Skip to content

Building Tomorrow’s Leaders: 2024 Capital LEAD Summit

My name is Erika Gray and I was an Event Coordinator for the inaugural Capital LEAD Summit (CLS) presented by the Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group (OSEG) Foundation on Monday, May 6th, 2024, at TD Place in Ottawa. We welcomed over 250 girls from over seven local schools for an exciting day of leadership, empowerment, advocacy, and development through sport! To build leadership, connection, and fun, Fast and Female was excited to partner with the OSEG Foundation and the City of Ottawa on this inaugural event! 

I’m a fourth-year PhD Candidate seeking to understand how various leadership approaches can be utilized to enhance equity, diversity, and inclusion programs in sport organizations! Working with Fast and Female on this event was a true honour and privilege. I knew I would have a blast helping to plan this event and see it through to fruition. The energy from the girls who came to TD Place in Ottawa showed enthusiasm and I was excited to see how the day would unfold. 

According to Canadian Women and Sport (2022), 50 percent of girls are not participating in sport by the time they reach adolescence. On this note, events like the Capital LEAD Summit (CLS) are imperative in showing girls they can be confident, brave leaders through the lessons they learn in sport. 

Speakers, Panellists, and Q&A Sessions Interactive Workshops and Skill-Building Activities

Photo by Vladimir Branicki.

The day kicked off with our MC Extraordinaire, Presley Barwick from OSEG Foundation, providing opening remarks and pumping up the audience for a fun-filled day for personal development. Presley brought amazing and inspiring energy to the space and shared that girls can have big, achievable dreams. Additionally, our attendees were assigned four big goals to work on which emphasized the theme of bravery. Participants also got to meet a few of Fast and Female’s role models, listen to speakers with an open mind, and most importantly — have fun and build connections with others!

The girls participated in three workshops throughout the day. Our Mental Toughness Workshop was hosted by Brittney Gibbs, where the girls were provided with insights and strategies on how to enhance their athletic and academic performance, cultivate resilience, and achieve their goals. 

Fast and Female’s Problem-Solving Workshop was hosted by Sydney Graper, who encouraged the girls to be brave and work through various scenarios to build resilience. 

Our third workshop was hosted by Molly Hurford and was about Owning Your Narrative, where the girls were empowered to capture and share their unique stories. 

Following the workshops, the girls took a break for lunch and enjoyed a panel discussion, hosted by our MC, Presley. The girls had a chance to hear compelling stories from our four panellists: Rosey Edeh (CTV Anchor); Dani Sinclair (Carleton University’s Women’s Basketball Coach); Brittney Gibbs (Mental Performance Coach); and Molly Hurford (Author, Publisher, Cyclist). Our panellists facilitated a discussion followed by a question and answer period. 

The panellists emphasized important messages that resonated with the participants. They encouraged listeners to embrace their true selves and be brave in all that they do. They also highlighted the fact that everyone faces challenges and tough times, but it’s essential to maintain a positive mindset.

Our speakers also emphasized that leadership doesn’t always mean being at the forefront. Being a leader can be about supporting others and creating a sense of belonging. These key messages left the girls feeling energized and empowered.

Capital Leadership Challenge (CLC)

Photo by Vladimir Branicki.

It was time for the final activity of the day, our Capital Leadership Challenge (CLC.)

The CLC provided a platform for the girls to showcase their leadership skills and put into practice the messages they had learned throughout the day. Prior to beginning the CLC, each mini group of girls was provided a CLC Passport. They had 45 minutes to complete as many CLC activity stations as possible to fill their CLC Passport. It was an exciting opportunity for them to demonstrate their abilities and make a positive impact.

Through 12 stations, the girls had the opportunity to build upon the leadership skills they learned throughout the CLS while being active. 

Inspired by The Amazing Race Canada and scavenger hunt activities, each station had a fun movement-based activity with associated leadership skills. Participants thoroughly enjoyed the Basketball Spelling Bee, where teams had to select one of the four words of the day (i.e., leadership, advocacy, teamwork, and bravery) and spell them by using a movement legend.

With the goals of building teamwork, communication, and problem-solving, this station was a blast for all. Once a station was complete, the girls had their CLC passports marked as complete and navigated together as a team and with a map to find their next station. The smiles that were captured on the girls’ faces were contagious!

Networking Opportunities and Mentorship

One thing that sets Fast and Female apart from other organizations is their commitment to empowering girls in sport, physical activity, and education. One way they empower girls at events and in programs is by recruiting REAL (Relatable, Empowered, Active Leaders) Role Models (RRMs) to represent their mission and values throughout events and programs. 

Mentorship and networking are key components to a young girl’s growth that will help her determine who she wants to be. The CLS provided attendees with the opportunity to learn from a range of diverse women who brought their true, authentic selves to the event. Many participants said their favourite part of the day was getting to know the role models and making new connections. 

Takeaways From CLS

As a researcher in the space of sport leadership, I was honoured to be an Event Coordinator for the inaugural CLS. Additionally, I am inspired by this year’s participants and the amazing women who brought this event together. I am excited to continue my research in this space to make a difference for the girls who will become tomorrow’s leaders thanks to sport. I could tell that everyone involved was having a blast!

On behalf of Fast and Female, I would like to thank the OSEG Foundation and the City of Ottawa for assisting in the production of the event! If you were inspired by reading this blog and would like to get involved with Fast and Female, please subscribe to our newsletter to stay up to date on future events and programs.