How Tara Wilson Promotes Empowerment

Tara Wilson, SVP and General Manager at Paysafe’s Income Access is a 2019 Mercedes-Benz Emerging Leaders Top 100 Award Winner. Here’s her story:

Defining powerfully empowered

Being powerfully empowered is a responsibility. This includes developing both internal and external relationships. When done successfully, it can help build a brand of integrity, trust and inclusion. As someone who advocates for those values in the workplace, I feel a responsibility to empower, encourage and inspire people in their professional and personal lives. I am one of the lucky individuals who’s had strong advocates in my career for guidance and support when I wanted to give up. Now, it’s my turn to pay it forward.

In previous work environments, it was challenging to be hopeful about long-term career prospects. I wasn’t around many women leaders. To paraphrase Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, Lean In author: “I didn’t necessarily believe I deserved a seat at the table. I had imposter syndrome.”

Lean In was an eye-opener for me. It was the first time imposter syndrome, which describes those believing that their achievements weren’t “earned”, was explained in a way that was digestible. Leaving behind that mindset required continuous learning and listening to other people’s stories.

Eventually, I understood and embraced the reasons behind my recognition as a leader: I had earned it by putting in the work. Paysafe recognized my potential and drive and saw me as a person that could add value to our organization because of my passion, experience and skillset. They further encourage me by supporting my continued development.

Empowering individuals

Starting out from a data entry level and working hard to get where I am today, I understand the importance of being down to earth, relatable and open. I’ve been fortunate to hold several positions throughout my career that helped nurture these traits. Those experiences fostered a level of sociability allowing me to easily find common ground with my team, understanding what they go through on the frontline. I strive to share my knowledge gained throughout the years via active mentorship. Currently, I mentor over 20 individuals. Anything I can do to help people evolve their approach to achieving their goals is gratifying.

Working with WXN

Being a Mercedes-Benz Emerging Leaders award recipient was humbling. Part of that honor included an off-road driving experience on rocky terrain with the other WXN winners. Coincidentally, that experience mirrored the obstacles we sometimes confront throughout our careers.

Moreover, spending time with the winners and WXN CEO Sherri Stevens can’t help but make you feel powerful. If this wasn’t enough, WXN recognized us during an exceptional awards ceremony and through continuous content marketing support thereafter. All to say, they’ve done so much more than give me an award. They’ve connected me to other female leaders, shaping us as advocates for one another and future leaders. If you’re not already a WXN member, you should look at becoming one!

Leadership

The platinum rule, “do unto others as they would want done unto them,” is a rule I abide by in my day-to-day life. For a long time, leaders communicated with others using the golden rule, “do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” which I don’t believe is as impactful.

Good leaders understand individuals’ personalities, needs and communication style, which should be reflected when delivering feedback. I strongly believe that the way to get the best employee performance is to treat them the way they need to be treated and not the other way around. Kim Scott’s Radical Candor is a great resource on that topic.

A career-defining moment

In my past, I was asked to speak to vendors to sort out a costly business issue. The call included senior members at a former company (all men besides me). I began talking through my research, when I was interrupted by someone who commented that I shouldn’t “nag” the vendors to make my point. This prompted laughter from all on the call, completely deflating my morale. While I was still able to finish speaking, it was a defining moment in my career because it was finally clear that my contributions to the company weren’t appreciated. In that moment, I decided to move on.

Oftentimes, individuals go through experiences where they must make a similar decision. From my viewpoint, if you’re engaged, trying your hardest and producing quality work, but are not being seen or heard, you must evaluate if the leadership and work culture is a right fit for you.

D&I plans for 2020

Organizational diversity and inclusion (D&I) initiatives welcome employees’ unique traits. As a Paysafe D&I committee member, I believe that everyone deserves a voice. Those voices extend beyond women in business and include people with both visible and invisible characteristics like age, disability, race, sexual orientation and more.

My plans in 2020 are to elevate those around me by continuing to drive change and having the difficult conversations that may arise along the way.

Tara Wilson, SVP and General Manager at Paysafe’s Income Access is a 2019 Mercedes-Benz Emerging Leaders Top 100 Award Winner. She has been recognized as Canadian woman between the ages of 30 and 40 who has had successive leadership positions within her organizations and has proven a passion for learning and innovation.

2020 Top 100 Nominations are now open. Click here to learn more about Top 100 and nominate a powerful female or even yourself!


About Tara:

Tara Wilson, SVP and General Manager, Income Access (Paysafe Group)

Tara Wilson

2019 Canada’s Most Powerful Women: Top 100 Award Winner
Mercedes-Benz Emerging Leaders

Tara Wilson has almost two decades’ experience in the tech sphere and 16+ years’ expertise in operational leadership within the payments and marketing sectors.

Tara is both a mentor to others, helping them reach their maximum potential, and an advocate for Diversity & Inclusion, promoting the needs of women in the workplace and other frequently disempowered groups. In recognition of her achievements, Tara took home the 2018 Silver Stevie Award for Female Executive of the Year in Canada.

 

I am inspired and feel empowered to change the world

When I received the email that I was selected as one of Canada’s Most Powerful Women: Top 100 in the BMO Entrepreneur category, it was an unforgettable moment for me.

I was sitting in a boardroom with about 15 people, deciding on plans for a new development when I received the email from WXN that I was selected as one of Canada’s Most Powerful Women: Top 100. I froze and re-read the email a few times hoping it said what I thought I read. I was suddenly immersed in a different world with two thoughts – I immediately thanked God and put myself into a state of gratitude to God and the universe. I then nudged my brother, Suraj, whom I share a very deep connection with. No words were exchanged, he just looked at me, shared an understanding and we both got up quietly and left the boardroom. We walked out, closed the door, he looks at me with concern in his eyes and said, “Reet?” I quietly yelled, “I GOT TOP 100!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

Suraj is my best friend and the reason I am anywhere today. He has been so supportive of me and so it was only suiting that he was the first person to know. He hugged me and said “Dude, I knew you would get this!” We went back into the boardroom and tried to act nonchalant, while inside I was ecstatic!

I have grown up in an industry that has always been male-dominated. I started working at a very young age, in the hotel industry. At this time almost two decades ago, there were so few women in leadership roles, almost nil. I was always working against preconceived notions and judgements that were silently labelled on me, like a child had taped signs to my back that read “She’s the youngest in the room. She’s the only woman. She’s the boss’ daughter”. Dealing with this type of thinking from others at a young age, I taught myself very quickly that I will not work to prove myself to others but rather to prove it to myself. Always working hard to get ahead of the judgements placed on me being a South Asian Woman, this award for me, was the Universe saying, You Did It.

I had two thoughts when I was selected for this award – the first as I mentioned was gratitude. The second was a deep calling that I need to do more, more for women and more for society. I felt this honour is also a responsibility and I want to do everything I can to ensure that I give back and help elevate others. Being selected in the BMO category for entrepreneurs, I spent time with the BMO team and learned about different initiatives the organization has to offer. I was inspired by their efforts towards diversity and so, the day the award was announced, I also launched my company’s first Diversity and Inclusion Initiative. I have also created an internal mentorship program and hope to inspire others to rise in order to achieve their goals. I am inspired and feel empowered to change the world and to inspire others to do the same. I especially hope to inspire women to support one another, to elevate one another and to follow their passion and to achieve their dreams!

I have a Guru from India who has taught me so much when it comes to life and happiness. One of the best lessons I can share is to “Live life with Life”. We must not go through each day as a passing motion but rather live our lives with excitement, with passion, with life. I hope to continue to inspire others to also live life with life!

Reetu Gupta is a Canada’s Most Powerful Women: Top 100 Award Winner in the BMO Entrepreneurs category for 2019. She has been recognized as a woman who operates a thriving business in Canada.

2020 Top 100 Nominations are now open. Click here to learn more about Top 100 and nominate a powerful female or even yourself!


About Reetu:

Reetu Gupta is President and Chief Executive Officer of The Easton’s Group of Hotels/The Gupta Group.

Reetu Gupta

2019 Canada’s Most Powerful Women: Top 100 Award Winner
BMO Entrepreneurs

Under Reetu Gupta’s leadership The Easton’s Group of Hotels has become one of Canada’s largest private hotel development firms. The Gupta Group is an award-winning residential builder with five million square feet of mixed-used projects currently under development. Reetu is also the co-founder and chief strategy officer of Rogue Insight Capital Ltd., a private venture capital firm. She was recognized as a Top 40 Under 40 winner in 2017.

 

Become a More Effective Leader with Wisdom Mentoring

Meet Rachel!

Rachel Aldridge

Rachel Aldridge participated in our 2018 Wisdom Mentoring Program. Here’s her story:

“My top takeaways and highlights from the program was the insights section, where you learnt more about the type of person you are; not only how you can use the strengths identified to further your career, but also what areas to focus on improving in order to achieve your goals.  I have become a more effective leader with this course by becoming more assertive in my direction and actions.  I have become clearer in my communication, and in my expectations of others in my team.

The mentorship aspect of the program I found was really great to have a person that was impartial to the things we talked about, so they could give their honest thoughts and advise without being affected by the outcome.  It was really great getting another person’s unbiased experiences, to give you another perspective on things.  My mentor was able to give me very useful advice on problems I was facing in my role.  We were able to talk freely, and in confidence about all aspects of my job.  The feedback I received from my mentor was very valuable.  I have noticed that I adjusted my leadership style after speaking, and working through problems with my mentor.  I have been able to take my mentor’s advice and implement their suggestions in my leadership style, which I believe has improved the type of leader I am becoming.”

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.

Learn more about Wisdom Mentoring!


About Rachel:

Rachel Aldridge is the Manager, Canadian Value Chain for Husky Energy.

My mentor brought a new perspective on the challenges I was facing

Meet Chelsey!

Chelsey Goossens portrait

Chelsey Goossens – Controller and Interim VP of Finance/Chief Financial Officer for W.I. Woodtone Industries Inc, participated in our 2018 Wisdom Mentoring Program. Here’s her story:

“My top takeaways from this program was a new sense of self. I always knew I had accomplished a lot, but my mentor really brought that out of me and improved my self-confidence. My mentor brought a new perspective on the challenges I was facing and gave me coping mechanisms for dealing with stressful situations so that I didn’t end up reacting without thinking through the situation first, and learning how to pick and win my battles. I got matched with a mentor who took this process very seriously and did not just give me the minimum requirements of this program. We talked or video conferenced every two weeks for one hour, and have continued our relationship since the program ended, albeit at a lesser frequency. I felt like she became my champion because she took the time to really get to know me and advocate for me. Another takeaway was meeting other great women facing similar challenges in the classroom sessions and gaining their different perspectives as well. A lot of us were facing the same challenges, while others did not in their industry. I gained a few women in my network that I feel confident reaching out to in a time of needed guidance.

Mentoring to me is sharing the experience you have with someone else in hopes that they can achieve their goals and become a better person, whether personally or professionally. A mentor can share where they went wrong and how they overcame an issue, or how they succeeded, but ultimately they have to care about their mentee and the relationship has to be built on trust. You need to be able to share anything with your mentor and not feel judged for feeling or reacting a certain way.”

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.

Learn more about Wisdom Mentoring!


About Chelsey:

Chelsey Goossens is currently the Controller and Interim VP of Finance/Chief Financial Officer for W.I. Woodtone Industries Inc., a prefinished building materials manufacturer based in the Fraser Valley, BC and Washington State. She has been with Woodtone since 2011, transitioning from the role of Accountant to Controller in March 2018, and assuming interim VP of Finance/Chief Financial Officer duties since November 2018. Prior to this, Chelsey held the role of Accountant/Controller for an Edmonton-based roofing contractor for five years. Chelsey has numerous certifications, including a CPA, CGA Designation, ACCA (UK) designation, Bachelor of Commerce Degree, Diploma and Certificate in Accounting, and is actively pursuing an MBA Degree. In 2017, Chelsey completed the CPABC’s Controller Program and in 2018 Catalyst Training’s Front-Line Leadership Program. She has also had the distinct privilege of being selected and participating as a mentee in the WXN Top 100 Most Powerful Women Mentorship Program in 2018. Chelsey is an avid hockey fan, spending most of her free time watching games, doing yoga, traveling, and spending quality time with her family, friends, fiancé and their five pets.

Woodtone

http://www.woodtone.com/

Scaling the Mountain

Mentoring younger women to help them make it to the top

When people ask me how I ended up working as Interim Executive Director of Lincoln Centre in New York City, or being the CEO of the Kimmel Centre in Philadelphia, or being the founding CEO of the Luminato Festival in Toronto, or now serving as the President and CEO of Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity, I tell them it’s all about working hard, and believing your organization can reach greater heights.

While there are many women working in the arts in Canada today, there are very few who actually make it to the top. Since winning the WXN Top 100 Award I’ve felt a big responsibility to give back, and to mentor younger women in my organization.

Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity is Canada’s largest postgraduate arts school which welcomes close to 4,000 artists and leaders to our beautiful campus in the Rockies. We are building a great team in Alberta, and many of the stars in our organization are young women.

Since winning the WXN Top 100 award I’ve created a CEO’s Circle at Banff Centre, where our group gets together every month to talk about how to become better leaders.

Leadership requires many different characteristics, you have to have clear vision, you need to know how to build an incredible team, you have to be a great listener, and you must be able to make very tough decisions.

I’ve sacrificed a lot over the years to run major arts organizations, the hours are long, and projects can be incredibly complex, but it’s worth it to me because the arts define who we are as a people, they delight us, inspire us, they challenge us and help us understand who we are.

It’s been the honour of a lifetime to help artists achieve their dreams, and to scale greater heights in their artistic practice—it’s what helps me walk up the mountain every day to my office at Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity.

After 40 years in the arts, and now leading a $70M organization, I know that we can only be strong if we put the right teams together, and that they have the resources they need to ensure success.

But ultimately what I tell young women is that they need to love what they do, they need to work hard, all of the winners of the WXN award are in difficult jobs and they are very committed, that is my recipe for success.

Janice Price, a leader in the arts and entertainment sector in Canada and the United States, is a Canada’s Most Powerful Women: Top 100 Award Winner in the Arts, Sports & Entertainment Category for 2018. She has been honoured because of how she has shaped Canadian thinking, communications and culture.

Do you know a female who deserves to be recognized for the difference she’s made in Canadian arts, sports, culture or entertainment? Click here to learn more about our Top 100 Nominations and how to nominate yourself or someone else. Nominating is free!

 


About Janice:

Janice Price is President and CEO of Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity.

Janice Price - portrait

2018 Canada’s Most Powerful Women: Top 100 Award Winner
BMO Arts, Sports & Entertainment
Diversity CEO and Champion for WXN/CBDC Diversity Council

Janice Price has over 30 years of experience as a senior executive in leadership roles in the arts and entertainment sector in Canada and the United States. She was appointed President and CEO of Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity in March 2015. Prior to her appointment at Banff Centre, Ms. Price served as CEO of the Luminato Festival, Toronto’s annual multi-­‐arts festival, an organization she led since its inception in 2006. As the Festival’s Founding CEO, Janice helped Luminato become one of the world’s largest and most respected annual multi-­‐arts festivals. Previous to Luminato, Janice was President and CEO of The Kimmel Centre for the Performing Arts in Philadelphia from 2002-­‐2006, and prior to that position she was Vice President of Marketing and Communications and then Interim Executive Director at New York’s Lincoln Centre for the Performing Arts. Prior to her professional engagements in the United States, Janice held senior positions at a number of Toronto arts organizations, including the Sony Centre for the Performing Arts and The Corporation of Roy Thomson Hall and Massey Hall. From 1992–1996, Janice was the Director of Marketing and Special Projects for the Stratford Festival.

Ms. Price has served on numerous national and international arts sector

Boards including ISPA (International Society for the Performing Arts), the National Board of Culture Days, the Toronto Arts Foundation, and the Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce. She served on the National Executive of the Governor General’s Leadership Conference and Chaired the national Festivals and Major Events board. Ms. Price currently serves on the board of Business for the Arts and on the Council of Post-­‐ Secondary Presidents of Alberta.

 

Wisdom Mentoring – “a Highlight for me in my 25+ year Career”

Meet Karry!

Karry Murphy portrait

Karry Murphy – Advisor, Recognition Initiatives for VIA Rail Canada, participated in our 2018 Wisdom Mentoring Program. Here’s her story:

“This past year (2018) has been a highlight for me in my 25+ year career. The WXN [Mentoring] program provided me with many “first experiences” which assisted in my development over the past year.

I was excited when I received the name of my mentor which included her position and company name. My mentor is with Canada Post. My father worked for Canada Post for over 36 years, I remember thinking to myself – “this must be fate”. I wrote to my mentor to introduce myself and her reply made me feel welcomed and excited for what the next few months would hold for me.

I recall my first in class session with WXN. Walking into the conference room, not knowing anyone and starting make introductions with other mentees. Everyone was filled with excitement, opportunity and a bit of nervousness. By the end of the first day, we were talking like we’ve known each other for years. Sharing career, personal stories and experiences.

My first one on one session with my mentor brought a new kind of nervousness to me. Knowing that I would be meeting with a CFO of a corporation and the need to fill up 45-60 minutes. I prepared myself with several questions prior to the call. Topic of interest to me was career advancement vs. personal/family commitments. I asked “What type of moves did you make during your career that required you to physically move for a promotion? Subsequently, what was the impact on your family?” We discussed this topic at length. She gave me some advice that proved me well when I was faced with this type of decision recently. My mentor reflected on her company and her employees who may be in a similar situation; how she could make some changes to consider the needs of the millennial generation. Making it a win-win topic for both of us.

Throughout this year, I’ve learned the importance of relationship building. This skill was key while launching a key initiative for our company as I worked with several different departments who held crucial functions to the launch of the program. Based on what I learned from my mentor and the in-class sessions, I was able to build upon my negotiation, network building, presentation and communication skills (both verbal and written) at many levels in the organization and with suppliers outside our organization. I experienced a new appreciation working closely with an executive of a company on making the best use of their time and learning how to communicate with the senior level team.

In the WXN program, we explored career planning at length. I’m happy to say the timing could not have been better. I was offered a new role managing the program I had launched as well I was nominated and won one of our company’s annual Distinction awards  which celebrates innovation, creativity and achieving success in project delivery. Career highlights for me to work extremely hard on program that I felt so passionate about, successfully launching and maintaining the momentum to inspire culture change.

Thank you WXN as mentoring gave me the courage to explore new territories and opportunities! 2018-2019 will be a year for the history books and looking forward to what this new chapter will bring my career.”

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.

Learn more about Wisdom Mentoring!


About Karry:

Karry Murphy is Advisor, Recognition Initiatives, for VIA Rail Canada.

 

Being a Mentee – Highlights from our 2018 Wisdom Mentoring Program

Meet Isabelle!

Isabelle Hourigan portrait

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.

Act soon! Deadline to register is April 15th.

Learn more about Wisdom Mentoring!


About Isabelle:

Isabelle Hourigan is Practice Lead, Constructions Services for Aerotek.

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