Growing women leaders


A new kind of dialogue is coming to Kelowna which is set to increase women’s contributions to the economy.

The Catalyst for Growth event in Kelowna is a working forum to explore how to grow women leaders; on boards, as entrepreneurs and in trades and emerging sectors. The event is one of four stops on a tour to gain regional input and provide opportunities for women and men, sponsors and partners to get involved in their region. 

Shauna Harper, CEO of Live Work Communications in Prince George, is the Lead Facilitator and Champion of the Catalyst for Growth project.

“Unlike many dialogues, which tend to be urban-focused and allow participants to make passive recommendations, this working forum promotes collaboration at a community level and builds capacity in our region by connecting and empowering existing leaders and supporters," says Harper. 

Okanagan College will receive funding, from the province, to create152 new seats in its trades programs. The province projects one million trade job openings by 2022, yet only 13 per cent of registrants in apprenticeship programs are women, meaning that women are missing out on economic growth.

“We are at a critical time for economic development, and this type of dialogue will ensure that women’s contributions are accounted for and supported as drivers of economic growth,” says Harper. 

The Catalyst for Growth project continues the work of the BC Economic Forum which took place in Vancouver in October 2014. The sold-out forum generated an action plan which will be released by the Vancouver Board of Trade next week, and plans are underway for the 2015 BC Economic Forum, where outcomes from the regional consultations will be shared.

The project is guided by an experienced Steering Committee of senior women leaders who vary both in their affiliations and geography, resulting in a truly collaborative effort. Co-chaired by Jill Earthy and Lois Nahirney, co-chairs of the BC Economic Forum, the committee includes several women who made significant contributions to the forum’s success. 

The committee will ensure that a cross-section of data is compiled which accounts for the two-thirds of the province who live outside of large urban centres. Going forward, members will provide input on action plans which will help women in all regions make progress on the three tracks and identify solutions that can be delivered in the remaining phases of the project.

Funded in part by Status of Women Canada, Catalyst for Growth: Women for the BC Economy is a project of Women’s Enterprise Centre in collaboration with the WEB Alliance, a consortium of BC Women’s Business Networks, and the Premier’s Women’s Economic Council as well as many other supporting organizations around the province. 

The Kelowna dialogue will take place at the Coast Capri Hotel on May 22 and is open to both women and men. Early bird tickets are available before May 7 for $79 at CatalystforGrowth.ca.

For more information about the project, visit www.CatalystForGrowth.ca.


Comments are pre-moderated to ensure they meet our guidelines. Approval times will vary. Keep it civil, and stay on topic. If you see an inappropriate comment, please use the ‘flag’ feature. Comments are the opinions of the comment writer, not of Castanet. Comments remain open for one day after a story is published and are closed on weekends. Visit Castanet’s Forums to start or join a discussion about this story.

More Kelowna News

Recent Trending



Okanagan Oldies

Kelowna SPCA Featured Pet

Gizmo Kelowna SPCA >



Castanet Proud Member of RTNDA Canada