Influential women in business on social media, innovation and work-family balance
Not long ago, you would never have found an entire section of a city’s flagship business weekly devoted to women. But how times have changed. In fact, when Elizabeth Harrison -- recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award in Business in Vancouver’s 2012 Influential Women in Business issue - was asked whether the success and role of women in business was still a relevant topic, she replied:
“The way the business community in Vancouver has evolved, we may ask if one should focus on the success and role of men in business.”
This statement resonated with me. As a female business consultant based in Vancouver, I have a front seat view of the important role that women are playing in the city’s business community. Do women approach business differently than men? This most recent issue of BiV provided some insight into that question through interviews with six of Vancouver’s most successful business women.
Business innovation through new experiences
Can women benefit from the fact that they are relative newcomers to corporate leadership positions? Maybe. Kari Yuers, president and CEO of Kryton International recalls pushing through significant changes to her company, despite encountering skepticism from her colleagues.
“I was really young and naive at the time, so I just thought they were wrong and kept going," she said. "I’m not sure if I had the same experience now, with what I know now, that I wouldn’t just listen to them and give up.”
Yuer has maintained her adventurous spirit and considers it an important element to her success.
“Unless you are going to change dramatically and adapt to trends in the future, you are probably going to be on the downhill slide,” she said.
A similar pioneering attitude is voiced by Launi Skinner, CEO of First West Credit Union.
“I really encourage people, and I think we need more of it, in what I call ‘courageous leadership’," she said. "Leaders have an opportunity to stand up for what they believe is right and, in a very thoughtful and caring way, to speak more of the truth. The business advice I give to people is that it’s not about being right; it’s about being authentic to who you are and speaking what you believe, to share the information that’s needed at that point to be most effective for the organization.”
Teekay Corp executive vice president of corporate resources Lois Nahirney credits international travel experience for her creative perspectives.
“Travel early, travel lots," she said. "Every place brings new insights, freshness and learning. Everyone you meet has a valuable story to live and to tell. This brings rich benefits to your professional and personal development.”