Inspiring Women to Build Local Leadership and Community

Last Sunday the Westin Hotel was the location for an extraordinary learning and networking experience for those who gave up a precious day of their weekend to attend this unique annual event.

The morning began with the “Grand Entry” which included the colorful and rhythmic choreography and pageantry of the Yellow Ribbon Dancers, followed by the Mayor of Edmonton, Steven Mandel, who did his ‘mayoral best’ to keep up with the rhythm of the traditional drums.  After their presentation, the dancers spoke to the audience about how connections are created within to help overcome obstacles. To dance is to tell stories about ourselves, to tell stories is to create a ‘spiritual realm’ that has the ability to touch the heart of man, not to mention the ability to entertain and generate a connection with the people. A special blessing was provided by local Elder Eva Beretti.

Some highlights and key messages from the breakout sessions included the following, that leadership is more than rising to the top or climbing power structures and that women and young girls at all levels of the community have leadership skills that can be shared, celebrated and built upon. Guest Speaker Constable Mona Gill shared her amazing life story and there wasn’t a dry eye in the room after listening to her own personal struggle and triumph.

An important component for ERIEC at this Symposium was the “Inspiring Future Marketplace”. The objective was to connect women with the resources and opportunities available to them in the Edmonton community. Women connecting with women to provide support, leadership and mentorship.

These types of events are powerful and contribute to inspire professional women to get involved with mentorship and look for different ways to provide guidance for the new generations of women leaders and community builders.

This year’s 2013 Women’s Symposium was a fantastic reminder to all of us that the majority of the successful women around us can thank their achievements in part to past mentors in their lives, perhaps starting with their mothers and their grandmothers, elementary school teachers and tutors, music teachers, sports coaches, university professors and workplace role models.

And don’t forget the words of the Yellow Ribbon Dancers about the power of ‘dance’ and ‘making connections’.  Take the opportunity to tell your story and you too will generate a connection with people around you!

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