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Executive Days 2020: Stephanie Deol and Hazel McKinney

Minerva’s Executive Days program provides Learning to Lead alumnae with an opportunity to connect with leaders in some of BC’s biggest companies. We believe that mentorship is a two-way exchange, and through this final post in our Executive Days blog series, we hope to impart some of the wisdom that has been shared through our program.

Meet Stephanie Deol. As the Director of Communications and Philanthropy at the YMCA of Northern BC, Stephanie is an enthusiastic non-profit leader and community builder passionate about children and youth in her community. Based in Prince George, she runs a podcast called Take the North.

Meet Hazel McKinney. Hazel is a Grade 12 student at Lord Tweedsmuir Secondary. Hazel is Metis with a lineage from Manitoba and she is an avid creative fiction writer and a skilled martial artist. Although she has not yet decided on a career path, she is interested in biology and the human body.

How did you first learn about Minerva?

Stephanie: I first attended Minerva’s Face of Leadership Luncheon in Prince George as someone’s guest. As soon as I heard what Minerva stood for and what it was doing, I knew I needed to be a part of that work. By the end of the luncheon, I knew I wanted to be a part of the organization and it just so happened that they were looking for more folks to join the Northern Committee.

Hazel: I learned about Minerva through my favourite English teacher who is also Aboriginal. I’ve been associated with Minerva since July after completing the fantastic Learning to Lead program.

 Why did you decide to participate in Executive Days?

Stephanie: I’m so grateful for all the strong female leaders that have impacted me, and I think the world needs more of that, especially women. I wouldn’t be where I am today without that, so I wanted to give back to the younger generation.

Hazel: I really love leadership and meeting others who like to talk to other people and are sincere about it. I wanted to get a better understanding of how to lead and how I can make a difference.

Tell me more about your Executive Days conversation…

Stephanie: Following our conversation, I felt inspired and uplifted after listening to Hazel’s answers and also hearing the questions she asked. We’re in good hands if this is the future of women coming up to lead our organizations, towns, and countries.

Hazel: Stephanie said something amazing about putting people first and work second. We need to work with people to be happy, and happy people work well together. In reference to school, she also encouraged me to reach out and join as many clubs as I can because school is not only for learning but it’s also for networking.

What does mentorship mean to you?

Stephanie: You need to see other women in positions to be able to see yourself in those positions. There’s something so normalizing and encouraging about seeing other women who are doing what you want to do, and doing it well. Those women are on the other side of the bridge telling you that you can make it. As women, we struggle a lot with imposter syndrome, and there’s something so beautiful about building community and encouraging each other.

Hazel: I’ve had a lot of mentors that I look up to and they may not know it. A mentor is someone you can bounce ideas off of – it’s two people who are dynamic with each other and are on the same wave length. Mentors are people who are open to helping each other and broadening your worldview.

Thank you, Stephanie and Hazel, for sharing your Executive Days experiences and for reminding us to surround ourselves with positive people and mentors!

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