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Teranet’s Market Insight Forum: Women in Leadership

November 5, 2021 • Market Insights Forum

Teranet held the last of its Market Insight Forums for the year on October 27th. The subject of the forum was Women in Leadership in recognition of Women’s History Month in Canada. The well-attended virtual event was moderated by our own Chief Human Resources Officer, Sudha Dwivedi.

The esteemed panelists were:

Many topics relevant to women’s leadership arose as the forum dove into the rich experiences of our panelists. On the topic of career paths, women often do not experience a linear movement to the top.  Frances Hinojosa described the corporate ladder as “more of a Jungle Gym”. Panelists all shared stories where stepping down, moving laterally or even taking time off was necessary to grow – and described how that non-linear journey also provided them with perspective, resiliency and perseverance.

Another theme discussed was the common challenges of women working in male dominated industries.

Merredith described how 50% of law school grads are female, yet only 20% of law firm partners are. “As a young lawyer I was underestimated, mistaken for a secretary at times,” she said. Frances also articulated how she was told early in her career that having kids might be an obstacle to becoming a lending manager. “I am fortunate,” she added, “to have a very progressive partner who understands that we are a team and helps me out with our joint responsibilities.”

Sudha followed up by asking about the benefits to women in leadership positions. She used herself and family as an example, noting that her parents came to Canada in the 60s and her father said he believed that women were “true leaders” of their societies because they “built cultures, communities and legacies.” Hali responded by saying that she believes there are certain qualities that women seem to use more effectively, among them are “communication and verbalizing, different levels of empathy.”

What changes are necessary?

Michelle stressed the importance of representation by stating, “you can’t be, what you can’t see.” Her view is to ensure that the next generation of female leaders have role models that they can learn from and know that it is possible to succeed. The panelists all stressed the importance of seeing more women promoted to leadership positions. Sudha followed up to point out that women look at a job description and unless they meet 100% of the qualifications, they tend not to apply. Men, on the other hand, tend to apply if they meet only 60% of the criteria.  This self-doubt and lack of confidence is changing, but there is more work to be done on all levels.

Finally, the panelists were asked to provide advice for women entering their industries. The definitive reply was from Hali who said, “the question isn’t who is going to let me in, it’s who is going to stop me.”

If you missed this inspiring forum or would like to watch it again, you can access a recording here: https://vimeo.com/639968304

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