Isabelle Hourigan – Practice Lead, Constructions Services for Aerotek, participated in our 2018 Wisdom Mentoring Program and you need to hear her highlights!
“The connection I made with my mentor- she comes from a relatable industry to mine, our calls were scheduled and always completed, and she offered more than what the program suggested in terms of communication. There was genuine connection which still carries through to today! I was able to discuss my current state, and opportunities on my own path and she offered genuine guidance, from a high level point of view, which was non-bias given she is from outside of my organization.
Meeting with the other mentees during the class sessions and having the 1/1 conversations hearing about how women in different stages of their careers, from different background, and ages all ask themselves similar questions I ask myself. They too have doubts/concerns/apprehensions, so I am not alone! I started to appreciate that I have come a long way in my career thus far and I am putting in the right actions towards the development of my career. It was affirming to hear others in the same spot as myself.
I enjoyed mapping out my career through to retirement – it forced me to think bigger picture strategy rather than the reactive ‘what next'”
What does mentoring means to you?
“Mentoring is the development of others from a genuine point of interest in ones well-being and success. It is understanding individual’s goals and meeting that person where they are at to help them achieve those goals by sharing best practices and suggestions based on your own experiences. It is giving both constructive and positive feedback when needed, showing vulnerability and empathy when you don’t know the answers. It is pushing someone hard enough to help them achieve their goals, and knowing when slow down to recognize the wins.”
The Wisdom Mentoring Program matches women with influential mentors, who can help them make their ambitions a reality. Join the community of over 1000 women who have already taken their careers to the next level through this unique development opportunity.
When I heard there was an opportunity to share our thoughts with the WXN community through a blog post, I (literally) jumped (from happiness) at the chance. For four consecutive years, I’ve been honoured as a Top 100 Winner, and every time my first thought is… wow – really? Wunderbar – mazal tov!
Being recognized on a national stage for my leadership is truly humbling. When we heard the news of my Hall of Fame acceptance, my family (who are my biggest supporter and greatest accomplishment in life) and I were full of joy and gratitude. Having a strong support network has been something I am eternally grateful for, and I am thrilled to say this network does not end with my family. My awesome team and Board Chair, who have supported me throughout this entire adventure, were equally thrilled. At the time of writing this, I cannot share the news with many others as I wholeheartedly respect the embargo, so it does feel like a second birthday when the news is made public and official!
This award goes far beyond something that happens once a year – being a part of WXN means being a part of a diverse community that is committed to making Canada a better place – and their CEO certainly leads by example. I’m honoured and proud to be associated with such inspiring leaders from all walks of life and look forward seeing this community of leaders grow into an even more diverse representation as it relates to ethnicity, race, persons with disabilities, Indigenous people, regional representation, and more.
This award provides a platform to recognize and profile some of the most influential and inspiring female (and male!) leaders nationally, but as I sit and really reflect on what it means to me, I believe it acts as an anchor and reminds me to stay true to myself. Authenticity is a core value of mine, and having won this award is not a status, nor status symbol for me, but it’s a nod from my peers, acknowledging the impact of leading with consistency, positivity, and authenticity. My path is clear and I will do what I’ve always done: continue to drive positive change, be impactful and influential, and remain humble, approachable and authentic – with a lot of grace, gratitude and greatness!
Thank you again to the WXN Top 100 Committee not only for the award but the chance to share my thoughts!
We’re very proud that Ulrike is a Canada’s Most Powerful Women: Top 100 Hall of Fame Inductee. Her work in tech and her continuous contributions to the WXN community make her a true ambassador for women in Canada.
Ulrike will be part of our Speaker Series panel on April 9 in Halifax, speaking on Empathetic Leadership. For more information, visit the event page.
Do you know a woman breaking down barriers in the science or technology industry? Click here to learn more about the Top 100 Manulife Science and Technology Award Category, recognizing female leaders in STEM roles who are challenging the status quo for knowledge and female empowerment.
Ulrike Bahr-Gedalia, President & CEO, Digital Nova Scotia
2018 Canada’s Most Powerful Women: Top 100 Hall of Fame Inductee
With a career spanning five geographic regions, Ulrike Bahr-Gedalia is a multilingual, award-winning innovator, entrepreneur and TEDx speaker with over 20 years of global experience in the private, public, non-profit and academic sectors. Originally from Germany, she has held senior executive roles at prominent multinational high-tech corporations, SMEs, and start-ups and is currently the President and CEO of Digital Nova Scotia (DNS).
In recognition of her unprecedented leadership with DNS and lifelong advocacy for equity, diversity, inclusion and accessibility, Ulrike has received numerous awards and features, including the WXN Top 100 Most Powerful Women Hall of Fame, highlighting her as an inspiring role model for youth, women, immigrants, and under-represented groups in STEAM. Ulrike volunteers with multiple academic, non-profit and industry organizations on a local and national level, speaks six languages and moved from Israel to Nova Scotia in 2002. Ulrike is married with a son and daughter. Her mantra is “The biggest risk is not taking any risk”.
Here’s the deal. I’ve used my dyslexia, depression, being a woman in a male-dominated industry, being gay, and being dirt poor as the impetus and fuel to become a multi-millionaire entrepreneur, philanthropist, and the Blue-Collar CEO™. I’m determined to redefine the collar, blue™ by bridging the massive gap between the blue- and white-collar worlds. I’m proud to be both collars, and the blue needs attention NOW!
Why have I made this my priority? For too long, the blue-collar industry, which represents hundreds of careers, has been undervalued, disrespected, and stigmatized by society. In turn, this has created the global perception that skilled trades and blue-collar careers are second-class. We have all been brainwashed into thinking that the smarter kids go to university and the rest go to community college or straight to work. End of story, right? Not so quick…
Some of the most intelligent and successful people I’ve met in my life have come from the blue side of the tracks. However, this perception holds them back from achieving and being even more. I keep hearing, “Mandy, I’m JUST a plumber.” “I am ONLY a welder, who is going to listen to me?“ “I love trucking, but as a young woman, my parents said it’s NOT GOOD ENOUGH and I have to go to university.” I’ve witnessed this my whole life.
You may ask yourself: What does this have to do with me and why should I care?
We have a MASSIVE skilled trade shortage right now! It’s an economic and social issue – consumers (like you!) are paying more and waiting longer for services, companies aren’t able to scale, and we will continue to experience delays on important infrastructure projects, like roads, transit and hospitals. (You think the home reno business is overpriced now? Buckle up, because it’s about to get much, much worse!) The blue-collar perception has kept our trade schools half-full for decades, because who wants to be seen and treated as a second-class citizen?
We need both collars and, right now, we have a major imbalance – university grads without jobs and high-paying skilled trade jobs sitting empty. We need to bridge the divide between the collars and elevate the respect and dignity that society places on the skilled trades and build a sustainable pipeline of workers for the modern economy.
Please help me to start encouraging youth to consider the trades with the same enthusiasm they are urged to consider white-collar jobs. Many parents, even teachers and guidance councillors, don’t promote skilled trades – period! That’s not right. We will continue to see the profound ripple effect of this perception, and the shortage it has produced, for many years to come if we don’t stop it NOW!
The true blending of these two worlds – the blue and the white – will make a colour that none of us will ever want to take off!
The Blue-Collar CEO™
Visit MandyRennehan.com for more.
Instagram – @MandyRennehan
We’re very proud that Mandy is a Canada’s Most Powerful Women: Top 100 Hall of Fame Inductee. She is a terrific ambassador of women’s accomplishments and a visible leader who works tirelessly to inspire future generations. Do you know a woman breaking down barriers in the industry sector or skilled trades? Click here to learn more about the CP Industry Sector and Trades Award, recognizing women who have made significant contributions in these underrepresented sectors.
Mandy Rennehan, Blue-Collar CEO™ & Founder, Freshco.ca
Canada’s Most Powerful Women: Top 100 Award Hall of Fame Inductee
Sought-after speaker, multiple award-winning entrepreneur, and trade industry ambassador, Mandy Rennehan is redefining the collar, blue™, and inspiring people to join the dynamic skilled trade’s industry. Mandy is the Blue Collar CEO™ & Founder of Freshco.ca (not the grocery store!), Canada’s #1 retail reconstruction and maintenance provider, operating across Canada and the eastern United States serving clients like Anthropologie, Apple,Banana Republic, Home Depot, Lululemon, Nike, Restoration Hardware, Sephora, The Gap, Tiffany & Co.,plus many more. She is also the co-founder of RennDuPrat, a master design and custom heirloom furniture fabrication company.
Mandy is humbled by the many awards she’s received including, Growth 500 Excellence in Innovation, Toronto Board of Trade Business Leader of the Year and WXN’s Top 100 Most Powerful Women – Hall of Fame. As one of Canada’s top entrepreneurs she’s also been featured in the Canada 150 Women book , The Globe and Mail, Financial Post, Chatelaine, CTV, BNN and most recently been named Canada’s Most Admired CEO.
Her uncensored honesty is matched by her quick wit, East Coast humour, and big heart. It’s impossible to remain unchanged after coming into contact with this authentic, self-made powerhouse.