International Women’s Day 2017: Ignite. Empower. Innovate

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” — Marion Woodman

This  time last year, I received a welcomed invitation from my friend Louise Racine to attend a conference for women in Guelph called “Ignite. Empower. Innovate.”

Louise was one of the first women I connected with when we moved from the big city to explore country living 15 years ago. Louise quietly shines. While she is most happy operating behind the scenes, she doesn’t play small. She is a woman who leads by example. She inspires me.

Louise Racine of Thirteen Moons

In mid-life after a successful professional career with the federal government, Louise decided to follow her passion for food and studied at The Institute of Holistic Nutrition in Toronto, becoming a Certified Nutritional Practitioner in 2000. She created a natural sanctuary in Norwood called Thirteen Moons Wellness  retreat, a peace-filled, affordable space for women.

In the community she has created at Thirteen Moons, Louise is known as Woman of Nurturing for the way she lovingly creates exceptional nourishing food for guests. Having participated in drumming circles hosted by Adele Passmore, Louise’s sister, and other workshops at Thirteen Moons, I’ve returned home with mind, body and soul feeling nourished and nurtured. You’re sure to be impressed with her knowledge, easy manner and creativity. Louise is also the author of two popular Thirteen Moons cookbooks, both featuring seasonal recipes to nourish and inspire.

Since life can be lonely as a solopreneur, I welcomed this opportunity to take a little road trip with Louise to celebrate International Women’s Day in Guelph. It was the community’s first women’s leadership conference themed Women Leading in the New Economy. “The new economy is an economy based on knowledge, creativity, and social capital. More and more, what you know, who you know, and creativity are the critical factors for idea generation, business development and growth. In the ‘new’ economy, anyone can find their place and lead, because the system values these assets we all have,” explained Kristel Manes, Chair of the Partners for International Women’s Day when she welcomed guests.

Of most value to me was keynote speaker Ginger Grant, who started it all with a talk about Creativity in Business. As a corporate communications consultant with an interest in storytelling to support business culture, I found her remarks intriguing and validating. Ginger is an innovation researcher, author and academic entrepreneur and her passion is narrative game plans that transform corporate culture and drive market share for competitive advantage.

Ginger believes that for innovation to occur with any regularity, individuals must be helped to reach their personal potential for creativity in their daily work. An important part of the solution lies in aligning the values, beliefs and meaning systems of individuals and organizations in order to create an optimal environment in which to unleash the human imagination.

“Creativity does not stem from logic but from passion and the courage to create,” she explained adding: “Yet both sets of skills are required to deliver innovation.” Ginger reinforced the significance of storytelling in business as a means to design, build and reinforce culture. In a follow-up call, Ginger introduced me to the writing and work of Marion Woodman. Her quote above is a personal favourite.

Other speakers shared their expertise and experience with over 200 participants, firing up our collective entrepreneurial spirit. Both Louise and I left feeling inspired. “We need something like this in Peterborough,” Louise mused as we drove home.  For her, the experience ignited an intention to host a similar event for women in Peterborough. The seed was planted.

Serving on the Board of Peterborough Women’s Business Network (WBN) as its Program Director, Louise is well-positioned to empower others to support this vision.  In June, after being nominated by her sister Adele, Louise won the second annual Judy Heffernan Award at the Women in Business awards. The $650 monetary award, created in honour of the late general manager of the Peterborough Community Future Development Corporation, is given to a woman in the community who exemplifies the mentorship that Heffernan embodied and promoted.  The intent of the award is to ‘pay it forward’. Louise noted her wish to use the gift to sponsor four or five women who couldn’t otherwise be table to attend a yet to be confirmed International Women’s Day Conference in Peterborough.

So it was pleasing to hear that the Peterborough Women’s Business Network is hosting its first International Women’s Day conference March 8, 2017. Louise is serving as both conference and program chair. Open to everyone (not just members of WBN), it will feature three powerful and inspiring keynote speakers — CBC radio host and feminist comic Candy Palmater; professional coach and career expert Sarah Vermunt; and Peterborough’s own veteran actress and improv performer Linda Kash — as well as six workshop sessions on a range of topics of particular importance to women. If you haven’t purchased your tickets yet, plan to do so soon as they are going fast. You can purchase your tickets here.

So this is a shout out to Louise Racine of Thirteen Moons – a woman who embodies what it means to ignite, empower and innovate and a woman who believes we are all meant to shine. Her own transformational story gives others the courage to make a life shift and shine as well. She has passion and courage to create. She’s an innovator. Borrowing words from Marion Woodman, Louise is “brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous.” She is living by example. Like Louise, all we need is a little shine to really bloom. How will you bloom in 2017?

Jennifer Garland and Raven, one of the natural coaches at The Mane Intent

Jennifer Garland is the Owner/Program Director of The Mane Intent, offering Health and Wellness Workshops and Individual and Team Effectiveness Coaching. She has over 25 years of leadership experience in communications, cause-related marketing and change management. As a strategist, facilitator and effectiveness coach, Jennifer has provided counsel and support to senior leaders from all walks of life to build productive relationships, facilitate learning and to embrace change.

The Mane Intent

January 9, 2017

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