On 11 and 12 of June, Northeast India experienced the successful first edition of Northeast Women Leaders conference 2021 (virtual). Over 160 participants from different states of Northeast and India as well as foreign participants from Thailand, France, Aruba took part. Northeast Women Leaders is a collaborative platform. It is the first-ever conference in the region which is not just limited to the conference but also a blended holistic & futuristic approach within the 2 days of the scheduled conference.
On Day 1, attendees experienced inspiring speeches and success stories of different speakers. The opening speaker was Hasina Kharbhih (Founder Impulse NGO Network, Impulse Social Enterprises) followed by Bipasha Hrangkhawl (First Lady Air Traffic Controller), Karishma Kakoti (Founder & Interior Designer – KA Design), Maria Pangambam (Miss Earth India 2020 2nd Runner Up & Femina Miss India Manipur 2020) and lastly Subi Taba (Civil Servant from Arunachal Pradesh & Author).
Minakshi Kemprai (Founder of NEWL & Hill Panda) shared why she formed Northeast Women Leaders. From her diary where Northeast Women Leaders was just an idea to really making it into reality she shared her very personal story, Minakshi shared “When our father was shifted from ICU to the cabin which was at the 5th floor, is where NEWL idea was born. Suddenly on 25th Feb, our father’s health started getting worse God had some other plan. He left us all. Exactly a month before my birthday. But this didn’t stop me from working on this idea.” She said “Only God knows how low I was for months. On 23rd May I finally decided to make NEWL a reality”. She believed it is not just a conference, but an ecosystem and platform where all amazing women and youth can join hands and unite to make a truly beautiful northeast.
Deso Kemprai (Co-Founder of NEWL & Hill Panda) dedicated the two days conference to all youths and women who are working hard to achieve whatever they want & who suffers from mental health issues. He said in his speech “We all go through frustration, pain and self-doubts while pursuing several journeys but trust me, its all about our journey which makes the difference. While pursuing several journeys, we people don’t realize that we are not loving & taking care of ourselves. I want to say that though life is competitive, but it’s not about winning. There’s no winner & winning. Its all about learning and celebrating”. He also spoke about his past experiences with depression & bullying and thanked his late father.
On Day 2, Shri H.M Shangpliang, MLA, Meghalaya, Member of the Women Empowerment committee in the Meghalaya Legislative Assembly & a former bureaucrat addressed the conference as the official chief guest. During his speech, he stated “Minakshi thank you so much for bringing me here to be part of your conference of the Northeast Women Leaders. During this lockdown, you have thought it so well to bring together all the women of the Northeast to ponder and to think about various issues that are plaguing in the women community of the Northeast. In fact, I must thank you and your team for inviting me. To be a part of this gathering today, and it is a platform for all the women leaders and the entrepreneurs of the north-eastern region to come together and share their views and experiences of their role in their respected fields. I wish all the women in this conclave the very best in their endeavors and in their pursuits for the general wellbeing of our women in the Northeast.”. He concluded by saying “Friends, before I conclude I request this gathering to kindly deliberate on the issues relating to the problems faced by the women of the Northeast.” Lastly, he also advised “also suggests measure to help, solve these intricate problems. I also suggest that a resolution can be taken by this forum and send to all the state government including the members of parliament, the members of the legislative assemblies who are the policy makers of their respective states and the country with a request to help in bringing a change in the life and overall development of the women of the Northeast.”
There was also a long panel discussion on youth & women of Northeast India with Nirmal Chettri (Indian National Footballer), Santanu Hazarika (Visual Artist), Dr. Humi Thaosen (Professor), & Omi Gurung (Fashion Designer) as the panelists and Deso Kemprai as the moderator. During the panel discussion, they discussed various diverse issues about racial discrimination against north-eastern, Mental health among youths and women, women empowerment, etc. Nirmal Chettri said, “I am very thankful to Deso & his team for inviting me and giving me this wonderful opportunity to share my journey & experiences with everyone along with such bright and talented panelists”.
The respected guest speaker for the conference was Melanie Pariat (Founder of East End Events & National Level Shooter), in her speech she said “It is an honour to be given this platform which clearly speaks about Northeast Women Leaders and I deeply believe that each and every woman is a born leader. Either taking up a role to raising a home or strategizing in an office, each one of us play an important key in contributing to the society.” Lastly, she inspired many attendees during the conference with her dedication & love towards her work. She said “My company East End Events was started by me and my best friend who is now my business partner, this is what we fumbled across. We were young 24-year-old who feel in love like any other girl and like any other experience, that anyone would go through was the experience of heartbreak and failure in a relationship. We shared our stories over the phone. Then all of a sudden, we have this brilliant idea to take our pain and turn it into art. East End Events was born, and we made sure that every couple deserve a fairy-tale event. We turned all our energy into a business built on something so beautiful where we’re able to preserve our light within us and share it in people’s heart.”