2023 International Women's Day High Tea Social

Wednesday, March 8, 2023 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm EST (GMT -05:00)

swirls with hug in a heart

Once again, the Faculty of Science is thrilled to present our annual High Tea Social, celebrating International Women's Day.

Grab your favourite afternoon drink, cozy up in your favourite chair and spend an hour with some truly inspirational women. Whether you'd like to just listen, or engage over text in the online chat forum, this virtual high tea social will be a lively commentary and round-table discussion.

Join our panel of Waterloo alumni who want to share and discuss International Women's Day, and the importance of equity in the workplace, society and at home.  Around the world, women are identifying intentional and unintentional barriers to obtaining equity and making adjustments to combat those imbalances. Come hear the stories, share your own stories and celebrate how women Embrace Equity.

This event will be held Tuesday, March 8, 2022 at 3 pm ET over Zoom.

If you'd like to attend today's event, contact Patricia to receive a link!

Have your say! Share YOUR story on IG and Twitter using #uwaterloosci and #EmbraceEquity

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Our Host:

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Dr. Kirsten Müller
Chair, Department of Biology
University of Waterloo

Kirsten Müller is a professor from the Department of Biology who studies algae in lakes, rivers, and oceans and the impact of climate change on these organisms and the ecosystems they live in. In 2019, she was selected as one of two Canadians to be part of Homeward Bound, a leadership initiative to advance the influence of women in decision making in our communities, countries, and planet. She is the first woman chair in Biology and strongly advocates for a culture of EDI within the department as well as her scientific field.

“Embracing equity is the only path forward as diverse teams bring unique perspectives and ideas from peoples’ life experiences. Equity, diversity and inclusion is the route to innovation of thought to benefit our communities on and off campus and within our scientific field.”

Our Panellists:

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Nicola Blue, BSc (02)
Vice President General Manager, Inhouse Creative Agency
American Express
New York

Nicola has spent the past 20 years working in strategy, marketing, product development, advertising and insights functions across both financial services and CPG industries. She has worked in Canada, UK and the US. Throughout her career she has developed a strong reputation for transformation, change management, talent development and customer centricity. Nicola also holds an MBA from the London Business School.

In her 14 years at American Express Nicola has worked in a range of domestic and global roles across a range of business areas, Global Corporate Services, Global Merchant Networks Services and Global Advertising Brand Management. Since 2020 she has been leading the transformation and significant expansion of American Express’ In-House Creative agency.

“We have the potential to be more powerful and impactful as a society by learning from each other’s diverse perspectives and experiences. To successfully learn from each other we need to embrace equity and foster systems and remove barriers enabling all individuals to thrive and excel. “

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Michelle Li, BSc (05)
Clever Carbon
New York

Michelle is the founder of clever carbon. She launched her career in Silicon Valley where she worked for some of the biggest names in tech including Salesforce and DocuSign. A proponent for making sustainability the new norm, Michelle founded clever carbon to help teach people about carbon footprint in a hip, fun, and relatable way because what gets measured gets changed. She is a TEDx, SXSW, and COP27 speaker on the topic of carbon literacy and is a United Nations content contributor. Michelle believes that a carbon literate society will accelerate solutions and actions at the speed and scale required for a thriving planet. Michelle is also the founder of Women and Climate, a non-profit organization that inspires climate action by creating a joyful and safe space for more women to learn and talk about climate.

“Embracing equity is a key milestone to creating a platform where women can thrive.”

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Charmaine Rodriques, BSc (96)
Regulatory Affairs Manager
@ LVMH PC (Perfumes and Cosmetics)
New York

Charmaine was born in St. Andrew, Jamaica and moved to Canada with her family where she attended the University of Waterloo. While obtaining her Honours Science degree with a specialization in Chemistry, Charmaine developed a keen interest in environmental sciences. She moved to the United States and obtained a Master’s degree in environmental studies at Long Island University.

Throughout her career Charmaine has worked in the pharmaceutical (Eon Labs), media (Good Housekeeping magazine NBC Universal), and consumer products industries (Reckitt). Currently, she is employed with LVMH Perfume Cosmetics as the Regulatory Affairs manager for North America. her role involves reviewing advertising claims and regulatory issues for beauty brands in the luxury space.

Charmaine is a member of the Society of Cosmetic Chemists (SCC), and the Personal Care Products Council (PCPC). She is also a board member of the Englewood Women’s Club, Mocha Moms, and a board member of the Flat Rock Brook Nature Center, a 15- acre preserve in Englewood NJ.

Charmaine is a resident of Englewood, New Jersey, married, with a 10-year-old son named Liam. She is currently enrolled at Northeastern University pursuing a Master’s degree in legal studies Public Policy.

“It’s important to embrace equity because the circumstances of individuals are different and nuanced. While people can be equipped with equal opportunities, equity gives each individual the appropriate tools they need to succeed. Equity requires empathy to be accomplished.”

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Olga Shmaidenko, BSc (05)
Founder Photographer,

Olga is the founder, photographer, and writer behind WOWwoman.com, a platform that spotlights extraordinary women around the globe. Since switching careers from vaccine development to photojournalism, Olga has interviewed and photographed over 300 women in more than 50 countries. Olga is passionate about providing women with a medium to share their unique biographies, views and opinions; she takes pride in highlighting diverse professions, experiences and ideas. On the WOW Woman platform, you will find pilots, teachers, physicists, survivors, founders, burlesque dancers, nurses, activists, chefs, ship captains, photographers and finance ministers, just to name a few. After February 24, 2022, the day Russia invaded peaceful Ukraine, Olga’s WOW Woman focus turned to spotlighting Ukrainian refugees in Europe, as well as writing about volunteers dedicated to helping Ukraine endure and win. Her new project will focus on the brave women inside Ukraine, persevering through atrocities of the Russia-led war.

“As someone who is constantly listening to diverse female experiences all over the globe, it is a priority for me to fight for equity. I will carry on with my mission until the day I stop receiving out-of-the-blue messages from WOW Women, asking me to:

  • remove/edit words or delete their entire features (thus essentially silencing them) because of the fear of retribution from their male relatives, partners, stalkers or
  • edit their posts to remove any indication of age, because of the fear of ageism in the workplace and unfair hiring practices.

Finally, I will carry on my fight until women proudly declare themselves as worthy candidates for the platform (over 70% of women I interviewed raised doubts that they deserve a WOW Woman title). On the other hand, at least a dozen men, in an unprompted manner, have offered themselves up to be the first WOW Man, declaring themselves spectacular and meritorious; only one woman has done that, out of the 300.”