I like to learn new things and I believe in paying it forward by volunteering. I belong to two professional associations and a number of groups of people who share common interests. More than once this had led to stepping up to take a leadership role.
This year, I’ve participated in a number of global webinars hosted by members of the International Federation of Business and Professional Women (BPW International): Intergenerational Dialogue, Leadership in BPW, #BPWGoesDigital and The Future of BPW series. Its been a fascinating and rewarding experience. I was honoured to share some of my knowledge about mentoring in the video “Mentoring Models and Programmes” and to be invited to record a short video for “Leadership and the Future of BPW: Cameos” (my video starts at 33 minutes and 19 seconds).
This summer, I learned that the President for BPW Canada position would be filled by an election during our National Convention and AGM in October. I was approached and asked if I’d be interested in running. I spoke with a couple of people on the BPW Canada Executive, to learn what the volunteer role involves.
I also reached out to some people I know, from a few different political parties, who understand how to run a campaign. They all shared the same advice. Find out where the people who’d be voting for you are and what they want. Since I like meeting new people and learning about them, this seemed like a great idea. Turns out that living in a pandemic actually makes it easier to get to know the members of the BPW clubs across Canada. Many are holding virtual meetings, and have let me join their events as a participant.
I’ve signed up for as many virtual BPW Canada clubs’ meetings as I can fit in my schedule, so I can learn more about our clubs and members. So far, I’ve attended two other clubs’ meetings. From BPW Greater Moncton, I learned about the International Collect, and several strategies that I’ve started using to organize my home office. During the BPW Canada Online club meeting, I got to meet and learn from Senator Marilou McPhedran, C.M., B.A., LL.B., LL.M., and LL.D. who has been at the forefront of improving women’s rights since she was a university student and her mother asked her “what are you going to do about this?”
I’m looking forward to learning from other clubs through the Fall, regardless of the election results!
During the September global Intergenerational Dialogue session LinkedIn was suggested as the social media platform to connect with and get to know BPW members. I started searching LinkedIn for BPW Canada members. I’m honoured to say that over 30 BPW Canada members have accepted an invitation to connect, so far. We have so many fascinating members! With accomplishments in a wide variety of career fields. As I read LinkedIn profiles, I keep finding things in common with the members of this fabulous professional association.
Nominations for the BPW Canada President election close on September 15. I’m looking forward to an amazing line up of potential leaders for BPW Canada. To help spread the word of why I’m running, and what I believe in, I’m co-opting my weekly company blog post.
For those who are interested, the rest of this post includes my Nomination Information.
Lieutenant-Colonel (retired) Chantal Fraser, MBA: BPW Canada Vision for the Next Biennium
Between the election and the end of January 2021, I would contact all members of the BPW Canada Board, the Provincial Presidents/Liaisons, and Club Presidents for one to one phone/video discussions. During these discussions I would learn their aptitudes, interests and areas where each of these leaders needs help. I would also ask what themes they would prefer to work towards to help create the future of BPW that they want.
By the end of March 2021, I’d set up the first working group(s) to tackle some of the aspirational goals for BPW Canada identified during these conversations and in this vision.
This team and BPW members from across Canada, would develop plans, and put them in action to do the following sorts of projects:
- Leverage the value of BPW Canada as a community of women who advocate for a better world for women and girls, at the global, regional, country and local community level. Determine ways to highlight that BPW is relevant to women from all generations across Canada. With a goal of attracting and recruiting new members, persuading those who left BPW in the last 10 years to return, and increasing the retention of younger members. Any community without young members risks extinction.
- Lead BPW Canada to become a more interconnected inclusive community of women of all abilities, ages, backgrounds, cultures and languages.
- Welcome ideas from all generations, and encourage women of all ages to take on leadership roles.
Set the conditions for our members to learn from each other, to celebrate each other’s successes, and to encourage our sisters from coast to coast to coast to thrive.
- Reach out to those who are currently underserved by BPW Canada, to help show them that BPW welcomes members from all abilities, ages, communities, languages and socio-economic levels.
- Leverage both our rich history and new ways of doing things and explore investing in online resources such as LinkedIn and Mighty Networks, to connect our members to each other, both virtually and in real life.
- Encourage collaboration with people from all genders as we advocate for a world where future generations can thrive.
It would be my honour for you to join me in making this vision for the future of BPW Canada a reality.
Why would someone vote for me? Here’s the bio I shared with the nomination committee:
Chantal Fraser started leading people as an Air Cadet in her teens, she then served in the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) for 28 years. During her military career she served in a variety of leadership roles including being the Commanding Officer of the Joint Support Group Headquarters for four years. In her last military posting, as the Canadian Defence Academy Senior Staff Officer Plans, Chantal and her team determined the training needs for all support occupations and for common leadership courses; 974 qualifications to 49,000 students per year across Canada and managed the CAF Aboriginal programs. In addition, she chaired the Basic Training List Management Working Group, improving the management of 10,000 personnel awaiting initial training due to increased recruiting and limited CAF training capacity. She was also a member of the Personnel Generation Committee chaired by Director General Military Personnel (DGMP), and drafted new human resources policies related to selection/staffing. The DGMP recruited Chantal to participate in a CAF Working Group to suggest ways to attract, recruit and retain more women in the Canadian military.
When Chantal became a veteran in 2012, she founded Empowered Path Inc. to help people learn how to help themselves, their communities and organizations thrive. She offers a variety of services including: Professional Speaking, Coaching, and Mentoring. She offers tangible and practical solutions that can be applied immediately, using a conversational approach and Canadian examples. Chantal covers a number of topics, including: Leadership, Storytelling, Career Development and Inclusion. For example, Chantal delivers Indigenous Inclusion Recruiting and Retention sessions, for Indigenous Link clients and Mentoring sessions for MentorCity clients, in both official languages.
Chantal has close to 40 years of leadership experience, 27 years of experience in leadership roles as a community volunteer, and more than 20 years mentoring experience. Chantal first led virtual teams in 2009. In 2018, Chantal volunteered to be the Chair of the Human Resources Professional Association (HRPA) Eastern Ontario Conference. As Chair, she leads a team of 30, most of whom are volunteers. The 2018 inaugural conference drew 150 people. In 2019, 250 people participated.
Chantal first became a community volunteer in 1993. She is currently a Mentor and the Eastern Ontario Conference Committee Chair with HRPA. Chantal is also the Business and Professional Women’s (BPW) Trenton & District Club Past-President, the Gleaners Foodbank (Quinte) Inc. Treasurer, and is an editor for Aboriginal Veterans Autochtones. In addition, Chantal has served on not for profit boards with the Girl Guides of Canada, Kingston Daycare Inc., and the Trenton Military Family Resource Centre.
Chantal joined BPW in 2007. She held the roles of Club President and Past President, and spoke about the Women’s Empowerment Principles to local audiences and to MP Kirsty Duncan, when she was the Opposition Critic on Women’s issues. Since 2014, when Chantal became President, she forged partnerships on BPW’s behalf with the Quinte West Chamber of Commerce, the Centre for Workforce Development and the Women’s Small Business Network. In October 2015 the first annual Celebrating Women in Business Event was held during Quinte Business Week. Planning for the 6th annual event to be held on October 20, 2020 is underway.
Chantal Fraser holds an MBA from the Royal Military College of Canada and is a recipient of the HRPA Honourary Life Award.
For more information visit Empowered Path and/or Chantal Fraser's LinkedIn.
If you’re a BPW Canada member, and you’d like to pick my brain to find out if I’m the right person for the job, I encourage you to contact me, through LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter or an email through my webpage, so we can set up a one on one phone call, video or WhatsApp chat.