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November 15 – 17 in Ottawa and Gatineau. Founded by the Vancouver mother-daughter team, Laurie Sterritt and Nicole Taylor-Sterritt, the inaugural IWLS summit was created to bring women together to build a network of future leaders and offer a platform for sharing stories and lessons. More than 300 Indigenous women who lead at all levels are expected to attend, ranging from entrepreneurs, business leaders, educators, politicians and community leaders.

In the age of Reconciliation, everyone is looking for ways to include Indigenous women in a culture that has often been absent of them. Indigenous women make up 4% of the total female population in Canada, and yet, less than 1% are represented in senior leadership and board roles. They remain woefully underrepresented in corporate Canada.

"It’s time to change the story about Indigenous women in Canada," says Laurie Sterritt, a member of the Kispiox Band of the Gitxsan Nation. "Indigenous women face greater challenges in career and business development than other women. They face the same barriers as other women, but with additional challenges and expectations. As they take on more leadership positions in their communities, educational institutions, politics and business, providing support networks and professional development opportunities is critical to their success. It is imperative that we provide learning opportunities as Indigenous women become more integrated as major decision-makers influencing the economy."

Recognizing a lack of professional development activities and leadership and networking events geared toward Indigenous women, Sterritt believes the Summit will help women gather new insights and resources to step forward with confidence as they face their next leadership challenges. "This is an intentional effort to uplift Indigenous women who lead and improve their participation in the economy in every sector and profession," she says. "Indigenous women have always been leaders and it’s time for them to take back their natural role as decision makers and influencers."

A quick glance at the extensive speaker list highlights the remarkable success of Indigenous women at the top of their fields in medicine, construction, energy and aviation, including a Mohawk Olympian, an Inuk cardiac surgeon and a Metis pilot with her own airline. "By sharing the success stories of Indigenous women who lead at all levels, we will be busting stereotypes and shining the light on possibilities for the next generation," says Sterritt.

The IWLS Summit will offer a unique forum for presentations, panels, group exercises and workshops on topics such as leadership, business management and career development. Chénchenstway—the Squamish verb meaning to uphold one another—is the theme of the Summit, and its spirit and intent will be infused through every exercise, workshop and presentation.

Media are invited to attend the Summit at the Canadian Museum of History on November 15 and 16, from 8:00 am – 5:00 pm and the IWLS Reception at the Delta Ottawa City Centre, November 15 at 6:00 pm.
Please RSVP to indigenouswomenlead@gmail.com to attend.
For more details on #IWLS2018: https://www.iwls.ca/
Speaker list: https://www.iwls.ca/speakers

SOURCE Indigenous Women’s Leadership Summit

For further information: Media Contact: Laurie Sterritt, founder, LaurieSterritt@gmail.com, 778-838-4569

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