• Airdrie and Crossfield Chambers celebrate successful virtual women's conference

    Lani McLeod, the Executive Director of the Crossfield Chamber of Commerce, admits they didn't quite know what to expect when the 2021 Rural Women in Business Conference had to move online this year because of COVID-19 restrictions.  

    The Crossfield Chamber originated the event but this year they asked the Airdrie Chamber of Commerce if they'd like to get on board and Marilyne Aalhus, the Executive Director of the Airdrie Chamber, agreed they would.  In 2020 the event had to be cancelled because of the pandemic but this year both of the groups were determined it would go ahead.

    On Wednesday (June 16) it did and McLeod says it all proved to be worth it.

    "For all the hours we put in, and we were a little nervous about doing something virtual, the event went very well.  I feel like the women came out of it feeling recharged and that was the goal of the event."

    Both of the chambers were pleasantly surprised at the turnout and were happy about the geographical area they all came from.

    "We had over 170 registered attendees and they were kind of coming from all over the province," McLeod explains. "Obviously the majority were in kind of the Rocky View area, Crossfield, Airdrie kind of thing.  Also, we had an attendee all the way from Hanna, we had one from Blackie, we kind of had a mixed bag.  I think we had one from as far away as Pincher Creek."

    As McLeod said, the theme of the conference was all about recharging and Dr. Jodi Carrington, the keynote speaker for the conference covered that subject, as well as many others during her address.

    "Her message was all about connection and kind of giving ourselves grace going forward from the past 15 months, McLeod notes.  "I found the message very empowering as well as inspiring.  I know I was looking through my computer screen and there were women crying and there were women laughing.  It was really a great message that touched everyone in a different way."

    McLeod says the feedback she has received has been very positive with the women saying how surprised they were that a virtual event could be so engaging.  That being said, McLeod feels that everyone would like to gather in person for next year's event.

    "I guess that depends on the state of the world," she laughs, "but I think we would all like to see a live event in the future."

    She says no date has been set for next year's conference but she definitely hopes the two chambers will work together again in planning it.

    "It was wonderful to work with the Airdrie Chamber. Marilyne and her team are a great group to work with."