Changing Tides – Enterprise Magazine

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BlueShore Financial Credit Union member and WNORTH CEO Heather Odendaal is expanding her global online networking platform in order to guide women along the executive path.

Published November 7, 2018
By Alexandra Gill – Enterprise Magazine
Photo: Heather Odendaal

It wasn’t your typical breakaway session. On a chilly night this past April, in the ski-resort municipality of Whistler, BC, about 70 attendees from the three-day WNORTH Conference for mid-career women on the senior-executive-leadership track convened at the outdoor Scandinave Spa.

They splashed through waterfalls, floated under the stars and networked in wood-burning saunas. Keynote speaker Halla Tomasdottir, an entrepreneur and former presidential candidate in Iceland who co-founded the the investment firm Audur Capital — guided by feminine values — held court in a steaming hot tub, doling out advice on everything from how to generate high-level support for equal-pay legislation to the difference between raising sons and daughters. Then she challenged the women to a cold-water plunge. “Let’s pretend we’re men and see how long we last,” Tomasdottir joked. Read More

WNORTH Conference Announces First Five Speakers that will Inspire Female Leaders in Whistler Next Spring

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5th annual global gathering of women to take place at Nita Lake Lodge,

April 10-12th, 2019 

WHISTLER, B.C. October 30th, 2018 – The WNORTH Conference team is excited to announce the participation of six world-class female leaders to its fifth edition, taking place in Whistler, BC next April 10-12th, 2019. Alison Desir, Amy Nelson, Barinder Rasode, Celeste Burgoyne and Dr. Lois Nahirney will each take the stage to share experiences, challenges and defining moments that shaped both their business and personal paths. WNORTH is a boutique-style conference focused on providing a forum for women who are aiming for, or already on, a senior executive leadership track.

For the fifth edition, Heather Odendaal, Co-Founder and CEO of WNORTH, really wanted to offer a line-up of speakers with diverse professional backgrounds: ‘Leadership opportunities can come in many ways, shapes or forms. This year’s Conference theme is “Colour Our World” and will highlight the importance of diversification, creativity and modernization in the workplace and our role in making these advancements. As women our challenge is often to recognize and to grasp them’, said Odendaal. ‘I’m thrilled to announce this first round of speakers; each of them demonstrates that no matter what your field is, from sports to sciences to marketing, leadership opportunities for women do exist and they are diverse, now more than ever. I know our conference attendees will be inspired by these six incredibly accomplished speakers, and hopefully the event will act as a springboard to elevate themselves both professionally and personally’, she concluded. Read More

PIQUE NewsMagazine: Rising Regardless

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Whistler’s business community is flush with women leaders — but what hurdles have they crossed to get there?

We’re witnessing a watershed moment. There’s been a tidal wave of conversation, heated debates, and marching in the streets, pushing the subject of gender equality to the forefront of our current cultural moment. Some believe these discussions have only pulled us further apart, while others see it as a call to arms, a rallying cry. Either way, we have to decide whether this wave is going to wash over us, leaving only small fragments in its wake, or if it will alter our social landscape forever. With women coming forward and sharing their stories like never before, of stunning abuses of power, of systemic barriers to entry, of unfair and unequal business practices, we need to be ready to listen, and then we need to be ready to act. With all that we’re being told, what will we do next?


Global Gathering of Women on the Rise Welcomes Icelandic Leader as Keynote

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Female Leaders Return to Whistler at WNORTH Conference Spring 2018

WHISTLER, B.C. September 12, 2017 – The WNORTH Conference  is set to return to Nita Lake Lodge in Whistler, British Columbia, Canada, April 18 -20, 2018.

WNORTH is a boutique-style conference focused on providing a forum for women who are aiming for, or already on, a senior executive leadership track. Now in its fourth year, WNORTH has become a global community of women on the rise, facilitating connections between women in business as they ascend to executive leadership, through the annual conference as well as intimate gatherings in cities across North America.

WNORTH Founder, Heather Odendaal, revealed that the first five speakers at the 2018 conference will be Halla Tomasdottir, Joanna Pena Bickley, Tej Singh Hazra, Steph Jagger and Erin Sills. Read More

PiqueNews Magazine – WNORTH Taps Into Female Influence

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WNORTH, an annual women’s leadership conference, will hold its third forum in Whistler from April 19 to 21 with a panel of female business leaders for keynote addresses and workshops.

Tracey Riley, managing partner, assurance at PwC Canada, will address the conference on how women’s perspectives improve the bottom line.

Pique caught up with Riley via email in advance of the conference to find out about the changing role for women in business. Read More

BC Business – Heather Odendaal shines a deserving spotlight on women leaders at the WNORTH conference

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When Whistler’s Heather Odendaal couldn’t find a conference that brought together ambitious career women aspiring to senior executive roles and women who were looking for an opportunity to network and hear from successful leaders, she created her own.

In 2015, this savvy entrepreneur and sales executive for a Fortune 500 wine company founded WNORTH Conference, a one-day event that attracted 120 attendees. Read More

Huffington Post – Women, Resilience, and Working Together for Change

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For the first time in the fifteen years that I have produced events, I endeavored to host an event without being there, in New York City. I called on my network, set a theme, chose a venue, and held my breath. Success would be the connection of women in a variety of industries, with the goal of reaching a leadership position, and a discussion with takeaways on how we can support more women on getting there.

With women still only representing 4.4% of CEO positions in S&P 500 companies, it’s evident that we still have some work to do and the only way we’re going to push the needle is to work together. That’s why I launched the upcoming WNORTH Conference in Whistler April 19-21 – to create a place where women could share their experiences, and together, make the path to the top easier for those aspiring to get there. The WNORTH Connect Dinner Series is a way for us to keep the “women on the rise” movement alive and well year round.

Read More

Ellevate Network – WNORTH Founder Heather Odendaal featured on SHE BUILT THAT Podcast Series

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“Heather Odendaal has a hard time “slowing down.” She’s a new mom to seven-month-old son Luke; the founder and CEO of Bluebird Strategy, an event production company she founded in 2010; and the co-founder of the WNORTH Conference, an annual gathering of global women on the rise that she launched with her husband in 2015. It’s easy to see why slowing down for Heather really isn’t an option.”



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