Strong voices: Advice from five women business leaders
Winnipeg women business leaders share their expertise as we celebrate International Women's Day
In honour of International Women's Day on March 8, 2019, Economic Development Winnipeg sought out the perspectives of five Winnipeg women business leaders to talk about the advantages of doing business in Winnipeg, advice for other other women starting out in their professional careers, and the importance of gender balance in business.
How has doing business in Winnipeg been advantageous to you and your organization?
My 'business' is promoting Winnipeg and ensuring that we are showcasing the best that our city has to offer so that we can attract businesses, jobs, talent and tourism. My team and I focus on helping businesses in Winnipeg grow and expand, as well as promoting our city’s competitive advantages to help attract new jobs and investment. There are great things happening in our city, and our reputation is changing as a result. The world is taking notice of us.
Whether it is through the World Trade Centre's network, or through the diplomatic incoming business missions we have hosted here in Winnipeg, everyone who leaves Winnipeg and our province after discovering it and its people for the first time, swear they will return. Why? Because they have found so much business opportunity, interesting tourism attractions, and open-minded and fun people. Our organization is proud to be able to promote this great city and Manitoba in all corners of the world.
Winnipeg’s private sector is remarkable! Private sector leaders and their employees are actively engaged in the social health of our city – offering their time, talent and dollars to make a difference in people’s lives. In fact, many Winnipeg businesses are embedding social purpose in their DNA knowing it’s good for employees, customers, community and business. Combined with our one degree of separation and our prairie determination, Winnipeg has the potential to achieve the highest levels of economic, environmental and social well-being in the country.
Winnipeg is blessed with a true community spirit and this has been critical to Assiniboine Park Conservancy's success over its short lifetime. People want others in the community to be successful and they will support you in a myriad of ways. I have seen this spirit be an uplifting force behind many other successful and impactful initiatives in the city.
Winnipeg is a great city! I think Winnipeg is so culturally rich and so diverse in its population that we are the envy of many small cities in the country. And we are a giving city - it is wonderful to live in a place where people care. My work with the Health Sciences Centre Foundation has shown me the giving side of Winnipeg many, many times.
What advice do you have to other women starting out in their professional careers?
Be ambitious. Be bold. Push yourself out of your comfort zone, and don't let traditional gender roles influence you. Also look around and find women who are or will be in your corner. Winnipeg has an incredible group of strong women who want to raise each other up. Take advantage of that - it doesn't happen in all other cities.
If you can find what makes you vibrate, what brings you energy, try to combine it with your professional life. Women have that natural ability to sense where they can bring value so: you go girl! Take your place, bring your views and know that you are enough!
1. At the end of the day, your character matters most. Know what you stand for and don’t compromise. 2. Take a few leaps along the way. Different roles. Different organizations. A little discomfort will stretch your potential. 3. Get involved in our community. You will build skills, networks and a broader purpose. 4. Be kind. Always. If you learn to walk in the shoes of others, you will be a better leader. 5. Find a mentor. Someone who believes in all of the above – and in you!
Work hard, speak up and claim your rightful spot at whatever table you choose to sit. Your perspective has tremendous value.
Find work that you can believe in, and where people believe in you. Find people whose values you share and be prepared to work hard to build success! Never take personal connections or relationships for granted - these need your energy and time. Others should be able to expect a lot from us and we should expect more from each other.
This year's theme for International Women's Day is "balance for better." Why is it important to promote gender-balance in the workplace, boardroom and government?
Women bring different and valuable perspectives to workplaces, boardrooms and government. Differing perspectives enable us to make better decisions. All of the evidence supports that. All voices matter.
It has been obvious for me ever since I have entered the professional world, quite a few years ago, that women usually bring a different perspective, often a feminine intuition, a certain vulnerability and a good sense of empathy to the workplace. Men often seem more stoic, risk-takers and bold. Combining all these traits produces a balanced, diverse, highly-experienced environment, ready to face today’s professional world. What’s not to love about a gender-balanced environment in all sectors of life? Yin-yang!
Why is it important to promote gender-balance in the workplace, boardroom and government? Because we will have better workplaces, better governance and better government. Is this a trick question?
Why wouldn’t it be important? It will undoubtedly lead to better decisions.
Women see things differently than men. It is only with a balance of voices at the table that we can challenge accepted ways of thinking and be truly innovative.
Learn more about International Women's Day by visiting the campaign website.