Niagara Falls

Women's Initiative Programs

IAAO will be offering a special women’s initiative session on Wednesday, Sept. 11 and a Women’s Initiative Luncheon during the 2019 Annual Conference in Niagara Falls.

Recent events, including the inaugural Women’s Initiative Luncheon at the 2018 IAAO Annual Conference in Minneapolis, gave rise to the IAAO Women’s Initiative Task Force, which  was organized to bring professional women together, provide a support system, and help navigate the challenges faced by women in the assessment industry.

The luncheon 

The luncheon is set for 11:45 am to 12:50 pm on Sept. 11 and this year’s luncheon speaker is Debbie Zimmerman, CEO of the Grape Growers of Ontario. She is the past chair of the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation for the Province of Ontario and was assigned to the 2015/16 Provincial Review Panel for Ontario’s Land Use Plans.

Zimmerman has been the recipient of many awards including the Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce “Community Leadership Award” in 2013, the “Niagara Award” in 1998, the Niagara College “Board of Governors Award” in 2001 and the YWCA “Woman of Distinction” award in 2003.

The fee to attend the luncheon is $35 and tickets can be purchased either during registration, by contacting Allyson Weber, or onsite (if not sold out).

The session 

This year’s session will be “Assertiveness for Women: How to Communicate Your Needs, Set Healthy Boundaries & Transform Your Relationships” and will take place from 10:30 to 11:30 am. Using guidelines in Julie De Azevedo Hanks’ book, The Assertiveness Guide for Women, speakers will provide tools to recognizes what they feel, need and want, how to communicate those needs and still respect the feelings and opinions of others.

Hanks suggests five skills that need to be mastered to achieve this goal: self-reflection, self-awareness, self-soothing, self-expression, and self-expansion. The results of mastering these skills are clarity, confidence, calmness, connection, and compassion.

Girls are socialized to be nice, compliant, and relationship-oriented, while boys are often socialized to be independent and strong and are encouraged to speak up. Societal expectations teach women that above all they should take care of others and be self-sacrificing.

While these attributes are essential for families and community success, they can become barriers to a woman’s self-expression. The goal is to show attendees how to determine their attachment styles, recognize their barriers to assertive communication, and identify their self-expression patterns.

Then using the tools in the book, discussions will focus on how to overcome individual challenges to effective assertive communication, and to create a willingness and ability to express one’s feelings, thoughts, needs and wants, even when they differ from those of others.

Also, speakers will discuss how to say no without offending, needing to apologize, or feeling guilt.