Gals That Brunch Ottawa Tightens Community with Female Focused Events

Every year on March 8th, gender equality is celebrated across the globe for International Women’s Day. Considering we weren’t even allowed to vote only a century ago, women have made enormous strides, and it’s the connection, support, and empowerment provided to each other that’s key in having our voices heard and advancing our cause. Finding a community where this is possible is the first step, but doing so can be a daunting and extremely difficult task. Kysa Bashir knows this all too well, and in Fall of 2018 this inspiring career communicator and self-professed feminist started the Ottawa Chapter of Gals That Brunch (GTB), “a global group of women in their 20s and 30s who value good food, great friends, and everything in between”. With the fourth installment of this brand new event series slated for March 10th, Kysa has been hard at work creating “a positive, authentic, and empowering atmosphere where women can connect with each other”.

Kysa Bashir

In June 2015, Tiffany Accardi had just moved cross-country from Colorado to Virginia Beach, and was looking for a way to meet new friends. After reaching out through social media and getting together with a few girls, a mini brunch club was born, and this informal meetup to indulge on the most coveted meal of the day at the trendiest of places slowly began to grow in numbers. After one of the original brunchers moved to a new city herself, she undertook the same initiative and an official movement called Gals That Brunch (GTB) was formed. In the four years since, there have been a whopping 21,350 gals in 78 cities indulging on tens of thousands of donuts and mimosas, making connections, and most importantly forging new and everlasting friendships that have, simply put, changed their lives.

Kysa, whose favorite brunch dish is the Lemon Ricotta Blueberry Pancakes (“they’re to die for!”) at Stoneface Dolly’s, is gaining momentum with this international movement right here on the Ottawa scene. And it’s not just the attendees that she’s connecting, but remains passionate about including female-centered and (preferably) female-owned local businesses. At her Galentine’s inspired (her new fav holiday) brunch, attendees took home a goodie bag including products from local, female owned and operated companies like Tealee (original loose-leaf tea blends, handcrafted with raw ingredients) and BBxCollection Apparel (effortlessly cool casual apparel for everyday wear). Also included was a decadent dessert from Canadian company Quelque Chose Patisserie Macaron Boutique. Kysa volunteers her time creating meaningful relationships with these companies (including the restaurant hosts) in order to specially curate and design the ultimate experience for those who sign up.

After successful events at Stoneface Dolly’s, The Hintonburg Public House, and Mati, Kysa is opening up the next event to a larger crowd at the new, hip and trendy Queen Street Fare. With a custom cocktail, GTB donut (in partnership with Bar Robo, one of the restaurants at the food hall) and Donut Wall (sourced by Ruckify) , a $5 coupon code for Lyft, and $2.00 of every $10.00 ticket being donated to Cornerstone Women’s Shelter, as well as sponsorships with Bumble Canada (BFF and Biz), Kysa is making good use of her social media reach and micro-influencing skills.

“To me, being a feminist means more than believing that women everywhere deserve equal rights and opportunities to their male counterparts. It's also about the work we need to do as a society to avoid pressuring women into pre-defined roles. I believe that there is no one way to be female, that girls and women should be encouraged to redefine the narrative on what being feminine or identifying as a woman means to them. Supporting women also means supporting all those who identify as women.”