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Nonprofit Organization Management
Job Title
Manager, Member Engagement
Co-operative and Mutuals Canada
Tanya  Gracie

Tanya, thinking back to your adolescence was there a particular job you dreamed of doing when you grew up?

I wanted to be the CEO of Disney when I was growing up. My cousin was granted a wish from the Make-a-Wish Foundation and his wish took him and my family to Disney World. The people at Disney thought of every detail and my cousin and family were treated incredibly well. As the saying goes, ‘people may not remember what you said, but they will always remember the way you made them feel’. From that point on, every Sunday night my sister and I would watch the Wonderful World of Disney movie. I looked forward to these movies each week, partially for the movie but especially because each week Mickey Mouse and the CEO of Disney (Michael Eisner) introduced the movie. As a child, I thought the chief role of Disney’s CEO was to hang out in parks, work with Mickey Mouse, and make sure people had a great experience. I have grown up and acquired much experience since then... but I am still inspired by connecting the big picture with the details to give others the same ‘happiest place in the world’ experience.

The Telfer Executive MBA Program is full with experience. What are you looking forward to completing while in the Telfer Executive MBA Program?

As I complete the Telfer Executive MBA program, I look forward to welcoming new learning opportunities to stimulate my professional growth and to be in the company of others willing to be creative and inquisitive. I am fascinated by the interconnectedness of organizational culture, leadership, the way organizations live their values, and their perceived identities. I regularly research organizations’ websites to review annual reports, org charts, strategic planning documents and job postings. I am drawn to organizations that implement innovative methods to tell their story and that are honest about their mission, their vision, and their lessons learned. I have identified a number of organizations and positions that stimulate my interest and this has led me to adopt my new interim title of Chief Learning Officer when I am at home with my family. I am excited to take on the Signature Series of Six Business Consulting Projects and to have the opportunity to actively learn from new organizations and industries while also being able to contribute to their success. Above all else, I look forward to embracing all that the Telfer Executive MBA program has to offer and to complete the program and embark on a new and stimulating career path.

What qualities do you admire in a mentor? Do you have someone you consider a strong mentor in your own life?

I am fortunate to have many mentors and leaders whom I respect and who have different styles that inspire me. I particularly admire leaders with strong and ongoing learning agility, who are never shy to ask questions, and who are open to different perspectives. I appreciate leaders who are well read and who take the time to talk with people at all levels of the organization, especially those who make time to eat lunch in the common area. My father has always been a strong positive influence in my life and he thought me to always do my best at work so I could be proud to put my name on it, even if it wasn’t my name that went on the project. I have a mentor who once suggested to me that the keys to meaningful career development are to ‘get involved in something that is bigger than you, that you cannot achieve in your lifetime, and that you cannot complete on your own’. I believe these to be wise words.

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