3 min read

Why Our Girls Need to Lead

Women hold only 15% of leadership positions within Fortune 500 companies and yet they constitute 48% of the Canadian workforce.

So why are our girls not raising through the ranks in the same way their male counterparts do?

At the end of November, Calgary will welcome the Born 2 Lead youth leadership conference along with the Women in Leadership and Business Conference.  Also hosted in Ontario for the past five years, this will be the first time these prestigious conferences will come to YYC and together they’ll be educating, inspiring and motivating women age 16 up to realize their leadership potential.

Carya will be attending with girls from Sirius, one of our in-school youth programs, who will be getting insights and the ‘how to” of leadership from the speakers, panels, experts and professionals.

President and CEO, Ildi Arlette, talks to us about youth leadership and why it’s crucial if we’re ever going to change the gender gap.

“Educating youth on why business and economics matters to them and the difference they can make in that world, is a really important starting point.  I remember when I was 14 my high school took us to a leadership forum and it really changed my lens on the world.  This was something that had nothing to do with the formal school curriculum but everything to do with making an impact in world.  It really opened my eyes.

With Born 2 Lead we also really wanted to take a mentorship model and widen it out to allow girls to choose who they wanted to meet and network with.  At our Calgary conference, our sponsor, Canadian Tire Canada will be hosting Hayley Wickenheiser as one of our keynote speakers; she’s one of the best female hockey players in the world who’s story of overcoming barriers will resonate with each young women in the room.

Girls in particular face a lot of challenges in growing up: confidence, feeling pressure to fit in, feeling pressure to achieve.  We really encourage them to find ways to learn outside the curriculum: volunteer, hear people speak and surround themselves with people who support their dreams.  Carya’s in-school program facilitators are filling that role and we really support that work. 

We also encourage them to take the pressure off themselves; you don’t need to have all the answers right now, just make a start, choose a path and know that it’s going to teach you and that’s what matters.  Our ethos is learn today, lead tomorrow.

Women are so enterprising but often we don’t give ourselves credit for our achievements. 

If I could reach out and tell my younger self one thing it would be that you don’t have to be good at everything, you just have to find out what you are good at and find more ways to do that. ”

Born 2 Lead and the Women in Leadership and Business Conference take place on November 23rd and 24thMore information can be found here.