This year's International Women's Day Conference was a huge success and the atmosphere was filled with positive energy. Led by our marvelous MC, Lien Yeung, the day went smoothly.
The conference opened with co-creative directors Mia Thomsett and Addie Gillespie from DARE Vancouver. Both of them shared stories of their highs and lows while starting and working in the advertising industry. They gave us all a rare insight of their personal struggles and what it really took to get to where they are now. One of the main messages they gave away was how success come with overcoming failures.
Next speaker was Valerie Mason-John, who gave one of the most engaging and empowering speeches at the conference (if you’ve seen her Ted Talks, you would know what we mean). She tackled a number of definitions of success, whether it meant achieving the ideal body shape or having wealth or fame. Valerie emphasized how important it is to be able to love yourself no matter what you do in life.
The afternoon started with a panel that featured Jill Earthy, Chantelle Krish, Suzanne Siemens, Paulina Cameron and Jennier Maloney. All from various industries, they shared their stories of how they got to where they are and their definitions of success. Lien also asked some concrete questions that our student attendees craved for. Our panelists weighed in on some core tips of how to succeed in terms of job hunting, mentorship, and breaking into different industries. The panel ended with a message for students to pursue their passions and to please themselves first before pleasing others when it comes to their career paths.
Our last speaker, Caroline MacGilllivray shared an intimate story of how she founded her organization Beauty Night Society. Her touching story of helping and empowering people in need was a really good reminder that sometimes success has to do with enriching other people’s lives. When we think of success, often we think about how much money we make or what job title we have. Caroline’s story was an inspiration to go beyond that definition of success and think of success as how we can contribute back to our own communities.
In-between presentations, when we all used a minute or two to soak up everything we’ve just learned, attendees were introduced to local small businesses at the Exhibition. It was also a good chance to meet with exhibitors from companies such as the YWCA, MOSAIC and Women in Leadership to take action on some volunteer and job opportunities after being motivated by speakers to take charge of our own lives.
Thank you to everyone who came out to celebrate International Women’s Day with YWiB SFU. It was truly an amazing experience, whether you were a delegate, a speaker or an exhibitor, everyone contributed to making the day such an uplifting event by showing up and sharing your positive energy.