As I listened to Irene Divaris at our breakfast meeting, I was reminded of a Richard Branson quote “If somebody offers you an amazing opportunity but you are not sure you can do it, say yes – then learn how to do it later!”

Irene would nearly always say “yes” even when she was not sure how she would make it happen. It is that willingness to try and the courage to take a risk that has propelled her into the big time.

And she hasn’t always said “yes”. There have been times when, in weighing up the odds, she’s decided it is not worth pursuing an order or taking on a client, as it would stretch her cash flow too far.

Irene’s whole business – Meal in a Jar – happened by chance. Her daughter needed lunch to take to school and Irene rummaged through her fridge and produced a tasty, attractive looking meal in a mason jar.

Pleased with how her jar looked, she took a photo of the jar and posted it on Facebook – more because she was proud of her efforts – not to sell them online.
Then she started to get requests, and she would answer as if this had always been her plan. Off the top of her head she would come up with pricing and a subscription format. People would come to her home to pick up their orders for the week.

Little did she know, back in 2012, that this was the start of a business that would just take off. Fast forward to today, and they will soon be sold in Loblaws, Longos and Starbucks. She estimates she will be selling 10,000 a week.

Obviously she moved production out of her home and it’s been a steep learning curve as she finds out about cold storage delivery, glass jar manufacturing, and the like. But she has. She’s done her due diligence, checked out her options and forged ahead.

I love stories like this. Irene had an idea that took off and she just built and enhanced it as she went along. Yes, there were challenges but that didn’t hold her back, she just went ahead. It was a great way to end our year, as it encourages us all to be creative.

And not only that, we got to take home a meal in a jar, and I can report back – it was yummy. If you want to check it out –

Anne Day

Anne Day

Company of Women

I have had an eclectic career from running non-profit organizations and being editor of a national magazine, to working for government on women’s issues. In 2003 I launched Company of Women, an organization that supports women in business. A prolific blogger, I also write for the Huffington Post, and several other online publications. I am the author of five books on women and entrepreneurship, and co-author of Good Enough. Embrace who you are. Unleash your brilliance. which is available on In June, 2016 I launched Full Circle Publishing offering one-stop services to get your words out into the world.