Capital ADVOCATING FOR BUSINESS. FUELLING THE FUTURE.
RIGHT HONOURABLE BEVERLEY MCLACHLIN ON BEING THE FIRST WOMAN CHIEF JUSTICE OF CANADA p. 66
ADVANCING EQUALITY Ottawa women leading the way
Left to right: Ruby Williams, Hon. Lisa MacLeod, Lise Bourgeois, Huiping Zhang
WOMEN IN STEM
A Progress Report
Finding Success in the NCR
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10 Capital Context The era of women BY S U EL I NG CHI NG
32 C-Suite View Management opportunities for women advancing across NCR BY JEFF BUC KSTEIN
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RIGHT HONOURABLE BEVERLEY MCLACHLIN ON BEING THE FIRST WOMAN CHIEF JUSTICE OF CANADA p. 66
Ottawa women leading the way
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Left to right: Ruby Williams, Hon. Lisa MacLeod, Lise Bourgeois, Huiping Zhang
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Only Through Collaboration and Gender Equality Will We Have True City Building
Ottawa Advocacy Day with Mayor Jim Watson, City Councillors Harder, Blais, and Sudds, as well as a robust delegation of partners representing post-secondary education, tourism, business organizations, healthcare, and our civic economic development organization, it became quite clear that we must work collaboratively, and in an unprecedented manner, if we’re to be successful in making Ottawa a global city of the future. There is a lot happening in Ottawa. The LRT system will be opening soon, and plans are being implemented for additional phases to the east, west, south, and north. Exciting projects in South Ottawa include a new Le Germain ALT airport hotel, a revamped gaming experience at the soon to be opened Hard Rock Casino, plans for a new movie and television production soundstage, and an autonomous vehicles test track. The continual reconstruction of the downtown core currently features a revitalized West Block on Parliament Hill and Government Conference Centre on Wellington, not to mention the Elgin Street dig. Additionally, Amazon is changing the vistas in the far East End of Ottawa. Much is happening to contribute to Ottawa’s evolution – and we must ensure we are working together.
MAR K HO LLERON
ON A RECENT trip to Queen’s Park for
As city building efforts evolve, the Ottawa Board of Trade will do its part in working cooperatively with our economic development partners, stakeholders, and the business community. We will partner with other business groups such as Le regroupement des gens d’affaires de la Capitale Nationale (RGA), the Business Improvement Areas (BIAs), and the Gatineau Chamber of Commerce. We will continue to work with our educational members—uOttawa, Algonquin College, La Cité, and Carleton University—in creating world-class talent, developing important cooperative relationships with businesses, and mapping the path towards innovation. True city building involves not only progressing with partnerships and cooperation, but also building a diverse and inclusive society. It involves a conscious effort to achieve gender equality and advance women in all domains of leadership. Ottawa has already taken many progressive steps, but much still needs to be done for lasting change. The Ottawa Board of Trade is devoted to advance equality and lead our business community towards achieving this goal. If you’re not a member of the Ottawa Board of Trade, this is the perfect opportunity to join this growing movement. Together, we can be stronger and make our business community a vibrant force in city building and leadership, which can bring lasting change to make Ottawa the best place to Live, Work, & Play, as well as the best place to Invest, Study, & Visit. Ian Faris, President and CEO Ottawa Board of Trade
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Celebrating our Women in Business SINCE 2000
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IN THE PAST YEAR We made history! With the joining of the Ottawa, West Ottawa, and OrlĂŠans Chambers, our city has a stronger, unified voice to speak for the business community. Representing businesses and stakeholders of all sizes and sectors; east to west, and south to downtown, your all-new Ottawa Board of Trade is the Voice for Ottawa Business.
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FROM THE PUBLISHER
Spotlight on Success FROM THE EARLY feminist works of Mary Wollstonecraft
and her treatise A Vindication of the Rights of Woman published in 1792, through to the suffragettes in the early 20th century, up to now, there has been a tremendous change for the better when it comes to gender equality. We wanted to use this issue to celebrate some of the amazing women leaders we have right here in Ottawa. This issue features an interesting cross-section of women that have made structural change in both the public and private sectors. From Lise Bourgeois, President and CEO of La Cité Collegiale, to the Right Honourable Beverley McLachlin, the former Chief Justice of Canada, Ottawa has embraced inclusion and diversity in the workplace. Throughout the process of putting this magazine together, it became apparent that there is no shortage of women working hard and achieving success in the National Capital Region. We barely scratched the surface. But it also became apparent that there is still work to be done. That change cannot be achieved solely through the hard work and resilience of the women trying to make it; it has to come from the companies and institutions hiring them to make equality on all levels of their organization a priority. As a small business owner, I have always employed many women. In fact, I am outnumbered. The women I work with are talented, creative, intelligent, and dynamic, and in three decades in the business, some of the biggest projects I have been involved in have been run by women. I hope that this issue can open a dialogue about gender equality. I owe a great debt of gratitude to the contribution women have had in my business and in the community I am part of. I would like to thank my supporting partners in making the magazine happen. I hope that this issue provides an indication that change is still happening, and that as long as there are women like the trailblazers in this magazine, it can only get better.
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The Era of Women Now is the Time to Advance BY S UE L I N G CH I N G
THERE IS A renewed focus on
the issue of gender equality. In some circles, it is simply touted as the right and fair thing to do. But for the Ottawa Board of Trade and our partners in community development, there is one key reason for our pursuit of gender equality—it makes good economic sense. As we enter the fourth industrial revolution, a time of unprecedented change both in pace and scope, it is agreed that diversity in approach, thought, and execution is our key strategy for success. The Board of Trade has identified leadership development as a competitive edge for Ottawa and in particular the elevation of women as leaders in business,
community, and in the public service arena. To this end, we have committed to a multipronged approach; to inspire individuals, create comunity, and promote policy. Be The Change The very reason we need women to step up in our world may well be the thing that holds back our cause: self-promotion, or rather lack thereof. For every woman we see successfully navigating the traditional world of men in business, community, and politics, there are countless others with the same capability but without the confidence. We need to create a tsunami of women willing to step into their power,
embrace risk, and accept their responsibility to make a difference in the world. It is incumbent upon women who have achieved the success mindset to share their stories as a means of inspiring others to do the same. And all women must actively look for ways to grow as valued individuals, use their voice, and find their unique path to contribute to equality and community growth. The Board of Trade hosts events designed for women to share experiences, build relationships, and be inspired by local leaders telling the real story of their success. You will also find within these pages and our network many women who lead by example.
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“The world will be saved by the Western Woman.” The Dalai Lama
Building Momentum What is in the forefront of our minds is in the forefront of our actions. If becoming inspired as individuals is the first step, then becoming inspired as a collective is the next. In Ottawa, there are many opportunities for women to be connected to like-minded women as entrepreneurs, corporate employees, and politicians. We gather based on sector, community issues, and just to connect. We have initiatives that promote women-led businesses,
women-focused education, funding opportunities, and recognition programs. There cannot be too much done in this area. The key will be to leverage each of these networks to the one key goal of achieving equality. The Board of Trade believes there is power in clear communication and true collaboration. We intend to keep the gender equality conversation going strong and create a community that is well informed of the real issues and synchronized in its approach. We encourage a broad range of thought leadership and request decision makers in all sectors and at all levels of government to add the lens of gender equality to every portfolio. We are proud to work closely with like-minded organizations and businesses on this issue. Our future prosperity relies on it.
“Each of us can make a difference. Together, we make change.” Barbara Mikulski
Embracing Equity At a recent Ottawa forum on gender issues, Sir Richard Branson encouraged business and
community leaders to implement policy that supports equality. He shared that some women deny the need as they can “get there on their own.” But it won’t get done. The majority of the influence and decision making remains in the hands of men. It is not to imply men intend to block equality, it is that it requires significant attention and collectively, it is not a priority. Unless it has to be. Enter the world of advocacy, which promotes policies, programs, and initiatives that make gender equality an everyday consideration and non-negotiable. To make equity in leadership roles, pay grades, and acquiring capital so commonplace that the concept of equality is instinctive. To create cultures that prioritize flexibility, support family, and celebrate diversity rather than treat it as an obligation. And maybe to raise a generation that would not even consider treating another differently based on gender. The Board of Trade is pleased to announce a new Women’s Council, which we created with the intention of speeding up the progress on gender equality. As the primary advocate of our businesses and vanguard for community prosperity, we
are excited to add this lens to our policy positions and will be working with volunteers, community partners, and government to reach our collective goal of gender equality.
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” Margaret Mead
Men as Advocates It must be said: gender equality is not a women’s issue. It is a community growth issue. It is not “women instead of men.” It is “women and men, as equals.” Men have an integral role in the fight for equality and just as much to gain. We are very fortunate to have many men within our community who have declared their support for equality, demonstrate it daily, and take meaningful action toward our goal. All Board of Trade initiatives on equality are inclusive of men. In fact, it is our winning strategy.
Finally, this edition is focused on gender equality from the first world perspective. The issue is completely different in underdeveloped countries and we are grateful to organizations with this important focus. It is our intention that the aggressive pursuit of equality in our community will have far reaching impact on global equality. Thank you to our members, local businesses, and community partners for continued dedication to Ottawa’s growth and prosperity. We hope you find this edition of Capital informative and inspirational. We are honoured to serve you.
Sueling Ching is an advocate, consultant, and community leader.
Collaborating Women International Women’s Day is March 8 annually. It is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity. In Ottawa, over 20 organizations have come together to create
a calendar of events and initiatives during the week of International Women’s Day and throughout the year. Each event is designed for those interested in advancing women as entrepreneurs, corporate, and community leaders. As Canada’s Capital, Ottawa is an economic and political hub
for the world and so we are compelled to lead the way on an issue critical to our collective success: gender equality. Thank you to Invest Ottawa for their leadership on this collaboration and to all the organizations who have enthusiastically contributed to
the concept of working together to engage more leaders in this important conversation. To learn more about the contributing organizations and to access the ongoing calendar and resources available, please visit and share the site at www.investottawa.ca/women. #WeMeanBusiness
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THE LARGEST CONSTRUCTION SITES GO OUT OF THEIR WAY TO HIRE OUR GRADUATES
BALANCING WORK AND LIFE IS EASY AT MERKBURN HOLDINGS
ORK-LIFE BALANCE IS one of many buzzwords going
around these days. Many companies claim they have it, but when it comes down to it, employees report they are falling short. Merkburn Holdings is one of the ones doing it right. Celebrating 50 years in business, Merkburn Holdings is a commercial leasing and property management company that offers turnkey solutions for commercial real estate in Ottawa. “Once we fit up the space, we give you the keys and you can move right in,” says Marlene Piitz, the head of leasing at Merkburn. Between office space, warehouses, retail, and flex spaces, Merkburn owns and manages close to a million square feet of space, most of which is in Ottawa, although they have some properties in Florida as well. With all members of the board being from Ottawa, Merkburn strives to be an equitable employer and a great place to work within the community. Piitz took a job there as a receptionist after being out of the work force for ten years while she cared for her children, and she hasn’t looked back since. “I started at Merkburn in 2006 parttime, which was great for me at the time,” she explains. “I started in reception and within six months, I switched over to leasing. It’s been 13 years, and I’m still here!”
“When I started, I thought I would only be here for a couple of years,” she goes on. “I thought I would get back out in the workforce then move on. But I really found that I liked the work environment here, and there were so many opportunities to learn about an industry in which I had no previous experience. It’s a very family-oriented company; it allowed me to be able to balance my work life and family life. If I had to leave the office to take care of a sick child—that was never an issue.” In addition to leasing, Merkburn offers property management for third-party owned buildings. In celebration of half a century, they are breaking ground on a new building in Kanata this year—the first time in years they will be constructing a new building. This move is going back to their roots as a construction company. Merkburn Holdings was founded by William S. Burnside and the late Cameron Merkley who were joined shortly after by Frank Dooher. Together they led Merkburn into their future of leasing and property management. Now they are leading the way in commercial real estate, providing expert guidance to potential tenants to find the best fit for their business.
Marlene Piitz , Head of Leasing, Merkburn
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WHERE BEST PRACTICES MAKE PERFECT When you’re known for developing innovative, industry-leading human capital management solutions, it clearly makes sense to apply those same solutions to your own place of business.
Leagh Turner, President
ERIDIAN AGREES. WHICH
is probably why the global human capital management company, who employs nearly 2,000 Canadians, with more than 500 of those being software developers based in Ontario, was recently recognized—for the 16th year in a row—as one of Canada’s Top 100 Employers. None of that surprises Ceridian President Leagh Turner. With more than 20 years’ experience in the software industry, Turner, based in the company’s Toronto office, has a well-earned reputation for creating high-performing teams. And high-performing, she says, perfectly describes the team at Ceridian. “We believe fulfilled and empowered employees lead to happy customers,” she says. “By embracing people’s differences and fostering a diverse and inclusive work environment—we’re not only acting upon our core values, but we’re strengthening our business. By embracing people’s differences, we’re creating a relatable workforce that benefits our employees, our customers, and our communities.”
Ceridian’s customers agree. And that, too, comes as no surprise to Turner. “Dayforce is not just a Human Capital Management (HCM) platform—we like to view it as a suite of products that help companies better manage their people and initiate positive cultural change,” she says. “Our goal is to partner with our customers to create a culture of innovation and excellence within their workplaces. Having experienced a cultural transformation ourselves, we know how important it is to focus on the employee experience.” Dayforce touches all the bases, providing human resources, payroll, benefits, workforce management, and talent management functionality. In short, it optimizes the management of the entire employee lifecycle, including attracting, engaging, paying, deploying, and developing people. Dayforce may be a platform but it’s also the foundation of YOUnity, the company’s ground-breaking diversity and inclusion program. Like Dayforce, YOUnity focuses on building a unique and inclusive environment where every employee—and
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every customer—is valued, respected, and supported. Its mandate is simple but enormously effective—ensure that every employee feels that they can bring their ‘whole self’ to work each and every day. Turner says Ceridian leadership constantly asks: how can we continue to improve the lives of ALL our people, taking a holistic view while also addressing specific issues? “We’re always seeking ways to have our people better contribute, participate, or be heard, be it through sharing ideas or raising concerns. And that improves our ability to serve our customers,” Turner says. Last year, Ceridian decided to go one step further, earning a thumbs-up from EDGE (Economic Dividends for Gender Equality), the leading assessment methodology and business certification standard for gender equality. After a comprehensive audit certification measuring its gender balance, pay equality, policy effectiveness, and the inclusiveness of the culture, Ceridian became EDGE-certified in 2018. And convinced that more can always be done, Ceridian will continue to work with EDGE in 2019.
1 Ceridian employees gather at the company’s annual customer
“We know we’re on the right track,” says Turner, pointing out that 90 per cent of Ceridian’s Canada-based employees have said they feel an overwhelming sense of pride working at Ceridian. And that more than half of those employees are women. The company’s percentage of female managers exceeds the national average. “We’ve worked hard to create an environment where hard work is rewarded, where voices are heard and ideas are welcome,” says Turner. “A diverse and inclusive environment, one where everyone prospers.”
conference, ‘INSIGHTS’, October 2018, in Las Vegas
2 Ceridian employee volunteering 3 Ceridian employees coordinating customer event 4 C eridian Ottawa employees at an event to support company’s own charity ‘Ceridian Cares’
5 Ceridian employees from Toronto’s Product Development Team
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CHANGE BY J E FF B U CKST EI N
Diversity has enhanced the strength of the National Capital Region as a major influence on Canadian business, politics, and culture. Many of today’s leaders are women who have had to overcome adversity to reach the level of success they enjoy today. Lisa MacLeod, MPP for Nepean-Carleton
Lise Bourgeois, President and Chief Executive Officer of La Cité
T H AN K YOU TO T HE S HAW CENTRE FOR A LLOWING US TO USE THEIR S PAC E FOR OUR PHOTO S HOOT.
Minister of Children, Community, and Social Services and the Minister Responsible for Women’s Issues, says a lot has changed in terms of gender issues over the past 14 years since she first ran for political office. “Back in 2005,” she says, “I had just given birth to my daughter, and I had a number of people tell me I couldn’t do it because I was a mother. That was the criticism that people would send my way. It was a signal about how out of touch some people could be.” After having won a seat in a 2006 provincial by-election as a new, 31-year old mother, she recalls bringing her daughter Victoria to Queen’s Park only to face an “un-family friendly legislature” that would sit from one o’clock in the afternoon until nine o’clock in the evening most days, sometimes until midnight. “Those of us with small children weren’t able to put them to bed. I advocated for making Queen’s Park family friendly. Now we sit between nine and six during the day. We have a high chair in the dining room, and there are change tables in the bathrooms,” she says. MacLeod is also proud that she has been able to recruit more women who are, like she was starting out, moms with young children. Lise Bourgeois has been president and chief executive officer of La Cité, the largest French-language college of applied arts and technology in Ontario, since 2010. But in the late 1990s, when she decided to move from the classroom into management, there were only a handful of women in executive leadership positions in education. “I looked at them as confident, determined, and inspiring women who had all this resilience. I looked up to them knowing that if they could do that, I could also,” she says. One of the key aspects of her leadership style is that she is never willing to accept the status quo, and seeks to innovate. She recalls the influence of her mother, Rita, who taught her the importance of being a strong and visionary person, but also a fair and committed leader determined to always improve and strive to move forward.
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KE VIN BEL ANGER
ISA MACLEOD, MPP for Nepean-Carleton and Ontario’s
For Komal Minhas, a member of the millennial generation, the biggest challenge in her young career has been personal. Minhas, who was born and raised in Grande Prairie, Alberta, moved to Ottawa in 2007 to attend Carleton University, and then lived in New York City after graduating with her degree in journalism, political science, and human rights. In 2016 she produced and funded the feature documentary film Dream, Girl, through her consulting company KoMedia, about female entrepreneurs in and around New York. That film premiered at the White House under President Barack Obama. During the film’s launch, Minhas, at only 26, was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer. She was deemed cancer free a few months later, following treatment. However, in early 2017, as the film continued its global tour, she was diagnosed with a neurological illness that forced her to move back to Canada. “During that recovery when I was in a medically needed isolation, I realized there wasn’t a community online that reflected my experience as a woman of colour, as someone who was highly ambitious, who wanted to feel a sense of community, even though I couldn’t physically be in spaces because I was limited by my illness,” she says. Minhas recently launched kaur.space, a digital magazine and online community focused on work, wellness, and impact, or legacy. That brand will expand into a physical community work space in Westboro later in 2019. Co-work spaces provide a network upon which entrepreneurs, including a growing number of female entrepreneurs in Ottawa, can access critical resources like funding and legal services. Ruby Williams has seen significant improvement in professional acceptance of gender equality in the workforce and leadership opportunities for women. “When I first started, I was probably one of the few women in my field. Most, if not all, of my clients were male,” says Williams, a chartered professional accountant and senior manager with Deloitte LLP. “Over time things have changed. We have more women interested in the field. We have enhanced our hiring policies. We focus on diversity. I think that brings in more perspectives and allows us to service our clients better.” Williams, who was born in Edmonton but grew up in Hong Kong, arrived in Ottawa in 1996 to attend Carleton University. She is now firmly ensconced as a member of the community. Williams sits on the Ottawa Board of Trade as its treasurer, and is also co-chair of the Board’s Capital Build Task Force.
Radical Generosity: Reinventing Capital Investment for Women BY HENN Y BUFFI N G A
It all started with some terrible statistics. Women receive less than four per cent of venture capital in Canada. Investors are 68 per cent more likely to invest in a business based on a pitch deck if it is perceived to be from a male entrepreneur instead of a female entrepreneur, even when the deck is identical. And only 10 per cent of high growth companies are owned by women. So Vicki Saunders decided to do something about it. Saunders is a selfdescribed serial entrepreneur who was inspired by the passion women have for their companies. “Women make 85 per cent of purchasing decisions in the household,” Saunders explains. “We always ask women what kind of companies they care about, that they would like to buy from or refer—that’s our number one criteria for selecting a company to invest in. We’re looking for companies women are excited about, because if they’re passionate about them they will bring their buying power and that can dramatically improve the company’s success.” She came up with the idea of crowdsourcing capital investments in companies owned by women through SheEO. Her 500 “activators” contribute an investment of $ 1,100 each and vote on the company who will be the recipient
of an interest-free loan. The investors retain no equity from the company, and the recipient pays the money back, where it will get reinvested in another company by vote again. As the money is paid back, they are able to invest in more companies each year. SheEO started in Canada four years ago, and has to date funded 55 companies with a hundred per cent payback rate on the loans received. “SheEO has looked at the systemic barriers that are stopping women from getting capital and we’ve built a whole new model,” Saunders explains. The companies they have invested in have doubled year to year on average. One of the companies they have invested in, Abeego, creates breathable beeswax food wraps that keep food fresher for longer. Another, Alinker, is a walking bike that addresses the fact that 50 per cent of people in wheelchairs can still move their legs. The bike allows for lowimpact exercise, while staying at eye-level to peers, an important part of social inclusion and improved self-image. “Every company we fund is creating things that make the world a better place,” Saunders says. And with access to this network of radically generous women, they will go far.
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Like MacLeod, Williams has had to balance a career rise with being the mother of young children (Ben 8, and Matt, 5), for whom she prioritizes quality time whenever possible. She credits her family with providing critical support. “I wouldn’t have advanced this far in my career without the support from my husband, Doug, and my extended family, especially my mother, Connie. I’m lucky that everybody’s willing to chip in when needed,” says Williams. MacLeod also credits her family for making her career rise possible, and the importance of having time to enjoy family. “I couldn’t be doing this without my husband, Joe Varner. His flexibility, his support, his unwavering love and devotion to me and my daughter, has allowed me to have a strong foundation from which to serve,” she says. In advising young women who aspire to leadership roles, Bourgeois says, “my first piece of advice would be to have a dream of where you see yourself and what you want to accomplish. Second, visualize and take the steps to make it happen. Believe in your potential. Do not take no for an answer. Have a mentor and role models that you can relate to as guides.” Having a professional mentor was another common theme behind all of the successful women profiled.
Komal Minhas, Speaker and Investor
MacLeod credits city counselor Jan Harder (Ward 3 – Barrhaven), who MacLeod once worked for shortly after arriving in Ottawa from Nova Scotia in 1998, as a mentor. She also notes how the late Jean Piggott, a former member of federal Parliament, as well as Piggott’s sisters Grete Hale and Gay Cook “always provided me with their support.” Williams notes there are “many great people at Deloitte who have helped mentor me at critical parts in my career. Susan Mingie, a senior partner, leads by example with her hard work and passion, and has shown me how to achieve a successful career. David Boddy, the partner who hired me into mergers and acquisitions, is never short of wisdom. And Bruce Beggs, whom I have worked with for many years, offers kind words that have always motivated me to do better every day.” “Since I’ve come back to Ottawa, I’ve noticed there are a lot more networking groups of women who come together to discuss entrepreneurship, to discuss business, and discuss the future of the city,” says Minhas. Minhas cites the support of two local men who have been mentors in her career, emphasizing the importance of having both men and women championing the advancement of women in business: Adam Miron, the co-founder of Hexo Corp., a billion-dollar recreational cannabis company, and Paul Dewar, former member of federal Parliament who recently passed away. “When I think of Paul, it’s in that light of how he tended to see the potential in others. He encouraged that, especially in young people. I want to do the same for other young people in our community to help them really see what they’re capable of doing in the world,” she stresses. Businesses in the NCR can also play a role in empowering local women to seek leadership positions, says Williams.
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KE VIN BEL ANGER
Ruby Williams, Senior Manager Deloitte LLP
“Tone from the top is important and leaders need to walk the talk. Businesses need to foster an open culture that encourages flexibility in the workplace—that could be in a form of less conventional working hours, schedules, telecommuting, etc.,” she elaborates. “Deloitte offers exactly that to allow me to advance my career— knowing that I can continue to have interesting and challenging work with the flexibility when I need it,” Williams adds. MacLeod attests to the concerted effort by all in society to ensure that gender diversity remains front and centre. “We need a coordinated effort by government, businesses, and social organizations across the province to support initiatives that…promote women’s economic empowerment. We need leadership from all sectors to encourage women to achieve their full potential,” she stresses.
The encouraging stories of MacLeod, Bourgeois, Minhas, and Williams are a testament to the leadership mantle that women throughout the NCR, in all facets of the workforce, have seized. And there are many more encouraging stories, like that of Huiping Zhang, owner and president of Wintranslation, an award-winning local translation company. Like many in the NCR, Zhang is an immigrant, and she offers a compelling story on how she grew her business to become a successful entrepreneur. That story will appear later in this issue. Jeff Buckstein is a Kanata-based freelance business writer.
A diverse plan to create a diverse (and inclusive) workplace BY A LJE K A MMING A
Like all forward-looking companies, Hydro Ottawa appreciates the many advantages that come with a diverse and inclusive workplace. That’s why they put as much energy into their diversity plan as they deliver to their customers. “It just makes sense,” says Lyne Parent-Garvey, the company’s Chief Human Resources Officer. “We’re a services-oriented company. It’s important that our workforce is representative of the people we serve. That enables us to understand our customers better. And that, in turn, allows us to serve them better.” Ensuring a diverse and inclusive workplace at Hydro Ottawa was the primary goal in the company’s decision to adopt a threeyear diversity plan in 2014. And, on the surface at least, the focus of the 2014-16 Diversity Plan was similar to initiatives at other companies—targeting minorities and those groups that are traditionally under-represented or shut out of the workplace. But Hydro Ottawa went beyond simply promoting diversity in the workplace—it decided to inject a bit of diversity into its plan as well. “Rather than establish benchmarks—in other words, set specific hiring goals,” says Parent-Garvey, “we felt it would be wiser to focus on awareness, at least initially. We emphasized training, and making sure that our policies and priorities were up to date and in line with our objectives.” Hydro Ottawa’s most recent plan—the 2017-20 Diversity and Inclusion Plan—picks up where the previous plan left off. Again, it sets no specific goals, focusing instead on changing behaviours. “We sought to remove barriers and ways in which we might encourage our employees to understand and deal with any unconscious biases they might have,” she says. The 2017-20 plan is similar to the initial plan in that it includes a diversity and inclusion council. That council features a sub committee dedicated to each group identified in the plan
(women, visible minorities, members of the LGBTQ community, person with disabilities). Each sub-committee is headed by an executive sponsor. In keeping with Hydro Ottawa’s decision to take a somewhat diverse approach to diversity, the women’s sub-committee is headed by a man. “That’s not an accident,” says Parent-Garvey. “He has a great deal of experience in promoting and hiring women. It was the right fit and it’s worked out exceptionally well.” In 2021, when it comes time for Hydro Ottawa to adopt its third diversity and inclusion plan—and Parent-Garvey is confident that the company will continue its efforts to build a diverse and inclusive culture and workplace—Hydro Ottawa may decide it’s time to set some specific goals. But they’ll do it knowing that many of its goals have already been achieved. “In terms of women alone, we’ve accomplished a great deal,” says Parent-Garvey. “Half of our board members are women, 38 per cent of our executive management team are women, and 36 per cent of our managers are women.” Clearly, Hydro Ottawa’s diverse (and inclusive) approach to diversity and inclusion is working.
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Suitable attire for everyone
They also host First Impressions workshops and community-based workshops throughout the year to help women achieve economic independence.
BY HENNY B U F F I NG A
Dressing for the job you want is not always an option. That’s why Dress for Success, a registered charity with a local chapter in the National Capital Region, exists. Dress for Success helps economically disadvantaged but employment-ready women by providing them with proper interview attire, and once they land a job, a wardrobe for the first few weeks to make a great first impression. Since the Ottawa chapter opened in 2011, they have supported thousands of women in the area on their new career path. In addition to the clothing, Dress for Success also offers support and assistance to women with career coaching that helps them gain the confidence to nail job interviews and get the job.
The organization is about more than just new clothing; it’s about breaking the cycle of poverty. As culturally women are often primary caretakers of both children and the elderly, they are disproportionately affected by poverty. By providing mental preparation for interviews, confidence through appropriate wardrobe, and continued support through workshops, they try to set these women up to succeed. If you’d like to help, Dress for Success accepts gently-used professional women’s clothing on donation days once a month, or you can host a donation drive to get friends, family, or colleagues involved in helping women achieve their career advancement goals. Dress for Success also has volunteer opportunities for events, donation days, office support, mentorship, suiting sessions, and hosting mock interviews to help hone interview skills. ottawa.dressforsuccess.org
Dress for Success in 2018
community referral agency partners
women took part in the 2018 “All Women Empowered” professional development conference
2 0 C A P ITAL S PRI NG 2019 | THE BUSINES S MAG A ZINE O F THE OT TAWA BOA R D OF TR A D E
women attended clothing appointments
active volunteers contributed over
Performance Review: How we are doing on gender equality Private enterprises in Canada1
Population of Ottawa
of Ottawa’s female population are immigrants2
47.3% of adults
Women make up of the manufacturing workforce
aged 25 to 34 with an earned doctorate are women
Unchanged in 30 years3 City of Ottawa
76% of part-time workers are women 25% cite caring for
23 wards in Ottawa area
7 of the councillors are women
their children as the reason4
Women account for
22.6% of women occupied
58.1% of adults
seats around Canada’s Board Tables,
1% increase from 2016
aged 25 to 34 with a master’s degree6
42nd Parliament of Ontario
That’s what women in Canada aged 15 and older earned for every dollar earned by men in 2017 7
15.5 months vs. 12 months On average, it takes women 15.5 months to earn what a man earns in 12 months8 Indigenous women working full-time, full-year earn an average of
than non-Indigenous men, earning
65 cents to the dollar
1 2013 Statistics Canada, Release date: September 24, 2018 2 2016 Census of Population, Statistics Canada 3 CM&E 2017 Summary Paper
47 of the 124 seats are women Women hold 4 seats in Ottawa Men hold 3 seats
Racialized women working full-time, full-year earn an average of
than nonracialized men, earning
67 cents to the dollar
Newcomer women working full-time, full-year earn an average of
than nonnewcomer men, earning
71 cents to the dollar
4 Status of Women 2015 5 CBDC Annual Report Card™ 6 Statistics Canada 2011
42nd Canadian Parliament
88 women elected to the
338-member House of Commons
4 women in Ottawa electoral districts
7 Labour Force Survey 8 Ontario Equal Pay Coalition 9 2016 Census, Statistics Canada
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Participants in the Les Scientifines program had a blast learning about the science and math behind fashion from the Giant Tiger Buying team!
Celebrating Women G
IRLS ARE STRONG like tigers. That’s the message Giant
Tiger puts out for International Women’s Day, and it is reflective of the campaign for change they champion. From charitable giving and partnerships, to opportunities within their organization and stores, Giant Tiger celebrates and supports women in their operations, in the community, and in their customers across Canada. Giant Tiger is a discount retail chain that began right here in Ottawa in 1961. They have now grown to 250 locations across Canada with over 9,200 employees. “We realize that we’re serving very diverse communities across the country,” says Jessica Godin, Senior Vice President of Supply Chain at Giant Tiger. “No matter where you work within this organization, no matter if it’s at the head office or in a store, if we don’t represent that same Canadian diversity, then we’re not going to connect with Canadians. We recognize that who we have working at Giant Tiger needs to represent the Canadian population, whether that’s women or any other type of diversity.”
Giant Tiger has donated $100,000 to the Canadian Women’s Foundation to help facilitate the Girl’s Fund to help girls challenge stereotypes and build confidence, and they have contributed $1.2 million to the Cure Foundation by selling merchandise with inspiring messages that allow customers to make a difference with each purchase. They also have a program called Giant Tiger Giant Steps, which partners with the Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada. At Giant Tiger, giving back and creating stronger Canadian communities is a part of the company’s DNA. To coincide with International Women’s Day, this year they held an event at their Montreal Buying Office, inviting a group of girls from one of the clubs that receives their funding through their partnership with the Canadian Women’s Foundation to learn about the math and science that works behind the scenes in the fashion industry. The girls were challenged to make purchasing decisions that would be profitable, and learned about not only STEM but also business leadership.
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“We believe in giving back to our communities not just with monetary donations but with our time and talents as well,” says Cindy-Lynn Steele, Senior Vice President of Strategy & Integrated Marketing. “There’s no hierarchy when it comes to serving our communities and inspiring change. Everyone within Giant Tiger has a responsibility to do our best for people, to give back, to inspire, and to lead by example. I think that’s true whether it’s in our Home Office in Ottawa, our Montreal Buying Office, our Distribution Centre in Johnstown, or in any of our 250 stores across Canada; we all hold true to our core values of being a peoplefirst organization.” Giant Tiger promotes change from within. They have an internal talent development program, and although it’s not exclusive to women, women make up 67 per cent of participants. The three levels of the program, SEED, LEAD, and GROW, help participants find out how they learn best, and focus on their personal goals and skills development to help them move within the company. Their senior executive team has three women, including Godin, Steele and Julia Knox, Senior Vice President and Chief Purchasing Officer. They all care very deeply about how they can help the communities they are a part of, both at work and beyond. When it comes to advancing your career, Godin advises to stick to your convictions. “Generally speaking, women tend to be
unsure of themselves—their value, their contribution, their worth—especially in a male dominated industry,” she explains. “My advice is to find something that you’re passionate about, know your stuff, own your opinions, and be true to whatever your style of leadership or communication is. Be true to yourself and try to make that work for you, and find people that can help you.” “And sometimes,” she reflects, “it comes to not caring that you’re the only woman in the room.” Knox agrees, saying “I think it’s very important for women to build strong analytical and communication skills. Especially if you’re in the business field, it’s important to understand finance and accounting. Be curious and be committed to learning and growth.” Finally, Steele’s advice is simple. “It is okay for women to be humble,” she says, “but never be afraid to let your best moments shine.” Giant Tiger is committed to championing growth opportunities for women at work, and creating better communities in which women can flourish. With so much focus on big players in e-commerce, Giant Tiger is well positioned within the Ottawa, and Canadian, business communities as a retailer that stays true to their values. When it comes down to it, Giant Tiger helps Canadian families by helping them save money and meet their families’ budget.
Women at Giant Tiger
of employees at the Giant Tiger Home Office are women
of the clothing buying team are women
of the general merchandise buying team are women
Giant Tiger’s Growth in Ottawa Home office in Ottawa employees increased by
35% since 2015
Distribution centre employees increased by Julia Knox at a presentation with the Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada.
48% since 2015
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WOMEN IN STEM
PROGRESS, BUT MORE NEEDS TO BE DONE BY J E FF BUCKSTE I N
HE PROGRESSION OF women into senior leadership roles, including half of the federal cabinet, has benefited Canada and the National Capital Region immensely. Experts agree, however, that one key area where more women are needed is in the STEM [science, technology, engineering and mathematics] fields. Although there has been a slight improvement in the number of women enrolled in these subject areas, and graduates are enjoying successful careers, there is still a significant gender gap. “Generally, more and more people are going to university these days, so much so that there is a shortage in the trades. There are also more women than men studying at university, but not in the STEM fields,” says Catherine Mavriplis, a professor in the department of mechanical engineering at the University of Ottawa. “We have been trying to increase the percentage of women in STEM fields for years,” says Mavriplis. The numbers are nuanced, with some subject areas doing better than others. For example, according to the Engineers Canada 2017 report, available online, biosystems engineering enrolment for female undergraduate students in Canada was at 47.5 per cent, and for chemical engineering it was at 39.3 per cent. As a growth percentage, bio-systems enrolment for female undergraduates has risen about 88 per cent since 2013. Female enrolment in computer
science and software engineering are also on the upswing, with each registering close to a 125 per cent increase since 2013. However, engineering physics, at 21.6 per cent female enrolment in 2017, electrical engineering at 15.3 per cent enrolment, and mechanical engineering, at 14.2 per cent enrolment, do not do well in that regard, according to statistics.
According to Algonquin College statistics, women comprise 23% of 23 targeted technology jobs in Ottawa. Included in those statistics are the following numbers:
Women comprise 8.5% of mechanical engineering technologists and technicians
Women represent 8.2% of electronic services technicians for household and business equipment.
Women make up 30.1% of computer and information systems managers.
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At Carleton University, in the fall of 2018, the aggregate figures for both graduate and undergraduate STEM programs showed 30.89 per cent female enrolment, compared to 29.08 per cent in 2013 and 27.37 per cent in 2008. There was, however, significant improvement in engineering, as applications in that subject increased by eight per cent in 2018 over 2017, and the longer-term results are even better. “Since 2015, female enrolment across all engineering and design programs— including both graduate and undergraduate—has increased by 26.5 per cent,” says Adam Landry, a communications officer in Carleton’s faculty of engineering and design. Amine Mire, an assistant professor of sociology at Carleton, says she has observed increasing numbers of women in STEM classes. Many of those students tend to be first-generation immigrants from families where educational achievement in the sciences is heavily promoted, such as from Iran, Syria, or Eastern Europe, among other countries, she notes. There are concerted efforts across the city to enrol a higher percentage of women in the STEM areas. Algonquin College has launched a threeyear pilot project called We Saved You A Seat that reserves up to 30 per cent of classroom seats for qualified female students in science, engineering, technology, and mathematics programs.
STEM Jobs Broken Down by Gender 2016 targeted occupations (National Occupation Classification)
2283 Information systems testing technicians 2172 Database analysts and data administrators 0131 Telecommunication carriers managers 0213 Computer and information systems managers 2171 Information systems analysts and consultants 9524 Assemblers and inspectors, electrical appliance, apparatus and equipment manufacturing 2174 Computer programmers and interactive media developers 2233 Industrial engineering and manufacturing technologists and technicians 2281 Computer network technicians 2173 Software engineers and designers 2244 Aircraft instrument, electrical and avionics mechanics, technicians and inspectors 2241 Electrical and electronics engineering technologists and technicians 2147 Computer engineers (except software engineers and designers) 7202 Contractors and supervisors, electrical trades and telecommunications occupations 7246 Telecommunications installation and repair workers 2232 Mechanical engineering technologists and technicians 2242 Electronic service technicians (household and business equipment) 7245 Telecommunications line and cable workers 9522 Motor vehicle assemblers, inspectors and testers
Total job #
Information provided by Ottawa Employment Hub
“Not only are we reducing isolation in the classroom by saving 30 per cent of the seats in four programs for qualified women, we are making systemic change by providing faculty training in gender inclusion, and forging industry connections with our mentoring program and scholarship opportunities,” says Sarah Gauen, an inclusion and diversity specialist in the college’s human resources department. Technovation, a global program that has become very successful in Ottawa, is a four month program that teaches technology entrepreneurship for girls between the ages of 10 and 18. “To date, 600 girls in Ottawa have completed the program. This year we have 160 participants in the English program and have just launched a French stream in partnership with La Cité Collegiale and Ottawa U with 35 girls participating. Over half the university aged alumnae are in computer science or engineering now,” says Jennifer Francis, Chair of the Capital Angel Network, and Regional Ambassador for Technovation Ottawa. “I am encouraged by the growing number of women pursuing STEM as a career, but believe we can inspire even more women to
enter these fields. Diversity and inclusion are proven multipliers to performance and economic growth, and critical success factors for global companies and organizations. This is something we must work on collectively as a society,” says Sonya Shorey, Vice-President of Marketing and Communications with Invest Ottawa and Bayview Yards. “It is essential to inspire and excite young girls about STEM opportunities. This must begin in elementary school (K-12) and carry through high school and post-secondary education,” she elaborates. Shorey believes the increasing engagement of women in STEM programs and careers is attributable, in part, to the international spotlight on this opportunity, and collective, concrete action from many educational institutions, companies, governments, innovation hubs, mission-driven organizations, and communities. This includes a critical mass of well-branded organizations around the world that are investing in diversity and inclusion, and making it a priority. “When leaders champion this action, and put real investment behind it, change is accelerated,” she says.
Shorey has also served as a mentor over the past five years with the Mindtrust Leadership Development Program (MLDP) which serves the University of Ottawa, Carleton University, and Algonquin College. MLDP was created in 2004 as a joint venture between Mindtrust, uOttawa’s Telfer School of Management, and Carleton’s Sprott School of Business, in an effort to promote leadership excellence. Students from the University of Ottawa, Carleton University, and Algonquin College directly engage leaders of both genders in a host of professional fields, including business, science, and technology. This year 68 per cent of the university and college students that are participating in Mindtrust are women, says Shorey. As these various academic initiatives come to fruition here in the NCR, as elsewhere, experts are optimistic that the gender gap in the STEM subjects will close, and the excellent leadership provided by women in so many fields in the business, not-for-profit, and public sectors will be expanded even further.
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Why aren’t more women pursuing a degree in STEM? BY AL J E K AMMI NG A
First, the good news. According to Statistics Canada, a higher percentage of women—67 per cent—are graduating with university degrees than their male counterparts—62 per cent. Now the not-so-good news, at least for the high-tech industry. These university-educated women are more likely to pursue a degree in business or social sciences than in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). In fact, says Statistics Canada, twice as many men as women—40 per cent to 20 per cent—opt for a STEM degree. So why aren’t more women pursuing a degree in STEM? And why aren’t more women looking for a career in Canada’s technology industry? Opinions vary. Some maintain it begins in school, that women simply aren’t interested in technology-related subjects. In both education and upbringing, they say, women are steered or guided in another direction. As for considering employment in the tech sector, many experts believe that women view high-tech as a male-oriented field, that they are intimidated—or at least dissuaded—by the low number of women now employed by tech companies. Amy MacLeod, the Corporate Diversity Officer and Vice President of Strategic Communications at Mitel Networks Corporation, takes another view. “I was discussing this situation with an acquaintance at the University of Ottawa,” she recalls. “She thought a key
factor might be the fact that women, more than men, like to see the results of their work. For example, technology that results in something like cleaner drinking water—a tangible, visible, and gratifying result—is more likely to appeal to women than working on important but more obscure software.” A year ago, MacLeod drew on that thought as she helped shape Mitel’s push to create a more diverse and inclusive workplace. The Mitel approach recognizes the proven value of a diverse workplace, one in which age, gender, and ethnicity are viewed as strengths. But it goes a step further, focusing on outcomes rather than processes. “We want our employees—all of our employees—to see that what they do matters, that at the end of the day it makes a difference,” she says. “That they make a difference.” This emphasis on results is now company-wide, says MacLeod, and touches every part of the business. “We’re talking about this approach with everyone, from our R&D people to our hiring managers,” she says. “We’re also looking closely at our hiring practices, how we post our jobs, the language we use, and the message we send to potential employees.” At the end of the day, she says, Mitel wants a collaborative climate in the workplace, where everyone participates and contributes. Where mentoring and shadowing are routinely available and widely employed. Where diversity is not only encouraged but appreciated and utilized. “What we’re doing is the right thing,” says MacLeod. “The right thing for our business, our employees, our customers, and our future.”
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Jean E. Pigott, Chairman
AND WOMEN LEADERS AT THE NCC
Jean E. Pigott (right), with Jeanne Sauvé, then Governor General of Canada on the Rideau Canal Skateway.
Micheline Dubé, NCC CEO (2007)
Marie Lemay, NCC CEO (2008-2012)
OOK AT THE SIGNATURE! The name is Jean E. Pigott
and her title is Chairman. The text is from 1987-88 when Jean Pigott held the top job at the National Capital Commission (NCC). Eventually the title would adjust, not just at the NCC, but across the majority of organizations as women made their mark. A mother, a successful businesswoman, an important pillar in her community, and a Member of Parliament for Ottawa-Carleton, Jean Pigott was an example for women, and men, in leadership positions. During her tenure (1985-1992), the NCC took over control of the Official Residences and created Confederation Boulevard (the ceremonial route which loops around the two provinces linking landmarks like Parliament Hill, the Supreme Court, the national museums, and other landmarks.) Jean Pigott’s legacy cemented a home for female leadership in Canada’s Capital and at the NCC. By 2007, Micheline Dubé was interim CEO for most of the year before the appointment of Marie Lemay who held the position through to October 2012. Today, women in leadership positions span across the NCC. They are behind important decisions that shape Canada’s Capital Region. These women are executive directors or directors leading the NCC’s stewardship of parks, lands and real estate, human resources, public and corporate affairs, planning, Gatineau Park, finance, audit, legal services, environmental, and wildlife conservation. None hold a title that implies they are a man. Women leaders, like Jean Pigott, changed that.
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A NEW CLASS:
ALGONQUIN COLLEGE IS SAVING A SEAT FOR WOMEN IN STEM
PER CENT SEEMS to be the magic
number when it comes to inclusion. It’s the tipping point from tokenism to creating real change. “We didn’t pull that number out of the air,” says Sarah Gauen, Inclusion and Diversity Specialist at Algonquin College. “30 per cent is the number that’s been proven—when you look at boardrooms, when you look at team interactions—if you have 30 per cent representation for one group, that’s the number when you start to get meaningful interactions and when the contributions of women in particular start to make a difference.” This number has been picked up by the Ontario Securities Commission as a requirement at the board level for representation for women, and Algonquin is using it as a goal post for enrollment in their tech programs. They came up with the We Saved You a Seat program as a way to combat gender imbalance in enrollment. The program reserves 30 per cent of classroom seats for qualified women in four STEM programs: Computer Systems Technician, Electrical Engineering Technician, ElectroMechanical Engineering Technician, and Mechanical Engineering Technology.
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“We started to take a look at the composition of our students, and looking at the numbers we realized that we had a bit of a challenge in some of our tech programs—the persistent underrepresentation of women in technology,” Gauen explains. “We looked back through about 10 years of enrollment and graduation, and we saw that women pretty consistently made up only 10 per cent of enrollment in many of our programs, or less.” The reason why women are underrepresented in STEM subjects is long and complex. From being told that they won’t be as good as boys at certain subjects to increased anxiety when it comes to test taking because of that narrative, girls often self-screen out. In addition, a major factor in applying for a program is the perception of belonging—it is this factor that Algonquin is trying to combat with the We Saved You a Seat program, by making sure there are a substantial number of women in the classroom to reduce that feeling of isolation. “We know from our research that when there is gender diversity in the classroom, test scores go up for everyone,” says Gauen. “And this will help the guys as well. We’re hoping that employers will recognize that Algonquin is developing soft skills; when young men and women graduate they will have the social skills to get along in the workplace.” In addition to encouraging women to enroll, they will also provide training for faculty on how to teach more effectively in gender-inclusive classrooms. “The first thing we needed instructors to understand is why women have been unsuccessful in STEM programs in the past, and how that lack of success is linked to teaching,” Gauen explains. “So we focused on what they can do to help women be more successful.” They are also encouraging faculty to arrange group projects to encourage participation, and to use diversity in the curriculum by using case studies of women who have achieved success in their field. They are also working toward making sure that financial limitations aren’t stopping women from partaking in these programs by setting up scholarships and bursaries for women in STEM. Corporate donors are already stepping up to provide scholarships under the program. Algonquin is making sure the participants have ongoing support as they move through the program. They are launching a mentorship program for participants to get advice from industry mentors, both men and women, who will coach and guide them on both studying and working in the industry after graduation, so they can really see themselves in the workplace. “Ottawa’s situated itself as a tech capital—we’re Silicon Valley North,” says Gauen. “We’re building up Kanata North, we’re the home of the AGDA Group— these are great tech firms, but they need the talent to stay here. Algonquin College is making sure we have great talent, both men and women, who are connected with industry and coming out ready to work. By building a great talent pool here we’re more likely to keep these great employers hiring out of our community. We’re a part of the growth of Ottawa.”
Electro-Mechanical Engineering Technician Program
Electrical Engineering Technician Program
“We looked back through about 10 years of enrollment and graduation, and we saw that women pretty consistently made up only 10 per cent of enrollment in many of our programs, or less.”
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PHOTO CR EDIT TK
A Woman’s Network is Never Done
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NE OF THE biggest challenges for women developing their careers in a field such as law is lack of female mentorship, according to Katherine Cooligan, the Ottawa Regional Managing Partner of Borden Ladner Gervais LLP (BLG). “But,” she says, “that shouldn’t stop you.” “Although there are few women in leadership positions in most law firms, I have felt very privileged to have excellent male mentors,” says Cooligan. “One of the benefits that will come as more women advance within senior leadership positions is there will be increased access to female role models. That’s something that I want to be for women.” Cooligan is the first woman and the first family law lawyer to reach the senior leadership position in Ottawa at BLG, the country’s largest national law firm with offices in Ottawa, Montreal, Toronto, Calgary, and Vancouver. Known as “Canada’s Law Firm,” BLG specializes in litigation, corporate law, and intellectual property. The firm’s passion, and one that Cooligan exemplifies, is to go beyond the transaction, contract, or trial to expand horizons for women within the firm, in business, and in the community as a whole. BLG is committed to affording women the full opportunity to develop, excel, and become pre-eminent in their fields. Cooligan has been a leader in all of these ways, and is a shining role model to the women in her life of what women can accomplish. This is especially critical in a traditionally male-dominated profession that has seen few women endure the path to partnership and beyond. “My advice is to persist,” says Cooligan. “Find the support that you need: find your mentors, find your sponsors, and find both personal and professional supports. For each area in which you want to advance, it’s important to find ways that you feel supported. Building a network is important, and building a network of
PHOTO CR EDIT TK
women is important. If there aren’t enough role models within your particular industry, there will be role models within other industries who can help you build your network.” Cooligan’s success is a true testament to her business acumen, leadership skills, and legal expertise in practice. She is passionate about helping women build their network and succeed in their careers. Most recently she created and chaired a program on Women in Leadership,
Women’s Forum, to name a few. She is also a member of the Capital Build Task Force with the Ottawa Board of Trade, and says she values that role very much. “It really goes to the heart of what the city is,” she explains. “It’s a move towards making Ottawa the best city it can be.” The importance of networking is well documented. According to LinkedIn, 80 per cent of professionals consider networking important to career success, and 70 per cent of people in 2016 were
Katherine Cooligan, Ottawa Regional Managing Partner of Borden Ladner Gervais LLP
where topics included credibility, negotiation skills, and giving and receiving feedback. This event was a follow up to her spring tea initiative as a platform to provide women additional avenues to connect. Ottawa’s professional and business women now count on attending Cooligan’s networking and leadership events. Another way to build your network is to engrain yourself within the local community. Cooligan’s involvement in the community is extensive: she is a member of the Women’s Business Network, Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario Foundation Board, and the International
hired by a company where they had a connection. Networking with purpose can be more of a challenge. Research suggests that women statistically attend shorter networking sessions, such as breakfasts or local events, whereas men network using longer events, such as conferences, games of golf, or other sporting events. This can mean less face time with valuable connections, whereas a longer session can result in more meaningful conversation past the initial small-talk. It’s important to create those opportunities for yourself, and build a targeted network of people who will help you along the way.
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Erin Crowe, CFO of Martello Technologies Group Inc.
Mark Laroche, President and CEO of the Ottawa International Airport Authority
Heather McLachlin, President of Cowan Insurance Group
Management Opportunities For Women Advancing Across NCR BY J E FF BUCKSTE I N
ERIN CROWE’S IMPRESSIVE
resume is a testament to the growing achievements of women in senior management positions in various sectors, industries, and companies in the National Capital Region. Crowe, a chartered professional accountant, has had an interesting career path that includes 18 years with the Ottawa Senators between 1996 and 2014, ten of which were as Chief Financial Officer (CFO) and Executive Vice President of the NHL team. During her tenure the team went through a Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act (CCAA) restructuring and change of ownership.
“When people ask me what was the biggest accomplishment of my career, I still think back to the Senators’ CCAA filing and the change in ownership and the sale of the team, and how I played a big role in that transition,” recalls Crowe. After leaving the Senators in 2014, Crowe subsequently spent about 18 months as CFO and Chief Operating Officer (COO) of the Regional Group of Companies, a large local real estate firm, and then just over a year as CFO of ProSlide Technologies Inc., a global waterpark design and manufacturing company.
She was named CFO at Martello Technologies Group Inc., a firm that provides clarity and solutions for network performance management, and which is headquartered in Ottawa, with about 100 employees worldwide, in 2018. “Being a key resource in the go-public transaction with Martello last September rivals the Senators’ CCAA process as another great accomplishment in my career more recently,” says Crowe. Crowe says although she continues to observe too few women in corporate leadership positions, particularly in larger firms, she has noticed that the
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situation has improved over the past five to ten years, with a lot more attention being paid to the gender gap. “Organizations are starting to realize that gender diversity, along with other types of diversity, are not things that are just ‘nice to have’ for business. They’re really imperative,” she stresses. One advantage the Ottawa business community offers for leaders of both genders, says Crowe, is that the city is relatively small compared to other international venues, and is therefore very well connected, so individuals can be recognized quickly for their accomplishments.
Another advantage is that groups such as the Ottawa Board of Trade are making an effort to recognize and promote women who have been successful and to elevate the concept and value of diversity. “You need to get the awareness out there,” says Crowe. “If I can bring awareness to the importance and value of having members on leadership teams and within companies, and of females being role models as the younger generation enters the workforce, I think that’s all very positive.” Mark Laroche, President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Ottawa International Airport Authority since 2013, has enjoyed an excellent vantage point from which to view the growing influence of women in positions of authority throughout the National Capital Region. Laroche is also a former Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) of the Ville de Gatineau dating between 2001 to 2007, prior to moving to Toronto for six years as president and CEO of the Canada Lands Company. He views Ottawa as a leading Canadian city in terms of providing opportunities for gender equality, including promoting leadership positions for women. Laroche notes that the federal government, which remains one of the largest employers in the NCR, has made it very clear they favour having strong representation from women at senior management levels. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has also publicly promoted this policy within the federal cabinet. “The federal bureaucracy is quite strong in promoting equality. This has an impact on the business sector eco-system which is very diverse, including with respect to gender,” he elaborates. “When our biggest employer actively promotes gender equality, it benefits
all employers in the National Capital Region, as the pool of experience and qualified female candidates occupying senior positions in the public or private sector is increased.” The Airport Authority has four female board members, constituting one-third of the 12 board positions currently occupied. In the last five years women occupied leadership positions that include Chair of the Board, Chair of the Audit Committee, and Chair of the Human Resources Committee, Laroche notes. The Airport Authority is also in the process of developing initiatives to help increase the number of women in management and non-traditional roles—with a target of marked increases in gender diversity in these areas, he adds. Heather McLachlin, the president of Cowan Insurance Group, a Canadian owned, privately held brokerage and consulting firm with an office in Ottawa,
has enjoyed a career with leadership opportunities in various insurance industry roles. “I’ve always had this strong belief in the importance of fostering talent, given the opportunities that were provided to me. The financial business, and specifically insurance, always had lots of opportunities for both genders. It’s been a very good industry to me, and several of my colleagues, and I’ve been very lucky to be a part of it,” says McLachlin, who is based at Cowan Insurance’s corporate head office in Cambridge, Ont. The history of Cowan Insurance dates back to Princeton, Ont. when it was founded by Frank Cowan in 1927. The company expanded to Ottawa in 2001 when it merged with an existing insur-ance firm, Welton Beauchamp, Nixon to become Cowan Wright Beauchamp. “Frank Cowan’s grand-daughter Maureen represents our majority shareholder and still
works within our group of companies today. I have great respect for her vision, business acumen, and her values and beliefs. Alongside the incredible potential I saw with the business, Maureen was one of the reasons why I was so attracted to come to Cowan in 2010,” says McLachlin. McLachlin began her career with The Co-operators in the late 1980s. “I have fond memories because they were the type of organization that invested in us, and encouraged us to aspire to different and non-traditional roles. I had a variety of executive level, corporate, and field roles across The Co-operators Group of Companies,” she recalls. All of that provided excellent training for when McLachlin joined Cowan Insurance Group’s head office in Cambridge, Ont. as the company’s President in 2010. “I love it,” she says of her current position. The NCR is considered a prime location for Cowan Insurance for many reasons. “Ottawa is vibrant and growing, and there are so many exciting opportunities, so as a business we’re incredibly proud to be here,” says McLachlin. “I think there’s a wonderful climate in Ottawa that combines collaboration between academia and government and business. That tripod of relationships working effectively is a unique recipe that Ottawa has been able to foster that also attracts businesses to want to come to this city,” she says. Cowan Insurance Group has a very diverse, expanding business in Ottawa with lots of upside opportunity in a city that continues to expand and innovate. “Our association with the Board of Trade has also been really important in the sustainability of that business,” McLachlin explains.
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OPENING DOORS FOR MORE WOMEN TO FIND THEIR CAREERS IN AVIATION
NAV CANADA prides itself—with considerable justification— on its commitment to innovation, collaboration, and excellence. NAV CANADA employees not only share that commitment— and their diversity, talent, and relentless pursuit of excellence— they secure NAV CANADA’s position as one of the world’s most respected Air Navigation Service Providers.
NCREASINGLY, THOSE EMPLOYEES are women. In
large part, that’s because NAV CANADA is engaged in actively promoting career opportunities for women as part of its overall campaign to increase diversity and inclusion in the workplace. “Certainly, our emphasis on diversity focuses on gender,” says President and CEO Neil Wilson, “but it also encompasses age, ethnic background, and sexual orientation. Anything that enables skilled people to bring different ideas and perspectives to the table.”
Four women who have navigated their way into successful careers at NAV CANADA—and who bring a welcome mix of energy and creativity to the work place every day—are Lyne Wilson, Jennifer Tompkins, Ginette Deslauriers, and Amanda Devine. As Assistant Vice President, Talent Management at NAV CANADA, Lyne Wilson has a unique perspective on the company’s inclusion and diversity initiatives. She describes the atmosphere at NAV CANADA as collaborative, and that ideas and opinions are valued, no matter their source. “That’s the way it was when I was hired in January, 2000, and even more so today.”
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“Today, I feel encouraged to make my own decisions and to share my thoughts and ideas. With management support, NAV CANADA employees have created an engaging workplace.”
Lyne Wilson, Assistant Vice President, Talent Management
Jennifer Tompkins, International Flight Service Specialist
Ginette Deslauriers, Assistant Vice President and Chief Technology Officer
Amanda Devine, Manager in Aeronautical Information Management
Still, she acknowledges that women didn’t necessarily think of aviation as a career choice when she was hired. “Too often,” she says, “that’s still the situation and we have to find different ways to bring awareness.” Last year, NAV CANADA unveiled a summer camp program for students about to begin high school. “We have two scheduled this summer,” says Wilson, “one for female students, one for male students. Each camp lasts a week with 24 students attending. NAV CANADA employees act as camp counselors, sharing their personal experiences and providing information about aviation careers.” Jennifer Tompkins, an international flight service specialist based in Gander, Newfoundland, was one of those counselors. She describes the experience as “perhaps the most gratifying thing I’ve done” since joining NAV CANADA in 2001. “I am a mentor and a mentee so I appreciate helping and being helped by people willing to share their experiences,” she says. She sees the summer camps as more evidence that the pace of positive change in the workplace is increasing. “Oldschool thinking is giving way to new-agethought,” she says. “And that’s a good thing.” Ginette Deslauriers, Assistant Vice President and Chief Technology Officer, joined NAV CANADA in 2001. “Almost immediately,” she recalls, “I was struck by the company’s willingness to give employees every opportunity to contribute and the support to succeed. I was amazed then, as I am today, at the sense of family throughout the company.” As welcoming and inclusive as the environment was then, she says, the push for diversity really took off two years ago when several new measures were introduced to have a more inclusive and diverse workforce. “Today, I feel encouraged to make my own decisions and to share my thoughts and ideas. With management support, NAV CANADA employees have created an engaging workplace,” she says. “No matter who
we are, we have the freedom to set our own path, to work as a team but to contribute in our own way.” In 2000, Amanda Devine, now a manager in Aeronautical Information Management, graduated at the top of her class from Moncton Flight College. One of seven women in a class of 32, she applied to become a pilot at a small charter company in Prince Edward Island. “I was told ‘we don’t normally hire women so if you want to fly for us, you’ll have to prove you can do the job.’ Wow, I thought, so this is the real world,” she says. Six months later, after watching pilots with less accolades (who just happened to be male) get most of the flying time, she quit. Five years later, and no longer pursuing a career as a pilot, Devine joined NAV CANADA. Five years after that, she approached a national manager for a challenging role in another area of the company. “I certainly wanted the job, but I was afraid personal obligations would prevent me from carrying out many of the tasks the job required,” she recalls. This time, there are no hoops to jump through, no being overlooked because she is a woman. “I was told ‘we’ll work something out. Take the job and we will make this work,’” she says. “Months later, a senior male manager said he felt I had leadership potential and that he would like to mentor me. For the first time, I realized that I had been limiting myself as a woman, that I had been backing away from opportunities.” Today, Devine is a leader and mentor as well as a mentee. She participates, shares her ideas, offers suggestions. She appreciates and feels appreciated. “And I don’t have to go through any extra hoops to do it.” Clearly, NAV CANADA is on board. In an industry once regarded as male-oriented, it has opened the door for talented women— like Lyne, Jennifer, Ginette, and Amanda—to assume meaningful roles in helping to keep Canada’s skies safe.
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OTTAWA’S VISITOR ECONOMY ECONOMIC IMPACT SUMMARY
MILLION Number of visitors Ottawa welcomes annually
BILLION Total visitor spending by overnight and same day visitors
Direct, indirect, and induced employment related to Ottawa’s visitor economy
Estimated annual tax revenue from Ottawa’s visitor economy
For every resident of Ottawa, the visitor economy supports over $750 of government services
Visitor economy’s daily contribution to Ottawa’s GDP
CONNECT WITH #MyOttawa
+ $3 BILLION Total direct economic output
THE FUTURE OF INCLUSION
IN THE CITY OF OTTAWA
Brittany Williston, Rehabilitation Consultant, PPRC Inc.
JOHN M A JOR, JOHN MA JOR PH OTOGRAPHY
T’S NOT ALWAYS enough to post a resume and cover
letter online if you’re looking for a job. Online application systems often screen out applicants who are ready and willing to work, according to Brittany Williston from Performance Plus Rehabilitative Care (PPRC). “Every day clients come to us and say ‘I want structure, I want a sense of purpose. I want to feel like I’m contributing. I have these skills, let me use them,’” says Williston. “People with disabilities are an untapped market—they have the skills to contribute just as well as anyone else.” PPRC is a private company that provides employment support to help people with disabilities get meaningful work. “We find our clients need to network through our employer liaisons and job developers,” says Williston. “This helps them to build the connections they need to get the job.” She helps clients develop the skills needed to find employment by establishing goals, preparing a resume, and learning interview techniques. It’s a collaborative process to identify a client’s skills and overall aspirations, and ensure the necessary supports and accommodations are in place for their integration into the workforce. Much of PPRC’s approach is modeled from the experiences of the team, under founder Linda Simpson.
“When Linda looks for a consultant to come work with clients, a lot of the time she is looking for the personal experience of living with a disability,” Williston explains. “Many of my peers are people with disabilities who have persevered and become successful. We can work with clients who have a disability to help get the proper supports in place. So, we’re not just talking about it; we’re walking the walk.” Employers often hesitate to hire someone with a disability. This stems from a lack of information about disabilities and a lack of guidance, rather than a lack of willingness. PPRC’s counsellors work with employers to provide Disability Awareness and Etiquette training on how best to integrate people with different types of disabilities. Once someone is placed, the counsellors continue to monitor the placement to ensure that it’s a good fit and a win-win for both parties. When asked about the future of inclusivity in Ottawa, Williston says the future is bright. “There’s more and more education regarding the need to be inclusive within the business community. We are having more meetings with employers and policy builders that want to promote inclusion in the workplace,” she says. “I would say the future is quite bright and getting brighter. Clients with disabilities, however, still need a voice and an organization that is going to provide them with the support to help get there.”
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FRONT LINE OF A GROWING RESOURCE ECONOMY
HEN SHANNON JOSEPH
became the Vice President of Government Relations at the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) in May of 2018, pipeline discussions were just starting to heat up. Since then the Trans Mountain Expansion pipeline has been put on hold, there has been a production curtailment in Alberta, and the industry is working hard to deal with uncertainty for investors and for their individual companies and teams. “I didn’t know what to expect when I first got the job, except that it would be very busy,” Joseph laughs. “It’s been action packed, but it’s an exciting portfolio to be a part of.” CAPP is a membership-based association that represents the upstream oil and gas industry across Canada, with members in Alberta, British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland and Labrador—anywhere the oil and natural gas industry exists. Their role is to lobby the Government of Canada, and provincial
governments, on behalf of the industry. The association acts as a source of education for the public, and policy research for government and other stakeholders when it comes to Canada’s energy industry. CAPP is also a place where its members can collaborate on best practices from Indigenous engagement to environmental innovation. Joseph’s role is to connect the oil and natural gas industry to the decision makers in Ottawa. “An important part of the issue is that there are silos in understanding and focus when it comes to industry, and that changes the way different decision makers assess policy impacts,” Joseph explains. “The business community in Ottawa has an interest in Canada being competitive, and the alarm that we’re raising is important for everyone to pay attention to.” “The policy changes that are happening now in the U.S. have changed the competitive environment for Canada, and Canada is also pursuing other policies that have created an imbalance leading to a lot of
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investment leaving the country,” she continues. “I think the government is in a position now to really think about what it is going to do to ensure Canada’s competitiveness, and that means getting us market access and introducing effective and efficient climate change policy. We are competing with jurisdictions that don’t follow the same environmental standards as we do, that don’t follow the same labour and human rights standards as we do. Canada deserves to compete, and right now I think Canadians aren’t sure if that’s the case. I want to make a case for that here in Ottawa.” Joseph’s long-term goals in Ottawa include building up a team and starting an internship program that will allow young people to gain exposure to the industry. The association is in the process of setting up new offices in Ottawa this year, and Joseph hopes this space will offer the opportunity for other associations to come together to collaborate.
“That is something that people don’t know about, that we have been an important part of economic reconciliation.”
Shannon Joseph, Vice President of Government Relations at the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers
One discussion with government she hopes will become more prevalent is opportunities for Indigenous participation in the energy industry. “These projects are [located] where Indigenous communities are; they create well-paying jobs, they support all kinds of spinoff businesses; and Indigenous entrepreneurs are tapping into these opportunities, and are creating even more opportunities for the people of their communities,” she says. “It’s an invisible story that needs to be told more. Some communities receive royalties, own assets and even own equity in specific projects. That’s not widely known. The voices of those communities who are achieving financial independence through their engagement with this sector are being drowned out by a lot of other voices, and that’s a huge problem because what they’ve been able to do on their own, with their own resources, derived from this private sector activity, is extremely impressive.” Joseph’s interest has always been focused on environmental sustainability
and development that allows people to thrive. For a number of years she worked on Northern and remote community issues, including with the Nunavut Association of Municipalities, where she developed an appreciation for the resource industries that create opportunities in those communities. “I love the idea of ‘how do we do better,’” she says. As a woman of colour in the male-dominated oil and natural gas industry, Joseph says she feels blessed to be in a time where being female has never felt like a barrier. A civil-engineer by trade, her experience was engineering programs seeking out women for enrollment, schools focused on equipping young women to be leaders, and supportive male and female peers. Her advice to women trying to make it in industry? Take advantage of all the great opportunities that exist for you—take risks, work hard, and do your best. Canada needs you and your talents, and we are lucky to live in a country with so many open doors.
“The voices of those communities who are achieving financial independence through their engagement with this sector are being drowned out by a lot of other voices, and that’s a huge problem because what they’ve been able to do on their own, with their own resources, derived from this private sector activity, is extremely impressive.”
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A CLUB THAT PREDATES CONFEDERATION IS STILL AHEAD OF THE TIMES
“Although Parliament was where the politics of Canada happened, the Rideau Club was where the relationships of Canada were built.” That line, from Savoir Faire, Savoir Vivre: Rideau Club 1865-2015 by Christopher McCreery, still perfectly embodies what the club is about today, says Carol-Ann Goering. Goering, the General Manager and Chief Operating Officer of the Rideau Club, describes it as a welcoming place. “Our members are a diverse group, so there are some lively discussions,” she laughs. “But at the end of the evening, members give each other a hug and a hardy handshake when they leave, and they’re back the next week for another thought provoking conversation.” Although the social club is celebrating its 155th birthday next year, they are changing with the times. As the first COO of the Rideau Club, Goering is one of only a few women at the top of members-only clubs, which have traditionally favored male leadership. It’s part of a shift that Goering herself is leading as the first female President of the Canadian Society of Club Managers, and she is thrilled to have been recently appointed to lead the change in support of the Board’s long-term goals for the club. “One of the ways we are growing our membership is by encouraging diversity,” she explains. “We want to be more reflective of the faces of Ottawa.” Last year they had a record number of new members, a 300 per cent increase over their average, in part due to efforts to not only include more participation from minority groups and women, but also opening themselves up to new industries. Formerly known as predominantly government, the club now has a significant number of members who are leaders in the arts, technology, nonprofit, law, finance, and many other industries. The goal of the club is to be representative of the unique ecosystem of the Nation’s Capital.
They are also opening their age demographic. Their youngest member is 24 and their oldest member is 102 years old. Offering networking opportunities to younger members, giving them the opportunity to rub elbows with leaders in a variety of professional fields, can make all the difference in the course of a career. “We like to think we’re helping to enrich the lives of future leaders in Ottawa,” says Goering. They have also partnered with women’s groups, such as Elevate International and Women in Defense and Security, to bring women in to show them the benefits of membership. They have a speaker series that often features women in leadership; recent talks include the Honourable Jean Augustine, a Grenadian-Canadian educational administrator, and Alexandra Badzak, the head of the Ottawa Art Gallery. Through policy change they are also making the atmosphere more welcoming for women members by relaxing the dress code and opening the club to children. In the past, children under 16 were not allowed in the club without permission. Now you can bring your child with you to meet a friend or have a business lunch. In addition to offering an exceptional dining experience and networking opportunities, the Rideau Club also offers wine tastings, speaking events, and even cooking classes with their executive chef— one-on-one lessons on how to make sauces, prepare a duck, or even make their signature chowder. Membership provides access not only to networking opportunities with other members of this club, but also with 160 clubs in 40 countries around the world. If you’re on a business trip anywhere from Toronto to Auckland, New Zealand, you can book a table and enjoy the exceptional hospitality of an affiliated club. “At the end of they day, for us, it’s about the member
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experience,” says Goering. “Our vision, and what gets us up in the morning, is the opportunity to create a memorable experience for our members and their guests.” The club is welcoming a female President in the coming year, and with Goering as COO, it will be two women leading the charge. Their leadership team is about 70 per cent female already, and they are proud of the strong women in those roles. “For me, clubs are the perfect profession for women,” Goering says. “Clubs are all about relationship building, it’s about understanding member needs, and it’s about sharing the special moments in a member’s life.” Indeed, they have one employee who has worked there for over 56 years, and, as a club ambassador, still attends member events. She recognizes members from when they attended the annual Christmas parties as kids with their parents, and is now there to welcome them to club events with their own children. “We have many employees at the club that have been there for 15 or 20 years,” Goering says. “They’ve known the members for years, through good times and bad—through the birth of their children, or the death of their spouse. What a feeling it is to come to the club and be known; to be taken care of by people who care about you and your experience. It’s a special place.” That feeling of belonging is a large part of the appeal. The club offers a real sense of community. “It’s the idea of that third place,” says Goering. “You have your home, and your workplace, and then you have the club.” And, she added, with everything happening right now, including planning for major renovations, focusing on technology, and experiencing unprecedented growth, it’s an exciting time to be part of the Rideau Club.
“Clubs are all about relationship building, it’s about understanding member needs, and it’s about sharing the special moments in a member’s life.”
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BY HENNY B UF F I NG A
LIFE INFORMS ART
The Intersection of
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PHOTO CR EDIT TK
Private Cheryl Pagurek has always been interested in the ways we experience the world around us, and the line that is drawn between public and private life. An Ottawa artist specializing in visual art, her work over the years has explored that dichotomy, including a series called Open House for which she built installations of domestic rooms and installed them in public sites.
“That idea of how the public and domestic realms intersect has been present throughout my career. The way that I work changed as I had children. I had this idea that the baby would stay in the play pen as I worked, and that’s not what happened at all.”
Cheryl Pagurek, Photo and Video Artist
“I was hoping people would share in my explorations of how we intersect has been present throughout my career,” says interact with the world, and one of the things with the ways we are Pagurek. “The way that I work changed as I had children. communicating right now is that they are not transparent—techI had this idea that the baby would stay in the play pen nology frames everything we do,” she explains. “For example, if you as I worked, and that’s not what happened at all. What I realized are a Twitter user, your statements are limited to a certain numwhen I moved back to Ottawa was that I would need a studio space ber of characters, or if you’re on Facebook, you have a certain numin my home, because I needed to be able to work with whatever time ber of emotions to choose to react to something… If you’re reading was available, whether that was in the middle of the night or in the news online or on TV, it’s framed by the presentation. One of the middle of the day.” things I’m more aware of now—and I hope other people are becomOttawa has been good to Pagurek, she says, as she has received ing more aware of—is the way we use technology frames the way we a number of grants over the years for her work. “When my kids were view the world around us. With this installation, it’s your own body young, I used a lot of my grant money for childcare and babysitting that frames the way you interact, and that’s a more active experience so that I had time to work, so that was really key to me being able to while usually we are more passive users of technology.” practice,” she explains. As an Ottawa artist, Pagurek says the community here is very With beginnings in sculpture, it was photographing her Open supportive, and opportunities for women are abundant. “In terms House concepts that set her on the path of photo and video instalof public art, there have been more and more female artists that lations. Her Connect exhibit, appearing at have won those commissions, so you see the Ottawa Art Gallery this spring, explores a lot more public art that’s being done by how technology frames our interaction with women,” she says. “There are many peothe world around us. The imagery in the ple who don’t necessarily go into galleries, installation comes from news footage about so the way they experience art is in the pubreal world events, so you experience these lic realm.” images through the lens of your own body When asked about how being a woman as you move inside the installation, viewing and a mother has influenced her art, she the images through your own shadow. The says: “It’s hard to know what affects what sound in the installation increases in volume in one’s life—does the art affect my life, or April 12 – August 11, 2019 at the closer you are to the screen, creating does my life affect my art? I think it’s a flow the Ottawa Art Gallery a sense of urgency, and each experience is back and forth.” unique depending on if you enter the instalwww.cherylpagurek.com Henny Buffinga is a writer and communications professional lation alone or in a group, as well as how you from St. John’s, Newfoundland. choose to interact with it.
THAT IDEA OF how the public and domestic realms
Exhibit Cheryl Pagurek: Connect
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THE HEART OF THE ARTS
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(OAG)’s recent expansion has by all indicators been a sweeping success. The new location opened its doors on April 28th, 2018 and at time of publication has had over 200,000 visitors—twice the number anticipated. Coinciding with the refresh of the Ottawa core, the reconstruction of Rideau Street and the Rideau Centre, the gallery expansion is a validation of Ottawa as a vital and growing community. “We realized early on that we needed a larger space, a space to really tell Ottawa’s story,” says Alexandra Badzak, the director and chief executive officer of the OAG. “We have
ADRIE N WILLIAM S
OTTAWA ART GALLERY + JACKSON
HE OTTAWA ART GALLERY
MAT THE W LITEPLO
“Leadership is not just bravado; it can be thoughtful and strong at the same time. Things can be done in a collaborative fashion and that doesn’t take anything away.”
great national institutions, but the time had come “The EQ factor—the emotional quotient—is an for us to start investing in Ottawa’s own institutions. emerging management quality that recognizes that The OAG in many ways is one of the forerunners of leadership comes in different formats,” Badzak says. that. We’re starting to see the confidence now; Ottawa “Leadership is not just bravado; it can be thoughtful and is big enough, we have the densification, that the city strong at the same time. Things can be done in a collabocan contain not only the national institutions but also rative fashion and that doesn’t take anything away.” local institutions.” “There has to be that openness to working with difAt the heart of this success story are two women: ferent people, at different times in their life as well,” Badzak and Caroline Gosselin, a restauranteur who Gosselin goes on to say. “I think there’s more of an co-founded the gallery’s restaurant Jackson with execunderstanding in business that we will be going at differutive chef John Leung. Together, the gallery and the ent speeds and it just comes to adapting to that.” restaurant create a space for artists looking for inspiraBoth women attribute the success of the gallery and tion, visitors taking a day to relax, and for everyone to restaurant to that sense of inclusion. Both industries are feel at home and welcome. “Spaces like an art gallery led by a young demographic and making sure to both are unique in society,” says Badzak. “It’s about creating empower and listen to their employees has kept them space for people to take time for themselves and underrelevant. “Organizations are constantly growing and stand how they are connected in shifting,” says Badzak. “If you’re a more global or universal sense, comfortable with that, then you just as the restaurant is more can bring it to success, but you than just the food.” can never rest on your laurels.” This idea of self-care runs After 30 years, the OAG has throughout the project, and been reinvented as a cultural hub the restaurant’s ethos ties in to within Ottawa, creating both the that as well. Jackson, named for physical and mental space for the Group of Seven artist A.Y. patrons and artists alike to be Jackson, has largely plant-based inspired. “Often galleries are built offerings and sources organically as an island to themselves, but and sustainably whenever it can. there’s a new trend for galleries “If you take care of yourself, you and cultural destinations that puts have the capacity to take care of them in the heart of the city with many,” Gosselin reflects. more densified programs and partHaving women leaders in nership,” Badzak explains. For OAG rental inquiries this space has opened it up to “It’s the idea of approachBeth Evans a level of inclusivity that really ing it as a P3—a public private email@example.com demonstrates how far we have partnership—with a hotel and a 613.233.8699 +231 come in society. “In years past, condo unit, and a connection to it’s always felt like you’re doing the University of Ottawa’s it alone, you don’t really have theatre department. We also For OAG media inquiries any other women with you, hook up to the Arts Court buildVéronique Couillard which meant that you always ing, which houses over 25 arts firstname.lastname@example.org had to negotiate with men,” says organizations in it. This idea of 613-233-8699 +244 Gosselin. “It feels softer now: really bringing it all together— there’s an understanding now it’s a full city block that’s dedFor Jackson event inquires about the responsibilities you icated to the arts and this real email@example.com might have at home.” sense of a cultural hub.” www.jacksonottawa.com
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GIRLS+ROCK OTTAWA BRINGS HIGH VOLTAGE EMPOWERMENT TO THE STAGE BY H E N N Y B U F F I NG A
MPOWERMENT. INCLUSIVITY. COMMUNITY. FUN. These are
the words used to describe Girls + Rock Ottawa, a volunteer-run community organization that offers musicbased programming for girls, women, femmes, trans, non-binary, two-spirit, and gender non-conforming folk (girls+). The organization was created to make a place for people who identify as girls to have a voice and feel included. Whether their idol is Dolly
Parton or Debbie Harry, Girls+ Rock Ottawa is the perfect place for girls+ to get started, build the skills, and gain confidence to perform. The organization provides a community for girls+ to experience music in a positive and inclusive way, to make them feel represented and recognized, as well as safe and welcome. The flagship event is a three day weekend camp, which gives girls+ the opportunity to learn an instrument, join a band, and perform live.
Since its inception in 2007, they have run 13 rock camps in Ottawa, involving over 200 campers and more than 150 volunteers. Many campers return as volunteers when they get older; at their 2018 camp, 20 per cent of teachers were camp alumni. Since 2017, Girls+ Rock Ottawa has partnered with the National Arts Centre (NAC) to host the final showcase at the NAC fourth stage, giving the campers the chance of a lifetime to perform live on a professional stage. The
EMPOWERING the NEXT GEN of WOMEN LEADERS Go CODE Girl Workshops held in universities across Ontario to teach girls in grades 7-10 the basics in coding and the wide range of career opportunities available in technology, computing, and software engineering. www.onwie.ca/programs/go-code-girl
Technovation The world’s largest tech entrepreneurship competition for girls. Every year, they challenge age 10-18 year old girls to create a business plan and mobile app to address a problem in their community. www.technovationottawa.org
AmbiSHEous Their Startup Self Program takes girls through the process of planning a socially-responsible small business or social-profit enterprise. The workshop teaches them how to set goals, generate revenue, and allocate resources to achieve them. www.ambisheous.ca
GLOW For girls aged 9-14 to help them get the support and confidence they need to face bullying and unhealthy friendships, which may result in negative body image and poor self-confidence. www.glowprogram.com
Spice! Leadership Summer camps and youth programs that help young girls learn public speaking, media literacy, managing money, healthy living and body image, and more. www.spiceleadership.ca
Girl Guides For over 100 years, the Girl Guides program has helped young girls face the challenges ahead by exploring activities in art, sciences, the outdoors, global awareness, and more. www.girlguides.ca
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organization prides itself on fostering collaboration over competition, and creating an encouraging, empowering space for participants to improve their skills together. They have also added a camp for women 19+ to hone their musical skills. In addition to the camps, Girls+ Rock Ottawa hosts monthly jam sessions that are on a pay what you can basis to make sure participants aren’t excluded based on income. These sessions offer access to studio space and instruments to practice with a band or jam with new friends.
They also host workshops, including Vocal 101 and Songwriting 101, as well as entrepreneurial workshops like Gig Planning 101, where participants learn project management, communication, and financial literacy skills as they organize a music show. In 2018, Girls+ Rock Ottawa was awarded the United Way Ottawa’s GenNext Community Builder of the Year. www.girlsrockottawa.com
We Saved You a Seat We reserved up to 30% of classroom seats for qualified women in select technology programs. Learn more about how to receive program support, including mentoring and financial incentives.
algonquincollege.com/seat Changing Lives
GETTING WOMEN ON THE BOARD MEANS GETTING COMPANIES ON BOARD BY AL J E K AMMI NG A
The evidence is overwhelming—corporations with women on their boards do a better job than those with no women members. Studies show that women board members almost always deliver higher returns, tend to be more aggressive, and are loathe to settle for lacklustre performance. They provide diverse viewpoints, bring skills and experience, encourage innovation, and promote excellence.
Rosati’s organization—Women Get On Board—is working hard to change that. A member-based company, Women Get On Board connects, promotes, and empowers women to corporate boards. It approaches the challenge from both sides, identifying and empowering women candidates, then working with corporations to ensure the result is a good fit for both the company and the woman board member.
One might ask why women make up only 16.4 per cent of board members for Canada’s largest corporations? And why do nearly a third of Canada’s large corporations still have no women members on their boards?
“Really, it’s about setting both the company and the selected board member up for long-term success,” says Rosati. And success is possible. For example, 32 per cent of the Ottawa Board of Trade’s board of directors are women.
Deborah Rosati, founder and CEO of Women Get On Board Inc., thinks she knows why. And she’s determined to do something about it. “Generally, corporations don’t apply terms, limits, or age restrictions to their boards,” says Rosati. “As a result, turnover can be low. And that means many members stay on beyond their best-before date. Also, women don’t have the networks that men do so it can be more difficult for boards to identify suitable women candidates when they are seeking new members. “And frankly,” she adds, “many, if not most, corporations are simply not looking deep enough.”
Even though she deals with imbalance every day, Rosati says she is still surprised that Canada’s boardrooms are not more diverse. Nonetheless, she sees some positive changes on the horizon, most notably an increased willingness of progressive board members to increase board diversity. She offers some suggestions—and encouragement—to these agents of change. She says they would be well advised to consider the following: does your corporation regularly assess your board composition and evaluate its performance, are there term and/or limits for your current board, and what is your company doing to ensure there are diverse candidates in the board search process? “That’s just the beginning,” says Rosati. “We’ll get beyond the beginning when corporations across Canada recognize that everyone benefits when they do all they can to find the right woman with the right experience, knowledge, skill set, and personality.”
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Networking and Business Resources for Women in Ottawa ++BDC
++Canadian Association of Women in Construction (CAWIC) www.cawic.ca
of Business and Professional Women www.bpwottawa.com
++E Women Network
++Famous 5 Ottawa
++Professional Women’s Network www.pwncanada.ca
++Women’s Business Network of Ottawa www.womensbusiness network.ca
++Women in Communications
and Technology Ottawa-Gatineau Chapter www.wct-fct.com/en/about/ regional-chapters/nationalcapital-region
++Women Entrepreneurship Strategy www.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/ 107.nsf/eng/home
++Women Get On Board
HOW TO INCREASE YOUR CHANCES OF
GETTING ON A BOARD Experts agree, to get on a corporate board, women must be more than simply qualified. They must also be known. CEOs and nominating chairs routinely consult people they know and trust to fill a board seat. So if you’re not well known, you’re unlikely to be considered for selection. Still, Deborah Rosati, the CEO of Women Get On Board Inc., and others point out there are a number of things a woman can do to advance her candidacy. Here are five main ones: 1 E XPAND YOUR NETWORK Your network should allow you to meet CEOs and senior executives. Expand your network by asking them to introduce you to other senior executives, board members, and professional recruiters.
2 CONSIDER A BOARD TRAINING PROGRAM Board training programs can provide valuable information on topics such as board readiness, networking, branding your skill sets, board governance, and reading a financial report.
++Organization of Women in
++Women’s Network of Ottawa
++Ontario Native Women’s
++Women in Leadership
3 ENHANCE YOUR PROFESSIONAL PROFILE People who conduct board searches often look at newspapers and magazines to see who is being quoted and written about. They’ll get to know you better if you offer yourself as a subject matter expert to editors in the business and trade press.
++World of Women
4 START SMALL Serving on the boards of non-profits, startups, industry, or trade associations will allow you to acquire valuable knowledge and become better known.
++Network of Black Business and Professional Women www.nb2pw.org
International Trade (OWIT) Ottawa Chapter www.owit-ottawa.ca Association www.onwa.ca
++The Ottawa Board of Trade www.ottawabot.ca
Network Ottawa Chapter www.womensinfrastructure. ca/ottawa (WNO) www.meetup.com/WomensNetwork-of-Ottawa
Foundation Ottawa Chapter www.womeninleadership.ca/ ottawa-chapter www.wow-world-ofwomen.com
5 SEEK KNOWLEDGEABLE SUPPORT Organizations like Women Get On Board Inc. offer a wide range of training and support services, ranging from workshops to empower women to opportunities to increase your profile.
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A hospital without
Joanne Bezzubetz, President and CEO of the Royal Ottawa Health Care Group
Every year, in people in Canada experience a mental health problem.
OANNE BEZZUBETZ WAS named the President and CEO
of The Royal Ottawa Health Care Group last summer, making her not only the first female CEO of The Royal but the first female CEO of any hospital in Ottawa. “I was very pleased and a little nervous,” she says. “I am filling big shoes of an individual who made so many improvements over his 11 years here at The Royal, but people have been really fantastic since I started.” Bezzubetz first came to work at The Royal six years ago after working in B.C. for many years. “One of the things that really appealed to me at The Royal was the focus on combining excellent care with innovative research to improve the lives of clients and families living with mental illness,” she says. “Through research we are developing personalized treatment that will help more people get better, faster.” Although Bezzubetz is more than half a year into the role, she says she is still approached by clients and colleagues alike who comment on how great it is to have a woman as CEO. “I think the fact that we have female leaders is great, and we have to celebrate that, but the fact that we have competent female leaders is what we have to remember,” she emphasizes. “It’s not about just being a woman and getting into a leadership role.”
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ROBE RT C HIT T Y
New Leadership Offers Vision of Accessible Health Care
How mental health issues affect business: On any given week, at least
employed Canadians are unable to work due to a mental illness. Mental illness causes more lost work days than any other chronic condition. This translates to
$50 billion per year to the Canadian economy in lost productivity and direct costs.
Presenteeism, coming to work even though you aren’t feeling mentally up for the task, costs
As in many industries, healthcare has a predominantly female workforce and yet women aren’t necessarily reaching those top positions. There are a number of factors that lead to this discrepancy, including systemic barriers, receiving less advice from managers and senior leaders, unconscious bias—the list goes on. And of course, family and the fact that women are still often primary caregivers plays a role. “After starting a career, women sometimes have other priorities, and of course family has to come first, why wouldn’t it?” Bezzubetz asks. “There are hard choices that women still have to make in society that can at times throw a curve ball when it comes to being able to reach those top positions. But we are seeing more and more competent women leaders, and we’re trying to find ways to give women a hand up. And as a woman, having a different lens or perspective than a masculine counterpart, those are all assets.” The Royal specializes in caring for people dealing with mental health issues and substance use disorders. They have a care and research facility on Carling, as well as one in Brockville. In addition, they have a large team located in an office setting in the Carlingwood Shopping Centre. Offering care in a place where everyone goes anyway— like a shopping mall—helps clients feel less conspicuous and also gives them the opportunity to accomplish other daily activities while there, sometimes with support from The Royal’s team. Many of The Royal’s clients receive care without ever entering its facilities. The Royal offers outreach services, with staff visiting clients wherever they are—be that at their homes, long-term care facilities, shelters—when they are needed.
Life Running you Down? Have a Bounce Back Strategy
Bezzubetz’s vision for the future of The Royal focuses on a hospital without walls. She plans to create more services that meet people where they are—like mobile clinics, outreach in schools, and virtual care. An example of this is telemedicine, which makes access to the hospital’s resources easier for their clients who can access services over the phone or video conference. This can greatly help caretakers and parents by reducing the burden and inconvenience of dealing with transportation and waiting rooms to get help for their families. The Royal’s telemedicine program is approaching a staggering 7,000 interventions per year. They are always working on developing new services to make sure that their care is available faster. “We often hear, particularly when it comes to substance use, if services aren’t available immediately, the window to help closes,” says Bezzubetz. “That’s not the clients’ fault. We should have been available. We want to turn that around, to make it more client-centred instead of provider-centered.” Bezzubetz is very community oriented, and believes in leading the way by example. “There are characteristics of my leadership that are because I am a woman,” she says. “I don’t try to hide those characteristics, which may be viewed as feminine, because that’s part of who I am. Things like compassion, caring, sensitivity—I want people to know that they don’t have to hide those characteristics, whether they are men or women.” This summer you can find Bezzubetz running in the 2019 SHOPPERS Love. You. Run For Women—alongside some of her female—and male—colleagues and clients.
Stress in small doses can drive us forward but unrelenting stress can lead to burnout—a state of total physical, mental, and emotional exhaustion. Someone who is burnt out has lost the energy and drive to keep going, they feel like what they do is meaningless or a waste of time, and they become detached from things they were once passionate about. Burnout isn’t necessarily about how busy you are—overwhelming demands, unrealistic expectations, and boredom are all things that can lead to burnout.
• Embrace your network—talk to the people close to you and be open to receiving help • Take the word ‘should’ out of your vocabulary—stop measuring yourself against others • Get comfortable saying ‘no’—you don’t have to ‘do it all’ • Give yourself a time out—rediscover the things that bring you joy; take this time for yourself even if it means asking for help to be able to do so • Engage your body, mind, and spirit—activities like meditation, yoga, music, and aromatherapy can calm you and lift your mood • Get the basics right—eat healthy, sleep regularly, cut back on alcohol and other substances • Get a mental health checkup—talk to your family doctor if you don’t feel like yourself
Stop negative self-talk. Remind yourself that you are AWESOME. (Really. You are.)
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STRATOS SUPPORTS PARTNERSHIPS FOR RECONCILIATION
Neegann Aaswaakshin, Vice President and Partner, First Peoples Group
Left: Emma Bedlington, Manager, Stratos Inc. Right: Stephanie Meyer, President and Co-founder, Stratos Inc.
TRATOS INC. VIEWS reconcilia-
tion with Indigenous peoples as a cornerstone in building a stronger country for all Canadians. The Ottawa-based management consultancy, established in 2000, has a reputation for effectively assisting a wide variety of clients (including governments, businesses, and civil society organizations across Canada) to navigate complex sustainability problems and implement holistic solutions. “Our whole approach is to ask, ‘how can we do things differently to lead to better environmental and social outcomes?’” says Stephanie Meyer, the company’s president and co-founder. Stratos publicly launched its reconciliation strategy in June 2018, one of the first for a Canadian consulting company. “We made a very specific decision to share the document publicly and to include specific actions for implementation,” says Emma Bedlington, a manager with Stratos. “We think it is really important to lead by action—to ‘walk the talk’ so to speak.” Stratos’ strategy reflects the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s Calls to Action and is built around three themes. One theme is to implement business and human resource practices that create opportunities for Indigenous people and businesses in Canada.
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The second theme is to educate and empower the Stratos team and its partners to build meaningful relationships with Indigenous peoples. The third theme is to ensure that the firm’s projects respect and support the principles of reconciliation. To that end, Stratos is working to systematically embed Indigenous peoples’ perspectives into its projects and to strengthen its partnerships with Indigenous-owned firms. Stratos has a strong partnership with First Peoples Group (FPG), an Indigenous advisory firm founded in 2006. FPG provides a multitude of professional services to governments and private groups on varying projects and initiatives including Indigenous awareness education, environmental stewardship, Indigenous engagement, project and business development, and planning related to Indigenous clients and their traditional territories. “First Peoples Group has been really strategic in moving forward with partners to make sure that real Indigenous voices are included,” explains Neegann Aaswaakshin, a vice-president and partner based in Vancouver. “One of the reasons that we decided to enter into a formal partnership with Stratos
IAN DIAM OND
is because of their values in terms of stewardship capability and reconciliation. Stratos has made reconciliation a priority in their long-term business and strategic planning,” she says. “Our friendship and partnership with FPG allows us to work together to advance both our reconciliation and sustainability agendas,” adds Bedlington. This partnership approach is reflected in a gathering that Stratos and FPG recently convened in Ottawa, attended by several government departments and groups as well as a range of Indigenous organizations. The purpose of this gathering was to foster meaningful conversation around what it means to advance reconciliation between Indigenous peoples and the Government of Canada. “At Stratos we like to convene meaningful dialogues around really complex issues for Canada, and we see reconciliation as one of these,” says Bedlington. “The purpose of the session was to start that conversation and to create a safe space for people who don’t often get to speak to each other in an informal setting.” While the firm works across Canada, and with clients who operate globally,
they’re very pleased to be an Ottawa based company. “We enjoy working and living in Ottawa, both through our professional consulting work and through our volunteerism. We try to have a strong reach and to also be well grounded within the city,” says Meyer. For example, she notes, Stratos is proud to have advanced sustainability within the National Capital Region through its strategy work with organizations including the City of Ottawa, the National Capital Commission, Canada Post Corporation, Business Development Canada, and the Canadian Museum of Nature, along with a range of federal government departments and agencies. Stratos employs 27 people, about twothirds of which are female. More than 20 of those employees are located here in the NCR. Women are in prominent positions throughout Stratos’ leadership team. Stratos recognizes gender as a dimension of sustainability and that women play an important role in reconciliation. Complex problem-solving requires and benefits from a variety of perspectives and world views,” says Bedlington. “This helps us chart a different path and make meaningful progress.”
“Our friendship and partnership with First Peoples Group allows us to work together to advance both our reconciliation and sustainability agendas.”
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BY AL J E K AMMI NG A
AS OTTAWA IMMIGRANT WOMEN ENTREPRENEURS PROSPER,
EW COUNTRIES ENJOY the
cultural, social, and economic benefits of immigration more than Canada. The Conference Board of Canada says we welcome more than 300,000 immigrants every year. This at a time when many countries have chosen to close their borders to this influx of talent. Many of those immigrants are coming to Ottawa. In fact, Canada’s 2016 census shows that more immigrants than ever are settling in the National Capital Region (NCR), continuing a decades-long trend of steady growth. According to that census, nearly 38,000 new immigrants arrived in the NCR between 2011 and 2016. So it comes as no surprise that immigrants now make up about one-fifth of the NCR’s population. A significant percentage of these immigrants—30 per cent according to one recent study—own and operate small- and medium-sized businesses (SMEs). These immigrant entrepreneurs bring a unique combination of skill, determination, and experience to the workplace. Like all successful entrepreneurs, they contribute significantly to the economy by creating jobs and generating wealth. Many of these entrepreneurs are women. And, to the surprise of no-one, the majority have done well. Two of those successful women entrepreneurs—both recently honoured for their achievements—are Huiping Zhang, owner and president of Wintranslation, an award-winning translation company, and Karla Briones, who
operates several businesses and runs her own consultancy in Ottawa. Both were recognized for their achievements at the City of Ottawa’s seventh annual Immigrant Entrepreneur Awards. The awards recognize business leaders born outside of Canada who have harnessed their entrepreneurial skills to make a significant impact on the economy in the National Capital Region. Successful candidates show a commitment to hiring local talent, mentoring other entrepreneurs, and taking an active role in the local community. Oddly enough, given her success over the past two decades, Zhang recalls that when she started Wintranslation, she wasn’t sure she had what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur. “I was a new mother, I didn’t know much, if anything, about marketing or sales,” she explains. “Proper accounting was a mystery. I was basically a disorganized person. So even before I got started, I was tempted to give up.” But she didn’t give up. Instead, she drew on a lesson—a gift, she calls it now—passed down by her parents. “They taught me to never forget to look at the big picture,” she says. “There would be doubts, there would be setbacks, they told me, but by keeping my eye on the big picture, I could overcome anything.” And for immigrant entrepreneurs, women especially, there are always hurdles, be they financial, logistical, or even cultural. “It can be as simple as being expected to have a drink with your customers,” says Zhang.
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“Say ‘no’ in some cultures and you risk offending the customer or making them look bad, in spite of the fact you might not drink. Networking is a great way to promote your business but some customers may find your efforts invasive or unbecoming.” On the flip side, she says, cultural differences can be an advantage. That’s especially true for Wintranslation, which offers support services in 127 different languages. “Today, we employ a broad network of translators,” says Zhang, “many of whom are Canadian newcomers and Indigenous people. Approximately 90 per cent of our employees—and we now have a workforce of more than 100—are immigrants and 70 per cent are women.” Unlike Zhang, who had some early doubts about becoming an entrepreneur, Briones took to entrepreneurship, well, like a child takes to candy. “I was six years old when my dad loaned me the money to buy wholesale candy,” she recalls. “I went door-to-door, selling my candy at retail prices.” As her business prospered, Briones realized that she would have to expand if she wished to remain successful (she was running out of houses) so she moved her candy-selling operation to the school yard. That was fine until school officials noted a sizeable dip in business at the school cafeteria. That was the end of Briones’ candy-selling business. But it was the start of an entrepreneurial adventure that continues today. And while a change of direction is likely, the adventure is clearly picking up steam.
KE VIN BEL ANGER
Karla Briones, Business Owner and Consultant
Again, her father—who successfully established a veterinary service with just $8,000 even though he had been told it would take a $1 million—played a pivotal role. “I was working in public relations when I realized I wasn’t happy. I was happily married, but I wanted to control my own life. My husband suggested a wait-and-see attitude but my father simply asked, ‘why don’t you?’ So I did,” she says. A pet store soon followed. Then a second one. Both thrived. So when Briones—a vegan— told her husband she now wanted to open a vegan food store, he readily agreed. “I’ve learned never to doubt you,” he told her. Today, in addition to running what has become a small business empire, Briones is doing what she can to help other immigrant entrepreneurs, particularly women. And, that she believes, is where her future lies. “At the
Huiping Zhang, Owner and President of Wintranslation
moment, I can devote only one day a week to helping other entrepreneurs. But if I exit my brick and mortar businesses—and I want to— I’ll be able to offer assistance full-time.” “Immigrants are natural entrepreneurs,” she says, pointing out that most of the Mexican workforce own or operate small businesses. “When they arrive in Canada, their education, their training, and their ability to secure funds are all in doubt. I’d like to give them the tools they need to overcome those obstacles and to take advantage of the many entrepreneurial opportunities available in Canada.” In time, those immigrant entrepreneurs who persevere will create jobs, generate wealth and contribute—socially, culturally, and economically—to their adopted homes.
“Immigrants are natural entrepreneurs.”
Alje Kamminga is a former journalist and speechwriter who enjoys bridge, baseball and backgammon.
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A helping hand for women entrepreneurs Businesses started and run by women often encounter additional barriers in accessing capital. As a result, women entrepreneurs are less likely to seek debt and equity financing. Even if they do, they usually receive less money or are simply rejected.
This explains, in part, why only
16 % Getting started: Tips for immigrant women entrepreneurs If immigrant women entrepreneurs are to succeed, preparation, planning, and a positive attitude are essential. An expert on entrepreneurship offers eight tips to help immigrant women get off to the best start to their entrepreneurial adventure. 1 P LANNING IS KEY You may not need a business plan, but you do need a planning process. 2 K EEPING IT SMALL IS OK Try running your small business online, on weekends, and in your spare time to provide extra income. 3 B ARTER IN MODERATION Exchanging professional services or bartering for needed materials can be a budget saver.
of small- and medium-sized enterprises in Canada are majority women-owned and only
of high-growth firms are owned by women. Source: Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada
In response to this situation, the Government of Canada recently announced the creation of the Women Entrepreneurship Fund to help female business owners of small- and medium-sized businesses grow their companies and increase access to international markets. Through the fund, women entrepreneurs in Canada will have access to $20 million in federal cash. Funds will be available on an application basis for the next two years. Each applicant will be able to request up to $100,000 in non-repayable contribution funding.
4 T AP IN GOVERNMENT RESOURCES Government at every level provides free and easily accessible information and support. 5 N ETWORKING IS NECESSARY Who you know is almost sure to be an important part of your successful small business journey. CLEAR CUSTOMER PICTURE IS ESSENTIAL 6 A Your knowledge about the customer you want to serve determines where you’ll advertise and the content of your marketing. 7 B E CULTURALLY AWARE Canadian culture is rich and complex, so cultural awareness is necessary. EEK EXPERT HELP 8 S Accessing experts can save you a lot of heartaches and headaches.
NEED YOUR FOREIGN CREDENTIALS ASSESSED? The Ottawa Community Immigrant Services Organization (OCISO) has an exciting mentorship pilot project called the Foreign Credential Recognition Mentorship Program (FCRP)! This unique program brings together internationally trained professionals from regulated professions including law, health, engineering, teaching, and more. Learn more at www.ociso.org
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HELPING IMMIGRANT WOMEN OVERCOME EMPLOYMENT BARRIERS W
HILE THE ROAD to successful
integration for many immigrants is challenging, it can be a particularly difficult journey for immigrant women. According to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, immigrant women are much less likely to find employment than their male counterparts. And even those who do are almost certain to earn less than male immigrants. Ingrid Argyle, the managing director at Ottawa Employment Hub, and Hindia Mohamoud, director of the Ottawa Local Immigration Partnership (OLIP), are trying to create a better understanding of the problem and what can be done about it. Together, the two organizations are leveraging the expertise of academic researchers and partner organizations to create a nuanced understanding of the labour market experience of newcomers, with attention to the intersection of gender, race, and immigration status.
“We know, for example, that immigrant women, the large majority of whom are racialized, face intersecting barriers to employment, such as access to childcare, discrimination, lack of recognition of experience and credentials acquired outside of Canada, and isolation from professional networks,” says Argyle. “This goes beyond commonly cited language barriers, and the result—as shown by the data—is a lower labour force participation rate and higher unemployment rate compared to both Canadian-born women and immigrant men.” “It is important to create targeted strategies that remove the specific barriers facing immigrant women, while at the same time addressing bias and discrimination in hiring and workplace receptivity. Creating these solutions will require new capacities and concerted collaborative planning by multiple stakeholders,” says Mohamoud.
1/4 of Ottawa’s female
population are immigrants
The good news is that many local organizations—employment service providers, business associations, immigrant and refugee settlement agencies, colleges and universities, municipal, health and social service and other organizations—partner with both Ottawa Employment Hub and the Ottawa Local Immigration Partnership. Together, these groups are identifying and generating opportunities for immigrant women, addressing barriers to immigrant women’s employment, and connecting immigrant talent with employment and entrepreneurship opportunities. Local employers can broaden their search for talent by reaching out to these organizations. A great place to start is Hire Immigrants Ottawa, an initiative to enhance employers’ ability to access the talents of skilled immigrants in the Ottawa area.
Almost 80% of immigrant women work in the following occupations:
24% Sales and service occupations 21% Business, finance, and administration occupations
Immigrant women are highly educated
Knowledge of Official language
66% Post secondary certificate,
94% The majority of Ottawa’s
diploma, or degree
Top 3 major field of study
21% Business, management, and
immigrant women speak English and/or French
6% Speak neither English nor French
Labour force status highlights for Ottawa’s immigrant women
sciences and law
59% Labour force participation rate 54% Employment rate 8% Unemployment rate
18% Health and related fields 17% Social and behavioural
Statistics Canada, 2016 Census of Population
20% Occupations in education, law 14%
and social, community, and government services Health occupations
Two-third of immigrant women work in the following five industries:
21% Health care and social assistance 18% Public administration 10% Educational services 9% Retail trade 9% Professional, scientific, and technical services
TH E BUS I N E S S M AG A Z I N E OF TH E OT TAWA BOA R D OF TR A D E | S P R I N G 2 01 9 C A P I TA L 5 7
HIGH SCHOOL ABROAD TRAVEL TODAY FOR A BRIGHTER TOMORROW
Machu Picchu, Peru
HE CHALLENGES THAT come with language barriers, making new friends, and navigating different cultures not only fuels growth, it makes for a great story—one that stands out on a post secondary application. In today’s globalized society, it takes more than good academic standings to be a standout candidate amongst peers; the value gained while studying abroad can help land some students at the top of the admissions pile. Blyth Academy international study programs are designed for today’s high school students. We believe earning credits while being immersed in different cultures and experiencing the challenges and rewards of travelling as teenagers strengthens character and creates effective leaders. Post secondary schools and
STUDYING WHILE TRAVELLING ABROAD TEACHES HIGH SCHOOLERS LIFE LESSONS THAT CAN’T BE LEARNED IN A CLASSROOM.
5 8 C A P ITAL S PRI NG 2019 | THE BUSINES S MAG A ZINE OF THE OT TAWA BOA R D OF TR A D E
employers often recognize students who studied abroad as being more adaptable, independent, and well rounded. Learning to be Adaptable Travelling abroad while completing high school credits really brings learning to life and forgoes the traditional classroom dynamic. Imagine studying art history in the Louvre in Paris, functions on the Ponte Vecchio in Florence, or biology in Airlie Beach in Australia; the environment becomes the classroom and the cultures become the lesson. Students who study abroad develop the ability to adjust to different situations in new environments whether navigating the transit system in a new country, ordering lunch in a different language, or studying for exams while setting sail on the Adriatic Sea.
“Blyth Academy International Summers programs offer students grades 9 to 12 over 25 programs in over 30 countries.”
Learning to be Culturally Sensitive Studying abroad is more than travelling. Students aren’t just visiting new countries; they’re living the life of locals as much as possible. Learning about the history, foods, customs, and values are all part of the immersion process. The ability to coexist with different people makes students culturally sensitive at a young age, which is so important in our globalized world. Learning A Global Mindset During some of our programs abroad, students get the opportunity to earn community service hours by volunteering in local communities in need. This March Break, students are heading to Peru and Costa Rica to work with animals and children, and take part in revitalization projects. The experiences are designed to open their eyes to other cultures and ways of life, as well as challenges faced in developing countries. Gaining great knowledge of the world expands their understanding and informs their perspectives on things like social issues and international conflicts.
Chiang Rai, Thailand
Learning to be Independent Travelling as a group of students, without parents, gives teenagers the confidence to adapt to situations and problem solve. Learning to rely on themselves for laundry, eating, and sleeping (with the supervision of school staff), gives students a chance to assert themselves, make mistakes, and learn invaluable lessons they will take with them to post secondary school and beyond. Leaving the high school bubble behind, and even travelling without friends, forces students to get outside of their comfort zone, try new things, and meet new people. Learning to Communicate While travelling through different cultures, students quickly become savvy at communicating with people who speak different languages. Getting to know gestures, respectable customs, and even learning new languages makes them comfortable communicating with others and making networking connections that may be beneficial down the road.
Blyth Academy International Summer programs offer students grades 9 to 12 over 25 programs in over 30 countries. March Break Community Service programs travel to Central and South America for hands-on volunteer work and outdoor adventure. Our Global High School program travels the world for four terms to Europe, Asia, Australia, New Zealand, and Central and South America. We offer learning experiences in safe environments that go beyond any classroom education at home. Our goal is to help develop well-rounded young adults. Adding world experience to high school education can change the course of a student’s academics and inspire career aspirations. We encourage you to visit us at www.blythacademy.ca international for all of our study abroad opportunities.
TH E BUS I N E S S M AG A Z I N E OF TH E OT TAWA BOA R D OF TR A D E | S P R I N G 2 01 9 C A P I TA L 5 9
ASK THE EXPERTS
HOW TO MAKE THE MOST OF YOUR MONEY
A TAX DOLLAR SAVED IS BETTER THAN A DOLLAR EARNED
“Most people say you can’t avoid death or taxes,” says Joelle Hall, Investment Advisor with The O’Brien Team at Richardson GMP. “But you can reduce the amount of tax that you pay.”
HE O’BRIEN TEAM operates under the umbrella of
Richardson GMP, Canada’s leading independent wealth management firm. “We help business owners and professionals maximize how much money they have to do the things they love by using tax reduction strategies wrapped around investment advice,” Hall explains. With tax rates as high as they are, finding ways to correctly reduce the amount of taxes you pay will make a huge difference in your take-home amount. “Think of it like this,” explains Paula O’Brien, Director, Wealth Management. “A tax-dollar saved is one that you don’t have to take out of your investment portfolio to give to the Canada Revenue Agency: this will make the portfolio last longer.” The O’Brien Team was founded by O’Brien, who made a career change after working as a chartered professional accountant for many years. More recently, she met Hall at a networking event and they bonded over their past lives as accountants. Now they work together and use their advanced tax knowledge in addition to their expertise in finance to help their clients make the most of their money.
6 0 C A P I TAL S PRI NG 2019 | THE BUSINES S MAG A ZINE O F THE OT TAWA BOA R D OF TR A D E
“A client has to feel comfortable in everything that we do to allow them to share very intimate details of their lives—some of them personal, some of them financial—because really what we’re trying to be is a dream advocate for them to help them achieve their goals.”
Left: Joelle Hall, Investment Advisor Right: Paula O’Brien, Director, Wealth Management, Portfolio Manager
As self-described “tax geeks,” the pair work well together to manage all aspects of their clients’ financial portfolios. “We know that cash flow doesn’t necessarily equal taxable income,” says Hall. “We help people plan for the cash flow they want while attracting the least amount of tax. We look at tax-reduction strategies over our clients’ entire investing horizon: from when they are growing their assets to when they are spending during retirement and, if they so desire, leaving some for the next generation.” Richardson GMP is the first wealth management company in Canada to be certified by the Centre for Fiduciary Excellence, which means the firm opens themselves to a rigorous, independent thirdparty audit of their practices. This esteemed annual certification program ensures that Richardson GMP’s Portfolio Management Account platform, for those advisors who have been delegated control over investment decisions for their clients, conforms to the global fiduciary standards of excellence. As a portfolio manager, O’Brien takes her role very seriously, ensuring she and her team act in the best interest of their clients.
Their open architecture and innovative solutions mean they are not restricted in finding the types of investments that are best suited to their clients. This freedom allows them to create unique funds and fill marketplace gaps, and look for off-market opportunities when appropriate for their clients. When it comes to divulging your finances to someone, trust is key. “A client has to feel comfortable in everything that we do to allow them to share very intimate details of their lives—some of them personal, some of them financial—because really what we’re trying to be is a dream advocate for them to help them achieve their goals,” says O’Brien. “If there’s no trust, then we shouldn’t be their advisor.” They start the process off with new clients with what they call a “fit” meeting, to make sure there is a mutual feeling of comfort. The O’Brien Team builds relationships with their clients that extend through multiple generations. That’s why succession was on O’Brien’s mind when she took Hall into the fold. They now have a plan in place for Hall to assume leadership of the team in the next two years, but with an extended period of overlap to ensure a smooth experience for their clients. The client experience is always top of mind. As advisors, The O’Brien Team develops close relationships that allow them to witness the milestones in their clients’ lives. “We always love to get those calls when a client wants to take money out to buy a home for their family, or finally buy that boat they’ve talked about for years,” says O’Brien. “We are truly honoured to make a difference in our clients’ lives and witness the achievement of their goals.” Hall and O’Brien encourage investors to think about tax planning and investment planning being intertwined, not as isolated considerations only to be addressed at tax time. Their approach has a compounding impact on portfolios and can help you achieve your bucket list sooner!
TH E BUS I N E S S M AG A Z I N E OF TH E OT TAWA BOA R D OF TR A D E | S P R I N G 2 01 9 C A P I TA L 6 1
A YOUNG PROFESSIONAL
MAKING A DIFFERENCE IN OUR COMMUNITY
Helena Sonea, Manager, Public Issues at the Canadian Cancer Society
Y DAY, 28-YEAR-OLD Helena
Sonea is the Manager, Public Issues at the Canadian Cancer Society where she works on influencing public policy in support of cancer patients and their caregivers. It’s a very busy job, but one to which she brings her passion for helping others. Outside of her “day job,” Sonea has also given the gift of her time to a number of local charitable organizations. All of her volunteer work has been focused on, as she says, “creating a more inclusive society for people who are vulnerable.” She is inspired to do so by her parents who worked tirelessly to give the best opportunities to succeed in life to her two brothers who are on the autism spectrum. Two years ago, Sonea answered the call to become the founding Chair of The Ottawa Mission Foundation’s Young Professionals Network (YPN). The YPN is a collective of like-minded professionals whose goal is to raise awareness about homelessness and poverty in Ottawa. Sonea did her homework before joining the YPN, and was impressed at how many different programs are offered at The Mission—including job training,
addiction, and trauma treatment, and medical and palliative care– and the calibre of the work being done to change lives. She also learned that the need for supporting people who are homeless and hurting in Ottawa has never been greater—and she is determined to be part of the solution. Sonea’s vision for the YPN going forward is to increase their involvement in a variety of volunteer opportunities at the shelter, such as continuing to participate in established Mission fundraisers including Coldest Night of the Year, the Blue Door Gala, and the YPN annual event. The Ottawa Mission is very fortunate to have Sonea leading the YPN charge, and is actively recruiting other young professionals like her to get involved on the executive team and as general members. Throughout her life, Sonea has been guided by the mentorship of many women she has met along her journey, and her advice to other young women who want to succeed in life and make a difference along the way is, “don’t be afraid to ask questions—lots of questions, and in your career and your life, don’t be afraid to do what is best for you and makes you happy.”
6 2 C A P I TAL S PRI NG 2019 | THE BUSINES S MAG A ZINE OF THE OT TAWA BOA R D OF TR A D E
If you are a young professional and would like to be part of a movement to make a difference in our community, or to learn how you can join Helena Sonea and the YPN, please contact Erin Helmer at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 613-234-1155 ext. 424
Ottawa International Union of Painters and Allied Trades Ontario Council Local 200
HE CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY is not known as a trade
that is traditionally very open to women, but there are women making it in the industry. They work hard, hold their own, and don’t expect special treatment from anyone. Natalie Godin has been a glazier in the Ottawa region since 2000. Glaziers install architectural metal frames and glass into buildings, primarily in the commercial and institutional sectors. It’s a physically demanding job, where you spend your entire shift outside in the hard sun or bitter cold of Ottawa winters. Godin got her start in the industry when someone noticed how hard she worked on her own home. “I met someone that noticed that I was doing my own renovations, my own anything,” she says. “If something needed to be done, I would just do it. So he gave me a chance.” She started out working on the Quebec side, where she lives, because they were able to offer guaranteed hours, something she needed as a single parent with three boys. “As a woman in construction, you have to work hard,” she says. “You have to surpass yourself; you can’t be a slacker. You have to give 110 per cent if you want to succeed, so you have to work pretty damn hard. And I did.” Her hard work is what set her apart on site. Godin was never the first one laid off when work slowed down, because her work ethic was well known. Having women on site in the demanding jobs, like being a glazier, can be a benefit to employers as it motivates the men. “I was told that maybe if the guys see you doing certain things, they’ll pick up their boots and do it themselves and stop complaining,” she explains. “And it’s true. When they see a woman climbing up high, they kind of shut up and get to work.” Godin is a petite woman, which doesn’t make her job any easier, but it’s her endurance that keeps her going. “I wouldn’t stop until it was time to go to bed,” she says. “Once you’ve spent eight hours outside in the wintertime, if you sit down you aren’t getting back up. Raising three boys, that wasn’t an option. When I get home, the other shift starts.” When you’re surrounded by men at work, you have to have a sense of humour, she says. She always wanted her colleagues to be able to speak freely around her and treat her as one of the guys. As for earning their respect, she says it’s the same for anyone starting out. If you start off by dragging your boots, that’s what you’ll be remembered for. Godin emphasizes that she was always treated well, but she made her own way. “If you have a bit of heart, you’re going to succeed,” she says. “I was never afraid of getting dirty. But to convince them you can do it, you need to be convinced yourself.” Godin is a member of the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades Ontario Council (IUPAT). Local 200 represents a variety of skilled trades in the Ottawa region, including painters, drywall finishers, glaziers (glass and metal technicians), EIFS stucco workers, and hazardous materials workers. The union helps workers get a fair wage, combat unfair treatment from employers, complete further training in their industry, and improve their standard of living. “I will say they opened doors for us, they were there to help us and give us a chance, more than some industries that may not be as open to what we can do,” says Godin. “They never made it hard for me as a woman.”
The year Local 200 received their charter
female Hazmat worker
890 total members
female drywall tapers
Natalie Godin, Glazier
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BOUTIQUE ACCOUNTING FIRM POSITIONED FOR GROWTH IN THE CITY OF OTTAWA
I ALWAYS HAVE clients who say ‘I’m making money—
but why don’t I see it in my bank account?’” says Andrew Abraham, the founding, Managing Partner and President of Elite Accounting, an accounting firm that specializes in supporting local businesses and entrepreneurs in Ottawa. “That’s a very common question, and a big concern for small business owners,” he says. “They can see that there’s profit on paper, but they don’t really feel it. What we do here is not only full cycle accounting but we help our clients manage cash flow. We have developed tools that help our clients get on a weekly schedule—controlling what comes in, and what goes out. When you’re able to manage cash flow weekly, our entrepreneur clients are able to repay debt and save at the same time. It’s all about building better habits.” If there is a shortfall somewhere, he explains that with their expertise they are able to identify it quickly which means that they can manage it quickly as well. This year the company is celebrating their tenth year of business and they recently acquired a new partner from within. “It’s very rewarding to have one of my senior accountants buy a piece of the book of business last year and become a partner,” Abraham reflects. “For me, seeing my business go from only having one client to having someone else enthusiastically buy-in and work under the firm banner—it just shows how far we’ve come.” In addition to individual and corporate tax services, Elite Accounting offers a managed accounting service, which includes monthly
bookkeeping, sales tax filing, payroll, and year end corporate tax filing. This service combines the roles of accountants, bookkeepers, and administrative staff allowing clients to have access to constant support and benefit from advice throughout the year. Abraham is always finding himself with new projects. Along the way, he also started another business—the OCM Auto Financing Fund. He says the idea stemmed from the fact that he’s always looking for ways for his friends and clients to diversify their financial portfolios. With the stock market up and down, this is a steady alternative investment for them. Elite Accounting is making a name for themselves within the Ottawa business community by capitalizing on word of mouth. “Because of all the organic growth we have seen, a lot of our new clients are referrals,” Abraham says. “That’s important to me, because a referral is really an extension of [the referring company’s] service and we need to reciprocate that level of service. We want people to be able to refer us because they are confident that we will handle their referred client as well as they would, if not better.” Coming from a Big Four accounting firm, Abraham went out on his own and grew his business. As an entrepreneur himself, he takes pride in helping others on that path. “I started this out of my home,” says Abraham. “It went from a small home office to a permanent office on Bank Street, where we have worked hard to provide a warm and welcoming environment to meet our clients and display our work.”
Andrew Abraham, Founding, Managing Partner and President 6 4 C A P I TAL S PRI NG 2019 | THE BUSINES S MAG A ZINE O F THE OT TAWA BOA R D OF TR A D E
JUST A CLOUD
“Moving into a cloud experience really isn’t something you do on your own; we’re here to shepherd you on the way.”
LASH BACK TO 2013. The words
“selfie” and “twerk” were first added to the official lexicon. Barack Obama just started his second term as President of the United States. Edward Snowden released NSA documents and fled the U.S. And BriteSky was founded. In 2013, many companies were worried about backup resources, disaster recovery, and security. The cloud was just beginning to make its name here in Canada, and many people still didn’t understand what it was. That’s where BriteSky came in. Operating alongside Decisive Technologies, founders Joey Harrison, Richard Losier, and Mike Smith created BriteSky as their own enterprise cloud to offer services to their enterprise customers. They were operating Decisive out of a 2,000 square foot office. “We thought it was going to be plenty of room for a long, long time,” laughs Losier. “But within two years
we were pushing fifteen people in that little space. Because we are so technically driven, we also had big server racks taking up a big chunk of that space. If you know anything about servers you’ll know that they suck a lot of power and give off a lot of heat. And they’re noisy!” Losier had the idea of moving everything into a co-located facility, and once they did, they were able to redesign their business. Decisive and BriteSky are two complementary companies that operate separately but share resources. Decisive provides professional and architectural services to their customers, as well as selling IT products to help clients get what they need to operate their businesses. BriteSky offers cloud services such as storage, DRaaS, IaaS, BaaS, SIEM, Firewall management, and their new on-premises solution, BriteSky Aurora Cloud services. BriteSky had a different vision of what cloud could be. By putting deployable Portable On Demand Data Center (PODDs)
across the country (currently Toronto, Ottawa, and Calgary), as well as having the ability to place BriteSky Aurora PODDs on premises for their clients, BriteSky gives the customer unlimited flexibility and unsurpassed peace of mind. This allows customers to improve their business processes, competitiveness, or meet regulatory compliance. “As we’ve grown, we’ve continued to add capabilities,” says Harrison. “Decisive has been the engine behind it, but we’ve really been able to innovate with BriteSky offerings that have immediate results, giving customers the opportunity to meet real business objectives.” “We are able to customize our services to what our clients need,” explains Harrison. “We have a highly technical team that is able to give our clients the best of both worlds. Moving into a cloud experience really isn’t something you do on your own; we’re here to shepherd you on the way. We actually find that most customers don’t want to deal exclusively with the cloud, so we help them reach the outcomes they are looking for by combining our services.” On May 16th, BriteSky is holding a technology showcase at the Infiniti Centre. The event will feature their top partners, as well as many vendors and keynote seminars held throughout the day to learn about their technology and how it can help enterprise.
TH E BUS I N E S S M AG A Z I N E OF TH E OT TAWA BOA R D OF TR A D E | S P R I N G 2 01 9 C A P I TA L 6 5
THE LAST WORD
A CONVERSATION WITH THE RIGHT HONOURABLE BEVERLEY MCLACHLIN BY H E N N Y B U F F I NG A
first woman to ever hold the position of Chief Justice of Canada, and was the longest serving Chief Justice in Canadian history, serving between 2000 and 2017. A pioneer in the field of law, McLachlin found herself in the position of being a role model for young women across Canada. First called to the bar in 1969, McLachlin’s career coincided with major changes for women in the workplace. I had the opportunity to chat with her about her career and reflections on the ever changing landscape for women in leadership. Henny Buffinga: Did you first encounter a lot of resistance as a woman in the field of law? How did you deal with it? Beverley McLachlin: It was a very different day. I graduated from law in 1968, and in my class of law there were only five women. We would have been somewhere under ten per cent. That was considered a big advance, because a few years before there were virtually no women. It was a very male-dominated atmosphere. It wasn’t that people were hostile to women, but at the time there was an assumption that lawyers should, and would, be men. Occasionally one suffers from what we now call imposter’s syndrome. Many stereotypical notions still pervaded law firms and other legal institutions, so it was not as easy as it is now to make it as a woman in law. At the same time, it was a time when things were starting to change. And there were a number of wonderful people around, men, who could see that things should change. I was fortunate in my career that I had people like that who treated me completely equally and tried to do what they could to help me become a good lawyer and further my career.
HB: You worked with a lot of impressive women, is there anyone you considered to be inspiring? BM: There were very few women when I started off, but as time went by I encountered some very impressive women and I learned and was encouraged by them. In British Columbia, there was a lawyer who was practically the only woman doing litigation in the seventies, her name is Mary Southam, and she later became a judge, and people like Justice Pat Proudfoot, and more and more as time went on. They were pioneers. I was lucky when I was appointed to the Supreme Court to have two women before me: Bertha Wilson, the first woman to be appointed to the Supreme Court, and Claire L’Heureux-Dubé, who is a very strong and wonderful person. HB: The course of your career coincided with a lot of change for women, could you feel that change as it was happening? BM: Oh, it was so obvious! In 1968, less than ten per cent of the class were women, and just a few years later, it was almost half. HB: Do you have any advice for women in male-dominated fields? BM: You have to persevere. You have to be resilient. You may occasionally encounter attitudes and barriers that you think are unfair, but you have to recognize that the world is changing; you can’t give up just because you face those barriers. It’s not right that you should have to face them, but you have to be resilient and move on. HB: What do you consider to be some of your greatest achievements as chief justice?
6 6 C A P I TAL S PRI NG 2019 | THE BUSINES S MAG A ZINE O F THE OT TAWA BOA R D OF TR A D E
The Right Honourable Beverley McLachlin, Retired Chief Justice of Canada
“I found that just the fact that I was there, as a woman, holding that office, was really important to mothers, fathers, and children. The idea that a woman could be the chief justice seemed to inspire people.”
BM: That’s so hard for me to say. People who come after me can make a better pronouncement on that. But I can tell you what I tried to do, which was to be the best judge that I could be, and help my colleagues as well as I could, and to make sure the court was working as a cohesive whole. I found that just the fact that I was there, as a woman, holding that office, was really important to mothers, fathers, and children. The idea that a woman could be the chief justice seemed to inspire people. I can’t take personal credit for that, but it was a remarkable thing—parents would bring their little girls up to introduce me and I would see their eyes shining. Children would send me projects from school. People throughout Canada were encouraged that women were taking a more prominent role in public affairs, and I, as Chief Justice, was a symbol of that.
C AP ITALM AG .C A
ROY GROG AN
EVERLEY MCLACHLIN WAS the
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