WOW celebrates empowered women

A chocolatier, a world-champion cyclist and a best-selling author are just three reasons to attend the Woman Of Worth event on International Women’s Day March 8.

Barrita Durward, Leah Goldstein and Olivia McIvor are three of the featured speakers at the annual event at Sparkling Hill next weekend.

WOW founder Christine Awram started these events a decade ago to provide a blend of personal and professional development along with a strong element of humour, fun and celebration featuring world-class speakers, entertainment, empowerment — and chocolate.

“I believe all women are leaders, and WOW provides a forum for women to not only learn but to be further empowered and celebrate their magnificence,” she said. “It’s a powerful and extraordinary day, and it’s the event of the year for women.”

Durward is the owner of Cotton’s Chocolates in Vernon and has been making handmade Belgian chocolates since 1996. She was also named Woman of the Year in 2009.

“These powerful leaders are living a life they love, but have challenges just like anyone else,” said Awram. “So what do they believe that allows them to shine so brightly? How do they handle a bad day? And how do they make time for a life?”

Goldstein is a former professional cyclist, personal trainer and motivational speaker. She retired from 13 years on the pro road race circuit in the spring of 2010, and is now concentrating on ultra endurance racing.

Joining Durward on the panel is another Woman of the Year, award-winning journalist Betty Selin and co-host of the SUN-FM Morning Show; Rose Sexsmith, president of Rose’s Waterfront Pub and Hanna’s Lounge in Kelowna; McIvor, best-selling author and global leadership consultant on The Business of Kindness and Compassion in Action and director of The Kindness Foundation; “unstoppable woman” Dr. Rose Backman; and Brenda Eastwood, the author of Get Off the PMS and Perimenopausal Roller Coaster: Learn 9 Natural Fast Track Solutions to Balanced Hormones.

“Having suffered her own past challenges, including infertility and premature menopause at the early age of 32, Brenda Eastwood is now a hormone virtuoso,” said Awram. “Her book maps out step-by-step solutions for eliminating symptoms like painful periods, hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings, skin problems, premature aging and more.”

WOW will be emceed  by award-winning humorist Linda Edgecombe. The day will be capped off by a performance by the North Okanagan’s own Dharma Dolls.

“Those who attend the event also have an opportunity to find out about WOW’s charitable project, in association with Kelowna-based IWEN.

“We have a philanthropic arm where we rescue young girls from slavery and provide educational scholarships and micro-financing in Nepal,” said Awram. “This grassroots project has been wildly successful, and has transformed the cultural and economic profile of the community.  Our global sisters are reclaiming their rightful place as Women Of Worth.”

Woman Of Worth takes place March 8 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Sparkling Hill Resort in Vernon. Registration includes lunch. For more details, or to register, see


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