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Women in Work conference taking place this weekend

By May Domingo, March 6 2020—

A great woman named Beyoncé once said, “Who run the world? Girls!” For those who are striving to run the world, the University of Calgary’s Career Services and Women’s Resource Center have partnered up to bring everyone — especially women — a chance to connect with like-minded people and people who have strived for higher leadership roles to encourage this generation and teach the previous generation. Students and community members, as future leaders, have the opportunity to attend Women in Work on March 7 at the MacEwan Ballroom. The event is free of charge and includes breakfast and lunch.

Nora Molino, Career Services Director, said that the event was able to attract a variety of speakers from different backgrounds to encourage this generation to aspire to greatness. 

“Although it is an inclusive event, and we do encourage all students to come, it is predominantly to meet that need of preparing more women for leadership,” she said. 

Expect inspirational stories from Chancellor Deborah Yedlin, Kristan Nielson, Nancy Stapley and many more listed on the Career Services website. 

Nanako Furuyama, the Coordinator from the Women’s Resource Center, further stated that the “workforce should reflect the diversity of the communities.” She implied that the event is meant to inspire the student body to value the many different aspects that make a person who they are and to learn from the authentic journey that the event’s speakers will share.

Free breakfast and lunch is appealing to university students, but how is the university affording to offer this?

“We were fortunate to have support, particularly from Enterprise Holdings, who have donated to support the event,” Molina replied. “We’re just tremendously grateful that they’re willing to support what we do. This particular event is one that they support and they are looking to grow the leaders within their organizations and do so through supporting these types of activities.”

Furthermore, students will be able to connect with fellow students and gain encouragement from each other through Roundtable Hour. The full agenda is available on the Career Services website.

“We don’t have enough women in leadership roles. We don’t have enough women in executive positions. So, I think this is the opportunity to influence young women at the right stages in their career to think about how they should build their career going forward,” Molina emphasized. 

The importance for women to be encouraged and attend events such as this, as Molina stated, is because it’s a competitive job market. With the struggles of the current economy, it is harder to find a job. 

“This event has been designed to create more opportunities for students to get comfortable with and to connect with employers that are receptive to hiring new graduates,” Molina said. Attendees might even get an interview from the speakers and organizations on the spot.

This event is also crucial for university students who are still exploring their options. 

“We need to think differently about work and the role work plays in our lives. Work is about bringing our purpose to life and utilizing our creative energy to make people’s lives better,” said Nielson.

When asked about who inspired Nancy Stapley, one of the event’s speakers, to become a leader, she said, “I was fortunate to grow up in a family and among family friends that lived into leadership. Leaders serving the community, volunteer, appointed and elected, business owners, and in-service professions.” 

Kristan Nielson is an Executive Coach who will also be speaking at the Women in Work conference. She said, “To be an entrepreneur, you need to get comfortable with uncertainty and uncertainty is the truth of our reality. Nothing is certain so focus on creating impactful change.” 

Furthermore, Nielson wants to encourage students to know their values, purpose and dreams as well as focusing on utilizing their talents to make the world a better place.

If you are not able to attend the event, Molina encourages students to reach out to Career Services.

“Don’t wait until your final semester,” she said. “It does take some intentional exploration and planning to see somebody graduate in a place where they’re confident with where they’re going. We offer just a tremendous amount of opportunities to connect with employers and a wide range of topics.” 

While there is numerous information available on the internet but Molina cautions students to be careful, saying “For somebody to stand out, they need to make a little bit more effort and learn how they can do that. That’s where the workshops that we deliver can help people figure that out.” She adds that most resumes and cover letters she has read have been identical therefore none were able to catch the attention of a potential employer. 

The Women’s Resource Center also administers annual conferences. 

“We have an ongoing event called Women Leaders’ Speaker Series,” said Furuyama. “This is a great informal mentorship opportunity for students. So, they get to meet with great women leaders in our community in all different industries from different sectors. They will talk about their career path, some of the challenges they had and how they overcame it. I think it’s very inspiring for any student. We do have those on an ongoing basis.” 

 “Choose a path that gets you excited to get out of bed every morning,” she said. “This will still be the energy you need to make your dreams alive.” 

Perhaps this will be a chance for somebody to take control of their fate and use their energy towards something worthwhile. The Women in Work conference happens March 7 at 8:30 a.m. More information is available on the Career Services website.

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