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Board hosting first Inspire conference for high school students

Speakers will include service technician Emily Chung, hockey player Haley Irwin and diversity consultant Cherilyn Scobie-Edwards
2018-07-10 SCDSB office RB
The Simcoe County District School Board offices in Midhurst. | Raymond Bowe/BarrieToday files

The Simcoe County District School Board’s Education Centre in Midhurst will be playing host to almost 100 students tomorrow for its first-ever 'Inspire' conference.

Scheduled for Wednesday, March 8 from 9 a.m. to 1:45 p.m., the event is not only in recognition of International Women’s Day, but also about recognizing and celebrating the strength and resilience of young women, explained the board’s communications manager, Sarah Kekewich.

“It’s going to focus on self-advocacy, self-care and self-confidence,” she said.

The conference will include three guest speakers who will be on hand to share their own experiences in an effort to help reiterate those points — as well as a variety of different workshops to help support the concept of the day. 

“They will be here to learn a little bit about the importance of International Women’s Day, but also to get empowered and inspired by some of the guests … who will talk about their own success in their industries, as well as perseverance," Kekewich added. 

First up will be Emily Chung, a Red Seal automotive service technician and automotive writer. Chung, who owns and operates AutoNiche, a family-friendly auto repair shop in Markham, also teaches in the Automotive Business School of Canada at Georgian College in Barrie. Chung will be on hand to share how she overcame the challenges she has faced being a woman in an under-represented trade. 

“She looks at empowerment through speaking about her career path and how she was one of only the women and what she had to do to build that capacity and build her own business,” Kekewich said.

Next up will be Haley Irwin, who has been an integral member of Canada’s national women’s hockey team since 2007 and competed at the Vancouver, Sochi and PyeongChang Olympics, followed by Cherilyn Scobie-Edwards, the executive director of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion for the University of Toronto Scarborough and co-founder and consultant for Equity Connections Inc.

“Scobie-Edwards has some really powerful messages around diversity, equity and inclusion,” said Kekewich.

Each of the guest speakers presentations have been framed to look at the different perspectives of three different women, all of whom have come through different pathways to get to the position they’re in now.