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Life > Experiences

Dalhousie’s Annual Women In Leadership Dinner

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Dalhousie chapter.

On November 30, Dalhousie Athletics hosted its 12th annual Women in Leadership dinner. Presented by RBC, the women’s basketball and volleyball teams came together to celebrate women winning off the court. The dinner consisted of panel discussions, presentations, and above all, provided a chance to recognize female leadership in the athletic and professional worlds. Special guest speakers shared how their experiences in elite sports helped strengthen and contribute to their leadership skills while highlighting the role that sports can play in developing confidence. 

This year, Logan Dunning, a Dalhousie University Basketball Alumni, flew into Halifax as the key speaker for the event. A co-op student to boot, Logan studied chemical engineering at Dalhousie. She completed 16 months of work terms while playing for Dr. Carolyn Savoy, a local legend at Dalhousie. Before settling back into her hometown of Calgary, Alberta, Logan got her MBA at Queen’s University. Now the Director Commercial at NorthRiver Midstream Inc. Logan brought over fifteen years of professional and leadership experience to the Women in Leadership dinner. 

This year, Kelsey Crocker, a women’s basketball athlete in occupational therapy and Anika Almero, a member of the women’s volleyball team enrolled in community design, spearheaded the dinner as masters of ceremony. They introduced Athletic Director Tim Maloney and Associate Director/ Women’s Soccer Coach Cindy Tye, as they gave their remarks. Noting that he actually coached Dunning back in the day, Maloney spoke to the importance of this dinner. After Cindy gave her thanks to the parties who helped bring this night together, Vinita Savani, the Regional President of RBC Atlantic followed the two Tigers onto the stage. Savani described the importance of having control of your finances as a busy student-athlete and why RBC is so passionate about their partnership with Dalhousie Athletics. Being a women’s basketball athlete, I made a short appearance on stage to give thanks before the meal was served. 

Following the meal, a highlight reel made by Dalhousie’s graphic designer Christine Darrah served as the segway into the second half of the dinner. Creeping up onto the stage, Logan Dunning went straight for the microphone. She said, “I’m not sure if they are going to allow me to walk around like this but it’s how I prepared in my hotel room today, so it better work.” Laughter flooded the room and continued to do so for the next fifteen minutes. Dunning danced around leadership, change management and how elite sports prepares women to shine in the workplace. Yet, the main topic she addressed was the iceberg theory. 

This theory states that to the naked eye, one cannot see or detect most of a situation or individual’s data. For example, even though you might know and see someone, there is so much information under the surface that cannot be understood instantaneously. Logan used this theory to highlight how someone may appear in the workplace. She explained that she believed her colleagues knew she was a good person and worked hard although she wondered whether she could trust that everyone around her knew what she brought to the table as a leader. Dunning emphasized how important it is for young women to tell their stories  – what they can do and why they deserve a seat at the table – noting that no one is going to do it for you and sometimes, you have to go out and grab opportunities for yourself. This theory resonated with several athletes, provoking much thought even after the dinner. 

Ella Hornby and Sarah Valley, two basketball and volleyball athletes, joined Savani and Dunning on stage for a Q&A. Valley and Hornby answered questions about their experiences in Atlantic Canada (including how good the food is out here). Sarah noted that the community she finds in her team helps immensely in times of difficulty, to which Ella responded, “ditto.” Both from western provinces, the two athletes described the elite level of academics at Dalhousie. Hornby continued to feature Dalhousie’s exquisite care of student-athletes in comparison to other school’s in the west, delivering high praise for the tutoring, study hall and academic support programs. 

The final question posed was, “What would you change in the world?” Valley and Hornby identified the gap between women and men in the workplace and on the court. Hornby noted that the gender wage gap is one of the top determinants of a strong GDP – uplifting the female population ultimately results in healthier communities, stronger workforces and better sports. Hearing this response, one would think that Ella was an economics student, as opposed to kinesiology. Sarah, agreeing with Ella, concluded the question and answer period as the masters of ceremony gave their final remarks of the night. 

Quite a success, the 12th annual Women in Leadership Dinner came to a close as the two teams took photos on stage with their coaches. 

Katie Wuotila

Dalhousie '24

Katie is a varsity athlete at Dalhousie University studying Finance in the Commerce Co-op program. A lover of self-care, you can find Katie searching for the perfect Americano, reading any Adam Grant book, and attempting to turn her Strava into her only social media.