The GenHERation Leaderiship conference in Toronto was a memorable experience for all those present. On Tuesday July 21st, young women from all over the Greater Toronto Area came to the MaRS Discovery District to learn about leadership, network with fascinating women, and participate in interactive activities. This conference also gave the participants an opportunity to pitch their own community project to a judge in order to win five hundred dollars to get it started. During this conference there was a panel of women who answered questions about their lives, occupation, and road to their current position. All the women were in different leadership positions ranging from the technology to the toy industry. Katlyn Grasso, a remarkable, driven young woman who was responsible for this conference asked questions to the panel first, and then it was opened to the audience. From the question and answer period all those present learned something new. The women on the panel discussed how they got to their current positions. What was truly interesting was that not one woman on that panel had a linear path to success. There were many different pathways from where they started to where they ended up.
Each path to success was different. Some had more bumps along the road than others. For some of the young women present, it was nice to know that the path to success is not formulaic, but fluid and dependent on each individual. For others, it taught them that the path to success was a long one, but the destination was worth the journey. We live in a society that seems to fear failure, and only focuses on the successes of an individual. However, none of the women on the panel were shy when discussing the many pitfalls in their career; the failures that they had to overcome. In fact, most women attributed their successes to the failures in their lives. They found that their failures made them realize that they had to do something differently in order to achieve their dreams. The panel discussion was inspiring, and an excellent way to learn from other women in leadership positions. The conference had more in store for the participants after the panel discussion. There was a challenge activity that required the participants to get into groups to create a product with given materials and pitch it to a judge. Each group was given the same materials; pipe cleaners, marshmallows, a bowl, string, and tape. Yet all five groups had different product ideas, which demonstrated the amount of creative juices flowing through the room that evening. For example, one group wanted to create a high school starter pack, while another created a compliment tree to promote positivity within schools. What made this conference notable were the friends made, the lessons learned, and the opportunities given to young women so they could make a difference in their community.
Contributor: Nisha Telesford