Our Story Universal Womens Network™
The Universal Womens Network™ is a global platform committed to gender equality by raising the bar to advance women in their networks, communities, and workplaces. We connect, celebrate and recognize women along with men who SupportHER™ to empower women to succeed personally and professionally.
Since launching Universal Womens Network™ , formerly Canadian Business Chicks in May 2014, Monica has broken traditional barriers and silos by embracing collaboration and diversity.
In five short years, Monica has built a recognizable National brand across Canada and spearheaded partnerships with government agencies, non-profits, venture capitalists, and women’s organizations. In 2015, Monica created Women of Inspiration™ Awards to recognize a woman who helped her overcome adversity and life-changing Seven Journey in the justice system with 4800 hundred hours of litigation, 22 days of trial and 56 + court appearances.
Monica’s personal story of resilience was the fuel to create Women of Inspiration™ to honour one woman. Women of Inspiration™ Awards celebrates, recognizes and inspire women across Canada who lead by example and inspires others to be more and do more. Monica celebrated the 5th-year milestone as a national platform recognizing over 150 Women of Inspiration™ across Canada. Women of Inspiration™ celebrated over 700+ women since 2015. She has had produced over 80+ events, interviewed hundreds of women and expanded her brand nationally and globally.
Monica’s vision for 2020 and beyond is Universal, creating an inclusive & sustainable network to elevate inspiring women and the men who SupportHER™, work with like-minded organizations globally committed to gender equality, forge strategic partnerships with government agencies, economic development, and critical stakeholders to advance women in business.
Her vision is fueled with a commitment to gender equality, diversity, and inclusive cultures, disrupting barriers, celebrating female role models and the men who SupportHER™ to advance women in business. As our founder's vision grows, it will continue to empower women who have overcome adversity and gender-based violence to rebuild their lives through The Nest Foundation™.
The Four Pillars
We are committed to gender equality and bringing men to the conversation who champion and SupportHER™.
Mentorship is the key to success. Our Mentors are women and men who want to see you succeed!
Empowering women to rebuild their lives for themselves and their children.
We celebrate female role models and men who SupportHER! Sharing your success paves the road for others to follow in your footsteps!
It takes courage to show vulnerability. Together we conquer our fears and forge our path.
It takes confidence to ask for help. Together we conquer our fears and forge our path.
It takes commitment to use your voice and to stand out in the crowd. Together we conquer our fears and forge our path.
It takes integrity to pave the road less travelled. Together we conquer our fears and forge our path.
Monica Kretschmer’s Story Founder, CEO
"Resilience is not what happened to you, it is what you do with what happened to you! I wake every day knowing me I'm leading with a bigger purpose! "
The Seven- Year Journey
In 2007, Monica’s world turned upside down overnight. In an instant, she became a single mom, homeless with a baby; which in turn, became complex seven-year litigation, as Monica refers to as the "Seven Year Journey". It was one of Monica’s most vulnerable moments, but it was also the beginning of a life-changing journey that led her to launch Universal Womens Network™, Women of Inspiration - UWN Awards™, The Nest Foundation™, MentorHER™, and SupportHER™.
It was through this adversity that she stepped into her power and strength as a woman. Her inspirational journey of adversity, gender-based violence, cyberbullying, harassment, and 13 years in the courts at all levels as a result of divorce. Monica's raw and real story of resilience brings hope, for others to dream big! Monica is raising the bar for others to dream big!
In 2014, with a light at the end of a seven-year tunnel, Monica knew she was meant for something bigger. She was ready to focus on the big picture and find her purpose. With a passion for building authentic connections, empowering women, philanthropy and her entrepreneurial mindset, Canadian Business Chicks was hatched. In May 2014, Monica launched Canadian Business Chicks, a national women’s membership community. A place where professional women could build relevant and authentic connections and share their passion for business. A place, like The Nest, with no judgment where women could connect, empower, learn and celebrate with each other.
Monica’s vision included creating a legacy event, Women of Inspiration, to recognize a woman who inspired her to greatness.
Since the inaugural Women of Inspiration in 2015, she has tripled her attendance and opened recognized over 500 nominees across Canada. Her vision to recognize the everyday heroes has grown from a single award to multiple Diverse Categories and a National Awards Program recognizing the achievements of women. Monica’s vision is to celebrate female role models and the men who SupportHER™ regionally, nationally and globally.
In 2017, Monica founded The Nest Foundation™ to empower women to rebuild their lives for themselves and their children through mentorship, education, wellness, and experiences. It was through her own experiences as a single mom picking up the pieces to rebuild her life after unimaginable adversity that she was compelled to help other women who looked “fine” when in reality the stress of litigation, court costs, only compounded the ability to rebuild financially. She believes when women succeed, families succeed.
In 2018 at the height of the #MeToo movement, Monica launched SupportHER™. As a mom of a young boy was compelled to surround her son with positive male role models. Fuel by the desire to find positive role models for her son to follow, she made the bold decision to elevate the male champion and SupportHER™ in their networks, workplaces, and communities. SupportHER™ is a vehicle to invite men to the conversation and be seen as Gender Equality and Diversity Leaders. Monica continues to grow the SupportHER™ Membership and works with organizations and consults with individuals committed to Gender Equality to advance women personally and Professionally.
Monica is a proud single mom to an active and brilliant young man, she loves to create, speak to share her messages of Resilience, Diversity and Inclusiveness, Leading with Purpose, and inspiring others to Dream Big! She continues to be truly inspired by the thousands of women she meets! Monica believes every woman has a story and together we can move mountains and make an impact in our local communities and around the globe.
A Woman of Inspiration is empowered and not defined by her story. Every woman has a story!” Monica Kretschmer - Founder and CEO Universal Womens Network™, Women of Inspiration - UWN Awards™, SupportHER™
Empowering Women The Nest Foundation
We believe that every woman has a story and together we are stronger. Our founder’s vision is to empower women to truly prosper at all levels of business and in life.
The Nest Foundation™ empowers women to rebuild lives for themselves and their children through education, wellness, mentorship, and memorable experience. The Nest Foundation™ partners with organizations who believe together we are stronger and can make a difference in the lives of others.
A Woman of Inspiration is a confident and authentic woman passionate about her cause, she is not afraid to take risks or ask for help, she embraces vulnerability, she empowers other women through her actions, she has unwavering determination, and she takes on and overcomes challenges with grace and dignity. ~ Monica Kretschmer
When women succeed, families succeed!
Good People, Good Words
It was an incredible evening to be in the room with so many incredible women and men who are champions for women, who have important stories to tell and who can be role models for future generations. The celebration, Monica and Universal Womens Network™ have given us a forum to express those parts of our lives that have been difficult, but yet we keep pushing forward. It’s given us a place to be able to celebrate what we’ve accomplished in our world and no matter what happens, no matter how many times you fall, you can still pick yourself up and move forward. [Monica] is a champion of that. This has just been life-changing for me… I recognize for the first time that I can make a difference.
2019 Women of Inspiration Unsung Hero Award
Establish as a non-profit organization in 1996, Business Link provides advice and guidance that helps Alberta entrepreneurs bring their ideas to life. We have been a partner of Universal Womens Network since 2016 and have seen great value in the initiatives coordinated through that organization. These events strengthen networks and empower women to achieve greater success.
Executive Director, Business Link
Congratulations on another successful Woman of Inspiration Awards. Please accept my sincere appreciation and thanks for the work you do to hold this annual event recognizing women business leaders and acknowledging their contributions to our province. As Minister of Status of Women, I was excited to learn about the contributions Women of Inspiration Award recipients are making in their professional and entrepreneurial endeavours. Universal Womens Network continues to provide women in business with supportive networks to inspire them to succeed. I appreciate your leadership in empowering women across Alberta. Once again, thank you for your work important work supporting and celebrating the contributions of women business leaders. Congratulations on another successful awards gala and the continued growth and success of this annual event.
Minister Alberta Status of Women