At the closing event for the inaugural cohort of the CJPAC Women in Politics Mentorship Program, mentee Nicole Dason spoke about her incredible experience:
“What an amazing opportunity to be part of the inaugural CJPAC Women in Politics mentorship program.
This past year has been incredible, and I’m not just saying that either, from fantastic events organized where we all left inspired, to meeting amazing people along the way. But I’m not here to recap the events, I want to talk about why this program was so meaningful to me.
I never felt like I really belonged in the Jewish community. I didn’t go to day school and although I grew up in a Jewish area, I didn’t go to camp and many of my friends were not Jewish. I have seen the importance of meeting other Jewish people and have always been a bit envious, to tell you the truth, about others who have these connections. I went out on a personal limb by joining this program and I am so glad that I did.
The people that I have met are so inspiring, both mentors and mentees. I remember walking out of our first event being very impressed with everyone I met and almost intimidated by how amazing they were! Usually I am the one who does that to everyone else in the room, or so I’m told. These are ladies who have been behind some of the biggest campaigns that I read about in the newspaper, elections that I have voted in or ladies who have even run themselves. They grabbed the bull by the horns and got involved. That is awesome – and we need to do the same! I continue to be inspired by the people that I have met, the generosity of those who are willing to meet up outside of the program, the sheer motivation that everyone has to make this program work and help everyone out. I have never met people like the people in this program and I am truly grateful that I had the opportunity to do so. The fact that we have something in common like being Jewish, is icing on the cake to me.
Belonging in the world of politics can also be difficult being a woman. In fact, there are not a lot of us out there involved and many who find the environment a tough one. One thing that I appreciated about the program is that it introduced us to women who are involved with politics, showing us that we too can get involved and make a difference. These women are strong and not afraid to stand up for what they believe in. The sheer strength of the ladies that we have seen in the program speak volumes – especially someone like Consul General Galit Baram who I found especially inspiring given that she rotates responsibilities with her husband on every assignment. I wish that more women did a 50/50 split like her to show that we too can have strong careers, should we choose to pursue this path. This is the time, more than ever before, that women need to assert themselves and get involved in the political spectrum. Our voices need to be heard and we have the potential to make such a difference in our city, province and country if we push ourselves forward to get involved. I know that for me, this program has made me consider running for political office, which is something that I never considered. There is so much that we can accomplish if we just put ourselves forward. This program has given many of us the confidence to do just that.
It is up to us now to take the teachings that we have learned through this mentorship program and apply them. My goal is to stay in touch with this inaugural class of the CJPAC Mentorship Program to see where life takes us. We have a group of women here with such exceptional potential and I am excited to see what happens next. I also am super jealous of the incoming group, which I have said many times, but am happy that whoever they are, are lucky enough to get the same fantastic experience that we did. I would like to thank Jaime and Rachel from CJPAC as well as Brianna and Dani for being such amazing organizers and spearheading this initiative. I would also like to thank the other mentors for taking the time to coach us and help us reach our full potential.
Thank you again to everyone and I look forward to supporting fellow mentees and mentors in their endeavours in years to come.”