Women of WOW: Sandra Challenger
Not all heroes wear capes. Some like Sandra Challenger, of Simcoe County, in Ontario, are proud to don overalls every day, wield paint brushes and get their hands dirty when bringing their customers’ visions to life.
A successful former corporate executive, a dynamic franchise partner, a breast cancer survivor, an affectionate daughter, a dedicated mum, wife and grandma, a much-loved boss and a community leader – Sandra can wear many hats at the same time.
Today, she successfully juggles a thriving painting business in Simcoe County, along with the pressures of looking after a large family, which includes her mum, husband, three children and two grandchildren (plus a third on the way).
A WOW 1 DAY PAINTING franchise partner for the past six years, Sandra and her team specialise in providing high-quality residential and commercial interior and exterior painting services in Simcoe County and its neighbourhoods. Today, she manages one of the most successful franchisees in North America, with her team of 12 employees, three mobile painting units and two mobile project consultant units.
Sandra points out that she took up the WOW 1-DAY PAINTING franchise primarily to provide a steady income for her family, while enjoying what she was passionate about – painting.
“I love working with my hands and keeping myself busy,” she says. “On weekends, I would help friends by painting their homes and transforming their living spaces. It’s an amazing feeling to be able to recreate their vision and change the way they feel about their home.”
While maintaining a perfect work-life- family balance, she continues to work every day relentlessly, emerging as a role model for her family, friends and community. No battle, big or small, can intimidate Sandra, making her worthy of living up to the “Challenger” legacy.
“Taking time for my family is very important. We do our best to spend Sundays together, when possible, enjoying a meal or just each other’s company,” Sandra says. “On weekends, I make sure to spend enough time with my mum, who lives in a retirement community.”
Before she dived into a full-time career as a franchise partner, Sandra held a senior level role in Canada’s insurance sector where she worked for more than 35 years. She gave up her VP (Operations) position to do what she enjoyed doing the most – taking care of clients, working with colours and painting. She admits that her high-pressure corporate career actually prepared her for her entrepreneurial journey to deliver exceptional customer service to her clients.
"It’s an amazing feeling to be able to recreate our customers’ vision and change the way they feel about their home."
In 2017, Sandra decided to pursue her passion and become an entrepreneur. “I heard about WOW 1 DAY PAINTING and the concept certainly piqued my curiosity,” she says. “I reached out to the franchise development team and found that their business philosophy aligned with mine – take care of your employees and your employees will take care of your clients by providing an exceptional experience.” I had no hesitation in applying for a franchise in my territory and haven’t regretted my decision since.”
While Sandra manages critical roles such as estimating, project management and project consulting, she receives help from son Zach who works alongside her as project manager and son-in-law Jon who looks after brand coordination. That dedication to her business has won her the “Mompreneur” Women of Inspiration Award from Canada’s Universal Women’s Network in 2019.
“Running a business as women in this industry can be daunting,” Sandra points out. “In the beginning, some customers and contractors were skeptical of my knowledge and skill to complete complex jobs. I learned to ignore the noise, believe in myself and prove my value.”
At the same time, she believes there are several positives that stand in favour of women. “I believe we are detail-oriented, understanding, empathetic and driven to succeed,” she points out.
Sandra’s message to aspiring entrepreneurs? “Believe in yourself, step out of your comfort zone, share your knowledge and empower other women.”
- Women of WOW
- In The News