Last week, women from across the Canadian promotional products industry got together at the Hockley Valley Resort, just outside Toronto, for the PPPC’s annual Women’s Empowerment Event (WEE). Botanical PaperWorks CEO, Heidi Reimer-Epp and Corporate Accounts Representative, Kayla Theissen were thrilled to take part in the event and came back with tons of fun swag including branded wine glasses, business card holders, and cool socks. But most importantly, they came back feeling inspired and motivated!
Here's a recap of the event from Kayla Thiessen:
The event kicked off with sessions by Frances Biernacki of Clear Concept. She spoke to us about powerful communication and the most effective ways to handle challenging conversations. While some of us tend to procrastinate on hard conversations at work and in our personal lives, Frances reminded us the “real growth is on the other side of fear”.
The afternoon session was led by Lisa Leitch from Teneo Results. All industries change over time, and the promotional products industry has seen massive changes over the last 20 years. Lisa discussed how we adapt to change and the advantages of leaning into it, rather than resisting. Change can be scary at first, but success in business requires us to adapt to our changing world and the needs of our customers.
To celebrate the 10th anniversary of WEE on Friday evening there was a gala dinner at the Adamo Winery, followed by a party with live music. The beautiful venue helped create a fun and glamorous atmosphere to let loose a little bit and enjoy one another’s company.
Day two of WEE began with three breakout sessions where everyone got to attend one of three talks on different topics. Ashlee Froese of Froese Law addressed trademark law as it applies to artwork in the promotional industry and Pauline James of Anchor HR talked about strategies for employee recruitment and retention. Mel Sibbitt, founder of the promotional products distributor Two Crazy Ladies, discussed taking care of your mental health at home and work.
Later in the morning, we heard from Lisa Bentley, professional triathlete and motivational speaker. I had the honor of introducing her, and her story of racing with cystic fibrosis and encouraging others dealing with the disease brought tears to the eyes of many. She was truly inspirational and many us will remember her mantra of “finish what you start and do it with heart”.
The final speaker at the event was Hailey Patry, founder of the Lifted Lid and a True Happiness Coach. Hailey’s journey to becoming an advocate of happiness was not an easy one and hearing how she came to a place where she can now coach others was enlightening and impressed upon everyone what a difference pursuing happiness can make in your life. It does make life more enjoyable, but being happy also increases productivity and has real health benefits. Hailey shared strategies with us for increasing your happiness in tangible ways, which we can all carry forward into our everyday lives.
As Silver Sponsors of the event, Botanical PaperWorks donated plantable postcards for all the participants. Closer to the end of the day on Saturday each of us was given two postcards, one with the name of another participant and one that was blank. We wrote messages of encouragement on them, and the organizers of the event will send them out in a few weeks to keep the spirit of WEE going as we go back to our regular schedules. The cards were also extra special because they were made from seed paper so that they could be planted to grow flowers that will remind us of the event and all the things we learned.
Not only did we learn a lot from the speakers, but also from spending time together between sessions, over meals, and through round table discussions. We learned and laughed a lot! Too often in the media, we see the stereotype that women at work need to compete with each other to be successful. WEE reinforces the idea that we can lift each other up and empower one another to be the change we wish to see in our industry, and in our world.