Women in Leadership Foundation – Mentorship Luncheon Event Recap

Where to start? I could start by telling you that another successful WIL luncheon took place last Wednesday, May 2nd at the Fairmont Pacific Rim and that a record 270 people attended or that seated at the Media table for this event I was a little bit star struck to be beside Pamela Martin and Jill Krop.  I could describe in mouthwatering detail the amazing food prepared by the chef, the beautiful ball room adorned in wood and gold or list all the fantastic prizes I didn’t win.

But really, the speakers, their advice and the importance of mentorship is what this event was all about, the rest was just merengue on our delicious Lemon Tart.

I was really excited to see Rita Rogers mediate again. Right off the bat she started off the luncheon with her best advice: “Consider the source of your advice before you take it” For example: Taking fashion advice from her 7 year old daughter is not the best idea unless you want to end up with something Pink, or Fuzzy or both.

The key note speaker for the day was Wendy Lisogar-Cocchia, the youngest female chair in Vancouver Board of Trade’s 124 year history. Wendy’s resume is quite impressive but it was evident in hearing her speak, that her dearest accomplishment is the recent opening of the Pacific Autism Family Centre, a parent-led initiative to establish a “knowledge centre” for the Province.

Wendy grouped her advice under Persistence & Patience, Passion and Philanthropy.

“Setting the example provides the leadership”

“If you aren’t dying to get back to work after being away or don’t miss it when you are on holiday, that may be a sign that you need to re-evaluate”  This one really struck a chord for me as for the first time I miss being at work, and that is a good thing!

When asked about how she finds the time for Philantropy/Giving time? Her reply? “How can you not find the time?”

The panel consisted of a great mix of women from a variety of backgrounds.

First up was Jane Russell. Jane is the Senior VP, Pacific Region, at TD Canada Trust and has been with the company for over 20 years. When she started it was a male dominated industry which presented a few challenges however one of the advantages was no line ups for the Woman’s Washroom!

She went on to describe her career that included many lateral moves to which she said: “Don’t be afraid to make lateral moves. Forget the myth about it making you not promotable. I think it helps you develop new skills and broadens your skill level and makes you more promotable.”

Following Jane was Rebecca Bollwitt, a.k.a  Miss604. Rebecca listed networking events, conferences and the online community in Vancouver as areas where she often finds inspiration and mentorship.

Simple but powerful advice from Vancouver’s favourite blogger included:

“Have no fear” She said that if she had given in to fear she would still be working in a luggage store at the Surrey Mall.

“The Worse thing someone can say is no” An advice I often repeat to myself when I have to pick up the phone and ask for sponsorship or donations.

“Keep your eye on the prize” And if you aren’t sure what that is? “Doing something you love”

“Balance is important. Work the long hours but take time out for laughter such as funny cake websites

Last but not least was Jill Earthy who brought her 5 year old daughter and her mother in tow. It’s never too early to start showing you’re your kids’ leadership skills.

Jill has had a very interesting and varied career that seems to have blossomed with her life changes; following her own advice to “Be nimble, be flexible and seek new opportunities” along the way.

As a mom with a young son, ambition and a multitude of different projects on the go at all times, I really connected with her advice to find harmony in what you are doing at any giving stage along your path. Learn to juggle the different balls and sometimes your family ball might be bigger and sometimes your career ball might be bigger.

On mentorship, Jill had a few powerful words to say:

“You don’t know what you don’t know”

“Look at people a few steps ahead of you and those walking right beside you for guidance”

“Everyone can be a mentor, look behind you and grab a hand”. I love this one.

The Women in Leadership Foundation offers a well-respected mentorship program and judging by the people I spoke to and the ones who shared their stories during the luncheon, a very successful one.  Their philosophy is to personally match each mentor and mentee. They try and find commonalities between the two but also match the participants with someone outside of their industry or area of expertise.

“As we grow and as we change as do our needs and as should our mentors/mentees”  –  Jane Russell

They are now accepting applications for 2013. They are in need of both mentors and mentees.

What do you think of Mentorship? What do you consider to be the best qualities in a mentor, male or female? 

You can view pictures of the event here

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