Bring Your Dreams to Life! Attend the International Women’s Festival in Santa Barbara.
For the past four years, the International Women’s Festival has grown and attracted more and more women from all over. The beauty of it is that it’s not just about one kind of woman, not just business women, not just moms or single parents, not just women with difficult stories. It’s about all women.
One hundred years ago this year, the United Nations declared March 8 as International Women’s Day. This festival honors that, and this year’s Festival is on March 5 and 6.
The goal of the festival is to empower, inspire and provide resources for women to grow both personally and professionally. It focuses on the “4 Ps” – Personal, Professional, Philanthropic and Planet.
Exhibitors bring products and services from around the world, some of which represent “fair trade” items to benefit poverty areas of the planet and some that are simply fun and fanciful. Inspiring speakers with local to international messages come together to share insights. Round Table workshops focus in on the special interests of the attendees.
There is so much that the best way to describe the event is by sharing some personal stories of women who have attended. I’ve chosen three: one who has been with the event since the beginning, one who joined only a couple of years ago, and one who is brand new. Each has a special story of their own.
“Volunteering at the 1st Santa Barbara Women’s Festival”, Deborah Hutchison said, “was to connect with women doing business. It was all very exciting having so many women showing their wares and to see others just starting out. I was inspired to develop a plan for myself. By the 2nd year I came back as a volunteer with my own company, Gutsy Gals Inspire Me®, a multi-media company that honors women of the past and showcases women of the present as positive role models for our young girls. Last year I was in the process of writing a book for Sterling Publishing and was once again asked to present a Panel of Gutsy Gals. I have finished the book, Put it in Writing!: Creating Agreements between Family and Friends. I have a booth at the Festival and look forward to meeting even more amazing women.”
“Every time I go to this event I find myself meeting women who aspire to learn new things, are established business women, want to start their own businesses, and women who are just visiting to have some fun. Patty DeDominic started this event to honor women. Each year she continues to find wonderful women and men who help her organize and promote the event. It’s a celebration for women by women (with many men helping out) and wonderful way to spend a day. “
“When I volunteered last year, I was on a particular path and doing fairly well with it,” explained Shirley Jones, a serial entrepreneur. “But Patty DeDominic and the women I worked with inspired me and generously showed me how to use new skills to develop creative partnerships that expanded my world and changed the course of my life. I found a new direction and began the Help A School Foundation to distribute donated surplus classroom supplies to under-served schools.” Shirley said, “My company, The Artful Organizer, doubled in size spite of this rough economy because of the contacts I made at the Festival, and I am writing my experiences as a Professional Organizer in a book, Tame the Clutter.”
“In some ways my experience with the Festival reminds me of the cooperative efforts involved with putting on a really great party. ‘You are good at that, I’m good at this, She’s a great … Let’s put it all together and we will have the best party ever!” “Share the resources, expand your life, and give what you can. Generations of women have understood that collaboration is the best way to get anything done. Collaboration is this year’s theme and I can’t wait to see what happens at this year’s Festival on March 4th and 5th. “
Christy Kelso had almost no chance to avoid helping with this year’s Festival. Her son, Matt is the sales and marketing manager for the event and Christy is on the board of directors for Girls Inc. of Greater Santa Barbara.
“As a board member for Girl’s Incorporated of Greater Santa Barbara and a woman, I’m interested in furthering the opportunities, connections, and education of girls and women. The festival has had a long partnership with Girl’s Inc.. Patty DeDominic, the festival founder, works diligently as an advocate for leadership training for girls and to include in the festival many non-profit organizations benefiting women and girls. A group of Girl’s Inc girls will be performing at the festival opening on Friday night.”
Christy says, “I am personally most interested to hear thoughts and ideas on collaborative problem solving and learning ways that I can reduce my carbon footprint and live a healthier lifestyle.”
Dreams do come true and lives are changed by the amazing women who participate and attend the International Women’s Festival. Education, inspiration, and entertainment are all part of the Festival’s program. There are leaders who gladly share the path, sponsors and exhibitors with products and programs to explore, supporters who give time and energy to projects, and new friends to become life-long learning partners. (IWF2011)