• Entrepreneurship at UBC

#IWD2021: Leadership in a Time of Crisis and what we can do, now, to create a better future

Updated: Mar 18

From our #IWD2021 event on March 12, 2021

Swipe through the photos. Pictured Rohene Bouajram, Nazneen Damji and Kristina Bergman


On March 12th, our ecosystem came together to celebrate female leaders, entrepreneurs and innovators for International Women's Day 2021 at our event, #IWD2021: Leadership in a Time of Crisis. It is not news that women have been disproportionately impacted by the effects of COVID-19 and that both the strength of their contributions and burdens they carry, amplify the significant gaps in gender equality.


As part of our weeklong campaign inspired by UN Women’s theme for International Women’s Day 2021 “Women in leadership: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world”, we were thrilled to have Kristina Bergman, Partner, Pender Ventures, Rohene Bouajram, Associate Director, Strategic IBPOC (Indigenous, Black and/or People of Colour) Initiatives at UBC, and Nazneen Damji, Policy Advisor, Gender Equality, HIV, and Health, UN Women, with us to celebrate and discuss women in a time of crisis.


This was a fantastic discussion, encouraging us to make time for self reflection, gentleness and optimism as well as think about how we can pave a stronger future for women in leadership across intersections and industries.


Read our key takeaways and visit the resources referenced below.


Did you miss the event? Don't fret, we will be transforming it into a podcast episode! Follow our socials to be the first to know when it's released.


Our Key Takeaways



On how you don't have to have a title to make an impact:


"In all the roles that I've held, I've never necessarily relied on a title to back up my leadership potential...I always thought of positions and places where I could make an impact on not only the work that I do, but to also really question why, for whom, and who have we excluded, when we do what we do. It's my hope that I continue to challenge the status quo to think deeply about meaningful inclusion and belonging and joy for not only all women, but individuals who come from marginalized communities."

- Rohene Bouajram, Associate Director, Strategic IBPOC (Indigenous, Black and/or People of Colour) Initiatives at UBC


On not needing to be "perfect" to be a leader:

"[I used to think] you have to be perfect in order to have worth, and in order to give yourself permission to lead. It's fine to be imperfect... you can be successful and not know everything. And you don't need to know everything before you try and you don't need to be able to do everything in order to have value as a leader."

- Kristina Bergman, Partner, Pender Ventures



On what it will take to see transformative change:

"The kinds of things that actually are going to make this transformation happen at a national level, community level, and individual level, all requires a different way of thinking... the only way to do it is to capture the right data and then make sure that people are investing [in it], because if you're not going to invest in any kind of transformation or any kind of equality, it's not going to work. And the main one is really putting women in the decision making positions."

- Nazneen Damji, Policy Advisor, Gender Equality, HIV, and Health, UN Women



Resources Referenced



  • Report: UN Women Women in Politics 2021 Map showing global rankings for women in executive, government, and parliamentary positions. The consensus? "Despite increases in the number of women at the highest levels of political power, widespread gender inequalities persist."



  • Resource: Gender Equality and HIV/AIDS, a link to a web portal dedicated to gender equality dimensions of HIV/AIDS, that is managed in Nazneen's team.



  • Report: Deloitte: Diversity & Inclusivity revolution. Read Deloitte's D&I revolution with 8 powerful truths on inclusion gleaned from "working with 50 organizations around the world, representing a footprint of more than 1 million employees".





Thank you to everyone who joined us and participated in this important discussion!




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