(Credit: Alaraby)

She’s Hungry for Change

Key Takeaways from The She’s Hungry International Women’s Day Breakfast 2019

Picture this:

30+ of Toronto’s boss ladies gathered around We Work, Richmond Street’s gorgeous co-working space enjoying vegan yoghurt parfaits & kombucha, networking, and raising money for Dress for Success.

Sounds like a great time, right?

And it was!

Dress for Success is a global charitable organization with aims to empower women to achieve economic independence. They have chapters all over the world and Toronto has its very own!

This International Women’s Day, Yes! Toronto Executives (the millenial board of Dress for Success) organized and ran the: She’s Hungry for More Gender-Balanced World and Breakfast event.

I heard about this awesome event through a Slack channel on our TKS (The Knowledge Society) Slack called #bossladies.

The Knowledge Society (TKS) is North America’s top youth innovation program & human accelerator for youth aged 13–17. In the program, student innovators like myself learn about emerging technologies and how to apply them to big issues to solve the world’s biggest problems. While learning about these incredible technologies, we learn about ourselves and the world (in year one of the program). We also work on developing the skills, mindset, knowledge, and network we need to help us on our journeys.

In the program, there’s around 50+ female innovators and on the #bossladies channel we empower each other and have conversations about gender equality in the tech industry/stem fields & what it’s like to be a girl in 2019.

Jennifer Brown (head of partnerships at TKS) offered the amazing opportunity to attend the women’s day networking breakfast and I knew I had to attend. A huge thank you to Jen for helping to organize the event, as part of the Yes! Executives team and for inviting myself & other young female innovators from TKS along with her.

I’m only sixteen right now, but I can genuinely say that the event was one of the most valuable breakfasts I’ve ever had in my life (so far). I was surrounded by so many Toronto-based female founders & leaders and that brought forth some cool conversations.

Fatima Zaidi → The Co-Founder & CEO of Quill Inc. (all around boss-babe). She also founded rent the runway 💃👀

Montana Kimel → Fundraising 💸 Director @ Dress for Success Canada

Melissa Rolston → Entrepreneur in the Cannabis Industry: Launching a beauty startup (cannabis skincare 🤔) in the industry this year.

And so many other amazing female leaders in their industries (ranging from AI to law, creative startups to charitable organizations).

My Key Takeaways

Now it’s time to dive into my top five takeaways from the breakfast.

Lesson One: We Can’t Just Talk About It

I’m sure you’ve heard the saying “practice what you preach”, because we often give people good advice… that we don’t follow ourselves.

This also goes for solving problems. SO MANY people TALK about wanting to solve BIG problems like, Climate Change and the Food Crisis.

A question all of us TKS (The Knowledge Society) girls were asking attendees at the event was:

“How are you going to work towards solving this problem?”

In networking with the boss ladies in the room, we realized that they were ALL passionate about getting more females on boards and involved in STEAM. However, they weren’t talking about how they are going to help.

They talked about the importance of spreading awareness and educating people on the issue, but they weren’t acting on it.

Action is key to solving any problem.

Yes! Awareness is important too.

But without action nothing is going to change.

So stop talking the talk and start being intentional about creating and following actions that will move us forwards in solving this issues & others.

Lesson Two: Diversity In The Workplace Is So Important

Here’s the (diversi)tea:

Not having diversity in the workplace is stupid.

Periodt.

Diversity in the workplace is SO IMPORTANT, because unique experiences and perspectives help create the perfect product/content for 100% of people.

If you ONLY have one type of person in a workplace, than the product/content will only be attractive to that same audience. We definitely don’t want that.

So, start hiring people from all backgrounds and walks of life.

Lesson Three: We Need To Stop Tearing Each Other Down

This is super important!

Ladies,

We need to stop tearing each other down.

It’s not productive. Tearing each other down doesn’t benefit anyone and is a step in the wrong direction.

One of the reasons why the event was a success was because we all got together to celebrate the successes of other women. It’s empowering.

To whoever is reading this, I want you to make yourself a promise to be thoughtful about how you treat the people in your life and make sure you don’t tear down the girls in your life.

We need to support each other, because real Queens really do fix other Queens crowns 👑

Collaboration will ALWAYS bring us farther than competition.

We all need to learn to celebrate the successes of the boss ladies in our lives. A success for one girl is a success for all girls.

Lesson Four: Building a Network Is Really Crucial & So Is Leveraging It

Having a strong network is key, but having a network doesn’t matter if you don’t leverage it.

The event wouldn’t have been possible without the organizer’s strong connections in the girl boss community.

Having a strong network and leveraging it brings new & unique experiences/opportunities for work and to learn from.

I challenge you to get at least 30 connections at the next event you attend! I know it’s ambitious, but it’s totally possible 💪

Lesson Five: We Need More Female CEOs and Leaders

This one is pretty self-explanatory.

We NEED more female CEOs and leaders.

There were tons of awesome female CEOs at the breakfast, but not that many in the workplace.

Only 14.3% of females hold a seat on the boards of top tech companies 😔

This NEEDS to change.

Having more female CEOs will help companies excel and bring more diversity (which as I mentioned earlier 😏 is so important) in all industries.

Since female run companies are more diverse, this means they are also more profitable and often more impactful.

more diversity → more profitability

TDLR

  • Dress for success is an organization with aims to empower women to achieve economic independence.
  • We need to STOP talking about how important solving big problems are → we need to START talking about how we can solve them & execute solutions.
  • Diversity in the workplace is so important! It also increases company profitability.
  • We NEED to stop tearing down each other. Instead, let’s celebrate each other’s successes.
  • Build a strong network and leveraging it is a key 🔑 component to success.
  • We NEED more female CEOs and leaders.

In the end, the breakfast helped support three women for Dress for Success programming for a whole year :) Which is incredible! The event was also highly valuable and left me feeling really empowered by the room of female leaders. If you want to help support Dress for Success programming and help empower a women to achieve economic independence visit this website.

It’s time to STOP with all the talk. It’s 2019, we don’t have time to talk about how important it is to solve big problems, like gender inequality in the workforce & the gender pay gap. It’s time to start acting and we need to start RIGHT NOW.

We can’t afford to talk about getting more women into STEM fields or on boards of directors, we need to devise a plan to achieve this goal and start executing it.

Disclaimer: This is a huge problem in the western world. However, there are many HUGE problems that need solving everywhere else! We don’t often focus on these problems, but it’s super important that we #staywoke and don’t get tunnel visioned on the problems here (that would be ignorant of us). YES! We do NEED more females on executive boards, but that’s so small compared to giving access to education to young girls who currently cannot attend school.

If you’re reading this article (which you are), YOU have the power to make a change! Share this article with your friends & family and start supporting & encouraging young girls to pursue a career in a STEAM field.

Less talk. More action. MORE CHANGE!

Big Thank You’s to:

  • Jenn our TKS Mama Bear 🧸
  • The organizers of the event & Dress for Success
  • Equilibrium Beads for the gorgeous bracelet 😍
  • Freedom Jars for the delish parfaits
  • Greenhouse Juice for the kombucha

If you enjoyed this article:

  • Share it with your network.
  • Give it some claps and feedback in the comments.
  • Follow my Medium blog for more articles like this one.
  • Connect with me on Linkedin to stay up to date on my innovation & activism journey, and shoot me a message (I love meeting new people).
  • Follow me on Twitter.
  • Check out my TKS Life Portfolio, for all my past newsletters & projects.
  • Subscribe to my newsletter, for monthly updates on what I’m working on!

Thanks for reading ❤ Now go change the world!

18 y/o researching closed-loop systems for earth + space.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store