A new Sudbury organization is aiming to equip women with the tools and resources to guide them into leadership roles in the community.
Founded in fall, 2017, She&Her is the brainchild of Hailey Short, Kate Lafantaisie and Samantha Davidson, who were struck by numbers that tell a story of disproportionate leadership by women in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields.
According to the organization, only five per cent of tech companies are founded by women, while just eight per cent of tech companies have women sitting on their boards of directors. Seventy-three per cent of boards have no female representation at all.
The three Sudbury women, all early in their careers and with aspirations to become leaders of their own one day, wanted to do something locally to change that.
"Our goal to begin with was to create an environment of likeminded women and men, and create a community, and identify the right resources to be able to succeed professionally, become a leader within your industry, regardless of whatever industry you're in," Short said.
"So our focus was on leadership and giving women the right resources to be able to lead and pursue those opportunities."
Their first event, held on International Women's Day on March 8 last year, included a talk by keynote speaker Alicia Woods, the founder of Covergalls and general manager at Marcotte Mining, followed by a panel discussion of local women leaders from across industries, and lots of time for networking.
The 100 available event tickets sold out after just a few weeks, and after covering expenses, the founders had raised $3,000 for the Sudbury chapter of Canada Learning Code, which holds local digital literacy workshops. The women are now planning for the 2019 event.
Emboldened by their success, the trio launched Bubbles&Biz later that summer. Smaller, more intimate gatherings of fewer than 30 people, Bubbles&Biz features guest speakers presenting on their area of expertise.
Lafantaisie said the format is designed to kindle open, honest conversations about topics that can often be intimidating to broach. In October, Andrea Bonhomme, a personal financial planner with RBC, shared her knowledge gained from a nearly 30-year career in the financial industry.
"They've been really raw discussions that you typically wouldn't want to talk about --finances is one of them, definitely; we're hoping to do one on women's health," Lafantaisie said. "Again, having that open...