Power players: DeGroote Women’s Professional Network marks one-year anniversary
There was discussion and debate. There was laughing and learning. Every so often, there was dancing in the aisles.
It’s officially been one year since the DeGroote Women’s Professional Network (DWPN) was unveiled to a sold-out breakfast crowd at Burlington’s Ron Joyce Centre. The Network has since become one of the GTA’s premier networking hubs. Participants meet and mingle with new colleagues, take part in professional development experiences, connect with mentors and mentees, and contribute to philanthropic endeavours.
The 2016 calendar year, which boasted five DWPN events, featured expert panels addressing topics such as embracing change; developing one’s leadership potential; landing a board position; taking on industry giants; and tackling the mindset of not being good enough. Registrations per event often exceeded 200, and crowds included a diverse array of students, alumni, academics, community members, and corporate partners.
“We’re absolutely thrilled with the community’s response to the DWPN,” says Kristine Leadbetter, Advancement Officer at DeGroote, and creator of the event series. “It’s always difficult launching a new initiative, but every one of our events was sold out last year and we expect that trend to continue. A great deal of credit is owed to our wonderful guest speakers.”
Keynote speakers from last year’s event series included Teal McAteer, Associate Professor, Human Resources and Management; Karen Belaire, CEO, SSW Shared Services West; Teresa Cascioli, Author, M is For Money, Former CEO, Lakeport Brewing; Deborah Rosati, Corporate Director, Women Get on Board; and Linda Morgan, President, the Clic Effect.
For Cascioli, a Commerce alumna from 1983 and benefactor of DeGroote’s Teresa Cascioli Chair in Entrepreneurial Leadership, the chance to engage with other women and offer tips and wisdom is what attracted her to the DWPN.
“Learning from the experience of others is invaluable,” she explains. “Being able to share experiences through the DeGroote Women’s Professional Network allows everyone to access ‘takeaways’ from each and every speaker that can be used in business and life.”
“One-on-one interaction with professionals from different walks of life is a key success driver for the DWPN,” Cascioli continues. “Who wouldn’t want to ask questions, make new connections, and learn from others?”
Attendees certainly do come from different walks of life. During 2016, participants represented a number of diverse industries, including: education, government, human resources, finance, healthcare, IT, energy and utilities, retail, and law enforcement, to name but a few. Guests regularly travelled to the Ron Joyce Centre from Hamilton, Halton, Mississauga, Toronto, and other nearby communities to partake in breakfast and cocktail events.
Partway through last year, Raymond James Ltd. joined the DWPN as the 2016-2017 series presenter. The financial services firm is led by Chairman and CEO Paul Allison, a proud DeGroote MBA alumnus from 1981. Adrienne Gligoric, Vice President, Practice Management, is the lead of the Raymond James Network For Women Advisors. “Raymond James believes deeply in the advancement of women in business and society, and is a champion for female success in our profession,” offers Gligoric. “We are proud of DeGroote’s leadership and pleased to align our support with their objectives.”
Of course, a primary objective of the DWPN is to encourage attendees to get involved in transformational philanthropic endeavours. The Network focuses on supporting the DeGroote Experience Fund (DEF), which offers financial support to DeGroote students or student teams for national and international competitions, conferences, leadership workshops, and volunteer opportunities. The DEF recently helped MBA candidate Aliyah Mohamed attend CPA Ontario’s 2016 Chartered for Finance event.
“With the generous support of the DEF, I solidified my interest in accounting and financial management, made excellent connections outside of the classroom, and had renewed confidence in my career trajectory,” says Mohamed, who also serves as Academic Director of the DeGroote MBA Association. “The DEF provided an opportunity for career guidance beyond the classroom, and helped to broaden my professional network in a meaningful and effective way.”
The DWPN is already gathering momentum in 2017, with plans for more outstanding events and professional networking opportunities taking shape. On January 18, join personal finance expert Kelley Keehn for an evening of cocktails and canapés at the Ron Joyce Centre. Keehn, Consumer Advocate at the Financial Planning Standards Council (FPSC), will help attendees keep their New Year’s resolutions alive by sharing how to welcome more strategic risk into one’s personal and professional life. The event, titled Embracing Risk: Cocktails with Personal Finance Expert Kelley Keehn, will run from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. The cost to attend is $30, and guests will also receive a copy of Keehn’s new book, A Canadian Guide to Money-Smart Living.
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