Girls Action Foundation (GAF)is a national organization on the cutting edge of bringing true equality for Canadian women. The ambitious grassroots organization hopes to “build girls’ and young women’s skills and confidence and inspire action to change the world”.
In a well-attendedevent – Light A Spark – in Downtown Toronto, GAF celebrated its mission. The group noted from the get go how Canada has a distance to go before we celebrate a true sense of equality for Canadian women yet the seeds were being planted for the positive changes everywhere.
In the meantime, according to the group, it aims to “provides spaces for girls to speak out, build skills, and create action on issues that are important and real to them. Our local girls programs address violence prevention, health promotion, media literacy and leadership. Our national leadership program offers long-term investment and support to young women who are change makers in their communities” according to its founding principles. At its yearly event – it invited one of the most successful Canadian leaders – Pamela Jeffery – Women’s Executive Network as its keynote speaker.
Pamela Jeffery is no stranger to public leadership. She began an exclusive public affairs consulting career in earnest in 2004. The former advisor to Ontario’s Liberal government and Paul Martin’s federal government in Ottawa, she has used her talent and networking skills to start a true movement. After witnessing very few women in her career, she decided to create the Women’s Executive Network. She then founded the Top 100 Awards for women where female leaders are exposed and celebrated, today, her group has 18,000 members. For her efforts, she was named as a charter member of Fast Company’s League of Extraordinary Women in the leadership category which recognizes 60 women from around the world for their dedication to changing the lives of women and girls.
Three years ago, she also started a well received and executed yet another initiative – the Canadian Board Diversity Council. With it, she wanted, according to her, “the federal government and private sector diversity leaders to increase the board representation of women, members of visible minority groups, Aboriginal peoples.” Pamela holds an MBA and an HBA from the Ivey School of Business.” The one time professor with the Rotman School of Management in the MBA and Executive MBA programs, she recognizes that networking is the foundation to a greater success to future Canadian women successful journeys.
The event, that was part networking and part a rally for self-empowerment, had many inspirational testimonials from young girls and youthful energy. The organizers hope to eliminate the barriers that prevent them from achieving their best. In a country (Canada) that has never elected a woman Prime Minster (Kim Campbell was only chosen by the delegates of the now defunct Progressive Conservatives), Canada has a long way, in business, politics, before we achieve true equality. Girls Action Foundation knows and understands this sad reality and is determined to change that reality.