'Just because you wander, doesn't mean you're lost'

HIEC Frames the "5 Engage Principles" - Focus on the Journey, Follow your Heart, Access your Allies, Change is Constant, Learning is On-Going

WACC 2006 Photo
Women as Career Coaches gives young women the opportunity to learn about careers and pathways through mentoring.

Women as Career Coaches (WACC) has another successfull and well recieved year! Young women need access to adult role models who are willing to share their career pathways and encourage the goals and dreams of youth. Women as Career Coaches is designed to involve a variety of women from different occupational pathways to encourage and help young women become better informed about the variety of options available to them in the world of work. Female mentors represented all career sectors acted as career coaches to empower the young women who attened the event to take control of their futures and become better informed about their career options.

WACC 2006 was an opportunity for 166 young women from the Halton Catholic District School Board and Halton District School Board to interact with 182 adult women who shared their experience with a variety of exciting and interesting careers. Student participants ranged from Grades 9 - 12, pursuing a variety of post-secondary pathways (work, university, college and apprenticeship). Some of the students in attendance were aware of the occupational direction they intended to follow, while others were still exploring their options. Attendees had the opportunity to speak with female mentors from multiple sectors who acted as career coaches to empower young women to learn about the numerous career pathways available to them and take control of their futures. Women as Career Coaches celebrates women - their goals, pathways, and accomplishments.

WACC 2006 Photo
Keynote Speaker Michelle Dagnino founder of YouthActivism.ca

The Keynote Speaker Michelle Dagnino is a young social justice advocate, speaker, and author. She has a law degree and Master's in political science. Michelle has spoken on youth issues around the world. Her focus is to teach young people critical thinking and media literacy skills, build solidarity across different social movements, and create leadership opportunities for youth from marginalized communities. She is the coordinator of the national for youth, by youth non-profit organization Youth Action Network.

With her powerful sense in youth pro-activity she gave a moving keynote speech focusing on a few key points. Showcasing to the youth how they can make a difference by getting involved in their community. She demonstrated the importance of mentoring. Empowered women to think critically, and to be media literate and aware of what is going on around them (world issues)

Throughout the course of the evening, attendees heard from 6 different "Spotlight Speakers" who told their stories and explained their pathways in terms of the Engage Principles. Spotlight speakers included:

  • Cheryl Pounder - Team Canada, Women's Hockey
  • Jill Rydall - Certified Carpenter and Instructor at the Centre for Skills Development & Training
  • Patrice Shennette - Regional Manager, MRSI
  • Melanie Robert - Senior Ministry Liaison Officer, Communications Services, Cabinet Office, Queen's Park
  • Ann Robertson - Constable, Halton Regional Police Service
  • Tosca Reno - Oxygen Magazine and Professional Body Builder

The spotlight speakers had a huge impact on the audience. Although there was a range of speakers, which included different ages, post-secondary destinations and interests, one thing all the women had in common was that their career journeys did not follow a straight path. All of the spotlight speakers were open in discussing how their career paths had taken them in many directions and how each of them had come up against different obstacles and challenges over the course of their journey.

The openness and honesty demonstrated by the spotlight speakers was extremely well received. The spotlights created a sense of empowerment and reassured students who were feeling pressure to make decisions that would impact the rest of their lives. Many students commented on how they were relieved to know that they could change their career directions as they navigated through their own career journeys. The spotlights also reaffirmed the theme of the evening, 'Just because you wander, doesn't mean you're lost'.

With the spotlight and keynote speakers leaving the audience moved and empowered the evening concluded as another greatly successfull year. Here is a testomonial of enthusiastic attendee that enjoyed the evening:

WACC 2006 Photo
The Interactive Identity mural by local artist Debbie Shannon

"Here is a huge thank you from the career coaches and students from Aldershot High School who participated in the Women as Career Coaches event on Wednesday. It was wonderful! To sit in a room with so many successful, creative, innovative and positive women did wonders for my outlook. It enthused my Careers class yesterday, and many of the girls are interested in attending next year's dinner already. I will sign up to participate again as soon as I can! I found the spotlight speakers and the interaction at the table to be very positive for the students I was sitting with. They were especially excited to meet Cheryl Pounder and get her autograph. I was pleased to hear Jill Rydall's story, and spoke with her afterwards to mention that I'm also from the Sault where she started her career. I hope she'll be able to come to speak to my Careers class next term. In fact, I networked with a few of the Career Coaches who are willing to come to the classroom, so thank you for enabling those connections! Please pass on my thanks to the rest of your team. I'd like them all to know what a positive evening it was for us" → Teacher