YELL is excited to have sent 15 of our high school students to the 2018 WE FOR SHE Forum thanks again to the generosity of our community partners, Greater Vancouver Board of Trade (GVBoT). The conference took place in November 16th, 2018 at Vancouver Convention Centre. Held on an annual basis, WE FOR SHE is one of North America’s largest celebration of empowerment of women in our society that involves the gatherings of thousands of female business leaders, change makers, and employers. The forum focuses on creating an equal future and reinforcing the role we each play to further equality across Canada and beyond.
During the morning keynote, the honorable Janet Austin, OBC, Lieutenant Governor of Province of British Columbia and former Chief Executive Officer at YWCA, raised some of the most powerful questions to both the female professionals and the youths present: “What’s most important for you?... What’s your most proud time?” Upon answering these questions truthfully to themselves, our students explored their personal values in guiding in their interests and career choices. Sitting next to Her Honour is Adina Williams, a highly involved member of the Squamish Nation and also a senior student at UBC, who also talked about her journey as an aspiring young women as the representative of the youth counterpart.
Of note, the conference included two sessions hosted by business leaders. One of them - “Inspiring Men to Inspire” was facilitated conversation with three established business leaders about what it takes to inspire men to be inspiring, inclusive leaders.
In the afternoon session, our own YELL speaker, Tara Bosch, also shared her story of turning her fear into one of the most successful, and fastest growing startup. We were all inspired by the experiences and advice that the speakers shared.
In addition, the conference has “NextGen Leaders Concurrent Sessions” which allow high school students to attend two 30-minutes sessions presented by organizations including Women’s Enterprise Center, Electronic Arts, the University of British Columbia, CPABC, Minerva BC, Spark Creations and ViaSport. It is also the favourite part of our YELL students.
Isabela, one of the attending YELL students, mentioned, “I thoroughly enjoyed the workshops, where we were able to have a more minimized audience, such that we could better familiarize ourselves with the professionals and fellow students”.
YELL students’ thoughts and learnings:
“WFS was an unforgettable experience. Not only did it empower and inspire but showcased the skill and potential of women in the room. I was struck by the comparison of life being a road trip, and that on this road to success, you would only allow yourself to be happy and enjoy yourself when, and only when you reached your destination. Explained like that, it appeared to me ridiculous to disregard my journey towards achievement, and view each passing as a fleeting highway marker. IB, for example, should not simply be viewed as a hurdle to overcome, but an experience to revel in and learn.”
“WFS is an experience I'll never forget. I learnt to be bold and brave and listened to so many inspiring ppl. It has definitely impacted my future in a positive way.”
“Something that I took away from WFS was be true to yourself and pursue your passions, follow your dreams and don't be afraid to fail. I want to take more initiative even if it scares me. Don't let fear hold you back from being true to you and pursuing your passions.”
“WFS was a lovely experience. I learnt to manage stress in a proactive way. My take away was to accept your flaws and love the way you are. Even if you're going through difficulties in life, you've got people behind you. “
“I learned how important it is to empower young women as they are the leaders of the next generations.”
“I heard some unexpected stories. Learnt how brave, open and empowered the women are. How there are so many opportunities to pursue!”
“If you are really determined and you really want something, work hard and you will achieve it.”
“I learned the possible solution for gender equality. Equality starts in household. This event is very organized, have great food and great resources.”