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I Am – A conference for HER hosted by Natasha Gargiulo and Maddy Kojakian


I Am – A conference for HER – What does it mean to be a woman in 2018? Nowadays, a woman can wear a variety of different hats. They’re stay-at-home moms, career-oriented women, women with careers and families, young women trying to find their place in this world, young girls learning what it is to grow up with teen angst and peer-pressure. Being a woman today means being fearless and being you. But, most of all, being a woman means allowing yourself to be among other successful women, just like you.

Maddy K

So, why not partake in a bad ass conference about women hosted by women with radio personality and journalist Natasha Gargiulo and event architect Maddy Kojakian. Both successful entrepreneurs, respected industry leaders, community builders and moms who understanding the challenges women face every day. The inaugural conference will be fittingly held at Montreal’s iconic Fairmont The Queen Elizabeth Hotel on Saturday May 5, 2018.

Natasha Gargiulo

I AM will witness some of the city’s most acclaimed female business leaders, advisors and social media influencers speaking on a variety of topics including confidence, branding and investment with the aim to arm women with tools they need to become architects of change in their own lives.

I AM brings together the next generation of women thought leaders and influencers to inspire and empower each other.

I had the pleasure of speaking to both Natasha and Maddy. Here’s my Q&A with these fearless supermoms.

What was the idea behind the I AM conference?

Natasha: Maddy and I have been producing and curating events for women around the city including retreats and events such as Hustle & Heart. A lot of women though weren’t able to leave their lives for four days because they had other obligations, but they really wanted a day where they could be inspired. They said that if they if we were ever to do a conference then they would be in.

Thanks ladies, because of your persistence, I AM – a conference for HER was born!

What can people expect from each speaker?

 Natasha: We realized that our circle of friends has a great story to share and a successful story to share. Whether u want to pursue a job in philanthropy, you’re a entrepreneur or you’re a stay-at-home mom and you want a day to figure out your next step in life, you’ll learn from each of these women that regardless of what they do for a living there is something in their story that will inspire you, and push you, and motivate you to take the next step in your life.

Maddy K and Natashe Gargiulo – I AM

From CEOs to stay at home moms, to creative entrepreneurs and corporate professionals, the I AM – conference for HER is your opportunity to connect with driven and focused women, who are empowering each other.

Here are the list of presenters:

Natasha Gargiulo – Virgin Radio

Shannon Walsh – life coach 

Priya Chopra – publicist/owner 1 Milk 2 Sugars

Tatiana Londono – owner Londono Group real estate agency

Nadia Saputo – Business woman / Philanthropist

Samantha Kris – Business Coach

Laura Casella – Global Morning News anchor

Mariella Katz – Social Media & Branding trainer

Mandy & Rebecca Wolfe – Mandy’s Salads – co-owners

Maria Antonpoulos – Director of Marketing, Antonopolous Group Hotels

Lisa Brookman – co-founder Wise Women blog / psychotherapist

Nannette De Gaspe – Luxury skincare company owner / philanthropist

Maddy K – Event architect 

Caroline Neron – owner Caroline Néron jewellery & handbag company

Solange Tuyishime – UNICEF Canada Ambassador

Tuti Do – publicist / owner Rev Communications

Erica Diamond – motivational speaker & contributor on Global Morning show

Dr. Tamara Gafoor – pediatric emergency physician

Katia Piccolino – Director of Sponsorships & PR – Ritz-Carlton Montreal

Leisa Lee – publicist / owner The Leisa Lee Group

How do u manage being moms, working full time and being able to create projects such as these?

Natasha: Every night before we go to bed our minds are still racing because we think about what do we do next? Were we a good mom? Were we the best at our jobs? What about your friends? When’s the last time you spoke to them? I think everybody is just trying to be the best they can be every day. Not putting too much pressure is the best way

There are so many days, I make a list of things I need to do and I only get through three of them.

I need to be busy and feel like I’m constantly doing things. That’s what makes me a better person and a better mother to my daughter. I’m able to do more things with her just because I feel accomplished. Everything I do is for my daughter.

Maddy K. : If everyone thinks we have our cool, that’s a myth. What people see on social media is only 10 percent of the reality. We love what we do and we’re very passionate about everything that we do. We love our families. It is a challenge, just like every woman who’s trying to prioritize what’s important. It’s not always easy to get the support that we want and to follow our dreams and figure out what our next steps are. These are all things that a lot of women experience in every stage of their life. That is the reality of being a woman. We do it with grace and with love, and as long as we wake up every morning being true to who we are. Being a happy mom means taking care of yourself and doing what makes you happy, whatever that may be.

What is the definition of what it is to be a female leader?

(Both at home and in the work place for those who have established careers)

 Natasha: We’ve known the definition of what it is to be a woman for a long time but because of what’s been happening with the Me Too movement and Times Up, we’re more confident about what a woman is. I think it’s a great time for us to be women and I don’t mean this in a feminist way, but in a way where it’s our time to be proud of who we are and our accomplishments.

We need to not be afraid to know our worth and our intelligence and our capabilities because we feel like if we do talk about it we’re looked upon with a “who does she think she is” attitude.

It’s a different time. We used to say women can do anything. But really today, you can do anything! That’s the reason why Maddy and I got together to do these retreats. Personally, we’re moms and we have daughters. As successful as we are, we want our daughters and our kids to look back and say my mom did this. We want to be a role model to our daughters and design something where you believe you can put your mind to anything. The bottom line is, we’re doing these conferences because we really want to be great role models for our daughters.

Maddy: We also want to leave them in a better in a better environment than we were in when we started to in our careers.

At I AM, we believe that every woman has the key to unlock her own story of success and unlimited potential but, sometimes, she may need some support to help her find her path to greatness.

Maddy: We hope that with this conference the women learn something and relate to someone on that stage. More importantly, we want them to connect with one another, communicate and collaborate in future projects. We want to steer away from the ME thinking where it’s all about competing with one another and shift towards a mindset where instead of competing we work together. I love what I do and you do so let’s get together and do something. This is the conversation we should all be having as women.

It’s not something new. We’re talking the talk but very few women in reality are walking the walk. But now, let’s really do it and how do we do it? The conversation has started, and now it’s about getting things done together, to support one another in reaching our goals and dreams, allowing all women to shine collectively.

The event takes place this Saturday, May 5th at 8:30 a.m. at the Fairmont Queen Elizabeth hotel. Topics will include Branding, Work/life Balance, Health & Wellness, How to take control of your finances, Social Media and so much more.

Included is access to the full line-up of Key Note Speakers, Panels, breakfast, Lunch and ending the day with a 5 à 7 mingling Wine and Cheese!

By: Alyssa de Rosa – info@mtltimes.ca



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