Carleton University Women in Business (CUWIB) Conference: Discovering the Catalyst

Yesterday I spent the day at the CUWIB conference, the theme of which was geared towards answering the question as to why gender inequality is still prevalent in the modern day workplace – why the barrier exists for women in the workplace and how this issue can be mitigated.

The day was filled with inspirational talks from (to name a few):

Captain Josée Rodgers – a Training Development Officer (TDO) in the Canadian Forces, who shared her personal journey in getting to her current role and her most important lesson – don’t talk about it, be about it.

Emma Jane Donlin – an Engineering Manager at Bombardier Aerospace, who shared her philosophy and tips as well as sharing her thoughts on creating balance.

Philosophy & Tips:

  • Treat people the way you want to be treated
  • Take time to listen, understand, ask questions, ask for help, thank people, recognize, support, find ways to have those difficult conversations quickly, deal with issues as they arise
  • Get really good at time management and be consistent
  • Build a network, your connections are priceless
  • If you are in the position to make a difference do it!
  • Support the growth and development of others, it’s the most rewarding part of her job

To create balance:


  • Create your standard and be consistent
  • Be open to “Special Assignments”
  • Have business goals


  • Focus on your well being
  • Focus on physical and mental health
  • Have personal goals

(This is where the time management and being organized comes in)

Make the time to learn, coach, mentor and teach

Some other pieces I took away from Emma Jane’s talk were:

  • So many opportunities come your way, it’s up to you how you choose them
  • Understand your business and get good at what you’re doing. Don’t give anyone the opportunity to doubt you
  • Have the right mindset to figure it out when you are thrown into a situation or project you don’t have a clue about, admit you don’t know but then figure it out
  • Be supportive of other women and remember that some of your biggest advocates and support will be men


Solona Armstrong – A Front End Developer at Shopify who talked about why she thinks inequality exists by using the work of Marshall B. Rosenberg on Nonviolent communication and how various groups try to get their needs met.

Nonviolent communication is the integration of four things – consciousness, language, communication, and means of influence and it serves people’s desire to do three things – increase our ability to live with choice, meaning, and connection, connect empathetically with self and others to have more satisfying relationships, and sharing of resources so everyone is able to benefit.

Almas Jiwani – President and CEO of Almas Jiwani Foundation – President Emeritus of UN Women Canada, an internationally renowned speaker and Philanthropist, and CEO and President of Frontier Canada Inc., who talked about becoming an agent of change by using whatever platform is available to you and how inequality is built into and needs to be addressed at the infrastructural level of how a people and society operate – from the health system failing women with regards to heart disease, as shown in the 2018 Heart & Stroke Heart Report,  to that fact that globally, instead of taking 170 years to close the gender gap, the 2017 World Economic Forum Gender Gap Report shows that at our current rate of progress, it will take 217 years.

With all this she left us with the following:

  • to change our frame of thought on the idea that the power of 1 has no impact, it does
  • When women have power, they empower society

There were countless other lessons learned throughout the course of the day as shared by the various panelists, so, all in all, it was a day well spent.

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