Two Port aux Basques Women were among the 850 attendees of the first ever Ovations Forum in St. John’s on Jan. 17.
© submitted photo
Charlene Blackmore with NDP leader Lorraine Michael at Ovations.
Chamber of commerce president Karren Herridge-Strickland and Charlene Blackmore, circulation manager at The Gulf News, attended the event which brought women together to discuss and celebrate the accomplishments of women in this province.
Herridge-Strickland said her daughter, Cassie Strickland, was able to get a ticket at the last moment. Strickland is studying Kinesiology at Memorial University.
She said it was an inspiring event and she was glad to be able to share the experience with her daughter.
The day started with a welcome for everyone attending, followed by a forum and a then a banquet.
The meet and greet during the welcome gave Blackmore and Herridge-Strickland a chance to meet a lot of business owners and entrepreneurs from around the province.
“It was one of the better conferences I have ever attended,” said Herridge-Strickland.
The forum consisted of eight women discussing issues. Among the panelists were Zoë Yujnovich, president and CEO of the Iron Ore Company of Canada, and Dr. Susan Knight, Chancellor of Memorial University.
Strickland said Yujnovich made the biggest impression on her given her ability to balance family life and managing a major mining company.
For Blackmore, Jackie Thompson, Executive Director of the Central Status of Women Council, delivered an inspiring talk.
“She was very passionate about her work, and she talked about how many women she had helped came back to thank her and tell her success stories,” said Blackmore.
Herridge-Strickland said Premier Dunderdale addressed all the women at the banquet as sisters, and a feeling of camaraderie spread through the crowd by the end of the night.
“I think it was the camaraderie that went on around the tables that impressed me the most. Everybody was talking to each other like we knew each other all our lives,” she said.
Blackmore took the opportunity to sit down and chat with NDP Leader Lorraine Michael during the banquet.
“I introduced myself and told her where she was from and she told me she taught in the Codroy Valley for a year. So she knew the area,” said Blackmore. “She was very affable and we had a pleasant conversation.”
Blackmore said the spirit of the conference was to inspire women to be active in the community and lead where they can.
“It’s given me more confidence to pursue more leadership roles, or volunteer more.”
Both Herridge-Strickland and Blackmore were able to attend with travel bursaries provided by the event sponsors and the Provincial Advisory Council on the Status of Women.
Blackmore said she would encourage any woman to apply for the travel bursary if another event is held in coming years.