Anglican church minister Reverend Andrea Brennan is among four local women who will present at Fernie’s first Women Talk conference on Saturday. Phil McLachlan/The Free Press

Women Talk coming to Fernie

Local women, professional speakers to take the floor; plus win tickets to first Fernie event

Four local women will bravely step up to the lectern to share their story with their peers at Fernie’s first Women Talk conference this weekend.

Pitched as a day of empowerment, connections and inspiration, the event will take place at Best Western Plus Fernie Mountain Lodge on Saturday.

“What Women Talk is about is simply ordinary women sharing their extraordinary stories and it’s just a place where, often women who have never spoken publicly can actually come up in front of an audience – some smaller, some larger – and share their stories, which are really varied,” said entrepreneur and Women Talk founder, Brigitte Lessard-Deyell.

“I truly believe that when women share their stories, they make their communities stronger because often people think that they’re the only one that this ever happened to and they don’t know how to process it, then all of a sudden somebody comes up to the mic – an ordinary woman that often is somebody they know in their community… and share a story and they go ‘oh my God, somebody else has this issue’ and it makes great connections.

“It also empowers the woman that is at the mic because many of us these days, we’re isolated a little bit, everybody is on social media (and) communication in a group often doesn’t happen, so this really gives the opportunity to give the spotlight to somebody in the community… It really makes stronger connections in the community.”

Women Talk started in 2012, initially as an annual conference, before being expanded to monthly events across Canada.

Today, Women Talk is in 13 locations from Vancouver to Ottawa with monthly events, as well as a podcast and convention.

Fifteen women have been confirmed as “Talkers” for the Fernie conference and will each speak for 20 minutes, TED Talks style.

Among them are locals Andrea Brennan, Giuliana Melo, Jessica Teeple and Lynda Pelletier, as well as professional speakers, such as burn survivor and bestselling author, Kelly Falardeau.

Lessard-Deyell is the keynote speaker and explained the opportunity to present at each event is first opened to local women then Women Talk’s 100 members.

She said some Talkers are professional speakers but many are sharing their story for the first time and Women Talk events are a safe place for them to do so.

“We’re all cheerleaders for you in the audience, so there’s no judging, there’s no expectation of you being a professional speaker, it’s truly you are sharing a story that has affected you or your family, your life, and we just want to know about your story,” she said.

The Women Talk Fernie Conference will be held from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, April 13. Tickets cost $85 and include lunch, visit Womentalk.ca/fernie to book your place.

Women Talk is also giving away two tickets to the Fernie event, enter at Womentalk.ca/ferniecontest.

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