Even from a young age Micky Fleming was as independent as they come.
When she was two years old, Fleming and her grandmother would go into Calgary to sell cream. When her grandmother reached out to hold her hand, Fleming would slap it away and say ‘me do.’
Independence is a trait that has stayed with Fleming, the president and CEO of the Langford-based Cherish Living Group, and has helped her create one of the most successful senior living business models in the country.
The company’s latest project, Cherish at Central Park, which is expected to be competed in November, offers a carefree lifestyle where seniors can enjoy each other’s company. Located at the corner of Jacklin Road and Jenkins Avenue in Langford, it includes a fitness room, workshop, silversmith shop, billiards room, theatre and spa.
Fleming’s success in the industry is a product of her humble upbringing.
A self-professed tomboy, Fleming grew up on her grandparents’ ranch in southern Alberta, where she learned how to ride horses and shoot cattle. She learned her work ethic and confidence from her grandfather, whom she described as a smart, caring and vivacious man.
After moving around the country to various cities, the family eventually settled in Victoria in the early 1970s. Since graduating from Esquimalt High, she’s had a number of jobs, including working at the Bank of Commerce (where the Bard and Banker currently is), Lumberworld, at a saw mill, and a logging camp.
A certified public accountant since 1989, she’s went on to work at various tech companies, during a time when it was an anomaly to have women in positions of power.
“I didn’t fit the mold. The societal expectations of what good women should be has never been me. I always knew I would never be someone that was 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. I live my life and my life is what I do every day,” Fleming said. “I’ve never accepted the inferior position of ladies in our society. I’ve always believed you can do anything you put your mind to.”
Now with Cherish Living Group – Fleming’s seventh business – she’s made it her personal mission to change how western society views and values seniors.
The company’s first seniors project was the Alexander Mackie retirement community on Station Avenue, which opened in 2006 and currently has a wait list of more than 30 people.
But helping seniors isn’t her only passion. Giving back to the West Shore community has also been a priority for Fleming over the years. She’s volunteered thousands of hours as the first female president of the Colwood Rotary Club, chair of the Juan de Fuca water advisory committee to the Capital Regional District, and volunteered with the chamber of commerce, among other things.
“Coming from a ranch, where if you didn’t help your neighbours hay, your hay didn’t get put up. You had to work together, that’s the culture that we grew up in,” said Fleming said, adding she encourages all women to follow their dreams.