August Networking + Workshop Event Recap

Guest post by Pamela Gill

Young Women in Business (YWiB) Toronto organized its August Networking & Workshop event at the Blake House in downtown Toronto. As a first time attendee to a YWiB event, I wanted to share my own reflections and recap in the hopes that everyone can share in the evening’s insights! 

Almost 50 people attended the workshop where wine and hors d'oeuvres went hand in hand. The room was bustling with energy as people enthusiastically networked across career, professional interests, and ideas. Needless to say, the group had coalesced into its own friendship of sorts just in time for the evening’s speakers Niduk D’souza and Abhilasha Bhatia to take the stage and share their stories.

Martine Lloyd on behalf of SickKids Foundation and the Activators Program

In the evening’s introductory address, Martine Lloyd passionately described the incredible work ongoing at SickKids Hospital. SickKids recently announced one of the biggest and most ambitious fundraising campaigns in Canadian history. The $1.3 billion SickKids VS Limits campaign is anticipated to run through March 31, 2022 and aims to support a re-imagined campus, a new patient care centre on University Avenue, continued breakthroughs in paediatric health research, and new partnerships for better coordinated patient care. 

YWiB recently partnered with SickKids to help spread awareness of their Activators initiative. With this program, young professionals are empowered to become actively involved in a lifetime opportunity to change the future of children’s health. Activators are encouraged to exercise their creativity and skills to create and manage a fundraising event in their community or industry to raise a minimum of $10,000.  

Along the way, Activators receive mentorship from SickKids Foundation professionals, recognition from the hospital, and invaluable professional and social networking opportunities. All of this while making a historic impact in Canadian health care.

If you’re passionate about fundraising and event management and interested in contributing to SickKids Vs Limits with the Activators Program, you can contact or learn more by visiting their website SickKids Activators and SickKids Vs Limits. 

Niduk D’souza Shares How to ‘Pitch Your Way to Success’

Niduk D’souza is the founder of Impact With Intention where she works with social entrepreneurs, nonprofits, charities, and NGOs who are looking for solutions to help govern, fundraise, manage and evaluate their programs and projects. With over 20 years of experience working in the space, Niduk has helped hundreds of nonprofits raise more money, think strategically and implement their programs effectively. 

As the first speaker of the evening, Niduk stood centre stage to introduce her story of experience and identity and how it’s empowered her vision and aligned her values toward social impact in her business. As a successful social entrepreneur, Niduk has significant expertise in crafting and executing the perfect pitch.

For the first 10 minutes, Niduk followed her own framework to pitch successfully without once introducing the fact she was delivering her pitch! After she concluded, she surprised everyone by exclaiming: “and that was my pitch!” As a member of the audience, I can admit first hand I was taken aback by how successfully I had been drawn in by Niduk’s pitch. Upon reflection, this is because I identified so strongly with everything Niduk had shared about herself, her values, and her mission. This is the hallmark of the successful pitch.

So how was Niduk able to successfully pitch the room without making it obvious? First, Niduk established an authentic connection with her audience and allowed them to properly get to know her. Her interaction was authentic and meaningful. By sharing her “why” Niduk promoted her values while also establishing common values with others. As Niduk says, it’s important to establish and assert yourself as you connect through values because you’re always pitching to another person. 

Second, Niduk justified her value by illustrating how she creates impact and what makes her work unique. By describing her own journey, insights, and perspectives, Niduk was able to offer shared stores while also establishing her unique selling point.  As Niduk says, in connecting with your niche, it’s important to establish your uniqueness and how you fit into your company’s ecosystem.

Lastly, Niduk made an offer. In this case, her offer was simply an introduction to learn more about her company and what she does. As Niduk says, never pitch without an offer! 

Whether it be in business, fundraising, building relationships, or establishing your niche, a successful pitch is a valuable skill that can be practiced and perfected. To learn more, you can go to Niduk’s website at Impact With Intention or join her Facebook group The Entrepreneur’s Table.

Abhilasha Bhatia on Self-Awareness, Identity and Working in Tech

Abhilasha ‘Abhi’ Bhatia is a software engineer at Finaeo, a growing Canadian startup in the insurance technology space. She has over 5 years of experience working in the technology industry in both Canada and the United States, having worked previously in both Tampa Bay and Silicon Valley. Abhilasha is a role model to other women interested in pursuing STEM careers while trailblazing innovative paths through technology. She attests to wanting to use technology to engineer moonshot ideas that can take humanity to the next level!

So how did Abhi get to such a brilliant point in her career such that ‘the sky's the limit’ to innovation and potential? What has she learned so far? Abhi shared with us the transformational benefits of self-reflection and self-awareness in the context of navigating her own personal and professional development.

Abhi believes that every individual’s journey and experiences are unique. By embracing our own “uniqueness” we find an important source of strength and empowerment which also helps to build confidence and value in our careers. 

Here are my top 10 takeaways from Abhi:

  1. Listen to your internal cues and look into yourself to find your “why”. 

  2. Recognize that your journey and experience make you unique and this is also your strength. 

  3. Becoming aware of your strength allows you to recognize your value.

  4. Embrace your uniqueness and understand that you are who you are and you do what you do because of your experiences.

  5. Always be curious as this leads to many benefits not excluding discovering your own self. For Abhi, curiosity has elevated her consciousness in both positive and negative ways and she sees this as a vital part of growth and self-awareness.

  6. Be comfortable not knowing something and become comfortable asking for help. When you think you should know something, you are in fact limiting your curiosity to learn it.

  7. With self-reflection comes self-awareness and this creates emotional and inner resilience.

  8. When we experience difficult situations, recognize that we naturally tend to self-criticize and this creates negative emotions and self-doubt.

  9. Create a framework to talk positively to yourself otherwise unhealthy levels of self-criticism take over.

  10. Establish a support network around you.

Abhi attributes the role of self-reflection and self-awareness in helping her to overcome barriers and succeed in tech. Even amidst difficult challenges in life, Abhi attributes self-awareness as a foundation to building resiliency and overcoming self-criticism and self-doubt . Her own curiosity is a driving force in her personal and professional development and she believes becoming comfortable in not-knowing, yet learning and asking for help, has contributed to many opportunities for her. With a strong support network and understanding of her “why” she’s pursued many of those opportunities with courage and conviction.

After the talks concluded, the group resumed networking and anxiously awaited the door prize draw. The evening’s prize sponsor Camp Tech Toronto generously donated a digital marketing course. The winner was none other than yours truly, Pamela Gill, founder of The Big Data Life!

About Young Women in Business Toronto

Our events offer a great opportunity for young professional women to connect and get inspired. Interested in volunteering with YWiB or attending our next networking event? You can learn more about us, our events, or subscribe to join our newsletter on our blog.

YWiB is a non-profit organization. Events are organized and made possible with the generous support of our volunteers.