Oakville North-Burlington Inaugural Young Women in Leadership Program

Young Women in Leadership Program Oakville Fire
Oakville North-Burlington Inaugural Young Women in Leadership Program
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Pam Damoff

Pam Damoff

Pam Damoff, a politician, community activist and business professional with over 25 years’ corporate experience on Bay Street, was elected to represent the riding of Oakville North-Burlington in the House of Commons in the 2015 federal election. Prior to the election, Pam served as an Oakville Town Councillor from 2010-2015.

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Inaugural Young Women in Leadership Program (YWIL) was hosted last week, which offered young women in Oakville North-Burlington and across Halton an opportunity to job-shadow in a local business, agency, organization, or government office.

The YWIL program was designed to create opportunities for young women to participate in a job-shadow to increase their knowledge and understanding of career options, develop specific skills that employers look for and build confidence in professional environments.

I’m committed to creating leadership opportunities for women and girls by fostering systemic change and providing forums for female voices to be heard. As Vice Chair of the Standing Committee on the Status of Women, MP Damoff is keenly aware of the need to ensure girls are afforded equal opportunities for education, job training and access to fair employment.

From May 23-26, 2017 mentors from various local businesses and organizations were paired with mentees who are in high school, college, university or new to the work force. Participants were matched with an organization that relates to their career interests and aspirations, from firefighting to police services, medicine, politics, industrial, not for profit, business services and more.

I had the pleasure of visiting many participants in their placements throughout the week and was impressed by how engaged the students were in the experience. I was so inspired all week by Halton’s generous leaders who volunteered to mentor young women in their workplaces. Our mentors provided so many fantastic opportunities for young women to explore careers they are interested in and observe strong, influential female leaders at work in our community. Many of our mentors told me they plan to stay in touch with their shadow student as they prepare for future careers.

Young Women in Leadership Reception Oakville North-Burlington

Young Women in Leadership Reception in Oakville North-Burlington

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On Thursday evening the YWIL program hosted a reception and roundtable discussion for all participants at St. Luke’s Community Centre in Oakville. Leading roundtable panelists Dr. Aliya Khan, Professor of Clinical Medicine at the Bone Research and Education Centre, Maria Thomas, VP, Distribution Operations at UPS, Dr. Rina Carlini, CEO and President of Haltech, Jan Kasperski, CEO of the Ontario Psychological Association and Merissa Preston from LiUNA Local 506 Training Centre in a discussion on the value of women in the workplace.

Over 45 Halton area organizations hosted over 50 young women in their workplaces as part of the YWIL program. Organizations that participated in the inaugural program include: Halton Healthcare, UPS, Comtek, Ontario Psychological Association, Halton Women’s Place, Burlington Economic Development Corporation, Widex, Berry Gage Family Law, FTC, Oakville Hydro, Haltech, SAVIS, Halton Multicultural Council, Oakville Soccer Club, Oakville Fire Department, United Way of Halton and Hamilton, Joseph Brant Hospital, Oakville and Milton Humane Society, Big Brother Big Sister, Palermo Dental, Sheridan College Animation Program, and area MPP’s and town councils.

Yusra Hassan, a McMaster University student who was mentored by employees at Sheddon Physiotherapy, was very impressed with the program. “I wanted to thank you and all of Ms. Damoff’s team once again for this amazing ‘Young Women in Leadership’ program that you organized,” she wrote. “This unique initiative was one of the most valuable career-related experiences I have had. I truly appreciate Ms. Damoff’s commitment to being a part of the systemic change in fostering a platform for young women to succeed. It is very clear that this team has a strong value for the youth and I am excited to stay in touch and up to date with future projects.”

In addition to Yusra’s letter, the Federal Oakville North-Burlington office has already received calls from organizations and young women who wish to participate in next year’s YWIL program.

Young women are eager for opportunities to grow their confidence and competence in workplaces. They want to be leaders in industry and in our communities. Our participants were so engaged, so excited and so appreciative of the chance to participate in the program that they inspired their mentors to consider ways in which they can empower more women to lean in and take leadership roles in their organizations.

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