The International Women’s Day 2021 theme Women in Leadership: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world has ramped up the necessity for reassessing the role of women globally. The United Nations Development Programme has been proactive in collaborating female-owned businesses – Verve Connections (NGO), and Brice-Roberts Business Consulting Services – by supporting this year’s auspicious, award-winning International Women in Employment and Business (WEB2) conference which will again be hosted by Windsor University School of Medicine.
With the key theme “Detox and Thrive – Sustaining Yourself and Business Post-COVID”, this conference is at the forefront of increasing the visibility of women in the workplace and this year intends to deepen the engagement of women in the quest to reduce the range of physical and psychological hazards in the environment, given the deleterious consequences for women’s health. Indeed, the severe impact of the pandemic cannot be overlooked. More than ever, we are required to detox our minds, our bodies, our relationships, our home and work environments and even our wardrobes!
The keynote address will be given by our first female Kittitian oncologist, Dr Merisa Grant-Tate, who has direct experience of managing the impact of unhealthy environments on the steady rise in cancers. The need for solutions is increasingly urgent when we consider the levels of toxins in the home, workplace and general environment and the concerns about the poor quality of foods. When physical health is compromised, this has a negative impact on our spiritual and mental health – an unhappy combination for retaining a healthy workforce.
Dr Grant-Tate’s address is supported by research by Dr Guri Tzivion who is a Professor of Molecular Biology, Genetics and Immunology at Windsor University. His work shows that although cancer is the second leading cause of death in women in the Caribbean, cervical cancer rates in the Caribbean are three times higher than those seen in North America and Europe. Recent research in Europe links increases in the incidence of cervical cancer to rising temperatures. Dr Tzivion stated that “Increasing public awareness through education, outreach and research combined with improved prevention, early detection and treatment will have a strong impact on alleviating this critical discrepancy.”
Ilis Watts, the National Co-ordinator for the SGP commented that “we chose to co-sponsor the conference because the GEF Small Grants Programme continues to support communities, including women, and their desire to live and thrive in a changing climate.”
Prof Jeune Guishard-Pine, one of the organisers of the conference sees it as timely, citing her university colleague in saying: “Our genes are significantly linked to our immediate environments whether it be at home or in the workplace. The same environment that gives us all the good stuff can take away our overall well-being. We all need to learn how to achieve a better life and how to maximise the benefits of both our home and work environments whether it be the physical spaces or the people we share those spaces with”.
What is evident is that it takes great leadership to adapt and sustain the changes that need to be made in all our lives, and the ‘silver lining’ of COVID-19 has been a catalyst for several of those changes. In tune with this reality, Mrs Brice-Roberts launches her book: “Leading through Coaching – A Practical Guide for Managers and Other Leaders”.
The 2-day conference will be brimming with ideas on how to de-tox the home and the workplace, how to create more environmentally sustainable tourism products and services, how male and female staff and managers can partner for success, and a special youth session on how to sustain their motivation in a challenging world, exacerbated by the pandemic. It is slated for June 18-19 and will include a roster of both local and international speakers including ace entrepreneur Dr Tamu Browne, top Business & Diversity Strategist, Dr Sybil Allen from Canada and from the tourism industry, Prof Donna Chambers from Jamaica on the 18th and jump-start coaching sessions on the 19th. Enquiries and bookings can be made for the conference by contacting Euphemia Brice-Roberts via firstname.lastname@example.org or Jeune Guishard-Pine via email@example.com.