WACC 2010 Welcome Screen

Young Women Use Their Imaginations to Dream Big at Sixth Annual
Women As Career Coaches Event with guest Jeanne Beker

WACC 2010

HALTON, ON - On March 25, 2010 the Halton Industry Education Council (HIEC) hosted the sixth annual Women as Career Coaches (WACC) event with special guest and 'fashion guru extraordinaire' Jeanne Beker. The high energy event began when emcee Pooja Handa, broadcast writer for CP24, took the stage to welcome more than 650 attendees, made up of high school students and adult women - the evening's career coaches - there to take part in an inspirational evening of intergenerational mentorship.

"What a celebration of women, and an extremely powerful gathering to share accomplishments, inspiration and laughter," said one Career Coach. "I was impressed and proud to be a woman, and thrilled to be part of such an amazing event." When asked what they learned from this experience, one student attendee replied that she was "inspired to go out and do something with my life and keep pursuing my passion."

During the evening both students and career coaches were able to participate in an interactive art display with artist Debbe Shannon and listen to many fascinating spotlight speakers talk about their career journeys. The night's spotlight speakers were four women from diverse career backgrounds who shared their stories with the attendees. Among them was Mary Anne Gage, who talked about her career path and her passion of being a women's hockey referee. By dreaming big, Mary Anne's hobby took her to the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympic Games where she refereed one of the women's hockey games - a dream come true for her.

Attendees also took part in table discussions about career paths, personal dreams and life lessons. The evening came to a close with the help of the highly anticipated guest speaker Jeanne Beker, longtime host of FashionTelevision and one of the most iconic and influential women in the fashion industry. Jeanne took the guests on a journey as she discussed her career path and how being "fearless" helped her get to where she is today. Jeanne's message to the young women in the audience was clear, "you've got to dream, never give up and always believe."

WACC was created through the shared belief that young women need access to adult role models who are willing to share their career pathways, encourage positive self-esteem and promote the goals and dreams of youth. The program works by bringing together adult women from diverse backgrounds in the workforce, and female students, grades 9 through 12, who are exploring their career options. The night's program was built on the theme of imagine, and WACC's key message - 'just because you wander, doesn't mean you're lost' - which struck a cord with the student attendees, who left with a sense of newfound courage and strength.

HIEC would like to thank the many sponsors and supporters of WACC, including event partners the Ontario Women's Directorate and the Ontario Trillium Foundation. Their generosity and support helped WACC inspire so many students and adults in the Halton community. To learn more about WACC and HIEC's many other programs, please click here.