Women's Leadership Development program collects non-perishable food items in support of local food banks.MISSISSAUGA, ON, March 8, 2013 /CNW/ - Around the world on March 8th, charitable and government organizations, educational institutions, women's groups, corporations and the media celebrate International Women's Day (IWD). The recognition and observance of this day demonstrates the positive evolution towards the economic, political and social achievements of women. IWD has been honoured since the early 1900s and now, thousands of events are hosted to inspire and acknowledge women's successes during the month of March. Throughout the decades the same message lives on; inspire and celebrate the accomplishments of all women. The Women's Leadership Development (WLD) program was founded by UPS to recognize the importance of empowering women. Since 2007 this program has offered a supportive environment that encourages and enables the attraction, development and retention of talent through networking, mentoring, education and community-based involvement. UPS employees work amongst a diverse group of colleagues that each have a wide range of work and life experiences to share. The WLD program has a mentorship component that pairs senior staff with UPSers looking to grow their career. It is the program's philosophy that the greater the range of participants in WLD activities, the more effective the networking and professional development becomes. The WLD program strives to help its members be their very best. "This is my first year on the WLD committee. As a relatively new employee at UPS, I joined because of the opportunities it offers to foster relationships," said Nikkol Zezza, Advertising and Event Marketing specialist, UPS Canada. "The program has been helping me build connections within the company, network outside of UPS at professional events and get involved with community volunteer work." The WLD program recognizes that in some situations women may be the only provider for their family, and, in these tough economic times, it can be difficult to put food on the table. According to Food Banks Canada report 'HungerCount 2012', in the month of March, 882,188 people received food from a food bank in Canada. During the same period, 3,912,239 meals were prepared and served by soup kitchens, shelters, school breakfast initiatives and other programs. With this in mind and in commemoration of IWD, members of the WLD program hosted food drives at various UPS facilities across Canada. The worthy cause brought together more than 40 UPS volunteers in 7 cities. All of the non-perishable food items collected will be given to local community food banks. "It is wonderful to see UPS's core values in action on such a significant day like International Women's Day," said Dina Macera, WLD Canada Chair and vice-president of Labour Relations, UPS Canada. "UPS prides itself on its commitment to being involved where we live and work and we look forward to participating in many more events where we can help our local communities." The food drives took place in the following cities: Vancouver, B.C., Burlington, Toronto and Mississauga, Ont., Montreal, Que., Fredericton and Moncton, N.B. The WLD thanks all UPS employees involved in making this initiative a success. "This initiative is a great depiction of what the WLD is all about: collaboration, community and leadership," Macera remarked.