Written by Carol Schulte
There was a buzz in the air. Excited, impressively-dressed, eager women were entering into the regal Canadiana room at The Fairmont Royal York Hotel. Hugging, smiling, giggling… holding their beautifully overflowing swag bags, they were ready for day one of the Summit. It was the first time in three years this community of brilliant, creative, ambitious women would be together in person; you just knew it was going to be a special few days.
The key lessons shared from each of the presenters were beyond tweetable – they were screensaver deserving mantras and billboard-worthy slogans.
Whether it was learning to have the ‘Chadacity’ (Vivian Kaye) to be bold and ask for what we want (Erica Ehm), or being courageous enough to show up for ourselves (Kendra Fisher), bet on ourselves, and take the plunge to push publish (Sarah Nicole Landry), there was something each attendee needed to hear.
So many valuable lessons and juicy nuggets shared around everything that matters in life – health and wellness, careers and leadership, family, self-care, personal development – covering topics such as mindset, authenticity, vulnerability, and beliefs, especially the belief in oneself. And amongst these many gems, some powerful themes emerged…
They (whoever they are!) say confidence is the most attractive thing a woman can wear. I just might agree, and yet it’s not always an accessible item of clothing in the closet! Confidence is super important if you want to show up as your most powerful self in the world, reach out to that person you know could help you out, or start that business you’ve always dreamed of starting. However, it’s important to remember you can’t wait until you feel the confidence before you take that first step of action, or else you’ll never start!
It’s about believing in yourself. Erica Ehm reminded us if we don’t believe in ourselves, no one else will. And it’s also about not caring what others think. Easier said than done, and luckily we have our whole lives to be a work in progress. As Sonia Zarbatany shared, quoting The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz, ‘What anyone thinks of you is none of your business.’ This was a theme on the body confidence panel, also. Confidence is about feeling comfortable in your own skin, accepting all of your imperfections and loving yourself in spite of them, coming home to you.
Perhaps in the same family as confidence, let’s say the feistier younger sister, is courage. Like confidence, it’s rarely a feeling… if you wait to take action before you feel ready, you may never take that first step. Courage is action, as Sarah Nicole Landry shared from the stage, and sometimes that action is about being true to you, and honouring what you need. The most vulnerable talk, leaving us all in tears, was from Kendra Fisher. She shared her struggles with mental health throughout her life, and how the biggest and most important lesson she learned was to have the courage to truly show up for herself.
Rachael-Lea Rickards also shared her powerful story, and how she chose to move her pain into purpose, which led to the creation of Real Talk Candles. Her journey forced her to learn how to stand up for herself and go after her dreams, when everyone around was trying to steer her in the opposite direction. And while her courage may not have been there right from the beginning, with each step she took, it grew and grew. Courage is contagious.
Also important within the courage conversation is vulnerability. It is courageous to be vulnerable, and all of the women superstars on the stage both spoke about, and demonstrated, that exact fact. We need more vulnerability in this world. It makes you more relatable, and more human.
From the moment you entered the lobby, the incredible sense of community could be seen and felt all around, so it’s hard not to talk about. Many of the speakers mentioned the role that support played in getting to where they are, and beyond the stage it was even more evident. You could feel it in the hugs and the laughter and the genuine connection taking place in the audience, in the hallway, even in the bathrooms. If it takes a village to raise a child, it also takes a village to help build your business or become the leader you were meant to be. And the RevolutionHer community is one darned powerful, yet extremely welcoming, village.
Before sharing some of the key messages I took from all of the experts and also panelists over the two days (the conversations that took place on all three panels – leadership, body confidence, and healthy living – were real and raw and ridiculously relatable… and I’m not just saying that having had the honour of moderating one of them!) I also want to acknowledge the awesomeness happening all around. Each of the exhibitors in the women-owned marketplace worked so hard throughout the Summit to give us special treats and sips, showcasing so many inspiring goods that were not only creative and clever, but also making a difference in the world.
A special kudos to Paul, who worked harder than all of us, keeping our caffeine buzz at bay brewing up fancy coffees and teas at the UPS International Lounge Café all Summit long.
And of course, I would be remiss not to mention the vision, the brilliance, and the blood, sweat and tears behind this Summit and the movement, Maria Locker and her trusty sidekick Grace Moores. These two clearly worked tirelessly to put together something special for the RevolutionHer Summit 2022, the first time in person in three years. It’s pretty safe to say they nailed it.
Alright, leaving you with a final stream of inspiring consciousness, taken from the talks both on and off the stage. I hope even one thought resonates with you, and I dare you to try it on as a new mantra for a while…
What would Chad do? You’re never too old and it’s never too late. Ask for what you want. Be bold. Be you. Vulnerability is a power, not a weakness. Confidence is an action. Love is an action. Always do the right thing. Take your pain and transform it to your purpose. You get in life what you have the courage to ask for. Say no to everything that doesn’t align with your goals and desires. It’s not about finding yourself, it’s about coming home to yourself. Make it fun! Take the plunge to push publish. Be real, be vulnerable, be you. What anybody thinks of you is none of your business. Bet on yourself. Show up for yourself. Believe in yourself or no one else will.
Once you learn something new, you can’t unlearn it. And if you want to integrate it, you have to take action. Take one small step of action, and you’ll join the revolution of extraordinary women living extraordinary lives. While not always easy, you will never fail as long as you try. And besides, you just might find out you can do what you never thought possible… or maybe what you knew was possible all along.
I’m looking forward to seeing you at next year’s Summit!
Founder of The Brave Initiative, Carol Schulte has been empowering international audiences for almost a decade. She holds a BFA in Theatre Performance, an MA in Communication, and two postgraduate certificates in coaching and mentoring. She has worked with numerous Fortune 500 companies, International Associations, and thousands of individuals to ‘get their brave on!’ Whether it be asking for a raise or promotion, nailing a presentation, or climbing Africa’s highest peak, her clients attribute her insights and inspiration to achieving what they never thought possible. She is also the creator of a new community, Brave Beyond Diagnosis, empowering women living with a mental health illness. Having lived in 16 countries, including Ashrams in India and vans in New Zealand, shaved her head, and bungee jumped in her birthday suit, Carol walks her talk and brings a global perspective to all she does. Multi-passionate, she’s also a volunteer counsellor, triathlete, and serious carpool karaoke-er!