Let’s Elevate Gender-Balanced Leadership Event Summary


What a tremendous turn out last week for our Bringing Women Together: Lets Elevate Gender-Balanced Leadership event!

Over 250 people gathered at the Terminal City Club in downtown Vancouver for our 6th Annual Marquee Event, continuing our successful trend executed by a solid volunteer team across seven sponsor companies, including BC Hydro, LifeLabs, McCarthy Tetrault, SAP, Sodexo, TELUS and Vancity.

Discussing the theme of Gender Parity, we had a solid representation of men supporting the cause.  Our speakers emphasized the importance of including men in the conversation.

We attracted executives from each company, where they had an opportunity to network with each other and with the broader audience as mentors.


Our emcee Deb Durocher, Director, Managed IT Services, Western Canada at TELUS opened with a personal story of two relatives who both experienced gender disparity, but let it affect them in entirely different ways.


Keynote Speaker Trish Arnish, Senior Vice-President, People & Culture at Canfor

In her keynote speech, Tracey Arnish spoke about the importance of promoting equality from an early age. Tracey shared how at home, she and her husband try to monitor their choice of words and actions related to gender roles. A concerted effort is made to ensure that weekly chores are delegated equally to their son and daughter.  One particular powerful video that Tracey showed in her presentation is linked here; in fact, Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook, wrote a post about this video and had called it “one of the most powerful videos I have ever seen.”

Additionally, Tracey stressed the importance of diversity and inclusion in the work place, and how it should be part of every organization’s talent management strategy.



Andy Cobbold, Group Vice-President and Head of Global Support Centre of SAP (Above) and Mark Breslaw, Vice-President, People & Culture of TELUS (Below)

Mark Breslaw and Andy Cobbold spoke about the benefits of gender parity from a male perspective and what they contribute as senior male leaders.   They were both pleased to be part of this discussion and expressed their eagerness to take part in many more events of this nature.


Maureen Daschuk, Director, Program & Contract Management, Transmission & Distribution, and Customer Service at BC Hydro

Maureen Daschuk encouraged women to explore the male dominated field of operations management.  One quote that particular resonated with the crowd: we should all get comfortable at failing fast, and learning from your mistakes.


Janet Wood, Executive Vice-President of Talent & Leadership, SAP

Janet Wood was lucky enough to have never felt at the receiving end of any direct discrimination. She encouraged everybody to be authentic and to demonstrate their capabilities. Never shy away from speaking up in meetings and ensure that everybody knows what a good job you’re doing. Success isn’t going to come calling. Being subtle and expecting people to discover your merits by themselves is not an advisable career tactic.


Lisa Vogt, Partner and Chief Diversity Officer at McCarthy Tetrault

During the panel, Lisa Vogt shared a story about her own experience, early in her career, when she was invited to the Vancouver Club with a mixed group of colleagues. At the time, the Club only admitted men.  Female guests were required to use the women’s entrance, not the main entrance.  In solidarity, her colleagues all used the women’s entrance.  Today, Lisa’s experience reminded her that positive outcomes with gender parity often happen in smaller groups.


Thank you to the amazing speakers and panelists, volunteers and organizers and attendees for supporting our BWT Vancouver organization and helping us take one step closer to Gender Parity.  See you next year!


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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