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Women's Leadership Conference

The Women’s Leadership Conference provides leadership and skill development to all students attending the University, regardless of age, leadership experience or year of academic study.

Join the fifth annual Women’s Leadership Conference to advance your leadership skills!

What: Women’s Leadership Conference
When: Saturday, March 11, 9 a.m. – 4:15 p.m.
Where: MacEwan Conference & Event Centre, University of Calgary
Registration Fee: FREE for UCalgary Students

Lunch and snacks are provided. All individuals are welcome. Limited seats available.

Registration for the Women’s Leadership Conference 2017 closes on Wednesday, March 8, 3 p.m., or when capacity is reached.

About the Women's Leadership Conference

The Women’s Leadership Conference provides leadership and skill development to all students attending the University, regardless of age, leadership experience or year of academic study. It connects students at the university to strong female leaders and positive role models within the institutional and greater Calgary community. It stimulates dialogue and mentorship between students, faculty and staff, and provides an opportunity for students to develop integral leadership skills that will support their success post-graduation.

Our annual WRC Awards presentation ceremony will be held during the lunchtime, and it will be a day dedicated to celebrating the achievements of women past, present, and future and inspiring students to recognize and realize their leadership potential as they become the leaders of tomorrow.

The key objectives of the Women’s Leadership Conference are:

  • To inspire young women to recognize and realize their leadership potential
  • To facilitate confidence and skill building in young women in all disciplines
  • To engage female students in a growth and development opportunity and further prepare students to be leaders and active contributors to the wider community
  • To engage Alumni and the University of Calgary community members in supporting the development of leadership skills in the University’s future leaders

Women's Leadership Conference is supported by the Graduate Students' Association Quality Money Grants

Schedule & Sessions

Time Event
8:30 - 8:45 a.m. Registration
9 - 10:15 a.m. Session 1
10:15 - 10:30 a.m. Break
10:30 - 11:45 a.m. Session 2
11:50 a.m. - 1:15 p.m. Luncheon & WRC Awards Presentation Ceremony
1:30 - 2:45 p.m. Session 3
2:45 - 3 p.m. Break
3 - 4:15 p.m. Session 4

Session 1

Theme A | What’s Needed at Work
Facilitator: Kristan Nielson
Join us for an interactive discussion around the world of work. We will uncover:

  • What is needed in our workplaces for you to thrive?
  • What are the greatest challenges facing us in the world of work
  • What's required to create truly human workspaces?

Kristan Nielson is a coach, consultant and leader in the field of organizational development. She has worked with thousands of leaders in such industries as oil and gas, mining, government, non-profit, professional services, sports, education, broadcasting, transportation, real estate development, telecommunications, banking, health services, and construction and engineering. With over a decade of experience she has provided 20,000+ hours of consulting, training and coaching services to small, medium and big business. Kristan inspires others to be catalysts of positive change and leads by example. She creates a dynamic learning environment by building trust, asking the hard questions, challenging the status quo, and encouraging divergent thinking.

Theme B | Veer: Leadership in the Face of Your Shifting Creative Personality
Facilitators: Kat Marks

How does one maintain authority and leadership in the face of creative transformation? In this session, ‘Veer’, we will explore this concept through human-centric and visceral design in order to inspire ourselves and others, while embracing our shifting creative personalities.

Kat Marks is a creative leader in fashion enterprise and design. Her creativity motivates all aspects of her process - research, design and craft. Looking at the creative process both personally and objectively, she constructs a dialogue between product design and the visual experience of film, photography and exhibit. Her designs have appeared in Harpers Bazaar, Vogue Italia and W Magazine (among others). In 2013, Marks pioneered LETHRBAR®, an interactive event experience and leather atelier in Calgary, AB. LETHRBAR® provides unique guest experiences at live events.Kat is originally from Calgary, Canada. She holds a Bachelor of Design in Fashion Design from Toronto's Ryerson University and a Master of Arts in Fashion Artefact from London College of Fashion, University of the Arts, London, UK.

Theme C | Negotiating for Success and the Gender Gap
Facilitator: Nancy Stapley and Sonia R. Suire
Many women fail to recognize opportunities to negotiate — about their compensation and roles, about the support they need to be successful, about the resources to get the job done, and about buy-in from their peers and those they lead. This session will draw attention to how women can proactively negotiate for conditions of personal and career success, and assess ways that women may be unknowingly undermining themselves. In this workshop, we explore the gender wage gap (yes it does exist!) as related to different approaches to negotiation and discuss how, by mastering a few basic principles, anyone can become an effective negotiator. In role plays on effective strategies for negotiation, as well as possible compensation pitfalls and how to avoid them, we will explore how women can remain authentic and maintain interpersonal relationships while maximizing the value of their negotiation.

Nancy Stapley, an experienced finance professional, is passionate about economic security for women. Nancy has held various leadership and volunteer roles and for the past 10 years has had her own consulting business. Nancy serves as President, Business Professional Women - Calgary. She is a mentor and co-developer of this workshop.


Session 2

Theme A | Personal Resiliency
Facilitator: Kristan Nielson

Is life getting you down? Are you feeling overwhelmed, depleted and lacking a sense of hope? Join us in a conversation around developing personal resiliency. This session will have you create from a place of empowered choice, feeling good and understanding how to pick up the pieces when things fall apart.

Kristan Nielson is a coach, consultant and leader in the field of organizational development. She has worked with thousands of leaders in such industries as oil and gas, mining, government, non-profit, professional services, sports, education, broadcasting, transportation, real estate development, telecommunications, banking, health services, and construction and engineering. With over a decade of experience she has provided 20,000+ hours of consulting, training and coaching services to small, medium and big business. Kristan inspires others to be catalysts of positive change and leads by example. She creates a dynamic learning environment by building trust, asking the hard questions, challenging the status quo, and encouraging divergent thinking.

Theme B | Indigenous Ways of Knowing
Facilitator: Vicki Bouvier
Vicki Bouvier will be speaking to the topic of Indigenous ways of knowing from her own Metis perspective and worldview.

Vicki Bouvier is a proud Métis woman, born and raised in Calgary.  Both her education and professional path began in the field of Aboriginal early childhood education, and over the next seventeen years encompassed working in the fields of Aboriginal youth leadership programming and Aboriginal student advising. In 2007, Vicki continued her education at the University of Calgary, obtaining a Bachelor of Arts Degree in International Indigenous Studies and is currently completing a Master of Arts Degree in the Werklund School of Education here at the University of Calgary.  Vicki is also the published author of a children’s book, “Nipin and the Rocks”.

Theme C | Negotiating for Success and the Gender Gap
Facilitator: Nancy Stapley
and Sonia R. Suire

Many women fail to recognize opportunities to negotiate — about their compensation and roles, about the support they need to be successful, about the resources to get the job done, and about buy-in from their peers and those they lead. This session will draw attention to how women can proactively negotiate for conditions of personal and career success, and assess ways that women may be unknowingly undermining themselves. In this workshop, we explore the gender wage gap (yes it does exist!) as related to different approaches to negotiation and discuss how, by mastering a few basic principles, anyone can become an effective negotiator. In role plays on effective strategies for negotiation, as well as possible compensation pitfalls and how to avoid them, we will explore how women can remain authentic and maintain interpersonal relationships while maximizing the value of their negotiation.

Nancy Stapley, an experienced finance professional, is passionate about economic security for women. Nancy has held various leadership and volunteer roles and for the past 10 years has had her own consulting business. Nancy serves as President, Business Professional Women - Calgary. She is a mentor and co-developer of this workshop.


Session 3

Theme A | True Self Leadership
Facilitator: Kristan Nielson

What does it mean and feel like to lead from a place of personal power and truth? If you desire the answer to this question join us for an experiential journey into your True Self. In this session you will glimpse the truth of who you are and begin to shape and create the life you truly desire.

Kristan Nielson is a coach, consultant and leader in the field of organizational development. She has worked with thousands of leaders in such industries as oil and gas, mining, government, non-profit, professional services, sports, education, broadcasting, transportation, real estate development, telecommunications, banking, health services, and construction and engineering. With over a decade of experience she has provided 20,000+ hours of consulting, training and coaching services to small, medium and big business. Kristan inspires others to be catalysts of positive change and leads by example. She creates a dynamic learning environment by building trust, asking the hard questions, challenging the status quo, and encouraging divergent thinking.

Theme B | Empowering Leadership & Social Justice
Facilitator: Dr. Angela Grace

This session will focus on both self in the leadership capacity, avoiding burnout on the journey, and give some examples of harnessing the self in acts of social justice.

Angela Grace is a Registered Psychologist specializing in the prevention and treatment of eating disorders and trauma. She recently completed her Ph.D. in Counselling Psychology at the U of C.  She has facilitated workshops with the Women's Resource Centre for the past few years, and looks forward to sharing her experience and expertise.

Theme C | Pursuing Possibility: Opening Up Your Career Potential
Facilitator: Julie Brown

If you are unclear about the path you want to take, or feel that you need a back-up plan in a challenging career market, this session will provide you with information on how to identify the kind of skill sets companies want in your field, discover what kind of career options are available within a certain company or profession, and allow you to build your professional network.

Julie Brown is the Employer Liaison with the Graduate Students' Association of the University of Calgary and has held this position for more than 9 years. She has developed and facilitated workshops for more than 20 years and has 35+ years experience in a variety of industries including Finance, Energy, Food and Beverage, Medical Services, Agriculture and Education. Julie obtained her B.A. in Psychology and Career Development from the University of Waterloo, and has worked as a Career Development Practitioner, facilitator and certified behavioural analyst for more than 16 years.


Session 4

Theme A | How Might You Change the World?
Facilitator: Kristan Nielson

Do you have a burning desire to create positive change; however, you don't know where to start? Start here. In this interactive, fun and inspiring session you will learn how to use a design thinking approach to catalyze positive change in the world.  Join us and finish the day feeling empowered and ready create positive change in your world.

Kristan Nielson is a coach, consultant and leader in the field of organizational development. She has worked with thousands of leaders in such industries as oil and gas, mining, government, non-profit, professional services, sports, education, broadcasting, transportation, real estate development, telecommunications, banking, health services, and construction and engineering. With over a decade of experience she has provided 20,000+ hours of consulting, training and coaching services to small, medium and big business. Kristan inspires others to be catalysts of positive change and leads by example. She creates a dynamic learning environment by building trust, asking the hard questions, challenging the status quo, and encouraging divergent thinking.

Theme B | Pursuing Possibility: Opening Up Your Career Potential
Facilitator: Julie Brown

If you are unclear about the path you want to take, or feel that you need a back-up plan in a challenging career market, this session will provide you with information on how to identify the kind of skill sets companies want in your field, discover what kind of career options are available within a certain company or profession, and allow you to build your professional network.

Julie Brown is the Employer Liaison with the Graduate Students' Association of the University of Calgary and has held this position for more than 9 years. She has developed and facilitated workshops for more than 20 years and has 35+ years experience in a variety of industries including Finance, Energy, Food and Beverage, Medical Services, Agriculture and Education. Julie obtained her B.A. in Psychology and Career Development from the University of Waterloo, and has worked as a Career Development Practitioner, facilitator and certified behavioural analyst for more than 16 years.

Theme C | Academic Survival Guide
Facilitator: Jessalynn Keller, Emily Marasco, Delshani Peiris; Moderated by Adrianne Offenbecker, GSA

Higher education offers great opportunities for women to develop as academics and as people.  However, graduate school and careers in academia often come with immense challenges and stress, with little guidance as to how to navigate these difficulties. This panel discussion will provide first hand insider information about the reality of graduate school, the challenges of being a student in higher education, and strategies for navigating the system. Whether you are an undergraduate student interested in further education or a future/current graduate student, this session will provide valuable insight into how to achieve your goals.

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