Indigenous women lead. They lead in business, government, communities and families. They are entrepreneurs, executives, students, volunteers, advocates and mentors. They solve challenging problems and they break barriers. Sometimes, Indigenous women do all of this at once. And, often, they do it alone.

There is a pressing need to build a network of support for these women to ensure they thrive and create a smooth pathway for others to follow.  In November 2018 and October 2019, Indigenous women from across Canada gathered together to connect and share their personal stories of development. They gathered new insights and resources to step forward with confidence as they face their next leadership challenges, knowing they have the support of a powerful group of women and companies backing them up.

The Indigenous Women’s Leadership Summit offered keynote presentations, hot topic panels, group exercises, and workshops.

Attendees ranged from entrepreneurs, business leaders, educators, politicians, community leaders and more.

It is with mixed emotions that we announce that we will not be continuing with IWLS.

An underlying motivation in IWLS was to create a stronger bond—to begin anew or to rekindle our long-time connections and to expand our networks. To support one another more directly and ensure we continue to spark the “brushfire of positivity” in our homes, in our communities and in our professions.

We have poured our hearts into IWLS for two years and we believe we started something pretty amazing. We truly want to see it continue. But the truth is, we can’t continue doing it as a two-person team. We have decided not to move forward due to practical and financial reasons, but for some health reasons too. The problem with passion projects is that there’s always a risk that you’ll do unreasonable things to see them through. That is the truth for both of us and the two-month recovery after IWLS is definitely not sustainable. This year, we will honour our physical limitations and do what’s best for us.

Most importantly though, we want you to know the relationships and love that came out of IWLS are proof that Indigenous women will lead the change that is needed in our world. We want to thank each individual and organization that supported us on this beautiful adventure – we implore you to continue living our mission. To find like-minded Indigenous women who will join us in our pledge to do things differently. To support one another. To lend an ear. To cheer each other on. To forge a new path for the next generations of Indigenous women.

No matter what, we hope you continue building this beautiful network and perhaps one day we’ll have the capacity to bring IWLS back.

With deep love and gratitude,

Laurie Sterritt & Nicole Taylor-Sterritt