WNORTH Conference makes its comeback to Whistler this spring, and from April 20 to 22 will make Nita Lake Lodge its home base.
I attended and presented at the inaugural event this year, and can’t wait to connect again with today’s top leaders and the next generation of women rising to leadership positions.
This event is unique in its delivery and in the truly authentic opportunities participants, speakers, and facilitators have to develop relationships in an intimate setting of Canada’s favorite outdoor playground.
We sat down with the founder and producer of WNORTH, Heather Odendaal, to learn more about this Whistler-based women’s conference.
First off, I want to ask why? You are extremely busy running your own company, Bluebird Strategy and now you have a newborn to take care of too. What gives you the drive to add the production of this conference to your already full plate?
Over the last few years, I have felt there was a missing forum where the next generation of female leaders could connect and get the leadership training necessary to take them to the top of their organization. A space where they can connect with, and be inspired by, other women who have climbed to senior leadership positions.
I have always been very proactive in surrounding myself with mentors but noticed that often my peers didn’t really know where to start to create their own networks. WNORTH’s goal is to bring these women together in Whistler, from across the continent and beyond.
Do you think organizations are set up to help women ascend to leadership positions?
I do think there is a desire for organizations to support women and develop them into leaders, but that sometimes doesn’t translate into action. It’s hard to fully have the resources for that support since a lot of success comes from a connection to established female leaders who are willing to mentor women on the rise. It is my hope organizations consider supporting attendance at this conference as a way to develop their high potential female employees.
So by coming to WNORTH, I will meet a mentor?
Maybe! But even if you don’t, just surrounding oneself with people on the same path towards leadership – whether it’s for your community, in the workplace, or for a cause you truly believe in – has a ton of value. Being with people who are seeking knowledge and inspiration, and who are potentially facing similar challenges, is very empowering and gives our attendees an instant community and support network.
WNORTH can be that conference where women check in once a year to recalibrate their direction and where the successes of every participant become a ladder towards leadership for the next generation to climb.
There are a number of conferences geared towards women out there, what makes WNORTH different?
I would say that we are different in three main areas.
1. We provide an environment for real connections. This is through our intimate size – we cap attendees at 180; and through the Connect Dinners where our attendees can dine with our presenters at top notch restaurants in Whistler and delve into real conversations and develop genuine connections with other attendees.
2. WNORTH brings together intrapreneurs and entrepreneurs alike. There is an incredible opportunity for networking and driving synergies between the two groups, and WNORTH does that very well through our diverse conference offering.
3. We offer actionable workshops that provide real ROI for attendees. From developing the ultimate executive skills, presented by author and executive coach Lisa Martin, to discovering a path to predictable profit with author Shannon Byrne Susko participants will immerse themselves in learning and come away with a framework for success in each topic.
WNORTH Conference 2016
When: April 20 to 22
Where: Nita Lake Lodge, Whistler
As an affiliate partner of WNORTH Conference, Vancity Buzz readers can take advantage of an exclusive extension on early bird pricing until January 29, 2016 ($569 vs $699 – save $130!) as well as receiving a complimentary ticket to the Scandinave Spa social event for every ticket purchased before December 31.
Buy tickets and use the code VANCITY2016.