What’s in Your Basket?

Pack about 200 of the most energetic, inspiring and accomplished young women into Vancouver’s Hyatt Regency for the weekend and what do you get? Beyond Pink 2009, a conference to celebrate and unite aspiring and accomplished women in business, letting each one Stand Up and Stand Out. During the opening of the 2nd Annual Beyond Pink Conference, co-chair Maya Kolaczynski used a gorgeous metaphor for the 200 delegates to connect with themselves and all that Beyond Pink had to offer. The Navajo tribe of Native Americans use baskets to commemorate and represent momentous occasions in their lives.  Maya encouraged us to see our own life as a beautifully woven basket, always adding to it. She extended this metaphor to represent the experience of Beyond Pink, placing real baskets around the conference and inviting us to place things in them that represented the weekend.

So what did the Beyond Pink add to our collective YWiB basket? Here is a list of tokens and experiences.

A Dirty Napkin with my New Mentor’s Phone Number – Connecting with Vancouver’s brightest, successful and encouraging minds over lunch was a dream come true!  Many accomplished men and women offered support and guidance over pad thai and sushi.

A Newly Equipped Toolkit – Over the weekend Fiona Walsh gave us tips to break the “glass ceiling” with confidence, Madeline Chenette emphasized that we were our own best asset and Carrie Gallant coached us in negotiating for what we deserve. All of this valuable advice added up to one strong and durable toolkit, batteries included.

Sparkly Stilettos – styleCanvas, a fantastic fashion magazine that was born from a connection at last year’s Beyond Pink sponsored a private fashion show at Venue Nightclub. It was a glitz and glamour night on the town and a chance for women of all ages to bond over their love for fashion.

A Clear Game Plan –  Blo Dry Bar founders Devon and Judy Brooks bared all in their workshop “Business is Messy”. Under those beautiful tresses those ladies have incredible minds and hearts to match. They reminded us that bad stuff happens and when it does, stick to your game plan.

Photograph of A New Hero –  Patricia Graham, Editor-in-Chief of the Vancouver Sun, invited us to search for our own hero. While pointing to a photograph of Amelia Earhart she said, “life is either a daring adventure or nothing.” Patricia, with her fearless take on female leadership, was added to the list of our female heroes.

A New Story – Gayle Hallgreen-Rezac and Judy Thomson challenged us to share our knowledge and make deeper connections through the simple act of storytelling.

Action Figures – The unforgettable all male panel gave more than 300 a few answers about female roles in the workplace. With remarks like “Women make less because they’ll work for less, when you stop accepting less is when you’ll get more” from the remarkable Chris Flett we were inspired to get what we deserve. The panel was invigorating, insightful and one of the highlights of the weekend and head to Partly Sunny to read more.

Crave Vancouver book –  This orange and pink guide to all female-run Vancouver businesses is as much a motivational book as it is a YWiB bible. Creator Melody Biringer and YWiB Member Arpen Thandi encouraged us to always do what we love and let the opportunities follow.

A Stack of Business Cards – The Connect! Women in Business Tradeshow filled a bedazzled ballroom with a diverse collection of Vancouver entrepreneurs and business professionals. We loved talking with likeminded women in the business, and eating Qoola yogurt and fruit by the cupful. One of our favorite bloggers, Miss 604 , has great coverage.

A Balanced Checkbook- the very charming Smart Cookies Andrea Baxter and Katie Dunsworth shared their own stories of evolving from ladies drowning in debt to being on top of their game. They armed us with tips and tricks of managing our finances and staying balanced while doing it.

A Calendar Full of Coffee Dates – Beyond Pink is one of the best ways to meet likeminded and inspirational women from all over Vancouver. The connections made at BP ‘09 will be built over upcoming YWiB events throughout the year. You’ll see new friends made at Beyond Pink all over the city going for coffee, sipping drinks after work and celebrating at a P!nk Christmas.

Mirror – During the opening keynote, Liz Gaige urged us to look deep within ourselves to connect with the “amazing you.” When we explore what we personally need and what we can offer it starts us on the path of success.

All Star Team – From the months of planning to the execution, the Beyond Pink team was an inspiration themselves. Watching their ingenuity, flexibility and cooperation was a reminder that women work best when they work together. Congrats to Jithmi and Maya and all the devoted volunteers.

What did you add to your basket?? Drop me a line at lizzy@ywib.ca and I’d be happy to include it. Come find me at P!nk Christmas the evening of November, 30th at the Ayden Gallery and share how Beyond Pink continues to motive and inspire you.