Open Doors for Others – Key Message from IWD Event

On March 1st we gorged on a plethora of inspirational ideas as well as delicious hors d’oeuvres at holts café. Moving Up and Giving Back, Making an Impact in Social Responsibility was the theme for CAWEE’s 2017 IWD celebration.  

Three business leaders each with a unique narrative, Vicki Saunders, Tania Little, and Samra Zafar in one word – gobstruck – the audience with their life contributions. They called upon us to act by uplifting others and paying it forward.

The interactive poll and tool for online questions was the ultimate for audience participation which was   masterly handled by our engaging moderator, Lillian Ferndriger who demonstrated that she could be a national talk show host should she choose to give up her day job!

Vicki Saunders, Founder of SheEO  provides a new model to finance and support female entrepreneurs, called radical generosity.  “The world was not designed for us – or – by us.” 

We don’t need to conform to this world. We often watch and don’t get our voices out. She implored us to stop being risk adverse. A man would apply for a job even if he doesn’t have the skills. Be bold, believe in yourself, and say yes, to new opportunities.

Tania Little, Food Banks Canada Director, “There is a connection in my soul to give back.”  Boldly, she told us to, “Quit apologizing!”

This struck home for many as we often say, “I’m sorry” when it it’s not our fault. Why? It’s what women do. Is that an authentic reason? Tania drew an interesting analogy about how time is precious. Since she cut her hair and stopped dying it; she has more time – although that wasn’t the plan but an outcome.  This led many to ponder, what we are doing with our time. How can we use it more effectively?

Samra Zafar, Brave Beginnings  Founder is a testament to surviving, thriving, and boosting others. “We all deserve to live with respect and dignity.”

In light of our fundamental belief that women need to support each other, it was a juxtaposition to hear that a man leads her foundation. “Engaging men to become involved is part of the solution… they have daughters, wives...”  Samra is radically aware of how to embrace and engage everyone in the process.

Each attendee left inspired, and with a red business card holder ready to meet others and promote their brand along with the evenings take-away message, Open Doors For Others.

Quintessential to making the message endure is to take action. A woman whom I think is accomplished and inspirational said, “What can I do?  I can’t make a contribution like they are.” Simple I said, share the message, this is drumbeat to reshape our world – like marketing, it’s not a one-of action.

The raffle raised $900.00 for our charity, Homeward Bound. Kudos to the IWD committee members for organizing this event, Lillian Ferndriger (chair), Cindy Stradling, Sarah Conlin, Belinda Chiu, Laurie Sanci, Deb Fletcher, and Maureen McCabe.

We are grateful to all of our sponsors and raffle prize donors. We were pleased to welcome RBC as a first time platinum sponsor, they continually champion women, and a recent example was the appointment of the first woman to lead the board of a major Canadian bank.

Something to ponder:  Do some women keep the power to themselves; is it an unconscious bias?