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contents FALL 2017

features Career calling Daycare dilemma Tackling mental health in the workplace Caught in the middle Speaking up Side gig Column


8 14 18 21 24 28



Career calling



How to thrive (and survive) the workforce at every age and stage of your career Schultz—6









Publisher: Sue Belisle Editor-in-chief, business in Vancouver; Vice-president, Glacier Media: Kirk LaPointe Editor: Brenda Bouw Integrated Sales Managers:

Pia Huynh, Laura Torrance, Chris Wilson

Design: Randy Pearsall Production: Rob Benac Contributors: Deb Abbey, Carolyn Ali,

Janet Austin, Brenda Bouw, Karen Hardie, Michelle Hopkins, Marni Johnson, Ravinder Manhas, Laurie Schultz, Adrienne Tanner, Hayley Woodin Proofreader: Meg Yamamoto Advertising sales: Eve Abrams, Dean Hargrave, Blair Johnston, Joan McGrogan, Steve Micolino, Corinne Tkachuk

Caught in the middle Hardie—23


As if working and raising a family weren’t enough, some mothers are also helping to care for ill and aging parents



Sales Operations Manager:

Michelle Myers

AdministratorS: Katherine Butler,

Marie Pearsall

Research: Anna Liczmanska,

Carrie Schmidt

Women in Business—Fall 2017 is published by BIV Magazines, a division of BIV Media Group, 303 Fifth Avenue West, Vancouver, B.C. V5Y 1J6, 604‑688‑2398, fax 604‑688‑1963,


Why the glass ceiling needs more cracks

Copyright 2017 Business in Vancouver Magazines. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or incorporated into any information retrieval system without permission of BIV Magazines. The publishers are not re‑ sponsible in whole or in part for any errors or omissions in this publication. ISSN 1205-5662 Publications Mail Agreement No: 40069240. Registration No: 8876. Return undeliverable Canadian addresses to Circulation Department: 303 Fifth Avenue West, Vancouver, B.C. V5Y 1J6 Email:

Speaking up


Cover: Shutterstock images

Do you suffer from glossophobia (fear of public speaking)? Time to conquer it to get ahead in your career (and in life)


Daycare Dilemma On-site child care is great for working mothers, but few workplaces take the step

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STRATEGIES FEMALE LEADERS SHOULD LEVERAGE Some qualities women try so hard to suppress at work can actually give them a competitive edge


W Breaking through the glass ceiling takes more than determination and grit. It takes confidence, and the courage to own the fact that even in a top-level position you may not always be right or the most knowledgeable person in the room

omen are often conditioned to put up a tough front in the workplace. Exercising empathy, compassion or a willingness to listen to alternative viewpoints can be viewed as “soft” and as such women may steer clear of showing these traits for fear of being seen as unfit for a leadership position. This is unfortunate because in my experience, breaking through the glass ceiling takes more than determination and grit. It takes confidence, and the courage to own the fact that even in a top-level position you may not always be right or the most knowledgeable person in the room. And that’s OK. In fact, it’s often the very qualities that women try so hard to suppress that can actually give them a competitive advantage in the workplace. When I joined ACL in 2011, I accepted the task of leading a seasoned and talented group of people to scale growth and expand into a category-leading company. Becoming CEO was nerve-racking as not only were there high expectations to deliver clear results, but I was taking over the reins from a father-and-son-run company, which had a long operating history and pre-established culture. Despite this, the first goal I set out to achieve was to create an environment free of judgment, an open place for ideas to be shared without criticism. This turned out to be the catalyst for many future successes, none of which could have been achieved without exercising three key behaviours.

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lief, the workplace is not a place to detach from emotions. Businesses are run by humans, which entails feeling emotion. Often in a leadership position, there’s a tendency to be stone-faced and to remove the humanistic side to establish power. While it’s important to earn the respect of your colleagues, it’s OK to open up about sensitive topics. Humanizing yourself is a great way to be relatable, build deep connections and cultivate an understanding of valuable viewpoints. We all second-guess ourselves at times, but women, due to conditioning, can do this more often in the workplace. As female leaders, we need to recognize that we may be less comfortable speaking up and challenge ourselves and others to speak openly. This means having the courage to ask the “dumb” question. Set a precedent that no question is too off base to ask and encourage others to abide by that rule. Often, what comes off as a stupid question is silently on the mind of everyone else in the meeting. We can develop a callous attitude when we fail to be open or find alignment out of fear of how we’ll be perceived. It’s OK to show vulnerability; you don’t need to be the smartest person in the room all the time. W E L C O M E M I S TA K E S Q  D eveloping a culture of antifragility means welcoming stress and mistakes so that your team can improve and become more resilient. I always say that leaders create a future that otherwise would not have happened by making promises they don’t know how to keep and then doing everything they can to live up to those promises. Nothing is more stressful than committing to something you don’t know how

to do yet; you will make mistakes, you will feel the pressure and you will learn and become more resilient. As leaders, we set the example by making those promises, learning through the experience and, as a result, redefining how the future looks. By encouraging others to do the same, we recognize the value of not knowing everything, and disrupt the idea that leaders and women have to be perfect before they can get started. Start now become good later. BE CONSISTENT AROUND THE CLOCK Q Consistency is bringing

the same values that leaders live by in their “5-to-9” into their “9to-5.” These values should include integrity, kindness and care both outside and inside the workplace. The core of leadership and culture rests in values alignment. You must be consistently and authentically who you are as a leader and a person at all times. You must be the same person at home as you are at work because that’s how people relate to you and learn from your experiences and the example you set. If you’re in a place that is not consistent with your core values, you must leave it. Working somewhere that doesn’t align with what’s meaningful to you and consistent with your personal values will prevent you from reaching your full potential. Life is too short and too busy to dedicate your time and energy to a place that’s inconsistent with your integrity. É Laurie Schultz is the CEO of ACL, one of Vancouver’s largest tech companies, which focuses on governance, risk management and compliance software.

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Pondering Career Development or many, navigating the business world, charting a successful career path, and finding satisfaction and balance within this career can be challenging, exhausting and more than a bit scary. Mentors can help, not to mention professional coaches, which, to clarify, I am not. My career in law has had a few planned and unplanned twists and turns, but has ultimately been very satisfying. In writing this, I am both sharing some helpful pieces of advice that I have discovered throughout my career, and personally revisiting some as I add another facet to my professional life, by crossing the table from senior legal adviser to business leader on corporate boards. I don’t pretend to have found the elusive ‘silver bullet’ or a ‘plug and play’ approach to success and career satisfaction. Instead, here are some of the pointers that guide me and many successful women I know and admire:


Planning, Prioritizing and Pursuing Be the architect and driver of your own career. Only you know what you want and need. The first step (which I suggest you revisit regularly) is to take stock of where you are, how you are doing, and whether your current approach fits with your current or future plans. From there, you should make or revisit your next steps, recognizing that it is ok to change your mind, your focus, or to start all over. My goal: always have a plan and set your priorities, while recognizing that these plans may shift. Pathfinding Consciously build your career, but always remain open to exploring the inevitable, unexpected twists and turns along your path. Flexibility is key. Profile-building Move out of your comfort zone - seek out and accept opportunities for growth and profile-building. You have so much more to offer than you give yourself credit for. Force yourself to do things that put you ‘out there’, recognizing that sometimes

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it is uncomfortable, but that this discomfort will diminish with experience. Particularly in the early stages of a new career or a new focus, it can beneficial to raise your profile internally, as well as externally, highlighting to your peers and supervisors what you bring to the table, rather than minimizing your achievements. Don’t assume that those who should know your accomplishments and contributions are aware of them. People are busy and focused. Be tactful, yet confident and assertive, not aggressive, in your self-promotion. Preparation Working hard, honing your skills and being prepared is important, not only in getting things done, but also in developing confidence in your abilities and recognizing that you are ready for the challenges and opportunities that come your way. But make sure to also keep reading and learning outside of work. Proficiency Aim to become indispensable for your knowledge, experience, perspectives, approaches or processes. Take ownership of the different roles that you occupy in your professional life. Pragmatism Be pragmatic and solutions-oriented, not a naysayer and an obstacle. Try to always advance or help a situation. Look five steps ahead and from side to side and voice well thought out perspectives. Listen more than you speak, but don’t allow others to muzzle or speak over you. People Success can depend upon the relationships you form, the trust you engender, as well as the value you bring to the table. Invest the time to get to know clients and colleagues. This does not necessarily mean that you must socialize with everyone, but take an interest in people as individuals as well as in their business needs. Most importantly, be sincere. Develop a network of colleagues,

peers and more senior types, not just in your field, but in all aspects of your professional existence, who will support, mentor, and look for opportunities for you. Tell them what your career goals are so that they can be more effective resources. Do the same for them or others. This can be rewarding on both a personal and professional level. I have found the people I work and surround myself with are key to my success and happiness. Passion Do not expect a career to be an allconsuming and completely fulfilling passion. Placing these unrealistic expectations on your career can lead to unnecessary job hopping rather than developing the skills and expertise you need to succeed in your work. Every job will have aspects you don’t like; focus on the elements you do like first. In my work for example, I find satisfaction in the intellectual stimulation, enjoyment, opportunity, respect and recognition that it grants me, but also understand the importance of maintaining other aspects of my life and in exploring interests outside of work. Patience, Perseverance and Pardoning This all takes effort and time, so persevere. Delays and mistakes can be overcome. Don’t be afraid to show that you are human. Admit to what you are not, but don’t let this defeat you. Recognize that side steps, or even steps that feel like they are taking you backwards, can prove beneficial in the long run, providing you with the time, experience and skills that can enhance your path and open more avenues. Rita Andreone, QC, is the Chair and a Corporate, Investment and Governance Partner at Lawson Lundell LLP, a leading law firm headquartered in Vancouver. She increasingly sits as a Corporate Director on various boards. She can be reached at randreone@

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CALLING How to thrive (and survive) the workforce at every age and stage of your career



You’re always dealing with building blocks in careers and always learning


ix weeks before she was set to start law school at Montreal’s McGill University, Glorie Averbach balked. Being a lawyer was something her parents and peers encouraged, and thought she would be particularly good at, but Averbach decided to take a different career path. “I wanted to be in business. I wanted to be an entrepreneur,” says the 52-year-old, thinking back to that critical period in most people’s lives when they’re forced to decide what they want to do for a living. She immediately moved from her hometown of Winnipeg to Toronto and started working in retail and later moved into the technology and entertainment sector – all with the goal of learning everything she could about running a business. “You’re always dealing with building blocks in careers and always learning,” she says. “The learning is what kept feeding me – and still does to this day.” Over the years, Averbach has run and held ownership stakes in a handful of home entertainment system companies in Texas and Vancouver. Today, after selling her last company in 2016, Averbach consults and coaches other startups, helping the next generation of entrepreneurs get ahead. Her career trajectory is similar to that of many women:

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start by figuring out what you want to do for a living (and not necessarily what others think you should) and then begin climbing that ladder. While there may be missteps along the way, it’s the experience and mentorship from others that help people gradually get closer to their career goals. Those goals can also change along the way. Later in their careers, many women look to give back by mentoring others. Women in Business talked to experts about the various stages of building a career with a focus on the four different generations in today’s workplace: generation Z, millennials (also known as generation Y), generation X and baby boomers. The mix of these four generations presents both challenges and opportunities for employees – and their managers. “We’re unprecedented because there are so many different generations and we all have our ‘stuff’ that we bring with us,” says Terry VanQuickenborne, a Vancouver-based organization and leadership consultant. “There needs to be a great understanding of what motivates people, and what drives them towards success. We all want meaning in our work, since we spend so much time there, but what that means may differ from one generation to the next.” GENERATION Z Q This is the generation coming in as

interns or starting their first full-time jobs. For many in this age group – and those at this age who came before them – the challenge is figuring out what you want to do for a living. “Find out what your core strengths are,” says VanQuickenborne. “It might not necessarily be what you’re good at – usually what you love you become good at. Find your own path and explore.” Lisa Martin, a leadership author and executive coach, says it’s important for women at this age and career stage to understand what they value in a job and to enjoy what they do without putting too much pressure on themselves to immediately succeed. “Go easy on yourself and see how it unfolds,” says Martin. “Don’t be so worried about an end destination yet; just explore. You’re trying to figure out what you feel good in your skin pursuing.” MILLENNIALS Q About half of the global workforce

consists of millennials. They’re a powerful force in many organizations and are shaping the future of how work is done, driven by technology including digital and social media. Still, some millennials have found it challenging to kick off their careers. Millennials need to be patient but also proactive at work, says Ashleigh Brown, regional vice-president at the staffing and employment agency Robert Half in B.C. She recommends they actively seek out mentors and people to partner with on projects. “Remember that partnership is a two-way street,” Brown says. Some millennials are also in a hurry to advance their careers or may be frustrated that they’re not further along by now. Martin recommends treating a career as a marathon, not a sprint. “If you’re lucky, it’s a long road,” Martin says.  GENERATION X Q Generation X doesn’t usually attract

much attention. When they do, there are sometimes

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There needs to be a great understanding of what motivates people, and what drives them towards success. We all want meaning in our work, since we spend so much time there, but what that means may differ from one generation to the next

complaints about being tired and stressed out from years of having their head down at work. Gen X has also seen a lot of change in their careers to date, driven largely by technology that has upended many industries. “They’ve had to be agile,” says VanQuickenborne. She recommends embracing change and continuing to learn new skills. “If you can embrace the shifting landscape and roll with it, then I think Gen Xers will be fine,” VanQuickenborne says. It’s those that resist the change who will be challenged in their careers moving forward. BABY BOOMERS Q Women of this generation have

reached a career stage where they often have a choice: retire or continue working to keep the mind active (and keep the money rolling in). Some are seeking out shorter workdays or more flexible arrangements, giving them more time to travel, get in shape or spend time with grandkids without giving up their careers entirely. “It’s about what engages you. It’s different for everybody,” says Martin. At many companies, keeping baby boomers around and engaged is a way to provide mentorship and pass along institutional knowledge to the next generation. Baby boomers can also pick up some useful skills from the younger generations. “This is your chance to leave your legacy,” says VanQuickenborne. “Provide mentoring, and learn from the younger generation.” DO WHAT YOU LOVE, NO MATTER YOUR AGE Q What

women want changes in each age and stage of their career. What shouldn’t is how work aligns with your values, Martin says. “While the workplace may change, your core values should remain the same.” For Averbach, that means growing her new business, myCEO, which helps other entrepreneurs build their companies – and maybe avoid some of the mistakes she made in her career. Averbach also wants to remain active in the community of  like-minded entrepreneurs looking to do business in a more positive and creative way.  “I’m looking to work with others that, like me, want to truly embrace the concept of being human in the digital age,” says Averbach. “I had a lot of great mentors in my career to date, who treated me well and with respect. Paying it forward in that same way is what gets me out of bed every day.” É

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10  |  Women in Business—Fall 2017  published by Business in VAncouver

Career calling  |  Five women making it happen

Women Making It Happen Women in Business reached out to five women in different industries across B.C. to see how they got into their careers, advanced and challenges faced along the way Dene Moore

Phoebe Yong, founder and president, Magnolia Marketing Communications  ■  After

completing an undergraduate degree in communications and an MBA in marketing, Yong got her start doing sales and marketing for a tech company before joining a nascent Sierra Wireless. “It’s a huge company now but I was, I think, employee No. 51 or 56,” she says. As head of marketing and communications, she was part of growing the telecom company into a publicly traded global enterprise. There she worked with huge global brands such as Microsoft and AT&T. “The one lesson I always remember from there is that even though you’re small, you’ve got to act like you belong at the table with them,” she says. “That was a great experience.” As the company grew, so did Yong’s job. As head of global marketing, she was travelling regularly to Asia and Europe. Then children came along. “Once you have children you have to go all in … but I

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Phoebe Yong founder and president, Magnolia Marketing Communications

If you don’t love what you do, then there’s not even a starting gate

also love what I do,” she says. “It was part of my identity, such a huge part that if I didn’t have it I think I would feel something was missing from my life. I still wanted to carry on with it.” She began working part time as a public relations consultant. Then, five years ago, Yong decided to establish a marketing agency. Today, Magnolia employs 10 people. What has she learned along the way? Choose the right customers. “It’s OK to say no.” Make the right partnerships. You don’t have to do it all yourself. Love what you do. “It’s a lot of work starting your own business in this field and if you don’t love what you do, then there’s not even a starting gate.” And don’t waste time pointing fingers – a lesson she learned planning a major corporate event. “About 5:30 I went to the caterer to make sure all of the towels were perfect and the candles were lit, and the caterer said to me, ‘Where is the liquor licence?’ I said, ‘What do you mean? That’s not my job … Nobody told me.’” Instead of yelling or crying, Yong asked what she needed to do. That meant finding the Vancouver police official responsible and getting authorization. “I drove around like a madwoman looking for that police officer,” she says. She found him. The papers were signed and the party went on. “I was an hour late but I didn’t lose my job.”

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children, a job as a hairdresser and a husband in law school when her yearning for learning could no longer be ignored. She had to decide whether to continue in a stable job or return to school as she dreamed. It doesn’t seem there was much choice in the matter. “We starved,” she says with a laugh. Point had her fourth child in her second year of undergraduate studies in education at the University of British Columbia. She went on to earn a master’s degree at the University of Portland and a doctorate at Simon Fraser University (SFU). “What I tell young people pursuing higher education is that every level of education opens doors,” but not without sacrifice, she says. “The reality is it costs money to go to school and it ends up being a sacrifice. Don’t be afraid to go without because in the end, it’s worth it.” A member of the Skowkale First Nation – one of the - Nation – Point says she 24 communities of the Stó:lo experienced discrimination, but it didn’t stop her. “As a First Nations woman you face discrimination and racism. That’s our reality, even today,” she says. “It can hold you back … or you’re going to rise above.” Inspired by her grandparents and aunts, she has aimed throughout her career to inspire other Aboriginal students to pursue their dreams. She joined the University of the Fraser Valley as a faculty member shortly after earning her degrees. “I’ve watched many students walk across the floor and I’ve watched young people who I’ve encouraged to go to university cross the stage, and it does make your heart feel good,” she says. Her journey to the chancellor’s office included stops as the co-ordinator of the early childhood education program at the First Nations Training and Development Centre in Prince Rupert, as a faculty associate in the education department of SFU, manager of the - education department, regional co-ordinator of Stó:lo Aboriginal services for the Ministry of Education, Skills and Training in the Fraser Valley and in the North. She also had the high-profile position of the province’s chatelaine from 2007 to 2012, when her husband, Steven Point, served as B.C.’s lieutenant-governor. “My grandmother said to me, ‘Don’t forget who you are,’ meaning you carry your traditions. Be proud of who you are and learn this but, more importantly, take what you’ve learned and use it to help people.”

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I didn’t have a plan but what I did do was when an opportunity presented itself, no matter how scary and frightening it was, I took a calculated risk

counsel for the oil and gas company Anadarko Petroleum when she was offered the chance to relocate to headquarters in Houston and head the global legal team. It was a “very scary” opportunity, she says. “I thought I was far too young and inexperienced to do that. I didn’t know what they were thinking.” But she said yes and moved to Houston in 2003, setting a pattern that has served her well in her career. “The move to Houston was the hardest thing I’ve ever done,” says Ripley, who admits she suffers from “impostor syndrome.” “I always thought I was being promoted five years ahead of when I should be promoted.” But she never let that lack of confidence rob her of opportunities. “I didn’t have a plan but what I did do was when an opportunity presented itself, no matter how scary and frightening it was, I took a calculated risk.” Later in Houston, looking for a new challenge, she took another risk and left Anadarko to join a startup company. When, a few years later, she and her husband wanted to return to Canada, she was recruited by Goldcorp to head its legal team in Vancouver. In 2013, Ripley was named executive vice-president and general counsel, a role that involves dealing with legal issues, global human resources, internal audit functions, insurance, ethics and compliance and enterprise risk management. Her advice, not surprisingly, is to take a chance on opportunities presented. “Especially as you’re starting out in your career, that’s the time to really go for it,” she says. “There is a way to manage your confidence issues. It doesn’t happen overnight but it comes in little baby steps – like speaking up in a meeting, putting your hand up for opportunities and succeeding when you’re delivering a presentation. “You have to embrace these things.” Mistakes are unavoidable and she’s made a few. “In making all the mistakes I’ve made, it somehow builds confidence because this did not kill me and I learned this. Now I know, this worked and this didn’t. It gives you courage to take more risks.”

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Career calling | Five women making it happen


successful restaurant and cuisine business she owns with husband Vikram Vij her “accidental career.” Born in India and raised in Washington, D.C., Dhalwala moved to Vancouver to join her new husband in 1995 without a work permit. Vij – from whom she is separated but who remains a business partner, co-parent and very close friend – had just opened a small, 14-seat restaurant. “I was just hanging around because I couldn’t work,” she says. In need of both money and something to do, and in possession of a master’s degree in Third World economic development that she could not put to use in Canada, Dhalwala began making chai tea for customers. Then she made a ginger-lemon drink. “I taught myself how to cut an onion, I taught myself how to cut garlic, and then I went back to my childhood and said Mom used to do this, she used to roast all the spices. I really taught myself how to make Indian food based on what I ate growing up,” she says. “I discovered something that I loved.” Her first bit of advice: don’t overlook Plan B. Or Plan C. “We’ve been raised by our parents and our society to follow our passion. We focus so much on passion that if we don’t get that passion we feel like ‘Oh my God, I don’t have the right career.’ But sometimes there’s nothing wrong with No. 2 or No. 3,” she says. She and Vij quickly discovered they had a strong business relationship. While they were both excellent chefs, Dhalwala gravitated to the kitchen, while he excelled at the front of the house. Their restaurant became the toast of the town. A second restaurant opened. Then a third. There are cookbooks, a line of take-home curries, television appearances. But it wasn’t easy. Her next piece of advice: have courage. “Anybody who’s thinking about opening up their own business, they’re going to have to be brave,” says Dhalwala, speaking days after she returned from a learnto-surf vacation in Nicaragua. At age 53. More advice: be honest and learn to take feedback. Despite the success, Dhalwala never feels they’ve “made it.” The restaurant business is a tough one and she and Vij take nothing for granted. They are always striving to do better. “I pinch myself all the time,” she says.

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I can be in a meeting where I may be one of three women in a group of 20. Sometimes I’m the only woman in the entire room. It’s not lost on me but at the same time I never look at it as a barrier

Leong had a finance degree, a law degree and no clear idea of the career path she wanted to follow. Her father was an entrepreneur and businessman and she liked business. She was looking for a purposeful career, something inspiring, working alongside people she enjoyed. “I found that at the commission. When you find something inspiring or a place where you’re inspired – wherever that is – it makes it easy to like what you’re doing and it makes it easy to do great work there,” Leong says. It will be 25 years this year since she joined the BC Securities Commission. She’s held a half-dozen different positions and she is still inspired. “It is still very, very male dominated in the corporate finance world. I can be in a meeting where I may be one of three women in a group of 20. Sometimes I’m the only woman in the entire room. It’s not lost on me but at the same time I never look at it as a barrier,” she says. “I look at people in the room and I treat them all as my equals and when I go into a room thinking that, I never feel intimidated by it.” Education was very important in Leong’s family home growing up in Calgary. “I have a daughter who is in university now and I tell her that being top of the class is not the key to success. Having the right attitude, I always say to her, is more than half of the equation.” Leong is a champion of a thoughtful workplace, and looks for that attribute in others and opportunities to help those with it move up. She has had several such supporters herself, including a former vice-chair of the commission. “He was somebody actually I was afraid of, which made it all the more rewarding when he acknowledged some of the great work that I did here,” she says. “It made all the difference.” Her advice to other career women is to follow your instincts. “Sometimes that means taking risks and feeling uncomfortable,” she says. “I find that challenges, the kind that make you feel a bit scared, are the ones that help you grow personally and professionally.” É

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You cannot be afraid to say you don’t understand something. Fear impairs your ability to learn


am not your mother. I am your boss, leader, mentor, and that means I will support you in your career growth.” This mantra has served me well as I was surrounded by men on my climb to becoming head of finance for a global financial technology (fintech) company. Today I am thrilled to be on an executive team of 10 with three other women. Four years ago, this was not the case. In Canada, men are two to three times more likely than women to be in a senior management position. In financial services, the average proportion of female directors is only 32 per cent, which is only slightly better than the average proportion of female executives at 29 per cent. At this rate, true gender parity won’t happen for decades to come. For those on similar journeys or situations, here are some things that I’ve learned along the way

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How I thrived in a male-dominated industry

to breaking the mould: My journey at work paralleled my journey through motherhood. As I progressed through various positions, I also juggled raising my two daughters. Every mother takes a different approach; I purposely took a non-leadership position after returning to work after my second maternity leave. This allowed me to leave my work at work, and return home to my family on time. As my responsibilities grew at work, my husband took on more responsibilities at home. I would not to be able to do what I do without the support system he gives me. As I climbed the corporate ladder, I found myself surrounded by men. In the early days of working at Beanstream (now Bambora), I was the only female voice at the executive table. It wasn’t always easy, but it wasn’t always hard either. W hen you find your peers are mostly men, it can be difficult for numerous reasons. Not only do men and women work differently, but you may feel like you are trying to prove the importance of female leaders. Know that it isn’t about just picking your battles; it is going all the way when you do. By doing this, I earned the respect of my peers and was able to guide our company forward with them even if we disagreed. But enough about me. My advice to you, whether you are just starting your career, stepping into a male-dominated industry, or trying to climb the corporate ladder, is

this: you cannot be afraid to say you don’t understand something. Fear impairs your ability to learn. Even though I work in a fintech company, I have never coded. If I cannot understand an issue our head of development is having, I cannot offer support and vice versa. We need to ask the stupid questions to get to the hard-hitting ones. Never be afraid to understand your business, problems. By having the courage to say it like it is, or stating that you don’t understand something, you will be able to do your role more effectively. You cannot sugar-coat things or else the business, your team and your career will suffer. My journey is not your journey, but our struggles and challenges may be the same. I am not your mother; I am not here to parent or micromanage you, but instead to guide and support you. Find out what works for you and stick to it. Not every moment will be easy. There will be long nights and early mornings. And like me, you may find yourself in a stalemate at one point, with your job on the line. If you want to challenge the status quo or earn your place, you must do just that; challenge and earn. É Ravinder Manhas is head of finance for Bambora North America.

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DAYCARE DILEMMA On-site child care is great for working mothers, but few workplaces take the step


Miriam Chaldeos, a caregiver at Ritchie Bros., child-care centre, sits in a rocking chair with one of the babies at the centre while other toddlers enjoy a snack | RITCHIE BROS.


n 2009, shortly after Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers moved into its new building in Burnaby, it did what many companies dream of but few manage: opened an on-site child-care centre. The decision arose from an employee survey asking what amenities they would most value in their new space, says Megumi Mizuno, the company’s director of human resources. When the question of child care was raised, the chorus was unanimous. “Overwhelmingly, everyone said, ‘Oh my gosh, yes,’ because you read the news. You hear about the lack of child-care spaces in the Lower Mainland, so we knew it was a problem.” Mizuno had one young child herself and was comtemplating having another. “Our CEO at the time had fairly young children as well. He said, ‘It’s the right thing to do.’ So, we made it happen.” The spacious care centre – with its natural wood decor, floor-to-ceiling windows and architecturally designed outdoor play spaces – was an instant hit, particularly with women on staff. Not only did it relieve them of the search for quality child care, which sometimes prevents women from returning to work, it also allowed them to check in on their children during the day. “If you’ve come back to work and you’re still breastfeeding you can pick up your child, breastfeed them and then bring them back, so you don’t have to worry about things like that,” Mizuno says. For Brandy Turner, director of corporate accounting for Ritchie Bros., the child-care centre provided peace

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of mind after the birth of her first child. “The daycare definitely played a role in helping me come back. It’s a lot easier knowing you have quality daycare and the kids are … in the same building as you.” Her daughter attended the centre from age one until she went to kindergarten. Turner saw all her Christmas concerts and Halloween parades and admired her artwork hanging on the centre wall. “It’s easy; you just go downstairs and there it is, and you don’t have to miss any of that with your kids.” The centre also makes good business sense, Turner says. “There’s an untapped pool of mothers coming off maternity leave. A lot of them do want to go back to work. We get a lot of talent coming back because they want their child in our daycare.” The Ritchie Bros. experience shows on-site child care is in huge demand. But few companies take the step, deterred by the cost and lack of expertise in operating a daycare. A lot of companies think it’s a good idea to provide onsite child-care, and some go so far as to try, says Sharon Gregson of the Coalition of Child Care Advocates of BC, a group pushing for $10-a-day child care. “But it typically isn’t a good idea.” To keep a child-care centre full, a company needs a constant stream of babies. Most employers, unless they are hospitals or universities (the University of British Columbia and Simon Fraser University each have popular child care programs) are nowhere near large enough, says Gregson. “What ends up happening is they start out filling it with their own staff and end up having to fill it from the community at large,” she says. By providing the space, a company ends up subsidizing child care for non-staff members, Gregson says. Ritchie Bros., which has about 500 employees working at its Burnaby office, occasionally admits children from people on staff in businesses nearby, but charges a higher rate for non-staff. “I wouldn’t say that our child care is inexpensive, even with the subsidy. But it’s high quality,” Mizuno says. Jennifer Berdahl, a professor at UBC’s Sauder School of Business, agrees providing quality, affordable child care near the workplace can help women return to work after having children. “But I don’t think it needs to be employer run,” Berdahl says. “I think that’s one of the impediments to employers setting these things up: liability, cost and management issues.” She says the government could work with groups of employers to set up child-care centres. Going it alone was not an option for Coast Capital Savings credit union, which wanted to offer child care to staff in its new Surrey Central location. “We’re not equipped to do it. It’s a whole other business,” says Lyne Moussa, the credit union’s manager of wellness and safety. Instead, Coast Capital put out a call to Kids & Company, a private child-care operator, to open on another floor of the building. Coast Capital pays a membership fee ensuring its staff certain priority access to the childcare service.

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“Anyone who registers is guaranteed a space,” Moussa says. Drop-in service is also available to cover child-care emergencies, she adds. The uptake among staff was not as high as Moussa had hoped, due primarily to cost. “There are a lot of options and it’s not cheap.” Kids & Company has child-care centres throughout the Lower Mainland and in downtown Calgary, Edmonton and Toronto, but hasn’t been able to set up in downtown Vancouver. “Would we like to have a location downtown and make that work? Absolutely,” says Linda Starr, the company’s director of sales and marketing. Child-care regulations are strict and difficult to satisfy in an expensive real estate market. Each centre is required to have a specific number of windows and separate outdoor spaces geared to specific age groupings. “It’s very, very tough to meet,” Starr says. The City of Vancouver is looking for ways to add more

Farah Parekh, standing, and Archuna Arunthavarajah, both caregivers at the Ritchie Bros. child-care centre, sitting with children at the centre | RITCHIE BROS.

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Daycare dilemma

downtown locations to Vancouver’s existing 20,000 child-care spaces. The city uses development fees to open new child-care spaces. But finding the right locations can be a challenge. One of the most innovative plans afoot is to open a child-care centre on a parkade roof in Gastown, says Mary Clare Zak, the city’s managing director of social policy. In Vancouver, where daycare costs can run as high as $2,000 per month, child care is the second-largest expense after housing, Zak says. The subsidized rate for Ritchie Bros. employees is $1,085 per month for infants and toddlers, less for older children. Non-employees pay $1,400 per month for the same age cohort. Cost and convenience considerations aside, there is a softer, less-mentioned benefit to on-site child care, says Turner of Ritchie Bros. Having children around really boosts morale, not just for parents, but for the whole company, she says. “Kids really brighten you up. They take away some of the seriousness.” É Fanny Chow, a former childcare worker at Ritchie Bros. in-house child-care centre, kneels to play housecleaning with two young children at the centre | RITCHIE BROS. Christine Clements, corporate child-care director for Ritchie Bros., kneels to talk to a child in one of the outdoor play spaces at the daycare | RITCHIE BROS.

A leadership course for women, by women. Because emotional intelligence skills are leadership skills. | |

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UNIVERSAL CHILD CARE KEY TO ATTRACTING AND RETAINING WOMEN Lack of services keeps best-educated generation of women from fully using their skills


F Second to housing, child care is the highest monthly expense for families with young children

or the first time, the stars are aligned to achieve progress towards a high-quality universal child-care program. This is great news for women in the workforce. This summer, the federal government signed a deal with the provinces to provide $7.5 billion over 11 years to create more high-quality, affordable child-care spaces across the country. Provincially, the three major political parties all announced support for long-term investment in accessible, affordable child care. Collaboration on child-care between Ottawa and B.C. is an encouraging step towards social and economic equality. Second to housing, child care is the highest monthly expense for families with young children. In Vancouver, families can pay upwards of $1,400 per month for children under three – if they can find it. With child-care spaces for only 20 per cent of children, parents must deal with long wait-lists; for many, the lack of child care means they must consider options that limit their full participation in the workforce. It is generally women who defer or limit their career aspirations. Despite an increase in the number of fathers who play an active role in the care of you ng ch i ld ren, women still carry the major share of t he respon sibility for unpaid care and domestic work. The high cost of child care has a direct impact on a woma n’s decision to return to work after having children. Many

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shift to part-time work and leave the traditional practice of their professions to seek more genial work environments, just as they enter what should be their most productive years. It is not coincidental that women are having fewer children, later in life, than in past decades. In urban centres like Vancouver, many young families are making the difficult decision to move out of the city, due to affordability challenges driven by the high cost of housing and lack of affordable child care. It has been almost 20 years since Quebec implemented a universal child-care system, and analysis by respected economist Pierre Fortin demonstrates strong, positive results for women and the Quebec economy – engaging 70,000 more women in the labor force, boosting GDP by $5 billion and reducing poverty and welfare rates. It also provides increased autonomy for mothers, enabling them to study, increase their incomes and advance their careers according to their education and aspirations. Financial security is higher for women in Quebec who have access to a universal child-care system than it is for women in other provinces that use a subsidy-based funding model. Public funding for a universal child-care system not only advances women’s equality and financial independence, but also offers a major economic opportunity for British Columbia and Canada. A 2017 McKinsey & Co. report found that increasing female participation in the labour force could grow the Canadian economy by $150 billion in 10 years. The research noted that B.C. would be one of four provinces to realize the greatest benefit. A recent economic analysis of the

proposed $10-a-day child care plan for B.C. found that a universal program would boost the province’s GDP by $5.8 billion, create 69,000 jobs and pay for itself in federal and provincial tax revenues. The system would provide a strong start for children and make life more affordable for young families. The direct benefits to business are clear: labour supply increases. The cost of recruiting new employees – twice that of an annual salary – is saved. Productivity goes up and absenteeism goes down. At YWCA Metro Vancouver, we c on s i s tent ly a c h ieve employee retention rates around 90 per cent or better – a strong result for a non-profit organization with a la rgely fem a le work force t h at compensates employees at the mid-point of the market. Our success is due to our commitment to family-friendly workplace practices, including priority access to our quality child-care facilities. The YWCA has long encouraged a cross-partisan approach to childcare and we are delighted that all three of B.C.’s major political parties have now recognized the importance of this investment. With the promise of federal/provincial collaboration before us, we have an opportunity to finally realize the foundational economic and social benefits that universal child care will bring. We must take it! É Janet Austin is the CEO of YWCA Metro Vancouver.

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According to the Mental Health Commission of Canada, in any given year one in five Canadians experiences a mental health issue. You might not see mental illness in your workplace, but it’s there



ike many women, Kristin Bower struggles with depression and anxiety. Five years ago, she experienced a major depressive episode while she was employed at Vancity credit union. “I struggled to make it work,” she recalls, “but it was a classic case of presenteeism. I was at my desk but I wasn’t really able to function.”

At the time, Bower says, there wasn’t a lot of conversation about mental illness in her organization and managers weren’t always sure how to support an employee going through major depression. She continued to struggle; eventually, she couldn’t continue working and went on disability leave. Her story isn’t unusual. According to the Mental Health Commission of Canada, in any given week 500,000 Canadians are unable to work due to mental health

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problems or illnesses. What is unique, however, is Bower’s perspective. As a human resources professional, she saw her mental health issues in the workplace from not only a personal point of view but an HR one. When she returned to work, she became determined to help Vancity better support other employees going through similar struggles. “It’s been a learning journey for both me and the organization,” she says. Bower now leads the diversity

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and inclusion work at Vancity, a position that includes fostering a mentally healthy work environment. She has spoken at a Canadian Mental Health Association conference on mental health in the workplace, in collaboration with the Mental Health Commission of Canada, and for Partners for Mental Health, an organization that seeks to change attitudes towards people living with a mental illness. Additionally, she writes about mental health for Vancity’s blog and for her own blog ( While mental illness has long been a taboo subject in the workplace, organizations such as Vancity are starting to tackle the issue more proactively. Not only does this make sense in terms of employee health and well-being, it also makes business sense. According to the Mental Health Commission of Canada, at any moment one in five Canadians is experiencing a mental health issue. About 30 per cent of short- and long-term disability claims in Canada are attributed to mental health problems and illnesses, and the total cost from mental health problems to the Canadian economy exceeds $50 billion annually. In 2011, mental health problems and illnesses among working adults in Canada cost employers more

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than $6 billion in lost productivity from absenteeism, presenteeism and turnover. You might not see mental illness in your workplace, but it’s there. “Women with mental health issues don’t look like what you think they look like,” says Bev Gutray, CEO of the Canadian Mental Health Association’s British Columbia division. She says the media typically illustrate pieces on depression with a photo of a sobbing woman. But those experiencing mental health issues in the workplace may not appear visibly distraught. In fact, work may be the one place where they can appear in control. “You can often show up and function in a very limited time,” explains Gutray. “It’s like being called to the stage…. But as soon as you’re off the stage what you’re dealing with is acute.” Gutray explains that factors contributing to mental illness come from both the home and the workplace, and one merges into the other. “Women need to understand gender issues and gender context that affects their mental health,” she says. For example, a woman’s mental well-being at work may be affected by things like harassment, lower income, lower status or insufficient benefits or child care. At home, she may be juggling

I’ve had many managers say to me, ‘I think an employee is struggling with a mental health issue. What do I do?’ And I say to them, don’t wait until they’re in that mental health crisis. Normalize the topic so you’re creating an environment where employees know it’s OK to talk about this. And then maybe they won’t get to the crisis stage

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Tackling mental health in the workplace


Women with mental health issues don’t look like what you think they look like

multiple roles and dealing with stress as a mother and/ or caregiver. Women also deal with hormonal changes related to pregnancy and menopause, as well as societal issues such as body image. Gutray also notes that women carry their experience of trauma into the workplace. While the majority of the

public thinks of post-traumatic stress disorder in terms of police officers, firefighters and first responders, “women who live with violence at home, who are sexually abused, are really the dominant group of people who live with and survive post-traumatic stress disorder.” Women are also more susceptible to depression and anxiety than are men. So how can employers help employees deal with mental health challenges in the workplace? Gutray says they can foster open conversation about mental health and acknowledge that these issues affect leaders, managers and supervisors just as they do entry-level employees. “Real change in the workplace for women’s mental health and well-being comes from leaders talking about their own mental health,” she says. “It opens the conversation for so many people who report to you to get the help that they need.” She urges leaders to “create a culture where your managers communicate the message that help is available early, not only for you but for your family.” At Vancity, Bower also emphasizes the need to foster open conversation in the workplace about mental health. “I’ve had many managers say to me, ‘I think an employee is struggling with a mental health issue. What do I do?’ And I say to them, don’t wait until they’re in that mental health crisis. Normalize the topic so you’re creating an environment where employees know it’s OK to talk about this. And then maybe they won’t get to the crisis stage.” É

September 28, 2017 3:30pm – 6:00pm

WHERE: Shangri-La Hotel 1128 West Georgia, Vancouver PRICE: Subscribers: $49 | Non-subscribers $59 We are pleased to announce that Business in Vancouver will present another expert panel discussion relevant to women in business. The panel will focus on the intricacies of career development and advancement, provide insights into overcoming challenges, identify strategies for successful paths, and share advice from women who have been there and done that.




Cybele Negris

Natalie Dakers

Ilana Schonwetter

CEO and Co-Founder,

Founding President and CEO, Accel-Rx Health Sciences Accelerator

Investment Advisor, BlueShore Financial

Rita Andreone QC, ICD.D, Partner and Chair of the Executive Committee, Lawson Lundell LLP

Hayley Woodin Reporter, Business in Vancouver

For more information visit

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CAUGHT IN THE MIDDLE As if working and raising a family weren’t enough, some mothers are also helping to care for ill and aging parents. Meet some members of the sandwich generation

The family photo: John, Barbara, Nikki, Jeff and Alex Tilley (Alex is the founder of Tilley Endurables hat and travel clothing company). Above, Nikki Tilley and son Charlie | TILLEY FAMILY



ikki Tilley watched as her parents, John and Barbara Tilley, grew the small family business from their basement to selling across the globe and opening two stores in the Lower Mainland. For this 40-year-old married mother of two (she has a seven-year-old daughter, Emma, and five-year-old son, Charlie) it was hard to see her dynamic mother become seriously ill from congestive heart failure and emphysema. Before long, Tilley went from being president of Tilley Vancouver and raising her family, to taking on another role: caregiver for her ailing mother. In Tilley’s case, caring for her mother means different

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things at different times. Sometimes it means driving her to medical appointments or grocery shopping – but other times the caregiving becomes more involved. When her son, Charlie, was born prematurely in 2012, her mother was also in Lions Gate Hospital with a chest infection, so she divided her time between her son and mother’s bedside. “The emotional support at times is overwhelming, yet

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Caught in the middle

navigate the health-care system to get my father in the best assisted-care facility I could.” ASK FOR HELP, FIND BALANCE Q Murtagh’s days start

‘I had to accept that I needed to ask for help sometimes,’ says Jen Murtagh, pictured here with her kids | JENN DI SPIRITO PHOTOGRAPHY

‘I just do what I can,’ says Joanne Sherwood pictured with her family | MARK SHERWOOD

I have found strength through my family,” says Tilley. “When I need it, I ask for help from my family, siblings and friends.” At times, Tilley is so busy juggling overseeing both stores, her kids’ needs and her parents’ needs that there isn’t a whole lot left for anything else. “I used to volunteer for the Special Olympics but I just can’t do it,” she says. “I have had to learn to say no to certain things.” Tilley sees herself as one of the lucky ones though. “I have the luxury to be able to take time off of work because my amazing staff can look after things when I just can’t be there.” PULLING TRIPLE DUTY Q Tilley is part of a grow-

ing segment of the population dubbed the sandwich generation. According to Statistics Canada, those in the sandwich generation are typically middle-aged women between 35 and 44 years old, who have a living parent over 65 and are still raising kids under the age of 18. The sandwich generation is now mostly composed of those from generation X (those born between the early 1960s and the early 1980s). That translates to more than two million Canadians making up part of this growing phenomenon – 28 per cent of all caregivers in Canada. That number is expected to rise as Canada’s population ages and the older generation is no longer capable of caring for themselves. Jen Murtagh, CEO of the Minerva Foundation, understands all too well what Tilley is going through. Besides her busy career, the single mother of two (Ronan is four and Kaylee is seven) has been looking after her 81-year-old father, Peter Murtagh, since he became a paraplegic in December 2016. “He came back from Bali with excruciating pain in his back and we learned he had Stage 4 prostate cancer and a spine fracture,” says the 38-year-old. “Since my brother lived in New Zealand, I became his primary caregiver.” She admits the first three months after her father’s diagnosis were a blur. “During the beginning, I was just trying to stay afloat.… I had to quickly learn how to

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at 5:30 a.m. in order to get her children to school by 7:30 a.m. Then, it’s a full day at the office. At 5 p.m., her next job starts. There is dinner, homework, shuttling kids to activities and tending to an elderly parent who needs special care – all requiring her precious time and energy. “I had to accept that I needed to ask for help sometimes. I also discovered to lean on my support system to help me cope with all of the demands placed on me,” she says. “In addition, I decided to make sleep a priority, so for now, I have forgone my exercise regimen.” Besides asking for help, Murtagh says her faith has kept her strong. “When Dad first got diagnosed, I couldn’t take time off work. So, I had to pack up his apartment in the evenings and weekends,” she says. “I couldn’t have done it without my faith.” Today, Murtagh visits her father three times a week, while ensuring he is comfortable and cared for at his assisted-care facility. “I also manage his bills and take him to his doctor appointments,” she says. For Murtagh, finding balance in her life means carving out time for herself at least once a week. “It can be the luxury of a bath, a glass of wine with a good book or girlfriend time,” she says. Joanne Sherwood’s story is similar. The 44-year-old full-time registered nurse couldn’t have imagined how her life would change when her mother was diagnosed with dementia. After a brief hospitalization, her 78-yearold mother and 78-year-old father moved into the home she shares with husband Marc and two young daughters. For four months earlier this year, the Filipina-born registered nurse was a caregiver to her mother while splitting her time ferrying around her daughters and working. “I do have two siblings who would, if asked, take Mom so we could have a family weekend getaway now and then,” she says. Now that her parents have recently moved back into their Richmond apartment, Sherwood says she has a little more free time. Today, she takes her parents grocery shopping and to doctor’s appointments, and spends time with them to make sure they eat properly. “My alone time is when I go grocery shopping,” she says. DON’T TRY TO BE SUPERWOMAN Q Although trying

at times, all three women agree they have relinquished trying to be superwomen. “I can’t be at all of my children’s events and I’ve made peace with that.… I’ve released the guilt,” notes Murtagh. “I’m just doing the best job I can.” For Tilley, it means relegating work. “For sure, my work has been affected somewhat,” Tilley says. “When I’m not on my game or if I feel less efficient some days, I ask for more help from my employees. For me, time with my family is more precious than ever and it’s really important to be with my mom.” Sherwood agrees. “Initially, I took a lot of unpaid time off from my job as program co-ordinator at [BC] Women’s Hospital and they were wonderful about it. My girls have also been understanding when I haven’t been able to be there for certain activities. I just do what I can.” É

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F A recent study from the University of Massachusetts showed that female engineering undergraduates who were paired with a female mentor felt more motivated, more self-assured and less anxious than those who had either a male mentor or no mentor at all

emale executives need to engage in mentoring to grow and support the overall upward mobility of women in the workforce. A recent study from the University of Massachusetts showed that female engineering undergraduates who were paired with a female mentor felt more motivated, more self-assured and less anxious than those who had either a male mentor or no mentor at all. While this study centres on engineering students, I believe the same principle applies to any workplace. Women who a re mentored by other women are at the forefront of change in the workforce. Early in my career, I had the privilege of being mentored by Sarina Bratton, the first female founder of a cruise line – Orion Expedition Cruises in Australia – and a trailblazer in luxury expedition cruising. She taught me to continually move forward, even when faced with barriers, actual or perceived. She pushed me to embrace change and to become comfortable working in

Mentoring is essential to empowering the next generation of female leaders

uncomfortable situations. The lessons I learned from working with Bratton continue to influence my career; and I continue to reflect on these valuable lessons as I mentor others. My message to fellow female executives is to value mentoring as an effective and impactful investment in our female workforce, and to embrace the following three strategies when guiding a mentee. BE CURIOUS Q T he most successful mentors are active, accomplished listeners. Ask your mentee questions to both draw out valuable insights and challenge her assumptions. By being curious, you will help to reveal opportunities that your mentee’s blind spots may be disguising. You may want to jump in and solve your mentee’s problems, but you can have more value by asking probing questions, listening to her responses and helping her to discover solutions on her own. BE IMPARTIAL Q As a mentor, you may add value because of your familiarity with the subject matter; but in many instances, your value comes from offering an impartial, outsider’s perspective. Recently, I was mentored by Loreen Paananen, who is an accomplished business executive and corporate director. Her counsel was invaluable to me during a time of major transition i n my ca reer. Her abi l ity to be detached from the stresses of my day-to-day challenges, along with her sage advice, helped me to form clarity of vision for moving forward.


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BE BOLD Q Women often report that barriers at work and home can limit opportunities for mentoring. T hese barriers, whether actual or perceived, inhibit their access to the knowledge and experience needed to advance their careers. As a mentor, you can support your

mentee to be both bold and pragmatic when it comes to pushing forward. Embracing change is a key contributor to success. We need to encourage women not to stick with the status quo, but to be open to opportunities, actively seek them out and even run toward them. I have learned so much through mentoring, about myself both as a leader and as a woman in the workforce. At times, mentoring feels like Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire dancing – graceful and proficient, with both parties completely in tune, one gently guiding the other in a way that they barely feel the push. Conversely, sometimes mentoring feels like climbing the Grouse Grind in the heat of summer – an endless path that is relentlessly difficult, where you are questioning whether you are progressing forward at all. But even in those challenging situations, guiding your mentee along the path to her goals will culminate in the exhilaration of achievement when she reaches the summit. My philosophy as a leader is to help others fulfil their greatest potential, while also achieving mine. Mentoring is at the heart of everything I do, and it gives me great satisfaction to watch people grow. To truly invest in the development of successful female professionals, we need to model powerful female leadership, and connect them with mentors who can contribute to their development. Mentoring is incredibly rewarding work and absolutely essential to empowering our next generation of female leaders. É Karen Hardie is vicepresident of global sales at Rocky Mountaineer, the world’s largest privately owned luxury tourist train.

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SPEAKING Do you suffer from glossophobia (fear of public speaking)? Time to conquer it to get ahead in your career (and in life)




I think public speaking, for anyone, takes a tremendous amount of courage. So don’t expect to not experience fear


et aside snakes, forget flying and disregard the dark – the top fear for many professionals is public speaking. For some, glossophobia (as the condition is officially known) is even more terrifying than dying. It may sound far-fetched, but not to those whose careers force them to fight through the phobia.

“I still am terrified before I go onstage. My heart’s pounding. I’m sweating so I always have clinical-strength deodorant on,” quips Narges Nirumvala, CEO of Vancouver-based ExecutiveSpeak Coaching International. “I think public speaking, for anyone, takes a tremendous amount of courage. So don’t expect to not experience fear.” Nirumvala faced her own “do or die” situation about seven years ago. After being fired from a menial job, she spent months in “complete obscurity and unemployment,” unable to secure even a minimum-wage position. As she turned toward social assistance, her husband suggested she leverage her talent as a communicator and venture out on her own. Today, she has hundreds of conferences and group presentations under her belt as one of Canada’s leading executive speech coaches and a paid motivational speaker. “I didn’t have an option. And often for my leaders, it’s the same situation. They’ve been promoted, they are going to be CEO in a year, maybe they’ve just become executive director, maybe they’re going to be running for election,” says Nirumvala. “All of a sudden it’s absolutely vital that they can speak well in public.” If you’ve ever been to a conference or listened to your boss give a speech before you and your colleagues, chances are you’ve witnessed someone fearful of public speaking. Many who appear confident on the outside are scared to death on the inside. Through training, practice and learning from others, they’ve overcome it. LEARN WHAT TO DO (AND WHAT NOT TO) BY WATCHING OTHERS Q A turning point in Nirumvala’s career

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was after watching a technology CEO give a very dull talk at a human resources conference a few years back. “He was boring people to death. It was awful,” she says. “One woman had fallen asleep next to me; the other woman was on her phone the whole time.” Putting pen to napkin, she documented 67 mistakes made by the speaker – insights later shared in her bestseller Capture the Spotlight. Among them: reading off a PowerPoint, speaking to a PowerPoint and failing to share stories. “That’s how it started,” she says. “I went to hear someone speak. He was terrible. I learned so much.” Reading, listening and taking notes are simple yet powerful ways to collect insights and ideas to improve your public speaking skills. There’s a plethora of content available on websites such as YouTube or TED Talks, giving professionals front-row access to the best presenters, performers and speakers in the world. It will also help you pick up on any new trends and see what works – and doesn’t work. “There’s no doubt that the expectations for an entertaining speaker today is very different than it was,” says Debby Carreau, founder and CEO of Vancouver-based Inspired HR and chair of the Young Presidents’ Organization Canada’s women’s network. “It really has shifted and it’s also upped the game.” Carreau’s advice for beginners is to start small and work within your comfort zone. Then, start slowly pushing the envelope by making and posting videos on channels such as Facebook or Instagram and ask for feedback. She also recommends people practise by reading their speech

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Even with hundreds of events and engagements under her belt, Narges Nirumvala, CEO of ExecutiveSpeak Coaching International, still gets nervous before speaking publicly. The fear will always be there, she says. Success is about working through it | SUBMITTED Debby Carreau, CEO of Inspired HR, says that while YouTube and TED Talks have set the bar high for public speaking, beginners should start small and within their comfort zone | SUBMITTED

out loud before delivering it live. “You have to rehearse,” she says, noting that writing and reading a speech is a lot different from saying it out loud. When you verbalize, words may sound different, breathing becomes an issue and the flow changes. FOCUS ON CONTENT A S MUCH A S DELIVERY Q “Every time that I get behind the podium, my

legs still shake,” Anna Tudela, vice-president of diversity and regulatory affairs at Vancouver-based Goldcorp, says of her experience public speaking. “But it shakes for about half a second, and then you look at the audience and then you feel comfortable. And then you just do it.” One of the best ways to get better at public speaking is to just do it, and keep doing it, to boost confidence and help lessen the fear over time. That means working on both the content and the delivery. Tudela stresses the importance of fully understanding and mastering the contents of your speech to help improve the delivery. “If you know the subject matter that you’re going to be discussing, then you feel more comfortable,” she says. Rememberi ng the five p’s her husba nd taug ht her,“Proper preparation prevents poor performance,” also helps. For Tudela, preparation also includes working on posture and choosing clothing that helps her feel more comfortable when speaking in front of an audience. Injecting personal stories into your speech is another way to help you feel more comfortable and to engage the crowd, says Kristy White, director of operations at Dale Carnegie Training of British Columbia. White says the magic formula for storytelling is to share a vivid personal experience relevant to the point, use facts and evidence to bolster a statement or case, illustrate the action audience

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members should take and then explain what they stand to benefit. “If you follow that format in a concise and clear way, you’ll very quickly be able to get people on board with what you need them to do,” White says. “What we teach people is to speak about something that you know. Earn the right to get up in front of a group of people. Feel confident in what you’re talking about. And if you’re telling a story, if you’re talking about your own experience and using it as an example of how to make your point, no one’s going to tell you you’re wrong.” GET OUT OF YOUR HEAD AND INTO THE AUDIENCE Q As a professional facilitator, Carol Carter would

deal with her “crazy fear” of public speaking by getting

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Speaking up

foot in front of the other until the fear disappears,” says Carter, who is also the founder of GetThrival! Training & Consulting. Good public speaking requires that kind of conquering, can-do-better attitude – and a shift in mindset. You need to get comfortable with sharing thoughts, feelings, stories and opinions. It starts with delivering the contents out loud to yourself, then sharing it with others. “We all have three speeches,” White says, quoting the famed leadership trainer Dale Carnegie, “the one we practise, the one we give, the one we wish we’d given. That’s just to say that it’s not going to be perfect every time. Don’t be so hard on yourself. Look for an opportunity to have fun when you’re presenting. Enjoy it. Get passionate about it. Be enthusiastic about sharing your message.” IF YOU DON’T FIND IT INTERESTING, OTHERS WON’T EITHER Q Vancity president and CEO Tamara Vrooman Tamara Vrooman, president and CEO of Vancity credit union, has honed her public speaking skills through experience, and by listening to others | GREATER VANCOUVER BOARD OF TRADE

up to speak for two to three minutes before diving into her seat and encouraging participants to speak up and interact with each other instead. Then she joined Toastmasters. She lasted 38 seconds up at the front of the room during her first meeting in 2010. The shaking stopped after her third speech. By her eighth, she felt confident enough to ditch her notes. And within eight and a half months of starting, she came third in B.C. in Toastmasters’ Humorous Speech Contest. “I watch a lot of speeches and I’m always looking for good role models, and people that are doing comedy really well because I’m terrible at it,” says Carter, who this year is serving as director of District 21 Toastmasters, which encompasses clubs in the Lower Mainland, on Vancouver Island, and from south of the Fraser up to the Interior. “Forcing yourself to speak as much as you can is the hard way of doing things. The easy way is to get into a group that causes you to practise every week. That gives you feedback, and mentoring, and helps you put one

5 TIPS FOR SPEAKING IN PUBLIC Improve your writing: “The writing is as important, if not more important, as the speaking,” says Narges Nirumvala, CEO of ExecutiveSpeak Coaching International. “If you practise your writing ability, then when you practise your speaking and you work on it, it dramatically improves.” Overprepare: “It’s like anything in life: the more you do something, the less nervous and the more comfortable you’re going to be doing it. So seek out opportunities to get up in front of a group. Take those chances,” says Kristy White, director of operations at Dale Carnegie Training of British Columbia. Ditch the notes: “I find that people also are amazed when you speak without notes so they give you a break,” says Tamara Vrooman, president and CEO of Vancity credit union. Not having notes makes a speech more genuine and authentic, she says. It’s also never the same twice. Watch your tone: “I can’t speak enough about the tone of your voice. You have to speak with confidence, you have to speak with authenticity. You can’t pretend to be someone you’re not,” says Anna Tudela, vice-president of diversity and regulatory affairs at Goldcorp. Silence the inner critic: Women need to be less critical of themselves, Nirumvala says. “I think as women we expect perfection,” she says. Don’t punish yourself for mistakes; celebrate progress instead.

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started public speaking in university by giving speeches to students, peers and professors. “My breakthrough came when I realized that if it wasn’t interesting to me, it probably wasn’t interesting to the audience,” says Vrooman. Her secret? Don’t use notes or try to memorize speeches. “That really changed the experience for me because I realized that if I was engaged, then probably I would be engaging,” she says. “And all of the other stuff that I worried about would go away.” Admitting she still gets nervous, Vrooman uses the adrenaline to bring energy to her presentations. She sinks into the moment, taking cues from her audience by watching body language, and adjusting where needed. She also looks inward, reflecting on the message she wants to convey, and how she wants to convey it. She adapts, using tips and tricks from other speakers whose style resonates with hers. “The message can be conveyed in a host of other ways,” Vrooman says of public speaking. “Why do we choose public speaking? Well, we must use public speaking because the person conveying it adds value to the message. So think about the message less and yourself more.” At the end of the day though, it’s about good content and not letting a poor performance set you back. “I would rather listen to an interesting speech poorly delivered than an uninteresting speech perfectly delivered,” Vrooman says. É

RESOURCES A number of local institutions provide public speaking courses, including Simon Fraser University and the British Columbia Institute of Technology. University of British Columbia Extended Learning offers public speaking for international professionals. Private institutions, such as the Harvard Advantage Consulting & Training and Dale Carnegie Training of British Columbia, also offer sessions aimed at working professionals. District 21 Toastmasters, which includes the Greater Vancouver area, has dozens of clubs available for beginner, advanced and specialty speakers.

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I Seek opportunities to take on challenging projects that require you to step outside your comfort zone

n my 30-plus years of corporate experience, particularly as head of human resources, I’ve seen many women inadvertently put obstacles in their own path by not actively managing their careers. Taking the driver’s seat at every stage in your career is critical to success. Be intentional. Define your goals, articulate them and follow up. You alone are responsible for your career. Your manager and HR play a role in supporting you, but it’s up to you to be leading the way. Make your career intentions known to your manager and mentors. Women are often brought up to not promote their own interests. As a result, many forgo advancement opportunities because they wait for someone to recognize and reward their good work, rather than be proactive. Here are some tips to help you better manage your career: KNOW YOUR VALUE AND NEGOTIATE Q Research shows that 57

per cent of men negotiate job offers, but only seven per cent of women do. In one study, those who negotiated were able to increase their salary by over seven per cent. Over a career, that difference can amount to hundreds of thousands of dollars. Women also need to negotiate opportunities to gain new skills and experience in order to move their careers forward. Fortunately, negotiation is a skill that can be learned and honed with practice.

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You alone are responsible for your career

EMPHASIZE RESULTS Q T he theme of “what’s in it for them” is central to driving your career forward. Establish a strong track record of delivering results for your organization. If you led a successful product launch, how did that affect the bottom line? Frame your accomplishments in terms of your contributions to your organization’s success. LEARN TRANSFERABLE SKILLS Q Futurist Alvin Toffler

wrote: “The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn.” Given the pace of change, even if you are well established and an expert in your field you will not stay that way without continuous improvement. Enhance your marketability by developing skills that are transferable across roles or industries such as leadership or digital literacy. Get creative. Serving on boards of directors is an excellent way to gain transferable skills. B E H U N G RY FO R EXPE RIE N CES Q Seek opportunities to take

on challenging projects that require you to step outside your comfort zone; this is an essential ingredient for growth. When you operate within your comfort zone, you are likely acting based on habit and aren’t learning anything new. Looking back on my career, my proudest accomplishments are the ones where I felt I was in a little over my head, but persevered regardless. I became stronger, and so did my resumé. Be open to lateral moves as part of your development. You will gain new skills and experiences, and demonstrate that you are adaptable – a desirable trait from an organization’s perspective. I have made lateral moves within

organizations and even between industries; they all helped move my career forward, even though they weren’t upward moves. When a career opportunity arises, consider applying for it even if you don’t meet all the qualifications. Research shows that men will apply for a position when they believe they have 60 per cent of the qualifications, but women won’t apply unless they believe they have 100 per cent. Give it a shot. BUILD A DIVERSE NETWORK OF STRONG RELATIONSHIPS Q Who

are the top 10 individuals who can help you to grow your career? They may be people in your existing network whom you rely on for honest feedback, or who challenge you to take risks. They may be mentors who’ve travelled that road and can help guide you and open doors. Make a point to build and nurture relationships with your top 10. In these days of extreme interconnectedness, you never know when and where your paths might cross and what opportunities may arise as a result. KEEP YOUR EYES AND YOUR MIND OPEN FOR OPPORTUNITIES Q Finally, although it’s im-

portant to have a career plan, it’s equally important not to be so wedded to it that you are blind to opportunities along the way. My career switch from marketing into HR was unplanned, but the best career move I ever made. Don’t be so focused on your career destination that you miss the journey getting there.É Marni Johnson is senior vice-president, human resources and communication, at BlueShore Financial.

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MEGAN WILLIAMS Time isn’t going to open up for you, so you need to make time for what is important

Running a side business can be both rewarding and challenging. Meet two women making it work – with the support of those around them



n 2011, Megan Williams was enjoying a busy, rewarding career in media communications at the BC Transplant Society. It was also during this time that she decided to pen a memoir chronicling her five-year love story with boyfriend Chad Warren, and his ultimate death from incurable multiple myeloma in 2009.

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The book, Our Interrupted Fairy Tale, which Williams self-published in February 2014, won the Hyack Teen Read Award and was a long-list nominee for the Whistler Independent Book Awards. “A few months after Chad’s death, I found his journals and the blog entries he had kept from the time he was first diagnosed at the age 26 until he passed away at 34,” she says. “As I flipped through the pages, on the last one Chad had written, ‘Publish this when the time is right.’” That journey would begin her initial foray into “sidepreneur” – a term coined to describe someone who has a full-time career while building a business on the side. “My work on the book never affected my full-time job; if anything, it enhanced it,” she says. “I only wrote on the weekends and in the evenings.” But it wasn’t until a couple of years later, while Williams was driving her nine-year-old stepdaughter, Madison (from her husband, Brad Watt), to school that the idea of starting her own publishing company would begin to bloom. “Madison didn’t like to read, so to encourage her I downloaded some books by Robert Munsch. We would listen to them while driving from the North Shore to Coquitlam,” Williams recalls. “One day, Madison said, ‘Wouldn’t it be fun to write our own book?’” That conversation morphed into a book they co-authored, Don’t Call the Office, about a blended family. Throughout that process, she once again tried to decide whether to self-publish or go the traditional route. Then, one day the Vancity Business Babes networking group asked if Williams was willing to run a workshop about self-publishing. “After the workshop, I received many offers to consult with other would-be self-publishers,” she says. That sparked the idea of launching her own self-publishing company. “I started thinking it would be nice to make a little more income, so I began to research whether or not there was a market for another self-publishing company,” she says. At the time, Williams was on contract with the Provincial Health Services Authority (PHSA), in corporate communications. “I wasn’t really fulfilled there, and I felt that I could find a much more rewarding career on my own,” she says. In February, Williams launched the Self Publishing Agency. Although it was nerve-racking and sometimes scary, Williams says having the security of a 9-to-5 job allowed her to transition from her career to full-time entrepreneur. “It never felt like a risk because I always had the stability of a full-time job,” she says. “I also never allowed my side business to affect my work.” It was a great piece of advice from a friend that helped keep Williams focused on the end goal: “Time isn’t going to open up for you, so you need to make time for what is important.” Today, her company is growing beyond her expectations. So well, in fact, that when the 32-yearold’s contract with the PHSA ended in April 2017, the self-publishing guru didn’t renew. “I feel like the wedding planner of book publishing,” she says. “What began as a way to supplement my income became my new career. The skills I took from my marketing jobs assisted me tremendously in getting to where I am today.”

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GILLIAN BEHNKE I have a balance that is working right now.… I could make more money if I put more time in but I don’t want to compromise my family

For fellow sidepreneur Gillian Behnke, her own side business began much like Williams’. As manager of community relations for Canada Place, Behnke has a very demanding job overseeing marketing, education, community relations and events. Add a husband and two young children, and life was full. But seven years ago, weighing 230 pounds, Behnke decided she was going to finally lose the weight that had crept on during her two pregnancies. “I was doing the gym thing and running, but it was taking way too much time away from my family,” she says. Under the stress of juggling a demanding career and family life, she turned to Beachbody home workout programs. “I lost 80 pounds in eight months by doing my workouts early in the morning before the kids woke up,” she says, adding she also drank Beachbody’s dietaid shakes. “Then, a friend told me about an opportunity to run Beachbody fitness challenges.” That dovetailed nicely into a side business, which provides extra income for her family. As an independent distributor/coach, Behnke’s job is to help others reach their health and fitness goals through challenge groups, which are posted on a Facebook group page, or one-on-one interaction via text or email. She devotes approximately three hours a day to Beachbody. “First thing in the morning and at night after the kids have gone to bed, I get on my computer and help people from all over North America stay accountable to their fitness goals,” says Behnke. Today, she is steadily growing her virtual business. “I have a balance that is working right now.… I could make more money if I put more time in but I don’t want to compromise my family.... My kids [10-year-old son and a seven-year-old daughter] are still so young,” she says. É

5 TIPS FOR SIDEPRENEURS Whether you are thinking about a side business for extra income, or eventually transitioning into a new career or for tax writeoffs, you need to master time management and of course business acumen – all the while trying hard to never allow your full-time career or family suffer. Here are five tips from those who have been there, done that: 1. Get up early: Behnke gets up at 5:30 a.m. every day to fit in a home workout, put some time into her side business and get her two children ready for the day ahead. 2. Find support: Whether it’s your spouse or best friend, find someone who believes in you and touch base with them when you’re feeling tired or doubting yourself. Behnke says her husband makes her dreams possible by being supportive, helping with family chores and helping her get the children ready in the morning. 3. Be kind to yourself: You can’t be everything all of the time, so be prepared to make sacrifices. Both women admit they have had to forgo some things. For Behnke it means less television and Facebook scrolling, while for Williams it means shutting down her cellphone at 8 p.m. nightly, and less downtime on weekends and weeknights. 4. Due diligence: Williams recommends researching the market you are considering getting into and coming up with a business model. Seek advice from people you respect and trust. If you have a mentor, all the better. 5. Believe in yourself: If you don’t, who will?

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WHY THE GLASS CEILING NEEDS MORE CRACKS Research shows having more women on boards and in senior management roles leads to better corporate performance. Investors want more women too


Y You can decide to work for companies with better gender diversity policies and, for added impact, your investments can make a difference

ou’ve probably heard a lot about those cracks in the glass ceiling. Most of us assume that women are well represented on boards and in senior management in corporate Canada. Turns out we’ll need a lot more cracks if we want to break through any time soon. Despite the growing body of evidence that gender diversity in the boardroom leads to stronger financial performance, Canadian women hold only 12 per cent of corporate board seats in Canada. And nearly half of Canadian corporate boards don’t have any female representation at all. There are a number of reasons why companies with diverse leadership are linked to stronger financial performance. Research has shown that having more women on boards and in senior management leads to a greater capacity for creativity and innovation, employee productivity, commitment, satisfaction and a focus on customer needs. These are all drivers of financial performance. A study by the Peterson Institute for International Economics and EY shows that companies with at least 30 per cent women in leadership roles could increase profit margins by 15 per cent compared to those with lower levels of diversity. T hat’s a big number and investors are paying attention. A survey published by the Responsible Investment Association and sponsored by OceanRock Investments Inc. looked at investor perspectives on gender pay equ ity and women on boards. In it, 82 per cent of respondents said

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they believe women should be better represented on boards and 73 per cent said that they disapprove of companies with zero or very few women on their boards. When asked about the gender pay gap, 92 per cent of investors said that women and men should receive equal pay for equal work and 76 per cent said companies should be required to disclose how much they pay women compared with men. More than half of Canadian investors would be willing to divest of a company that does not pay men and women equally for equal work while another 25 per cent would consider doing so. “Having more women on boards and in senior management is not only about gender equity; it also makes good business sense,” Fred Pinto, CEO of OceanRock Investments and vice-president and head of wealth and asset management at Qtrade Financial Group, said in releasing the survey earlier this year. “It’s good for the company and it’s what investors want.” The Ontario Securities Commission has been paying attention to investors’ concerns and, since 2015, requires companies to “comply or explain” their policies on gender diversity on their boards and in senior management. Companies with diversity targets had, on average, female board representation of 25 per cent compared to 10 per cent for those that did not have a target. The results have been positive but improvements are slow in coming, with only marginal increases in the percentage of women on boards in the first two years. Investors are part of the solution. OceanRock Investments and other responsible investors have been asking Canadian companies to improve their gender diversity policies. It’s not a big ask. In most

cases they simply want the companies to develop a formal diversity policy that outlines how they plan to increase the numbers of women and minorities on boards and in senior management. In 2016, OceanRock Investments and the Shareholder Association for Research and Education filed a shareholder resolution on gender diversity with Restaurant Brands International, owner of Burger King and Tim Hortons. The proposal garnered majority support from independent shareholders and 16 per cent overall. They filed the resolution again this year and overall support increased to more than 22 per cent. Not a decisive victory but it’s moving the company in the right direction. In addition to OceanRock Investments, NEI Funds and IA Clarington Inhance SRI Funds have engaged in dialogue with companies and incorporated board diversity into their investment decision-making process. In 2016, BMO launched its Women in Leadership Fund, which invests in North American companies that promote gender-diverse leadership. You can decide to work for companies with better gender diversity policies and, for added impact, you r i nvest ments c a n m a ke a difference. É Deb Abbey is the CEO of the Responsible Investment Association. She was the founder and CEO of the first investment management firm in Canada to focus exclusively on responsible investment. She is the coauthor of The 50 Best Ethical Stocks for Canadians (2001 edition) and the author of Global Profit and Global Justice: Using Your Money to Change the World (2004).

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YOUR JOB 2017-08-31 10:05 AM

Celebrating leading women in business, including our own. A selection of the distinctions our female partners have achieved, include: BC Business magazine Ě0RVW,QûXHQWLDO:RPHQLQ%& Benchmark Canada Best Lawyers in Canada Board and Committee Chairs Canadian Board Diversity Council (CBDC) Diversity 50 Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory CBABC and VBA Past Executives Chambers Global and Chambers Canada Commissioner to Canadian Human Rights Commission (GLWRULDO%RDUG0HPEHUV Federation of Law Societies of Canada, Vice President Greater Vancouver Board of Trade Ě:HQG\0F'RQDOG$ZDUG%RDUG0HPEHU

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Women in Business Fall 2017  
Women in Business Fall 2017