A Conversation with Copperleaf CEO and Canada’s Most Powerful Women: Top 100 Award Winner Judi Hess

Judi Hess is the CEO of Copperleaf™, a Vancouver-based software company that provides decision analytics to companies managing critical infrastructure. Renowned as a visionary leader and strong advocate for empowering women in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), she has increased the percentage of female employees from 10% to over 30% during her time as Copperleaf CEO. A long-time proponent of increasing diversity in the workforce, she was recently featured as one of B.C.’s Most Influential Women in BCBusiness Magazine and was the recipient of the 2018 BC Tech Person of the Year Award.

How did you feel when you learned you were selected as a Top 100 Winner?

I was thrilled to be included in this year’s list of outstanding Canadian women leaders. It’s wonderful to celebrate the success of Canadian women and the advances we’re making in the business world, and organizations like WXN allow female corporate leaders from a diverse range of industries to share knowledge and ideas.

How will you use your status as a winner in the coming year to inspire those around you?

I want to build a movement that will empower future generations to reach their fullest potential. I’ve always had a passion for driving more diversity in our field and I hope that increasing the visibility of women in leadership positions will help attract a more diverse workforce and inspire the next generation.

How can we achieve gender diversity in STEM?

Renowned writer and social critic, James Baldwin, once said, “You are formed by what you see.” That’s why it’s so important for young women to see strong female leaders in their environment. In this age of the #MeToo Movement, it’s imperative for women in STEM to find their voices and realize that they belong here too.

Attrition of women in STEM fields is severe. In high school in Canada, girls make up around 50% of mathematics/physics students. By university, the percentage of females majoring in engineering is around 25%, and in the professional world, women comprise less than 13% of the engineering workforce after five years in practice.

It is vital to actively hire and retain more women in male-dominated industries so we can compete into the future.  It is possible to change this trend. When my father went to law school in the 1940s, there was only one woman in his class. Today, two generations later, women constitute around 50 percent of law school students in North America. We need to strive to have the same representation in STEM, because diversity brings success and enhances our workforce.

Do you have any early and lasting lessons you can share?

Determination and believing in yourself are hugely important for success. When I was rising up the corporate ladder, I was often the only woman in the room, but I never let that make me feel like I didn’t deserve to be there.

I’ve also learned a lot from failing. Failing is okay as long as you learn from it, and those early lessons helped to make me more resilient in the long run.

What advice would you give someone who aspires to become a leader? 

Seize opportunities when they are presented to you. If anyone asks you to take on a leadership role, just say ‘yes’. Most women have less confidence than they should in their abilities, so if a leader sees potential in you, you should probably trust them and go for it!

Judi Hess, CEO of Copperleaf, is a Canada’s Most Powerful Women: Top 100 Award Winner in the HSBC Corporate Executives category for 2018. She has been recognized as a woman holding a senior position in a Canadian company. Judi is also renowned as a visionary leader and strong advocate for empowering women in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).

Do you know a female Corporate Executive or a woman in STEM who deserves to be recognized as contributing to Canadian society? Are you a Corporate Executive or a woman in STEM that’s made an impact on Canada? Click here to nominate today! It’s free! Deadline to nominate is July 1.

Looking for more information about Top 100? Visit our website to learn all about categories including the HSBC Corporate Executives and Manulife Science & Technology!


About Judi:

Judi Hess is Chief Executive Officer of Copperleaf.

Hess, Judi portrait

2018 Canada’s Most Powerful Women: Top 100 Award Winner
HSBC Corporate Executives

Judi Hess is the CEO of Copperleaf, a Vancouver-based software company that provides decision analytics to companies managing critical infrastructure. Under Judi’s leadership, Copperleaf has become one of the top 20 biggest software companies in BC, and one of the Fastest-Growing Software Companies in Canada.

Judi began her career as a software developer at MDA and spent 14 years there before joining Creo Inc. in 1995. She rose to become president in 2002, a position she held until Creo was acquired by Eastman Kodak for just under $1 Billion USD in 2005. During her 4 year tenure at Kodak, Judi was a general manager and vice president within the graphic communications group, a corporate officer and vice president of Eastman Kodak, and head of Kodak Canada.

Judi is currently a member of the Federal Economic Strategy Clean Technology Table, and on the board of directors of Pason Systems Inc. (TSX: PSI) and Neurio. In 2018, Judi was recognized by the BC Tech Association as Person of the Year, and in 2017 as an Influential Women in Business, an award celebrating B.C.’s most outstanding business women.

Originally from Toronto, Judi and her family live in Vancouver. She holds an Honours Bachelor of Mathematics Degree With Distinction – Dean’s Honours List from the University of Waterloo, and is an avid downhill skier.

Women in STEM and Canadian Energy

I’ve always been a geek. Since childhood, I’ve been interested in how things work, and the parts that create systems. “Why?”, and more importantly, “why not?” both featured often in my speech. I became an engineer; it felt like the right fit for me, connecting science and the practical application of it in the everyday. I have never felt that I was limited due to my gender.

The ability to solve challenges in finding and producing oil and gas, and the phenomenal opportunities to do this in the province of Alberta were gifts I received. I progressed from the training of a larger Company, sitting rigs in Southern Alberta, to starting up and running small Companies with teams of other technical professionals and learning all the aspects of the business. Now in my late 40s, I remind myself of my “Why?” and I keep this spirit of discovery alive. This is especially important today working in the Canadian Energy Industry.

We are living in a polarized time in our country on issues of energy – related to the environment and to our economy. Our resources are our lifeblood, no more felt than in Alberta right now. We want to use them carefully and thoughtfully. For all the effort being spent on social media missives, we would do far better to get together and look for those “third ways” – how do we spend not only our money, but our time?

What appears to limit us is only the proving ground for the solutions to come.

We need the biggest networks of people possible, minds from all backgrounds, working on better technologies, new ways of thinking, and “third ways” of solving a problem. The data technologies emerging will generate new methods in managing our projects – this is already starting to happen. Canada is a leader in environmental technologies, and our home grown systems can be exported around the globe.

I will say to anyone, if this opportunity intrigues you, then STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) career fields need you. STEM fields have been known to be male-dominated, and I will also say that THE TIME IS NOW for more women to join these fields and contribute their gifts to society.

I have answered “Why?” on the question of the opportunity for women in STEM, and specifically in the Canadian Energy Industry.

If you know an inspiring woman that is making an impact in ANY STEM field please help recognize her contributions by nominating her for Canada’s Most Powerful Women: Top 100 in the new STEM category [Manulife Science and Technology category]. This category will help acknowledge and recognize women in STEM fields and create visibility for other women in STEM.

Because, as we continue to share our stories, the question should be “Why not?” All the best in your journey of inquiry.

Heather Christie-Burns, President and CEO of High Ground Energy Inc., is a Canada’s Most Powerful Women: Top 100 Award Winner in the CIBC Trailblazers & Trendsetters category for 2018. She has been recognized as a woman who has made a major impact in her field, in turn making a significant contribution to Canadian society. Heather is also breaking traditional barriers as a leading female in STEM.

Do you know a female trailblazer who deserves to be recognized or a leading woman who has is breaking new ground in STEM, contributing to Canadian society? Are you a trendsetter or a woman in STEM that’s made an impact on Canada? Click here to nominate today! It’s free! Deadline to nominate is June 17.

Looking for more information about Top 100? Visit our website to learn all about the awards including the CIBC Trailblazers & Trendsetters and Manulife Science & Technology!


About Heather:

Heather Christie-Burns is President and CEO of High Ground Energy Inc.

2018 Canada’s Most Powerful Women: Top 100 Award Winner
CIBC Trailblazers & Trendsetters

Ms. Christie-Burns is President and Chief Executive officer and a founder of High Ground Energy Inc., a private equity backed upstream E&P company with assets in eastern Alberta in the Viking light oil play. High Ground is one of a very few ‘blind pool’ (building from no assets) private company start-ups in Alberta in the last 4 years, with a $230 million equity backing in July 2014 from Pine Brook and Camcor Partners. The Company purchased assets from Penn West Petroleum in April 2016 and has since transformed the asset from a liability-weighted legacy gas base without cash flow into a healthy going-concern light oil project with 3,300 boe/d of production and approximately $33 million of cash flow from operations. High Ground has 15 employees in Calgary and 15 contractors managing its field operations in Consort, Alberta.

Prior to founding High Ground Energy in 2014, Heather co-founded and was President and Chief Operating Officer of Angle Energy Inc., an Alberta based, TSX- listed upstream E&P Company with an enterprise value upon sale in December 2013 of $576 million. Angle Energy was grown through the drill bit as a Canadian controlled private company, blind pool start up. The Company went public in June 2008 and was the last IPO that year on the TSX. Upon its sale, Angle Energy had 48 employees, 11,000 boe/d of production, and approximately $100 million of cash flow from operations.

Ms. Christie-Burns is a successful entrepreneur, building companies for the past fourteen years. Additionally, in Heather’s twenty-four year career as a professional engineer she has developed expertise in petroleum exploitation, M&A, corporate and property evaluations, joint venture negotiations, reservoir engineering and production operations. Previous to her executive roles at Angle, Ms. Christie-Burns was the Senior Reservoir Engineer at Bear Creek Energy Ltd. from January 2002 through March 2004. From February 1999 to January 2002, she was Senior Reservoir Engineer and later Senior Exploitation Engineer with Encal Energy Ltd. Prior roles include Fekete Associates Inc. and a field engineering role at Norcen Energy.

Ms. Christie-Burns earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Calgary. She is a member of the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) and the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Alberta (APEGA). She was recognized in 2011 by Calgary’s Avenue Magazine as one of the top 40 under 40, and was also awarded recognition in Oilweek’s Class of Rising Stars of 2011. Heather has presented to a variety of audiences including the Oil and Gas Council, Women’s Executive Network (WXN), WinSETT, the SPE, the Calgary CFA Society and Calgary Women in Energy and participated as a mentor over the past four years in the Lilith Professional Organization.

Life is a Team Sport

To be honest, I was surprised, and completely honoured to hear I was nominated and selected as a WXN Top 100 Winner for 2018.

It seems that life is always so busy with work, volunteer and family commitments. It’s rare to actually have the time to sit down and think about where you started, what you’ve done, and how far you’ve come.

To me, this achievement is both rewarding and significant. It is a privilege to be in the company of such fantastic, accomplished Canadian women. Each of us has taken our own unique path to get where we are today. Now, here in 2018, one hundred different life paths converge to celebrate this special achievement together. How cool is that?

While I know I have worked many hours, months and years to get where I am today, I am also acutely aware that nobody (no man or woman) achieves success completely on their own. Life is a team sport. I have had so many great mentors, colleagues, family and friends who have cheered me on, taken down barriers, and offered help and support throughout my journey.

While I still feel I have so much more to give, I also recognize there are many youth following behind me that have great potential, who also require support and encouragement along the way. As a proud mother of two teenagers, both a son and daughter, I want to be a positive role model for them, and encourage them to be the best they can be. Ultimately, their challenge will be to apply their gifts and talents towards making their families, businesses, communities, and world a better place. As a bonus, if they can get paid to do that work, what an unbelievable calling and blessing!

I feel I am just starting to bring all of my experience, skills and talents to bear in order to make a significant impact. When a disaster hits, usually those most vulnerable are those most impacted. This doesn’t have to happen. There are resources, best practices, and solutions that can help. After all these years, I now know that my inherent passion is to help individuals, businesses and communities become more disaster-resilient. There is still so much more work to do in this regard. It’s also one of the things that continue to motivate me every day. I am actually looking forward to taking on even bigger challenges and seizing even greater opportunities in the future.

Finally, I am both curious and excited to think about the many men, women and children I still need to meet along my life path. My hope is that through our mutual convergence, we will all be able to leave this world a better place than when we arrived.

Leann Hackman-Carty, Principal for HackmanCarty & Associates, is a Canada’s Most Powerful Women: Top 100 Award Winner in the CIBC Trailblazers & Trendsetters category for 2018. She has been recognized as a woman who has made a major impact in her field, in turn making a great contribution to Canadian society.

Do you know a female trailblazer who deserves to be recognized for her contribution to Canadian society? Are you a trendsetter that’s made an impact on Canada? Click here to nominate today! It’s free! Deadline to nominate is June 17.

Looking for more information about Top 100? Visit our website to learn all about the awards!


About Leann:

Leann Hackman-Carty is Principal for Hackman-Carty & Associates.

Hackman-Carty, Leann portrait

2018 Canada’s Most Powerful Women: Top 100 Award Winner
CIBC Trailblazers & Trendsetters

For almost thirty years Leann has lead public, private and non-profit organizations through eras of change to new levels of growth and stability. Her specialties are community economic development, business and economic recovery and entrepreneurship. She served as the Mayor of Calgary’s Executive Assistant, Community & Economic Development for over a decade; was VP of Calgary’s economic development group; managed several political election campaigns; provided business development services to the States of Mississippi and Georgia; provided leadership for the Organization of Women in International Trade; offered innovative community business and economic recovery services; hosted numerous high level international trade delegations; built peer advisory boards for women entrepreneurs; and initiated greater working relationships with provincial and international economic development groups. Since 2009, she has provided CEO consulting services to Economic Developers Alberta which is Alberta’s economic development network. Its 300+ members are involved in economic development activities including industry cluster development, tech-led economic development, business retention, expansion, and attraction, workforce development and business and economic recovery. Leann has a BA (Political Science/Sociology), BSW (Community Development), Professional Management Certificate (Marketing) and a Certificate in Economic Development.

Key Accomplishments:

  • In December 2017, Leann released her Master Your Disaster series of readiness, response and recovery guides for families, business and communities which are now available on com both in print, and in Kindle format, audio and Spanish.
  • Completed an Economic Disaster Recovery Project with 10 Alberta communities and Treaty 7 Community Futures (Siksika/Stoney); in partnership with BCEDA and IEDC, The Government of Alberta (Innovation & Advanced Education), Shell, RBC Foundation, the Canadian Red Cross and the US Consulate in Calgary. As part of this project, Leann spearheaded the production of a community toolkit to help them prepare and respond to future economic disruptions.
  • Worked with the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo on their business and economic recovery efforts, including setting up and running the Wood Buffalo Business Recovery Hotline; validating businesses for Red Cross emergency relief; and leading a 10- member economic development team to complete an economic recovery assessment.
  • Worked with the International Economic Development Council to bring their community resiliency training to bring their community resiliency training to Canada.
  • Established a partnership with the University of Calgary, Continuing Education to launch and develop a Professional Management Certificate with a specialization in Economic Development.
  • Developed strategic plans and annual work plans for various non-profit, and quasi-government organizations.
  • Organized ten very successful annual community economic development conferences, including significant outreach to elected officials. This brings together approximately 400+ attendees, 50 speakers, 5 concurrent streams, 15 sponsors.
  • Spearheaded the “Canadianized” version of IEDC’s Recovery and Resiliency Roadmap: A Toolkit for Economic Preparedness which helps communities prepare for and recover from economic disruptions, whether natural or manmade. Updated the Community Toolkit for Economic Recovery and Resiliency (2017 Canadian Version) with new links, content and case studies.
  • Lead the development of a strategic business plan for a U.S.-based, women’s non-profit with global membership.
  • Crafted a community economic development strategy that provided the framework for future promotional activities, including a major regional cluster development initiative.
  • Completed comprehensive research into federal, provincial and municipal programs and services related to trade and investment
    Organized several focus groups and community forum to obtain input on specific projects and topics.
  • Organized a US-Canada, “Save Our Kids” forum and youth rally to bring attention to the growing issue of designer and prescription drug abuse in youth.
  • Conceptualized and implemented a CIDA-funded project in partnership with the Trade Facilitation Office of Canada, OWIT, and the APEC Women Leaders Network to bring 15 women delegates from CIDA-priority countries to participate in a Miami conference.

Anything worth achieving takes a lot of hard work, energy and passion

Tina Jones imageI never saw myself as breaking new ground; I saw myself chasing ideas.

Success for me is a combination of ideas and vision, passion and plain old hard work, a continual reach for excellence and a constant openness to be challenged. I believe my award to the Top 100 list is a recognition of my work in building relationships and teams of great people.

One idea I chased early on was to build a great wine store. Banville & Jones Wine Company was new territory. I assembled a team of smart, energetic people and the ideas started to flow—ideas about great service to retail and restaurant customers, and ideas to nurture our city’s wine culture. Then came wine appreciation courses. From there, with team members willing to reach the highest international standards, came accredited wine and drinks programs. And because everyone loves wine, travel, and sharing stories, we developed our award-winning magazine, The Cellar Door.

Another idea I chased was a vision that Manitoba could be a centre of excellence for hockey education. Again it was new ground, but with Brad Rice we imagined a new concept and built a leadership team. From there came a hockey academy; new approaches in training and supporting athletes; collaboration with great schooling and focused programs. Now we have launched a $20 million construction project as the infrastructure for these great ideas.

And Winnipeg’s Green Carrot Juice Company was a vision built from a conversation with my friend Obby Khan. We chased the idea of a fresh juice concept by building another team. Today Green Carrot has several locations, including the Winnipeg International airport where we offer a fresh juice, whole food option to travelers.

My father, whose entrepreneurial spirit brought him tremendous success, taught me that anything worth achieving takes a lot of hard work, energy and passion. His inspiration has helped me launch these great ideas.

All this work is valuable only in a world where people matter. My two fabulous children have been central in my life, their education and activities very important. My Mom was such a support to me that I knew I needed to be a support to them. They are now adults, contributing and chasing their own ideas.

We also build a world that matters by contributing to our community and by touching lives through philanthropy work. In supporting community projects through my business and my own volunteer work I have imagined new approaches and new concepts and worked to make them happen. Serving as Chair of the Health Sciences Foundation Board of Directors has been especially rewarding. I was humbled to be named Volunteer Fundraiser of the Year in Manitoba, and to receive the Distinguished Alumni Award from the University of Manitoba for this work.

Being recognized as one of Canada’s Top 100 most powerful women is both humbling and hard to imagine. To be nominated, and then named, to this small list of amazing women is an honour. My colleagues in every facet of my life, and my family, have helped me achieve it: we all talk about “team work” but I know we simply cannot achieve great things alone. To carry this honour forward I will be even more driven to motivate and mentor other young women and men, to build great relationships, and to continue imagining a better world.

Tina Jones, CEO of Banville & Jones Group of Companies, is a Canada’s Most Powerful Women: Top 100 Award Winner in the CIBC Trailblazers & Trendsetters Category for 2018. She has been recognized as a woman first in her field that has made a great contribution to Canadian society.

Do you know a female trailblazer who deserves to be recognized for her contribution to Canadian society? Are you a trendsetter that’s made an impact on Canada? Click here to nominate today! It’s free! Deadline to nominate is June 17.

Looking for more information about Top 100? Visit our website for all the ins and outs!

 


About Tina:

Tina Jones is CEO of Banville & Jones Group of Companies

Jones, Tina portrait

2018 Canada’s Most Powerful Women: Top 100 Award Winner
CIBC Trailblazers and Trendsetters

Tina Jones is a highly successful Manitoba entrepreneur, community contributor and philanthropist. She is owner of Banville & Jones Wine Company and principal of Wine & Drinks College Manitoba (WDCM), which have grown into the largest private wine store and destination wine school in Manitoba. Tina has reached for the highest international standards, creating opportunities for her staff to pursue studies and accreditation at WDCM and through the Wine and Spirit Education Trust, the Canadian Association of Professional Sommeliers, and the Wine Scholar Guild. She has expanded the impact of wine education to develop the award-winning magazine, The Cellar Door.

Tina is also an active partner in The Rink Training Centre, providing innovative individual skill development to all levels of hockey players. Tina is also a pioneer in Winnipeg, with the first Canadian Sports School Hockey League teams, The RHA Nationals. These teams bring unparalleled hockey training along with fine schooling to elite players from across Canada and the USA. The Rink’s success is reflected in a major $20 million Center of Excellence construction project, with completion date scheduled for early 2019.

Tina’s work also extends to partnership in Winnipeg’s popular Green Carrot Juice Company, a concept for fresh, cold-pressed juices that has grown exponentially since its inception in 2014.

Tina’s energy and creativity have also made her a tireless community builder. Her fundraising work with dozens of charitable organizations have helped raise tens of millions of dollars on our community. She currently serves as Chair of the Board of the Health Sciences Centre Foundation Board of Directors. The Association of Fundraising Professionals Manitoba has recognized her contributions as Volunteer Fundraiser of the Year 2017, and the University of Manitoba has honoured her with the Distinguished Alumni Award 2018.

Ms Jones inheirited a strong entrepreneurial spirit from her father Pierluigi Tolaini, who immigrated from Italy and built (from one truck) the largest privately held transport company in Canada. Pierluigi fulfilled a lifelong dream to create great Italian wine, and Tina works with him to build the Tolaini wine brand. For Tina, success is built on vision, hard work, building great teams and continually reaching for excellence.

I come to work to maximize opportunities for our learners

Wow, what great news to hear that WXN has honored me as a Top 100 Most Powerful Women in the PwC Public Sector Leaders category. But this recognition is really for our learners, our community partners, and our donors, who make the NorQuest community such an invigorating and life changing place. Thanks to you!

Every day I come to work to maximize opportunities for our learners. Learners who represent the world. Our indigenous learners, our regional residents, and other learners who represent 131 countries speaking 77 languages. Learners who step away from work and family obligations to enhance their knowledge and their skills so that they can contribute to building a better, stronger, more inclusive community. Who wouldn’t want to work in this environment? Everyday spending time at NorQuest College is a privilege, and a place where I continue to learn.

How do I feel about the WXN honor? Well, first I would like to personally thank my direct team who secretly completed the nomination and kept a secret – a high risk maneuver for sure! Seriously though, I am honored, humbled, excited, and so very grateful. Thank you!

Jodi

Dr. Jodi Abbott, ICD.D, President & CEO of NorQuest College, is a Canada’s Most Powerful Women: Top 100 Award Winner in the Public Sector Leaders Category for 2018. She has been recognized her hard work and leadership while holding a senior position in one of  Canada’s public sector organizations.

Do you know someone who deserves to be recognized for her personal and business contributions as an female public sector leader in Canada? Are you a leading female in the public sector? Click here to learn more about our Top 100 Nominations and how to nominate yourself or someone else. It’s free to nominate!

 


About Dr. Abbott:

Dr. Jodi L. Abbott, ICD.D is President and CEO of NorQuest College

Abbott, Dr. Jodi L portrait

2018 Canada’s Most Powerful Women: Top 100 Award Winner
Public Sector Leaders

Dr. Jodi L. Abbott is the President and CEO of NorQuest College. Since joining the college in 2010, Dr. Abbott has more than doubled NorQuest’s student population through expanded credit and non-credit programming; unveiled innovative partnerships including the Alberta Indigenous Construction Career Centre, the Edmonton Oilers Community Foundation Hospitality Institute, the NorQuest College ATB Agency, and the Colbourne Institute for Inclusive Leadership; and enhanced NorQuest’s brand recognition. Under Dr. Abbott’s leadership, NorQuest College opened a stunning new campus addition, the Singhmar Centre for Learning, for fall term classes in 2017.

Dr. Abbott is a member of the Young Presidents’ Organization and currently chairs the Edmonton Metropolitan Region Board. She was recently the Chair of Edmonton’s Health City and served as a trustee of the Stollery Children’s Hospital Foundation. In addition, she has a longstanding involvement with figure skating, including as an Olympic judge in 2010 and 2014. In 2011, Dr. Abbott was included in the Canadian Association for the Advancement of Women in Sport and Physical Activity’s list of Canada’s top-20 most influential women in sport. In 2013, she received the University of Alberta Alumni Honour Award in recognition of her international work with figure skating and for championing improved health-care services. In 2015, she was named as one of the Top 100 Most Powerful Women by the Women’s Executive Network (WXN), receiving the Trailblazers and Trendsetters Award for women who are either the first in their field or have made a major impact on it. In 2016, Dr. Abbott was named among the Top 50 Most Influential People in Alberta by Alberta Venture magazine, and she received the first-ever District 99 Toastmaster Award in Leadership and Communication. Most recently, she was named a Global Woman of Vision.

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There is Strength in Vulnerability

Angela Liddon casualReceiving one of WXN’s Canada’s Most Powerful Women Awards coincided with a time in my life when I felt my least powerful. As a mom of two young kids, I’d been struggling with postpartum health issues for a long time and pushed through because I thought how I felt was normal. I honestly didn’t know if I would ever feel like myself again—I was anxious, tired (yet unable to truly relax), and dealing with a long list of other physical symptoms. On the professional side of things, I had a lot of self-doubt and indecision as a business owner. I didn’t know whether I should push through this challenging time, scale back and take a break, or hire more help. At one point, I even doubted whether I should continue as I felt like I wasn’t able to juggle my various hats as a business owner and entrepreneur.

Angela Liddon casual 2When I found out that I’d been selected as one of WXN’s Top 100 Entrepreneurs, I was floored. Without a doubt, this meaningful recognition helped me find my strength and remember the potential I’ve always had within myself. Reading other women’s stories has reminded me that there is strength in vulnerability and that we all have times along our journey that nearly take everything out of us. Going forward, I’ve been even more mindful of sharing my struggles so other women (and men) know that they aren’t alone, and know how important it is to take time for our personal health and let go of perfectionism. Thank you WXN for giving us a platform to share our diverse stories and for supporting and encouraging women all across Canada. It’s truly an honour to be included!

Angela Liddon casual 3Angela Liddon, award winning author and business owner, is a Canada’s Most Powerful Women: Top 100 Award Winner in the Entrepreneurs Category for 2018. She has been honoured as an female owner and operator of a thriving business in Canada.

Do you know a someone who deserves to be recognized her personal and business contributions as an female entrepreneur in Canada? Are you a female business owner? It’s free to nominate! Click here to learn more about our Top 100 Nominations and how to nominate yourself or someone else.

 


About Angela:

Angela Liddon is President of Oh She Glows

Liddon, Angela portrait

2018 Canada’s Most Powerful Women: Top 100 Award Winner
Entrepreneurs

Ten years ago, Angela Liddon founded Oh She Glows—a destination for energizing plant-based recipes, stunning food photography, and inspiration for healthy living. Since then, she’s become the award-winning author behind The New York Times and Globe and Mail bestselling cookbooks The Oh She Glows Cookbook and Oh She Glows Every Day. In 2014, The Oh She Glows Cookbook was selected as Indigo’s Book of the Year. Most recently, Oh She Glows Every Day took home gold at the 2017 Taste Canada Awards for Health and Special Diet Cookbook of the year. Building on the success of her wildly popular cookbooks, Angela launched The Oh She Glows Recipe App in 2016. It has been downloaded over 200,000 times globally, is regularly selected as Apple’s App of the Day, and is continually lauded for its beautiful design and Angela’s mouthwatering food photography.

In 2009, Angela founded OhSheGlows.com to share her love of vibrant, wholesome, and delicious cooking with the world. Her blog continues to receive millions of visitors each month, readers around the globe praising Angela’s ability to create recipes beloved by vegans and omnivores alike. Angela’s work has been featured in local and international publications such as VegNews, O: The Oprah Magazine, Fitness, The Kitchn, Self, Shape, The National Post, The Guardian, Glamour, The Telegraph, barre3, T.O.F.U., and Best Health, among others. She has also won several major writing and blogging awards, including VegNews’s Best Vegan Blog 2012, 2014, and 2015; Taste Canada’s Health & Special Diet Food Blog 2017; Chatelaine’s Hot 20 under 30 award; and Food Buzz’s Best Veg Blog and Best Overall Blog.

Angela lives in Oakville, Ontario with her husband Eric and their two children.

 

The Next Diversity Challenge: Embracing Our Natural Leadership Styles

Melanie Dunn portraitWXN’s mantra is ‘celebrate differences’ and ‘lead inclusively.’ I think both of those directives are important when it comes to inspiring the people around you.

It’s an honour to be named to WXN’s Top 100 Most powerful women in Canada list and be part of an outstanding group of leaders in their fields.

All of us have overcome challenges throughout our careers, some of which are inherent to business and some of which are gender-specific. Staying true to my leadership style has not always been easy. I’m fortunate to have been 19 years with a company that has created a business environment where women can stay true to their values.

But more broadly, I would say that despite advancements, a very stereotyped image of leadership remains. By default we tend to celebrate some leadership styles over others. Women are still encouraged to be more assertive, more confident in the boardroom, willing to take more risks and make stronger decisions. In other words, the traditional characteristics of a male C-suite executive.

But I believe that is changing.

The catalyst is that with the way the world is now, we are losing a bit of our humanity. We are going to be progressively open to a whole new kind of leadership, and I think the skills we tend to align with women more than men are going to change in value. Things like empathy, collaboration and generosity: these will no longer be a ‘nice to have’ but a must have.

Women receive a lot of advice on how to succeed in business. I would argue that instead, we should be giving advice to business on how to attract women to the workforce, and start building an environment where women can be themselves. After all, this is what diversity means. If we do the same things in the same ways and have the same behaviours, then diversity is mute.

Years ago one of my account leaders returned to the office after having a manicure with a client and she felt very awkward telling me. Like it was more of a confession than sharing a successful client experience with the boss. I said to her, “Why are you embarrassed? Do you play golf? No. Just think of the manicure as a round of golf.” The light went on.

This is a small story, but it illustrates the broader point that there are legacy codes of how to be in business that don’t work for everyone. Women can be trailblazers in many ways; not just in continuing to push against the traditional means of excluding women from leadership ranks, but also in redefining what we value in leaders overall.

This year, my status as WXN winner will reinforce the goals of ‘celebrating differences’ and ‘leading inclusively,’ that have always guided me professionally. It’s important to see other people’s views, to embrace a diversity of approaches and responses and to encourage people to be wholly themselves. It is on our shoulders to create a world that truly values the idea that there are as many ways to be successful in business as there are leaders in business.

We’re very proud that Melanie is a Canada’s Most Powerful Women: Top 100 Award Winner in the HSBC Corporate Executives Category. 

Do you know a female in Canada who deserves to be recognized for her contributions? Click here to learn more about our Top 100 Nominations and how to nominate yourself or someone else. It’s free!

 


About Melanie:

Melanie Dunn is the Global President and CEO of Cossette.

Dunn, Melanie portrait

2018 Canada’s Most Powerful Women: Top 100 Award Winner
HSBC Corporate Executives

A highly accomplished businesswoman, Melanie has over 20 years of experience in business management and marketing communications. She is the President and CEO of Cossette and a member of the executive management team of Vision7 International, a holding company with an extensive portfolio of Communications firms in North America, Europe and Asia.

Melanie is actively involved in several professional and community organizations. She sits on the Board of Directors of the Canada Post Corporation and the Health Standards Organization (HSO). She is also a member of the Board of Directors of the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal and the CHU Sainte-Justine Foundation.

Melanie has a Bachelor’s degree in Economics and a Marketing Certificate from the Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM).

 

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.

Aerotek logo

#150-4321 Still Creek Drive
Burnaby, BC V5C 6S7
Aerotek.com

 

Respectfully Uncensored

RENNEHAN RANT

My (respectfully) uncensored message.

Mandy RennehanI’ve never been afraid to tell it like it is.

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.

Mandy RennehanYou 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!

Bear hug!

Mandy Rennehan

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.


About Mandy

Mandy Rennehan, Blue-Collar CEO™ & Founder, Freshco.ca
Canada’s Most Powerful Women: Top 100 Award Hall of Fame Inductee
Rennehan, Mandy portrait

Sought-after speaker, multiple award-winning entrepreneur, and trade industry ambassador, Mandy Rennehan is redefining the collar, blueand 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.