Having One Vision DOES Make a Difference
I had a dream to run a conference to celebrate the courage of women as they move forward, in spite of challenging circumstances, from lives in unhealthy conditions. I didnt know where to start or exactly what I should do since I had never done anything like this before.
The goal was deliver a conference to 100 women moving forward at no cost to the participants. These women would not normally have the resources to attend a conference such as this and that each participant leave the conference feeling more confident and empowered than when they walked in.
The first thing I did was reach out to my community to ask for support. I was amazed at the responses I received. From one email I had enough volunteers to form a committee, I had volunteers for the event and professional speakers, trainers and coaches volunteer their services.. The first annual Women Moving Forward Conference plans quickly got underway. We confirmed a no cost venue within the first two weeks, however due to construction it would not be available to us.
Our committee rallied together and created fundraisers. We did Wingman Parties, bake sale and Zumba parties to raise enough money to pay for the things we needed. The conference took place on Saturday June 1, 2013 at the North York Memorial Hall.
We had financial donations from private contributors and had food, beverages and door prizes donated from companies such as Starbucks, Loblaw, BBM, Novotel, Druxys and many more.
Our main keynote speaker Kelly Falardeau (author of Self Esteem Doesnt Come in a Bottle) was flown in from Edmonton using a donation of air mile points. One of our committee members knew Juno winner Divine Brown and she volunteered her time and was our opening keynote speaker.
As you can imagine the details and follow up was ongoing. One of my committee members and I went to womens shelters, outreach centres for women and organizations such as the WYCA to promote our event. When I look back on the magic of the planning and execution of everything I am amazed at how six women with very different skills sets came together and stayed together through the year it took to make it happen.
Kelly arrived on the Thursday before our event and she also pitched in to fill the gift bags and all the last minute details She commented several times that she had never seen a group of women work so well together. There was a synergy that was present on our committee that was accepting, non judgmental and supportive. It simply worked.
When I sat down and thought about what it was that made our team so successful, it was clear to me that each of us shared the same common goal. If there were personal agendas they were not apparent. I talked to our committee about this and they all agreed. When things didnt go the way they were planned or someone dropped the ball, there was no finger pointing or blaming. We simply did what needed to be done and kept our vision of the experience we wanted our participants to have. Having the same common vision DOES make a difference. It makes a difference in how one responds to the day to day events in running a conference or a company.
I speak with leaders all the time and they often express frustration with their teams that they are not on the same page. There are many ways to create a shared vision and I will share some of those in my next blog.
The first annual Women Moving Forward Conference was a huge success, beyond what we expected and are now in planning for our second event. One woman said It was the best day of my life and we will all keep that in mind as we move forward creating future events.