Melanie and I attended the ninth annual Inspiring Women Event at Bingemans Conference Centre located in Kitchener on September 24, 2015. The event was hosted in recognition of and support for women in business, entrepreneurial and corporate leadership roles. The words learn, grow and flourish, were mentioned many times during the day, allowing for them to remain on my mind as I attempted to integrate them into my daily routine over the following few weeks.
Over 500 women mingled during breaks from speakers and sessions throughout the day over a variety beautifully arranged snacks and beverages - making the event success for yet another year. The Dress for Success Drive was also hosted, with attendees being generous by bringing in working apparel, footwear, purses and accessories to pass on to less fortunate women.
We were fortunate to have four wonderful Canadian women present as keynote speakers, sharing stories and messages of success: Lisa Lisson, Kristine Barnett, Dr. Samantha Nutt and Dr. Karyn Gordon.
As the mother of Jacob Barnett, an autistic child, Kristine shares her story of how overwhelming things happen and how the power of hope can help us to overcome them as “love sticks, hope grows”. Her son was diagnosed with autism at age two and doctors had said he would never walk or talk. Kristine held onto hope and belief for her son Jacob, who is now 17 studying at the Perimeter Scholars International Institute. Kristine mentioned many times that "the way we treat other people in the world sticks", and that all of us are born perfect, “when you believe in this anything is possible”.
Dr. Karen Gordon’s high energy and colourful clothing encouraged and inspired us for ‘the art of engagement’. Dr. Karen Gordon encouraged us to focus on what you want to do - we all need to walk with a healthy attitude so that we can project positivity on others. Repeatedly, Dr. Karen Gordon stated that all confidence is is an attitude and that how we feel about ourselves impacts our behaviour in relation to ourselves and in regards to others.
Three Step Process to Change Thinking
- STOP blaming: take responsibility, cannot control market but can control your effort
- SET goals: everyone has purpose figure it out, be realistic and strive for excellence
- SEEK people/resources: women are a village so surround yourself with inspiration
Tips for Finding ‘Authentic You’
Mirror - understand what’s happening, toxic thoughts impact behaviour, hardest part
Challenge - if you wouldn’t share or tell your best friend toxic thoughts don’t tell them to yourself, listen away from and outside of self, can’t erase thoughts so must learn how to replace them
Adoption - come up with different thoughts, new thoughts become your own
Lisa Lisson, President of FedEx Canada
Lisa Lisson is the first Canadian, as well as the first female President of FedEx. She acknowledges that women and men have different traits and for women to overcome these barriers in the workplace they must leverage their own personal double blind (being a woman in the workplace while maintaining family at home), men don’t have to think about this
- write down goals and dreams
- mentors are source of power
- be consistent
- be aware of shadow casting
- choose good thoughts
- focus on things you can control and influence
- white calendar time
- be here now
- confidently dress your career
- prioritize yourself
- surround yourself with inspiration
Dr. Samantha Nutt, one of Canada’s leading activists, spoke of western privileges and her international humane organization, War Child. She stated how she is “hopelessly unwilling to settle” and shared that as long as we are prepared to challenge and pay attention to the silences we can make change. Speaking on her first hand experiences and witnessing of conflict in countries in crisis, Dr. Nutt lets us know what starts, sustains and can be done on by others on their behalf to decrease the severity of the situation.
Dr. Samantha Nutt also stated that feminism is a process not a history lesson, and though the road ahead may be difficult, it is not impossible. We must ignore the blowhards (as often we allow ourselves to be judged by others). She states “If you get up every day and handle the fire, that’s a good day.”