A made-in-Hamilton event commemorating International Women’s Day (Sunday, March 8, 2020) will celebrate the successes and entrepreneurial spirit of women in our city.
The ninth annual Success in the City (SITC)will be held this year on March 4 at Carmen’s Banquet Centre and will feature a panel of local leaders, entrepreneurs, and business owners, an inspirational speaker, a celebrity keynote speaker and a trade show with a number of local vendors.
“This is the largest event in the area to celebrate women in business,” said Hamilton Business Centre business development officer and SITC co-ordinator Dragica Lebo.
“We get more than 200 women in one room, sharing their unique experiences, challenges and successes.”
HGTV’s Sarah Baeumler will be delivering the keynote address and Jessica Potts, president of the Niagara-based Inspired Strategy Group, will kick the day off with a motivational speech.
Attendees will also have the opportunity to chat with panellists, organizers and presenters throughout the event.
The trade show component is particularly special in this event because it’s where women get up close and personal with other women who are innovating and leading successful endeavours.
“It’s an opportunity for participants to share their accomplishments and what they’ve learned over the years to get where they are today,” Lebo said.
A Dynamic Women’s Panel is also part of the experience and features a number of local businesswomen and non-profit leaders who will be discussing their successes in doing business in Hamilton.
“We need to combat this idea that women in business have to run with the boys to be successful,” said first-time panellist and owner of The PipeLine Hamilton, Alison Pipe.
She said that it’s not uncommon to find women out-working men and getting less credit for it.
“It’s time for us to stop playing in the shallow end,” Pipe said. “Female entrepreneurs and Hamilton are making waves and we’re diving deep.”
One of the things Pipe hopes attendees leave SITC with is the knowledge that there are endless resources out there to support entrepreneurs and new businesses.
“Hamilton’s Business Resource Centre provides incredible support and guidance,” she said. “They know the right resources and they have a very knowledgeable staff.”
Another first-time panellist, Sonia Kumar-Seguin, hopes women will leave the event knowing that we’re all in this together.
“There are ways to support each other,” Kumar-Seguin, who is the executive director of Body Brave. “This type of event helps spread that awareness.”
Wellness and success can sometimes seem contradictory in a business setting but Kumar-Seguin says the two don’t have to be mutually exclusive — in fact, they go hand in hand.
“It’s really important for strong, successful women to be aware of their mental health,” she said. “Take care of yourself. It can only be good for your business.”
Both Pipe and Kumar-Seguin have drawn much inspiration from a number of local women and businesses.
For Pipe, the passion of the owners of Relax Beauty Bar has helped her refine her approach to business.
“I meet with a lot of start-ups and they are always inspiring,” she said.
For Kumar-Seguin, she pointed to many non-profit and business leaders but singled out one local entrepreneur in particular.
Jaime Drayer, a Hamilton designer, maker and owner of Kitties and Cabernet, is not only a friend, Kumar-Seguin says, but a source of “great inspiration” and strength.
While SITC is intended to celebrate the success of women in our community, organizers hope to draw more men to the event because it’s an opportunity for them to gain a unique perspective on business.
“We strongly encourage men to come to the show,” said Lebo. “It’s a great opportunity to network and to build connections.”
At the end of the day, Lebo, who has been working on this event since its infancy, says the hope is that attendees leave feeling uplifted.
“We want to encourage the audience to be the best versions of themselves and not give up and work hard to get to where they want to go,” she said. “And be inspired to work together to make Hamilton the best city to live work and play in.”
Registration for the all-day event ends Friday (Feb. 28) so those interested in attending need to move quickly. Registration information can be found here.
Photo courtesy the Hamilton Business Centre Facebook page