2018 IW Winners

Young Influential Essay Scholarship - Elliot Lake

Kora Wilcox

Kora Wilcox

When Kora Wilcox set out to write an essay on the value of women in leadership roles, she couldn’t say why that topic was chosen but she was surprised by the history of the subject.

“Many of the women in my life were managers, and I could’ve written on that, but I’m in a sociology course right now, so I felt that would be easier to compare.”

Through her involvement in many activities, groups and projects, Wilcox found that many of these women required sound leadership and role models to make them successful.

Her essay focused on the history of women organizing themselves for leadership.

First, in writings stretching as far back as the 14th century, then in the waves of feminism of the mid 19th and early 20th century, to today’s women in politics, business, and their overall impact on society.

She broke down the critical moments in women’s history.

From a pivotal conference in Seneca Falls, N.Y. in 1848, to three waves of feminism, starting with the Suffragette right-to-vote movement; pay and job equity, contraception, divorce; and the third wave focusing on self-identity and sexuality.

Her conclusion was since women make up half of the human population, their voices must be heard. Whenever women are involved in business and politics, success rates and empowerment seems to increase.

Within the corporate culture, having women in executive positions improves communication, which enhances relationships and increases revenue.

Part of that, Wilcox wrote, is that women are less likely to take on high-risk endeavours.

They prefer to work more gradually, carefully building on small successes, that benefit a greater number of people, rather than focus on fast gains.

She cited examples of the contrasting styles of male and female leadership. One surprise Wilcox uncovered was looking at the banking crisis in Iceland of the early 2000’s.

Several financial institutions went bankrupt. Many the male CEOs were arrested and replaced by women. Economic prosperity was restored a few years later.

Citing the female co-founder of an investment company, the new corporate mantra would focus on people, social and environmental impact, as well as making women financially independent.

Another example was the all-women staff and management of Ink&Iron auto repair shop in Toronto, showing women who are interested in breaking gender stereotypes by working in nontraditional roles.

On winning the award, Wilcox said she is “beyond happy,” adding essay writing isn’t something she usually does.

Going forward, Kora is working towards a career in nursing. She has been to the Dominican Republic on a mission she performed in Grade 10. The activities in working with group leaders inspired her.

As soon as she graduates, Wilcox is planning on going to work in developing countries.