We explored purple...



VANCOUVER – (May 27, 2010) On May 14, 2010, Vancouver’s professionals gathered at UBC Robson Square to participate in a conversation about gender differences in the workplace.  The Young Women in Business network (YWiB) gathered seven of Vancouver’s top male and female CEO’s to provide their insights and share their experiences.

The esteemed panel included retired CEO of BC Hydro Bob Elton, Founder and CEO of GhostCEO Chris Flett, Founder and CEO of Nurse Next Door Ken Sim, CEO of VanCity Tamara Vrooman, President of Weyerhaeuser Anne Giardini, and Co-Founder and CEO of Webnames.ca Cybele Negris.

Moderated by Founder and CEO of Blo Blow Dry Bar, Judy Brooks, the panel was put on the spot when asked to give their opinions on some tough topics.  When asked if they felt women were at a disadvantage in the workplace, Flett explained, “Being a woman is never an excuse in business – the business world is not fair, but everyone has the same opportunity to decide what actions they will take.” The women in the audience were encouraged to be assertive in the workplace and take charge of their careers. Elton brought to light an interesting statistic, “A man will apply for a job if he has five of the ten required qualifications, a woman may not even apply if she has nine.”

Both men and women in the audience were enlightened by Sim when he explained that he quit his lucrative job in investment banking because he wanted to start a family – and have the time to spend with them.  Vrooman supported his point with the observation; “We don’t give men enough opportunities to participate at home, which would give women the opportunity to participate more at work.” The challenges women face in building a home and supporting a family are experienced by men – they just aren’t talked about as much.

Sim further encouraged young professionals to do what they love and what they are passionate about.  To define a commonly used term, Negris explained that what is important is being passionate about what you do on a day to day basis, not necessarily the product you are selling.  Brooks further explained ‘doing what you’re passionate about’ using an analogy.  “If you’re passionate about drinking tea, it doesn’t mean you should open a tea shop. You may not like running a tea shop, or serving tea.” The Panelists agreed that passion and dedication go hand-in-hand and emphasized the value of networking and mentorships that organizations such as YWiB provide. Vrooman used an analogy- “going through life without a mentor or network is like setting out on a trip and having to not only go through the journey alone, but also build the road in front of you without a map and without knowing the terrain.”

The panel finished with a call for more young men to participate in the discussion.  While there were a few young men in the audience, YWiB will be working to further encourage the attendance of young men at future events.  Elton says, “When you get a group of men and women together, you get a much richer conversation.”

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YWiB President Paulina Lipska, and Marketing Director Marica Rizzo are available for comment and questions.

Paulina Lipska                                                 Marica Rizzo Email: paulina@ywib.ca Email: marica@ywib.ca

About YWiB:

The Young Women in Business Network is a non-profit society for emerging female leaders in Western Canada. The network acts as the central forum to connect ambitious young women from a variety of careers, industries, and backgrounds. YWiB hosts a variety of events that provide members with opportunities to develop relevant skills and knowledge, so that they have the insight, support, and capability to reach their fullest personal and professional potential.


Bob Elton – Retired CEO of BC Hydro

Chris Flett – Founder and CEO of Ghost CEO

Ken Sim – Founder and CEO of Nurse Next Door

Anne Giardini - President of Weyerhaeuser

Tamara Vrooman – CEO of VanCity

Cybele Negris - Co-Founder and CEO of Webnames.ca

Judy Brooks - Founder and CEO of Blo Blow Dry Bar