Victoria Pruden of Bridges for Women (left), hosts Mayor Lisa Helps (right) at the non-profit’s annual luncheon for International Women’s Day. This year’s event took place March 8 at the Union Club of B.C. Photo courtesy Bridges for Women

Bridges for Women luncheon in Victoria leaves guest inspired

The event included a panelist of empowered women

Bonnie Lewis, stands in front of a microphone at the front of a room packed with hundreds of women and men on March 8 for the annual International Women’s Day Luncheon. She opens her mouth to speak but pauses, summoning the strength needed for her presentation. “Bridges means …,” and Lewis pauses again, sniffling loudly into the microphone. As a tear begins to run down her face Lewis begins again “Bridges means everything to me.”

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As a graduate of the Bridges for Women Society’s program, Lewis says her transformation has changed her, her life and everything in it. A tangible symbol of her success is a vision board she made prior to entering the program and another vision board she produced after. The biggest difference between boards is the lack of material items on the second one and the increase of inspirational quotes and feelings Lewis says she’s been empowered to manifest herself since completing the program.

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Bridges for Women Society provides unique employ-ability training for women with histories of trauma, abuse and violence, embodying the philosophy of empowering women through education, training and professional one-on-one support.

Besides hearing experiences of women who have been supported through Bridges for Women, three panelists shared their experiences navigating life as a successful business women. Hearing from Laura Poland, general manager of Mayfair mall, Sybil Verch, senior vice president and national director of wealth management for Raymond James Ltd and Penny Sakamoto, publisher for Black Press Media.

Sharing laughs, stories and advice the event left everyone feeling the way they should be on International Women’s Day — empowered.



kendra.crighton@blackpress.ca

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