“Life is like fishing”, explains speaker Sarah Waddington at the International ATHENA Conference “you have to throw out a line to get what you need.”

And Sarah Waddington has caught many big fish in her time. At the age of 26, she appeared before the Supreme Court and successfully argued a woman’s right to choice in the Roe vs. Wade abortion case.

She then went on to become the first woman elected to the Texas House of Representatives, the first woman to become the Department of Agriculture’s General Counsel and for three years she was the Assistant to President Carter, directing work on women’s issues and leadership outreach.

A frequent flyer, Waddington repeated the instructions issued by the flight attendants on how to handle emergency situations. She reminded us that we’re told to put our own oxygen masks on first, and then to help others.

She correlated this message to one that relates to all of us in life. All too often, she commented, we deplete our supply of oxygen by helping others first or by surrounding ourselves with oxygen guzzlers. “The people I like best are oxygen givers.” she shared.

So stock up and boost your oxygen supplies, because in the long run, you’re then better able to help everyone else.


One way to bolster our oxygen supplies is through laughter and cultivating your sense of humour. It is no accident that Carole Bertuzzi Lucianni was the first speaker for Company of Women. We wanted you to leave on a high, having had a good time and shared a few laughs.

For those of you who find it hard to make it to the gym – don’t worry. If you laugh for 10 minutes, it gives your diaphragm, thorax, abdomen, heart and lungs a workout similar to rowing on a rowing machine 100 times. By that reckoning, I should be slim, but hey…

Seriously, laughter and humour, have healing properties, as discovered by Norm Cousins during his battle with cancer. How often do you have a real belly laugh? Laugh so hard that you start to cry or it hurts? Try it. It’s good for the soul.

I have a friend who is giggles as soon as she starts to tell a joke, in fact her antics in telling the joke, reduce many of us to tears and gales of laughter and she hasn’t even got to the punchline!

It’s all too easy to get caught up in the minutae of life, instead of living for the moment. Life is too short and a keen sense of humour can navigate you through the toughest of waters.

So start practicing… smile, open wide and let it out… There, feel better now? Good.

Anne Day

Anne Day

Company of Women

I have had an eclectic career from running non-profit organizations and being editor of a national magazine, to working for government on women’s issues. In 2003 I launched Company of Women, an organization that supports women in business. A prolific blogger, I also write for the Huffington Post, and several other online publications. I am the author of five books on women and entrepreneurship, and co-author of Good Enough. Embrace who you are. Unleash your brilliance. which is available on amazon.ca In June, 2016 I launched Full Circle Publishing offering one-stop services to get your words out into the world.