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I was lucky enough to attend the Power of Women conference today with my female colleagues. There are only 9 of us women in the IT dept at the office – along with about 60 men – and our IT director invited the ladies to join her at this amazing event. It was held at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre and although it was crowded with many many women (it seated up to 5,000), the venue was great.

I was really looking forward to hearing Leigh Anne Tuohy (the Blind Side), Suzanne Somers and of course keynote speaker Ellen DeGeneres! The event was fabulous and I enjoyed and learned from all of the speakers. The host Jessica Holmes (comedienne of Royal Canadian Air Farce fame) was hilarious and kept us entertained throughout (you can call me J-Ho). 🙂

The morning speakers were:

  • Leigh Anne Tuohy: I absolutely loved the movie the Blind Side and was excited to hear Leigh Anne speak. I was glad that the “real” Leigh Anne was just as no-nonsense and forthright as Sandra Bullock portrayed her in the movie. She suggested that we shouldn’t limit our “giving” to birthdays and Christmas when it feels so good to give.  Giving doesn’t have to be big; even small gestures can make a difference. We should try to do something, no matter how big or small, every day.
  • Loretta Laroche: OMG she was hilarious. Her focus was stress management and how everyone needs to lighten up and SHUT UP already. Enough whining and playing the victim/martyr, enough complaining and negativity. Focus on your strengths, enjoy what you have, lose the negativity, be happy and enthusiastic about life and you’ll get the most out of it. Amen Loretta.
  • Michelle Dunk: She told us about her lifetime struggles which started with being abused by her grandfather and ended up with her confronting him and moving on to build a successful business.
  • Amilya Antonetti: She originally created the company Soapworks to provide safe cleaning products for her son. Through hard work, she made it into a hugely successful company. She focused her energy on her five “buckets” (i.e. Mom, Wife, CEO, etc.) and didn’t waste time or energy on anything other than those buckets. Learn the value of NO. Identify your “buckets” and don’t get sidetracked – any time/energy spent on things other than your buckets takes away from all of your buckets. Fear doesn’t exist – it’s something we create because it’s more comfortable.

The afternoon speakers were:

  • Jill Bolte Taylor: She was the neuroscientist on the panel and explained the anatomy of our brain and how it works; the left brain and right brain. She also walked us through her experience when she was having a stroke and how she noticed the impact it had on her brain (as it was happening).
  • Suzanne Somers: I never realized how many books she had! She talked about hormones and how they deplete as we age. She explained that bio-identical hormones were closer to the real thing than the synthetic hormones everyone warned us about a few years ago. She talked about the effects of being exposed to chemicals in our lives (food, products, etc.) and how this is something new – 30 years ago, we didn’t have this. One of her doctor friends decided to leave surgery and pursue research when he started seeing rare cancers in children; children that have been exposed to chemicals since birth. I found it all very interesting.
  • Ellen DeGeneres: Ellen’s piece was interview-style and she was as expected: Honest, endearing, funny and real. She talked about her career from her sitcom, to coming out, to losing her career and not working for 3 years, to the cruelty she experienced in that period, and finally to her huge success with her talk show. She was fabulous. I adore her and am so glad that she persevered and came back – look where she is now! Truly inspirational.

I enjoyed it immensely and would recommend it to any woman if they have a chance to attend any conference in the Power of Women series. It was a day of inspiration, motivation and celebration that I will remember for a long time to come.

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