We recognize and celebrate brave female leaders. The women featured in our Brave Women Leaders blog demonstrate resiliency, bravery, and the ability to radiate their light brightly. They have gifts, experience, and strengths to share with the world and they do so bravely.
Patrice Mousseau is the Founder and CEO of Satya, an organic skincare company that all started with a need that wasn’t being met. She is a member of Fort William First Nation and a former journalist. Patrice became a conscious entrepreneur from the basic need to help her baby girl, Esme. Her daughter was suffering from eczema and scratching her arms and legs bloody. The doctor prescribed her a steroid cream, but Patrice felt there had to be another way. As a result, she launched her company and now her products are available in 600 stores across Canada, and Satya Organics was recently awarded BC Aboriginal Business of the Year, and Startup Canada’s Indigenous Entrepreneur of the Year.
What does bravery mean to you?
When my daughter Esme says to me, “I’m scared, I’m not brave”, I tell her that being a brave person doesn’t mean not being afraid — it means being willing to move ahead despite being afraid. To me, bravery means having the courage to do things through fear and uncertainty. As entrepreneurs, we make the choice to move ahead and ‘jump off the cliff’ every single day, even when we don’t know what’s going to happen next. If you’re not scared, you have no imagination for the boundless possibilities, both good and bad, that are out there waiting for you!
What is one of the bravest things you have ever done?
Before starting my business, when I was still working as a journalist, I was in Toronto during the same time His Holiness the Dalai Lama was also visiting for a press conference. I managed to get into this press conference, and it was just like a movie — the room was filled with flashing cameras and the largest press groups in the country. There was a woman selecting questions from the audience for His Holiness to answer, and of course, only representatives from the famous press organizations were being selected.
At the end, the Dalai Lama stood up to close the presentation and I jumped up from my seat to bravely say, “Excuse of you my holiness: on behalf of the Indigenous people of Canada, can I ask you a question? Given the similarities between Chinese and Tibet, and Indigenous people residing in Canada, do you have any words to share?” The Dalai Lama pondered my question for a few short seconds, and returned to his seat to provide his answer to the audience. At the end of the program, as everyone frantically rushed to the front of the stage to speak to His Holiness, the Dalai Lama reached over the crowd to shake my hand.
I often reflect on this small moment of bravery, as it represents something much larger for me. Despite being in a room full of critically important people and feeling a sense of doubt and defeat, I was able to work up the courage to make my voice heard. I showed my bravery by going after what I wanted, despite the fear of being rejected or overlooked.
This has been a great lesson for me, in life and in business: don’t be afraid to just ask. You never know who will be willing to answer your question or what great things may come out of it.
What benefits have come from leaning into bravery?
As humans, we always need to be evolving, expanding, and experimenting. Otherwise, we stagnate and we can’t move forward.
I never had a plan for the way things have happened in my life. Whether it was finding my ideal career, having a baby, or starting a business — all of these decisions have come from adapting to uncertainty and taking a leap of faith.
Things don’t always happen the way you want to, but that’s the awesome part of figuring out all the pieces of the puzzle. Embrace things as they come!