I love International Women’s Day. I get teary-eyed scrolling through my social feeds with all the heart-warming messages that women are valued and cherished. International Women’s Day (IWD) falls the day after the anniversary of my mom’s death so I think there is also that component; for most people, the first example of womanhood is Mom. It reminds me that my mom was a woman. Now that I have joined those ranks, I wish I could tell her I totally get what it’s like to be the centre of a household and feel pulled in so many directions. I wish I could tell her I wonder how to chase my dreams yet still support my children in finding theirs. Or sometimes I am just totally stumped about how to keep all my kids clean, fed, exercised, educated, and happy in the same day. But I can’t, so I rely on my tribe of women to lift me up and support me. And this past IWD, I spent the evening at Guildford Town Centre listening to a panel of women who believe in doing just that.

international women's day, guildford town centre, iwd, taslim jaffer writer

On March 8, 2018, Guildford Town Centre hosted what I hope will be an annual event called UNITED – Celebrating International Women’s Day. Moderated by 94.5 Virgin Radio host Nira Arora, a panel of 3 inspiring, accomplished women shared their thoughts on following your dreams, finding inner strength, and women helping women to a standing-room only audience. Lifestyle Blogger Monika Hibbs, Blo Founder Devon Brooks and Dress For Success’ Victoria Newstead delved into how they found their inspiration, who their role models are and how they ‘balance it all’.

Some of my favourite takeaways were:

  • Change can be scary but it can also be exciting – new ideas, new careers…all can launch us into the lives we are striving for.
  • We can’t do it all ourselves – our businesses might need to expand to include others who support our vision, we may need help with our kids, we might have to let the dust bunnies grow as we work on our masterpiece.
  • It’s important not to look at other women and do the compare and despair thing – we need to be the loudest cheerleaders for each other. Adjusting each other’s crowns is part of being real queens.
  • There’s a season for everything – you don’t have to do it all RIGHT. NOW.
  • Be around women who lift you up, who inspire you to be the best version of yourself – and then be that woman for others. You are the sum of the people you keep closest to you so choose your circle wisely, and contribute your best to that circle.

In addition to the entertaining and informative panel discussion, there were many other cool features to the evening. Dress For Success was supported by donations of clothing and by purchasing sweet engraved necklaces. Services like  free makeup and hair touch-ups, and free headshots were offered for those who wanted to spruce up their LinkedIn profile. And the atmosphere was fun and festive with a live DJ spinning some tunes. She played some great jams!

guildford town centre, international women's day, iwd, taslim jaffer writer

I went to bed that night feeling super pumped and then woke up the next day thinking, I wish it was International Women’s Day again. That’s when I decided I would do my best to make each day one that celebrates other women, and myself. I tweeted this with the hashtag #IWDallyearlong. If you have something to say about that, I hope you tweet me with it!

Women do too much, give too much, survive too much and thrive too much to be limited to one day of celebration, honour and awareness. We need to work hard every day to ensure that women around the world are safe, respected, cared for and supported.

Thank you, Guildford Town Centre, for lighting the fire for so many women this year – I had a fabulous time!

taslim jaffer writer





Thank you to Guildford Town Centre for sponsoring this post – I love telling my readers about the people and events that inspire me. All opinions are my own.