Elevating Laurier Leaders discussion series hosted by Laurier Alumni focusing on female leadership

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Photo by Hayley McGoldrick

Laurier Alumni is hosting both past, present and future generations of female leaders in their Elevating Laurier Leaders series, with the first installation of the series, “Mentorship,” having taken place on Oct. 8 at THE MUSEUM in Kitchener.

The series consists of four different developmental elements that contribute to leadership, including entrepreneurship, self-care and tackling imposter syndrome that will take place up until May 2020.

The mentorship event consisted of a panel moderated by Susan Cranston, BA alumni from the class of 1988. The panel also consisted of alumni from the fields of business administration, social work and organizational behaviour, with graduates ranging from bachelor’s, master’s and PhD.

“I think it was amazing; we had a full house which was incredible to see so many Laurier alumni, community members, students, staff come together to support one another,” said Brittany Russell, alumni relations officer for chapters and regional programming.

The event began with a speech from Laurier’s president and vice-chancellor Deborah MacLatchy, who spoke about her own mentor and driving force behind her passion for science as a woman, her father.

The panelists all spoke about mentors they have had in their lifetime: both male and female, as well as old and young, and spoke of their own experiences being a mentor versus being a mentee to help the audience gauge which approaches to use when on either side of the relationship.

Dave Whitside, the only male panelist in the group, also spoke on how his invitation to the event was a hesitant acceptance at first but that, as an ally, it is important to show his support, as Naudia Banton also spoke how there is no conversation of women in leadership without the men who strive to better women every day.

“We had hosted this same series in Toronto in the spring of 2019, it had seen really great success-and after the success of the International Women’s Day luncheon that happens every year in March we wanted to see if our Waterloo Laurier community was interested in being able to go further into conversation about these types of topics,” Russell said.

“We did survey our community and they did say yes we would like to learn more, so we came up with these four topics that really resonated with everyone based on the questions that we had asked.”

The next installation in the series will also take place at THE MUSEUM on Nov. 26, with Sarah Syrett, a graduate in the master of social work program leading a talk about self-care beyond bubble baths and face masks like the internet may lead some to believe will cure deeper rooted issues.

“The next session is on self-care; Sarah has spoken several times at staff development days, she is incredible and will really give the community tangible takeaways that are so much more beneficial than what you might see on social media about how to care for yourself and give yourself the time you need to rejuvenate and put yourself as the number one priority,” Russell said.

The last two sessions in the series will take place in April and May of 2020, with the panel on imposter syndrome taking place on Apr. 16, followed by the final panel on entrepreneurship taking place on May 22. Participation in all four events will qualify participants for a women in leadership certificate from Laurier.

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