On Friday, November 22, 2019 canfitpro Vancouver hosted its inaugural Women Who Influence event; almost seven years since this event first launched at canfitpro Toronto in 2012. I’ve heard of how the Annual Women Who Influence event in Toronto began and always wondered what that was like, what secrets attendees had learned and took away to apply to their own lives I wondered if these women could have imagined that what happened that one afternoon in August 2012 would spark a global movement of women influencing women in the fitness industry and beyond to step-up, speak up and usher in a new era of empowerment that is really only just getting started. Knowing this, I could not resist being at the very first ever Women Who Influence in Vancouver.
I’ve been part of the Toronto’s Women Who Influence for the last several years and wouldn’t miss it for anything. I was curious how the west coast version would compare. How does one go back to the beginning and rebuild something that has grown to such a success in one particular context? Although being brand new to this conference, women coming together to listen to each other, to share their stories and learn from one another is incredibly powerful and to no surprise this event was a great success.
I wasn’t the only returning face from Toronto. I was delighted to re-connect with Sharon Mann, who has also attended Women Who Influence Toronto. This year, Sharon was presented with a very special award in her honour as a woman of incredible influence in the fitness industry: The Women Who Influence INSPIRATION Award. This award will be presented each year in August at canfitpro Toronto. Stay tuned for details and criteria for this award nomination process!
Similar to Toronto, each speaker relayed their personal story and the experiences that influenced their lives and careers. You will notice in Women Who Influence events that, although the speakers come from different contexts and backgrounds, they often identify a common theme which threads its way holistically through the entire event. The underlying theme most apparent to me was the relationship between power and influence.
Power is multidimensional. It has different meanings for different reasons and too often we fear to claim and step into our power. This is a fascinating yet complex subject which is why having each speaker bring their own interpretation and lens was very helpful. Here is what each had to say:
Mo Hagan as host provided a powerful opening and closing to the event. It’s the power of Mo’s vision that has made this event possible and continues to inspire its growth.
Mia Jerritt was the first speaker and is responsible for launching the event. She encouraged reclaiming the power that lives inside of you.
Amanda Vogel spoke about giving away one’s power because of not feeling worthy of holding a certain position. Her advice came down to the importance of surrounding the power you experience when you value yourself and finding the power to stand your ground, while not letting anyone push you off the stage you have built for yourself.
Lisa Mastracchio reminded us no matter who you are or where you come from you have the power to influence.
The title of Nathalie Plamondon-Thomas’s talk was “The Power of Conversation”, specifically how we talk to ourselves and her story encourages women to take back the power in our lives by talking to the “personal assistant” inside our heads.
Jennifer Hamilton spoke of the power of building a team to support you and the influence you can create through the right partnerships and working together.
Krista Popowych spoke about understanding your personal superpower and how to use it as being key to uncovering your ability to influence.
Ingrid Knight-Cohee talked about the importance of accessing your personal power as this is the first step to leadership and having an influence in the lives of others.
These are only snippets of what was packed into over four powerful hours! It would be impossible to describe and encompass everything we learned in this short article. At Women Who Influence everyone can take away something that is personally meaningful – you just have to be there and experience it for yourself!
One similarity to the Toronto event, which I also continually heard repeated in Vancouver, was the wish of many women had brought their daughter to the event. As a millennial woman in the fitness industry, I can’t say enough how much the message behind Women Who Influence, of women empowering women, is needed now and for future generations so young women can grow up appreciating the energy and strength that comes through community and collaboration. This is something being realized more and more.
Women Who Influence will return to canfitpro Vancouver next year and I’m excited to follow its growth and development. Exciting times are ahead! If you can’t wait until Fall 2020 then mark your calendars for the seventh Annual Women Who Influence Event taking place Thursday August 13th, 2020 at canfitpro 2020 in Toronto!
I’ll conclude with some final thoughts on power and influence. Power, as an ability to influence change and serve a higher purpose in life and to one’s community, is a considerable force.
Recognizing the power within and learning how to embrace that power for our own fulfillment and to inspire and lead those with whom we work with and serve is an incredible achievement. So how can you embrace your personal power in 2020? What powerful vision and goals are you aspiring to?