A Woman's Perspective on International Women's Day

A Woman's Perspective on International Women's Day

by Heather Lielmanis March 08, 2017

A Woman's Perspective on International Women's Day

Today, on International Women’s Day, I have chosen to profile Laurel Walzak, the female co-founder of Fitneff Inc. Laurel has been successful in so many areas of her career - first as a trailblazer in the sports business industry, then as an entrepreneur and most recently as an Assistant Professor of Sports Media at Ryerson University. 

Laurel also spends a great deal of her time and energy outside the office in efforts to advance the careers of young women who are making their start. In addition to mentoring, she is involved in many charitable organizations, and actively participates as a board member for companies that further the advancement of women in sport. 

I asked Laurel some important questions about the role of women in business, and the role that she plays in advocating for other women in her life.  

 

What does International Women’s Day mean to you?

International Women’s Day is an opportunity to reflect on our position in the world, and to celebrate those who have helped us to get to where we are today. It is also important to take the time to truly listen to, and support, the voices of women in our communities and around the world. I have always been an advocate of ensuring women’s voices are heard in the industry. Women bring a unique perspective, and without this perspective, organizations are truly losing out, and this impacts everyone, not just women. International Women’s Day is a reminder to listen to that female voice, and to take action if required. 

 

What kinds of challenges did you face in your career that were unique to you as a woman?

Gender has certainly created barriers for me in my career, but I have also been able to turn some of those barriers into unique opportunities that I might not have otherwise had. For example, women who are strong and driven are often scrutinized and given negative labels, and considered to be unfriendly and aggressive. I won’t apologize for being driven, but I have learned to package and merchandise my drive with positivity, self-promotion and perseverance with my voice. You catch more flies with honey, so to speak. I believe that this is a challenge that is unique to women. 

 

Why is it so important for women to support each other in their professional lives, whether it is in sports or in the business world? 

I believe it is important for women to support other women because they are in a unique position to help pave the way for others coming after them. Women who have achieved success have the responsibility to share their positive experiences, and provide insight into issues and to help navigate the that others do not encounter the same barriers that they may have faced. Even with the barriers that have been broken down to date, we are still underrepresented, excluded or both, and we still have tremendous work to do in this area. 

 

Do you have any advice for young professional women who are at the start of their careers? 

First and foremost, don’t be afraid to chase your dreams and don't allow gender-based barriers get in your way. You truly can do anything you put your mind to. Next, take the time to do your homework, do your research and ask questions to ensure that you are headed in the direction you truly want to go, and you know what you need to do to get there. Finally, find a mentor in the industry, whether male or female. A mentor can be your voice when you feel you don’t have a voice, and can help to navigate challenging situations, and will be your champion and your support along the way. It is always great to know that you have someone on your side.

 

Thank you, Laurel, for offering your unique perspective. We are thankful for the work that you have done to advance the status of women in the workplace, and the exposure of women in sports and sport marketing. 




Heather Lielmanis
Heather Lielmanis

Author

Fitneff is dedicated to providing innovative products and solutions that help busy people make their productive time more active. Fitneff offers a full suite of walking desks, sit-stand desks and active accessories that allow you to incorporate movement into your day at work, at home, and at school. Email: heather.lielmanis@fitneff.com Direct: 1-416-727-4328 @hlielmanis



Leave a comment

Comments will be approved before showing up.


Also in Fitneff Blog

National Bike to Work Day Q&A
National Bike to Work Day Q&A

by Rachel Piers May 17, 2018

National Bike to Work Day is on May 18th this year, and we’re highly encouraging everyone to participate! Here at Fitneff, we advocate for greater movement throughout your day in whatever way that you can, and biking to work rather than driving is an excellent option. To give you that extra incentive, I sat down with two of our employees who bike to work themselves every single day: Kate, our eCommerce Manager, and Ron, our CEO and President.

Read More

The Right Accessory can Make an Ergonomic Office
The Right Accessory can Make an Ergonomic Office

by Rachel Piers May 10, 2018

Everyone's heard of the old adage that the right accessory can make any outfit. Here at Fitneff, we believe the same concept applies when it comes to office wellness! There are a huge number of wellness accessories out there that can really do wonders for your movement throughout the day. Not convinced? Read three ways that accessories can improve your experience when it comes to beating a sedentary lifestyle...

Read More

The Ultimate Mother's Day Gift Guide
The Ultimate Mother's Day Gift Guide

by Rachel Piers May 04, 2018

It's already May and that means that Mother's Day is right around the corner - it's time to start searching for the perfect gift! We've put together a special Mother's Day gift guide that has a focus on health and wellness, so you can give the perfect gift that shows Mom just how much you love her.

Read More