Micro-conference to address the stress and burnout facing working women

Apr 30 2021, 8:41 am

When entrepreneur and brand builder Heather Odendaal was working as a sales executive at a Fortune 500 company, she struggled to find a conference designed for women on a path to senior executive leadership.

Together with her husband, Michael Odendaal, she co-founded WNORTH Conference in 2015 to support women on their leadership journey. Today, WNORTH is the only organization dedicated to the development of women mid-career on a trajectory towards senior leadership.

It connects female business leaders around the world through an annual conference and its virtual forum for content and development opportunities, The Members’ Club. From Wednesday, May 5 to Friday, May 7, WNORTH is hosting its second annual PIVOT Micro-Conference.

Leading with the theme “New Horizons,” the fully online event is set to address the workplace stress, emotional labour, and burnout facing working women in the current moment.

“From where I sit, as the CEO of a leadership organization dedicated to supporting women in the so-called ‘messy middle,’ I have seen women face enormous challenges with staying in their leadership roles this past year,” Heather Odendaal tells Daily Hive.

“It wasn’t particularly surprising to me to see the recent statistic from the 2020 Women in the Workplace Report from McKinsey and LeanIn that revealed one in three working mothers have considered leaving the workforce or downshifting their careers because of COVID-19.”

Odendaal says burnout and anxiety are at an “all-time high” for working women, and she created the agenda for the upcoming micro-conference to support women in creating best practices for productivity, leading remote teams, reducing anxiety, and “letting go of this need of perfection in all aspects of our lives.”

Featuring presentations and networking opportunities, PIVOT aims to uplift and inspire attendees to overcome challenges and is designed for women-identified professionals, entrepreneurs, and the teams who support them.

On May 5, it kicks off with a panel discussion on the hidden cost of women’s mental and emotional labour, featuring guests Colonel H. Wright, CD, MD, MSc, Deputy Chief of Staff — Mental Health at the Department of National Defence; Jake Stika, Executive Director at Next Gen Men; Katherine Lazaruk, CEO at Lazaruk Consulting; Racial and Ethno-Cultural Advisor, Kevonnie Whyte; and Trauma Specialist, Dr. Patricia Vickers.

Later in the day, ticket holders have the option to attend WNORTH Virtual Social: Redesign and Renewal — featuring a cocktail-making class hosted by The Raven Room — plus guest speaker sessions by Vanessa Grutman, Brand Director and Co-Founder at Project Skin MD and Karin Bohn, the Founder and Creative Director at House of Bohn.

On May 6, the virtual conference starts with a workshop titled Energetic Time Management: Discover how to manage your energy, not time, led by Heather Chauvin — a time management expert and author of Dying to be a Good Mother.

Next up is a panel session exploring the role leaders play in easing workplace stress. Panellists confirmed include Kelly Smyth, WNORTH Toronto City Director and Global Talent Development Manager at IAMGOLD Corporation; Mita Mallick, Head of Inclusion, Equity, and Impact at Carta; Neha Prasad-Kovach, Director of Sales and Growth Strategy at CIBC; and Christina Hatziioannou, Senior Client Partner at Google.

The second workshop, Sponsorship 101 in a Virtual Workplace, will be led by Laura Soria, Senior Director of CIBC’s Lending Solutions Contact Centre.

The final day of PIVOT starts with wellness as attendees can pre-register to join a private YYOGA at Home flow class led by yoga instructor Jayme Burke. After this, Shauna Moran, Founder and Managing Director at Operate Remote, will be leading a workshop on boundaries, burnout, and balance for remote leaders.

A keynote from Tiffany Dufu, Founder and CEO of The Cru and author of Drop The Ball, moderated by Odendaal, will close the 2021 PIVOT Micro-Conference, leaving attendees with inspiration for achieving more by doing less.

Tickets to this year’s digital micro-conference cost $99 each via wnorthconnect.com and include access to two panels, one of three workshops, and the keynote session. Additionally, attendees will receive a six-month digital membership to WNORTH and Virtual Social, plus a one-month membership for YYOGA.

For more information and to register, visit wnorthconnect.com.

PIVOT Micro-Conference: New Horizons

When: Wednesday, May 5 to Friday, May 7
Where: Online
Tickets: $99 — Available via wnorthconnect.com

Catriona HughesCatriona Hughes

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