“Style” is the first word that came to me when I met Veronique da Silva. She attended a women’s networking event that I was hosting and when she arrived you could feel her presence – you knew that this was a woman who not only makes things happen but would attract a lot of amazing women to her at the same time. As I have come to know her better, she has proven this to be true as she has shown me her sense of generosity, compassion, relationship building and commitment to community.
Arriving in Victoria in 2005, Veronique came from Montreal where she held a position managing the photo archive for the National Film Board, a job which she describes as amazing and really got her creative juices flowing. She had her own business there, as she does here with da Silva Photo, shooting commercial and retail photography.
Setting up roots in Victoria came naturally for Veronique, “Vero” to her close friends. She became involved in the Fernwood Community Association, volunteering as the photographer for the publication “Vibe”. She also volunteered and did fundraising with Bridges for Women and Woodwyn Farms. The main focus of her early days in Victoria, however, was her beautiful little girl, Sofia. After three and half years, and with Sofia ready to start kindergarten, Veronique relaunched her commercial photography business in Victoria. Sofia is frequently by her side – in fact, the first time I visited Veronique at her studio, Sofia was there in the role of Business Manager, handing out business cards and promoting her mom (I’m told that Sofia wants to start her own business one day soon).
“To Haiti with Love” was a day long event that Veronique created immediately after the devastating news of the earthquakes in Haiti. This event came together in six days and raised over $12,000. Veronique and her studio partner Michael shot black and white photos throughout the day for donations, and another friend, Miss Rosie Bitts coordinated an evening show with vocals and burlesque, complete with Gordie Tupper as the MC! This event captured the attention of local and national media.
Veronique loves to build connections for people and was constantly being asked “do you know someone who…” and so she decided to get a bunch of women together for a potluck event in her living room – 30 women showed up and the event went until 2 am in the morning! The next morning, while she was cleaning up bottles from her living room she was receiving emails from women who wanted to know when the next one was going to be…and the Girls Night Mixer was born and immediately outgrew the living room…events have been held at the Fernwood Inn, Union Pacific Coffee House and The Oswego. The distribution list has grown from 30 to 550 and events are sold out within 24 hours of the invitation being sent out. The group is an intimate number of under 100, where tremendous friendships are born with spectacular women. The benefactor of funds raised at these events has been Bridges for Women.
And what does the future hold for Veronique and Sofia? Lots of personal and professional growth – Veronique loves her studio space, has rebranded her business look and feel, her creative juices are flowing and her business growth enables her philanthropic energy to shine through. Sofia is in school and sets up her business, her “store” in the studio while Veronique works. It is my honour and pleasure to know these two ladies and I’ll be watching them as they soar to unlimited heights!
Da Silva Photo