(pictured: Anna and Mark Belanger)
Anna Belanger’s journey is filled with her stories as an entrepreneur, doula, parent and community leader in Ottawa. Since opening up Anna Belanger & Associates in 2009, Anna has been constantly working to grow her business, give back to her community and spend time with the people she loves the most – her family.
Want to get to know Anna, the savvy, family-focused, hard working owner of Anna Belanger & Associates? Here are a few questions and answers in Part 1 of our Get To Know...Series.
What brought you to Ottawa? When did you arrive?
We moved from Vancouver in June of 2008. When people asked why I moved from the West Coast to Ottawa, I always respond with one answer: Love. Only love could take me away from the ocean.
You clearly have an affinity for this city now - what's your favourite thing about Ottawa? If you could pick one spot to visit in the city right now, where would that be?
My favourite thing about Ottawa is the people. If I hadn't met so many wonderful people to help make this a home I'm sure we would have left. Now I feel completely immersed in my community.
My favourite spot in Ottawa is right where my first clinic is, situated: Old Ottawa south!
For many years, you have given back to community organizations - what's been some of your favourite ways to do so?
One of my favourite charity events is the 100k bike ride for MS. We just did our second- year of the ride. To see people with MS biking the 100k is so inspiring! I also love that Mark (my husband) joins me and the whole event is just filled with such warm, positive people. Plus, it’s a total bonus that I get to ride my bike.
I also always love my monthly visits to Shopify where I raise money for local charities such as the Food Bank, the Salvation Army and the United Way Ottawa. The atmosphere is so unique and definitely interesting (especially the crazy slide).
Speaking of the United Way Ottawa, I am excited that we are working on the campaign with them right now! Our brochures went to over 700 companies! We are offering to come in to massage the company’s staff and I will donate 25% of monies received to United Way. The bookings are coming in now and I love it!
When you speak about your family it's clear they mean a lot to you. Can you tell us a bit about your family life? How do they inspire you?
With four kids and a dog our house is always in chaos! However, it is a home with deep rooted traditions and love. I don't work past 2pm at the clinics any more so I can be home for the kids when they come home from school. It’s a blessing that I am so grateful for.
They inspire me to be a living role model. I want them to believe and witness that you can make your dreams come true.
When did you become a Doula? What made you decide you wanted to do that?
I became a birth and postpartum doula in 2004. The first clinic I ever worked in was only for pre and postnatal women only. It was my clients who kept asking for me to be present at their birth that took me down my present path.
What's your favourite part about being a Doula?
The feeling of love in the room when a baby is born. It's the most amazing feeling to witness such a miracle, the strength of a woman's body, the smell of a new born baby, and the birth of new parents.
What's the most fun/funny thing that's happened at one of your clinics?
I tried to change the toilet seat when we were about to open our bank street clinic. This was the day before our grand opening! I was determined to get the old seat off that was wedged on. I used a hammer to tap the pin holding the seat on and, well, I cracked the entire tank!
My dad’s comment right after I broke it was “ Anna Maria, you are not a Plummer"
What was I thinking? Now I can laugh!
What advice do you have for other small business owners?
Ask other small businesses what they have learned; their biggest mistakes and wins. We know now how valuable other parents’ advice is- well this also works in business! Work with your community, do what you love, focus on your own growth and stay grounded.
Coffee or tea: Coffee
Exercise? Run, run as fast as you can
Favourite time of day: Sunset
If you could travel anywhere in the world right now, where would that be: White Rock Beach
Favourite season: Fall
Favourite way to unwind: Exercise