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Civic Impact

The Best Person Project bridges the "confidence gap" in the workplace

“We think of the Best Person Project as a boot-camp workshop series aimed at women starting their careers,” explains Robyn Connelly, one of the co-founders of the Best Person Project. “Women excel in university, and they’re in the senior ranks, but there’s a gap in the middle. And there are studies that show that women enter the workforce guns blazing, and then there’s an incredible dip in confidence in the beginning of their careers.”

The Best Person Project wants to smooth out that dip. Graduates of the CivicAction DiverseCity fellowship program, and former participants of the ELN Pitch Showcase, Connelly and her fellow co-founders envision a program that teaches confidence, encourages female-to-female networking, and taps into older women’s workplace experiences to help mentor younger professionals. “We can see the networks that exist among the men, but one of our members asked, ‘Where are the women?' Those networks are less overt. There’s not that model for young women.”

The Best Person Project is currently in its fledgling stages, but the idea is gathering momentum. They’ve been active on Twitter, and have launched a survey looking at how the confidence gap manifests. They’re building towards a workshop series designed to empower young women in their workplaces. “We wanted to broaden our understanding of what people view as the challenges and opportunities, particularly around courage and confidence in the workshops,” says Connelly.

Participating in the ELN Pitch Showcase was, in Connelly’s words, “terrifying,” but the experience reinforced the value of what the group is trying to accomplish. “It was such a diverse room in terms of backgrounds, age, and levels of career, and the number of women who were nodding during the presentation felt very validating.” As a result of the participation in the Pitch Showcase, The Best Person Project was awarded a hotdesk membership at the Centre for Social Innovation and the chance to connect with other innovators. “We wanted to bring more women into leadership. Increasing, we have to have that innovation economy, and we have to have more voices contributing that. The city can only benefit from that.”
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