Regina Women’s Network Presents: Courage | Wisdom | Success 2018
There is power in a story. Personal stories can inspire us, surprise us and touch us — and they almost always leave us changed in some way.
As an organization that encourages it members to “tell their stories,” the Regina Women’s Network (RWN) has incorporated this approach into their annual speaker series, Courage, Wisdom, Success (CWS). The 6th annual CWS was held on January 23 at the Double Tree by Hilton in Regina. Following some mingling and mixing to the musical sounds of Matt Kaip, RWN President Tracy Thompson opened the elegant breakfast event: “I want women everywhere to be able to tell their stories with pride and strength. We all have a story and we need to be able to tell it. RWN gives us that platform.”
Shana Pasapa, a Nakoda woman from the White Bear First Nations in Treaty Four Territory, is mother to two young boys, an MMA fighter, blue belt in jiujitsu, and founder of Power our Women Self Defence (POW). Maybe it was hunting and wrestling with her uncle, or watching UFC fighting with him. Maybe it was her mother’s encouragement to get self-defense training. Undoubtedly, their influence helped lead Shana down the POW path, where she seems to have hit her calling. Connecting MMA to her culture and traditions, Shana stresses the importance of knowing your identity. “If you can stay close to your centre, and not go off so much, no matter what happens, it will be easy to come back.” Shana is committed to POW’s mission, and admits: “I don't say I empower women; whatever they learn, they pull from themselves.” Having left her full-time job to pursue POW, Shana says, “It always makes me feel so good to see the women that I work with and to see the smiles and the confidence after they are done training. I absolutely love what I do.”
Michelle Campbell is president and director of Thomas’ Circle of Care Inc. (TCOC), a non-profit organization that places high needs and at-risk infants and children into group care through partnership with the Ministry of Social Services. Weaving her own childhood and parenting experiences into her work at present day TCOC, Michelle’s story gripped the audience. Her “uniquely indescribable” son, Thomas, was diagnosed with inoperable cancer at the tender age of 13. Michelle says: “It was Thomas’ legacy of fierce love and protection of family that laid the foundation for the staffing model at TCOC. All of what Thomas taught those who were lucky enough to be in his world is tightly woven into the fabric of TCOC. Every child we hold, every tear we wipe, and every “ow-ee” we kiss is Thomas working through us to create a world where no child is left behind, no child feels unloved and no child cries alone.” She encouraged those present to consider volunteering for TCOC. “Come spend time; come read to our little people. Join our village. Help me keep my son's legacy alive by instilling in children that they are loved, they are safe, and most importantly, that they are valued.”
CWS 2018 Committee Chair, Joanne Leigh, thanked the organizing committee and expressed admiration for the speakers. “We are the sum total of our life experiences, and with those experiences — good and bad — come wisdom. The speakers today have overcome adversity through their courage, and this has allowed them to gain further wisdom, and ultimately, turn that into success in achieving their goals. Shana has found success in teaching young women to be strong and powerful and finding their own inner strength. Michelle has found success in fulfilling her son Thomas’ dying wish, and providing safe, loving homes for the most fragile and helpless in our society. For this, I stand in admiration of both of them.”
For more information about the Regina Women’s Network, visit them online.
By Sherry Lee Photos Andrea Norberg Photography