June 24th, 2024

Chamber breakfast celebrates women in the community

By Alejandra Pulido-Guzman - Lethbridge Herald on March 9, 2023.

Herald photo by Alejandra Pulido-Guzman Guest speaker Abigail Shakespeare makes a presentation during the Lethbridge Chamber of Commerce's International Women's Day breakfast Wednesday at the Enmax Centre.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDapulido@lethbridgeherald.com

The Lethbridge Chamber of Commerce celebrated women in the community on Wednesday during an International Women’s Day breakfast at the Enmax Centre with more than 180 people in attendance.

While introducing the guest speaker, Lethbridge Chamber of Commerce CEO Cyndi Bester said the theme for the event was stories that play a vital role in bringing people together and fostering a sense of community.

“They (stories) help us understand different perspectives and cultures, allowing us to see the world through the eyes of others,” said Bester.

She said stories also allow people to connect with their shared experiences and emotions, making them feel less alone in the world.

 “They can bring people together around a common cause, inspire change, provide comfort and hope, whether through oral traditions, books, movies, or other forms of media. Stories have the power to unite us and to shape the way we think and feel about the world,” said Bester.

Guest speaker Abigail Shakespeare shared her entrepreneurial journey with those in attendance, always referring to women who helped her along the way, and the importance of creating strong connections with women who would empower her and encourage her to keep moving forward.

She mentioned a woman, whose name she did not share, after having a conversation with her and asking her how much would it take for her to make it through the month, sent her the exact amount after their encounter was over.

She said that this woman told her she was paying it forward from someone else who had helped her in the past and who asked her to do so.

Shakespeare said it was that type of support and encouragement she received from multiple women throughout her journey that helped her realize the importance of building her village, of surrounding herself by the right type of women, those who would lift each other up instead of tore themselves down.

While talking to media after the event, she mentioned that it was thanks to many women that she is where she is now.

“If it wasn’t for the women around, I would not have made it through some really tough times, wouldn’t have made it through high school. It was just so important to me to keep building this village,” said Shakespeare.

She said that when she was asked to speak at the event, she immediately knew what her speech was going to be about.

“I was like ‘I know exactly what I’m going to talk about,’ yes I’m going to talk about my experience in business, but I’m going to talk about what it means to build that village and how it can be helpful, and how we can all get through those really tough times by investing, by giving ourselves to others and really serving others and by doing that we are able to build our village of women around us,” said Shakespeare.

She said that during her speech she also wanted to highlight equity, but not in the common way it is referred to, but in a broader way.

“I think another thing that it refers to is considering stories that we know nothing about and considering that people have these stories within them, that they don’t typically share and that everyone has this unknown story. That it doesn’t matter how they show up every day, we’re all dealing with our own trauma and our own stories, and I think by embracing equity it allows us to consider that, and in a way that we maybe normally wouldn’t,” said Shakespeare.

While talking to media Bester said she was very pleased with the turnout and how that showed the community’s support to the business community.

“I think it shows that we truly are here for business and community all the same time,” said Bester.

She said it was nice to see a few men in attendance as they play an important role in supporting women as well.

Mayor Blaine Hyggen and councillor John Middleton-Hope were two of the men in attendance.

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