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Montse Pineda

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UWindsor Students Hope for More Empowering Women’s Events After NetworkHER

Published On: Tue, Mar 5th, 2024, 11:04PMLast Updated: Tue, Mar 5th, 2024, 11:04PM3.6 min read
By Published On: Tue, Mar 5th, 2024, 11:04PMLast Updated: Tue, Mar 5th, 2024, 11:04PM3.6 min read

The University of Windsor’s EPICentre hosted NetworkHER: Celebrating Women Entrepreneurs to celebrate female leaders in Canada and the US for International Women’s Day.  

The event held in collaboration with the Embassy and Consulates of the United States, sought to celebrate students and community members. 

Lauryn Bodde, EPICentre’s Campus & Community Engagement Coordinator, who, after months of planning the event, led the night to make every attendee feel welcome, empowered, and inspired.  

“It was a privilege to gather and celebrate women entrepreneurs and the women who have come before us to inspire. The love and empowerment in that room set my soul on fire. If we had a flower for each time we were inspired by a woman founder or woman entrepreneur, we’d walk in beautiful gardens forever. Cheers to women entrepreneurs and those who inspire us. May we know them, may we be them, and may we lift them always.” 

Throughout the event, multiple students gave shoutouts to other women who have uplifted them, including mothers, friends, professors, faculty members, and supervisors, even if they were not in the room that night.  

Keynote speaker, Sandy Girard, an inspiring leader and innovator in the media and entertainment industry said. 

“I think in a world that is more digital, it is so inspiring to be in the same room with a community of people, specifically women, who are connecting about all of our dreams and the different ways we are continuing to try to achieve those dreams,” said Girard. 

Girard has successfully launched multiple startups, now large media corporations, such as Spkr, which was acquired. In 2001, she was part of the team that launched XM Satellite Radio, which became SiriusXM, the largest audio entertainment company in the US. She helped create critically acclaimed original shows, including Oprah Radio, Bob Dylan’s Theme Time Radio Hour, and Radio Andy (Andy Cohen). In 2011, the Alliance for Women in Media named Girard one of the “60 Most Inspiring Women in Media.” 

Girard was most recently head of content and EVP of Programming and Production at Crooked Media, one of the most successful companies in the podcast industry and oversaw the entire audio, video and social production teams, including for Pod Save America, which led her to be recognized as Adweek’s “Podcast Executive of the Year” in 2022. Girard also served as a US Peace Corps Volunteer in Ukraine, the experience that ignited in her a curiosity and appreciation for other cultures and countries, which led her to explore over 30 countries on her solo travel adventure in 2016. 

“I’m so excited and honoured that EPICentre asked me to be here. As a woman in business, I feel inspired by all these diverse and amazing women who share their stories with me. I wish EPICentre continues its success because what they do is changing people’s lives,” said Girard.  

The event also welcomed more outstanding female leaders during a panel discussion, including owner and founder of Fit4Life Health & Fitness Felicia Maxwell, Vice President of Business Development at Inforum Cindy Thieme, and moderator and Co-Founder of COOK-UP Trishauna Linton.  

“We have to make our voices heard. We have to come together as one on purpose. But it’s going to take time. But we have to do it on purpose, for a purpose, for us,” said Felicia Maxwell.  

UWindsor students shared their gratitude to have attended and grow their network, and hope that the university continues to do events like this in the future.  

“I recently started my entrepreneurship journey, so it is so empowering to be in a room with these women, hearing them talk about their experiences, seeing how they were able to power through the challenges, and they are here now,” said fourth-year student Alma Alao.  

“The NetworkHER event was absolutely amazing. All of the women told such amazing stories about their journey, and it was incredibly inspiring,” said first-year student Lava Rios.  

“I think more things like this need to be done on campus because there are so many women in the university that don’t even realize how much potential they have,” said Alao.  

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About Montse Pineda

Montse Pineda is an international undergraduate student from Mexico pursuing a degree in film production at the University of Windsor. Montse wants to become a filmmaker, film critic, and activist to impulse female directors. In her free time, she enjoys writing, creating, and sharing her art with others.