Honouring Transitionistas on International Women's Day

By Trisha Richards

Thanks to all the volunteers, members and guests who attended 'Women in Transition' and helped our women's group #PressForProgress and celebrate 2018 International Women's Day (IWD). Special thanks to our IWD venue sponsor, Lisgar Commerical Real Estate, which donated its space to help support our IWD women’s event.

We also want to acknowledge the incredible story of Lisgar’s founder, Martha Zenker, and her amazing success as a young women starting her own thriving business against all odds. Read more about Ms. Zenker, renowned female entrepreneur and self-made millionaire, in Canadian Industry Online, along with the stories of several other successful female business owners who have pressed for progress in their own rights and give us great inspiration.

Care of Canadian Industry magazine, published by Industry Media


If you missed out on the sharing and networking experiences at our IWD event, don't get too down on yourself. We've rounded up the some of the key takeaways for women going through transitional career periods—hence the term 'transitionista'—from our leading ladies.


Siobhan Brown, the keynote speaker, hosted a lively presentation entitled 'Myths and Monkeys of Tough Transition'. She reminded the ladies that they can't expect their transitions to happen overnight. "When you look at somebody else's life and think, 'I want to be where they are', know that there were probably many sacrifices that had to be made to get to where they are," she explained. "Oftentimes, they've been working towards their goals for 10, 15, or 20+ years, while you're just starting off from ground zero and comparing yourself to them—that's not a fair comparison."


Alosha Paranavithana
gave advice to help young adults transition smoothly into the workforce in her Goddess Lean-In Circle, 'Backpack to Briefcase'. Her key piece of advice for our women's group centred on setting goals, yet being flexible with the prospects."Do you know what you want? That's a big question," she said to the crowd. "You need to know the answers to those sorts of questions but not have the expectation that things will go exactly the way you planned them because there will be obstacles and challenges down the road.” 

In the Goddess Lean-In Circle 'Immigrant Story to Success', Maha ElHindawy shared her experiences and insights on selling international work experience to the Canadian job market. “Study when you get to Canada, and I don’t mean necessarily going back to school—study the society, study the community and scan the field that you’re getting into,” she advised. “Be resilient because you will get a ton of ‘nos’ before you get a ‘yes’.”


Lisa Mitchell
talked our women's group through the experience of moving through fear and uncertainty to pursue their true professional passions in her talk,'Discover Career Possibilities'. She told her Lean-In Circle attendees to stay focused on the potential positive outcomes of their career transition, rather than psyching themselves out by the possibility of failure. "When we're considering a transition, we're wired to start our thought process with, 'what if it's just a disaster?'" she said. "Flip it! Start by asking yourself, 'what if it all works out?'"

In Lissette Edward Copperi’s Goddess Circle on ‘Branding’, she stressed the importance of being mindful of what you publish on social media. “Every single posting you make really shapes people’s perceptions of you, one way or the other,” she warned. “And now more than ever, it is common practice for employers to check out candidates on social media first to weed out the people who are not a good fit.”


Kate Hodgson
taught women how to shape their professional stories in a way that engages potential clients and future employers in her ‘Storytelling’ Lean-In. “When you’re telling your story in a professional sense, the end should always demonstrate the lessons that you learned,” she shared. “How do you reflect back on your experience? What are the things you don’t do any more?” she posed to the group. “What lessons came out of the entire experience that you now absorb as a part of who you are and can offer to somebody else.”

In the Goddess Lean-In Circle, ‘Advancing your career’, Teresa Gabriele spoke to our women's group about the importance of knowing themselves thoroughly and using that information to enhance their job searches. She stressed the importance of being authentic and consistent in way you present yourself. “Make sure any employer that’s going to be creeping on you—and I’m sure they will—is going to see the same story that you’re selling on your resume, in your interview, or at an informal meeting at a coffee shop,” she advised. “It’s amazing how many people you will meet just randomly that will check your LinkedIn profile, so have the right communication theme about who you are and what you bring to the table.”


Your Turn to Teach & Inspire

Do you have a story about a pivotal career transition you’ve made successfully that you’d like to share with the Avanti Women community? Perhaps you’re considering making a life-altering change in your professional life or in the midst of exploring an exciting, new employment opportunity or industry shift and could benefit from the guidance of one of our IWD transitionista trailblazers.

We want to hear from you. Drop us a line with your stories and questions and help us continue to #PressForProgress all year round.

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This article was contributed by Avanti Women volunteer Trisha Richards. Trisha is a business communicator, writer, and marketer in Toronto. Connect with her through her website: www.WriteReaction.ca. 

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Learn more about Avanti Women, a GTA-based women's group, in this introductory video.



Don't miss our FREE Webinar on March 27, at 7 p.m. Transition to work after Maternity Leave with Lisa Durante.

Published: March 18, 2018, 6:29 pm