Online education

Female empowerment coaches turn to Internet to connect women

Web-based meetings cheaper, more accessible for participants

Eleanor Beaton of Windsor, NS hosted an online conference aiming to empower women
Eleanor Beaton of Windsor, NS hosted an online conference aiming to empower women   Eleanor Beaton

Eleanor Beaton of Windsor, N.S. is tapping into a growing trend that sees female empowerment coaches turning to the Internet to make their conferences cheaper and more accessible.

Beaton is a women’s leadership coach. Last week, she hosted an online conference called Fierce Feminine Leadership Live: claim your power, change the world.

Hosting the conversations over the Internet widened her reach, lowered her cost and made her event more accessible.

“To be able to attend a conference live that had speakers like this would be upwards of a thousand dollars [per person],” Beaton said in a phone interview. “The economics just make sense.”

She said the conference went well.

“It was fabulous. We had thousands of women from all over the world, from Canada, the U.S., Europe, Africa and Australia.”

Online obstacles

Hosting the event online had many positives, but there were some technical challenges.

“Any time you’re doing something online, there are lots of questions. How do I log on, how do I access this,” Beaton said. “Our challenge was that as a small but mighty team, we’re together, we’re focused, making sure that we’re responding to any questions as quickly as we can.”

Megan McCarthy listened in on Beaton’s conference last week from her home in Halifax. She was able to balance working on her app PowerWHYS, which connects renovators with the most efficient products, while participating in Fierce Feminine Leadership.

“I could just tune in and out as I needed throughout the day,” McCarthy said in an email. “Having it online allowed talented people from across the globe to participate in something together where this might not have been able to happen had we all needed to fly to a physical location.”

McCarthy said she missed making some connections.

“When I go to conferences, I meet tons of people who inevitably introduce me to some of the contacts targeted at my industry which can lead to sales and partnerships,” she said. “This online model lacks the ability to have those types of interactions.”

Online examples in the US

Sylvia Becker-Hill faces the same challenges as Beaton during her ‘webinars.’ She runs a company called Uber Women International in California that aims to empower professional women.

Next week, Becker-Hill will be trying out a new online experiment.

“It’s not a typical teaching or selling a program webinar, it’s a live Google Hangout which means people can chime in with their questions,” she said during a Skype interview. “We want to start a conversation, and create an open safe space where we talk about what’s really going on.”

Becker-Hill will be talking about personal finance and sharing some of her own successes and failures. She describes the conversation as democratic.

“Online training education information for me is part of spreading democracy around the world. It’s no longer the wealthy elite that has access to top training,” Becker-Hill said. “Even someone who has no job right now, can go to a public library and get Internet access through the public library’s computers and learn.”