Female leaders shared some advice for life and careers at the 2023 NewRoads Girls Night Out at the NewRoads Performing Arts Centre on International Women’s Day in Newmarket.
More than 100 women attended the annual event March 8, that supports Girls Inc. York Region, and featured local vendors and a fireside chat with Arden Krystal, president and CEO of Southlake Regional Health Centre, and Jennifer Klotz-Ritter, president and CEO of Southlake Foundation.
“Today is a day to recognize, celebrate and honour anyone who identifies as a woman. In building upon that, we must also take the time to recognize the continued oppression and marginalization of particular communities of women and help work to change this. We must collectively work toward a world that uplifts, supports and cherishes all women,” said Barb Wallace, executive director of Girls Inc., as she thanked participants for their support in encouraging all girls to be “strong, smart and bold.”
Krystal and Klotz-Ritter spoke about their career paths, overcoming the obstacles working women can face, balancing careers with motherhood — they each have two sons — and lessons learned as leaders.
Here are some of their nuggets of wisdom and advice for women and girls:
- If you’re labelled aggressive, keep being assertive. If you’re labelled bossy, keep on leading — you’re not bossy, you’re the boss. If you’re labelled difficult, keep telling the truth. If you’re labelled awkward, keep asking those hard questions. (Wallace)
- Perfection is an illusion; your best is the best. (Klotz-Ritter)
- Be open to opportunities and learning experiences, “dive in” and don’t be afraid to take a chance. (Krystal)
- Don’t ever count yourself out — don’t assume you are too young, or don’t have the right credentials or deserve an opportunity, or want to start a family — go for each and every opportunity. (Klotz-Ritter)
- Do your research — always be the most prepared person in the room — and then speak with confidence. (Klotz-Ritter)
- Don’t be afraid to be yourself, to speak authentically, and to acknowledge what you don’t know — with confidence. (Klotz-Ritter and Krystal)
- Follow your passion and you’ll find opportunities come your way. (Klotz-Ritter)
- Be proud of the things you are doing or have done that make a difference; success does not have to be measured by titles and status. (Krystal)
- Help and mentor other women; think about how you can help another woman take a step forward. (Klotz-Ritter and Krystal)
- As a working mother, you need to get over the self-imposed guilt. Don’t think of what you can’t do because you are a working mom, but what you bring because you are a working mom — like being a powerful role model for accomplished, independent children, who might just become amazing cooks, and who are proud of you. (Krystal)
- Working moms who have demanding jobs have to make choices — like having your children select just one activity or sport per season — and lean on the support of a partner or others when needed. (Krystal)
- Working moms, acknowledge it’s simply not possible to be there for everything, but you can be there — and be “fully present” — for the important things. (Klotz-Ritter)
- Don’t overanalyze yourself, do the very best you can, then don’t spend nights thinking what you could have done differently, let it go, move on. (Krystal)
- Always express gratitude; the world can be challenging, and it’s easy to focus on what is wrong, but don’t forget about how lucky we are in this country, when women in other countries don’t have the freedoms we have. (Krystal)
- People don’t remember what you said, but how you make them feel. Be kind always, and if someone else is not being kind, have compassion, take a step back and think about what’s going on with them that’s hampering them from acting with kindness. (Klotz-Ritter)