View the Second Chance Video

CanWest's televised program on how Donna, as an unemployed mother of two, asked her friends and neighbours to help her identify her talents. She then started her own business with her best friend, "The Orange Crate", creating a line of blended spices. Donna's communication skills helped her develop a relationship with Horton Spice Mills and the business grew rapidly. In just over a year The Orange Crate spice company grossed one million dollars in sales.

Donna's experience expanded during this time, especially in marketing. Soon Donna was looking for a new challenge. She sold the company to three entrepreneurs and contemplated the next step in her future.

Within a couple of weeks Donna was offered a job as Director of Agriculture for the State of Illinois in Canada. She accepted the position, and for the next five years promoted agricultural products from Illinois in Canada and vice versa.

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A Spice Girl’s Recipe for Success

We all take for granted the skills, talents and hobbies we enjoy. If we combine business skills with social skills, add our interests, hobbies and a corporate profile, we have a recipe for successful business relationships. Using networking to bring those skills to the attention of potential clients adds value to every business opportunity.

Donna Messer is a “Master Chef” when it comes to “cooking up” ways to build business relationships. As Canada’s first spice girl, she shares her secret recipe. Donna founded “The Orange Crate” a company that specialized in gourmet herbs, spices and pot pourri in 1979. She took the company from an idea to a million in just over a year!


• Take 1 new idea and nurture carefully.
• Add a handful of experienced colleagues and supporters for lateral thoughts.
• Blend in expertise from law, accounting and banking to insure success.
• Stir gently, break up lumps, texture should be smooth – everyone needs to communicate together.
• Set temperature. Not too hot or too cool – find a common degree that works for everyone.
• Use a new baking sheet, it’s better to start with a clean sheet.
• Place new mixture carefully on baking sheet. New ideas can be fragile in the beginning.
• Bake until the colour is perfect. Check with colleagues for their opinion on readiness.
• Remove from oven, and cool.
• Serve with the enthusiasm and support of the entire team.

ConnectUs International Inc. a company founded in 1993, is one of Canada’s most effective training companies. Under the leadership of Richard and Donna Messer, the company offers unique, interactive programs that provide an international network of resources and services.
For a “menu” of products and services – www.connectuscanada.com

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