Pamela Martin was the MC and Premier Christy Clark was the Opening Keynote presenter. (I have met with the Premier previously - read "Roundtable With Premier Christy Clark" here.) Premier Christy Clark talked about the challenges of being a Mom and having a career. We all laughed at her stories of Motherhood and family life because as Moms everyone could relate. The Premier said that the most important thing to her - more than anything else - is that her son be a kind person. I agree with this - I want my girls to be kind and compassionate, and to enjoy their lives - in whatever they choose to do.
Sandra Heusel is the Communications Director for Eaton Arrowsmith School. Eaton Arrowsmith "address[s] the underlying causes of students’ learning difficulties and learning differences by strengthening learning capacities". Sandra shared inspiring stories of students who excelled in the programs' learning environment.
Diana Stirling and Shannon Ward - authors of 'Babyproofing Your Business' - talked about removing the word "Balance" from our vocabulary. By focusing on one thing at a time we can remain present. If we look at the one thing we did well/completed then we will be less likely to be hard on ourselves when we can't get to the other 10 things on the list.
Dina Goldstein - Photographer - shared images from her series "Fallen Princesses", and I love that she took the classic fairy tales and mixed them with a little reality. Take a look at the series here.
Dr. Gail Murphy (UBC) talked about how to create task lists for the week. Tasks can be re-organized as needed, but putting them on paper/spreadsheet gets rid of mental clutter.
Singer Tara MacLean shared her song "Where Am I" - watch the video here. I teared up watching the video and I know others did too. There was a lot of sniffing and laughter after.
Natalie Angell-Besseling is the founder and Executive Director of The Shanti Uganda Society. It's a Canadian Charity and Ugandan NGO that improves infant and maternal health, provides safe women-centered care, and supports the well-being of birthing mothers and women living with HIV/AIDS in Uganda. Natalie's message was for us all to find the thing that makes us shine because this can bring joy to our communities, and fill our hearts.
Ratana Stephens Co-CEO and COO of Nature's Path Foods spoke about the evolution of the company from the beginning. She talked about organic food, and GMO's and other concerns. She feels that it is our responsibility is to help impart values to our children about taking care of the Earth.
Monica Morong - World Hip Hop Mom - took the stage and performed a rap that had the Ladies in the audience on their feet. Monica remakes popular rap songs but changes the lyrics to be positive messages. You can listen to her raps here. (It was pretty awesome to watch a woman rapping while pregnant.)
Nicole Bridger shared her Fall 2012 Kali Collection via a Fashion show (the models were Moms). I loved many of the pieces, and they're all made from sustainable fabrics and methods. Shop her collections here.
Tracy Theemes of Sophia Financial pointed out that as Moms we can be hard on ourselves and think that we're not "good enough". This "lack of" mindset is our internal repeating record, and can exist regardless of successes, finances, and other great aspects of our outer life. Tracy suggests that we ask ourselves some key questions such as:
Where am I now? - Internalize that who I am is enough and what I have is enough in this moment.
Where am I going?
How am I going to get there?
I think that taking stock and re-evaluating every once in awhile is a great thing. To look at where I am now, and what I'm doing, and let go of what doesn't fulfill me or work any longer.
Dr. Carol Friedrich-Fong is the Program Head and Instructor in the Biotechnology Department at BCIT. She spoke about examples of how Biotechnology affects us in our daily life in ways that we don't think about. Usually when we think about this science we picture cloning and GMO's, but Dr. Friedrich-Fong talked about current and upcoming uses that are pro-environment. Bio fuels, biodegradable plastics, regenerative medicine, and personalized medicine were some examples given. Influenced by Motherhood, Dr. Friedrich-Fong directs her students from a place of being thoughtful of the environment. She poses this question to her students, "Just because we can do something should we?"
Kim Graham-Nye is co-founder and president of gDiapers - diapers that are cute and biodegradable. Kim mentioned that her office is child friendly and the children remain on-site which is unheard of with companies. She talked about how tough Motherhood is but that "hard doesn't mean bad it can mean beautiful". I agree with her comment that Mothers need to "speak honestly and be supportive" of each other, and listen (not speak) instead of giving advice.
Mina Shum - Filmmaker - shared her film Hip Hop Mom in which two Moms argue over a parking spot and reveal their true identities during a Hip Hop dance off. It's funny as it looks at how we Moms need to express ourselves and be "Moms" at the same time. It's definitely worth a watch - here.
Fiona Douglas-Crampton is the CEO of the Minerva Foundation and she spoke about "Being Brave" in her Closing Keynote. She talked about how everyday bravery makes a difference in the life that we lead - bravery is about being scared but doing it anyway.
Some of the questions that Fiona posed for us to think about:
What are your strengths and weaknesses? (Ask the people who know you the best for the truth.)
What are your values?
Is there someone in your life that you could support more?
What are your values? Know why you do things.
For specific internal questions:
Is it the right thing to do?
Will it make me better? - Do it anyway
She mentioned how men don't take failure personally so they look at risks differently, and how "playing it safe doesn't actually keep us safe". We need to believe in ourselves and practice this. Fiona says to let ourselves fail, and to believe in others. When we make mistakes instead of beating ourselves up we need to - own it, apologize, fix it, and move on. Move on.
Leadership isn't about how many people a person oversees, it's about personal leadership and values. "Everyday bravery is Leadership."
"Leap and a net will present itself." This is something that I've always done too I just put different words to it - move forward and trust that everything will work out.
I hope that Leading Moms will become an annual conference - if so I'll be there next year. I came home from the conference feeling refreshed and ready for big hugs from my girls. As tired as I am with a 6 year old and a 9 month old, and physical fatigue, I have enough. Right now is enough.
We're all in this together.