Announcement Bay of Quinte Blog Youth

2017/2018 Top Leaders Under 30: Bay of Quinte

Over the past weeks, I have been actively seeking out nominations from within our community to determine who are the “Top Leaders Under 30” in the Bay of Quinte region. To get these nominations, I reached out to the local business community, youth leaders, and the community as a whole and invited them to nominate the deserving young people in their lives.

The criterion was simple: that they be a young person who is working hard and making difference in our community. It was stipulated that there was no requirement to be an entrepreneur but as you’ll see below, most have either dabbled in entrepreneurship, are business owners (sometimes multiple times over!) or have taken risks similar to that of being an entrepreneur.  All of the winners listed below range from young people with name recognition already to those whose names I have no doubt will one day be landmarks in their community. All endorsements are for the most part as they were received from the nominator.

Without further ado, I present the Top Leaders Under 30: Bay of Quinte! Get ready to be inspired!

Taylor Ramsay

Taylor Ramsay

Location: Belleville, ON

Who they are: Owner of Brows by Taylor Beauty Bar

What makes them a top leader (anonymous endorsement):

Note: Taylor received the largest amount of nominations for this list, and it was difficult to choose which one really captured the spirit of this list best. In the end, I went with the one that left me stunned and awe-inspired as I read it.

“To truly explain why Taylor Ramsay deserves this award I must tell you about her inspirational character. Taylor is the kindest person you could know. Taylor and I were friends at a very young age but as we got older we went down different paths. I ran into Taylor and her grieving mother a year and a half ago at the Belleville Value Village. She had lost her father and I was struggling with loneliness, so we were both in desperate need of friendship. It didn’t take us long to make plans to reconnect. When I was young I experienced a trauma, a few months following reconnecting with Taylor there were events that triggered horrible memories for me. I didn’t want to leave my house. Though she had not truly known me but for a few months and a few childhood memories she took action after she discovered my misery. Taylor texted me and insisted I go outside on to my front porch. On my porch was a freshly baked batch of double fudge chocolate brownies with a note that said, “I’m grateful for you.” That is the person I’m nominating for this award.

As for her entrepreneurial side it was not an easy accomplishment for Taylor. Taylor was successfully running an Etsy shop which she regularly and still sells jewelry from. Her marketing skills for her Etsy site has gained her 16.6K followers on Instagram. This is the part that Taylor breezes through, but Taylor has always struggled with increased anxiety when it comes to people. When her father died it was only amplified. Socially she was terrified to put herself out there. It caused her to struggle at college. Had you met her a year ago you would not believe that today she owns her own business on Station Street in Belleville Ontario, 106 Station Street to be exact. That same scared, anxious person is now seeing clients regularly at her beauty bar. She will be twenty-two in March. in the salon she does services such as microblading, eye lash extensions, waxing, nails. She has taken classes again overcoming her social anxiety and in her salon, there is a display of her credentials.

Taylor’s father died of cancer, and during the time she was trying to get the salon up and going her mother was diagnosed with the same kind of cancer. Not only did Taylor open a salon on the precise time that she announced to her loyal customers on Facebook, but she drove her mother to Toronto for chemo treatment’s over a four-month span. Her mother is now cancer free and Taylor continues to add to her wall of credentials. If you ask Taylor Ramsay how she overcame her anxiety she would probably say she didn’t, she pushed through it! She has no idea how strong she is and maybe that is true of all young entrepreneurs today in the Bay of Quinte.”

Tyler Allsopp

Tyler Allsopp

Location: Belleville, ON

Who they are: Owner of Doug’s Bicycle Sales & Service

What makes them a top leader:

“From such a young age Tyler always had large goals in life. When he had a plan in mind he would always go above and beyond to make his dreams come true. Starting with buying Doug’s Bicycle from Neil Ellis in 2012. Ever since he has stated on this business adventure, each year has been a growing success.

In 2014 he ran for city council to help further commitment to this city. Even though he did not get in, he has continued to work in the city of Belleville when he can – volunteering for numerous cycling events, sponsoring fundraisers and charity auctions and building the Riverside Bike Park to help people practice safe mountain biking locally! Tyler never ceases to amaze me with his wonderful ideas for this community and I know with the right tools he can achieve great success.”

Stephanie Bell

Stephanie Bell

Location: Picton, ON

Who they are: Gardener and Community Advocate

What makes them a top leader:

“Stephanie has a passion and vibrancy for life and Prince Edward County that is rare. From my standpoint, she is still fully committed to the ideals and concerns that motivated her to run for Prince Edward County Council in the last municipal election. These include job creation for young people in our community, fighting poverty, and holding council accountable and transparent in their decision-making.

Stephanie is very active in the community, including being involved with community organizations/events such Food Not Bombs PEC and the Future Forum. She leveraged her name-recognition in the community as a recent election candidate and as a young person herself that she joined forces with other like-minded young people and youth advocates to co-organize and host 2016’s Future Forum in Prince Edward County. The aim of the event was to improve youth engagement in helping them to solve the issues that they are experiencing as a member of the Prince Edward County community and taking ownership of these solutions while learning how to effectively use their voices, to access the various resources available and getting the “adults” in the room to pay attention. As she put it in one article ‘I think action is the most important thing for me. I can’t say what their interests are, but for me, it’s to get them to be active in the community as opposed to just ‘let’s hit these issues over the head by talking about them for hours and hours’. Because ranting is good for a little bit, but then you need to actually go and do something because otherwise, you’re just … all talk and no action.’”

Courtney Black

Courtney Black

Location: Belleville & Picton, ON

Who they are: Co-Founder/Owner of Studio Barn

What makes them a top leader:

“Courtney is the co-owner/founder of Studio Barn Inc. in the artisan’s haven of Picton, Ontario. Courtney has been working tirelessly seven days a week to bring Studio Barn to fruition for the early months of 2018. She has been involved in bringing the concept of Studio Barn Inc. to Start up Canada and Start up Bay of Quinte, and has attracted interest/support from several municipalities, secondary and post-secondary educational institutions, local skilled trades and artisans, community leaders and members, and many more. Studio Barn is the very first maker space in Canada to bring together multiple disciplines in skilled trades under one roof.

She has a strong belief that anyone and everyone should have access to equipment to make, create and build to their heart’s content without breaking the bank. She also strongly believes that the skilled trades and hands on activities are essential in bringing together community, and creating economic opportunity. Her vision is clear and her passion is contagious, and I strongly believe she is helping to create a movement that will spread across the country. Having an individual as passionate, humble and hard-working as Courtney in the community is something very special, and I strongly believe she is deserving of this recognition.”

Nate Card

Nate Card.jpg

Location: Trenton, ON

Who they are: Owner of Wild Card Brewing Company

What makes them a top leader:

“They have a wonderful product and have worked very hard to have it served in a large and growing number of locations across Ontario.

They are very innovative and are always looking for new ways to up their wow factor. On top of that they are one of the nicest guys!”

Some key reviews from Wild Card Brewing Company’s Facebook page:

Great beer made by great people in the Quinte region!

Wild Card Brewing is among the top places for craft beer in this area. The people who own and work there are truly passionate about this venture. I’ve been to the craft beer festivals held in both Belleville and most recently hops on the water in Trenton. Wild Card is always one of my first stops. Keep up the great work Wild Card and Cheers to your team.

Erin & Adam Keats

Erin & Adam Keats

Location: Quinte West, ON

Who they are: Owner/operators of Trenton Delicatessen

What makes them a top leader:

“Erin and Adam purchased a little dying deli in 2015. They have revived Trenton Delicatessen and are a serious part of the success of downtown Trenton.

They are both young and full of potential and are passionate about the success of their business and community. They have big plans for the expansion of Trenton Deli. They are a shining success story and an inspiration for other young Entrepreneurs.”

Here is a bit of what customers are saying about Trenton Delicatessen:

Always friendly customer service and excellent quality cold cuts and their sandwiches are amazing!!

Their sandwiches are always AMAZING! And they have a neat selection of stuff you can’t find in a generic grocery store. Glad we picked up some cheese & salami from here today, because I just had the best midnight snack sandwich! Seriously. I made two and am contemplating on making a third it was SO good. We will be getting our deli & cheese here from now on, as well as going on sandwich dates to the park more often thanks to this great little place! Support local business :).

Aaron Miller


Location: currently living near Kingston and re-locating back to Prince Edward County soon.

Who they are: OPP Officer, Minor hockey coach, entrepreneur and volunteer-extraordinaire

What makes them a top leader:

“Aaron was born in PEC and began his entrepreneurial journey at 11 years by delivering papers and flyers…this was back when they weren’t flung from cars! He went around his route with his wagon dropping off papers, with mom helping of course. As he grew older he began cutting lawns, raking leaves, cleaning pools, any jobs he could find.

He did this for several years until he got his driver’s license, when he started a business cleaning, or detailing, cars. He would spend 3-4 hours cleaning inside and out, and with keeping his lawns cut, was kept busy for several summers. At 15 he took the hockey referee course, and started his career reffing minor hockey most weekends all season, a job that continues even today.
Aaron was always available to help with any volunteer activities in PEC, including the food bank, Picton Recreation Committee, Picton’s Women’s Hockey, PEC Yacht Club, and Relay For Life.

He graduated high school with an ‘A’ average, and won the Rotary prize for contributions to the community. He attended St. Lawrence College in Kingston, continuing his many volunteer activities, adding Victim Services to the list. Aaron kept detailing cars when he could, and was responsible for several sailboats, including, tarping, untarping, cleaning, waxing and bottom-painting. All of this while he achieved the fitness level needed for his primary goal, which was joining the OPP. To this end he had always kept his record clean, both on and off the road. He paid for all his post-graduate schooling and finished with no debt. Upon graduating SLC, Aaron was awarded the President’s award for excellence, the only one awarded in the entire college!

His path to the OPP, while straightforward, took a few years, during which time he joined a local bank as a teller, and quickly became a financial advisor. When the call came with his posting, he went off to Police College and ended up at Lansdowne with the Leeds/Thousand Islands detachment. After almost two years he was offered a transfer to the PEC detachment, which will take effect this January. Our community is lucky to have this young man returning: he has already taken a vacation day to participate in Picton’s Christmas parade!”

Amber Peeling

Amber Peeling

Location: Picton, ON

Who they are: Grade 10 student at PECI and PT employee at Imperial Submarine Picton.

What makes them a top leader:

“Amber lives a very honest and open life. She is the first to help out if needed and always be there for others. Over the years Amber has stepped up to the plate in several volunteering areas. When a non-profit in Guatemala sent a cry out for backpacks, Amber said “If it means children will have an education, let’s do this!”

And she did. She collected 75 backpacks in a couple of weeks, as well as school supplies. She has spent countless hours baking cookies to raise money for different non-profit groups. She volunteers at her church whenever a need arrives, and now would like to start volunteering to help teens leave the trafficking field, get an education and live a life. She also will be travelling to New Brunswick in the new year to help out at a camp on a poor reservation there. She is an honour student who leads a clean life. She is a no drug advocate to her peers. Amber continues to amaze me for being a 15-year-old, she is willing to lend a hand, ear or her coat if you need.”

Stephanie Pignoli


Location: Corbyville, ON

Who they are: Owner of Furball’s Choice

What makes them a top leader:

“Stephanie is a natural entrepreneur because she stays true to her heart and her customers love that!

She’s great with animals and puts their well-being first. She’s professional and personable making her a delight to work with. Her knowledge is evident in all aspects of her business, making it easy to trust her with your pet and pet products.”

Here is a bit of what her client’s have to say about Stephanie’s care of their fur babies:

Had Furball’s Choice in to take care of our 4 cats while we were on vacation, outstanding service. Our cats were extremely well taken care of, the visit journals with pic and a write-up after each visit certainly puts your mind at ease when away from your loved ones. Great work, thanks!

Furballs has been taking my dog for Adventure walks for a year now and he comes home very happy and tired. The walkers are awesome and he just loves them. I would not trust my dog with anyone else they are the very best. I can not express how much I appreciate them or how awesome they are.

Abraham Ramos Serratos

Abraham Serratos

Location: Belleville, ON

Who they are: Co-Owner of Chilangos Mexican Restaurant

What makes them a top leader:

“Along with his sister Marlem, Abraham started a family business, Chilangos Mexican Restaurant. Abraham as a young entrepreneur has positioned Chilangos as one of the must visit business in downtown Belleville.

His motivation and knowledge about Mexican food has impact many people around the Quinte area! Now he is looking to open a second location of Chilangos Restaurant in Kingston. He deserves to be recognized as a good employer too as he provides employment to more than 15 people in downtown Belleville, and is only 30!”

Alicia Sewell

Alicia Sewell

Location: Quinte West, ON

Who they are: Owner of Astounding Heights Dance Academy

What makes them a top leader:

“Alicia works tirelessly towards making Astounding Heights Dance Academy (AHDA) a success and accessible to all who wish to train there. It has been through her hard work, commitment and passion for what she does that she has had to expand and move three times since AHDA launched due to an increase in students and class offerings. She is also committed to making sure that anyone who wants to try dance classes but can’t necessarily afford it through periodically offering free dance days and fundraising to help off-set tuition costs and various expenses related to being on the competition teams.”

Here is what some of the reviewers on the AHDA Facebook page had to say:

‘Alicia is an incredible dance teacher. My nine-year-old daughter felt comfortable with her instantly. My daughter is really pushing herself because Alicia motivates her and keeps her focused.’

‘I’m having so much fun learning how to tap dance. Something that has been on my bucket list for 20 years. AND my daughter and I are sharing an amazing bond over dance. Thank you, Alicia! You are helping us strengthen our relationship, and grow closer together. I bet you didn’t know you could do that in only a few weeks! I can’t wait for this fall dance season!’

Saiqa Sheikh

Saiqa Sheikh.png

Location: Carrying Place, ON

Who they are: Owner of 3 businesses within the Bay of Quinte region: JERKebago,Rooted Eats & RAYN Events & Chef Services

What makes them a top leader:

“Saiqa should be recognized because she is passionate about bringing a positive outlook to change, coupled with diversity into the BOQ region! She moved here by herself while expecting her 3rd daughter and started to create JERKebago. Her partner joined her 8 months later in order to help bring that into fruition! JERKebago was received positively by the community and a second location will be opening up Spring 2018 in Picton! Saiqa hopes to employ youth from the culinary program at Loyalist and give them an opportunity to gain real life experience straight out of school.

Being of a plant-based diet herself, she recognized that there was very little offered for such diets within the region – so she created ROOTED EATS – this business provides plant-based (vegan) options to the region via pop ups and catering – for now. Saiqa has plans for a storefront for this business when the time is right.

As the summer season transitioned into the fall – catering was a big question that was asked about, so she created RAYN EVENTS. Through this business, she is able to provide other businesses and the community an alternative to Subway/Pizza Pizza as catering options. The food is fresh, wholesome and homemade! Everything is prepped in the prep trailer that she and her partner acquired and refitted once their 3rd daughter (which makes 3 under 6!) was born last December!

Aside from all this in the works – she is an artist! Once the day has turned to night, and everyone is tucked in, she spends her time working on her children’s books which she hopes will bring children visuals of self-acceptance, self-love and to see that being different is what makes us all unique! Because her daughters are also of mixed race, this is especially important to her in a heavily Caucasian demographic! Her goals are to self publish and have these books in libraries across the region! Her motto on life is One Love!

One last quality I would like to touch on, is that Saiqa has always included her partner in all of her talks! For her, everything has been a dual effort, a partnership. This is something that is unnecessary in my opinion, because as a woman entrepreneur alone, it is tough. Being in business with a man, makes it even tougher – in this male-dominated society, people overlook her and go straight to the man when it comes to business, meanwhile she’s always been the head contact She has accepted this and wants to show her daughters that when you set your mind to it, work hard, you will achieve results, as a woman and as a visible minority – don’t let anything stop you!”

Aaron Wiik

Aaron Wiik

Location: Cherry Valley, ON

Who they are: Grade 11 student at PECI and an overall incredible person.

What makes them a top leader:

“Two Summers ago, Aaron ran successful refreshment stand in Bloomfield with his friend and fellow Cadet Tristan Leclaire. In Summer 2017, he successfully completed his Glider Pilot Licence through the Air Cadet program, and was featured in the Picton Gazette.

He is now actively putting his stills and knowledge to use teaching other cadets, and encouraging them to be better leaders. Aaron has been selected for the Kiwanis Key Leader camp 2 times, and this Fall was selected as a group youth facilitator at the camp. Through Cadets and as a member of 851 “Prince Edward” Air Cadet Squadron, he actively volunteers for projects involving the Legion, and Salvation Army among others, as well as Trash Bash. Hopes to work at Mountainview Cadet Flying Training Centre   next Summer to pass along his expertise.

He is a part of the PECI Improv team and class and recently was involved in traveling around to some other schools and organizations with their latest production.   “Blue or Pink” which portrays gender equality issues, and the abuse of women. At PEC, he is involved in school activities including, Curling, Badminton, Improv, and Model United Nations. He also helps tutor fellow students where he can in school.

Based on all his giving back to the community, with active involvement in the Cadet program, and school, as well as have developed an entrepreneurial spirit that should take him far in life, Aaron would make an excellent choice exemplifying a positive youth.”





3 replies on “2017/2018 Top Leaders Under 30: Bay of Quinte”

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