By Karen Cook
“You’ve come a long way, baby” could be the catch phrase for the 2007 Women and Wellness Conference.
From its humble beginnings as a networking event, the women-only conference celebrates its 10th anniversary on Sunday Oct. 28 with keynote speakers Dr. Marla Shapiro, Canada AM’s health and medical reporter, motivational speaker John Demartini, a teacher of “The Secret” method, and Roxanne Joyal of Free the Children.
Organized by the women’s development portfolio (WDP) of the Ismaili Council of the Prairies, the event partners the U of C’s Faculty of Nursing, the Calgary Health Region’s women’s health and wellness portfolios, and the United Way.
Fittingly, for its 10th year, anticipated attendance will be almost 10 times that of the first conference.
“Our community recognizes women as the backbone of the family and so the first conference in 1998 wanted to address their needs,” says Samira Haji, chair of the WDP. “We soon realized that there was appeal to all women, regardless of ethnicity, financial status or level of education.”
Haji hopes that this year’s theme of “Embrace Yourself, Embrace Others” will empower women to make a difference in their own lives and potentially in the lives of others, locally, nationally or globally.
Laurie Blahitka, director of women’s health at the CHR, says the conference is a win-win for all the organizations involved. “In one day we can reach almost 2,000 Calgary women with encouraging messages about living a healthy life, mind, body and spirit.
Dianne Tapp, acting nursing dean at U of C, says the conference has been a natural fit for the faculty, whose sponsorship includes supporting the online registration, participation in the format and workshop selection, and coordination of an interactive blood pressure booth.
“It’s unlike any other women’s conference because it combines that educational component with a wellness aspect, all in a fun atmosphere,” she says.
University support has also come this year from the department of Continuing Education, which is sponsoring a workshop with leadership and organization coach Dianne Quinton.
The $25 cost of the conference includes all three keynotes, one workshop, access to several information, interactive and screening booths, lunch and a morning snack. To register, visit www.womenandwellness.ca.