Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Women's Executive Network Breakfast

I went to a Breakfast meeting held by the Women Executive Network at the Metropolitan Hotel, Downtown Toronto. It featured a panel discussion by 3 women who were part of the Canada's Most Powerful Women: Top 100:

Trina McQueen: The first female host of W-5, CBC/Radio-Canada Director and former News and Current Affairs Vice President

Cheryl Perera: OneChild Network & Support Systems Founder & President

Alberta Cefis: Scotiabank Executive Vice President and Group Head, Global Transaction Banking

It was a very interesting discussion as it featured viewpoints from women in varied positions in their careers. Cheryl is a 20 year old UofT student who developed th OneChild network in high school, Alberta is a Senior Exec at ScotiaBank in the middle of her career and Trina is a Broadcasting exec who was also the first female anchor for CFTO. These women have such different perspectives and gave honest, candid answers about how they got to the positions in their careers.

When the women were asked- "Can you have it all?" the answers were surprisingly candid and were very different based on the phase of life each prson was in. Cheryl, our idealistic 20 year old, said yes. She believed you could and it was about organizing and prioritizing you time.

I really appreciated Alberta's honesty. She told us her life was about choices and she could not always do everything she wanted. Her example was about when she and her husband were thinking of having children they were both very busy with their careers. They were traveling a lot and working their way up the corporate ladder. Neither of them wanted to sacrifice it and stay home so they chose not to have children.

Trina advised us that life is about decisions and sacrifices. You have to make a conscious choice about how you want to live you life and what you will do to achieve your goals. It is unrealistic to expect yourself to be a top achiever in your career and also bake cookies for your children and be the super wife at the same time. You have to make a choice.

Another interesting comment came up in the discussion regarding personal values that could not be compromised. Alberta said hers was 'always be yourself.' That really resonates with people my age. This is when we need to figure out what we want to be doing and what we should do to achieve it. Though our speakers did tell us what they wanted in life was always changing, half the battle is identifying it.

Some of the other key take always were:

- Choose a good boss
- Listen to the people around you- mentors are everywhere
- Be nice to people and keep in touch with them
- You can't always have it all- life is about choices and prioritizing what is most important to you.

Lastly, Trina McQueen had some great advice about her failures. She said the opportunities that arose after she was fired from CFTO were even better than what she had. All of our speakers said that the challenges and obstacles they faced made them stronger.

It was a very interesting and inspiring morning! I'm glad there are many female role models in the business world today that I can look up to and learn from.


Adonia said...

I wish I was there... this is the stuff I wonder about sometimes

Anonymous said...

Interesting article...Thanks for sharing...!!

Well, I reached your blog thru your sister's. Happy blogging!!

executive women said...

Sounds like a wonderful event! It's nice to see executive women meeting and sharing ideas.

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