Fashion

Shop4Hope Recap: Guilt-free Retail Therapy for a Cause

CEO & Founder of Ladies WHO Lunch, Maria Kritikos

Ladies WHO Lunch, a social, business, and philanthropic networking vehicle, was created in 2013 by a fierce and fabulous socialite who exists with a purpose. CEO & Founder Maria Kritikos carries the burning desire for every woman to live a life of freedom and dreams beyond their own expectations and everyone else’s.

So while the network is home to the nation’s most influential and glamorous women propelling each other to move forward with each other’s goals, the network has also proven its other mantra – making a difference in the world. In only two years of its existence, Ladies WHO Lunch has already hosted eight events, with every single one giving back to a charity of their choice.

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Shop4Hope featured an array of the nation’s most influential women.

Their first gathering of 2015, the 2nd annual Shop4Hope event, was held on May 12th at the fabulous Holt Renfrew in Downtown Vancouver. I had the privilege of being present in a space filled with a group of high-energy, positive and supportive women; the energy in the room was so magnetic that I am assured every single individual left inspired! Aside from getting to network in style, guests were treated to a celebrity-infused fashion show including TV Host Fiona Forbes, CFox radio host Karen Khunkhun, fashion editor and author Marilyn Wilson and international celebrity stylist Kim Appelt to name just a few. Holt Renfrew donated 10% of the evening’s sales to the network’s chosen charity, Dress for Success Vancouver, allowing the event to raise thousands in an hour!

Fashion editor & author, Marilyn R. Wilson
Fashion editor & author, Marilyn R. Wilson

Read my interview with CEO & Founder Maria Kritikos and find out more about the Shop4Hope event below:

What is Ladies Who Lunch?

Ladies Who Lunch is a global movement of women in business, fashion and philanthropy living their dream and making a difference in the world. I created the network to assemble a community of fearless and fabulous game changers, and it’s really to inspire other women to reach their full potential. We love to wear fancy hats and sparkly shoes but that’s just one part of the network. We are business women, philanthropists, community leaders – we are women who are not afraid to dream big. And this is exactly what Shop4Hope is – this event is a manifestation of what was just a mere idea for me, a dream that I sometimes doubted would happen or at times I believed I couldn’t make happen. I am living proof that you can do whatever you set your mind to as long as you make your desire greater than your excuses.

I know first hand how incredible this network really is! Let our readers know how you came up with the idea for Shop4Hope.

This event really is to give back to women less fortunate than ourselves. I started this last year as a heart-felt response to the horrible tragedy that happened in the Philippines after a typhoon left the country in devastation. After watching the footage, my son and I were left in tears, and I couldn’t sit back and do nothing. We managed to raise just over $2,000 to donate to the Canadian Medical Assistance Teams who were on the ground there. Shop4Hope is an event that truly incorporates all the values of the network which are passion, independence, authentic self expression and most importantly, contribution. So being here in Holt Renfrew to give back is such a dream come true!

Joanna Kritikos, Founder of www.InspirationMecca.com
Joanna Kritikos, Founder of www.InspirationMecca.com

How did the partnership with Holt Renfrew come about?

I was at a fundraiser in the fall and Holt’s expressed interest in partnering up with the Ladies WHO Lunch Network. They have been keeping an eye on us on social media and brought this idea forward to organize something. It’s so wonderful! What a great collaboration and an honour to host an event at such a great establishment.

Why did you choose Dress for Success Vancouver?

They are an organization that the Ladies WHO Lunch have given back to at our other events in the past. They really embody the principles and values of our network which is contribution and making a difference in the lives of women in less fortunate circumstances that ourselves. It’s the perfect choice to really help empower women into the workforce to live their dreams and reach their fullest potential.

Christina Florencio, Marketing & Sponsorship Manager for Dress for Success Vancouver & TV Host Kristina Matisic
Christina Florencio, Marketing & Sponsorship Manager for Dress for Success Vancouver & TV Host Kristina Matisic

What was your objective for hosting this event? 

The intention was to assemble a community of powerful and influential women coming together to have fun, make valuable connections, and enjoy fashion all while making a difference. It’s about turning your dreams into a reality, being scared but taking action anyway, putting it all on the table even if you’re not sure how it’s going to turn out. It’s about living your passion and doing what lights you up.

Entrepreneur Laurie Ashley with friend Amelia.
Entrepreneur Laurie Ashley with friend Amelia.

What’s next for Ladies WHO Lunch?

I want women to know that there is a very powerful force at work in our lives right now, and it’s called the Law of Attraction.  It really is attracting people, jobs, situations and relationships into your life – with not all being good. As a certified Law of Attraction facilitator, I teach the 3 step formula that you can use in any situation in your life whether personal or business that will turn you into a magnet attracting easily and effortlessly whatever it is you desire. This was the exact secret I had when I started the Ladies WHO Lunch Network from nothing into what it is today, as well as how my dream for Shop4Hope became a reality.

Shop4Hope did just that – it showed the world that when you overcome your fears and organize a community of like-minded, influential women together, powerful things can happen for the greater good.

And don’t be disappointed if you missed the event, as you can still get to know the women who graced the runway with the Ladies WHO Lunch Speaker Series. Starting June 1, 2015, you can get free access to this virtual training event that features 10 game changing women who reveal what it means to live your passion and make a difference. You truly are who you choose to surround yourself with, so if you’re looking to be a part of a network that will support, motivate, inspire and encourage you to make your dreams a reality, then Ladies WHO Lunch just might be the right place for you.

Maria Kritikos with Krystele Chavez, Communications Representative of the Ladies WHO Lunch Network.
Maria Kritikos with Krystele Chavez, Communications Representative of the Ladies WHO Lunch Network.
Krystele Chavez
Krystele was born and raised on the beautiful island of Saipan, Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands. Although from a tiny community, she was already traveling to North America at the age of 12 to compete and champion international public speaking competitions. Her global perspective has helped her branch out to discover new opportunities when she moved to BC seven years ago. At just 21, she has received a B.A. in Communications from SFU and has already worked for numerous organizations including Metro Vancouver, Canadian Cancer Society, Special Olympics BC, and the BC Non-Profit Housing Association to name a few. She is an entrepreneur, and handles social media for reputable brands. Krystele's passion is to help others find their voice and be heard, as well as inspire others to make the world a better place.
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