Press Releases
Gender equality conference in New Westminster aims to explore gender biases in the workplace
Posted On:
November 1, 2018

The City of New Westminster, in partnership with Soroptimist International, is proud to present the Gender Equality: Overcoming biases in the workplace conference.  The event, sponsored by Douglas College and Marcon, is taking place on Thursday, November 22, 2018, at Anvil Centre from 8:00 am to 2:30 pm.


“While strides have been made to close the gender gap in many areas, there remains significant gender inequality in the workforce and in politics with women underrepresented in leadership positions,” said Lisa Spitale, Chief Administrative Officer for the City of New Westminster. “This conference will explore how cities, and related institutions, can build better communities for everyone while also pushing to overcome institutional bias within our workplaces and a political level.”


The conference will feature keynote speaker, Senator Mobina Jaffer, who will be sharing some of her personal experiences advocating for gender equality, integrating gender perspectives, and championing women’s participation. The conference will also include three panel discussions:


Panel 1: Roadmap to Success

Hear first-hand experiences of how women and men navigate the hallways of power to achieve goals. Explore strategies on how to overcome barriers to level the playing field and ensure everyone has an equal voice and equal opportunities.


Panelists include: Mary Ann Booth, Mayor West Vancouver; Ingrid Milne, VP Operations, Woodbridge Homes; Jonathan Coté, Mayor New Westminster; Mary Trentadue, Councillor City of New Westminster


Panel 2: Why Women are Great for Cities
This panel will explore the influence, representation, and contributions of women in local government. How can we overcome institutional bias so that women advance into leadership roles and under-represented occupations?

Panelists include: Jerry Dobrovolny, GM Engineering, City of Vancouver; Nina Leemhuis, CAO, District of West Vancouver; Linda Glendale, CAO, District of Squamish; Lisa Langevin, Assistant Business Manager for Local 213 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers

Panel 3: Breaking In: Building Networks and Relationships
Explore the reality of networking in today’s workplaces. In 2018 are deals still being made on the golf course? Are we conducting business in socially inclusive spaces? How do women break-in successfully?

Panelists include: Kerry Gibson, President EcoCentury Technologies and UN Women 50/50; Mike Boehm, VP Business Development, KPMG; Barbara Mowat, President, Gro Your Biz

“Soroptimist International works both globally and locally to empower women and girls. Gender equality is a key issue and this conference is a positive step forward to inspire women to take leadership roles,” said Bonita Zarrillo, City of Coquitlam Councillor and Soroptimist member.  “Our communities will benefit and thrive by addressing systemic gender inequalities such as gendered work and unintended bias. Women need to be in the room and at the table of our leaders and influencers.”

For more information on the Gender Equality: Overcoming biases in the workplace conference and to purchase tickets, please visit  


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Lisa Spitale

Chief Administrative Officer
City of New Westminster
604-527-4549 or