Influential women in business on social media, innovation and work-family balance

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Role of social media and technology

Recent studies by Ipsos Reid and Harris Interactive/Rebtel showed that women are more likely to use social media to interact with friends, family, and work colleagues. So how popular are these new modes of communication among BiV’s award winners?

Nahirney said she sees value in using technology for communication. Rather than Facebook or twitter, however, her group mainly uses an internal social intranet to collect ideas globally from its employees. 

Financial consultant and former managing director of TD investment banking Jill Leversage, however, is more cautious about online communications. “I would sooner talk to someone directly,” she commented.

“There is more to be gained from a face-to-face meeting or a telephone conversation than through an exchange of BlackBerry messages,” said lawyer Elizabeth Harrison (partner with Farris, Vaughan, Wills and Murphy), echoing Leversage's words. 

Balancing family and business

The balance between family and work is one of the biggest challenges for women in business. Nahirney firmly believes in the importance of building "more human, flexible corporate workplaces" where men and women can feel motivated to work work "without compromising the personal and family elements of [their] lives.”

Family is also important to Elizabeth Harrison, who pointed to balancing family and work as her biggest career challenge.

“I learned to take time off with family when it’s not busy, so that I wasn’t missed when I did have to work extensive hours,” she said.

The classic values still apply

At the end of the day, while women may tend towards being early adopters of technology and often approach business in ways that seem unconventional to their more traditional male colleagues, their successes can still be attributed to an adherence to the tried-and-true business practices. 

Wendy Grant-John, executive adviser of aboriginal client services at Deloitte, also makes a statement that could have easily come from any number of influential, visionary business leaders:

“Listen to your heart and create a business or place in business that really drives you every morning," she said. "When you enjoy what you do, it will always be a success, whether it is professional, social or personal.”


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