By: Ewa Chwojko
“It’s women’s time, rise up!” was the shout of the day at the Women in Business Conference held earlier this month by the Georgina Chamber of Commerce in partnership with its East Gwillimbury counterpart.
We were greeted by Georgina’s first woman Mayor, Margaret Quirk, who shared personal insights about the highs and lows of her career, and the lessons of perseverance she learnt from the most important women in her life, her mother and her grandmother. For women, that continuity, passing knowledge from generation to generation, is very important, and was stressed by all the participants.
Women who have outstanding careers in big companies mingled with owners of local businesses, discovering that they share similar paths, fight similar obstacles, and deal with similar problems, including life/work balance.
Caroline Mulroney, MPP, shared that, as a woman in business, she too was hitting a ‘glass ceiling’, which is even now a reality, and she is fighting to break that ceiling.
Keynote speaker, Colette Watson, Senior Vice President at Rogers, advised us to ‘embrace grey.’ Not gray hair, of course! Just to remember that the world is not black and white, we all have flaws but it doesn’t mean we cannot achieve greatness.
Donna Big Canoe, first woman Chief from the Chippewas of Georgina Island, and two other Georgina Island Wonder Women, Shelley Charles and Suzanne Howes, shared with us that the woman’s role in their culture is ‘to holds things together’, to work together to achieve a goal. A similar message came from the panelists. Colette Watson summed it up: “women are more likely to ‘park their egos’ and get things done without caring who gets the credit!”
All hundred and twenty participants stressed the wonderful atmosphere of the day, and the event was sold out. This is a clear indication there is a need for business women to connect. Yes, we came to network, to learn from one another, but also, as Marcia, a local bookkeeper, stated, we bonded at the heart level with women in our community.
The event was recorded by Rogers TV and can be viewed on YouTube.