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Meetings Industry Changemakers Launch Professional Development Program for Women
Storytelling is at the heart of CAPTURE, a new professional development program unveiled by Sarah Soliman Daudin, president of Soliman Productions, and Courtney Stanley, owner of CS Consulting, as part of their newly announced partnership and brand, SarahxCourtney.
Soliman Daudin and Stanley are well known in the industry for their work as content experts, speakers and co-creators of #MeetingsToo, a movement inspiring and educating meeting professionals to help prevent sexual harassment and assault in the events community.
The duo has held several presentations on #MeetingsToo, as well as Woke Women, aimed at empowering women around salary negotiation, mental health and the importance of collaboration. They were also appointed to co-chair Meeting Professionals International's (MPI’s) 2019 Women’s Advisory Board, the first of its kind for the organization.
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CAPTURE will provide a unique take on professional development for women by offering an experiential workshop setting built on the foundation of honest stories that inspire and educate women in business on how to strategically navigate obstacles to advance and thrive.
“In our workshop, attendees will hear from powerhouse business women and men who lead by example and don’t shy away from sharing their failures, moments of growth and true secrets to success,” Stanley said.
“We want to share real human stories from women and men in leadership positions that are raw, authentic and most importantly, relatable,” Soliman Daudin added, explaining that they chose the name CAPTURE for the workshop because the education is built on stories from business professionals that were captured via video interviews. "We think the word 'capture' holds so much power, and these stories are truly compelling and inspiring in their essence."
As the two were exploring the idea of developing a workshop, they did a lot of research on current workshop styles and noticed there was a lack of human stories being shared.
"We believe that storytelling is the most impactful way of learning," Stanley said. "It not only humanizes business professionals, but it makes them relatable. We all learn best from sharing knowledge and experiences that have changed the course of our careers."
For example, some women may struggle with societal pressures of getting married, having children and balancing a career, Soliman Daudin added.
"During our interviews, we spoke with women who made a conscious decision to get married and not have children because they wanted to devote their lives solely focused on their career," she said. "This is one example of a testimony that most women do not hear when they seek professional development."
"These are the real stories we are confident other women will learn from and be inspired by in an effort to live their true authentic lives," Stanley added. "That's what CAPTURE is all about."
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With the belief that each woman comes from a diverse background and an array of experiences, facing their own adversities and bringing unique strengths to the table, Soliman Daudin and Stanley said each professional development workshop will be customized to cater to the needs of individuals in each audience.
Top leaders in the meetings industry and beyond have applauded the concept and are ready to dive in and contribute their own personal stories.
“Capturing stories is an innovative approach to providing learning—everyone can benefit from sharing and listening to authentic stories,” said Fiona Pelham, CEO of Positive Impact, a global not-for-profit providing collaborative opportunities to create a sustainable event industry.
“Courtney and Sarah have experience in authentic dialogue around topics like tackling mental health, sexual harassment prevention and more, so their initiative is going to make a difference," she added.
Trevor Lui, principal, The Highbell Group and Meeting Professionals International Foundation Global Board of Trustees, said delivering relevant, honest and authentic content is essential as the industry works to grow and position business events in the forefront.
“What Sarah and Courtney have done individually in their careers is a true exhibit of passion, grit and hard work,” Lui said. “Their vision and leadership are exactly what we need to catapult us into the future.”
Tahira Endean, head of events at the Society for Incentive Travel Excellence, said CAPTURE’s storytelling concept will be a uniquely powerful platform to help propel women as they move forward in their careers and lives.
“Everyone has a story,” she said. “But in today's digital world where we share our highlights and build a facade, there is an even greater need for the real stories to be shared—those that make us human.”
Dahlia El Gazzar, industry innovator and Tech Evangelist of DAHLIA+ Agency, said CAPTURE is much-needed in the meetings industry right now.
“Sarah and Courtney have always been advocates for our industry, but more importantly, they walk their talk,” El Gazzar said. “I’m excited to share my story, with all its ups and downs, through this innovative experiential workshop.”
Also committed to contributing support to enhance the educational experience are top executives from leading organizations in the corporate, association, higher education and nonprofit sectors of the meetings and hospitality industry.
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The date and location of the first CAPTURE workshop will be announced soon. CAPTURE is open to any businesswoman who is interested in personal and professional development.
"Though many people in our circle work within the meetings and hospitality world, our workshop will expand outside the industry to include women from all sectors of business," Stanley said.
While the primary initiative under the SarahxCourtney brand is CAPTURE, the duo will also continue to deliver speaking engagements on topics such as sexual harassment prevention and leadership development, and offer a unique one-on-one mentorship opportunity to those who want to dive in a little deeper.