Leadership and Feminism
I attended an amazing luncheon on October 26th, 2016 at the Shaw Conference Centre. Enbridge’s Famou5 – “Lunch with the Veteran, The General, The Chief, and The Commissioner” hosted by Women in Defence & Security and co-hosted by Enbridge. The four amazing women were:
- Karen McCrimmon MP, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Veteran’s Affairs.
- Lt Gen Christine Whitecross, Royal Canadian Airforce, OMM, MSM, CD
- Greta Bossenmaier, Chief, Communications Security Establishment, and
- Jody Thomas, Commissioner, Canadian Coast Guard.
The speakers were interesting and insightful and had much to say about being female in a senior leadership role in a male dominated environment. These four amazing women all spoke about how being a woman allows us to bring a different and positive perspective to a problem or task. They shared their anecdotes from their pasts when being a woman brought increased challenges to their positions and they shared how they chose to overcome those challenges.
I chose this event because I have been lucky enough to hear General Whitecross speak in the past and she absolutely captivates me. She embraces the differences and celebrates the uniqueness of what being a woman brings to the table. I believe that all women are leaders in their own right. Whether they are at the most senior levels of government, on the front lines in a global conflict zone or simply trying to be a good leader and mentor within their own community. I aspire to improve in my role as a mentor to my daughter and to be a better advocate for Military Families in Ottawa.
I interacted with several people at the event. One interesting woman of note was a Retired Airforce Logistics Major. She managed her own successful and busy career, was a great mentor to her two independent and educated daughters, supported military families while standing alongside her husband’s equally busy military career. I found her to be inspirational as she is starting over with her own business and exploring what she loves in her second career iteration.
I also met a fascinating lady that was also a former military member. She had gone to school for journalism and then joined the military as Public Affairs Officer, eventually becoming the editor of a prominent military publication. She has subsequently gone on to be a speech writer for people at the top levels of government and business.
With both of these women we shared common experiences and struggles of supporting a family in a hectic military environment. We also discussed reinvention and what it means to follow what truly makes you happy in your second career choice.
The older I get the more of a feminist I seem to be. I am not sure if this comes with age or with the fresh eyes of being a mother of a young woman. I will absolutely attend an event like this in the future as it was both inspirational and educational.
The luncheon was wonderful, I felt honoured to be around strength and wisdom. The general theme of the afternoon with these speakers was definitely about leading with humility, and looking after the people around you by building up your team. Greta Bossenmaier stated “it’s as much about how we accomplish the objectives as much as what we accomplish”, but my favourite quote of the afternoon was when Karen McCrimmon quoted Jimi Hendrix: “Knowledge Speaks, Wisdom Listens”.