Annual Symposium Celebrates Women in Leadership

MTM workshop experts on stage

By Neil Armstrong  

While many Canadians were out and about outdoors for the Victoria Day long weekend, several women gathered in Brampton and Toronto for the ninth annual “Meet the Motivators” which celebrated women in leadership.

Jacqueline Dixon, a certified sales professional, television host, and founder of Meet the Motivators Inc., described the two-day symposium as a transformative and unforgettable experience paying tribute to the indomitable spirit and remarkable achievements of women in leadership. She said it provided valuable skills, insights, and connections to help ensure personal and professional success.

Sophia Findlay talks style

The event took place on May 18 at Sheridan College Davis Campus in Brampton, Ontario, with workshops and expert panels; and on May 19, a gala featuring keynote speaker certified financial planner Pattie Lovett-Reid was held at the Woodbine Banquet Hall in Etobicoke. The aim is to inspire and empower women and girls to pursue leadership roles within their communities and careers. 

Among the presenters was Sophia Findlay, the Gleaner’s Canada-based journalist, advertising executive, and custom content curator and CEO of her own media agency, Sophia Findlay Unlimited.

Findlay, a personal stylist and personal branding strategist, hosted “Elevate Your Style: A Workshop on Dressing for Success & Personal Branding” which drew an engaging and interactive audience.

From left Sophia Findlay David McTeague and Sandra Sylburne

Curating content, through writing, storytelling, styling, photography, and sales, are her passions. Her business, Sophia Findlay Unlimited has many elements that serves different areas of her expertise, such as content curation, style consultancy, content brand, and photography.

Findlay is a strong advocate for women and children and instigates narratives journalistically on these topics. She is outgoing, and as a lifestyle connoisseur with her Sofi Style column, which appears on radio, online and in print media, her interests are varied, but singles out a strong tie to community.

Like the other presenters at the symposium, she received a letter of commendation from Premier Doug Ford who noted that: “Women play a vital role in building dynamic and prosperous societies. Know that the time, talent, and positive energy you shared have helped build a better and brighter world for women and girls. By working together, we are helping build a world of opportunity and achievement for the next generation of women leaders and changemakers. You’re a true champion and an all-star.”

Findlay also received an award plaque for her participation in this year’s event.

The activities on the first day included a panel discussion with female members of Peel Police Force; “Empowerability: Thriving Beyond Disability” by partner and CEO at Prime Health Care Inc., Inga Tkachenko Ramage; and “Breaking Free: A Workshop on Overcoming Narcissistic Relationships” by author and speaker, Sandy Maeck.

From left: Jean Augustine, Andria Case and Jacqueline Dixon

The others were: “Unveiling Resilience: Strategies for Overcoming & Thriving Beyond Trauma” by certified grief educator, Nichole Samuels-Bell; “Women in Skilled Trades” by Tisha Grant aka The ContractHer and Desiree Smith, The Floor Diva: “Inspire & Thrive: “Motivational Workshop for Cultivating Positivity & Success” by president of Sharma-Singh Immigration Inc, Mala Sharma-Singh; “Healing Hearts: Empowering Women’s Journey to Overcoming Love Addiction,” by mental health professional, Donna Campbell: “Global Connect: A Networking Workshop for New Immigrants” by community advocate and political advisor, Jenny Kalimbet; and “Pitch Perfect: Mastering the Art of Persuasion and Closing Deals” by – president and CEO of New Era Communications, Jacqueline Dixon.

During the “Lunch and Learn” on the first day, the women represented by the Carpenters and Allied Workers Local 27, demonstrated their skills in carpentry and tiling floors.

The second day featured high-level talks with women leaders in politics and media. Among them were award-winning TV host Nneka Elliot, CTV News anchor Andria Case, and Dr. Jean Augustine, the first elected Black female Member of Parliament and the first Black woman in Cabinet. Popular motivational speaker, three-time former Golden Glove Champion and Canadian Boxing Hall of Fame 1996 inductee Spider Jones also shared an inspirational message.

Case was the recipient of the lifetime achievement award. She was born in England to Jamaican parents, spent her early years there before moving to Canada where she studied journalism and advertising at Ryerson University in Toronto, now Toronto Metropolitan University.

The event was in support of The Resilient Woman Program, a monthly mastermind workshop aimed at developing female leaders within grassroots communities who have faced various hardships.

Flow 98.7 FM provided live coverage of the first day and the second day concluded with a Flow Dance Party. Entertainment included performances from Sunday Singers, The “Quincy Bullen” Band featuring Belinda Brady, Hips Don’t Lie dance group and a fashion show by 6ix Element Designers.

Meet the Motivators is an incorporated not-for-profit organization led by a board of directors and an organizing team of approximately 30 volunteers. It showcases an inclusive collaboration of female leaders representing a myriad of ethnic and cultural backgrounds.