SHE WAS THE FIRST

This month, we're celebrating the power of women by sharing the stories of four trailblazers who set records, lead by example, and inspire us to move through the world with courage.



Melissa Arnot is the first American woman to successfully summit and descend Mount Everest without supplemental oxygen and has climbed the world’s highest peak six times. How did she overcome these incredible challenges? “The mountain doesn’t discriminate,” says Melissa. “The mountain doesn’t care if you’re male or female. It’s going to give you the same challenges every day.” In awe-inspiring talks, Melissa shares stories and breathtaking images from her climbs, inspiring audiences to reach new heights. You don’t have to climb a mountain to achieve your dream—but you might want to after experiencing Melissa’s keynote.


Maryse Carmichael is the first woman to both fly in and command the Snowbirds Aerobatic Team, Canada’s legendary squadron of jets known for its daring feats in the air, arduous training, and highly competitive, elite status. Maryse has been an inspiration for aspiring young pilots—especially young women—for the past two decades. Now, she brings her exceptional leadership skills and profound understanding of trust and teamwork to the stage. These are powerful, motivating talks from a true Canadian icon; one who remains grounded and humble despite her ability to literally soar.


On September 27, 2005, Michaëlle Jean—a Haitian immigrant to Canada who fled a dictatorial regime at the age of 11 to start over with her family—became the Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean, Governor General and Commander-in-Chief of Canada. The first Black woman to occupy Canada’s highest office, she redefined the role by engaging actively in social issues, defending marginalized people, and fiercely upholding the rules of democracy, justice, and universal rights and freedoms for all. In empowering, inspiring keynotes, Madame Jean shares the powerful philosophy she believes will change the world: “Life’s biggest imperative and greatest reward is to serve something greater than ourselves.”


The Rt. Hon. Beverley McLachlin is an icon. Full stop. There's no other way to describe the small-town girl from Alberta who grew up to become the first woman and longest serving Chief Justice of Canada. If you're lucky enough to see her speak, you'll hear a thoughtful reflection on her rich, wide-ranging career and her time as Chief Justice (which she calls the "centrepiece of her life"). You'll marvel at her deep knowledge of so many hot-button issues—from mental health to diversity to politics to the justice system and beyond. You'll love how bold she is; how unafraid to dig into the challenges Canadians are facing right now. And above all, you'll walk away with that buzzing feeling you get when you know you just witnessed something very, very special.


She was the first, and she won't be the last.

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