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2021 Virtual International Women’s Day Event

March 8, 2021 @ 10:00 am - 12:30 pm


Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, our fifth annual International Women’s Day event will be virtual for the first time. The global theme of International Women’s Day is #ChooseToChallenge, while our event will also focus on the subtheme of resilience.

In a partnership with Tractus, an online events company based in London, Ont., we will have the support and expertise we need to run our first-ever virtual event. The team at Tractus will plan and execute the technical aspects of the event through the company’s online platform.

Allison Graham, an author and speaker from London, will provide the keynote speech, titled Navigating Tough Times: Finding A Sense of Control in Uncertain Times. Her keynote will be near the start to introduce the subtheme of resilience and set the stage for other event speakers. Graham will also host a panel with four speakers, including three local entrepreneurs and one founding CEO from across the Middlesex-London region.

Allison Graham, author and keynote speaker

The local entrepreneurs will consist of Jean Coles, the owner of three Sport Clips Haircuts in London, Erin Bouchard, the owner of Once Upon A Time Weddings in Strathroy, and Nicole Dodge, the owner of Sarah’s Cloth and Accessories. A video screened during the event will feature and share the resilience stories of all three local entrepreneurs.

Jean Coles, Owner of three Sport Clips Haircuts

Erin Bouchard, Owner of Once Upon A Time Weddings

Nicole Dodge, Owner of Sarah’s Cloth and Accessories

Dr. Femida Gwadry-Sridhar, the founder and CEO of Pulse Infoframe Inc. in London, will speak about how her health research company has successfully scaled and pivoted during COVID-19. She will also participate in the event’s panel to answer questions from the audience.

Dr. Femida Gwadry-Sridhar, CEO and Founder of Pulse Infoframe Inc.

A break during the event will also serve as a networking opportunity, separating the audience into smaller groups. Members of the Women’s Caucus of Middlesex County Council will lead the discussions to facilitate audience participation. The five networking groups will be led by Cathy Burghardt-Jesson, the Warden of Middlesex County, Aina DeViet, the Mayor of Middlesex Centre, Alison Warwick, the Mayor of Thames Centre, Kelly Elliott, the Deputy Mayor of Thames Centre, and Joanne Vanderheyden, the Mayor of Strathroy-Caradoc.

The Women’s Caucus intends to support rural women across Middlesex County with the impacts of COVID-19, hosting their first webinar in November 2020. They most recently held a webinar in February to bring local women together and discuss how they were doing amidst the provincewide lockdown.

Women’s Caucus of Middlesex County Council (left to right): Alison Warwick (Mayor of Thames Centre), Kelly Elliott (Deputy Mayor of Thames Centre), Cathy Burghardt-Jesson (Warden of Middlesex County), Aina DeViet (Mayor of Middlesex Centre), and Joanne Vanderheyden (Mayor of Strathroy-Caradoc)

Other event speakers and participants will represent Invest in MiddlesexLibro Credit Union, the Western Ontario CFDC Association (WOCFDCA) and the Southern Ontario Fund for Investment in Innovation (SOFII), FedDev Ontario, and our board and staff.

Libro Credit Union is the keynote sponsor for this event. Additional sponsorship is provided by Invest in Middlesex, MNP, and WOCFDCA and SOFII. Other support partners include the Government of Canada, with funding through FedDev Ontario, the Middlesex Workforce Development Partnership, and Through Pines Media.

2021 Virtual International Women’s Day Event Poster

The Women’s Rural Resource CentreOne Spark, and Anova — three not-for-profits supporting women impacted by violence — will share the event’s net proceeds. Event attendees are encouraged to donate any additional funds to these charitable organizations.

Event registration is now open, with the first 20 registrants receiving a free copy of keynote speaker Graham’s book, titled Married My Mom Birthed A Dog: How to be Resilient When Life Sucks.

Closer to the event, all registrants will receive an email explaining how to connect and participate through Tractus’ online platform. Please contact events@cfmiddlesex.ca if you have any questions or concerns. Event fees are non-refundable.


March 8, 2021
10:00 am - 12:30 pm


Virtual Event


Community Futures Middlesex
(519) 641-6100
View Organizer Website

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