An audience of over 160 women were provided with inspirational and motivational advice from two international guest speakers and a panel of eight local women at the Women’s Entrepreneurship Day Conference put on by the Bermuda Economic Development Corporation (BEDC) on Friday, November 16.
The conference, which took place at Rosewood Bermuda, was held to recognize Women’s Entrepreneurship Day (WED), which is celebrated globally on November 19. WED is an international campaign that intends to educate the world on the importance of empowering women in business globally.
The day-long event was sponsored by Butterfield Bank and along with the featured speakers, allowed women to relax and network in a luxurious setting. Women from across all sectors of the community were represented at the event, with many leaving with a better understanding of what women-led businesses and entrepreneurs are currently available on the island.
Attendees were provided with advice and inspiration from international guest speaker Stacey Ferreira, CEO of Forge, who spoke candidly about Navigating in a Male Dominated World, and Shelly Bell, founder of Black Girl Ventures Foundation, who spoke on her own experiences of Alternative Ways of Funding. Break out sessions were also a source of inspiration for the attendees with the speakers discussing topics such as Managing Work Life Balance and Developing Your Personal Brand. Local panelists included, Gaynete’ Jones of G.A.M.E. Changing Industries, Tania Kowalski, health and happiness coach; Nishanthi Bailey, actress, teacher and host; Pamela Barit Nolan of Transform Bermuda Coaching, Kristin White of Long Story Short, Christie Hunter-Arscott, a gender and generations strategist; Trina Roberts of HSBC Bermuda and Kidist Emery owner of Salon Pink.
During the break-out session on Managing Work Life Balance, Ms Ferreira told the audience how she is often “incredibly unbalanced” while she’s working on certain projects.
She said, “In order to do that you have to find people who will support you because that makes all the difference. And then know when you want to change it up. You’ll say, ok I’m going to go all in on this thing right now and then when do I need to step back.”
Those in attendance spoke about how relatable the topics were and how important it is to hear from successful women about some of the challenges they have had to overcome and, in some cases, are still battling.
Charmaine Thomas, owner of VINJAM Communications, an app development company, said: “This event has been very energizing for me. The visualizations of where I hope to be in 10 years as an entrepreneur has helped me realize that my dream can become reality. Everyone that I have spoken to here has said the same thing – that it has been very inspiring.”
Iresha Philpott, who has just started her salon Vanity Hair & Spa, was another attendee that was inspired by the day’s events.
She said: “All of the speakers were really hitting points that have left me feeling inspired.”
Organizations also used the conference as an opportunity for women in their business to spend the day at the event and network.
Rosemary Jones, head of communications and marketing, and Nicole Conrad Morrison, head of conferences and events, of the Bermuda Business Development Agency, along with other women from the organization, attended the day’s events.
Ms Jones commented that “the energy and honesty of the speakers” had been a highlight to the event.
She added: “There are women from across different sectors and ages – I like to see so much diversity.”
Her colleague, Ms Conrad Morrison, said: “It’s great to be around other women and today has been an opportunity for team bonding for us as well. There have been a lot of things said by the speakers that are sticking and getting me thinking.”
Colina Outerbridge, Business Data and Policy Analyst at the BEDC, and organizer of the Women’s Entrepreneurship Day Conference, said: “The event was a great success, and I know many women left the event feeling energized and have asked for more. Both the international speakers and the local panel of women were inspiring and offered up excellent real-life advice to the attendees. I know for many it was a great opportunity to relax and network with other like-minded women.”
For more information about events taking place during the month of November for Global Entrepreneurship Week, visit www.gew.bm.
Bermuda Economic Development Corporation (BEDC) is Bermuda’s premier source of free confidential business advice for entrepreneurs. The mission is to serve Bermuda’s local business community with the highest degree of professionalism by providing, authoritative business advice; counsel and loan guarantee support. Bermuda Business Starts Here! For more information visit www.bedc.bm.
During one week in November the world spotlights how young people’s ideas can contribute to global economic development. GEW Global, which started in 2008 with the Kauffman Foundation and the UK’s Make your Mark organization, has grown to include Host Committees in over 150 countries. With the help of governments and non-government organizations, Host Countries coordinate events ranging from invention competitions to local entrepreneurship summits designed to stimulate creative solutions, jumpstart innovation and celebrate the entrepreneurial spirit, especially among young people.
Formed in 2008 the Bermuda Host Committee is made up of the BEDC, Youth Entrepreneurship Initiative of Bermuda (registered charity no. 616) and the Department of ICT Policy & Innovation. The Committee acts with the common goal of inspiring the new generation of entrepreneurs and creative thinkers