Margaret Ramsdale was a pioneering figure in the uniform industry who touched the lives of others through her strength, charm, and wit. Margaret passed away in November 2022, leaving behind a legacy of ambition and kindness. Nearly six months after her passing, Phil Newman and two other of Margaret’s beloved colleagues, share their treasured memories and reflect on her substantial impact.
In April 2019, I had the honor of presenting Margaret Ramsdale with a NAUMD Lifetime Achievement award. She was the first Canadian and only woman to receive such an honor. I remember that day vividly. Margaret’s quiet strength and warm smile filled the room. Her soft-spoken nature made everyone feel at ease. Her consideration of others combined with her intrinsic judiciousness was inspiring. She set the bar high by always striving to do things the ‘correct’ way and implementing best practices.
As I reflect on Margaret’s life, I am struck by her journey from retail buyer to fashion VP to entrepreneur. Margaret’s determination and innovative spirit led her to create Omega Uniform Systems, which grew through word of mouth and her unwavering commitment to customer satisfaction. She was ahead of her time by developing a robust proprietary ordering system that changed the way things were traditionally done. Her company was on the list of Canada’s Top 100 Women-Owned Companies multiple times. Although Margaret sold Omega to Unisync Group in 2015 and retired in 2018, her spirit and dedication to the industry will be remembered for years to come.
“I only met Margaret in 2015, but our friendship quickly became one that felt like it had existed our entire lifetime,” stated Michael Smith, Unisync President, and one of Margaret’s mentees. “She became not only a dear friend to me but also to my wife and two daughters. There is a saying that has really hit home for me since Margaret’s passing, it goes: I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel. And I know I, along with many others, will not forget how she made us feel as we are filled with incredibly happy memories of having her in our lives.”
Margaret was not only a successful businesswoman but also an advocate for important causes such as environmental and safety compliance standards. As the Vice President of the International Woman’s Forum and founding member and Director of The Canadian Textile Recovery Effort, Margaret’s impact on the industry was significant. She was a recipient of Enterprising Woman Magazine’s Woman of the Year Award and the first woman to serve on the NAUMD’s Executive Committee. Margaret was also a lot of fun, and I will never forget her hysterical portrayal of Hillary Clinton at a NAUMD event.
Beyond her numerous accomplishments, Margaret’s true legacy was the grace with which she conducted herself in all aspects of her life. Whether running her company, mentoring and managing co-workers, or winning major international programs, Margaret always exemplified grace. Her leadership, sense of humor, and ethics made her an inspirational figure to many. She has represented, to me, everything that is good, not only about our industry but everything that is good about humanity.
“My love for Margaret is as great as the love she had for an excellent California Chardonnay,” reminisced B. James Bottoms, Logistik Executive VP Strategy & International Business Development. “Being with her, regardless of the location, always brought me peace and joy. She is a beloved treasure who, with charm and humble grace, made the world a better place for so many.”
Margaret will be deeply missed, and her impact on the industry and those who knew her will never be forgotten. As we reflect on her life and legacy, we are grateful to have had the opportunity to know such an incredible person. Margaret was a trailblazer in every sense of the word, and we are all the better for having had her as part of our community.