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Over the years, Minerva BC has had the absolute privilege of working with some our province’s most inspiring and impactful values-based leaders. Some have been at the pinnacle of their careers while many others are just beginning or part way through their leadership journey. We would like to introduce you to some of these leaders from the Minerva BC community, as we believe there’s much to learn from one another.

Below, Barbara Baronova, Events Manager at the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade and alumna of Women Leading the Way™, shares how the program helped to shape her “inner voice” and define her values.

What motivated you to join the program?

I felt I needed some guidance in both my personal and professional life. I was not sure about my next steps in my career and I knew it all has to start from figuring out what the “inner voice” has to say to me but I did not know how to listen to it. Minerva BC has helped me immensely in that regards.

What is one thing you learned from the program that influenced your leadership development?

I was able to clearly define my values and as a result of that I realized how much these inform my decision making at work. Since then I keep this in mind when my team or co-workers make decisions and I look beyond that knowing now that they apply their values to the decision making as well.

What are your top three values and how do they influence your leadership style?

Honesty, Loyalty and Family. The best part of my job is my team. I enjoy taking care of them and knowing they can come to me with anything, and being able to work through anything together.

How do you practice self-care?

Thanks to Minerva BC’s Women Leading the Way™ program, I have realized that my career is part of my life but it is not my life. In the past, I thought that in order to be successful, I had to give up on other aspects of my life. I see this happen with others in my network who have burned out. I was able to get rid of that self-imposed pressure on myself and look at work as a means to get me where I want to be in my personal life as well.

How has participating in the program changed you as a leader?

Being an introvert, I would often find myself in situations that were outside of my comfort zone. At the time, it was terrifying, but I appreciate the experience now. Spending time with a group of people so different from one other is very valuable. The opportunity to learn from just listening to their stories and experiences is immense.

What advice do you wish you had known five years earlier?

I wish I had listened to my inner voice more when I was in my early twenties. I followed the rules too strictly and I wish I trusted my decisions more back then. “Take more risks!” would be my advice.

What inspires you?

Other people’s work and successes. I love to surround myself with people that are positive and have a can-do attitude.

If you could have coffee with anyone, who would it be and why?

Michelle and Barack Obama. In my current job I had the privilege to be on the team that organized two shows with Michelle Obama back in February this year. This experience made my dream to meet both of them even stronger. It would be a double date with my husband. To us, they represent what true respect, love and admiration in marriage look like.

Women Leading the Way™ is currently accepting applications for the next session beginning this September. Click here to find out more

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