Women Share Leadership Stories
Prince George, B.C. – When it comes to women in positions of power, northern BC is very well represented.
The Community Development Institute (CDI) demonstrated that by putting together an impressive panel of successful women at UNBC Monday called ‘Women in Leadership: Man, They’re Good!”
It featured Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training Shirley Bond, Stephanie Killam, former mayor of Mackenzie, Prince George City Councillor Jillian Merrick, and local entrepreneur Shauna Harper.
The discussion allowed the participants to discuss how they came to their positions and the challenges it’s brought them.
“I didn’t sit at home and think I’d become Attorney General of B.C.,” said Bond. “This was not something I aspired or planned to do. It came as the result of doors opening. It’s not about competence, it’s about opportunities.”
Jillian Merrick added, “I don’t think before I do it. I just do it. Success for me is creating space for the next person.”
“I wanted to make a difference,” added Killam, who noted her positivity helped her community weather an economic downturn along the way. “I had to learn to have big shoulders, thick skin and stay positive.”
Harper noted she came from a family of strong women but said it wasn’t until she moved to Prince George seven years ago that she rediscovered that voice.
“I never saw myself championing women leadership. Coming to Prince George, people have helped me rediscover it.”
CDI co-director Marleen Morris told the audience that when it comes to women’s leadership, “northern BC can stand up and be counted.”
For instance, she said about one-third of northern mayors are women (compared to just 17% in Metro Vancouver), 43% of MLAs on the government side are female (33% on the opposition side) and women lead a number of key organizations, including Northern Health and Northern Development Trust.