Brescia enthuses young women to “Take the Lead”


It will be a public speaking competition like no other when Grade 11 and Grade 12 students take to the podium at Brescia University College’s annual Take the Lead competition.

This is the fourth year the public speaking competition is being organized by Brescia and the Institute for Women in Leadership (iWIL).

“The event really started under the leadership of Colleen Hanycz and she had the wish to empower young women and to give them a voice and a platform and the confidence to be strong, bold women,” said Sheila Blagrave, director of communications, marketing and external relations at Brescia.

Each year, about 25 young women from all over Ontario come to compete for a full scholarship to Brescia. Speaking on a topic related to women empowerment, they go through a preliminary around from which six are chosen to address a bigger gathering in the final round.

“It’s really difficult for the judges to choose (the winner) because they are all good,” Blagrave said. “We’re proud of all of them.”

Last year’s winner, Sarah van Dusen, spoke on the topic of women in leadership. She spoke about a friend with disabilities and also about Nobel Peace Prize winner Judy Williams.

“I talked about the fact that they are very different women, but both of them became leaders because they saw something they could personally do and were able to step up and make a difference,” she said.

This year’s topic deals with women who were catalysts in change.

“It’s always around women and how women have affected the young women who are speaking,” Blagrave explained.

Take the Lead 2012 takes place March 31. Members of the public are invited to join the contestants in the final round, which takes place just after lunch at Brescia University College’s Auditorium in the St. James building.