How has your involvement with the 2014 Bringing Women Together networking and speaker event inspired you to initiate and lead change?

Emily Bridger – BWT 2014 Chair

I recognize now that even though I am early in my career, there is already a ton that I’ve learned through being mentored by others, and my work experience to-date, that could benefit others. I care about giving back to my fellow female colleagues (to those that value it the most).

My checklist never ends, so why not focus on the Big Rocks in my life = my goals, my long term goals. It CAN be as simple and “silly” as wanting an amazing person to share my life with and raise a healthy family. Though I will have meaningful goals, I must remember that my current family (my mum, my sister, and ME) are the priority. Set goals, but know that the “PLAN” must be flexible to accommodate unforeseen opportunities and any unforeseen traumas.

Life and work won’t always be “balanced”…though they can have harmony.


Valerie Gudmundson – BWT 2014 Content Team Lead

Signing up to lead the Content team for BWT this year was exciting and also a little daunting.  So much work goes into planning the event from logistics to marketing to strategy to financial analysis and planning; it was truly a collective team effort but I felt that if we didn’t get the speakers right, it would undoubtedly impact the success of the event (no pressure right?).  Luckily, I had a fantastic team of women to collaborate with on the Content stream that were incredibly smart, passionate and ready to step in and help wherever needed.   We were given the freedom to create the event theme, format and speakers; seeing it all come together March 6th was truly inspirational and reinforced that we were all capable of initiating and leading change.

In addition, I had the support of an equally fantastic director team, each of whom I’ve learned so much from.  All the directors worked tirelessly on this event – in addition to their day jobs!  Yet still, all were dedicated to making BWT a success and their passion for initiating meaningful change was apparent.  I don’t think there are limits on what we could accomplish as a team.  The connections I’ve made along the way with these amazing women are definitely what has inspired me the most!


Shannon Shackerley-Bennett – BWT 2014 Marketing & Communications Director

As the Marketing and Communications Director for BWT I often felt like my team was in the centre of the activity. There was no better place for me to get to know those on my team, my fellow executives, and volunteers from other streams as we rolled up our sleeves to work together. It was in the spirit of those moments particularly that I was inspired to initiate and lead change in three key areas within myself.

1.       Our shared trials and tribulations along with the joys and jubilation inspired me to focus on coaching rather than mentoring after recognizing how meaningful it is to be a part of someone else’s discovery and growth rather than tell them about my own.

2.       Barbara Brink’s “volunteering is networking nirvana” statement reminded me how small twists of fate related to a quarter century of volunteerism have shaped who I am and this has inspired me to be more deliberate in seeking out volunteer opportunities that support my professional goals.

3.       When reflecting on Steph’s approach to goal setting, I became inspired to shift from being committed to my running partner to being committed to me, by creating a daily discipline that sees me on the trails regardless of who else can join me. After a three month hiatus, day five and counting…

Thanks to a great Marcom team, strong executive leadership and three engaging speakers, I was able to relax and let myself be inspired by this invigorating experience – I can feel a shift in me already!


About BWTVancouver

Bringing Women Together is an event organized voluntarily by a group of women from various professional backgrounds in the Vancouver, BC, area looking to inspire leadership and networking opportunities among peers in their community.
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