November has been stellar for ZEST Woman Wendy Lisogar-Cocchia! Earlier this month, Wendy was front row centre at a grand ribbon cutting celebration of the launch of the Pacific Autism Family Network’s GoodLife Fitness Family Autism Hub. The state-of-the-art facility was co-founded by Wendy and her husband Sergio Cocchia and is the first-of-its-kind in North America. The launch welcomed special guests including Premier Christy Clark, Honourable Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities, and Olympian Silken Laumann. It will be the central space for the estimated 69,000 people, and their families in BC, who live with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and all related disorders.
What have been some of your failures, and what have you learned from them?
For me, Success isn’t built on success—it’s built on refusing to accept failure. I’ve taken great lengths not to fail. Years ago I attended my first European spa trade-show where I was selling my new product lines. We came back with hundreds of orders for products and I left them on the plane. Somehow I talked Winnipeg airport security to let me onto the runway where a large dumpster was likely housing my orders. I was so close to the planes I could see the horrified passengers’ faces. Not only was I dumpster diving with rats but the spa owner of my largest and newest account was watching me from the airport window. When I explained what I was doing, and thinking she would say adios, she surprised me –anyone who refuses to failure to that extent is someone I want in my corner. And by the way, I found the orders.
How do you define success and what is best way to achieve long-term success?
Success, to me, means finding your purpose in life and making a difference in your world. Success is coming home to my family at the end of a long day knowing I did my best.
Who has been your greatest inspiration?
My greatest inspiration is my son, who teaches me every day that absolutely anything is possible. I think of him when something appears impossible, I know that I can persevere.
How long do you follow an ‘idea path’ before giving up?
I am absolutely relentless in pursuit of my goals. Ten years ago, my husband and I began the Pacific Autism Family Network (PAFN) with the dream of providing individuals living with autism and their families with a centre for assessment, treatment, education-support and research. PAFN is a charitable organization with a mandate to serve the needs of individuals with autism and all related disorders across their lifespan. Though there were many challenges along the way, I am proud to say that we celebrated the grand opening of our autism hub, the GoodLife Fitness Family Autism Hub, located in Richmond, BC on November 9th. Provincial spokes will follow in 2017.
What makes you happiest? What do you do in your non-work time?
Spending time with my family makes me happiest. In my non-work time I really enjoy running and re-centering with yoga. My schedule can get pretty hectic sometimes, so nothing is better than spending some “me” time once and awhile.
WHO IS WENDY LISOGAR-COCCHIA?
Wendy is the Chief Executive Officer of Century Plaza Hotel and Absolute Spa and has had profound impact by helping the company grow and expand to 10 locations and over 57 awards of spa excellence.
Recently she was been named a Women’s Executive Network (WXN) 2016 Canada’s Most Powerful Women: Top 100 Award Winner. She joins a prestigious community of past Award Winners, including Canada’s most iconic women trailblazers: Margaret Atwood, best-selling author; Dr. Roberta Bondar, astronaut; Arlene Dickinson, chief executive officer, Venture Communications; Heather Reisman, founder and chief executive officer, Indigo Books & Music; and, Kathleen Taylor, chair of the board, Royal Bank of Canada.
BLUSHVancouver is so pleased to shine the spotlight on Wendy Lisogar-Cocchia’s incredible business and philanthropy journey with our readers. If you know a woman who has ZEST and who should be honoured with a spotlight, let us know!