“It’s either all of us, or none of us”

Last fall I stumbled onto an event page for a conference taking place on a cool October weekend at my former school. It sounded really interesting and I’m always keen to learn and grow and decided to bring my mom along. I didn’t know it at the time that the Leadership Summit for Women would be one of the most transformational days of my life.

The day was so inspirational and different from any other conference, lecture, seminar or workshop that I have been to with women and girls and allies of all ages, demographics, and life experiences coming together to share their experiences, their lessons and challenges of being a woman leader. I came away feeling very inspired to share this movement with my home community in Niagara. And here we are, with the support of some great community partners, for the first Niagara Leadership Summit for Women.

Why do we need to talk about women’s leadership in our community?

Improving women’s equality and representation is, unfortunately, a challenge that continues before us in 2014 and beyond. Our reality is that women are not represented equally in political institutions, around boardroom tables, nor do we receive equal pay for equal work. But that doesn’t mean that women’s leadership is not equally as important or valuable. We need to recognize our own leadership and value women’s leadership in all of its shapes and forms and colours, to really make an impact.

In many ways, Niagara is at a critical juncture in our history. As we begin to transform our economy and community, there are many opportunities to redefine and rethink our future. Who do we want to be? What type of community do we want to become? How can we improve the lives of our residents and create a positive future for next generations?

We need to take advantage of the potential of our greatest assets – our people and communities – by recognizing, redefining and revolutionizing ideas about leadership to more fully support and include women leaders. Supporting women and young leaders is important for all of us. With diverse voices, ideas and perspectives around the table we can make better decisions with more just outcomes that will benefit everyone. That’s what leadership means to me. It’s not about your title or position or profile. That’s what this is all about.

I’m so excited to be able to share this experience with you – my friends, sisters, colleagues, neighbours and allies.

See you on October 18.