With a view to encouraging more women to get into politics, the Sea to Sky Women's Campaign School is set to go into session on May 28.
Organized by Squamish consultant Catherine Rockandel, the event will see experienced female politicians gather for workshops and panel discussions in an event that organizers hope will educate women interested in running for municipal council, the regional district and the school board.
"We want to ensure that women's ways of collaborating and team building are part of our local decision-making processes and that Local Government provides a realistic representation of the communities it serves," Rockandel said in a news release announcing the event.
The Campaign School will draw familiar guest speakers to take part in sessions and panel discussions. They include Joan McIntyre, the MLA for West Vancouver-Sea to Sky, who will speak on "Relationship Building and the Ups and Downs of Public Life."
"A subtext there is the importance of building relationships and support teams,"said McINtyre.
"I haven't held municipal office, but I figured I could talk about some of the things expected in political life."
McIntyre said it's important for women to be involved in politics for a simple reason: they represent 52 per cent of the population and both their views and opinions ought to be reflected in their elected officials.
"I think that women really do sometimes have a different way of approaching problems," she said. "I might not have said this six years ago, having come from a male-dominated business community, I think that women do bring a different way of looking at issues.
"We have a different experience in the world and I actually think a lot's been said about women being more collaborative, consensus-builders rather than the adversarial style men bring or that has been typical in our political system."
Other confirmed participants at the campaign school include Julianne McCaffrey, formerly senior speechwriter to B.C. Premier Gordon Campbell. She'll host a two-hour workshop on the principles of persuasion, as well as strategies that can be used in speechwriting and public speaking.
Meanwhile West Vancouver Mayor Pam Goldsmith-Jones will act as keynote speaker at the campaign school, talking about campaign strategy and leadership.
Panel discussions with elected leaders will include Susie Gimse, a councillor with the Village of Pemberton and director for Area C on the board of the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District; Corinne Lonsdale, a councillor with the District of Squamish and a former three-time mayor in that community; Patricia Heintzman, a District of Squamish councillor and vice-chair of the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District; Lisa Ames, a councillor with the Village of Pemberton; and Rebecca Thevarge Barley, a school board trustee with the Sea to Sky School District.
Tickets to the event are $25 before April 30 and include lunch and morning coffee. Registration begins at 8:30 a.m. with sessions taking place between 9 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. at the Whistler Conference Centre, with a networking event afterward at Araxi's Lounge.