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Girls 'inspired, empowered' at Mother Daughter Conference

Lyla Hill named 2023 Empower Girl of the Year at Sunday's conference in Alcona

Almost 200 people — which included 160 registrants, 25 female and girl-boss vendors, and up to 15 panelists, and workshop hosts — attended the Mother Daughter Empower Conference & Awards on Sunday, Sept. 24.

“We have already received so much positive feedback from attendees who have reached out to let us know that the event left them feeling so inspired and empowered,” said Tara Filteau, who is a registered social service worker (RSSW) as well as founder and executive director of Mother Daughter Empower.

Filteau and her daughter, Sophia Ghafoori, founded Mother Daughter Empower in 2019 when Ghafoori was just seven years old.

 “I think it’s safe to say that the 2023 Mother Daughter Empower Conference & Awards was a success, and that’s all because of the incredible workshop hosts, panelists, volunteers and women and girls that were a part of this very special day. We can’t wait for next year,” she said.

The Mother Daughter Empower event was held this past weekend at the Innisfil ideaLab & Library.

"[It] is such an important way to guide women, and their daughters, to dream big, build confidence and resiliency,” said Innisfil Mayor Lynn Dollin. “As a mother of a daughter myself, I know how important it is to have strong female role models, to share experiences and to support each other. This event is a significant way we can continue to develop and encourage young women that they can be anything they want to be.”

In addition to Doillin, also in attendance was Barrie-Innisfil MPP Andrea Khanjin, who was named minister of the environment, conservation and parks on Friday by Ontario Premier Doug Ford.

"They are both paving the way for women in politics and are empowering so many females to follow in their footsteps,” Filteau said.

Members of the public were invited to nominate girls who are making a difference in their community for awards in two categories from ages seven to 19. 

The finalists were recognized for their achievements and forward-thinking in multiple areas, including business, sports and the environment. Each finalist received an award plaque in addition to a thank-you gift.

The finalists were:

  • Avangeline Baldwin — Self-care Girl-Boss Award
  • Olivia Capizzano — Empower Her Positivity Award
  • Everly Wiedrick — Empower Her Advocate & Kindness Award
  • Talia DeFrenza — Empower Her Girl-Boss Award
  • Ava Silva — Empowering Girls in Sports Award/Outstanding Achievement in Sports
  • Leah Knuff — Little Miss Empowered Award
  • Zoe Bystrov — Empowered Environmentalist Award

Lyla Hill was named the 2023 Empower Girl of the Year. She received more than $1,000 in prizes from various partners of Mother Daughter Empower, including a special prize pack from the award sponsor Mabel’s Labels and one year of one-to-one coaching and/or counselling with Mother Daughter Empower. 

“I think the Mother Daughter Empower Conference was such a great experience for meeting new people, making new friends, and listening and being inspired by the speakers,” Ghafoori said.

To learn more about Mother Daughter Empower, check out their website.

Amber Green

About the Author: Amber Green

Amber is a freelance journalist with InnisfilToday. Dedicated to the craft of writing, she is a storyteller at heart who writes novels, poetry, and short stories. She lives in Innisfil.
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