Women on the Hill celebrates and promotes female growth and leadership

Inaugural reception draws hundreds of women from all areas and careers to Sir John A. Macdonald Building

International Women’s Day is a lot like birthday celebrations that end up stretching out over a month because it’s so hard to bring all of one’s busy friends, from so many different groups, together.

Women on the Hill did manage to get everyone under one roof by hosting a large networking reception Monday at the former bank-turned-government owned Sir John A Macdonald Building on Wellington Street, right by Parliament Hill. More than 600 people accepted their invitation to the belated bash for the March 8th Women's Day.

Women on the Hill
From left, Lisa Delorme, co-founder and CEO of Rent frock Repeat, with Speaker of the House of Commons Geoff Regan and Catherine Clark, president of Catherine Clark Communications, at the Women on the Hill event held in the Sir John A. Macdonald Building on Monday, March 26, 2018. Photo by Caroline Phillips

The crowd was mostly women from politics, public service, non-profit organizations, business, media and academia. As well, there was support from Famous 5 Ottawa and Equal Voice.

The food was catered by Erin Clatney, owner of DISH. Bicycle Craft brewmaster Laura Behzadi and Dominion City Brewing Co. provided the ale while there was vino and bubbly supplied by Prince Edward County female winemakers Mackenzie Brisbois (Trail Estate) and Vicki Samaras (Hinterland).

Women on the Hill
From left, Erin Clatney, owner of DISH, with Vicki Samaras, co-founder of Hinterland Wine Company located in Prince Edward County.

Earnscliffe Strategy Group principal Velma McColl was on hand to welcome everyone, along with members of the all-party Parliamentary women's caucus, which is chaired by Anita Vandenbeld, Liberal MP for Ottawa West-Nepean. Maryam Monsef, minister of Status of Women, kept the energy and enthusiasm high as she congratulated all the women "who rock it" in their respective spheres.

Women on the Hill
From left, Velma McColl with Beth Everson, Canadian author and historian Charlotte Gray and Elizabeth Roscoe, senior vice president and national practice leader public affairs at ‎H+K Strategies Canada. Photo by Caroline Phillips
Women on the Hill
Anita Vandenbeld
Women on the Hill
Maryam Monsef

Trailblazer Shirley Westeinde, former chair of the Canadian Construction Association and BOMA Ottawa, attended. So did Lisa Delorme, CEO and co-founder of Rent frock Repeat designer dress rental service. Also there were Sharon McGarry, president of Hulse, Playfair & McGarry, and Susan Dagg Fulton, executive director of the Women’s Business Network. 

Women on the Hill
From left, Susan Dagg Fulton with Shirley Westeinde at the Women on the Hill reception held Monday, March 26, 2018. Photo by Caroline Phillips
Women on the Hill
From left, Sharon McGarry with Doreen Ju, volunteer coordinator with the Ottawa Chinese Community Service Centre. Photo by Caroline Phillips

Among the speakers was Tonda MacCharles, a veteran journalist with the Toronto Star and vice-president of the Canadian Parliamentary Press Gallery. She was the president until she found herself juggling too many balls, and decided to take a step back.

Women on the Hill
Tonda MacCharles

"It's a great time to be a woman in Ottawa," said MacCharles as she saluted the women in the room and the work they do. “I just want to let you know what has kept me going through 20 years in the Press Gallery, and that's women like all of you."

She also offered this piece of supportive advice: “When it feels like all the balls are falling on your head, reach out, have a coffee, have a lunch, go for a walk, vent, gossip, network, talk. It will get you through the very worst times."

Women on the Hill
From left, Isabel Metcalfe, founding chair of Famous 5 Ottawa, with Shannon Day-Newman, Susan St. Amand and entrepreneur Stephanie Maghnam, provincial Liberal candidate for Kanata-Carleton, at the Women on the Hill reception held Monday, March 26, 2018. Photo by Caroline Phillips

- caroline@obj.ca