On Saturday, November 3rd I had the amazing opportunity to volunteer at the Beyond Pink (BP) 2012 Conference. #BP2012 was the third annual conference hosted by Young Women in Business (YWiB), and had over 150 women in attendance ranging from ages 18 to 40. This year’s theme was “disrupt, construct, and re-define the possible.”
To kick-off the day, a panel discussion was held in the main conference room where the BP volunteers and attendees learned how female professionals have learned how to challenge their biggest “F-word”, that daunting feeling called fear. We heard from company CEOs and creative directors to lawyers and development managers: Rachel Lewis, COO, Vancouver Whitecaps FC, Katie Ainsworth, Creative Director, Ainsworth Communications, Deborah Kennedy, Development and Communications Manager, Nature Trust and Amy Chan, Director of Corporate Communications, OncoSec Medical.
The wisdom, advice and guidance that I gained that morning was priceless – I was tweeting up a storm and writing quotes in my iPhone notes by the minute. Some of my favourites were: “What would you do right now if you knew you wouldn’t fail?” – Rachel Lewis, and “Success is defined by how you get up after you fall” – Amy Chan. These women reminded me that everyone has something they are afraid of, and the examples of how they overcame their fears, gave me some ideas on how to combat my own.
Throughout the day I assisted with two of the six workshop sessions, one of which was “Goal setting with lululemon”, led by Chloe Gow-Jarrett, Head of Retail Training. As a volunteer I admitted the attendees into the room and helped the speaker set up and keep track of time. After 50 minutes of discussion and activities I had four words to describe this session: it-blew-my-mind. We learned tricks for how to shift our thinking from below to above the line (click here to see what I mean!) and identify what we want and don’t want in our personal and professional lives. We also spent eight minutes with our eyes closed to imagine where we would be in 10 years from now. This session got me excited about my future and gave me tools I can use to set my vision, and build my goals.
The volunteers also attended the closing key-note speaker session where we helped pass out and collect surveys, and pass the microphone around to people who had questions. Sandy Thompson, Global Planning Director, Y&R ended the afternoon with a bang when she told her success story with tasteful humour, which included leaps of faith, improvisation, trial and error and at one point, dressing like a man to be heard in a room full of executives!
Being a volunteer at Beyond pink gave me the best of both worlds: I was able to meet and work with the BP and YWiB staff and volunteers, mingle and network with all of the wonderful ladies in attendance, listen in to the workshop sessions and key note speakers, and cross off doing a good deed from my checklist. I encourage anyone who is interested in what Beyond Pink has to offer to apply as a volunteer for next year!