Like many lesbian entrepreneurs in the area, Sinead Bomba is a LIX chick — the affectionate term given to members of Ottawa’s social and business networking group, the Lesbian Information Xchange.
LIX, which has been meeting monthly since fall 2005, now boasts 330 members. The group’s mandate is to help spread the word about lesbian businesses and services being provided in the region, while serving as a social group to help queer women connect more generally.
“LIX is a wonderful way for us to support local businesses while keeping lesbian dollars in lesbian pockets,” says Bomba. “As a consumer, I would rather give my money to another lesbian or a gay man. It’s a personal ethic.”
As the owner of Spinning Madly, Bomba has benefited both personally and professionally from being part of this group. She finds that there is a real eagerness in the group to support what other lesbian women are making and doing — in fact, when she presented her woodturning work at one of the LIX gatherings a while back, a couple members bought her pieces on the spot.
To make her pieces, Bomba works only with fallen wood — which is to say wood that has fallen or been cut down because of age, disease, landscaping or storm damage. Her training in Carleton University’s Industrial Design program has given her a love for beautiful, useful objects — bowls, platters and the like. But her turnings, while functional, are graceful and feminine.
In the last couple years, Bomba finds that she has been striking out more with her work and getting the positive attention it deserves — which she says has something to do with her involvement in the Information Xchange.
Bomba is one of the newest members of the LIX steering committee — the small group of women who host the monthly meetings and organize the group’s social events. She’s been a regular at these gatherings for over two years now and is bubbling over with excitement about stepping into an organizing role.
“I’ve admired the concept since I joined,” says Bomba. “And, more importantly, the implementation of it. I’m a firm believer in the ripple effect. I know that what I learn, I will pass on to others.”
“Without a group like this, how would we know who is doing what?” says Bomba. “The structure of the meetings allows us to learn a little bit about everyone in the room, and we have a table of business cards at each meeting so that, if you now need a service that you heard about several months ago, you can make that connection.”