Every year, the Markham Board of Trade celebrates Women’s Day with a spring luncheon.

The event includes a networking opportunity before lunch, a boutique with shopping, and a key note speaker or several panelists depending on the year.

The Women’s Networking Luncheon coincides with International Women’s Day, a global day that celebrates the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. The 2020 International Women’s Day is March 8 and has a world-wide theme centering on equality.

The Markham lunch, being held March 11, is one of two annual events MBT hosts that are geared to women. The other luncheon event takes place in the fall. Each time there is a different theme.

This year’s event will feature three panelists with emcee Tanya Eisener from Scotiabank. Mary Ann Quagliara, Director of Member Services for the Markham Board of Trade, said the event draws a mix of professionals, entrepreneurs, and small business owners. Approximately 50 per cent of MBT members are women.

This event is open to all women, not just members, and sells out every year. Capacity for the luncheon is 150.

Qualgiara has been with the MBT for the past 20 years and really enjoys it.

“I just love it – it’s an excellent opportunity to meet other business professionals and connect people,” she said. “We do two events a year because we had requests. Women suggested it and we listened and they keep growing.”

Panelist Dr. Vivien Brown, a family physician and author in Toronto, has lectured locally, nationally and internationally on preventative medicine and implementation issues around vaccination. Her major interests are in the area of health promotion and prevention for women, and continuing medical education. Her book, A Woman’s Guide to Healthy Aging, was published last fall and is a best seller in Canada.

Another panelist, Shirlee Sharkey, is president and chief executive officer of SE Health, a national social enterprise bringing excellence and innovation to home care, seniors living and family caregiving. Active in public service, Sharkey is the current Chair of Excellence Canada and a board member of the C.D. Howe Institute and University Health Network. In 2018, she was appointed as a member of the Ontario Premier’s Council on Improving Healthcare and Ending Hallway Medicine.

Academically, Sharkey is cross-appointed to the University of Toronto’s Lawrence S. Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing and the Institute of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation as an adjunct professor.

MBT is an association that serves the local business community. It represents more than 700 members, ranging in size from large corporations to small entrepreneurial ventures.

Over the past 37 years, the non-profit organization has provided programs and services to its members to help grow their businesses as well as advocate on their behalf with all levels of government.

The Women’s Networking Luncheon takes place on March 11 at Angus Glen Golf Club. Register at www.markhamboard.com by March 9.


Photo: The Markham Board of Trade Women’s Day Luncheon features boutique shopping, guest speakers, and opportunities for networking March 11.

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