Women on their Way: Hilary Kilgour

Over the years, Minerva 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 community, as we believe there’s much to learn from one another. 

Hilary is an alumna of Women Leading the Way™s Cohort 1, and is currently the Innovation Manager for the Federation of Canadian Municipalities.

Throughout her career, Hilary has been fortunate to serve as a Director with both Me to We and Free The Children, and hold diverse leadership roles with Hootsuite, Lululemon and Grouse Mountain. She has received countless awards for her contributions to the community, including being among the top 30 under 30 Sustainability Leaders by Corporate Knights.

We caught up with Hilary on her recent move (back) to Ottawa, and asked how she’s managed to continue living her values through career pivots in social enterprise, tech, and tourism (to name a few).  

What is one thing you learned from the program(s) that influences your work today?

Minerva helped me get really clear on my values. It also helped me to realize what value I add, and get clear on the roles I do best in. Now, even in situations where I find myself nervous, I remind myself that it’s more important to be me and be authentic above everything else. And I’m so grateful that I got that toolbox early in my career.

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

I try to always Laugh, Love, and Play Joyfully.  

What advice would you share with young women at the start of their career? 

When I started working in tech, the level of responsibiltiy in start-up culture made it hard to find balance in my personal life. I would remind my younger self that your career will always grow. It’s important to focus on relationships and family, and balance the personal with the professional.  

How do you practice self-care? 

I was in a car accident two years ago. That experience taught me the value of slowing down, literally. The doctors warned me that I needed to rest, or I woudn’t heal. So now I do yoga, meditation and running. I also love taking care of my home environment, and exercise my love of art by beautifying my personal space.

How has participating in Women Leading the Way™ changed you as a leader? 

Before Women Leading the Way™,  I was looking for mentorship to get to the next stage of my career. Once I joined, I suddenly had access to an entire network of incredible women, who became more than mentors but also friends. Also, getting clear on my values propelled me to pursue my MBA in Sustainability.

How do you define success?

Through the self-reflection exercises I did with Minerva, as well as during my MBA program, I realized the common thread through my career was the ability to connect people and ideas.  I’m more likely to ask myself how do I want to feel in five years, rather than what position or title I want to have.

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

I would pick Sheryl Sandberg as the person I most want to meet. I appreciate her skills as an innovator & implementer, and I would love to learn how she’s managed to work with such strong men, while continuing to have such a powerful presence and vulnerability.

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