Every day, in virtually every aspect of my life, I am surrounded by women who personify strength. From my immediate family—my mother, Dorothy, my wife, Silken, and my incredible daughters, Killee, Tygre, and Kate—to the brilliant leaders that drive the continued success of GoodLife Fitness, Fit4Less, canfitpro, and Oxygen Yoga. The women in my life are perfect examples of why a world of equality is better for us all; they undoubtedly make me a better man.

The 2019 International Women’s Day Theme is #BalanceforBetter, an idea of which I am a firm believer. Everyone can play a role in creating gender parity, and in my position, I strive to ensure that the values that empower gender equality are prevalent within my organizations. In our mission to make Canada the healthiest, fittest nation on Earth, we require the leadership and expertise of our best individuals, women and men.

As a boy, I was raised by brilliant women who pushed boundaries and exceeded expectations. My grandmother, Gwendoline, wrote a column on farming and rural life in a local newspaper, and my mother cared for her three sons on her own after the death of my father when I was eight. My mother continues to contribute to GoodLife to this day—even as she nears her 100th birthday.

I am proud that the most senior leaders in all of my organizations are women—each extraordinary captains that pilot our teams toward consistently loftier goals. Led by my long-time friend and colleague Jane Riddell, GoodLife’s Chief Operating Officer, Pat Jacklin, GoodLife’s Chief Financial Officer, Sue Chambers and Michele Colwell, each Senior Vice Presidents with GoodLife, Alana Free, Marian McTeer, Tracy Matthews and Kim Lavender, all Vice Presidents with GoodLife, Kathy Kaye-Mackinnon, Chief Operating Officer for Fit4Less, Maureen “Mo” Hagan, Vice President at canfitpro, and Jennifer Hamilton, CEO of Oxygen Yoga—the newest member of our stable—our brands are in powerful, confident hands, and their leadership is a large reason for our success.

At GoodLife specifically, of the 49 members of our senior leadership team that includes Directors, Vice Presidents, and Chief Officers, there is a near-even distribution between men and women, with 24 women in prominent leadership positions within the company. This is a perfect representation of our commitment to gender parity in the workplace, where each individual brings unique experiences, perspectives, and expertise to our organization, and that diversity makes us stronger.

It is important that we all continue to focus on advocacy, inclusive mindsets, and visible action with the goal of improving gender equality in our companies, in our country, and in our world. We must serve to promote a gender-balanced society, where everyone, regardless of their gender, is given fair and equal opportunity. We must continue to break barriers, to challenge a dated status quo, and to let our actions represent our commitment to fairness, diversity, and equality, this International Women’s Day, and every day moving forward.