Chelsey MacNeil Paterson is a jack of all trades wearing more than one hat. She is an entrepreneur, advocate for entrepreneurial development and education, and the Director of Social Enterprise for Choices for Youth, an organization that focuses on assisting at risk youth in Newfoundland and Labrador. On top of her career commitments, she is also a musician and mom.
Chelsey originally started a business with the help of Futurpreneur Canada called Model Citizens which is a designer resale clothing boutique and e-commerce business. Post-university she started her career right away but despite working in the field she wanted, she was 22 and unfulfilled. That’s why she decided to open Model Citizens in the spring of 2008 in St. John’s which in 2014, she made the decision to sell to a close friend and store employee and pivoted her career to give back and help others in the entrepreneurial community.
“It was the right moment to expand my professional scope,” Chelsey explained. “As a creator and builder, after seven years I was ready for a change.” Of course knowing that she was selling her business to someone she knew, a long-term store manager who would love and care for Model Citizens, made the whole thing feel right. With an interest in pursuing other educational endeavors and giving back to the entrepreneurial community, Chelsey became a mentor with Futurpreneur. Throughout her journey growing Model Citizens, her mentor Kim Winsor of Johnny Ruth Boutique was invaluable. “I thought it was important to give back to other entrepreneurs.”
On top of mentoring with Futurpreneur, Chelsey has been a mentor for the Genesis Centre at Memorial University, Propel ICT, and CBDC Network in Newfoundland and Labrador on top of her other educational pursuits. She describes mentoring being hard sometimes as she doesn’t always have as much time and energy to put into it, but at the end of the day it’s always rewarding. “When you connect with an entrepreneur, you can really make a significant impact in the evolution of someone else’s business,” she shares. “Every minute you can give them is valuable and I always leave those conversations totally jazzed.”
Chelsey has seen both sides of the impact mentorship can have on an entrepreneur. She feels strongly that a community is only as strong as the connections inside. Mentors strengthen connections and cultivate an environment that is supportive of creating and learning. It also keeps a business community fresh. “It energizes me to be more innovative and creative.”
Admitting that she is one of Futurpreneur’s biggest fans, Chelsey had the opportunity to be a Futurpreneur herself by being part of the start-up program which helped her launch and grow Model Citizens, and turned into an advocate and mentor to the next generation of new entrepreneurs. “The program is vital as our economic climate continues to evolve and Futurpreneur helps make that happen.”
She also wanted to give a special shout-out to Futurpreneur Business Development Manager, Scott Andrews: “He is one of the hardest working people I know. He deserves all the high fives and fist bumps as there is no bigger champion for entrepreneurs in this province.”
Written by: Lauren Marinigh, Social Media & Content Specialist, Futurpreneur Canada