The Big Picture
Trent Alumni speakers at The Big Picture

The Trent University Alumni Association organized an inspiring event that took place in Toronto on Tuesday, November 24, 2015.

“The Big Picture (and other leadership concepts for the advancement of women)” featured four accomplished Trent University alumni sharing their career experiences, obstacles, and successes, and offered advice for empowering and advancing women’s leadership.

This event was held in support of the World University Service of Canada (WUSC) Student Refugee Program at Trent, whereby a donation upon registering was contributed directly towards the Program.

Moderating the panel was Bonnie Patterson, who is a former President of Trent, current President of Council of Ontario Universities, and Professor in Trent’s Business Administration Program.

The speakers’ panel included Dalaal Al-wahedi (Executive Director of We Day Global), Anne Larcade (President and COO of Sequel Hotels and Resorts), Nancy Austin (former Executive Director of the Ontario Human Rights Commission and currently the Executive Lead on Ontario’s Gender Wage Gap Review Committee), and Rann Sharma (Global Head – People’s Operation and Culture of Free the Children).

The Gender Wage Gap and the barriers associated with it took precedent among all of the speakers. The topic of networking’s role in advancing careers and how women can better take part in networking events was also highly discussed. The floor was left open for the audience to ask questions.

As students entering the job market, we were able to ask questions and get answers on issues we might face and how to better prepare for different circumstances.

TCSA President Alaine Spiwak shared her experience as follows: “The Big Picture event in Toronto was an absolutely amazing experience. I wish all women at Trent could have the opportunity to listen to these powerful women leaders. I feel very fortunate to share my TCSA executive experience with two other incredible women, Pippa and Hilary, and hopefully, we can be an example to young women at Trent to also get involved with school politics and social issues.”

She added, “The messaging behind this event was powerful: women are strong, women are resilient, and women are self-defining. No longer do we have to live within the constraints of a historically patriarchal world. Ipersonally hope to be a part of this new era of women leadership, and cannot wait to see the positive change future women leaders will have on our world.”

The end of the event was marked by the announcement of a new community project that would allow mentorship of young women at Trent through connections created with alumni in various career fields.

Such initiatives play a vital role in shaping our Trent experience as students, and strengthening our abilities to better prepare for our future paths. Thus, more effort should be put into making such initiatives accessible to all students.