Atlantic Canada’s Leading Resource for Women Entrepreneurs Since 1992, located at the RBC Centre for Women in Business, MSVU.

Business Women Breaking the Glass Ceiling: What I Learned From My Co-op Experience with the Centre

August 23, 2016

Christelle Ward | Business & Communications Assistant at the Centre for Women in Business

ChristelleWardBreaking the glass ceiling: The invisible barrier to being taken seriously.

It's an uphill battle for most women. But women who work with the Centre aren’t just hammering cracks into the glass ceiling; I have seen them completely shatter it. It’s a bumpy road, but one thing is for sure: risk is worth the reward.

The business women at the Centre are driven, ambitious and risk-takers. Those are many of the traits needed to heed the call of entrepreneurship.

Background on me

I was born near the Mediterranean Sea, but I grew up by the Atlantic Ocean. I am a Public Relations student at Mount Saint Vincent University (MSVU), a storyteller, and a tea enthusiast. I chose PR simply because I am a problem solver who loves to connect people through stories.

Accepting a summer co-op position with the Centre for Women in Business was an easy decision. It was my first choice from the co-ops I applied to. I remember arriving for my interview to the 4th floor of the McCain Centre. I had a bit of nerves, but once I sat down across from three members of the Centre team, I thought to myself: 'This is exactly what I want.’

Fast-forward to my first day on the job: I was ecstatic about the fact that I get to sit at my own desk – 12-year-old me would be very proud of 21-year-old me. Isn’t that what we all strive for – making sure the dreams we had when we were younger get recognition once we get older?

What the Centre does

The Centre for Women in Business helps women from all walks of life achieve their dreams of becoming successful business owners. The Centre offers many tools for ambitious women, including networking events, workshops, and advisories, to name a few.

My role

In addition to hands-on PR related work, such as the production and proofing of communication materials like press releases, media advisories, proposals and more, I had the privilege of interviewing successful business owners for our monthly e-newsletter BizBeat.

The Centre provided me with many opportunities to attend special events such as the Spring Finale, the Centre’s annual wrap-up presented in partnership with Digital Nova Scotia. I attended POWER Lunches, where members offered their expertise, and presented valuable information on running a successful business.

The Centre team constantly encouraged me to get in touch with my creative side. I designed various marketing materials such as brochures and posters.

Most importantly, I learned the power of perseverance from the many inspiring women I had the pleasure of meeting. 

What it is like to witness women break the glass ceiling

Before pursuing entrepreneurship and joining the Centre, many of the business women I met during my co-op had been content in the jobs they were in, but they craved something more. In most cases, that something was greater independence and freedom.

Once you get past the, ‘what if?’, the question becomes, ‘what’s next?’ The Centre helps answer that question.

Women at the Centre showed me that behind every determined woman, there is a story, and that celebrating women is enormously important. To every member I met at the POWER Lunches, the Women, Business & Breakfast series, or at our other major events: you might not realize it yet, but you are an inspiration. You are breaking the glass ceiling. Don’t be afraid of change or failure: Those two things are learning opportunities for you, and will prove important in your rise to success.

Last words

I do not look the women at the Centre as my co-workers; I consider them role models. The people I got to know and work with see the full picture, not just the puzzle pieces. With that, they drive the Centre on wheels of innovation. I know I am leaving inspired.

Connect with Christelle: 

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