Wellness Wednesday: My First-Ever TLABC Women Lawyers Retreat

Intro by Megan Ejack

When we think of bringing more wellness and balance into our lives, it’s common to head straight for the green juice and yoga schedule and call it a day. The effort to cultivate wellness can feel daunting. We’re inundated with options, and no matter where you land on the scale (so to speak), the basic physical aspects of wellness are obvious: eat well; drink all the water; move your body. But wait! There’s more. Don’t forget to also manage your stress, get enough sleep, keep your brain active, build in more rest, meditate, take your vitamins, just breathe, walk to work — why did you eat that?! The search for balance can feel exhausting and sometimes, well, pretty unbalanced.

In our do-it-all, everyday hustle mentality there is another element that can help bring it all together: connection.

Finding connection can be the saving grace in this hectic existence whether it’s with your friends and family, your colleagues or your community. Connection can ease the pressure of overwhelm and provide much-needed perspective and support as we navigate the hills and valleys of our lives. As we have seen especially during the course of this pandemic, connection is a crucial element to our mental, emotional and even physical health.

Recently our business development coordinator, Kiran Deol, had the opportunity to attend the TLABC’s 15th annual women lawyers retreat (WLR) on behalf of Reportex as a gold sponsor. The WLR is the premier women’s event for the BC legal community, and Reportex has been a proud and committed supporter since its inception. This event brings together every one of our core values: mentorship, industry, community, equality and team, and in each of these values there is an element of connection that strengthens the whole.

Here’s what Kiran had to say about her first WLR experience:

I had the honour of attending my first-ever Trial Lawyers Association of BC (TLABC) annual women lawyers mini retreat. This retreat would usually be held at a spa and/or out of town; however, the lovely ladies at TLABC put together a virtual mini retreat.

First, I was surprised with a treasure box filled with goodies. I mean, who doesn’t love mail! The box was filled with everything from a pen, to smores, to a boozy shrub treat. It is fair to say I knew I was in for an interesting weekend. The impatient person that I am opened everything quickly with excitement only to then read the card instructing me to keep the items wrapped until the retreat — oops! I’m sure I was not the only one who peeked! This event was a virtual two-day retreat filled with amazing talks, women and inspiration. With this being my first experience at this retreat I am super excited to share it with you.

On the Friday evening we had a chance to listen to Madame Justice Wendy A. Baker on “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly of COVID Advocacy,” and, to say the least, to get a judge’s perspective on how things have been moving along was extremely helpful and interesting to listen to. It was also interesting to find out that places like Nelson held a trial in their local movie theatre in order to follow social distancing regulations. The talk was followed by an hour of networking, allowing me to talk to lawyers outside of their Zoom EFD and mediations in a relaxed environment. To end the night we left off with making a special beverage together (mine was virgin of course!), making smores (using a barbeque lighter and fondue fork), sharing well wishes and saying goodnight.

The second day started at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, and although I was super excited to see what these ladies had in store, I was not expecting the day I had. I listened, I laughed and I cried! The lovely Vandana Sood from Rise Women’s Legal Centre introduced herself and the amazing foundation that she works for. That was followed by a strength in adversity presentation and workshop by Rose Keith, Kerri Priddle and Ashley Syer, which was the highlight of my day. They talked about being a woman in a world mainly dominated by men as well as challenges they have faced juggling home life and work life, which we can all relate to on some level. I listened to what they have gone through and are going through in their careers, the lowest points in their lives and how they never let those moments define them as women, as lawyers or as people. They are now thriving in their field and overcame their challenges, loss and doubt.  I can only speak for myself when I say that as a woman I can be way too hard on myself when I am not thriving in all avenues in life, but listening to these women gave me a lot of perspective. These ladies really did make lemonade out of their lemons! This was followed by us breaking into small groups and sharing a challenge in our own lives in a safe space, which, to say the least, was very empowering.

Our weekend appropriately ended with a talk about resiliency by Alyson Jones. She spoke about gratitude and the ability to bounce back from downfalls. What I took most from this talk is that we can continue to develop resiliency throughout our lives, no matter how young or old. This is a skill built over time and can only make you better as life goes on. If you don’t fall, you don’t have a chance to get back up and brush yourself off. In the words of the great Wayne Gretzky, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”

I was truly honoured to be able to attend (even virtually) this amazing event led by a group of amazing women. I learned a lot from this mini retreat but also felt that Reportex does exhibit all the values these ladies are pushing in the work world: community, industry, equality, team and mentorship.

I would like to end by expressing my gratitude not only for working with an amazing team but for having the honour of attending this event. Thank you!