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The Next Diversity Challenge: Embracing Our Natural Leadership Styles

Posted By Melanie Dunn, Friday, August 9, 2019

Melanie Dunn header image

WXN’s mantra is ‘celebrate differences’ and ‘lead inclusively.’ I think both of those directives are important when it comes to inspiring the people around you.

Melanie DunnIt’s an honour to be named to WXN’s Top 100 Most powerful women in Canada list and be part of an outstanding group of leaders in their fields.

All of us have overcome challenges throughout our careers, some of which are inherent to business and some of which are gender-specific. Staying true to my leadership style has not always been easy. I’m fortunate to have been 19 years with a company that has created a business environment where women can stay true to their values.

But more broadly, I would say that despite advancements, a very stereotyped image of leadership remains. By default we tend to celebrate some leadership styles over others. Women are still encouraged to be more assertive, more confident in the boardroom, willing to take more risks and make stronger decisions. In other words, the traditional characteristics of a male C-suite executive.

But I believe that is changing.

The catalyst is that with the way the world is now, we are losing a bit of our humanity. We are going to be progressively open to a whole new kind of leadership, and I think the skills we tend to align with women more than men are going to change in value. Things like empathy, collaboration and generosity: these will no longer be a ‘nice to have’ but a must have.

Women receive a lot of advice on how to succeed in business. I would argue that instead, we should be giving advice to business on how to attract women to the workforce, and start building an environment where women can be themselves. After all, this is what diversity means. If we do the same things in the same ways and have the same behaviours, then diversity is mute.

Years ago one of my account leaders returned to the office after having a manicure with a client and she felt very awkward telling me. Like it was more of a confession than sharing a successful client experience with the boss. I said to her, “Why are you embarrassed? Do you play golf? No. Just think of the manicure as a round of golf.” The light went on.

This is a small story, but it illustrates the broader point that there are legacy codes of how to be in business that don’t work for everyone. Women can be trailblazers in many ways; not just in continuing to push against the traditional means of excluding women from leadership ranks, but also in redefining what we value in leaders overall.

This year, my status as WXN winner will reinforce the goals of ‘celebrating differences’ and ‘leading inclusively,’ that have always guided me professionally. It’s important to see other people’s views, to embrace a diversity of approaches and responses and to encourage people to be wholly themselves. It is on our shoulders to create a world that truly values the idea that there are as many ways to be successful in business as there are leaders in business.

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We’re very proud that Melanie is a Canada’s Most Powerful Women: Top 100 Award Winner in the HSBC Corporate Executives Category. 

Do you know a female in Canada who deserves to be recognized for her contributions? Click here to learn more about our Top 100 Nominations and how to nominate yourself or someone else. It's free!

 


About Melanie:

Melanie Dunn portraitMelanie Dunn is the Global President and CEO of Cossette.
2018 Canada's Most Powerful Women: Top 100 Award Winner
HSBC Corporate Executives

A highly accomplished businesswoman, Melanie has over 20 years of experience in business management and marketing communications. She is the President and CEO of Cossette and a member of the executive management team of Vision7 International, a holding company with an extensive portfolio of Communications firms in North America, Europe and Asia.

Melanie is actively involved in several professional and community organizations. She sits on the Board of Directors of the Canada Post Corporation and the Health Standards Organization (HSO). She is also a member of the Board of Directors of the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal and the CHU Sainte-Justine Foundation.

Melanie has a Bachelor’s degree in Economics and a Marketing Certificate from the Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM).

Tags:  Canada's Most Powerful Women: Top 100  Change  Diversity  Embracing diversity  Leadership  Top 100  Top 100 Awards  Top 100 Winner  Top 100 Winners  Women  Women in Leadership  Women Leaders  Women Leadership 

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On being named a Top 100 winner - Ulrike Bahr-Gedalia's thoughts on leadership, her family and her supportive team

Posted By Ulrike Bahr-Gedalia, Friday, August 9, 2019

Ulrike Bahr-Gedalia Top 100 winner

When I heard there was an opportunity to share our thoughts with the WXN community through a blog post, I (literally) jumped (from happiness) at the chance. For four consecutive years, I’ve been honoured as a Top 100 Winner, and every time my first thought is… wow – really? Wunderbar - mazal tov!

Ulrike Bahr-Gedalia pic 1Being recognized on a national stage for my leadership is truly humbling. When we heard the news of my Hall of Fame acceptance, my family (who are my biggest supporter and greatest accomplishment in life) and I were full of joy and gratitude. Having a strong support network has been something I am eternally grateful for, and I am thrilled to say this network does not end with my family. My awesome team and Board Chair, who have supported me throughout this entire adventure, were equally thrilled. At the time of writing this, I cannot share the news with many others as I wholeheartedly respect the embargo, so it does feel like a second birthday when the news is made public and official!

This award goes far beyond something that happens once a year - being a part of WXN means being a part of a diverse community that is committed to making Canada a better place – and their CEO certainly leads by example. I’m honoured and proud to be associated with such inspiring leaders from all walks of life and look forward seeing this community of leaders grow into an even more diverse representation as it relates to ethnicity, race, persons with disabilities, Indigenous people, regional representation, and more.

This award provides a platform to recognize and profile some of the most influential and inspiring female (and male!) leaders nationally, but as I sit and really reflect on what it means to me, I believe it acts as an anchor and reminds me to stay true to myself. Authenticity is a core value of mine, and having won this award is not a status, nor status symbol for me, but it’s a nod from my peers, acknowledging the impact of leading with consistency, positivity, and authenticity. My path is clear and I will do what I’ve always done: continue to drive positive change, be impactful and influential, and remain humble, approachable and authentic - with a lot of grace, gratitude and greatness!

Thank you again to the WXN Top 100 Committee not only for the award but the chance to share my thoughts!

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We’re very proud that Ulrike is a Canada’s Most Powerful Women: Top 100 Hall of Fame Inductee. Her work in tech and her continuous contributions to the WXN community make her a true ambassador for women in Canada.

Ulrike will be part of our Speaker Series panel on April 9 in Halifax, speaking on Empathetic Leadership. For more information, visit the event page.

Do you know a woman breaking down barriers in the science or technology industry? Click here to learn more about the Top 100 Manulife Science and Technology Award Category, recognizing female leaders in STEM roles who are challenging the status quo for knowledge and female empowerment.

 


About Ulrike:

Ulrike Bahr-Gedalia portraitUlrike Bahr-Gedalia, President & CEO, Digital Nova Scotia
2018 Canada's Most Powerful Women: Top 100 Hall of Fame Inductee

With a career spanning five geographic regions, Ulrike Bahr-Gedalia is a multilingual, award-winning innovator, entrepreneur and TEDx speaker with over 20 years of global experience in the private, public, non-profit and academic sectors. Originally from Germany, she has held senior executive roles at prominent multinational high-tech corporations, SMEs, and start-ups and is currently the President and CEO of Digital Nova Scotia (DNS).

In recognition of her unprecedented leadership with DNS and lifelong advocacy for equity, diversity, inclusion and accessibility, Ulrike has received numerous awards and features, including the WXN Top 100 Most Powerful Women Hall of Fame, highlighting her as an inspiring role model for youth, women, immigrants, and under-represented groups in STEAM. Ulrike volunteers with multiple academic, non-profit and industry organizations on a local and national level, speaks six languages and moved from Israel to Nova Scotia in 2002. Ulrike is married with a son and daughter. Her mantra is “The biggest risk is not taking any risk”.

Tags:  Canada's Most Powerful Women: Top 100  tech  Top 100  Top 100 Awards  Women  Women in Leadership  Women in Tech  Women in technology  Women Leaders  Women Leadership 

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Respectfully Uncensored

Posted By Mandy Rennehan, Friday, August 9, 2019

Mandy Rennehan header image

RENNEHAN RANT

My (respectfully) uncensored message.

Mandy Rennehan pic 1I’ve never been afraid to tell it like it is.

Here’s the deal. I’ve used my dyslexia, depression, being a woman in a male-dominated industry, being gay, and being dirt poor as the impetus and fuel to become a multi-millionaire entrepreneur, philanthropist, and the Blue-Collar CEO™. I’m determined to redefine the collar, blue™ by bridging the massive gap between the blue- and white-collar worlds. I’m proud to be both collars, and the blue needs attention NOW!

Why have I made this my priority? For too long, the blue-collar industry, which represents hundreds of careers, has been undervalued, disrespected, and stigmatized by society. In turn, this has created the global perception that skilled trades and blue-collar careers are second-class. We have all been brainwashed into thinking that the smarter kids go to university and the rest go to community college or straight to work. End of story, right? Not so quick…

Some of the most intelligent and successful people I’ve met in my life have come from the blue side of the tracks. However, this perception holds them back from achieving and being even more. I keep hearing, “Mandy, I’m JUST a plumber.” “I am ONLY a welder, who is going to listen to me?“ “I love trucking, but as a young woman, my parents said it’s NOT GOOD ENOUGH and I have to go to university.” I’ve witnessed this my whole life.

You may ask yourself: What does this have to do with me and why should I care?Mandy Rennehan pic 2

We have a MASSIVE skilled trade shortage right now! It’s an economic and social issue – consumers (like you!) are paying more and waiting longer for services, companies aren’t able to scale, and we will continue to experience delays on important infrastructure projects, like roads, transit and hospitals. (You think the home reno business is overpriced now? Buckle up, because it’s about to get much, much worse!) The blue-collar perception has kept our trade schools half-full for decades, because who wants to be seen and treated as a second-class citizen?

We need both collars and, right now, we have a major imbalance – university grads without jobs and high-paying skilled trade jobs sitting empty. We need to bridge the divide between the collars and elevate the respect and dignity that society places on the skilled trades and build a sustainable pipeline of workers for the modern economy.

Please help me to start encouraging youth to consider the trades with the same enthusiasm they are urged to consider white-collar jobs. Many parents, even teachers and guidance councillors, don't promote skilled trades - period! That’s not right. We will continue to see the profound ripple effect of this perception, and the shortage it has produced, for many years to come if we don't stop it NOW!

The true blending of these two worlds - the blue and the white - will make a colour that none of us will ever want to take off!

Bear hug!

Mandy Rennehan

The Blue-Collar CEO™

Visit MandyRennehan.com for more.
Instagram - @MandyRennehan

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We’re very proud that Mandy is a Canada’s Most Powerful Women: Top 100 Hall of Fame Inductee. She is a terrific ambassador of women’s accomplishments and a visible leader who works tirelessly to inspire future generations. Do you know a woman breaking down barriers in the industry sector or skilled trades? Click here to learn more about the CP Industry Sector and Trades Award, recognizing women who have made significant contributions in these underrepresented sectors.


About Mandy

Mandy Rennehan portraitMandy Rennehan, Blue-Collar CEO™ & Founder, Freshco.ca
Canada's Most Powerful Women: Top 100 Award Hall of Fame Inductee

Sought-after speaker, multiple award-winning entrepreneur, and trade industry ambassador, Mandy Rennehan is redefining the collar, blueand inspiring people to join the dynamic skilled trade's industry. Mandy is the Blue Collar CEO™ & Founder of Freshco.ca (not the grocery store!), Canada's #1 retail reconstruction and maintenance provider, operating across Canada and the eastern United States serving clients like Anthropologie, Apple, Banana Republic, Home Depot, Lululemon, Nike, Restoration Hardware, Sephora, The Gap, Tiffany & Co., plus many more. She is also the co-founder of RennDuPrat, a master design and custom heirloom furniture fabrication company.

Mandy is humbled by the many awards she’s received including, Growth 500 Excellence in Innovation, Toronto Board of Trade Business Leader of the Year and WXN’s Top 100 Most Powerful Women – Hall of Fame. As one of Canada’s top entrepreneurs she’s also been featured in the Canada 150 Women book , The Globe and Mail, Financial Post, Chatelaine, CTV, BNN and most recently been named Canada's Most Admired CEO.

Her uncensored honesty is matched by her quick wit, East Coast humour, and big heart. It’s impossible to remain unchanged after coming into contact with this authentic, self-made powerhouse.

Tags:  Canada's Most Powerful Women: Top 100  inspiration  Skilled trades  Top 100  Top 100 Awards  Top 100 Winners  Tradeswomen  Women  Women Entrepreneurs  Women in Business  Women in Leadership  Women in Trades  Women Leaders 

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On being named a Top 100 winner - the two women who inspired Caroline Riseboro

Posted By Caroline Riseboro, Friday, August 9, 2019

Caroline Riseboro - header image

When I was told that I’d been selected as one of WXN’s Most Powerful Women last year my first thought was of my mother and grandmother --  two women who always serve as my original and continual inspiration, who were trailblazers in their own rights.

My grandmother came from a working-class family in England, and during the War she had to leave school at 14 to work. When she married at only 19, she was told she couldn’t work anymore. But she always knew she wanted a better life for herself, so with a tiny bit of money she started a business in the late 1950s and it became quite successful.

My mother was also a strong and brave business owner and always took chances. She was willing to constantly change and evolve to advance her career.

Both always pushed against the grain – and every day I try to channel that defiant spirit. Whenever I face barriers or feel deflated by the sheer amount of discrimination women and girls face around the world, I try to tap into that spirit and remember how far we have come. And how much we owe to women like my grandmother and mother, who were willing to defy normal and demand a fair shake.

I felt the award belonged to them.

This year, after receiving the honour once again (joining the Top 100 Alumni, made up of a stellar group of women) my first thought was of all the women I have had the pleasure of both mentoring and learning from throughout my career, particularly the incredible Plan International Canada girl ambassadors and advocates I have worked with over the last three years in my role as CEO & President.

Women and girls, who just like my mother and grandmother, continue to face barriers, hurdles, and glass ceilings when pursuing their dreams - despite it being the 21st century.

Women who dream of defying.

I read a quote by Steve Jobs recently that really resonated with me. “If you want to make everyone happy don’t be a leader, sell ice cream.”. Women and girls are always conditioned to be nice - to be liked above all else. This is something I have personally struggled with. At the same time, men and boys are taught that to change the world they should be prepared to ruffle feathers.

The women and girls I work with are constantly and unapologetically ruffling feathers. When normal is girls denied equality, they refuse to accept this status quo, they choose instead to defy normal.

But this can be lonely, often punishing work. That is why groups like WXN play a critical role in the advancement of women’s rights. Through my membership in WXN I have witnessed first-hand the incredible power of solidarity and sisterhood. It provides a space where us fellow feather-rufflers and defiant woman can come together and grow our strength and resilience.

As the inimitable Maya Angelou once said, “Each time a woman stands up for herself, without knowing it possibly, without claiming it, she stands up for all women.” Imagine the power women exercise when we knowingly stand up and stand together for our collective rights.

With my mother and grandmother behind me, I feel powerful. With a sisterhood behind me, I know I am unstoppable.

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Join Caroline and become a WXN Member today. Witness the power and solidarity of the Women’s Executive Network to grow your career and expand your horizons.


About Caroline:

Caroline Riseboro portraitCaroline Riseboro, President and CEO, PLAN International Canada
2018 Canada's Most Powerful Women: Top 100 Award Winner
CIBC Trailblazers & Trendsetters

Caroline Riseboro is the President & CEO of Plan International Canada – the leading NGO in Canada advancing the rights of children and equality for girls. As the youngest person to ever lead a major Canadian charity, Caroline is a passionate advocate for gender equality and is well-respected for her commitment to tackling some of the world’s most pressing issues.

She has a proven track record of leading organizations to new heights by challenging the status quo. In 2017, she was recognized as a Canada’s Most Powerful Women: Top 100 Award Winner and was awarded the Bronze medal in the Woman of the Year – Government or Non-Profit category at the Stevie Awards for Women in Business. Caroline regularly writes and speaks on the topic of gender equality and under her leadership, Plan International Canada has delivered record- breaking results.

Prior to joining Plan International Canada, Caroline was Senior Vice-President, Marketing & Development at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) Foundation, and held many senior roles at World Vision Canada, more recently as Senior Vice-President of Marketing and Engagement at World Vision Canada. She was the first and youngest woman in the agency’s history to serve in this senior role. Before joining the non-profit sector, Caroline began her career in advertising and communications.

Caroline’s influence in the sector extends through her voluntary leadership roles. She sits on the Board of the Humanitarian Coalition and CAN-WaCH, is the President-elect for the Association of Fundraising Professionals GTA chapter, and has sat on numerous task forces including with Imagine Canada and the Canadian Marketing Association’s Not-For-Profit Council. She holds a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) degree from McGill University and is pursuing a Master of Philanthropy and Nonprofit Leadership from Carleton University.

You can reach Caroline on Twitter at:
@criseboro
@PlanCanada

Tags:  Canada's Most Powerful Women: Top 100  inspiration  Top 100  Top 100 Awards  Top 100 Winner  Women  Women in Business  Women in Leadership  Women Leaders  Women Leadership 

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