On Wednesday November 13th, 2013, a sold out crowd gathered at the Vancouver Playhouse to mingle and listen to some of the most inspiring people in Vancouver. It started with a bang with a pretty young lady name Leigh Boyle, founder of The Lipstick Project. She began her speech with a story based in World War II’s Nazi German Auschwitz camp, where life was bleak, and a box of red lipstick raised morale. More than anything, this gave people a sense of their individuality and humanity. She told us how that story inspired her to start her program, that is dedicated to using make up to empower those down and out. She was passionate, sincere and optimistic. It is easy to see why she attracted the momentum that The Lipstick Program has received thus far.
Twitter: @leighjeannette @Project TLP Instagram: leighjboyle Website: www.thelipstickproject.ca
The next speaker was the most experienced and probably the most powerful person out of the whole lot, Brian Canfield (Chairman of TELUS). I couldn’t really tell the point to his story, as he reminisced about the 70’s and 80’s. He compared how people used to carry brick sized cell phones to today’s smart phone that functions as a cell phone, camera, video camera, PDA, etc. He talked about how fast technology is progressing and how the current infrastructure is lagging behind, and TELUS’ active role in that catch up. He alluded to the diversification of TELUS, into new arenas of business such as providing Cable service. Far from the days of BC Tel where as a traditional telecommunication company provided only home phone service.
Next, Sam Sullivan introduced us to the host of the CKNW Sunday Night
Sex Show Maureen McGrath, who talks about relationships and sexuality referencing
the latest facts from top medical journals. Maureen is a leading health expert and successful business person.
This blonde lady surprised the
audience by wearing a beautiful midnight blue evening gown, setting the stage
of her courageous tale with a funny Viagra joke. She shared with
us her emotional and psychological rollercoaster during a brief period in her
career at a private biotech company where she was the target of workplace bullying
and sexual harassment. She described her boss’s slimy hugs, suggestions to stay
in his hotel room on business trips and jealous rage when she spoke to a male
colleague. He gave unwanted gifts
to Maureen one of which was sparkly pen, which she used to record eighty-six incidents
of abuse over a four-week period. “He
berated me, belittled me, he screamed at me, he raged at me, it was abusive, “
she says with palpable emotion. She shared a very unsettling account of her boss
attacking her after a company function in the dress she has on tonight, the
scene witnessed by male colleagues who walked away. Maureen learned that this Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde boss had
abused a multitude of competent, successful women in the workplace. Maureen and all of these women got sick suffering
anxiety, palpitations, nausea, hair loss, weight loss, low sexual desire, PTSD
and/or insomnia. One of the women experienced
suicidal ideation, another substance abuse. Maureen filed a complaint with the
BC Human Rights Tribunal and took appropriate legal measures. She joined the “Be More Than A Bystander” campaign an
initiative to end violence against women.
Maureen asked the audience to stand up to bullying and if you’re bullied,
to carry on as the song “Carry On” is playing in the background. Maureen reclaims her dress tonight as a
real sign of empowerment on stage.
It is admirable to watch her be
vulnerable and share her truth, advising others of the steps to take if you are
the target of office bullying and/or sexual harassment.
Twitter: @back2thebedroom Website: www.backtothebedroom.ca
Next up, we see a very sharply dressed Chinese gentleman name Henry Tsang. He is a well respected visual and media artist and teacher at the Emily Carr Institute. He spoke of how people with money have been able to replicate architecture in surreal ways. He showed pictured of a gated community in Beverly Hills pretty much being copied in wealthy gated communities in Beijing China down to the furniture and fixtures. Vancouver’s Stanley Park and mixed-use retail and residential buildings are seen in Dubai thanks to famed architect Stanley Kwok. He didn’t go too much into depth of the social significance or impact this cultural exportation of architecture has on the people living with them. I spoke to Henry afterwards and asked him how does it work in Dubai, since it’s a dessert, how sustainable it is, and he flat out said Dubai’s architectural design is completely unsustainable. Dubai pumps water from far off places to water their lush golf courses and maintain their posh lifestyle. If and when they run out of oil money, Dubai will be a very different place.
Twitter: @HenryVancouver Website: www.henrytsang.ca
After Henry’s sobering presentation about urban architecture, we were treated to a delightful musical performance from a pretty blond musician Hanna Epperson. She uses a loop machine to record various sounds she makes with her violin. It was whimsical and fun, and she shared the story of her brother suffering from mental health issues. This lead her to be more involved in using her art in collaboration with other artists to bring more awareness to this issue which affects just about every family.
Twitter: @Hannah_Epperson Website: www.hannaepperson.ca
Grant Lawrence, the best dressed speaker of the evening walked onto stage with a PPT presentation. Starting with his elementary school picture he said he was gimpy with bad teeth that got everyone in a roaring laugh. The laugh continued as Grant continue to share one juicy story after another about his journey as a musician, to CBC media personality, and eventually an author on Hockey. I still can remember his innocent bright blue eyes full of curiosity, and his graciousness in answering my line of questions. When asked what kept his passion for journalism, he said he really loves a good story, and sharing a recent CBC radio interview with a Filipino lady who lost her most extended family brought him to tears. I just happen to have heard the same interview, and it was heart wrenching and moving.
Twitter: @GrantLawrence Website: www.grantlawrence.ca
The last speaker was Steve Curtis, who is a young good looking self made entrepreneur, famous for the ZAG restaurant guide. His speech was the most inspirational, as he shared about his quick ascent in success, and stressful lifestyle leading to the shocking discovering of cancer at 25. This led to his transition to a holistic and spiritual lifestyle that saved his life and made him cancer free. He now does not work 80+ hours, and have proper people working in his businesses, so he can dedicate his life to sharing his story with others. This has allowed him to give time for philanthropy to help at-risk youth. His staff made sure every one of the 600 guests that night went home with a long stem rose. He is full of energy and quoted how personal development speakers like Anthony Robbins and Wayne Dyer has thoroughly influenced his development as a person. I felt as if I was watching a younger version of Anthony Robbins, and hope his message reaches more people.
Twitter: @GlobalCivic @Publicsalon
Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCf1r6NC_C2CLud5YIJe6SdQ (where you can watch past presentations)