Oct. 4, 2018
When 19 young women (aged 14-24) head out this month to step into the shoes of lawyers, CEOs and media personalities, they will be well-equipped to handle the challenges of the jobs, thanks to Wilfrid Laurier University’s ‘Business 101’ training.
In partnership with Plan International Canada, Laurier has helped prepare 19 Girl Ambassadors from across Canada who are raising their voices for gender equality and equal rights on International Day of the Girl on Oct. 11. These women will step into roles in which females are under-represented to challenge stereotypes about females in the workforce.
On Sept. 9, Laurier career consultant Susan Malcolm provided the ambassadors with a one-hour crash course in ‘Business 101’ as part of a day-long training session held at Plan International Canada’s office in Toronto.
In the workshop, Malcolm covered business etiquette, meeting preparation and note-taking, and networking and leadership skills. Additionally, she asked the ambassadors to consider their personal goals for International Day of the Girl.
“This session gave the young women an opportunity to reflect on their own professionalism and goals and how they can prepare for their big day on Oct. 11,” says Malcolm. “It was a fantastic day. They started out with a lot of questions, but by sharing concerns and experiences they quickly became excited about the day.”
"I had always been intimidated by the art of networking: of trying to find balance between making connections and trying not to seem too forward.... I now have the tools I need to make a lasting impression on everyone I meet."
Thanks to the training, the young women now have “lots of confidence going into the experience,” says Malcolm. “They are prepared to make the most of this opportunity and are comfortable taking on these leadership roles for the day.”
Safiyah is a 17-year-old participant from Ottawa who will be stepping into the role of a journalist. For her, the Laurier training session gave her more clarity around how to network effectively.
“I had always been intimidated by the art of networking: of trying to find balance between making connections and trying not to seem too forward,” says Safiyah. “With the resources and the training that I received from Susan and Laurier, I now have the tools I need to make a lasting impression on everyone I meet.”
Aloka, 17, another participant, says that the training will help her present herself more professionally. “At a young age, this can really set one apart from the crowd,” she says.
Jess McAdam, Youth Empowerment Manager at Plan International Canada, says the Laurier session was an ‘invaluable’ part of training.
“The session provided our youth ambassadors with the knowledge and skills to network and build relationships in their work with this initiative and in their everyday lives as students soon to enter the workforce.”
Following International Day of the Girl, the group will attend another training session at the Laurier Toronto office on Oct. 22 with Laurier President and Vice-Chancellor Deborah MacLatchy. In this session, they will debrief on their experiences and learn how they can translate this experience into skills they can showcase on a resume, LinkedIn profile and in a job interview. MacLatchy will also share her own leadership journey and career tips.
"It is critical for young women to see themselves reflected in leadership so they know it is possible to achieve their own aspirations."
Last year, for International Day of the Girl, MacLatchy hosted Muneeza, a student who stepped in as Laurier’s president for the day. This year, MacLatchy is thrilled to be participating in the initiative in a very different way that has an impact on more than just one young woman.
“I am looking forward to meeting the young women and hearing about their experiences,” says MacLatchy. “International Day of the Girl demonstrates to young women that those in leadership take their ambitions seriously. It is critical for young women to see themselves reflected in leadership so they know it is possible to achieve their own aspirations.”
In celebration of International Day of the Girl, MacLatchy will also be participating in the BridgingTheGap to Her Forum on Wednesday, Oct. 10 at THEMUSEUM in Kitchener.
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