In 2009, with the inspiration and backing from Status of Women Canada, Danna Murray and Helen Dewar developed the much-needed advanced leadership program designed specifically for women – Women Leading the Way™. What they couldn’t have imagined was that just a few years later, they would be reconnecting with their alumnae to celebrate with over 100 women who have since completed the program!
Borden Ladner Gervais donated their beautiful boardroom and lounge which provided the perfect space to host a three-hour workshop and the reception that followed.
With Danna at the helm as emcee and Helen facilitating the workshop portion, the hours passed by quickly and provided everyone with a snapshot into how the program works and the amazing women who are now considered alumnae. Past participants Raewyn Brewer (Cohort 2), Reggie Mueller (Cohort 3) and Lisa Leblanc (Cohort 4) also spoke from the heart when sharing their own experiences with the program. At one point Helen also asked the alumnae who since having completed the program have been promoted or moved into higher level leadership positions to stand up. Close to 70% of the past participants present stood up.
Another key part of the afternoon was a panel presentation with Bob Elton and Debra Hewson with Holly Munn (Cohort 3) moderating the session. They were invited to speak to the group on the difference between mentorship and sponsorship. Adine Mees, Minerva’s CEO, in her introduction for this panel, summed up the difference well. “I like to think of mentors as people who provide insight and help us navigate around our blind spots …and sponsors as those people who talk about you – who increase your visibility and exposure. And we know this is important because you can’t move if people don’t know you; if they don’t talk about you.” Both Bob and Debra continued to provide a thoughtful and insightful overview to this important topic as well as sharing their own personal experiences.
The reception that followed was an opportunity for everyone to reconnect and network…and even sign up for the program for those who came as guests! Of course, it’s always an excuse for us to capture the moments with a camera. Here are some highlights: