Equal Voice UO’s First Ever Meet & Greet: A Great Success!

Group photo of our speakers and guests! Catherine Fortin-Lefaivre (center left), SFUO President Anne-Marie Roy (back left), Anita Vandenbeld (center), Samantha Somerville (front), Mary Anne Carter (center right), and Equal Voice UO President Nicole Rutkowski (right)

Have you ever thought about running for office? Were you ever curious to find out what it is like for a woman to enter the world of politics?

On September 25th, Equal Voice UO hosted our first ever Meet & Greet to answer these questions (and more!) with Anita Vandenbeld and Catherine Fortin-Lefaivre, two inspiring women in our community with the knowledge and experience of running for office.

Catherine Fortin-Lefaivre, currently a Municipal Councillor Candidate for Rideau-Vanier, described the hurdles she has to overcome while running for office, from battling gender biases to becoming a better multitasker. Catherine described what it is like to be a candidate while raising two young children and how her hectic mornings can make it more difficult to run for office – but despite all this, she learned that a) she could become more efficient and b) it is possible to be involved in politics, as a woman with a family.

Anita Vandebeld was the Federal Liberal candidate in Ottawa West-Nepean in 2011. She is running again for Liberal nomination to be a candidate in Ottawa West-Nepean for the next federal election and is a global project manager for iKNOW Politics, a partnership project working around the world on supporting women’s political participation. In addition to telling us about her experience in politics, Anita also divulged some important lessons that can be used in and out of politics such as: the importance of networking, getting involved at a young age, finding a mentor, and working hard while sticking to your morals.

Both women brought to light glitches in the political system that make it difficult for women to participate, from complex issues like gender biases, to structural issues, such as ambiguous nomination dates.

Overall, the Meet & Greet inspired and interested a roomful of men and women, including SFUO’s president, Anne-Marie Roy!

If you could not make it to this event, or if you enjoyed attending it, keep your eyes peeled for Equal Voice UO’s next event!

We would also like to thank Starbucks and David’s Tea for the delicious refreshments!

In conversation with SFUO President Anne-Marie Roy (left), Catherine Fortin-Lefaivre (center), and Equal Voice UO President Nicole Rutkowski (right)
Full-house listening to Anita Vandenbeld!

– Danika Leminski, official reporter/blogger of EV


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