Lisa Raitt: embracing challenges, advocating for change, and finding balance

Lisa Raitt — The Honest Talk podcast for women

Lisa Raitt, a trailblazer in politics and finance, has never been one to conform to traditional life planning. Her journey, evolving from a former federal cabinet minister and Deputy Leader of the Official Opposition to the current Vice Chair and Managing Director of Global Investment Banking at CIBC, is a testament to a life shaped by resilience, unexpected twists, and an unyielding commitment to family.

Lisa Raitt – Political trailblazer, corporate leader and advocate for dementia research

A pivotal revelation shaping beliefs and inspiring leadership

Growing up in Cape Breton, Lisa’s life took a turn at age 11 when she uncovered a startling truth about her familial structure. 

Imagine … the person you thought was your father passes away, and a few weeks later you’re told that your parents are actually your grandparents, and your mother is who you thought was your sister,” she recounted. 

However, this revelation didn’t sow bitterness, but instead fostered curiosity and early grounding in the art of acceptance. She credits the Congregation of Notre Dame for shaping her early beliefs, steering her toward science, and fostering a belief in women’s leadership. Inspired by figures like Marie Curie, she naturally gravitated towards seeing women in positions of power.

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Embracing challenges and asserting worth

Lisa’s political career was a journey marked by highs and lows, a rollercoaster that sculpted her resilience.

There were some lows, some highs, and all of that has made me the person I am today, and for that, I am grateful.

One of her biggest lessons learned throughout her career? That women need to stop being grateful for positions or pay raises, and instead they need to know their value and be deliberate in asserting their worth. 

[Women] have to make the case for promotion, for extra money, for what you’re worth,” says Lisa, emphasizing the significance of knowing and articulating one’s value in professional spaces.

Navigating life’s unforeseen turns: advocacy and compassion

Life presented unforeseen challenges when Lisa’s husband, Bruce, received an early-onset Alzheimer’s diagnosis. This unexpected journey navigating the complexities of the disease became a defining aspect of her life. 

Bruce is at a stage where seeing his reflection often triggers confusion — he perceives it as a stranger,” she shared, shedding light on the heartbreaking realities of dementia’s impact.

Advocating for early diagnosis and present-moment living

Faced with a new reality as a caregiver for Bruce, Lisa advocates passionately for early diagnosis and a more empathetic society. “[Alzheimer’s] is prevalent in numerous households across Canada. It’s crucial for people to comprehend its severity and the strain it places on individuals,” she stressed. 

Had it not been for Bruce’s employer recognizing the signs — his declining performance — and urging a medical evaluation, he might have faced dismissal without accessing long-term disability benefits,” she revealed, emphasizing the significance of timely intervention and support mechanisms.

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Amidst these challenges, her approach to self-care is grounded in present-moment living and moments of solace, emphasizing the importance of finding peace amidst life’s chaos.

I just be. If I want to watch Master Chef Australia for an hour-and-a-half, I’m going to do that,” she shared.

Work as refuge and fulfillment

For Lisa, work serves as both refuge and a place to seek fulfillment. “When other parts of your life are falling apart, if you can find that thing that you’re good at and do it, that’s going to make you feel good,” she told The Honest Talk.

Lisa Raitt’s journey encapsulates resilience, adaptability, and an unwavering commitment to family amidst personal and professional challenges. Her story is a testament to navigating uncertainties, advocating for oneself, and finding solace amidst life’s complexities.

You can listen to more of Lisa Raitt’s story on The Honest Talk podcast.