To applicant's of 2014's BP Team: Some useful advice from 2012's Chairs

Last year’s Beyond Pink brought together an amazing 150 delegates, 40 tradeshow exhibitors, 35 mentors, and 20 high profile speakers and business leaders for a phenomenal weekend. We were honoured to be part of the organizing process and took away many invaluable lessons. The importance of working with a fantastic team was definitely one of our leading achievements and a source of constant support. These were some of our other highlights: Vision.

One of the greatest benefits of co-chairing a conference is the chance to create the vision, from scratch to finish. You steer the direction, content and structure of a conference that you would want to attend, with speakers you’d want to hear from.

Your scribbled notebook ideas become a reality for 150 people. How amazing is that!


Not only do you get to work with some of the top business leaders in Vancouver, you also get to hand-pick your executive team. What skills are most important for your team? What personalities do you want in the room? How do you cover the gaps? You recruit, evaluate and bring everyone together!

Team dynamics.

After you handpick your awesome team of young professionals, you become responsible for leading everyone towards your united conference vision. You will learn how to work with different personalities and communication styles, how to provide clear directions on next steps while encouraging a level of creativity and independence, how to celebrate big victories and encourage the team after set-backs, and finally, how to guide the mood in the room.

You’ll learn how critical it is to maintain the right balance between excitement, ambition, anxiety and stress. And you’ll recognize that throughout all the shifting and changing details of the event, your team will be your steady backbone.

Negotiation (and creative spending).

Young Women in Business is a non-profit organization with a vision to make leadership opportunities available for all young women. This means working on a budget. A tight budget. You get to be creative to get what you want - anything from hotels, to sponsors, to food.

There’s no better opportunity to hone the skill of negotiation!

Mental toughness.

A conference of this scale might seem intimidating. It might seem too big, too complicated, or too time-consuming. But one of the biggest lessons we learned was our personal capacity to adapt and get the most out of our time. Even with full-time day jobs and other personal commitments, we always managed to find a couple of extra hours for the conference and our team. Through dedication and excitement, we even found Beyond Pink to be a source of energy - more fuel - to do just a bit more every day. And when set-backs happen, you develop a mental toughness, an unrivaled optimism, that will see you through to success.

Amazing women.

This isn’t a job. Neither you nor your team get paid yet you all invest your valuable time and skills to make something amazing happen. Who wouldn’t want to work with such talent and altruism?

You experiment, you learn, and you grow from start to finish.

Janelle+Iva BP 2012 co-chairs

The True Value of Beyond Pink

This past weekend, I attended my first Beyond Pink. Although I'm a member of the greater Vancouver YWiB team, I wasn't exactly sure what to expect but nonetheless couldn’t help but feel excited. And I'm happy to say, I was not disappointed. I attained my arts degree (psych) in university and only recently have I started to feel like I’m making a way for myself in the business world. That being said, it definitely has not been easy!

It is easy to lose sight of your goals or feel like you’re not going anywhere when you’re embarking on your career post-university. You face adversity, sometimes for the first time, and a lot of the time money unfortunately comes before passion. We all have bills to pay.

Since graduating, it’s been a difficult year and a half, personally and professionally. Friends have come and gone, mistakes have been made, time wasted, unprofessionalism encountered, I've heard “no” more than I care to share and ever-looming doubts. It’s only recently that I've realized I will likely face these experiences throughout my entire life.

Beyond Pink made me realize a thing or two, aside from picking up useful skills in the educational and useful workshops.

Top of my list, I started to think less about "me" and more about "we". There are many people who are in, have been in, and will be in, the same situation as myself which means we're never alone in our struggles. I met and spoke with a countless number of wonderful ladies (and one guy) who were enthusiastic to share their stories as well as take the time to hear mine. It was truly empowering!

Secondly, reflecting on the past and considering the future difficulties we're sure to encounter, it’s not how you fall but how you get back up that is what defines you. The value in ACTUALLY taking the time to learn from your mistakes instead of loathing yourself for them, is where the true value lies.

Rounding out my key takeaways from Beyond Pink was that if I really want something, like really want it, there is nothing standing in my way except for myself.

There have been and will be times that I doubt my own capabilities, lack the confidence to pursue an opportunity, a dream, or will fully recognize that I have all the tools I need to see something through to completion. But honestly, what am I afraid of? The worst thing I can do is not to fail, the worst thing I can do is give up on trying to succeed. And that, my lady friends, is far worse than stumbling along the way. FOMO anyone?

The things I took away from Beyond Pink 2012 (and if you attended feel free to share your list below) may seem trivial or even to some “common sense”, but every now and again I need reminding. We all do.

So on that note I want to thank the ladies that made Beyond Pink 2012 happen for recharging me and giving me some additional tools for my toolkit that I can pull out along this windy path that is my career. ;)

Ps. If you'd like to connect beyond Beyond Pink, don’t be shy. I’m always available for a new friend and a good chat. =) @CarolinaHorna

my {YWiB} story: Brittany

Getting to Know Brittany Wong

Brittany is a passionate and ambitious person who comes from a long line of entrepreneurs.  During our conversation I could not help but be enthralled by her focus, drive, and positive personality. As I got to know her more I was not surprised to find out she had started her own fashion magazine during her undergraduate degree at UBC and has been an instrumental player in forming the Lipstick Project a not-for-profit organization. Her dream is to make an impact in this world, so it doesn’t surprise me that her mantra is “be the change you wish to see.”


Involvement with Young Women in Business

Brittany’s exposure to Young Women in Business came through Jen Sung, whom she has been a good friend with since grade 3.  Being involved in her sorority, school, and other extracurriculars took up a lot of her time but she knew she wanted to contribute to the organization at some point. After starting Style Canvas, her fashion magazine an opportunity presented itself to meld her passion for fashion and help Young Women in Business. Brittany both produced a fashion show for Beyond Pink and spoke at the closing dinner.


Learning from Young Women in Business

Now working in the Event Production industry, Brittany mentioned how organizing the Fashion Show for Beyond Pink was her first big event and was her springboard into the events industry. After graduating with a business degree from Sauder she had been accepted to the Parsons School of Fashion in New York but decided to change paths because of her recent event experience with Young Women in Business. Taking part in Beyond Pink opened a new door in her career and she took a large leap forward and never looked back.


Three words to describe her experience with Young Women in Business

Inspiring, motivating and authentic.


Fun Young Women in Business Memory

Two weeks after Beyond Pink, Brittany was at a coffee shop on a first date and a person working there asked, “Are you Brittany Wong? I am so honoured to meet you, I remember you from the conference.” Brittany was very flattered to say the least and delighted to have been a role model and made a positive impression.


Growth Opportunities

Brittany wants to continue working on her leadership skills that she believes are never ending, an answer I loved. Also, Brittany does not ask questions, as she always likes to solve things on her own. She is working on asking for support and being aware that no question is dumb!


Brittany’s Advice to others

“Don’t be afraid of failure. Aside from being one of the best possible learning tools, it’s fantastic for character building.” - Brittany mentioned she is actually more scared of success at times.

“It’s ok to feel vulnerable – in my opinion; it’s actually one of the best states of mind to be in. Amazing, incredible and wonderful things are born out of vulnerability – so embrace and lean into those moments!”

“Time is limited and life is short. So practice gratitude, do what you love and have confidence that the dots in your life will connect you to your path to success.”

- After working with a wide spectrum of clients, brands and having produced a diverse range of events, Brittany sought to fill a gap in the industry and has recently started her own event design and production studio, BASH + FETE.


Hardest decision she has had to make

Brittany decided not to go to Fashion School two weeks before school started although she had an apartment and classes selected. She was really thankful that the dean was so kind and told her that her acceptance will always be standing. To this day, she does not look back and is happy with her decision.

my {YWiB} story: jithmi

We're gearing up for Beyond Pink 2012, and we're doing a throwback interview with one of our co-chairs from 2009! Read on to learn more about Jithmi Lokuge - an interview by Darya Niknamian. I had the opportunity to sit down with Jithmi and I didn’t want our conversation to end. I learned a lot from her and have started a bucket list as a result. Take a moment to get to know Jithmi and her involvement with YWiB; it may inspire you to try something new.

Getting to Know Jithmi

Jithmi is the only person I have ever met who lived in Brunei and who has also met some really cool people including Queen Latifah, Steve Nash, and Wayne Gretzky. She completed her BComm at UBC and is currently working as a project manager in an all male company – you go girl! She has seen Michael Jackson live in concert, danced in the opening and closing ceremonies of the Vancouver Olympics, and has bungee jumped... twice, somersaulting in mid air the second time around!

Involvement with YWiB

Jithmi first heard about the organization from two of her friends, the founders of Young Women in Business. Knowing how great they are, she had no doubts about the success of the organization. Relating to the vision and values of YWiB and attending Beyond Pink 2008 drove Jithmi to get involved as the co-chair for Beyond Pink 2009. Looking back at her experience she told me that “YWIB is like an alma mater, they have done too much for me to walk away.”

Things Learned

Jithmi – “one of the biggest lessons I learned from the Beyond Pink conference was saying no.”

Working full time, volunteering and making time for friends and family will fill up your day! YWiB taught Jithmi how to control her ambitions, and it sometimes requires saying “no” in order to lead a balanced life. Another big takeaway  was having to work in groups and interacting with people of different personalities. We all work and communicate differently and volunteering as a co-chair at Beyond Pink exposed Jithmi to various scenarios.  This has helped her in her current role working with professionals in many different fields. She also mentioned that “patience, chocolate and bourbon” can help along the way!

People, People, People

Jithmi told me that “people who have a connection with YWiB have an ambitious personality.” She met many people volunteering as a co-chair and the relationships she created are ones that will probably last a lifetime. In fact, her best friend is actually someone she went to Beyond Pink with, an event and experience that helped drive them together.

What’s Next?

Jithmi is currently enrolled in a ballroom dancing class, which I am pretty sure she loves. She has many interests but would love to pursue culinary school and eventually open her own restaurant – a venue I am looking forward to dining at in the future.

What I learned from Jithmi

Make a bucket list with goals.  It can be as something simple as buying a pair of shoes or doing the Grouse Grind. Get involved with things you like and are passionate about and you will get more out of it. Take the time to seize opportunities, we are so busy in our lives, we don’t even realize an opportunity when it comes to us. Procrastination is okay. Peer pressure goes a long way, Jithmi may have not bungee jumped if the other 20 members of YWiB did not go with her!

My Favourite Question and Answer

What was the hardest decision you ever had to make and how did it turn out?

Jithmi – I was asked this question recently and I don’t think I’ve had to make it yet. I’ve had struggles but don’t we all! There are people who have gone through harder things and don’t have as much and have made a bigger difference.