Economic Diversity is thriving in Calgary

by Karen on May 6, 2011

Last night I attended the Women Mentors & Friends event at the Calgary Petroleum Club.   I was drawn to the event because of the diverse and meaningful speaker line-up, but even more so by the format the club promised.  The goal for the evening was to provide a strong connection and dialogue between the speakers and the attendees.

The five speakers, all recognized for success in their chosen field, presented to the women in attendance in small groups.  Each break-out session lasted 20 minutes so I was able to sit in on 3 amazing dialogues.  Each woman told their story in brief and then opened it up to an informal and candid discussion.  The 5 speakers were The Honourable Justice Elizabeth Hughes, Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta, Ruth Ramsden-Wood, President and CEO of the United Way of Calgary and Area, Anna Wallner, Co-Creator, Producer and host of Shopping Bags, A&K’s Grocery Bag, and A&L’s Beauty Call, Esther Colwill, Parntner, Deloitte & Touche AND mountaineer (she has reached 7 summits!) and Carlene Donnelly, Executive Director, Calgary Urban Project Society.

The consistent messages I heard from the three women I listened to was that their success was very much tied to a strong belief in themselves and their ideas, persistence (expect to hear “no” way more than you hear “yes”) and you have to love what you’re doing because it will be hard work, time consuming and require personal sacrifice if you want to reach the top.  None of them regret their choices and the passion in their voice was truly admirable and contagious.

In the end though, I was most surprised by the diverse group of women who attended the meeting.  In the brief time allotted for getting to know your neighbour, I met a social media expert who came from the film industry, a cultural legacy strategist who is coaching organizations up and down the west coast through leadership transitions and a PR and community engagement strategist.  There is a lot going on in this city, and a truly passionate and driven group of women who are looking to make a mark in their industry.

An inspiring evening!


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