A World of Opportunities posed a Success

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By Kirthana Sasitharan, IGNITE Editor

*This is a recap article about A World of Opportunities. In-depth articles about each panel will be featured throughout the month*

On Thursday March 2nd, 2017, Carleton University Women in Business hosted their first Women in Business conference, A World of Opportunities. The goal of the conference was to bring together field professionals to share their insights on their respective careers and also discuss the need for gender parity and equality in the workplace.

Panelists and speakers travelled from various cities to attend and take part in the conversation surrounding carving out a space for women among the various professional sectors. The night started with a welcome address from Priscilla Kosseim, President and Founder of CUWIB, where she spoke about why she felt the need to start such an organization, after noticing a gap within the working field that didn’t value the presence and expertise of qualified women.

Mary Anne Carter, Senior Consultant at Environics Communications was the Honorary Speaker to follow. Her insights on how she came this far and the challenges she too faced before obtaining her role, was inspiring and uplifting for all our attendees. Carter, a Carleton and Ottawa grad, spoke highly of the notion around women striving to achieve their very best and though it may seem impossible, constant determination is what sets us apart from the rest.

We were delighted to welcome the Media and Public Relations panel next, which featured Media and PR Professionals who spoke candidly about the state of media today and what the digital age has done differently for Media and Public Relations. The expert panel spoke openly and encouraged young professionals to keep striving forward despite the constant attacks on the media and the rhetoric behind the “dying field of media.” They ensured attendees that Media and PR are crucial to today’s world and their place in our companies and society is valuable.

CUWIB was lucky enough to feature a talented group of panelists that work in the Non-profit sector to speak about their experience building up their cause and the challenges they faced. Sponsorship and awareness for the respective organizations these women were apart of, posed challenges for these women, but they encouraged attendees to note that with determination towards a cause and the passion towards its purpose, the value of any nonprofit will speak for itself and people will listen.

The first Keynote speaker, Almas Jiwani, CEO of the Almas Jiwani Foundation, inspired our audience with her knowledge and passion for women’s empowerment. She acknowledged her thrill and excitement towards hearing the amazing things that women are doing to stand out in today’s society and she encouraged everyone to support the plights and causes that have been initiated by women. She told attendees to build women up to ensure a better tomorrow, for their purposes in life lie beyond what the eye can see.

The Tech panelists featured a number of professionals, most of whom found themselves in this sector by chance. Panelists spoke about the importance of failing, but realizing that failure comes with the opportunity to move forward. They shared sentiments about the importance of acknowledging the business aspects of tech and to not exclusively view one career sector without acknowledging the impact of the interdisciplinary notion of that career.

Andrew Irvine was the next Keynote speaker that began the conversation with the hashtag, #BMOforWomen. Throughout the night, attendees and those not in attendance tweeted using this hashtag to stand with Women. Irvine spoke about women and how they are treated in the financial sector. He said that 73% of women felt unhappy with the financial sector and that BMO was working to change this attitude. He spoke of inclusion for all people and how BMO will always strive towards this.

Next,  the Political, Legal, and Governmental panel featured a variety of skilled and and established professional women. These women spoke about the limitations of the legal profession and how today’s society can help fix those limitations. Attendees were ensured that the law is there to help you and that those who are held accountable should be accounted for. They spoke of the state of our government and where Canadian politics is moving towards.

The Marketing panel also welcomed a strong group of professional women that shared their personal stories about overcoming adversity and how their experiences have shaped their current careers. They spoke of the importance of connecting with consumers and becoming experts in any industry as long as one’s passion about it is strong and mighty. Panelists spoke of content marketing and how students can use their talents in knowing what’s new to help them stand out and advance themselves in their careers.

Victoria Lennox of Startup Canada was the third Keynote speaker and she presented our audience with two stories: one featuring her picture perfect upbringing, and one where her challenges and limitations were inserted in. She talked about her experience overcoming hardships, but by studying hard and focusing her energies on the end result, she was able to defeat the odds and become successful.

CUWIB welcomed the Accounting and Finance panel next to speak about the role of women within this line of work. Our panelists talked about challenges they faced and how their respective companies supported their growth by being more flexible, which is crucial in today’s world. Attendees learned about the lived experiences had by the panelists and how their experiences shaped their career paths.

The Health panel was the last to be featured, but included an array of health professionals from the pharmaceutical industry to the nursing industry. They spoke about the challenges posed towards health professionals with the changing ways of healthcare, but also what is being done in healthcare that is beneficial and is working towards creating safe and proper outlets to establish our healthcare system.

All in all, the Conference was a success and CUWIB would like to thank their sponsors, panelists, and attendees for believing in their mission and mandate and supporting gender equality by attending the event. A list of sponsors and panelists are listed below for recognition:

A big thank you to all of our speakers,

  • MARY ANNE CARTER, Senior Consultant, Government Relations for Environics Communications
  • ALMAS JIWANI, President Emeritus of United Nations Women Canada Board of Directors, CEO of Almas Jiwani Foundation
  • VICTORIA LENNOX, Co-Founder and CEO of Startup Canada, Founder of NACUE, Catalyst of Startup Nations, Co-Founder and Chair of Startup Generations, Consultant, Advisor and Speaker of Entrepreneurship et al.
  • ANDREW IRVINE, Head of Canadian Commercial Banking & BMO Partners, Bank of Montreal Financial Group
  • KELLY MCCARTEN, Senior Vice President, Mosaic Sales Solutions
  • COURTNEY SYMONS, Partner Growth Manager, Shopify
  • MICHAELA ALEXIS, Marketing Manager, Grade A and Social Media Influencer and Expert (+70K LinkedIn Followers)
  • CHERYL GRISHKEWICH, Vice President of Corporate Brand Marketing, Loblaws
  • ALEENA MAZHAR, Director, Experiential, Fuse Marketing Group Inc.
  • SARAH SEGAL, President, Squishy Candy
  • VASIE PAPADOPOULOS, Fiscal Affairs Manager, Philip Morris International
  • NINA GRIMES, Partner in the Risk Advisory Practice, Deloitte
  • DEBORAH BOURCHIER, Managing Partner, Ginsberg Gluzman Fage & Levitz (GGFL Chartered Professional Accountants), LLP
  • SUSAN ROHAC, Vice President, Growth and Transition Capital – Ontario and Atlantic, Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC)
  • ANJALI DILAWRI, Partner, Logan Katz LLP, Chartered Professional Accountants
  • THE HONOURABLE PAMELA WALLIN, Senator of Saskatchewan
  • DEREK ABMA, Deputy Editor, The Hill Times
  • LESLIE QUINTON, Vice President Corporate Communications, Air Canada
  • BONNIE BROWNLEE, Executive Director of Communications, Marketing, Brand and Research, CBC
  • DARBY SIEBEN, Vice President of Strategy and Partnerships, Yellow Pages Group (YPG)
  • SHIRLEE ENGEL, Senior Digital Broadcast Journalist, Global National News
  • THE HONOURABLE KIM RUDD, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Natural Resources (Northumberland-Peterborough South)
  • SONYA SHOREY, Communications Strategist, Invest Ottawa
  • JOËLLE HALL, Co-Founder, Dress for Success Ottawa National Capital Region and Investment Advisor, RBC Dominion Securities
  • JILLIAN LEBLANC, Youth Engagement and Social Media Coordinator, Equal Voice Canada
  • FAWN ANNAN,President and Group Publisher, IT World Canada and Chairman, Canadian Channel Chiefs Council
  • ISABELLE PERREAULT, Partner, Blueprint
  • ESTHERLITA F. GRIFFITHS, Divisional Vice President, Enterprise Architecture & Governance Sears Canada Inc.
  • PAUL VALLÉE, Co-Founder, Chairman and CEO, Pythian
  • CRAIG GIBSON, United Nations Security Delegate to China
  • SALLY GOMERY, Senior Partner and Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer, Norton Rose Fulbright Canada
  • The HONOURABLE MOBINA S.B. JAFFER, Senator for British Columbia
  • LEIGH HARRIS FOWELL, President, Halo Management Consulting Inc.
  • PATRICIA KOSSEIM, Senior General Counsel and Director General Legal Services, Policy, Research and Technology Analysis Branch Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada (OPC)
  • DR. JENNIFER ZELMER, President, Azimuth Health Group
  • WACILA DEBOUK, Pharmacy Manager, Pharmacy Gregoire Arakelian Costco Laval
  • LESLEY GOULDIE, Chief Business Officer, Thornhill Medical
  • Dr. ALYKHAN ABDULLA, BSc, MD, LMCC, CCFP, DipSportMed CASEM, FCFP, CTH (ISTM), CCPE, Master Cert Phys Leader
  • SABRINA DI STEFANO-WALKER, Registered Nurse, CHU Sainte-Justine and Health Canada
  • THE HONOURABLE BARDISH CHAGGER, Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister of Small Business and Tourism (Waterloo)
  • ANDREW MALCOLM, Senior Vice President Marketing, Evernote
  • THE HONOURABLE RUBY SAHOTA, Member of Parliament for Brampton North
  • DONNA DE LUCA, Founder of Be the Change Global, Self-Esteem Expert, Motivational Speaker, Leadership Coach, Show Host and Author

And our sponsors, 

  • EY Centre
  • TekSavy
  • Norton Rose Fulbright
  • Logan Katz LLP
  • Hampton Inn
  • Invest Ottawa
  • Halo Management Consulting Inc.
  • Fuse Marketing Group
  • BMO
  • Air Canada
  • Pythian
  • Ottawa Senators
  • GGFL
  • Roots Canada
  • CUSA
  • Carlos Graphics
  • Whova
  • Rogers
  • Starbucks
  • Our Write
  • Squish Candies
  • Start up Canada
  • Nature’s Mark
  • Mary Kay
  • Private Eye Investigators
  • Pizza Pizza
  • Be the Change
  • Iron Fitness