—News

Her win, Our celebration: Celebrating International Women’s Day at Talk Shop

Since I started working at Talk Shop in 2017, I have had the opportunity to support communications efforts on some amazing work.

From housing projects that support first-time home buyers to enter the real estate market to working on Indigenous-led housing projects on the North Shore, there has been no shortage of impactful work to support. 

And while work to date has been incredibly rewarding – the past two days have been particularly special. 

On Wednesday, along with one of our directors, we facilitated a speaker training for the YWCA.

My colleague, Kelsi Tsatouhas, arrived just in time, as she was rushing from an on-site interview with Global BC. Kelsi was facilitating a tour through 58 West Hastings, now known as Bob and Michael’s Place. Supporting the Chinatown Foundation, and Business In Vancouver’s Lifetime Achievement Award winner, Carol Lee, our team supports her and the Vancouver Chinatown Foundation with their communications efforts. Bob & Michael’s Place will provide 231 new independent living homes alongside a 50,000 square foot integrated health centre that will serve the entire community and have a lasting impact on the lives of its residents.

Once Kelsi finished the tour with Global, she joined me to present to the YWCA’s FOCUS@work program. The free, highly participatory employment program helps women (including non-binary or gender-diverse people) assess their skills and strengths, set career goals, build connections and develop job search skills to find meaningful, sustainable employment. 

Our team delivered a speaker training workshop that supported participants with the tools needed to deliver in high-stakes conversations. Leaning on the importance of storytelling and being authentic to oneself, the two-hour session with more than a dozen participants was full of meaningful conversations and connections. For our team, supporting this session was a true privilege.

After the session at the YWCA’s Hornby Street location, members of our real estate team attended an event hosted by the Urban Land Institute’s Women’s Leadership Initiative. The event was an inaugural Gala to celebrate its Outstanding Leader Award. Three outstanding leaders that our team at Talk Shop has had the pleasure of working with were nominated. 

First, Sarah Bingham, Vice President of Development and Sustainability at Adera Development, was nominated for her work in sustainable housing development and advocacy, including the use of sustainable mass timber. Sarah and the team at Adera have been leaders in prioritizing using SmartWood, their proprietary building material made of cross-laminated timber (CLT), for a variety of reasons, including its ability to sequester carbon while contributing to a more positive construction experience for the community.

Next, Carla Guerrera, CEO of Purpose Driven Development was nominated for her work as a leader in housing development. Carla and her team have partnered with Vancouver’s Soroptimist Club to build housing by women, for women. The new development built at the corner of Cambie and West 13th in Vancouver will bring 135 housing units in the form of a 13-storey building to house senior women, women in the workforce and women-led families who could not otherwise afford housing in the Vancouver core. A groundbreaking project with an entirely women development team.

The second outstanding leader nominee we have the pleasure of working with is Katie Maslechko. Katie is the CEO of the provincial government’s Rental Protection Fund and is doing critical work to preserve rental housing in BC. The Rental Protection Fund aims to save thousands of units of housing and is part of a plan to grow the non-profit housing sector. The province’s $500-million contribution made in 2023 is the initial investment that will grow the sector, which will continue to build a portfolio of properties and leverage those assets into more housing.

As a team, we send our sincere congratulations to all of the nominees, and join the rest of the industry in celebrating this year’s winner, Sheryl Peters, Provincial Director, Redevelopment, BC Housing!

Then, on Thursday morning, I boarded the first flight of the day to Kelowna. I was greeted at the airport by one of our directors, Amber Coyle, who lives in the Okanagan, and we went to the Kelowna Women’s Shelter (KWS) to facilitate a full day of media and speaker training. KWS welcomed a new Executive Director at the end of 2023, and the team wants to ensure she is set up for success in future interviews with the media, as well as speaking engagements. KWS is on a mission to break the cycle of domestic abuse and help women and children live in safe and equitable communities. When it comes to values alignment with partner organizations, our team at Talk Shop wholeheartedly supports the work of KWS and we are so pleased to work with them.

This International Women’s Day, I would be remiss if I didn’t take the opportunity to reflect on the work our team have the privilege to do every day and the amazing partners we work to support. So much of our work revolves around storytelling, sharing a message, and connecting with audiences. Our team feels so fortunate to work with amazing women leaders every day, supporting them in honing in on their own stories and sharing them with the world. 

Victoria Levy is Vice President of Client Services at Talk Shop.