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  • Azbah Wasim, Ruoshui(Grace) Zhang, Zaira Shareef

LeadHERship Post-Event Blog Post

On November 25th, 2023, Peel GEMs hosted our LeadHERship: Carving Our Future event at Studio.89.  Peel GEMs is dedicated to providing various skill-building opportunities, and opportunities for sharing knowledge. We aim towards creating safe spaces for all individuals within the Peel Region, and this event was a reflection of our efforts as a team. 

LeadHERship is not simply an event; it's a movement. The event was held to provide attendees with an opportunity to learn about the different opportunities, experiences and career paths from different professions within our community. 

During the event we had the pleasure of meeting and hearing from 3 incredible and accomplished women leaders. We were given the opportunity to gain insight to their stories, experiences and lessons. We were able to gain insight into their journeys within their respective careers. 

Before we begin this post-event summary, we would like to give a huge thankyou to our 3 guest speakers: Sonia, Gaurie and Imani. We would also like to thank Studio.89 for the event space and catering!

The event started off with an icebreaker, to allow all individuals to become comfortable in the setting, to allow for a pleasant event environment. We then went on to introduce our guest speakers, and then heard each of the panelists present their stories and journeys. Our GEM team then followed this up with a GEM led session. 

The GEM-led session involved learning about key traits that make individuals stand out within the workforce. 5 key traits were highlighted: teamwork, willingness to learn, communication, self-motivation and culture fit. Attendees were invited to join a discussion on the importance of these skills, and discussions about common stereotypes individuals may have heard about the workplace. The discussion was lively and filled with tremendous ideas. The GEM-led session ended off with a leadership simulation, in which participants navigated through different scenarios, with the end goal of demonstrating these key leadership qualities. Discussions were encouraged throughout the simulation, with emphasis being placed on conversation about emotions and feelings, followed by a reflection period. 

Sonia, Gaurie and Imani, our 3 speakers at the event then went on to introduce themselves and present their journeys, experiences and lessons learned!

Sonia holds a Bachelors of Human Resource Management as well as a Masters in Leadership and Community Engagement. Sonia is a Certified Fundraising Executive. Sonia highlights her work experience going from an assistant to a director, and the roles that were fulfilled throughout that journey. During the event, Sonia highlighted some key important ideas. "You've got time" and "you only know what you know". These phrases may seem simple, but to individuals on a journey within the workforce, accepting such phrases are key to allowing one to stay sane throughout their journey. Sonia also highlighted this idea of "treat your career like an experiment rather than a permanent decision", to highlight this idea of fluidity when it comes to the workforce and to send the message that one single decision does not set the tone for the rest of one's life. Through Sonia's presentation, a key take away was this idea of one's career being a journey, a journey which can be reflected upon and from which one can learn and grow. 

Gaurie holds a Bachelors of Science from Western University alongside a Masters in Business Administration from DeGroote School of Business at McMaster University. Gaurie holds various co-op experiences, allowing her to learn various lessons throughout her journey. Gaurie highlighted 3 key lessons learned: "learn to love uncertainty", "roll up your sleeves and do the work" and "invest in your whole self". Such ideas are critical in understanding what a true journey throughout the workforce feels in life. There is no guarantee in any plan; thus learning to accept and love this idea of uncertainty should become something we all work towards becoming comfortable with. It is vital to push through and do the work to see the results, and while doing this, one must work towards bettering themselves as a whole as well. When such an idea of investing in one's whole self comes up, we can circle back to the idea of mental health and physical health both being components of overall health, and thus both should be looked after. 

Imani Thomas is a Senior Associate at PricewaterhouseCoopers Canada. Imani holds a Bachelor of Social Science in International Economics and Development from the University of Ottawa and a Masters of Public Policy from McGill university. Imani holds a strong passion for sustainability and good governance, and has provided insight into improving climate action programming and the impact of foreign affairs on Canadian interests. Imani is focused on using a human-centric design approach to help clients. Throughout the event Imani provided great insight into her journey and experiences, and left the audience with various lessons to reflect on and to learn from. 

GEMs was honoured  to have these 3 amazing individuals be a part of our event.

The event ended with attendees being given the opportunity to fill out an evaluation form, to highlight the positives of the event, alongside aspects in which we as a team could improve to make our next event even better! The team was very happy to see all the feedback!

Overall, the post-event evaluation forms gave the event a 5 out of 5 rating, allowing us to see that the event went super well! Attendees expressed that they felt inclusiveness during the event, which is one of the main goals that GEM works toward achieving. Participants felt that they gained valuable knowledge from the event speakers and the GEM team about planning for their future and different career paths. One of the takeaways that people have is people do not always have to rush their dream occupation. 

We are glad that people have found the event useful and beneficial for their future and their dreams! Moreover, they expressed that they look forward to participating in our future events. 

Overall, the event was definitely one for the books! The event turned out even better than we had planned as a team, making us even more excited for what is yet to come in the new year for GEM! On behalf of our Peel GEMs team, we thank all the individuals who attended the event, and all those who took the time out of their day to read this summation blog post.

We have exciting things in store for the 2024 year, and we hope to see you a part of these plans!

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