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What I would say to my 23-year-old self

We asked Anne Stewart of Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP to share some of the values she leads by, and what advice she would give to herself at the start of her career.

Here is what she said:

The values I lead by:

Listen to your instincts You get a lot of pressure to do things quickly, cut corners – not necessarily do things the right way. If it doesn’t feel right, question that. Don’t feel threatened by other people’s seniority. At the end of the day, you have to live with yourself. All you really have in the end is your integrity, which is more important than anything.

Be honest and brave If something might be wrong, don’t try to hide it – face it and seek help. And 99% of the time it can be fixed if you reach out to others to figure out how. There’s a tendency to think it will go away on its own or you can fix it on your own.

Do what it takes to get something done I don’t see that anything is beneath me. I’ll just do it if it needs being done.

Be open In business, if both sides are open and honest about their goals, you’ll (almost) always find a common ground.

Anne Stewart - words of wisdom

 The advice I’d give my 23-year-old self:

1. If you look for obstacles you’ll find them – so don’t look for them.

2. Do what it takes to get the job done. Figure out your highest and best use at each point in time. There will be many times you’re doing something you don’t really want to be doing. But everyone should be doing what they need to do to get the job done.

3. If you focus on negative things they’ll just grow.

4. If you want it, go for it.

5. Seek out the people who can and will help you. Find your champion. Align yourself with people who will help you answer tough questions and get through tough situations.

6. Be able to say ‘I don’t really know what to do about this’ and have people you can turn to.

7. Be yourself. Lots of women used to (and some maybe still do) think we have to approach it like a man would. But it’s good to bring out your feminine qualities. The goal is the same so why not go about it in a way that’s comfortable for you?

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