Power of the Purse offers opportunities to hear from inspirational and influential women leaders. The one-day women’s conference celebrates a woman’s power: earning power, spending power and giving power.
Taking place on Sept. 25, at the Hilton Hotel (300 King St.), the conference spearheads the vision of women as driving forces in various fields and professions.
Susan Stewart, a stand-up comic turned organizational learning and development consultant turned inspirational author and speaker, will be one of eight speakers at the conference.
She offers a glimpse of what she will be bringing to participants in Power of the Purse.
• Describe your career/professional journey. What were/are some turning points?
Like most people, I never planned on doing what I do — it found me rather than me finding it.
After graduating from the University of Waterloo’s theatre program, I moved to Toronto where I began my stand-up comedy career. In the midst of my stand-up career, I began struggling with anxiety and depression, which eventually led me to quit.
The first major turning point arrived shortly after quitting stand-up comedy. Through a personal connection, I was offered a contract position in a human resources department in the Ontario government. About a year into my new HR career, another turning point took place.
Out of the blue, I was asked to put together a comical presentation for a conference that was being planned for one of the ministries our HR department supported. This was a chance to stand on stage again, so I happily agreed to do it and a few weeks later, I delivered my debut presentation called, Live Well, Laugh Lots.
The presentation was a smash hit and I became inspired to combine comedy with inspirational messages to help people see the lighter side of life. I left my HR career six years ago to write and speak full time and I have never looked back.
• In your view, why is a conference like this important?
It helps women see that they are not alone in what they face along their journey and reminds them just how damn empowered, perfectly imperfect, and powerful they truly are.
Another reason events like these are important is that it provides the information and inspiration that isn’t offered in school and rather sparingly in higher education.
• What is the power of your purse?
Where my financial power lies the most right now is that my spending is authentic to what I value the most. What I mean by that is that I work hard at living my truth even through what I choose to spend my money on.
The ego likes us to believe that we are what we do, what we have, and what others think of us, so when you are desperately trying to protect your sense of self based on those external circumstances, that can lead to making many purchases based on fear rather than power.
I can still shop with the best of them (Mama loves her shoes and watches!), but each time I choose to take money out of my purse it’s because in some way it is helping me express my truth.
• What message do you hope to impart to audiences at the conference?
The program I’ll be doing is based on my first book, Reaching The Laugh Resort, which summarizes my story of being a stand-up comic who took herself far too seriously and reveals what I have learned (the hard way) about seeing the lighter side of life.
For more information about the conference, visit www.powerofthepurse.ca.