As a woman entrepreneur, I've come to deeply appreciate the supportive community of women in the tourism industry. This year in the lead-up to International Women's Day (March 8th), I took some time to reflect on all the inspiring women we get to work with at Mosaic Earth. From our suppliers to our industry colleagues, I see women every day who are taking the lead to create a positive impact for our guests, our communities, and our environment through tourism.
For us, International Women's Day is a time to empower each other in work and in life. This year we're proud to feature an interview with Heather Newman, co-owner of Pointhouse Suites - one of our favourite accommodation partners on the Sunshine Coast.
Together with her husband Bob, Heather has created a stunning guesthouse experience in Sargeant Bay, just north of Sechelt. The 5-acre property includes 260ft of low bank waterfront on a sunny outcrop surrounded by mature forest. The buildings themselves are renowned for their West Coast contemporary architecture and design built in harmony with nature.
As she describes, "the essentials of sustainability, attention to detail, welcoming luxury, and discreet personal service form the pillars of our Sunshine Coast hospitality".
Here is Heather's story.
PD: Tell us a bit about you - where are you from and when did you start your business?
HN: I was born in Vancouver and spent my early years in Powell River. Returning to Vancouver after a brief stint in California, I completed high school and my University Degree in Rehabilitation Medicine. In 1982 I moved to Dawson Creek with my physician husband where I worked as a paediatric therapist before starting a family. My first business venture in the Peace Region was a fitness studio with three other women. In 2003, we opened our first B&B - The Granaries on Bear Mountain - situated on a rural acreage across from the local ski hill and a buffalo ranch.
We bought the Pointhouse property in 2005 with the intent to eventually return to our coastal roots. We originally named it Sanctuary at Sargeant Bay, and after a few upgrades and furnishings, we began offering it to groups and families as a vacation rental while we remained living in Northern BC.
We hadn't planned on it becoming a B&B, but after an architect sketched the possibility for us, we decided to go for it. Development of the property began in 2009 with the goal to maximize the spectacular views and gain more living space without altering the footprint - with the original house being only 1.5 metres from the natural boundary of the ocean. After two and a half years of construction involving two houses, a pavilion, studio and outbuildings, we finally welcomed our first guests to the new boutique lodgings of Pointhouse in May 2012.
PD: Describe your 'why'. What inspired you to start your business, and what drives you every day?
HN: The why has always been to create unique spaces where people can connect with themselves, nature, and each other. It is partly the bricks and mortar and all the details that that entails, but it's also the intangible qualities you can imbue a place with, or the sense of place that nature has already bestowed on it.
The exchange of stories with guests is what I look forward to everyday. You never know what will be in your inbox or what you will learn over serving a meal.
PD: What is something you're really proud of that you have accomplished since starting your business?
HN: If you build it, they will come! I'm proud of seeing some of my big ideas come to life. Finishing is important - concept to reality. I'm also proud that, as our business has grown, we've been able to support others to pursue their own dreams.
PD: Why is sustainability important to you and how have you prioritized this in your work?
HN: Sustainability is part of my DNA. I'm grateful for my mother who helped shape my values and taught me that breakfast was the most important meal of the day. The key priorities for us are creating liveable designs, using sustainable materials and practices, water management and energy conservation, and natural landscaping for wildlife and habitats. We are also involved with local NGOs and local DMOs [destination management organizations] for sustainability, environment, and management.
PD: What do you love most about living and working on the Sunshine Coast?
HN: I love the slower pace of life, the friendly community, and having access to nature and recreation. I love being able to share the coast with guests so that they can appreciate it's charms too.
PD: Tell us your favourites: Outdoor Activity?
HN: Mountain biking. I'm part of an amazing group of women who take to the woods a couple of times a week. I also love skiing, boating, hiking, kayaking, birding, paddle boarding, and cycle touring.
HN: El Segundo, in Sechelt.
Thanks for taking the time to share your story with us, Heather!
You can visit Heather and Bob at the beautiful Pointhouse Suites on our Coast Explorer Plus tour. This is a self-guided adventure with a four-night stay at the Pointhouse B&B, featuring a scenic floatplane tour, guided hikes, sunset boat cruise, morning yoga and spa services, and so much more.
As Heather will tell you, there is no shortage of adventures to be had on the Coast! Contact our team today to start planning: firstname.lastname@example.org.