Duncan seminars aim to help women move up in the workplace

Three educational presentations aim to help women become even more active in the work world of the Cowichan Valley.

Three educational presentations aim to help women become even more active in the work world of the Cowichan Valley.

Called Women at Work, these workshops will address gender-specific barriers and identify opportunities for positive change.

This seminar series initiative is made possible through funding from the Catalyst for Growth Project — an initiative funded in part by Status of Women Canada and carried out by Women’s Enterprise Centre in collaboration with WEB Alliance, the Premier’s Women’s Economic Council, and supporting organizations around the province.

Women’s Enterprise Centre is an organization dedicated to helping women in B.C. start, grow, and succeed in business.

Catalyst for Growth is intended to remove barriers and increase women’s impact on the B.C. economy.

Specifically, the project is interested in creating opportunities to grow women’s participation as senior leaders, entrepreneurs, and within trades and emerging sectors. The first phases were completed in 2015.

Now, it’s time for community level projects, like Women at Work, that take action on the issues and ideas identified by each region.

Under the umbrella theme of supporting the representation of women in under-represented roles (e.g. as leaders and entrepreneurs), ideas for Women at Work seminar topics were collected from key representatives across the community.

Three major ideas supporting women who are trying to be entrepreneurs and leaders have been identified and now it’s time for action, according to organizer Jennifer Barnes van Elk.

“It is my hope that this project brings a broad range of participants together to discuss how to address some of the pervasive gender barriers affecting women in our community,” she said last week.

“My wish is to see people in positions of influence share this experience with the women that are impacted by the choices of these community leaders and change-makers. I believe that the act of hearing each other and sharing our voices is the first step towards positive social change.”

The seminar series is open to everyone, and will utilize the “karma class” model of payment. Those that wish to provide a suggested contribution of $5 can do so anonymously. There will be no expectation of payment or point of sale to represent a barrier to participation, she said.

The seminars themselves are scheduled for Sept. 30, Oct. 21 and Nov. 25 at the Sands Reception Centre at 187 Trunk Rd. in Duncan from 9 a.m. to noon on each of the three days.

The first one, called “Becoming your own Champion” offers advice on self-advocacy and self-promotion in the workplace. The presenter is Beth Campbell Duke of Campbell Duke Personnel Consulting.

The October seminar, entitled “Women Who Bully” is about navigating female harassment and fostering equality in the workplace through a feminist lens. It will be led by Kendra Thomas of Warmland Women’s Support Services Society.

The December session is all about strategies for balancing work and life.

Entitled “Avoiding the Double-Shift” it will also be led by Campbell Duke.

To reserve a spot, email jennifer@cowichaninkwell.com. Space is limited. Registrants will receive information pertinent to the seminar by email. To find out more about the seminar topics, presenters, or project in general visit the Women at Work Seminar Series website at:www.womenatworkseries.com/