Thoughts on Leadership Development from Women on their the Way™
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 about leadership development from one another.
Recently, we had the pleasure of catching up with Cassandra Sali, Regional Training Manager at Denny’s Restaurants, who described her experience in Women Leading the Way™ as both “wonderful and uncomfortable”.
What is one thing you learned from the program(s) that influences your work today?
I was able to identify my values, and determine that they were something that I was not willing to compromise. This translates to my leadership style and how I lead today. I choose to be a leader who puts people first.
What are your top values and how do they influence your leadership style?
Empathy, integrity, accountability and spirituality. Empathy is about putting people first and knowing their story. There’s a fine line between being a leader and a friend, but the truth is that the people will not respect you or care, unless your actions show that you care. Integrity is about doing what’s right even when no one’s looking. That’s how you lead by example, by always doing what’s right and not just going with the flow of the river. As for accountability, I reflect to my current role and how it has been quite a learning lesson. The training department had to be built from scratch and I guarantee that I’ve made my fair share of mistakes along the way. I’m grateful for the mistakes because they all helped me to grow and become the individual that I am today. I’ve had to be accountable for those mistakes, myself and my company.
Lastly, in terms of spirituality, leading by example also means being true to yourself and your beliefs. God is an amazing influence in my life and he reflects daily into decisions and conversations. I’ve been reading this book called “Jesus; CEO – Using ancient wisdom for visionary leadership”. It has been an amazing resource for me and reflects my own values. It’s something that influences my life in every way.
What advice would you share with young women at the start of their career?
Be kind to yourself. Allow yourself to make mistakes and learn to like yourself; not in an ego way, but appreciate the gifts that you have given. You are the only person that you can’t get away from so you should learn to be own your best friend. I also would suggest to learn to be an active listener. Being an active listener, means that you are taking the time to hear people; become an observer. This will encourage others to share feedback and for you to growth as an individual and as a leader.
How do you practice self-care?
I travel a lot – almost 60% of the time – so I try to take the time to reflect on the day and try to keep my mind in a positive place.
How has participating in Women Leading the Way™ changed you as a leader?
Women Leading the Way™ was wonderful and uncomfortable. To experience any kind of growth, I had to recognize that it was important to get out of my comfort zone. Being in the program allowed me see that any concerns that I had were shared by other women who had similar experiences; it was validating to learn this. This discovery contributed to a new level of confidence moving forward.
How do you define success?
I think success is about other people. If I see the people around me grow and learn – whether through a webinar, workshop or a conversation – and they feel valued and see themselves becoming a better person, that is where I find success.
If you could have coffee with anyone, who would it be and why?
I would have to say the younger version of myself. It would be great to take some time to share knowledge learned and give advice that I could pass onto my daughters or employees. Knowledge that I have only been able to learn from in the last 3-4 years.