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Heather Odendaal shines a deserving spotlight on women leaders at the WNORTH conference

WNORTH is a boutique conference aimed at providing a forum for women leaders on the rise

Credit: Jenni Di Spirito

Heather Odendaal is the founder and curator of the WNORTH conference, which is held annually at Nita Lake Lodge in Whistler, B.C.

When Whistler’s Heather Odendaal couldn’t find a conference that brought together ambitious career women aspiring to senior executive roles and women who were looking for an opportunity to network and hear from successful leaders, she created her own.

In 2015, this savvy entrepreneur and sales executive for a Fortune 500 wine company founded WNORTH Conference, a one-day event that attracted 120 attendees.

“There was so much interest from beyond Vancouver and Whistler that the following year we held it over two days. The conference sold out, with 170 women from all over North America attending,” says Odendaal.

WNORTH’s panel of genuine, approachable and inclusive women from a diverse cross section of industries—corporate, entrepreneurial and public—will share their perspectives and inspirational stories.

Two of the presenters include San Francisco’s Esther Ayorinde, client executive at Cisco and responsible for leading the Facebook account, as well as former Wall Street lawyer Elizabeth Cronise McLaughlin, founder of The Gaia Project for Women’s Leadership, which is based in New York City.

“Esther will talk about what it means to be an authentic leader. She will delve into how someone is perceived as a leader, as well as touching on the obstacles she has faced herself,” notes Odendaal. “Elizabeth will speak about the rise of the new heroine and what that means.”

In addition to the keynote addresses, WNORTH features Connect Dinners, each hosted by one of the speakers and held at several of Whistler’s top restaurants.

With the natural beauty of the mountains and Nita Lake as a backdrop, Whistler is the perfect setting for this symposium. Beginning with an opening reception on April 19th , followed by two days of keynote speakers and workshops, WNORTH is the perfect opportunity for women to spend time together and network with some influential, talented and accomplished professionals. The third annual WNORTH Conference presented by PwC takes place April 19-21 at Whistler’s stunning Nita Lake Lodge. To register or for more information, visit or email at