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Women Leading the Way: A roundtable discussion with BCLC

BCLC brings women to the table to discuss talk values and work-life balance

Earlier this month, four women from BCLC sat down for a roundtable discussion to talk values, work-life balance and life after Minerva’s Women Leading the Way™ program. 

Heather, Caroline, Lindsay and Abby from BCLC are all graduates of Women Leading the Way™, and work in finance, communications and marketing roles.

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Each woman shared personal insights on her own leadership journey: a few had (or still) worked in  traditionally male-dominated industries, and reflected on feeling the need to take on a more masculine leadership style. For some, Women Leading the Way™ was the first time they were able to explore their personal values, and understanding their core values helped to contextualize various challenges in their personal and professional lives. The afternoon presented the opportunity for the group to reflect and connect over their shared experiences. 

See some excerpts below (quotes have been condensed and edited):

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What’s one piece of advice you would offer women who are starting their career?

Lindsay: Take more risks. I was extremely risk adverse and maybe limited my opportunities at the time because of it. And I would also say have an external perspective. It’s really easy to get angry when someone doesn’t solve a problem the way that you would. But it’s really important to develop that external perspective and respect someone else’s way of solving a problem.

Caroline: I think it would have been helpful if I’d gone out to seek mentors, and not taken such a formal approach. It’s not just in difficult times that you need your mentors; it’s actually in really good times. It’s important to have someone you can go to all the time.

Heather: Be way more forgiving of yourself. You’re only human. And if you aren’t kind to yourself, nobody else will be.

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How did learning your values impact your approach to leadership?

Heather: Knowing my values made a lot of things in my life make sense to me. I used to have this overwhelming sense of guilt because I thought I was the worst mom ever, because I really loved being at work. And I couldn’t understand it. But when I understood my values, I was like “This makes sense. I’m driven by achievement”.  I also value family, but just having that perspective made me feel so much better. I was more able to understand what drives me, and use it in decision making. I’m able to bring my values to work every day, and it’s helped me find a lot more satisfaction in the work that I do.

Lindsay:  I discovered one of my values is balance. So now I make sure that I’m healthy, I’m fit, I’m meditating and that I have time for myself outside of work. And it makes me a happier person in the workplace. I also value achievement, so it was good to be able to articulate to my manager what I needed from him so that he’s able to have a better relationship with me. 

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What is one thing you learned from Women Leading the Way™ that influences you work?

Heather: I developed my leadership vision. And it’s great because it gave me this stake in the ground of who I wanted to be as a leader. And it came out of my values.   I used to think success was about me.  And now, understanding a little more about my values and my leadership vision, it’s about seeing others fulfill their potential. I feel successful when I see my team doing well and being happy. 

Lindsay: I’m starting to have conversations with my team, and ask “what makes you feel strong?”, whereas before work was very tactical in nature. So now they’ll come to me and have a closed-door session, and say “this is how I like to work”. And I find that amazing.  I have a sense of calm and clarity, and can be that person for the team no matter what’s happening. I have a much greater team perspective. I’m more invested in the development of not only myself, but the entire team. 

Caroline: The resources that are shared – especially  in terms of tools and books and techniques – are  so valuable. You take them away from the course, and your work is not done.You can continue on for a long time. 

How has working for an organization that supports leadership programming and diversity intiatives benefitted you as an individual?

Heather: There are things at BCLC that check the box for all of my values. But there are also people who I can talk about issues with. And it’s not all women. I also think we do pretty cool work. And we do awesome things for the province. It makes me feel proud, and I took that for granted before I understood my values.

Lindsay: It’s amazing. You’re constantly being challenged and being given opportunities. It’s the people as well, forming friendships across the enterprise and working with different teams. Mentor/mentee relationships elicit themselves across the whole organization.

Caroline: For me it’s having this amazing network. And this is something I’d like to crack even more, and have even deeper conversations and connections.

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How do you handle your Imposter Syndrome?

Abby:  I actually feel the most like an imposter when I receive good feedback and high performance ratings. But at BCLC, I have someone who I would define as a sponsor. And I can cope better with confidence and my imposter syndrome, because my sponsor believes in my performance and supports me to believe in myself.

Lindsay: Going through this program, having Heather mentor me, and just being able to have these conversations increases my confidence. And I feel more comfortable being myself, and what I can bring to the table. A female’s approach is different when it comes to leadership, and we learned a lot about that with Minerva.

BCLC is a proud signatory of the Minerva’s Diversity Pledge and is committed to changing the Face of Leadership™

Interested in learning more? The next cohort of Women Leading the Way™ begins in September 2017.  Apply now.

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