Sandra Perron’s Story

The visionary behind the Pepper Pod and its mission to build a stronger community of women veterans.

Sandra Perron’s Story

The visionary behind the Pepper Pod and it’s mission to build a stronger community of women veterans.

Sandra Perron, the founder and president of The Pepper Pod, was raised in a military family and nurtured a childhood dream of serving Canada as a member of the armed forces. At the age of 14, she joined the 2551 Canadian Cadets Corps in Edmonton, where she later earned Basic Parachutist wings.

In 1990, Sandra made history as Canada’s first female infantry officer, and she was the first female member of the legendary Van Doos regiment. Ambitious and driven, Sandra excelled, moving up in the ranks, even as she faced challenging experiences with some colleagues and superior officers who didn’t believe that women belonged in combat.

After 19 years of dedicated service, Sandra retired from the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF), channeling her considerable talent and energy into her career. She began consulting on leadership, group cohesion, and operational effectiveness, and held director-level roles in Quality and Logistics at General Motors of Canada and Bombardier Aerospace. Sandra actively participates in various advisory boards and panels, focusing on empowering women who work in non-traditional fields.

Cadet Sandra Perron receives the Best Rock Climber Trophy at the Vernon Army Cadet Camp in British Columbia, summer 1982.

Out Standing in the Field

In 2017, Sandra published “Out Standing in the Field: A Memoir by Canada’s First Female Infantry Officer,” a candid account of her military journey that garnered acclaim across Canada. The Globe and Mail praised it as a “revealing and moving memoir,” and the book was longlisted for CBC’s Canada Reads competition in 2018. Sandra’s book launch attracted significant attention, with twenty CAF generals in attendance, including several women—a testament to the progress made and the work that lies ahead.

Building on the success of her memoir, a feature film adaptation of “Out Standing in the Field” is currently in development, set to premiere at the 2024 Toronto International Film Festival.

During Sandra’s nationwide book tour, she spoke with many women who shared their experiences working in the military. These conversations sparked an idea in Sandra’s mind—to create a cohesive community for women veterans.

Captain Sandra Perron during Phase 4 Infantry Training at CFB Gagetown with fellow students, summer 1991.

The First Lifeshops™

Over the course of her life, Sandra has been deeply inspired by her uncle Marcellin, a master-practitioner of neurolinguistic programming, whose mentorship helped her find her way at key crossroads in her life.

Fired up by her conversations with women in the military and armed with the tools of neurolinguistic programming and expertise in team-building, Sandra, together with Marcellin, developed the Lifeshop™ program to help women make the transition out of the CAF.

In 2020, Sandra gathered a group of trusted friends and advisors at a peaceful chalet in Chelsea, Quebec. The mission: to brainstorm how best to deliver Lifeshops™ to women veterans, soon-to-be veterans and military spouses (women).

Inspiration struck, and Sandra decided to open a retreat centre for women — one that focused on connecting women in tightly-knit tribes that would support them as they navigate life’s adventures as a veteran.

The fact that Chelsea is enveloped in lush forest sealed the deal.

“We can learn a lot from trees,” says Sandra. “They teach us how to support and lean on each other during the storms of our lives.”

A Soft and Safe Place to Land

The Pepper Pod is a one-of-a-kind retreat centre that helps develop vital bonds between women who truly understand what it’s like to devote your life to the military — then transition out to become a veteran.

It is a safe and open environment to share their stories, and to leave with a soul recharged. A place where women can be completely candid in the company of those who understand. It’s a cathartic space that empowers women to be brave and courageous, and build a fulfilling life beyond the military.

Through our programs and events, The Pepper Pod supports women as they close one chapter of their lives and begin the next. Women become part of a tribe that’s bonded for life over their shared military experience.

Welcome to the Pepper Pod

Today, The Pepper Pod serves a vibrant and growing community of women with our signature Lifeshop™ programs, as well as events like Beyond Trauma, No Agenda Weekends and Wonder Woman Wednesdays.

If you are a veteran – or you will be one soon – the Pepper Pod is for you! Check out our Programs and Events for more information on how to get involved.