Womanition Biz Brigade 2016

Apr 9, 2016

Put me in a room with other business women, and with their inspiring stories, I feel most at home. I previously wrote about the Alberta Women Entrepreneurs‘ Leadership Day on Feb. 17. In the same style I now write about the Womanition Biz Brigade held on April 8 at the Chateau Louis in Edmonton.

lunchThe day starts with Dorothy.

Sounds like the title of an epic song, right? Epic means great and if you are wondering if I was impressed with today’s BizBrigade you’d be correct.

If you haven’t heard of Womanition, BizBrigade and Dorothy Briggs you are probably new to Edmonton or new to business. You can learn more here.

The day’s first panel should’ve been named “doom and gloom with a smile,” as one of the panelists tenderly referred to it.

It was about planning, financial responsibility and as Barb Steckly put it, “hitting targets you can see.” I will also say it was about hitting the targets you maybe can’t see or predict.

“Plan with a pinch of pessimism,” said Rebecca Frederick. Touching on the theory which suggests imagining and planning for the worst case scenario can be more effective. This is an important message to receive. We never like to think the worst can happen –  in life or business – but it was a good reminder that we need to stop, slow down and plan for what could happen.

Then Lil Lezarre spoke to what Womanition could be for you, as a testimonial piece. A plug here as I thought her booth was put together very well. Lil is the owner of Tender Loving Cups, where bra buying becomes fun and shapewear doesn’t look like it came out of a 1950s catalogue. It doesn’t get any more woman-friendly at a business conference than bra buying!

The keynote after this was Geha Gonthier. Her address was all about honesty. “We need an honest, clear inventory of ourselves and business,” she said. While going on to talk about the heart as an electromagnetic energy that is 60 times that of our brains. “The heart is what we can use to feel and attract what we want to do in business,” said Gonthier.

Panel two was about growing your business.

There was Christine Till, Joanne Van Beek, Lizzie Cramm and Theresa Stanley.

Joanne Van Beek, Sophia's Voice

Joanne Van Beek, Sophia’s Voice

I have to say Joanne was absolutely on point for this panel. Her vision is a world without abuse. “Do you ever look at the world and go, no that can’t happen?” said Joanne. As a Domestic Abuse Recovery Specialist, her organization is Sophia’s Voice. She talked about turning your passion into vision, and kudos Joanne, the stories you told were absolutely amazing. It wasn’t just about growing your business, it was about growing your passion to help others.

This panel ended with an energetic Theresa Stanley of Phoenix Taekwondo. She was asked how fear can impact business growth and her answer was perfectly delivered, “punch fear in the face.” I have to agree.

We then moved to Christine Till, The Marketing Mentress, who did a testimonial to Dorothy and the whole Womanition concept. She had a great line here. Christine said Womanition “takes ordinary women and makes us feel like superstars.” What an amazing one liner – Dorothy Briggs you better write this one down.

The keynote after lunch was Deborah Nichol of Healing Heart Wellness. She was the only one to use projections and images in her talk. This was great for right after lunch because it kept all of our attention. My biggest take away from her talk was “think about your day. When did I take a break last? When did I eat? Did I sleep enough the night before? As soon as you cut yourself short, you are telling others that you don’t see value in your own services.” This is so true. How many of us in business just go to answer that one more email, then find ourselves an hour after lunch time? Or for me it’s as simple as asking myself if I have drank enough water today. If I don’t take care of myself how am I supposed to take care of others properly? We need to fuel ourselves in order to grow ourselves.

Then came panel three: growing ourselves.

Here we learned lessons from 400lb animals from Chantel Schmidt, and got zen with Lori Saito, owner of The Dojo. A great point of this panel was when Lori was asked what she does when things in life or business go wrong. Lori’s response: “things don’t go wrong, they are just opportunities to change direction.”

Mary Lou Gutscher of Magnetic Business Solutions got us up on our feet to thank Dorothy for putting this event together and gave another testimonial to Womanition.

As the day rounded to a close we heard from the last keynote, Stacey Berger. She asked “what is the area of life that you want to change? Then be honest, how long has it been since you wanted that change in that area of your life?”

The last panel had some of the familiar faces of Womanition on it, with Mary Lou Gutscher, Donna Worthington, Rita Anne Fuss and Christina Fuchs.

Donna is quite colorful and I didn’t expect anything less from her than this amazing YA YA SISTERHOOD moment; “I am not going to build my business on the golf course,” she said. “I didn’t need a little white ball, what I needed was a mentor.”

I am a big fan of Christina Louise Photography, Christina Fuch’s business. I met her at one of the Womanition Luncheons and her passion for what she does is contagious. Her piece of advice for mentorship  was “find someone that resonates with you . . . know that you’ll get out what you put in.”

I think that’s true of anything in life. What you put into it you will get out of it. There were a lot of women there and my goal was to make 60-65 introductions. I was close with 54.

As Dorothy would say, networking doesn’t stop there and she’s right. It’s now 11 p.m. and I have emailed most of the card swaps back and/or gave them shout outs on social media. I have also written this blog to be posted about the event, in hopes to make connections with those I may have missed who might want to learn more about what I do.

I have a couple of critiques, though very small ones.

  • Some of the panel participants just couldn’t help themselves being a little “sell-y.” While I appreciate everyone is there to push their business, the panels were marketed as being educational pieces.
  • It would have been nice to have social media handles for the speakers to add them to the event hashtags, especially on twitter.
  • It would have been nice to have our business names or tag lines on our name tags to help network quicker, to those that were the best fits for us.

To those who came today, thank you. It is women like you who support each-other that makes me proud to be a woman in business here in Alberta.

Also the shoes. Yes to us women who rocked it in beautiful shoes! I kept finding myself looking down at the gorgeous footwear walking by me. My one expert tip for going to a Womanition event: have amazing shoes.









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