Degroote brings women together

The night started with off with a cocktail hour giving guests the opportunity to eat, drink and network. Over 250 women gathered at the Degroote Business School to network and learn about branding in the fast-paced world of social media on Thursday, Oct. 5.

The Degroote Women’s Professional Network (DWPN) hosted the sold-out event, Developing Your Personal Brand and Online Presence, in Burlington.

“We developed this network as a platform for women in the GHTA to come together to connect,” said DWPN’s founder and host, Kristine Leadbetter. “To engage in ongoing learning and professional development opportunities.”

Leadbetter said the event was highly requested. She said, “The goal is to equip everybody with some first-hand knowledge about how to think strategically … and really reflect on what they want their online reputation to be.”

PR consultant and McMaster professor Jacquie Hoornweg led the learning segment of the night. She said one of her main focuses of the night was “how to build communities online and get what you want out of your life on social media and your life online.”

During her presentation, she used a variety of social media influencers to show the diverse opportunities for engagement and branding opportunities online. YouTube sensation Lily Singh, late-night TV host James Corden, TV writer Shonda Rhimes, Justin Trudeau and Sick Kids Hospital were some of the examples Hoornweg used to show the boundless possibilities in social media.

“I think the important thing is to know what you want out of it,” Hoornweg said. She joked about how online can be all about getting a lot of like and loves, but she went on to say it is an opportunity to learn new things.

Hoornweg also touched on the differences between a reputation and a brand. She spoke about how attendees can start building their brands by answering questions about their vision, mission, values and goals.

For IT professional Heather McDougall the event and Hoornweg’s presentation was the perfect introduction to social media branding.

“I want to pursue it and learn more about the idea of your reputation, the brand,” McDougall said. “How we can use it in social media and just explore it.” She also said she would like to hear more of Hoornweg’s lectures in the future.

Dr. Hinal Sheth, a family physician who has been working on branding for the last three years since she opened her clinic, was not as satisfied.

“I was hoping for a more in-depth analysis,” Sheth said. “It is all well and good to ask yourself these questions, but if you don’t know how to answer those questions I was hoping it would go into a bit more detail for that.”

Leadbetter said the Degroote Women’s Professional Network has a variety of events and workshops for people on different career paths and with different levels of expertise. The next event, Success Secrets, is on Jan. 18, 2018.

About the author  ⁄ Cynthia Boyede

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