As a female-run business that celebrates the strength of our community through stories and events, we were thrilled to hear about Strength in Women Day, the upcoming event hosted by our friends at DTS Fitness Education.
The second annual event, taking place on May 31st and focusing on the theme of Resilience, features five speakers from a range of fields (fitness, medicine, non-profit), sharing stories from their own journeys, lessons they have learned, and guiding principles that have influenced who they are today. All proceeds from the event will be donated to Victim Services of the Toronto Police and the Red Door Shelter.
We caught up with Freyja Spence, Lead Instructor & Training Standards Officer at DTS Fitness Education and all-around strong-as-hell woman, to find out what we can expect from this event and what resilience means to her and the event speakers.
Well TO Do: What was the inspiration behind DTS Fitness Education running an event like this? And is this the first time you have run this event?
Freyja Spence: The intention is to share stories from female leaders to inspire future female leaders. The strength industry is still an industry that is dominated by male leadership though there are some very strong female ones as well. We chose to kick off our first Professional Development Day highlighting some of those female leaders last year and are running it yearly with different speakers and themes.
WTD: Let’s talk about the format of the event. What can attendees expect out of the day?
FS: The format of the event is a series of talks, networking, and catered lunch from Impact Kitchen. It runs from 9:15am-3:00pm and has an optional 45-minute mindful movement session at the end of the day.
WTD: How did you choose the speakers and what made you choose each one of them?
FS: Each presenter is a leader in their respective field and we were looking for leaders to share their stories of trials and triumphs that have made them resilient and strong.
WTD: Tell me about the theme of “resilience”. Why that specific theme and what does it mean to you and the DTS Fitness Education team?
FS: Resilience is staying on track. Life presents challenges and opportunities. Those with resilience seek the opportunities and those without are buried by the challenges.
WTD: We’d love to know what “resilience” means to the incredible speakers for your event as well.
FS: Jenny Midmer, Owner of Small but Mighty Fitness (presenting on: Small but Mighty Strategies on Showcasing your Strengths): Resilience is the bravery to be curious and confident in the face of adversity. It is having the strength to face challenges that may seem insurmountable, and the courage to pick yourself up in the face of failure, adapt, and try again.
Jackie Mirkopolous (presenting: Mindfulness & Movement Session): Resilience can be mental, physical and/or emotional. To me resilience is the ability to ‘bounce back’ and stay focused on what matters to YOU! No matter what stimulus or experience comes your way, resilience is the ability to pause and choose your response instead of reacting.
Dr. Donna Henrikson (presenting: Medicine at a Turning Point): To me, resilience means being able to respond to life’s demands and challenges in a way that results in you becoming a stronger, better person, rather than being broken down by them.
Kelly Thorne, VP Personal Training Movati (presenting on: Be the CMO (Chief Marketing Officer) of Brand You): To me resilience means taking time to reflect on your strengths and using them to overcome life’s obstacles. When you’re resilient you’re optimistic about future success rather than short-term struggles.
Diana Villa, Fitness Manager Goodlife Fitness (presenting: My Journey to Creating a Winning Team Culture): Resilience is one’s ability to overcome adverse conditions in a relentless pursuit of their goals.
WTD: Tell me a bit about the charities, why you chose them, and why you decided to make this a fundraising event?
FS: Red Door is for abused women who are seeking shelter and protection from an abusive spouse, and Toronto Police Victim Services supports victims of crime. Our Professional Development Days are geared towards giving back to DTS students, new attendees, and creating an environment where fitness professionals can network.