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Young Women in Business break boundaries at 2016 conference

SFU club hosts annual event geared at helping women succeed

Nicolle Hodges from CTV speaks as the host of the conference.
Nicolle Hodges from CTV speaks as the host of the conference.

Young Women in Business (YWiB), a club on campus devoted to creating a supportive network of women who wish to grow professionally, hosted their fifth International Women’s Day Conference on March 12, 2016 at the Sandman Hotel.

“The International Women’s Day Conference is our pillar event, and it’s a day where like-minded individuals come together to celebrate what women have achieved,” said Bailey Wong, Chair of the IWD 2016 Organizing Committee. “It not only helps us celebrate our current achievements but equips us to achieve more in the future.”

This year’s theme was “Breaking Boundaries.” The intention was to equip women for tackling challenges that will undoubtedly come up in their professional lives, all the while being conscious of their societal impacts. The speakers worked around the general theme of leveraging strengths and using them as tools to master weaknesses.

“The theme of the conference changes each year, and we base our speakers and our philanthropy aspect around it,” Wong said. “This year we decided to work with a non-profit charity called Covenant House Vancouver.”

YWiB asked for donations such as clothing and comfort items from participating delegates in order to partake in The Shoebox Project in partnership with Covenant House Vancouver.

The host of the conference was Nicolle Hodges, a news anchor at CTV. She opened the event with a personal story of how her career started by “breaking boundaries” and reaching out to a job she hardly fit the qualifications for — in doing so, she got hired to a job that kick-started her journalism career and helped her get to CTV.

Workshops were led by professionals such as entrepreneur Danielle Van Zanten, and focused on a specific topic such as “Establishing your presence: personal branding” and “Managing yourself upwards.” Van Zanten expressed the importance of remembering that you as a person are a brand, and how you present yourself will have a powerful influence to your professional brand whether it be positively or negatively.

During the breaks between workshops, delegates were encouraged to network with the professional speakers and the various vendors such as Blossom Box Jewelry, Brain Station, and Giving Gifts & Company.

Wong explained that her favorite part of the conference each year is “Executive for a Day”; a draw where a delegate is given the opportunity to choose a professional from the conference and shadow them for a day. “It’s a game changer from the typical networking event and much more personal being able to just spend a day with them or have coffee with them one on one,” Wong said.

Excluding the executive team, approximately 100 members attend the IWD conference each year.

Alice Joel, IWD 2015’s engagement coordinator and next year’s co-president of YWiB alongside Bailey Wong, expressed her excitement for the upcoming year. “The thing I love most about YWiB is how much they have challenged me to grow,” she said.

“It’s nice surrounding yourself with an ambitious and egoless team who are not only passionate about pursuing their own goals, but also take a genuine interest in helping others build themselves as well.”

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