Mandy Fucking Balak

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Before you delve into the amazing storytelling prowess of her highness Mandy Balak, let's talk about her. If you don't know who this amazingly beautiful and successful babe is we're about to change your life. 

Mandy Balak has founded three business and is a major contributor to a few others. NBD. Oh, and by the way, she's really kind and genuine too.  If you're reading this and you're female many of you will be thinking "OMG I HATE her." Amirite? Except Mandy is working to flip that script. Instead of hating on other women (or secretly hating) she has started a movement to EMPOWER women. She's teaching us all how to appreciate the successes in your fellow females and how, more importantly, to be there for one another. 

One of the most amazing things about this beauty is that she is incredibly candid about her failures. She's opening the proverbial door to let all the skeletons out and she's once again empowering us with her wisdom.

Enjoy, Take notes, talk soon, 

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18 months ago, I was sitting outside of my office paralyzed with fear, tears streaming down my face. I had just got off the phone with a business partner and was told that all support was being pulled from my business - effective immediately. With zero dollars in the bank account the day before payroll was due, I was facing one of the darkest days of my life. 

I walked into the office and sat down at my desk. 

After shuffling some papers around, pretending to write a couple emails and look busy — I mustered up the courage to call my team together for an impromptu meeting. 

I looked around — surrounded by the six young women on my team whom I loved like family, this was my tribe. 

I tried to get the words out, to speak diligently — but my tears forced their way out first. 

My team rallied beside me —hugging me and hugging each other — they knew it was over. 

My heart was broken as we sat in our headquarters for the last time together.  We drank a beer and put our heads together on how we could create something out of the shambles we were in. Talks of an agency, an online publication…they were willing to fight and keep us all together.

It wasn’t the right time. I was burnt out and exhausted from fighting for so long.

I said goodbye to my team that day and the worst hadn’t even hit me yet. 

Landlord disputes, legal battles, lawsuits — I was afraid to be seen in public and afraid to answer my phone. 

This heaviness followed me around for the foreseeable future. I put my energy back into my first business, It’s Date night but it wasn’t enough for me to feel fulfilled and every time I looked in the mirror, I told myself  I was not enough.

Constantly searching for that missing piece, I found myself experimenting with other events and experiences that It’s Date Night could offer. 

Cue, Babes who Brunch. Our first event was in January of 2017 — we had 50 women who attended and the energy offered something I had never experienced before. The room was full of women who were eager and excited to connect with other women. Then came the second event and the third…something was shifting. The ladies attending were starting to share the impact that was happening in their own lives from these events — collaboration, inspiration, compassion, empathy, confidence.

The Ace Class was born in the summer of 2017 — differentiating itself from It’s Date Night by forming its own brand and entity while continuing to offer a monthly brunch designed to empower and inspire women. ACE being an acronym for activate, cultivate and empower  - with a mission to change the way that women connect with other women.

In the fall of 2017, my fiancé James and I went to New York City. Sitting in the lobby of The Ace Hotel, where I have done some of my best work, I wrote the business plan for Ace. My vision was crystal clear and for the first time in a long time, I felt capable to do this work.

Over cocktails that night I told James I was going to launch Ace in every Canadian city — this wasn’t just a brunch, it was a movement.

Without hesitation or doubt, I started calling up women I knew across the country and booked flights to view event space and start training. 

Today, I launched The Ace Class in Winnipeg and hosted our 36th event in our sixth city.

I stood in front of room full of women I had never met before and I felt confident sharing who I am, what I am creating and how I got to this place. 

Ace didn’t happen overnight. It didn’t just take me 15 months to expand across the country — and it wasn’t just a great idea. Ace is an accumulation of 30 years worth of experiences — a result of every failure I have faced and every challenge I have ever overcome.  It is crazy to think about every single moment in my life I have felt like I didn’t belong, that I wasn’t enough, that I didn’t matter, bought me to create a platform where someone might just feel a little more like themselves by attending our events.

Failure happened for me. 

I stood in the airport in Winnipeg today, reminiscing on that day in my car when I thought my world had ended and for the first time, I was grateful for that day. 

Today, I am measuring my success on knowing I am enough.

Failure doesn’t happen to you, it happens for you. 

Mandy Balak

Mandy's heart's work:

The Ace Class.
ACE } Activate. Cultivate. Empower
The Ace Class is a collective of women who activate, cultivate and empower each other to live their fullest lives. Our mission is to change the way that women connect with other women.

Date Night.
It's Date Night focuses on making relationships better through exceptional experiences. Think of us as your go-to guide for planning a date.

Branded Magazine.
RIP.
2014-2016
Branded was a lifestyle magazine for millennials, we put out 12 amazing issues.