to meet with survivors and other local experts. They consulted with service providers through a national roundtable and an on-line survey. They consulted with national and international experts. The Task Force submitted its report in May 2014.
Based on this research, the Canadian Women’s Foundation has developed a five-year strategy to help end sex trafficking in Canada.
During the years that she ran and co-owned the Body Shop with her husband Hall “Quig” Tingley and her sister Betty-Ann Franssen the company raised more than $1.3 million for violence prevention and recovery programs in Canada. They led their team in using innovative communication techniques to achieve a brand recognition just behind McDonald’s Restaurants Canada building a strong awareness without the use of traditional advertising.
The mother of three, she and her husband make their home in Toronto, Canada.
Margot holds an honorary Doctor of Human Letters from Mount Saint Vincent University and a Doctor of Laws, Honoris Causa from the University of Windsor. She is a Fellow of Ryerson Polytechnical University and was the Allard Chair in Business at Grant MacEwan College.
“If you are looking for the starting point to unlock prosperity…
look no farther than changing the life of a woman.”
A Celebration of Women™
welcomes this powerhouse into our global alumni with open arms, looking forward to future collaborations, bettering the lives of all girls, women and children, focusing on the challenge of servicing their needs in freedom from Human Trafficking and Violence.
Margot Franssen – WOMAN of ACTION™
February 27, 2015 by Leave a Comment