In the days leading up to the Advancing Women in Agriculture West Conference in Calgary, I think back to all the speakers who have presented at this conference over the past few years, whether it be in Calgary or Toronto, and the words of encouragement they imparted on the participants.   And while everyone who took part will tell you something different they gained from the conference, they all say they leave feeling inspired.

Sharon MacLeod, Vice President of Unilever North America, who spoke at Advancing Women East Conference in Toronto last October, definitely left this impression on the audience.

MacLeod who has worked on the Dove Self-Esteem project since it was launched in 2003 spoke on ‘Lessons learned from the farm to the corporate boardroom.’

She shared what she has learned from the initiative which helps girls overcome beauty-related anxieties that can stop them from being happy and confident and how it can help women and girls in their everyday life leaving participants with plenty to talk about into the evening hours.

She believes girls who grew up in agriculture are presented with an opportunity.

“I think girls who grow up in an agricultural environment have plenty of opportunities that other kids maybe don’t have because when it’s time to work, like bring in the hay, everybody has to help,” said MacLeod, adding, “everybody helps out in some way and in doing so we learn the value of contribution we can make at a very young age and we know that we are capable of so much more than a lot of other kids realize.”

MacLeod encourages all women in agriculture to make their mark in the world.

“It’s the most important thing, is to do something extraordinary even if it’s never been done before and then in doing so being able to take the credit that they actually achieved that and be willing to talk about that they achieved this extraordinary thing.”

MacLeod has a simple wish for all girls and women.

“My hope is that women and girls are unstoppable, I believe that in my heart of hearts that girls and women are unstoppable and I hope we continue to support our women and girls so they can achieve           really fantastic things in their careers.”

This interview was done at the Advancing Women East Conference in Toronto, Ontario October 3 & 4, 2016.  For more information on the Advancing Women Conferences click here.


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