On Sunday, December 6, 2020, I attended a virtual brunch event designed to help women better balance their personal lives with their business lives. It was…different. The event lasted three days all together as you could access their virtual booths the day before and after the presentations.
The booths varied from jewelry stores to beauty products to “how-to” classes. I browsed around the stores which were all local to Canada—where the virtual hosts were located. Initially, the brunch line up was really exciting; we had classes on how to make special mimosas as well as presentations about how to balance life and work as a woman.
The entirety of the event was launched with DJ Complex Lex mixing music. It was a little awkward; as you couldn’t interact with anyone as you sat there watching an electronic musician stand over her mixing table. It felt a little forced, but for the most part, people seemed to enjoy the opportunity to listen to “live” music. After our introduction to wordless mixing, we were given lessons on how to make mimosas and pancakes.
Unfortunately, many of the instructional videos were hard to follow and short, there was a lot of unfilled space that didn’t quite engage the viewer. I hoped at this point that though the beginning of the brunch felt like a bust, the speakers would make up for it. Haylie Duff was up first; while the whole thing felt very casual, her advice for moms working from home was redundant, to say the least.
It was hard not to get frustrated as she said the things every female self-help book says. She advised us to make lists for all our tasks, take deep breaths, make space for our partners and children, and ask for help when you need it. I don’t know about you but I’m getting very tired of being told how I can accommodate the people in my life, but there is never a conversation of how to behave in an equal partnership.
For some reason when we focus on women empowerment, there is more time spent on how to balance everything and less on how to lead. Men get told to work hard, lead well, and provide. Their pep-talks don’t revolve around how to ask for help or work around their partner’s schedules. If we call our spouses or significant others 'partners' then why don’t we hold them to the standard of true partnership? Why is my partner’s schedule more important than my own?
The speaker that I did like was Elena Cardone, she spoke about making space for those that were supportive. She talked about how she chose not to associate with certain friends or family if they didn’t align with her mission as a person. That was the first time I had ever heard a woman insist on not making space for negative people. It was the best advice for any woman, not just the entrepreneurs.
As I looked to the chat section of the panel, most women were posting how much they loved the actresses and shared their Instagram tags. Overall, I think many of the attendants were excited about the Christmas deals from the booths and enjoyed what they could of the speakers.
What made the event difficult was the fact that it was virtual. These sorts of events hinge on socializing and making contacts, but without being in-person it was hard to feel engaged. In conclusion, the event that they put on was enough to allow small shops exposure and make women feel like they had a community. In the true holiday spirit that’s the best we can do and it was worth it for that.
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