Fashion. Inspiring Women in Business. Warm Smiles. The words that I would describe my time attending Hot Heels Fashion Show in support of the Highbanks Society. I first reached out to the EWI of Calgary (Executive Women International) to attend their event because of their values and morals. LEARN-LEAD-MENTOR. EWI embodies women leading women and making a difference in their communities, to foster the ability of women in business to grow with many platforms.
When I spoke with the Calgary Chapter about attending Hot Heels, the conversation was nothing less than filled with laughter and positive moments. I was asked what I would be interested in doing at this event, and I said that I would be happy doing anything to help make the event successful. I was asked what I liked about EWI- that was probably the easiest question I have been asked as Miss Calgary World. I explained that I love the environment that EWI creates through aligning with like-minded individuals who wish to leave a positive effect on those around them. EWI Calgary asked if I would be interested in sharing my story as a young woman in business- apparently, I was Googled. I said I would be more than happy to share my experiences as an active member of our community and my time in business.
The day of Hot Heels I was a little bit nervous to be speaking to a room of corporate powerhouse women. I was instantly greeted with warm smiles, very professional handshakes, and was put to work right away. Like any other fundraiser, raffle tickets needed to be sold! These women, and few men were very generous and understood that all the money would be going to the Highbanks Society in Calgary. The Highbanks Society aids and provides support to unsupported young mothers and their children who experienced poverty and homelessness. Highbanks Society offers housing and contributes to offering young mothers the opportunity to reach their full potential and create a better life for themselves and their children.
Once the afternoon began, there was a lovely lunch offered. EWI Calgary was generous enough to provide me with a complementary seat at the Highbanks table where I had the opportunity to learn more about their causes and how they offer unique opportunities to better the lives of those around them, embracing young mothers to create a framework and learn new skills to help their children and themselves. The lovely MC of the Hot Heels Fashionshow had a young woman speak about her experience as a young mother and the growth she has experienced at Highbanks. She was one of the strongest women in the room. I do know that a lot of the women in the room where mothers- but they may have had the support system that this brave woman may not have had, until she made the conscious decision to better her life for her child. I am not joking when I say, that her story was so strong that she had most the women in tears.
And then it was my time. I was excited to share my experienced with the woman in the room and the few men.
Hello everyone. My name is Mattea Henderson and I am Miss Calgary World 2017. I have been competing in pageants for six years, and while speaking to some of you out front we discovered that you saw me win my first crown in this very room. While competing in pageants I also manage the Calgary division of a promotional brand agency, and attend Mount Royal University to pursue an undergraduate degree concentrated in Marketing and International Business. Although, I love school it hasn’t always been the easiest at times due to sustaining permanent brain damage at birth through a fractured skull. It took a long time for me to understand why I did not think like everyone else. In my second year of my undergraduate degree I completed cogitative and non- cogitative behavioral testing. We found that I tested in the 80th percentile or higher, but where I had my skull fracture, I tested in the 7th and 13th percentiles. They explained there was a correlation, and I have adapted to my weaknesses. Because of this weakness, I have developed a strong work ethic. Like EWI I believe you can build upon your strengths and weaknesses to develop new skills.
One thing that I have experienced in all aspects in my life, from high school teachers, coaches, my peers, friend’s parents, employers, and some university professors is being told “it’s a good thing you’re pretty” or “at least you can marry rich”. At first I took offense to people saying this, it used to bother me to the point that I would cry about it to my mom. I would ask her “is that all people see? How I look?”. My mom told me that how I look is a great gift but also a weakness. I have accepted how people see me, but it is also the reason why I have opportunities that many don’t- I reason why I am able to speak here today- a reason why I can do pageants. In the last six years, I have had five titles, and two were international ones. Pageants are a major reason I do what I do. They have taught me the importance of community supporting community. I will always be proud of represent Canada, but having the ability to represent Calgary is something I do not have words to express my gratitude about. Knowing that Calgarians like you willing to be the change you wish to see in the world, by helping others, and leaving a positive effect is why I am honored to be here today.
I will be completing my undergraduate degree in the fall, and I can openly admit that I do not have the corporate experience that everyone in this room does. I can only work towards and aspire to emulate what EWI and all of you stand for: Community supporting Community, helping others discover their potential, acknowledging strengths and weaknesses while discovering new skills, and aligning yourself with like-minded people and leaving a positive effect.
The fashion show was amazing! The pieces were all beautiful just like the people modeling them. I really could not have dreamed of an experience like this. It opened my eyes to the influence the driven and passionate women could have on their community.
Thank you EWI of Calgary for allowing me to be part of this wonderful event of community supporting community. I hope to be as strong, passionate and drive just like the women in the Calgary Chapter. I know you made a difference in my life, as well as others.
HOT HEELS SILENT AUCTION & RAFFLE TICKETS RAISED ALMOST $9,000
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