2017 Inspiring Leadership: The Strength Within

I (Jenna Tickell) was lucky to be invited to attend this conference on International Women's Day! Our lab runs on a mentorship model. The importance of mentorship stood out as the theme throughout the day. My favourite speaker was Liz Murray; she told her story, of how she went from being homeless to a Harvard graduate. Liz said: "Persist and when you get there, pull others along!" Liz emphasized that she did not reach this success on her own. She met someone who believed in her and encouraged her. Now looking back, she realized that he mentored her throughout her journey. He also encouraged her to step up and share her own mentorship skills, he said: "A long time ago someone stood up for someone, who stood up for someone else, who stood up for me. It's time for you to be that someone. Tag you're it!" Liz learned many things, throughout her journey to success. She explained how experiencing the death of her mother shattered how she experienced life from that point on. After that moment she realized: "There isn't really a 'later' for me anymore. I'm going to try my 'what if's' today, in this life, right now!" There is so much more to learn from her life story. I encourage you to watch the movie Homeless to Harvard or read her book called the Breaking Night.

Here are just some of the many empowering quotes that really resonated with me from the conference today!

"It's not our job to take on all of the worlds problems, our job is to do what we can!"

"We are not meant to have it all. We are not meant to be full of gratitude all the time because it's in the messy stuff that resilience grows."

"Let it be a life that has meaning and dignity for you."

"Meaning is something that you build into your life."

"The biggest struggle is getting past yourself."

"People are willing to help you, if you are willing to ask."

"There are good people out there, never stop believing in that."

Going to conferences like this, really gets me to reflect on my life and makes me appreciate it. Where I was, and the people along the way that have been by my side to support me along the way, the way to where I am now. I am truly blessed to work in a lab that honours women and respectful relationships. I couldn't quite figure out what it is that I loved most about my place of work, but I think I realize now, it's the safety, support, and mentorship, we reciprocate in this lab. We are all here for the same purpose; we want to see change in this world. I realize now why Carrie hired each and every one of us, because she saw in us what we may not have seen in ourselves. We are all committed to "doing what we can now", to aid towards de-colonizing our society, while simultaneously empowering Indigenous people, specific to our Indigenous women. Our resilience is strong; I do believe, together we have the tools to begin the healing process, of our people, for generations to come.