You Can Be Any­thing event a big suc­cess

Event in­cludes men­tor­ship spot­light on trades as ca­reers

Truro Daily News - - Province - BY TinA coMeAU

At eight years old, Xoe Nick­er­son knows what she wants to be when she grows up.

“I want to be a con­struc­tion worker,” she said, af­ter spend­ing a day men­tor­ing in the wood­work­ing trades with Freshco blue-col­lar CEO Mandy Ren­nehan at the Ren­nDuPrat shop in Yar­mouth. Oh, and she also wants to be a karate in­struc­tor a cou­ple of evenings a week.

The fact is, the pos­si­bil­i­ties of what Xoe and other girls can be is end­less. And therein lies the mes­sage that was be­ing sent to young girls on this day: You can be any­thing.

The day was a col­lab­o­ra­tion be­tween Ren­nehan, Frescho, Mat­tel and Bar­bie, and was aimed at em­pow­er­ing girls and plac­ing fo­cus on ca­reers that may not be seen as tra­di­tional for women — the trades. A con­struc­tion Bar­bie was be­ing cel­e­brated on this day — the lat­est in about 180 ca­reers the doll has por­trayed through the years.

Ren­nehan, who has been re­peat­edly rec­og­nized as one of the top fe­male en­trepreneurs in Canada, was thrilled with how the day went.

“The fact that we can bring a global brand like Mat­tel and a kind of, I would say, a North Amer­i­can brand like me, that came from a small town and com­bine us to­gether and see these young girls in pink, happy . . . this is just in­cred­i­ble,” Ren­nehan said at a Pop-Up Party held at the Yar­mouth Mall. “The en­ergy is off the charts.”

The Pop-Up Party in­cluded var­i­ous ac­tiv­i­ties and around 300 Bar­bies were given out for free. Staff in all the stores in the mall sported pink You Can Be Any­thing t-shirts as a show of sol­i­dar­ity for the mes­sage, as did the many event vol­un­teers.

Ren­nehan said the day’s mes­sage was an im­por­tant one.

“I want peo­ple to love who they want, be what they want and live the life that a lot of peo­ple be­fore us couldn’t,” she said.

Asked if she sees more women go­ing into the trades, she says not as many as she would hope, which she hopes to see change.

“I would like to tell you that the num­bers are stag­ger­ing, but they still aren’t,” she said, although they are climb­ing.

Xoe Nick­er­son, a Grade 3 stu­dent at Mead­ow­fields Com­mu­nity School, won a You Can Be Any­thing Bar­bie Con­test that gave her the op­por­tu­nity to men­tor along­side Ren­nehan for the day.

Mary Thomp­son, the prin­ci­pal of the NSCC Bur­ridge Cam­pus, spoke at the Pop-Up Party about the many types of trades pro­grams that are of­fered at the com­mu­nity col­lege in Yar­mouth.

“While tra­di­tion­ally some of the trades have been male dom­i­nated, we’re see­ing big changes and we’re see­ing a lot of women com­ing it the trades,” she said. “It is truly one of the ca­reers of the fu­ture.”

When Ren­nehan and Mat­tel de­cided to part­ner on this ini­tia­tive, it could have hap­pened any­where — ex­cept that Ren­nehan knew it had to be in Yar­mouth.

“A lot of the ru­ral ar­eas in Canada and other places get left out of many things,” she said. “Mat­tel and I very much had an un­der­stand­ing that if they wanted me to be the con­struc­tion Bar­bie men­tor that it was go­ing to be in my home­town.”

TiNA comeAu

Eight-year-old Xoe Nick­er­son was pretty com­fort­able with a ham­mer in hand.

TiNA comeAu

Xoe Nick­er­son of Yar­mouth got to spend the day men­tor­ing with en­tre­pre­neur Mandy Ren­nehan re­cently as part of a Bar­bie/Mat­tel ini­tia­tive called You Can Be Any­thing. On this day the fo­cus was on trades and see­ing more women be­come in­volved in them. After­wards there was a cel­e­bra­tion at a Pop-Up Party at the Yar­mouth Mall.

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