No Greater Force on Earth than Passionate Intent

I loved school. And fell in love with history. As a kid, and later a university undergraduate and graduate student I read chapter after chapter of the lives of great people who shaped us.

But so often voices were missing. For centuries women really didn’t get noticed…didn’t get written about….rarely appeared at all and when they did it was in supporting roles or cameos.

We’re living in a new era where we are noticed, are heard and are celebrated – not despite the fact that we’re women but because of it. It isn’t right, or fair to the amazing women that preceded us that this is a new era, but the point is that we’ve arrived.

I was beyond moved and in awe when I found out the company I get to keep with the other 99 powerhouse women receiving recognition this year, and the hundreds before them in years past. I am so appreciative that women have moved out of the margins of history onto, literally centre stage.

But the true power of the group that’s assembled through this award isn’t who we are as individuals, it’s what we represent as a collective. There is no greater force on earth than passionate intent. If we all collectively support and celebrate the accomplishments of women – in all of our diverse forms – not only will women rise, but we as a society will be better off.

The number of powerful positions out there may be finite. But power is not. I look forward to seeing what this group of women and the many around us do to plug in and use our positions of influence to affect positive change for years to come.

Sevaun Palvetzian, one of Canada’s leading experts in civic action, is a Canada’s Most Powerful Women: Top 100 Award Winner in the RBC Champions Category for 2018. She has been honoured because of the describable difference she has made to the advancement of women in the workplace.

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

 


About Sevaun:

Sevaun Palvetzian is Chief Executive Officer for CivicAction.

Palvetzian, Sevaun portrait

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

One of Canada’s leading experts on civic engagement, Sevaun Palvetzian has been CEO of CivicAction since January 2014. Under her leadership, CivicAction has focused on building inclusive cities with the launch of the CivicAction Leadership Foundation to change the face of leadership in our region and initiatives focused on youth unemployment and mental health in the workplace which level the playing field of opportunity and access. Throughout her career, Sevaun has advocated for new voices at the tables of influence including championing the next generation of leaders. During a decade of senior executive leadership within the Ontario Government she launched a strategy to attract and retain future generations of leaders which included the award-winning Learn and Work Program for at-risk youth and lead the team responsible for the new Trillium Park at Ontario Place. She has also held positions at the University of Toronto, the World Bank Group, and Presidential Classroom – a civic education organization in Washington DC.

A voice of influence and advocacy on many urban issues, Sevaun is frequently called on for print, radio and TV commentary.  She’s active in a range of community roles including serving as a member of the Premier’s Community Hubs Advisory Group, the Toronto Police Service Board Transformational Task Force, and as a member of Mayor John Tory’s Advisory Panel for International Hosting Opportunities. She sits on the Board of Directors for the Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council, NPower Canada, Waterfront Toronto, and is a member of the Ivey Business School Leadership Council. She has an M.A in history from the University of Western Ontario, and has completed executive programs at the Ivey School of Business and Harvard School of Business.

We Are Stronger Together

People often ask me what it’s like to lead multi-million dollar campaigns. Fundraising is a lot more than the ask, but there’s no doubt that it requires confidence and self-awareness to be able to sit down with an individual, or in front of a committee, and make a multi-million dollar pitch. As a woman, and one often much younger than the people on the other side of the table, it can be tremendously challenging. My work as president of the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) Foundation has led me to cultivate skills I hadn’t anticipated honing. In my work today, I must be strong, bold and composed. I must not look away, I must be unflinching.

My career began in journalism, and from there I worked in provincial politics, where in a short time I was promoted to Associate Chief of Staff and Political Advisor to the then health minister. In 2005, I moved into a management role at the MUHC, and my work in strategic development and marketing in the health care domain took off in earnest.

Working in a hospital setting is certainly unique. Simply walking to a meeting, I pass patients being prepped for surgery, people on their way to an appointment where they will receive a life-altering diagnosis, or a new mother leaving from her latest round of chemotherapy. That ever-present essential human drama underscores the work I do, and it reminds me why I strive for excellence each and every day.

I am proud of being recognized as a TOP 100 Award Winner. When I learned that I had been selected, I was initially surprised, but I allowed myself a brief moment to feel the power that comes with recognition like this. There have been times in my career, in my life, where I have felt powerless, and to be named powerful, one of the 100 most powerful in the country, is emboldening.

It’s not for myself though that I feel a quickening in my stomach or my spine straightening just a slight bit more, it’s for the women around me every day, the women I pass on my way to the office, my girlfriends, my own daughter, my mother. This achievement, this honour, is for all of us.

Because, we are stronger together.

When women run companies, more women get promoted to senior management positions. When women sit on corporate boards, there is a diversity of opinion and perspective that was previously lacking. When women run for public office, more women vote, and little girls imagine themselves as leaders in their own right.

When we highlight the achievements of some women, we help all believe more is possible.

We are pleased to have Julie as a Canada’s Most Powerful Women: Top 100 Award Winner in the Mercedes-Benz Emerging Leaders Category as well as a contributor and speaker at our events throughout the year. 

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 Julie:

Julie Quenneville is President of McGill University Health Centre Foundation.

Quenneville, Julie portrait

2018 Canada’s Most Powerful Women: Top 100 Award Winner
Mercedes-Benz Emerging Leaders

Julie Quenneville is President of the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) Foundation, which supports patient care, teaching and research at the MUHC, one of Canada’s top three research hospitals.

Since assuming the leadership of the MUHC Foundation in October 2015, Julie has spearheaded a transformation of the charitable organization resulting in a 60 per cent increase in annual revenue and a drop in the cost ratio from 22 per cent to 16 per cent. Last year alone, the Foundation’s donor community grew by one quarter.

Prior to her career in philanthropy, Julie joined the political cabinet of Quebec’s then Minister of Health and Social Services, Philippe Couillard. Within a year, she was promoted to Associate Chief of Staff. She ran Couillard’s Montreal office, and was responsible for steering key health legislation such as the new national policy for mental health services, the ban on smoking in all public spaces, access to services for English-speaking and cultural communities and the public health portfolio.

Julie’s most sensitive dossier was the provincial government’s campaign to save the Shriners Hospital of Canada. Shriners announced its intention to move the country’s only hospital from Quebec to Ontario in 2003. For two years, Julie coordinated the campaign to save the Shriners which involved high profile decision makers including the Premier of Quebec, the Mayor of Montreal, and the some of the city’s leading institutions, including the MUHC, McGill University, and Montreal’s Chamber of Commerce as well as many business leaders. The victory, which was deemed impossible two years prior, was announced in 2005.

Julie proudly serves on the Board of the Banff Forum and the University Club of Montreal. She was previously on the Boards of Lakeshore General Hospital and Cheerleading Quebec. For over a decade, she volunteered for AMCAL Family Services, the YMCA and The Becket Players, a federally chartered, non-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the performing arts in Montreal’s West Island.

 

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).