The fall season of the Women of Influence Evening Series presented by TD Wealth opened to a standing ovation as 200+ emerging leaders came together for a powerful evening of insight and inspiration. Keynote speaker Ginella Massa, Reporter, CityNews Toronto, made the audience laugh, cry, and connect in the shared inspiration of her groundbreaking journey.

Ginella’s candid account left us empowered to take the next step in our own career advancement, and perhaps more importantly, challenged us to consider how we can all contribute to creating a more inclusive workforce around us.

What we learned:

  • “Some of us sometimes have to work twice as hard to get half the recognition, and that was never truer than when I entered a field with a big emphasis on how a reporter looks.” Ginella wasn’t willing to change the way she looked and instead focused on honing her journalism skills. She never wanted give a manager a reason not to hire her.
  • Ginella learned that hard work would only get her so far and that persistence, resourcefulness and having guts was more important.
    •  Over two years she applied for the same job three times. The first time, her prospective employer said she didn’t have enough shooting experience. The second time, they said they decided to hire someone internally. The third time, they finally gave her a chance.
    • Being resourceful is critical to getting ahead – when you can’t access traditional networks, it’s important to find a way to build your own.
    •  Have the guts to take chances – even if it means quitting the safe job with little room for advancement so you can take a leap of faith and go after the one you really want. No risk, no reward!
  • Ginella’s last bit of advice for us: “Look at what voices are missing, who isn’t being represented here because even if we realize it or not, we all have a bit of privilege. It may come in the form of class, education, maybe it comes from being straight or able bodied, so what can we do with that little bit of privilege to open the door and give a hand up those that are underrepresented in the spaces that we easily take up. Representation matters because every single person matters. We can all do our part by creating space for those who have had a different experience than us, raise them up, include them in the conversation, ask them what is important because their options or experience aren’t any less valuable than ours. And for those of you who often don’t get a seat at the table, do as my mother did, don’t ask, pull up a chair, and demand to be heard.”

 

Congratulations to Saif Iqbal!  Concluding the evening events, we announced the winner of our VIP Membership Experience Giveaway. Thanks to the generous contributions from our sponsors, Saif has access to a spot in the short-format executive education program offered by the Smith School of Business, a spa basket courtesy of Captivate, a Kobo and $100 gift card from TD Wealth and back-up child care from Kids & Company.

Photography by Clix Visions Photography