Robyn Bourgeois announced as keynote speaker for Niagara Leadership Summit for Women

Robyn Bourgeois knows about navigating challenges that come with being a female leader.

Brock’s Acting Vice-Provost, Indigenous Engagement is looking forward to sharing her experiences with the virtual crowd at this year’s Niagara Leadership Summit for Women (NLSW).

Bourgeois, who is also an Associate Professor of Women’s and Gender Studies at the University, will be the keynote speaker for the event, which, due to ongoing public health restrictions, will take place online from Tuesday, Oct. 26 to Thursday, Oct. 28.

“Given our rapidly changing world and the pressing social issues we’re facing, women’s leadership is needed more than ever,” Bourgeois says. “Events like the NLSW offer critical support for women leaders at all points along their leadership journeys.”

A mixed-race woman whose Cree family comes from Treaty 8 (Lesser Slave Lake) territory, Bourgeois (Laughing Otter Caring Woman) was born and raised in Syilx and Splats’in territories of British Columbia and is connected through her three children to the Six Nations of the Grand River.

Through her research, she examines violence against Indigenous women and girls, as well as Indigenous women’s political activism and anti-violence leadership.

Bourgeois is also a survivor of multiple forms of violence.

She testified as an experiential and expert witness at the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls in October 2018.

When asked to be a part of the Niagara Leadership Summit for Women, Bourgeois says she felt particularly drawn to the theme of this year’s event: Courage to Lead.

“Despite social, political and economic gains, being a woman leader continues to be challenging and comes often at great personal and professional cost,” she says. “And yet, women continue to find the courage to lead, and I am eager to celebrate and support this.”

Bourgeois says it’s “important for women leaders to share and reflect on their experiences.”

Through her keynote speech, she hopes to “offer practical advice on navigating the challenges that come with being a woman leader and how to foster the courage to lead.”

The NLSW is the “biggest event devoted to celebrating, amplifying and developing women’s leadership in the region,” Bourgeois says. “It’s an opportunity for our community to come together to learn from each other and foster relationships.”

Tickets for the event will go on sale in September and can be purchased through the NLSW website.

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