Learning From Failure

Published on
October 18, 2020
Time to read: 
5 scrabble tiles spelling the word LEARN on a bed of blank tiles
Thank you to Pixabay for this image, found on Pexels.

As many of you who’ve been following me on social media know, I ran to become the President of the Canadian Federation of Business and Professional Women (BPW Canada) this year.

BPW Canada held our convention this weekend. The elections for the new Board were held Saturday afternoon. I didn’t win!!! And that’s OK. Seriously, I’m OK with failing to win. We had a fantastic line up of qualified women running for the Presidency. The voting members put their trust in Karin Gorgerat to become our new BPW Canada President in the first ballot. Congratulations Karin!

This isn’t my first time failing in an election. In 2014, I ran to become one of the Municipal Councilors for the City of Quinte West. I didn’t win then either. And that was OK too!

Both times I quite naturally felt a few moments of disappointment. I wouldn’t have run either time if I didn’t want the jobs! Then in the words of that famous singer whose name I never seem to remember (because I’m bad at remembering names) I “shook it off.” When things don’t turn out as I expected, or hoped, I rarely get frustrated. That’s because I know that I can’t change the past. I can control how I react to the event or circumstances. I choose to learn from failure.

I campaigned vigorously both times. I connected with as many voters as possible. I spent a lot of time listening to and learning from: the constituents in my ward, and more recently the members of BPW Canada.

Once I decided to run in this latest election, I attended as many BPW club online meetings as I could fit into my schedule. I met amazing and dedicated women from across Canada. The BPW Greater Moncton club introduced me to the International Collect, which was used to open and close our Convention.

I learned that there are many different ways to hold a meeting, and that most of our clubs have pivoted to offering online meetings, some as often as once a week, to help support each other through the pandemic.

I’ve learned that BPW Montreal, BPW Calgary, and BPW Edmonton, have formal mentoring programs. I also heard the pleas of members outside of those clubs, who wish that there was a BPW Canada Mentoring program. I have ideas about how we could do that!

Over and over again, I heard people say that BPW is the best kept secret in Canada. I’ve learned that there are people actively working on a way to capture the value proposition that BPW Canada offers, so that we can share our story with the rest of the women in Canada.

What else have I learned from these two elections? The next time I run for any office I’m going to ask people to commit to supporting me during my campaign. It’s all well and good for people to wish you luck and encourage you to run. However, it’s extremely difficult to win an election without help. I should have learned this the first time I ran for office and failed!

I believe in BPW. I believe we are a talented group of women who can accomplish anything we set our minds to. I hope to serve on a BPW Canada Committee or two, as a way of contributing to our bright future.

I was happy to hear our new President, Karin Gorgerat mention several key ideas that resonate with me in her acceptance speech, including mentoring, and building on the past successes, like a tree that has strong roots growing branches for future successes. My favourite line from Karin’s speech was her theme “Inspiring each other to new possibilities.”

Congratulations to all the members of the 2020-2022 BPW Canada Board!