When Cynthia O’Neill founded the Power of the Purse networking event six years ago, the conversation around women’s empowerment was just starting to reach a wider audience.
With the latest Power of the Purse event set for London on Thursday, Sept. 25 at the Hilton Hotel (300 King St.), O’Neill knows that is changing.
Doors open for the event at 8 a.m. with the conference getting underway at 9 a.m. and wrapping up by 3:30 p.m. The daylong commitment represents a large investment of time, but it is one O’Neill said women need to make.
“We want women to invest in themselves. It is really about a day where we gather together to celebrate women’s empowerment,” O’Neill said. “We want women to be inspired, we want them to be educated and motivated and celebrated. I know that sounds all canned, but they are words that mean a lot today.”
O’Neill credits the media with helping to push the conversation around women’s empowerment.
Whether it is a Ted X talks or interviews on the mainstream political shows, O’Neill said the role of women in driving the Canadian economy has “absolutely” become a topical point of conversation.
Women are stepping up, O’Neill said, and are speaking out in a way that wasn’t common even six years ago.
“It wasn’t as mainstream as it is today, it was harder to explain the message,” O’Neill said. “I am not saying it is completely solved, but I feel the conference has been aided by a lot of the things around it.”
Tickets for the event are $70 and are available online at www.powerofthepurse.ca. O’Neill said she is quite excited about the changing demographics around who is signing up for the conference.
The first Power of the Purse event attracted an audience of women predominately ranging from 40 to 60 years old. Six years later, the Millennial Generation has targeted the conference.
The demographics of the London conference are expected to focus — for the most part — on women in the 26-38 age range.
Strategically, O’Neill said, the conference has focused attention on that market. To do so, an intentional plan was crafted to bring in younger speakers so that “alternative voice” is being heard.
For example, Kelsey Ramsden, who was named Canada’s top female entrepreneur by Profit and Chatelaine magazines in 2012 and 2013, is one of more than a half-dozen speakers who will be sharing their experience with participants.
“I think our business community is getting younger,” O’Neill said. “There are a lot of younger women, say late 20s and throughout their 30s, who are in positions where they are moving ahead, developing their careers. It matters that they are investing in themselves and we are really encouraged by that.”
The conference isn’t always just for working women.
There are a lot of women who are in what O’Neill calls “their second career.” They are women who have retired from their earlier careers and now they are volunteering, running boards, and becoming more involved in philanthropy and consulting.
The reason for that interest, O’Neill said, is that many women are seeing real value in the kind of networking that is offered by Power of the Purse. O’Neill is encouraging people to register for the event as they will be introduced to “a really interesting mix” of women in the audience.