Well we’ve reached the cold month of December and somehow 2022 has passed by in a flash. The year isn’t quite through, but reaching this chilly holiday season has inspired me to reflect on what 2022 has brought me. For myself, it was a lot different than the previous couple in which we were more strictly limited by the pandemic. It has been a year to rebuild relationships with friends and family, get back involved with team sports, network and enjoy social time after shaking off the rust.
It’s been about a year and a half since I have had the pleasure of creating content for Lead Thru Sport. All of which has been done remotely. Working with Carmen over the phone, zoom, helping create and run virtual events and compile stories that strive to drive an enthusiasm for girls and women to participate in and learn from sport. A cause I have been passionate about my entire life. I didn’t think I could be any more invested in the mission that LTS has fostered.
Then I attended the Celebrate Her event last weekend.
This incredible event brought together eager high school students and female leaders in the community, to empower and elevate women across generations. I have so many amazing things to say about this experience so let's dive right in!
To start, Celebrate Her was held at an awesome venue, Catalyst Kitchen located in Altea Active. This beautiful space came with amazing food by Catalyst’s chef Ken Lau, desserts by Lee-Anne Chong of Dessert Society, and exciting raffle prizes. It was my lucky day as I came away with a full set of workout accessories which was the cherry on top of all the other insights I gathered throughout the day.
The day started with some fun icebreakers to get more comfortable with the women around us, the perfect warm up for the conversation café that was to follow. I personally have never participated in a conversation café; you can think of them as spaces where people can discuss topical issues, informally, and have calm conversations which contain less debating and more listening.
The different topics we discussed included:
Each of these topics provided us with an opportunity to be creative, vulnerable, step out of our comfort zones and learn from each other’s experiences. Through these stories we found similarities and were able to further relate to one another. We came together knowing that we shared a passion for sport and developing female leaders through it; what we may not have realized was the parallels in struggles we have faced, moments of triumph and that we need each other to succeed.
The event wrapped up with an engaging guest speaker, Andrea Beneteau, a retired paramedic and fire captain, experienced OUA basketball referee and recently published author. You can read more about Andrea’s experience working in a male-dominated industry in Uncover Your Light, Empowering Stories of Hope and Resilience. She began her talk by reading us a short blurb from the book which allowed audience members to peer into the adversity she had overcome throughout her career. Her speech exposed the gender inequality in professional spaces, and the strength it takes to transcend barriers. It reassured me that thoughts and feelings I have had in my professional pursuits are not unique to me and also provided me with a sense of hope moving forward.
For those of you who attended this incredible event, we thank you. For your participation, engagement, and supporting Lead Thru Sport with your generous donations.
For those of you who could not attend, I have collected my main takeaways from the event. Firstly, the next generation of female leaders are inspiring! I am so energized by the confidence and courage that these teenage women possess. They taught me, we need to empower and lift each other up. As women in sport, school, professional pursuits and life, we cannot succeed without the support of one another. If we move forward as a team, we are never alone and there is always strength in numbers.
I learnt that not only do we need to celebrate our peers, we need to give ourselves more credit. We need to be more comfortable communicating our strengths with confidence and without the shame, fear, or guilt that society has conditioned us to hold.
So how can we apply these takeaways? Below are a few tangible things we as women or allies can do moving forward to empower and elevate women.
Learn about and support female owned businesses such as…
Reach out to female colleagues, friends and family members with encouraging dialogue and assurance of their success.
Team up with women around you rather than compete. Support teach others’ ambitions.
Practice positive self affirmations.
Know you deserve to be in the room and speak your mind.
Continue to learn, keep an open mind and evolve.
I want to thank Lead Thru Sport, specifically Carmen & Tash, for running such an incredible event and allowing me to build wonderful connections and be a part of something so energizing. I look forward to continuing to curate and participate in thoughtful spaces like Celebrate Her in the future.
Written By: Sarah Saftich
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