Run The World held their first ever Self Made Summit on Saturday, September 24th of 2022, at Square One Mall in Mississauga, Ontario. It was a full day focusing on conversations that matter, including panel discussions that touched on the impact of the pandemic, mental health, entrepreneurship, and women empowerment with speakers and celebrities speaking about being self-made.
It was a sunny Saturday morning when I got to the event, a nice warm sun was coming through the glass ceiling and flooding the event area. Beautiful tables were set with breakfast items like coffee, blueberry muffins, and my favorite, a donut acrylic wall. I took my coffee and muffin and quickly went to one of the tall breakfast tables, where everything started. I reached out to different women to start a conversation and ask about their businesses. It was a great place to network, meet new women and share information about our business and the work of like-minded women.
Attending entrepreneurs, speakers, tv personnel, and changemakers throughout the different panel discussions was inspiring. Seeing other ambitious and goal-oriented women on stage speak about empowerment, while focused on how can we help each other grow, develop and become better was the highlight of the day.
For a South-American immigrant (from Brazil) like myself, you can imagine the admiration that I felt for all these women that spoke at the Self-Made Summit? It was a life-changing experience, an empowering moment that I’ve never felt regarding my gender throughout my life. Why is female empowerment important? These and many other important conversations regarding our financial estate, and the fact that 80% of women will die alone in life, whereas 80% of men will die with their spouse on their side. Yes, we live longer lives, and I think I never realized how important it is to think about how I want to spend the last years of my life, with financial security and peace of mind, like any other retired person in Canada.
So, let me put on my boss's shoes for an instant, I want to understand how my thinking process now as a self-made female entrepreneur will guide my business to a more stable and consistent financial situation that will provide me a much more peaceful life until after my retirement. Is it too far to think about retirement when in Canadian society, in big cities like Toronto, women are already half the workforce but making at least $10 dollars less for the same work than a man? What does that statistic look like for self-made women starting small businesses? What is the best way to deal with our business issues, to secure our growth and market competitiveness?
“I can only imagine the complexity of being a self-made business owner and I have only admiration for this kind of woman, I don't even say strong women because that is a synonym for me, we are all strong women.” - Juliana
One of the start keynote speakers, Deepti Vempati, a participant in the Netflix series "Love is Blind" asked the audience to contemplate, why is it so important to CHOOSE MYSELF before others? And why do we need to be more conscious of our skills and values and to know that they deserve the same compensation and validation as the men get. We should choose ourselves every day of our lives, because this way we will be better to take care of others, and we will be able to be our best selves.
Woman's bodies pass through important steps in life as explained by Alicia Robertson and Radhika Lakhani, different from men, and some life events make it harder for us to manage our careers or small business. Dealing with pregnancy, losses, and divorce is different for women as we are hit harder financially too.
Noora Sharrab, our Sitti Social Enterprise co-founder, with Huda Alvi, Jennifer Monaco, and Ashley Wright spoke about Female Fortune and shared useful resources and tips on how to proceed regarding grants and government funds. The panel touched on taking control of your finances and being ready to plan out and prepare not just your business financials but also preparing yourself for long-term financial success by taking small steps toward investment.
The event finale was with celebrity, Grammy Award Winner & Mental Health Advocate Michelle Williams. As Michelle Williams explained, it’s important that we do the best that we can, even when we are not the center of the spotlight. She touched on how we can lift our peer female business while we are the best version of ourselves. By listening to our gut, we can also address our mental health and know that we are capable of great things, once we are honest and realize our intentions, desires, and capabilities. Williams emphasized how we need to “check-in” before our body and mind “checks-out”. By having a balance in our life and listening to our bodies, we need to remember that we may not always reach a balance in life, but rather the only constant in life is that everything changes, evolves, and transforms, like us, women.
RTW has grown to host over 100 pop-ups and networking events while empowering and inspiring over forty thousand women globally. Run The World is now an event and career platform that highlights and supports female-founded businesses. A female village of support that we appreciate with all our hearts.
About the Author: Juliana Camargo is Sitti Visual Communications Designer. Her background is in Architecture but she loves everything about design and communications in general. With an Advanced Graphic Design Certification from George Brown College, she has been working with Sitti for the past 2 years and touched many different parts of our brand, online presence, and project coordination.