Chatelech Theatre, Sechelt BC – there’s something exciting about a large group of women getting together to talk about business. Specifically, women-owned businesses.
At PowHERtalks Sechelt, PowHERhouse’s second in a series event celebrating the stories of 18 women, their dreams, and most importantly, their ‘asks’, the mix of local and off-coast women taking the stage for 9 minute lightning talks make the most of the venue and connections to move their ideas forward.
Women come from all backgrounds, niches and stages of business development, to make their pitch, share their wisdom and inspire other women to move their own dreams forward in concrete and sharable ways.
I will admit I struggle in these settings. Shy in large groups, with a streak of dark humour informing my world view, spending five hours in the full-on hivemind presence of women-only energy is daunting.
In moments of downtime before the event started or in the break, I had to fight my internal tendency towards bonmots funny only to me and the unhelpful psychological toe-stubbing on the pebbles of difference I tend to focus on when left to my own devices. (Thank you to the 3 women who sat down for personal conversations in my shy zone!)
I know it will cost me something to admit it here, known as I am for crying at the drop of a hat and constantly proferring hugs, even to those to whom I’ve just been introduced.
Some armchair psychologist will no doubt hasten to offer a diagnosis and send me packing, out of the light and warmth and potential I saw on Saturday afternoon. I hope not, because I suspect there are other women like me, who shrink from the idea of women baring their souls TEDx style – especially amongst one’s peers in a small, rural community like ours. If that sounds like you, I urge you to park your monkey brain for a PowHERtalk afternoon soon.
Here’s the thing: There were 18 speakers and they were a mix of local and off-coast women, with varying experience delivering talks (from never to all the time), and I learned something from every single one of them. And usually, where my expectations trotted merrily ahead of me on the agenda (Oh, I bet I know what she’ll say, or this one ain’t my cup of tea) is where I found the biggest surprises. No… the biggest gifts.
And what I saw was women actively engaged in the practice of lifting each other up, in whatever way each woman needed. There was a palpable sense in the room that we were all involved in something magical – me perhaps even against my will – and that there is a sea change happening around women and how we fit in the world through events like this one.
My favourite moments from PowHERtalks Sechelt
Sara Mani, wowing the near-capacity crowd with a talk that was both disarmingly honest and with an in-your-face, almost swashbuckling sense of personal adventure, delivered like she does this kind of thing all day and belongs on bigger stages. She OWNED that space and is a sheer delight when she’s in her full awesomeness mode.
Frances Stone, overcoming a multitude of obstacles, any one of which alone would dismantle me, and arising into a new life burning with commitment to helping other women suffering as she once did. The simplicity of her presentation burned with the fire of “I’ve lived this” so that we felt it, and felt compelled to help her in her goals to deliver her book to women who so desperately need it.
Jan Jensen, leading everyone in the theatre in a rousing Nia exercise session, to ward off stasis and get the blood and energy moving. I always pooh-pooh those kinds of group exhortations (I always want to go in the opposite direction in line dancing for example), but Jan is impossible to resist, and made me forget myself entirely. Though I was present enough to notice the only 3 men in the room as still as pillars amongst the riot of movement, which is absolutely hilarious. (You know who you are!)
Shari Molchan saying “Money is an inside game”, meaning it’s our thoughts and ideas and stories about money that drive our relationship to money and how it shows up (or doesn’t!) in our lives. You can hear it 40 ways to Sunday and then someone passes on a simple statement and the message goes home.
Darnelda Sieger’s philosophy of ‘traversing the gap’ – every year planning for how to up one’s game, while dealing with the inevitable gap from where you are and where you want to be and treating it as a part of the game. As a somewhat competitive person, mostly against myself, I found the tips she offered for managing a hyper-busy life very helpful.
Leah Goard sharing just one of the tools she uses in helping business owners and women in life transitions navigate decision-making. So simple it had me smacking myself on the forehead: doh!
Charlene SanJenko taking a big back seat to the speakers at the event, watching her dream of helping women do and be more gaining traction and attracting high-powered off-coast speakers to be a part of this initiative 3 years in the making.
Community Futures Sunshine Coast announcing a new loans program for women entrepreneurs on the Coast.
Now I know that there are plenty of women who are struggling with terrible poverty, isolation, and circumstances I can’t even imagine, and that to these women, this can all seem aggravatingly irrelevant. I do get it. Most of us in that theatre – at least on the surface – are in an enviable position to be able to afford to spend an entire afternoon in this kind of setting.
But here’s the thing. A rising tide does lift most boats, and we need more of this, not less. Several women on the speakers list had been in psychological places our less fortunate sisters are in now. They KNOW what it’s like to arise, to aspire, to achieve, and most importantly, how to ask for help and how to receive it.
If there’s one thing we women are good at, it’s listening and then taking collaborative action to make a difference.
If you’re interested in learning more about PowHERtalks, I invite you to check out the link. The next gig is in Vancouver January 30th.
If you’re a woman, consider heading in with a group and attending. If you’re a guy, maybe you can help by buying a seat for a low-income woman so she can attend. (Guys are always welcome to attend – it is an open event – it’s just my two cents that helping a woman go who otherwise could not is AWESOME).
You can view all of the PowHERtalk videos here.