Conference offers inspiration

Kelly Falardeau

Kelly Falardeau

By TREENA MIELKE

This year’s Rimbey’s Women’s Conference offered a potpourri of laughter, delicious food, opportunities for shopping, inspirational messages and, as a final tribute to the more than 200 women in attendance, a beautiful red rose for each of them to take home.

Chairperson Brenda Verheire was pleased with the event, held last Thursday at the Rimbey Community Centre. She noted it was the 25th anniversary of the conference,

“It went really well,” she said. It was one of the best turnouts we’ve ever had.”

The morning guest speaker, Kelly Falardeau proved to be an excellent choice and her inspirational talk which focused on finding the beauty within and included some crowd participation earned her a standing ovation.

Dressed casually in jeans, the vivacious 44-year-old blond, who lives with the scars of having been burned on 75 per cent of her body at the age of two, shared her own personal journey toward finding her inner beauty.

“Just because you aren’t perfect, doesn’t mean you aren’t beautiful,” she told the audience. “Everyone deserves to feel great about themselves.”

Falardeau, who admitted to not being a ‘girly girl,’ recounted the experience of competing in the 2010 Every Woman Competition sponsored by Fashion Has No Borders.

“Being a model went against everything I believed. I did not believe that I looked beautiful enough to be a model. I believed I had inner beauty, but definitely not the model quality outer beauty. But, that’s where I was wrong. They were looking for a normal woman with strength and true beauty that shines from women who are confident and real.”

The rewards for stepping out of her comfort zone and competing as a model were amazing, she said.

As well as being selected as one of the top 10 models, she won the Twitter People’s Choice Award and discovered her true passion of public speaking.

“Yes, this event put me out of my comfort zone, but I ended up receiving a ton of rewards that I didn’t expect.”

Farlardeau, who also won the Fierce Woman of the Year Award in Edmonton last year, told her audience to tell their fearful inner voice to “take a hike” when they were hesitant to follow their dreams.

And she left them with a few simple rules.

“Remember to smile, laugh and compliment others,” she said. “And find your passion. When you find your passion everything else will fall into place.”

Being taunted with such words as ‘scarface” and “ugly” as a child, to being called “amazing” as a woman has not changed who she is inside, Farlardeau said.

“I am not any more amazing than anyone else. I just don’t let my scars stop me from achieving what I want in my life. Everyone deserves a life no what matter she looks like. And, anyway I think perfection is highly overrated.”

Following Farlardeau’s morning presentation, the ladies were treated to a full course meal catered by Especially For You and several door prizes were handed out.

The afternoon included hilarious entertainment in the form of a cabaret of song and story by Bridget Ryan, an actor, singer, playwright and director and co-host of Breakfast Television.

Her comedy proved irresistible to the crowd as she took them on a musical theatre joy ride all about breaking out of the box, tossing fear aside and going for it.

Recognizing those who helped make the women’s day conference a success in the past was part of this year’s event.

Present committee member Iva Graham who has been on the committee for 25 years was honoured with a special presentation.