Canadian Forces Base Borden sees their women and men collaborate through a decorative cake
July 08, 2019
At Canadian Forces Base Borden (CFB Borden), baking a cake for International Women's Day proved a great way to incorporate both a serious and fun message.
Their International Women's Day event was a celebratory yet informative showcase of the different perspectives women bring to society both locally, nationally and internationally - and having an impressive IWD cake was a key part of their celebrations.
The cake bakers were both men and women from CFB Borden’s Ration and Quarters Support Services team.
The symbols included sculpted scales as a center-piece surrounded by the International Women’s Day logo and the CFB Borden crest and, of course, masses of IWD's iconic purple.
Engaging the public
The cake wasn't the only way CFB Borden celebrated IWD. CFB Borden also hosted female guest speakers and a trade-style show that brought together members of the local community.
"Overall, the event was very successful with more than 850 people present," said Maj Candice Thompson, one of CFB Borden's co-chairs for the Base's activities for International Women's Day. "Our goal was to do something different and engage the public so that people could connect with businesswomen in our community."
Women speakers shared personal stories
CFB Borden's IWD committee focused on the #BalanceforBetter theme when inviting the guest speakers. For them, it was important that the women were not only from the military but from other areas of society and represented a balanced audience.
Speeches focused on how to overcome challenges in creating a better society for all, and each guest speaker made time to answer audience questions and interact with community members.
“It’s not what you accomplish that makes you a leader,” said Heather Moyse, Canadian Olympic gold medalist and keynote speaker. “It’s how you pursue it that inspires others.”
Heather's visit to CFB Borden, sponsored by BMO, the official bank of the Canadian Defence Community, inspired the audience to rise up to face life’s challenges. Moyse recalled the personal obstacles she had to overcome both when training for the Olympic Games and when she climbed a mountain in Antarctica to raise awareness of post-traumatic stress disorder. “Sometimes you have to go beyond your comfort zone,” she added. “Challenge your current assumptions about what you think is possible – what’s beyond the boundaries of your comfort zone?”
Speaking on the subject of women and politics, the second of four speakers, Honorary Colonel (HCol) Jennifer Armstrong-Lehman, cited research that states diverse governments have more credibility. “Governments that are more gender balanced are seen to be more trustworthy by both men and women,” she explained. “You trust governments that look like you.”
Armstrong-Lehman asserted that women bring different perspectives, which leads to better governing. Women are usually more collaborative, more likely to seek consensus and are more results-oriented. She also added that women in government support more spending on medical and preventative care, post-secondary education and other social services.
Two further speakers supported the keynote address: Rose Adams, who spoke about self-leadership and resiliency in relation to her childhood in foster care, and LCol Rhonda Crew, a military nurse who participated in the 2018 Invictus Games and discussed recovery through sport. LCol Crew was candid about her mental health disorder and PTSD and the value of sports and fitness in addressing these issues.
As well as inviting guest speakers, CFB Borden organized a trade-style show that attracted over 60 women entrepreneurs and local businesses. The vendors loved interacting with the community and look forward to returning for next year's IWD event.
A successful IWD event for the whole community
This was the first large scale IWD event for CFB Borden, and it was certainly a successful one. Thanks to the support of community partners, including schools and radio stations, CFB Borden achieved its aim of attracting the whole community beyond uniformed members of the Defence Team.
CFB Borden also organized a collection drive where, thanks to people's generosity, over 2,000 items and $800 were distributed to four local women and youth shelters, creating a lasting impact beyond the day itself.