5 career insights from Сanada’s most influential women

In today’s rapidly evolving world, women continue to break barriers and pave the way for success across various industries. 

At The Honest Talk, we are lucky to speak with many of Canada’s most influential women who have achieved remarkable career milestones and serve as role models for aspiring professionals, and we are thrilled to share their insights with you! 

From career advice to personal growth, these insights will inspire and empower women to make impactful choices and excel in their professional journeys.

Your career is a marathon, not a sprint — Anna Maria Tremonti

In a world that often glorifies rapid success, renowned Canadian journalist Anna Maria Tremonti encourages women to adopt a long-term perspective. Building a successful career requires dedication, perseverance, and strategic planning. It’s crucial to focus on sustainable growth and continuous learning rather than rushing through experiences. By embracing this mindset, women can cultivate resilience and create a solid foundation for their future achievements.

Not only is it unrealistic to expect overnight success, it’s also important to be prepared for setbacks. While they may seem challenging and disheartening at the time, setbacks can actually build a solid foundation for success by helping you develop the following traits:

  • Resilience and adaptability: Overcoming obstacles helps you build mental strength to handle future challenges and enables you to navigate changes and uncertainties you’re likely to face in your career.
  • Learning and growth: By reflecting on what went wrong, identifying areas for improvement, and analyzing your strengths and weaknesses, you’ll clarify areas where you need to learn and improve.
  • Reevaluation and realignment: Setbacks can act as a catalyst for positive change, leading you to ensure your career path aligns with your values, passions, and long-term objectives to make sure you’re pursuing fulfilling and meaningful endeavors.
  • Asking for help — building networks and support systems: When you’re down you may seek support from mentors, colleagues, or peers who may offer insights, or introduce you to opportunities you hadn’t considered.
  • Problem-solving: Approaching challenges from different angles and developing innovative solutions is an asset that can open doors to new career prospects.

The stumbling blocks you face in life can make you a better and happier person. There’s nothing like adversity to encourage self-reflection and humility, and every success is also that much sweeter when it comes after a struggle.

Read about: Here is why you should have a mentor: insights from Canada’s most influential women

Bree Jamieson-Holloway, a successful Canadian entrepreneur, reinforces the notion that growing your career thoughtfully and being prepared for setbacks will ultimately pay off with lasting success: “Build a solid foundation. Don’t rush through life and rush through experiences…. Take your time and establish a solid foundation, because if you establish that solid foundation, from that foundation you can create absolutely anything.”

With a solid foundation, women can confidently pursue their goals and navigate any challenges that come their way, ultimately creating extraordinary accomplishments.

You are not just your career — Vassy Kapelos

Vassy Kapelos, a prominent Canadian political journalist, highlights the significance of maintaining a balance between work and personal life. Kapelos reminds women that they are not defined solely by their careers but also by their multifaceted identities: “We’re all people. We’re not just our careers…. I know the significance and importance of having other stuff in your life.”

Vassy Kapelos – Breaking news & breaking barriers for women in journalism

Nurturing interests, relationships, and hobbies outside of work is essential for personal fulfillment and well-being. By investing in other aspects of life, women can enhance their overall happiness and find renewed energy to excel in their chosen careers.

To take this advice a step further, many experts recommend including personal experience on your LinkedIn profile (Should I Add Personal Information to My LinkedIn Profile? | LinkedIn). Personal details which are relevant and maintain an appropriate level of professionalism can make you stand out in the following ways:

  • Showcasing your skills: Many personal experiences demonstrate skills or perspectives that can be valuable in the workforce, for example, travel which builds cultural awareness and language skills, or sports, which demonstrate teamwork and perseverance.
  • Demonstrating diversity: If you’ve engaged in initiatives or with organizations that promote inclusivity, equity, or social causes, it can demonstrate your commitment to and understanding of these values.
  • Highlighting your humanity: Adding personal experiences to your LinkedIn profile shows that you have a well-rounded personality and interests outside of work, which can make you more relatable and help foster genuine connections with potential employers, colleagues, or clients.

Including appropriate personal experiences on your LinkedIn profile can pique an employer’s interest, or forge a connection beyond the workplace, so not only is it good for your personal health to have a variety of interests and pursuits – it can also be good for your career.

Female support and empowerment — Jennifer Tory

Jennifer Tory, a respected Canadian business executive believes that “women need to support each other to think differently about [things] early in our careers to be able to prepare the way for those bigger challenges down the road.”

Read about: Women have to support women: here is why you need a circle of women to succeed

Early in their careers, women should actively seek out networks, mentorship, and professional communities that foster growth and offer support. By thinking differently and collectively preparing for future challenges, women can pave the way for their own success and that of others.

women on board
There are several Canadian organizations that provide platforms for women to support each other in the workplace and address career-related issues. Just a few examples include:
  • Lean In Canada: A community of professional women that provides support, networking, and mentorship opportunities to help women achieve their career goals.
  • The WIT Network: A global and local not-for-profit organization providing inspiration, education, mentoring, networking, and practical advice to empower women to build and grow their careers in technology and pursue their ambitions.
  • Ellevate Network Canada: Providing a platform for women professionals to connect, learn, and support each other in their careers.
  • Girls in Tech Canada: A community of like-minded women offering programs and resources to support and empower women in technology and entrepreneurship.
  • The Government of Canada maintains a list of national, regional, and international groups offering exceptional networking opportunities, mentorship, training, and resources exclusively for Canadian business women.

The above list is just the tip of the iceberg. You can search for local organizations and programs in your region to find the information and support you’re looking for.

Embrace your role and take your seat at the table — Stephanie Dexter

Stephanie Dexter, an influential Canadian executive, encourages women to take ownership of their expertise, opinions, and accomplishments and actively contribute to their respective industries. 

“As soon as I really started to take my seat at the table and embrace the role, that’s when I really started seeing progress in my career,” says Stephanie.

By recognizing their value and actively participating, women can create meaningful impact and drive progress in their careers. Taking a seat at the table not only empowers women but also sets the stage for their continued growth and advancement.

One common barrier to women taking their seat at the table is imposter syndrome, defined by the Oxford Dictionary as: “the persistent inability to believe that one’s success is deserved or has been legitimately achieved as a result of one’s own efforts or skills.”

While it’s important to recognize the systemic, societal factors which contribute to feelings of inadequacy — particularly for marginalized groups — (in other words, don’t blame yourself), there are things you can do to overcome your hesitation and take Stephanie’s advice about stepping forward to embrace your role.

  • Recognize and acknowledge your achievements: Counteract feelings of self-doubt by reflecting on and writing down your achievements and reminding yourself of your strengths.
  • Normalize self-doubt: Understand that experiencing self-doubt and imposter syndrome is common and does not define your competence or worth. Many successful individuals, including highly accomplished women, have faced similar feelings.
  • Challenge negative thoughts: Question the validity of negative thoughts. Ask yourself for evidence that supports your self-doubt and counter it with evidence of your achievements and capabilities.
  • Celebrate mistakes and embrace learning opportunities: Mistakes are a natural part of growth which you can reframe as opportunities to learn and improve.
  • Avoid perfectionism: Perfectionism can fuel imposter syndrome. Set realistic expectations for yourself and focus on progress rather than perfection.
  • Cultivate self-compassion: Treat yourself with the same understanding and encouragement you would offer to a friend. Celebrate your successes and be gentle with yourself during setbacks.
  • Seek mentorship and role models: Having mentors or role models who believe in your abilities and can provide advice can help counteract imposter syndrome.

These career insights shared by Canada’s most influential women provide invaluable guidance for women navigating their professional journeys. As women continue to make significant contributions to Canada’s workforce, these thoughts serve as a reminder of the tremendous potential and opportunities that lie ahead.

Through determination, resilience, and collaboration, women can break barriers and achieve their goals, leaving a lasting impact on their industries and inspiring others to follow in their footsteps.