Celebrating Women From the Ground Up: #KEENWomenCanII
When women get together, great things can happen. Inspiring things, emotional things, brave things, powerful things.
That’s what we found last Thursday, when we asked everyone in the KEEN Canada office to invite a special woman in their life for an afternoon celebrating the launch of our Terradora II and International Women’s Day.
The purpose of the day was to highlight the ways in which these women have made an impact in our lives, encouraged us, mentored us, and helped us believe we are capable of anything. We wanted to celebrate the impact these women have made and celebrate the launch of a shoe that is specifically designed for women. What transpired, was more emotional and heartfelt than we could have ever imagined.
“No one has encouraged me more than my mom. Encouraged me to be the best version of myself and to grow as my own person.” – Helen, KEEN Canada Customer Service Rep.
This theme was repeated over and over again, and we were lucky to have a number of moms in our presence. We heard stories of moms who had moved to Canada with nothing but a suitcase ready to make a new life for their children, wanting more for them than they could ever imagine. These women hold a quiet strength and sense of pride in what they were able to accomplish with very little, and it radiated throughout the day.
We talked about the challenges that women face. “Oh boy...a few come to mind. Having a baby, tough relationships, career choices. I’ve had a few challenges along the way, but have always felt so much support from my family and friends. Whether they were there at my side, checking in, or telling me ‘you can do this.’ The support has been endless, and I can’t repay that kindness, only continue on sharing it.” – Lindsey Hill, KEEN Canada Ambassador.
Research shows that when young women have a positive mentor or role model in their lives, they are more inclined to believe in themselves and what they can do.
But instead of letting the pressure of these social norms stop us, we band together and encourage each other to keep on going. Because when women support women, amazing things can happen. And it was proven on this day when strangers shared the loss of a mother, a friend – and we all banded together and squeezed a hand, passed a tissue, and a gave a hug and smile.
“I have an amazing gang of girls in my life, and getting together with them is the most inspiring, positive, and uplifting environment I could ask for. I mean, these girls are so encouraging and full of the most positive vibes you could ask for. It we are out climbing, hiking, or trying new tricks at the hill, it’s always things like: 'Yes girl! You crushed it.' 'You killed it, you’re amazing.' 'You’ve got this, I believe in you.' It’s really amazing." – Bre Mirynech, KEEN Canada Ambassador.
Research shows that when young women have a positive mentor or role model in their lives, they are more inclined to believe in themselves and what they can do. Whether it’s accomplishing a long hike, learning a new trade, summiting the highest peak in Canada, or becoming an incredible mom, while working full time – when there is a positive reinforcement in place, they are more inclined to believe that they can.
“One of the biggest challenges I have faced as a woman is becoming a mom for the first time, but the support and empowerment of other moms, family and friends made me realize I was doing okay and that was a great positive feeling.” – Celina, KEEN Canada Admin/AR Clerk.
Built on a women’s-specific last for a glove-like fit, plus cushioned support with a woman’s biomechanics in mind, the updated Terradora II hiker offers more comfort on the trail and a lighter impact on the planet.
As the day went it on, it was clear to see that this amazing group of women had quickly gone from strangers to fast friends. As we ate lunch together, exchanged stories and a few laughs, we talked about what we hoped for the future generations of women to come. “Education, I cannot stress enough on how being educated is important and I feel like because certain backgrounds and traditions, a lot of women are still being deprived from it even in this modern world. As that famous quote says, 'If you educate a man, you educate an individual. But if you educate a woman, you educate a nation.'” – Henna, KEEN Canada Bilingual Customer Service Rep.
We all hoped that one day, we may not have to have the same conversations, and that everyone, regardless of gender, race, sexual orientation, ethnicity or religion would be celebrated equally for who they are.
“I think every day should be International Women’s Day – but by having this one day, we reflect on the role women play in our world, both at home and around the globe. We reflect and remember that lives lived, the shoulders of giants we stand on – and upon that reflection, we vow to do better, be better, for ourselves, our children, and for the next generation of women.” – Maryam Latifpoor-Keparoutis, Director of Advancement, Faculty of Environment, University of Waterloo.
As a valued-led, family-owned shoe company, we want to make sure that we are always doing things our way – even if they might be a little bit different. We want to take moments like these, and celebrate the launch of a new women’s hiking boot, but also the women who wear those boots, the women who help our company keep going every day, their friends, their family, and all of those women who have encouraged us, supported us, inspired us and reminded us that we can too, no matter what.
Because KEEN women can ... defy limits, never say never, hike the entire length of the Great Trail, face their fears, be the first in their family to graduate from university, raise their children as equals, learn a new language, empower each other, spend more time outdoors, impact change, be there true self (wherever and whenever) ... do it all.
For more inspiring stories about the incredible women of KEEN, make sure to follow us at @KEENCanada.