The Inspiring Women Conference on Feb. 6 kicked off at the Stockade Convention Centre with a panel of local women sharing stories of challenge and triumph. From left is Marjorie Nattress, Chelsea Steinley, Billi Miller and Angela Rooks-Trotzak who spoke about the Interval Home. GEOFF LEE LLS PHOTO
More than 300 women picked up the inspiration mantle at the Inspiring Women Conference and ran with it.
The event held at the Stockade Convention Centre on Feb. 6 left women in attendance with a feeling of empowerment during a day of personal and professional development, organized by KT& Co.
The conference kicked off with a panel discussion of local women sharing personal stories of challenge and triumph.
“There is a lot of women that have great stories and lots to offer,” said Kelly Sidoryk, who co-owns KT with Terra Weaver.
“If we can find a way to showcase that, we think it’s very inspiring for other women.”
One of the panelists who shared her story was Lloydminster mom Chelsea Steinley, who decided to return to school at age 31 to follow her heart.
She said she felt stagnant in her former administrative job and decided it was time for a change.
“I realized I really enjoy working with kids—I’m not sure why I didn’t realize that sooner, so I decided to get my education degree,” she said.
“I thought it would be fun to coach my kids through their high school years and get summers off with them; it was a good fit.”
She is now in her second year of a Bachelor of Education degree at Lakeland College where she helped the Rustlers women’s volleyball team win a national title in 2017.
She chalks up her success to the amazing support she receives from those around her, led by her family.
“My husband had always thought I should be a teacher,” she said.
“He knew it before I did, so he was really happy about the change and the opportunity.”
Steinley said the message behind her own story is that if there is something calling for you, why not go after it.
“Life is short, but it doesn’t mean to have to make a decision at 21 and stick to it the rest of your life,” she said.
She said what’s neat about the conference is that it brings women together to try to inspire each other, lift each other up, and be supportive of one another.
“I think it’s really important in a community,” said Steinley.
The conference goal of inspiring women included three break out sessions, including a motivational session called the Identity Project with Jessie Mann and Kristen Traverse.
The goal was aimed to provide women with a more meaningful, happy way to look at adversity.
There was also a financial breakout called Girls Just Wanna Have Funds presented by Servus Credit and Synergy Credit Union on subjects such as saving, investments and life insurance.
Jackie Gaff and Joelle Fournier from Servus Sports Centre teamed up for a Fit Myths talk about women’s health and wellness.
Rachel Milken, CEO and founder of Hillberg & Berk in Regina, was the keynote speaker who shared how she got started in the jewelry business.
Her amibition opened opportunities for her company with the Oscars, Dragons’s Den, the Olympics and Queen Elizabeth II.
More importantly for conference goers, Milken made herself available to help other women find their confidence and flourish.
That’s the type of inspiration message that Corine Price and her colleagues from the Lloydminster Chamber of Commerce were hoping to get from the conference.
“We all came hoping to be inspired by some really admirable women who have done some great things in their life,” said Price, who is an administrative assistant at the chamber.
“Maybe we can learn from them and take something home from them.”
Kathy Paniak from Quintessential Designs, one of the conference sponsors, said it’s all about being inspired by a bunch of great women in our community.
She singled out panelist Billi Miller, a successful local author and photographer who didn’t have a vanilla life or background.
“I met Billi five minutes before she presented and I had no idea that was the type of person and background she came from— I was truly touched by her story,” said Paniak.
Carol Weiss, a market partner for Monat Global hair care, said she attended the conference for the first time last year and went home exhilarated.
“It just fed my soul in a different way,” she said.
“So often as women we don’t get a lot of support in what we do, but this is aimed for women and it just really helps us.”
She said the lesson learned is to just persevere like these women.
“They stepped out of their comfort zone and away they went,” said Weiss.