DIVERSEcity’s Women’s Leadership Forum puts the spotlight on leading in work and life

What does it mean to be a woman leader today? That is one of the questions that DIVERSEcity Community Resources will explore at the Women’s Leadership Forum organized in partnership with local women’s advancement charity Minerva BC. For the second year in a row, the now sold-out event will gather “emerging and established” women leaders at the Anvil Centre on March 8 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. to explore a variety of questions such as this, highlighting the challenges and successes of women’s leadership.

DIVERSEcity CEO Neelam Sahota. | Photo courtesy of DIVERSEcity.

The forum will feature talks from prominent women from across the province including Chief Rhonda Larrabee of Qayqayt First Nation, Sophie Lui of Global BC, Attorney General of B.C. Niki Sharma, and more. Participants will engage in a range of activities including DIVERSEcity’s signature DIVERSETALK panel discussion and Q&A.

“This event, held on International Women’s Day, is a space for dialogue, empowering each other and advancing the issue of women’s equity forward. Change starts with conversations that elevate diverse voices and ignite new ideas,” says DIVERSEcity CEO Neelam Sahota.

“In DIVERSEcity’s role as a community builder and connector, we want to help create spaces like the Women’s Forum for these transformative conversations,” she adds. “At the forum, emerging and established women leaders, from diverse backgrounds and experiences, can come together to learn, forge connections, inspire action, and help advance change and inclusion, together.”

Women in the Workplace

Sahota points to McKinsey and Company’s latest Women in the Workplace report, published last October, regarding the state of women’s leadership. Citing the latest data on the representation of women in corporate America and Canada, the report concludes that though “women are more ambitious than ever, and workplace flexibility is fueling them… despite some hard-fought gains, women’s representation is not keeping pace.”

While women in the U.S. and Canada represent 48 per cent of those occupying entry-level positions, the report points out that their representation drops as the corporate ladder ascends, falling to just 28 per cent in C-suite positions – CEO, COO, CFO, etc. Across all levels, women of colour remain underrepresented, making up 18 of the 48 per cent of women in entry-level positions, and just six of the 28 per cent of women in C-suite roles.

“It’s important for us to ask why most women don’t move past a certain level,” Sahota points out. “Is it due to disproportionate family obligations, lack of [workplace] flexibility, or gender discrimination? Whatever the cause…supporting women to break these barriers to reach their full potential is one of the reasons behind us coming together with Minerva for our second annual Women’s Leadership Forum.”

Being the leader of your life

However, the event does not limit its focus on leadership to the workplace.

“The theme of our event is ‘Be the leader of your life’ because leadership is not just about getting a certain type of job, but a mindset on how we as women approach our lives – at work, in the community, and in their families,” explains Sahota. “It’s the way we show up for ourselves and each other to share our voices and effect change.”

Lenya Wilks, Director of Partnerships & Stakeholder Engagement at DIVERSEcity agrees.

“To inspire inclusion, we need to practice allyship and solidarity actively,” she says. “This involves bravely standing up against discrimination, supporting marginalized women, and advocating for inclusive policies and practices. By doing so, we can pave the way for a fairer future and uplift each other with conviction.”

To foster connectedness and wellness, the event will incorporate activities such as a yogic breathing and reflective writing session, a dance presentation by the BollyFusion dance studio, and the launch of DIVERSEcity’s Survivor Guide.

Please note that this event is sold out. For more information on DIVERSEcity, please visit: www.dcrs.ca