BusinessWise – WomenPreneurs. Why It Matters.

Last September, the first-ever BusinessWise event succeeded in celebrating small businesses, and the majority of the speakers at that time were men. Afterwards, the women in the audience – mostly community leaders and business owners – gave feedback that they also want to see women entrepreneurs and leaders talk about businesses and leadership. Hence, the BusinessWise WomenPreneurs was created and happened last Oct. 15, 2020, at the YYC Entrepreneur Connect.

Fifty people who were predominantly women attended the event. Ronald Dale Waters was the emcee of the event and he also did the welcome remarks for the guests. Jerry Caingcoy, founder and president of The Filipino Champions of Canada, then opened the session and highlighted the important and indispensable role that women play in our society. “Women are naturally gifted,” Caingcoy said. “They bring life.”

Anila Lee Yuen, the chief executive officer of Calgary’s Centre For Newcomers, was the second speaker of the event. She talked about “Being A Woman Leader- The Highs, Lows, Challenges and Lessons Learned.”  At the stage, she shared her leadership journey as well as the “systemic barriers” she continuously encountered as a leader.  She emphasized the need to “be yourself” as a womanpreneur.  “I’ve learned that I have to be me. I have to speak up,” Yuen said.

After Yuen, Euniz Brown, founder of Calgary IT security company – Axe IT, touched the audience with her personal journey. She recounted the days when she was selling fish as a young girl in the wet markets in the Philippines, to becoming an IT professional in the Middle East, and then starting all over again as a nanny in Canada. Finally, she successfully transitioned to IT and worked for the City of Calgary IT department.  “To overcome challenges, you need to believe in yourself, make a decision and own it, and believe in your dreams,” Brown said.

Vangie Caoile, the chief executive officer of Canada Advantage, then started the second half of the event with her talk on the importance of engaging communities as a Womenpreneur. She highlighted the challenges that women face as business owners and leaders. “Entrepreneurship can make dreams a reality, but it can be a nightmare at times,” Caoile said.  “Build a network of entrepreneurs. You don’t have to be afraid to fail.  Failure is how you learn. Be a mentor to others, and let’s celebrate together.”

Caoile was then followed by Eva McAboka, founder of Capability Career Group.  She gave a powerful message on how to overcome social barriers as a woman leader, drawing from the lessons she learned as a model, coach, speaker, and author.  “To elevate yourself, pursue self-development, stay busy, and keep a journal,” McAboka advised.

Finally, Sherrisa Celis of Calgary Catholic Immigration Society talked about “Community Leadership as a Woman and Why It Matters.”  She gave compelling insights from her experience as a community leader in various organizations and as a political candidate in the past provincial and municipal elections. “Know the strength of your volunteers,” Celis encouraged.  “It will be easier to lead.” 

Businesswise WomenPreneur was a great success.

However, this event was only the beginning. We need more events like this in the future where women leaders and entrepreneurs are at the center stage.  Women possess a wealth of knowledge that can help our businesses and communities grow.  We need to appreciate their experience and what they bring to the table. Most importantly, we need to learn from them and see the world from their perspective.

Follow BusinessWise event page here.

Check out our October 2020 Issue here.