2021 WWI

This year I had the privilege of co-hosting the 7th Annual Women Who Influence Event and for the first time, the entire event was live online. Never could I have imagined that we would be running this day as an online event and there were times when I wondered if we even could pull it off–bringing together eight female leadHERs across multiple countries, continents and time zones was no easy feat. But we did it and 165 registrants joined us! Along with my dedicated team at canfitpro, I am proud to say that the 7th Annual Women Who Influence Event–LeadHERship: Elevate your own leadership and inspire others to rise with you–did not disappoint!

Now that I’ve had a MO’ment to reflect on the event and canfitpro’s GLOBAL two-day conference that followed this event, I wanted to share with you just a few of the key lessons that stood out to me. I hope these insights will MO’tivate and inspHER you.

Shakera Martin led the day and was the first speaker. I first saw Shakera in the 2021 Optimyz Top 100 Health and Fitness Influencers magazine and what inspired me most about Shakera Martin was her smile and her contagious and vivacious energy. She had a powerful story about doing yourself the justice you deserve by showing up. We need to tap into our vibes on a daily basis so we can shine and attract the things we want to experience into our world. What things can you do and include in your life that makes you feel good? Shakera has always loved to dance. If you know me, then you know that for me this is MO’vement. As Shakera reminded us, MO’vement is such a great way to change our energy. To really take yourself to the next level, you have to take it up a notch by doing what lights you up every day. When you learn how to keep tapping into the things that light you up, you can help others find the way to do so as well and discover what they love about themselves. That is leadHERship and how to help others rise with you.

Next, Cassandra Chin asked a phenomenal question about “How do we create more leaders without titles”. When Cassandra started her career as a personal trainer, she was the only female trainer, and her story speaks to the disparity of representation between female and male trainers in the fitness industry and her challenges with establishing herself in this space as a female power lifter. What shifted her story is an example of what happens when we create space, commit to connecting and building community. Cassandra told us the story about “The Bars & Belles” a thriving community for female powerlifters she has created for women who are not afraid to lift. Her vision was to create and foster safe environments for learning, development and growth. You do not have to do this alone. Think of the people who have inspired you to grow, and how can you keep that growth going? Have targets every week to keep going. Cass needed a lot of courage to do what she has done which she continues to show and role MO’del as she keeps going and growing in the industry. Our communities give us strength and courage to keep going and growing. This is how we rise.

Nike Charles reminded us we are resilient and powerful human beings, but that people will withdraw energy from us all the time. As women and leaders, we must deposit back into ourselves and our lives to maintain a positive MIND (Manufacturing Intentional Notable Deposits), BODY (Building Optimizing Developing Yourself) and SOUL (Satisfied Observed Utilize and Loved to Full Capacity). I thought it was incredible how Nike elevated the conversation with her suggestions based on mind-care, self-care, and soul-care–you can’t control everything, but you can control what is in your headspace; be intentional with what you put in your body; and make sure you take time to connect with yourself–find the space for peace, presence, and calm. This is worthy advice that will elevate your leadHership potential!

As women, we often struggle with raising our hands and asking for what we are worth and speaking up. Well, Tatiana Kolovou told us that asking is a skill that we can develop and strengthen–like any muscle in our body–through regular practice and a detailed training program. If you don’t ask, you can’t receive. The more you ask for, the more you will receive and the more your confidence will develop. Tatiana’s practical advice–make a list of five things you will as for by the end of the month and start flexing your asking muscles!

Fear and facing your fears was a key theme in Samantha Montpetit-Huyhn’s speech. Sam’s story was raw and authentic, and she shared some deep insights from the wake-up calls she experienced. Through her story, she told us if you want growth, it is on the other side of fear. Remember to face your fears head on. Whether it goes the way you want it to go, it is always for your growth. Samantha Montpetit-Huyhn received the 2021 Delegates Choice Speciality Presenter of the Year Award at the canfitpro GLOBAL Awards Ceremonies–so just look where facing her fears got her!

One of my greatest role MO’dels is Kylie Gates. Kylie shared her story of finding responsibility, direction and purpose through becoming an instructor. Kylie started by saying “We are all leading–everyone is leading”. She shared three principles: model the way, empower others to act and embrace the heart. It starts with you–finding your WHY and building a unique set of values and principles will set the foundation for living your best life and elevating your leadership.

Our last speaker was Jennifer Hargreaves, who taught us to rethink our vision of our work and life and empowered us with the confidence to negotiate what we need and what will serve and support us in our work and life. Jennifer spoke to The Power of the Pack mentality, which concerns working together to go further faster. As we face a SHE-cession–an unfortunate repercussion of the global pandemic – we all need to lean in and learn together to elevate our leaderHERship to support one another. We all have the opportunity for growth and success. We will build a better world for women. You have the unlimited potential to be, do and have all you want. Surround yourself with women who are going through similar journeys and rise together. This is what I wanted delegates to remember from the event, and this was the message at the heart of the 7th Annual Women Who Influence.

Speaking of surrounding yourself with women leadHERs and supporting each other, I am so grateful to my fabulous co-host, Beth Yarzab, for her help in creating this year’s event. Beth’s vision and creativity were unbelievable. She is someone who embraces innovation and change and knows how to bridge the knowing-doing gap. She reminds me every day, in how she shows up and especially through her work on and during the event, of how when you take action, you are role modelling for others.

Before I close this event recap, there is one more piece of the day that I must share. I was honoured to introduce and announce the “Women Who Influence Sharon Mann Inspiration Award and Scholarship.” This award recognizes a woman within the fitness industry who exemplifies what Sharon Mann stood for–personal courage, growth mindset, influence, inspiration, and community impact. Learn more about this award, nominate yourself or a female leadHER you admire here: https://staging.canfitpro.rshft.com/women-who-influence/

It is impossible to capture everything from the Women Who Influence experience in a single blog post. These are just some of the many nuggets of knowledge that were shared.  If you want to learn MO’re and want to have the full experience well my friend, I am delighted to tell you it is not too late! For the first time, registration is still open after the event and canfitpro is selling access to the recordings from the canfitpro Global Online Conference and Trade Show and Women Who Influence. Click here to learn more and purchase the session recordings for a limited time: https://staging.canfitpro.rshft.com/events2021/global/

Stay tuned for much MO’re coming soon in September to help you stay MO’tivated, keep growing and MO’ving forward to rise to new levels in your leadership and life with MO!


canfitpro’s COO of Program Innovation and Fitness Development