Hundreds of people packed into the International Trade Centre on Wednesday for the University of Regina's 11th annual Inspiring Leadership Forum.
This year's conference was themed 'living your truth.'
“Well, this conference is about inspiring leadership, inspiring women. I'm kind of new to that field. Only the last five years,” said Caitlyn Jenner, a celebrity and keynote speaker at the forum.
Jenner originally rose to fame as an Olympic gold-medalist in 1976. In 2015, the reality television star publicly came out as a Trans woman. Her journey to get to where she is today is what she hopes inspires others to live their lives as they see fit.
“Everybody's got stuff. Everybody's got things in life that they have to deal with, this was my stuff. Your stuff may be different,” said Jenner. “How to do we deal with that? How to we come out of the other side a better person?”
For Dawn Smith - another one of the forum's speakers - living her truth meant leaving the Evangelical, Fundamentalist cult she grew up in.
“When you're saying goodbye to certain people because they are denying your truth and denying who you are as an individual, there is a loss that's felt there,” said Smith. “But you are gaining yourself. And in the end, that is worth it.”
This is the last leadership forum U of R president Vianne Timmons will be a part of before she leaves Regina for a new opportunity at Memorial University. She said she's happy this forum could grow so much in just eleven years.
“It (was) kind of my baby when I got here. I wanted to do something for women and about women in Regina, so this kind of emerged. (The) first time we did it, it was just 250 participants,” Timmons said.
This year's conference saw more than 800 attendees. As Timmons prepares to close her chapter in Regina, starting this conference will likely become part of her legacy.
“It will continue after I’m gone,” said Timmons. “And that is wonderful too because you hope that something like this gets a life of its own, and people just want to come because it is inspiring.”