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Nicole Stefenelli: Finding Her Mentoring Feet

By Jennifer Croll
SharedVISION Magazine, November 2008

As a university student, Nicole Stefenelli wasn’t sure how to react when friends encouraged her to follow her passion for recycling. “They said, ‘Nicole, you need to do something about this.’ And I actually didn’t know what that meant.” But she soon figured it out. Today, she’s the founder and president of Urban Impact Recycling.

Started as a university project in 1989, Urban Impact has grown into a Lower Mainland success story. Nicole confesses she’s surprised by how far the company has come. “When I started, one of my best friends said, ‘How many businesses do you need to make a go of it?’ And I said, ‘Oh, 25?’”

Nearly 20 years later, Urban Impact has 4,500 pickup locations. Amid all this eco-friendly success, Nicole’s desire to give back prompted her to introduce Urban Impact’s charitable giving program, which provides free recycling services to charities. The company has also recently taken on the task of going carbon-neutral.

Seeking to strengthen her entrepreneurial chops, Nicole approached the FWE in 2003. “I was just so lucky because the fit, the match, was ideal,” she says of the mentor assigned to her. Still a mentee, Nicole’s unofficial mentoring duties, plus a turn assisting Christina Anthony in organizing the FWE’s e-series entrepreneurial training sessions, suggest that she’s up for the challenge.

In the meantime, Nicole has some sage advice for women entrepreneurs. “Whatever you choose, make sure you absolutely love it, because you will work harder than you’ve probably ever worked,” she says. “But if you do love it and you do feel the passion every time you go to work, it’s easy.”

SharedVISION is an independent monthly magazine for those interested in sustainability, integrative health, and personal growth.  They promote solutions for living more lightly on the Earth, providing provocative, entertaining information about organics, eco-products, health, and home, and profiling those who are making a difference.