Young Women in Vancouver’s Beyond Pink 2014 Conference is happening this Friday and Saturday! I had the pleasure of speaking with the Beyond Pink planning team’s co-chair, Jessica Shirra, and she was able to give me a sneak peek at what it’s like to plan such an incredible event. I hope you enjoy her commentary below; Jessica is an inspiring leader in Vancouver’s business network.
Who are the women behind the scenes of Beyond Pink?
“Our team is an amazing group of young women. We come from a variety of industries, so each team member really brings a different perspective to the table.
Kendall is the other co-chair and works at an accounting firm by day. She’s all over the numbers and helps us keep our budget on track. Her and I work well together because we’re both very detail oriented and we balance each other out with the different strengths we bring to the table.
We have a marketing team made up of three talented women: Alyssa, Emma and Olivia – they all bring so much creativity to our team. Olivia is still in school but you wouldn’t be able to tell by the graphic design work she produces. That girl has talent!
Marie, our Speaker Coordinator brings a lot of positive energy to the group. She’s the one who’s always making us laugh in meetings. She also has a warm, professional side which has been invaluable in recruiting and building relationships with speakers, mentors and workshop facilitators for the conference.
We have a Volunteer and Delegate Coordinator, Janie and a Logistics Coordinator, Sindhu, and they are absolute powerhouses. No matter what else they’ve got going on in their lives, whether it’s interviews or final exams, they are always on the ball, working hard to get things done.
Shonika, Kiran and Dulce make up our Corporate Relations team and probably have one of the hardest jobs on our team. They’ve been working for months to build relationships with companies in the community. Sponsorship is integral to making Beyond Pink and other Young Women in Business events happen.
Courtney has been leading the organization of our Tradeshow, which will feature Canadian businesses and local entrepreneurs. She’s done a great job getting some really inspirational women on board.
Susanna, our Event Manager has her own event planning company so she’s a huge asset to our team. I’ve never met someone more composed and calm under pressure. This is such a great strength to have and her calm demeanor positively influences others.”
We’re so curious, how long does planning an event like this take?
“We’ve been planning now since January, so 11 months! I think the most rewarding part is yet to come. It’ll feel so amazing to watch our attendees enjoy the conference we’ve spent so long planning.
We have learned a TON along the way as a team. There are things we would do differently if we did it all over again, but that’s the beauty of doing something new – it stretches you and teaches you new things.
Personally, I’ve learned a lot about managing and motivating a team; how important it is to be able to ask for help or delegate tasks, and that sometimes it’s okay to say no. I’ve always been a YES person and tend to take on more than I can handle so this has been a great challenge for me.”
Tell us how you found such an exciting lineup of speakers!
“We created a list of speakers that were from a variety of industries, but more importantly women who were kicking butt and passionate about what they’re doing. Once we did that, we just started reaching out to see who was interested. We had some women come to us asking to be involved as well!
The most exciting part about finding our speakers and workshop facilitators was that with each new person we found, a little piece of the conference came together. It really does take a lot of support from the community to pull an event like this off and we wouldn’t be able to do it without the help of our speakers and facilitators.”
What inspired your theme: “Share Your Story, Define Your Path”?
“The theme was one of the first things we came up with as a team and it really helped to shape the content of the conference. We picked this theme because everyone has a unique story about how they got to where they are. There is something relatable and empowering about sharing the honest version of that story – the good, the bad, the mistakes, and the wins.
We also wanted to put an emphasis on defining your own path. All too often we’re motivated by other people’s idea of success rather than defining what success means to us. We often find ourselves in positions and companies that we don’t really enjoy, or work tireless hours towards a goal that isn’t our own.
We want our attendees to walk away with the courage and confidence to follow their own path and define their own goals.”
What makes this year’s BP Conference unique?
“Lots of things! The planning team changes each year, so while the format and schedules stay similar, our team has really tried to ensure that the content is relevant to our attendees and the challenges and issues that they face today.
We’ve also added a new event this year on the Friday evening which is a mentor speed-networking evening. Attendees will get the chance to talk with mentors in a speed-dating format about a variety of topics including lessons learned, defining success, relationship building, and more. We’re really excited for this event and have some pretty amazing mentors lined up.”
You can check out the list here: http://beyondpinkvancouver.com/schedule/speed-mentoring/
We’re impressed, how could we join your team?!
“There are lots of ways to get involved! We’re still looking to fill a few more spots in our Tradeshow which is a great way for businesses to connect with our attendees and share their story. We’re also looking for a few more volunteers for both Friday and Saturday. If you’re interested in the tradeshow you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or please email Janine@ywib.ca to inquire about volunteering.”
Any closing remarks?
“Our Beyond Pink team can’t wait to see you all at the conference November 14-15. It has been an amazing journey to get here, and we want to share the opportunity to gain knowledge, advice, motivation, self-discovery, goal setting skills, and so much more with as many young women as possible. If you haven’t gotten your ticket yet, you can register here: http://beyondpinkvancouver.com/ . We’re now offering single day passes as well. Use the code BPLOVESNIV to save $25 on yours.
Also, I wanted to give a very special shout out to our sponsors this year, we couldn’t have done it without them.” http://beyondpinkvancouver.com/partners/
Jess & the BP 2014 Conference Team.
“Share your story, define your path.”