To celebrate diversity in the workplace, we asked female business leaders across the country: Who or what has inspired you in your career?
Here is what they shared:
Aneela Zaib, CEO of EmergiTel, a Canadian owned and operated company providing recruiting, managed services and HR solutions
"Little did I know about my future, before I embarked upon my journey to this beautiful immigrant friendly country, Canada. I was just 25, married, expecting my first child, when we made the big move to do my Masters in Engineering. I literally had no money, no network and no association to plan big in life. It was my zest to perform, my determination to succeed and the constant support of my family that boosted me all the way till here, as the Founder and CEO of the fastest growing IT recruitment agency. Like most newcomers, I too struggled to create a niche for myself as a women in tech. This basically instilled in me the passion to mentor and help newcomers, and local job seekers who face struggles daily to get a good job that matches their skills and expertise. I also strongly believe unity lies in diversity, and therefore, wish to continue being an ambassador for newcomers, youth and women to create and support an inclusive workplace, ensuring hiring happens on the grounds of one’s skills and expertise only!"
Devon Brooks, Co-Founder of Blo Blow Dry Bar, North America’s original blow dry bar with more than 70 locations across Canada, the U.S., and the Philippines.
"Everything I do is channeled through the idea of igniting transformational dialogue and cultivating an intimate community in unconventional ways. In my businesses, encouraging creativity and building positive relationships are what allow me to defy the status quo."
Catherine Fels-Smith, CFO and COO of the Toronto Region Board of Trade, Toronto’s chamber of commerce representing more than 250,000 business professionals throughout the region.
"My mother, Joan, was one of the original “Mad Men.” Graduating from the Ontario Collage of Art in the 1950’s she worked at a large advertising agency writing copy and quickly was promoted to an Account Manager- the first at the agency. It was that “can do” attitude that led her to become a politician, writer, newspaper editor and mother. Growing up the only boundaries I knew where the restrictions you placed on yourself – gender was never an issue. Joan led by example and was a champion and supporter for many beyond her family. She was ahead of her time and set my perspective on what I could do and accomplish."
Anne Marcotte, CEO of Groupe Vivemtia Inc., a production agency located in Quebec City that provides production services for conferences and television programs.
"What I want to leave to my young son is not just a bank account with millions. I want him to remember that his mother is working to help people reach their dreams and ambitions."
Ulrike Bahr-Gedalia, President and CEO of Digital Nova Scotia, a non-profit digital advocacy organization dedicated to the growth and development of the digital technologies industry in Nova Scotia.
"The woman who follows the crowd will usually go no further than the crowd. The woman who walks alone is likely to find herself in places no one has ever been before." - Albert Einstein