As a member of CAWEE since 2012 and now Treasurer for this great not for profit organization that recently celebrated its 40th anniversary, I sometimes reflect back on how far we've come as an organization and what keeps me actively engaged. And when I think about that, it always makes me smile.
I first joined CAWEE when I was in transition. I had been working for a software company for many years and found myself wondering what I wanted to do next. I came to the realization that it is not 'if' you are no longer with an organization, but 'when' you are no longer with an organization. In a recent article published by the World Economic Forum, Stephane Kasriel, CEO of Upwork and co-chair of the Global Future Council on Education,
Gender and Work, says entrepreneurs and freelancers represent the future of the workplace, as traditional office jobs become less and less relevant. It will not be uncommon for individuals to have flexible work arrangements whereby they are working for multiple companies at the same time and a lot of that work is knowledge work. I currently volunteer with CPA Ontario and visit high schools and universities and talk to students about my career path and share insights I have gained over the years. During my talk, I always stress two things: one, look ahead and keep your 'toolbox' current based on the future needs of what organizations will need in the future, and two, build and maintain your network.
As Treasurer of CAWEE, I have gained invaluable experience in helping set the strategic direction of CAWEE with the other Board members. My other primary responsibilities include monitoring and reporting on the financial management of the Association, and assisting the President and Association Manager with its daily financial business. I also prepare and present the financial reports to the Board on a monthly basis including key comparative metrics. I really enjoy being part of this collaborative effort and team. The end result of our collective efforts always pleasantly surprises me. The weeks and months of planning for events always pay off on the day of the festivity with great food, fantastic speakers and great women.
As I often will say to people, at the end of the day, people want to business with people they know. So how do you get to 'know' people? By networking, that's how. When I first joined CAWEE, I had just over 200 LinkedIn connections and they tended to be primarily people I had worked with, gone to school with or was related to, and that was pretty much it. I needed to learn how to network and broaden my list of contacts. Today, I have over
2,500 connections on LinkedIn and in large part, I was able to achieve this by networking with the great women of CAWEE. Connecting with such a diverse and eclectic group of women opened doors to areas and businesses I didn't even know exist. One of the highlights for me is the annual International Women's Day CAWEE Gala event.
Listening to great women's stories inspires me to try to be the best 'me' I can be. To quote Oscar Wilde, "be yourself; everyone else is already taken".