Michelle, when you were young, what did you want to be when you grew up?
When I was a young girl, in my pre-teen and early teen years, I recall wanting very much to be an airline pilot. There was a short-lived comedy-drama on TV in the late 1970s entitled Flying High, which revolved around three attractive flight attendants; but I dreamed about being the one wearing the captain’s hat, radioing in to the ground crew from the cockpit of a Boeing 747. The attraction to this profession likely stemmed from my fascination with flying and airplanes. I grew up in a small Northern town and did not set foot on a plane until I was 18. As it turns out, I tolerate flying and am happiest when my two feet are firmly – and safely – planted on the ground.
Choosing to complete an Executive MBA is a big consideration. After reviewing the various masters’ programs available, why did you choose to enroll in the Telfer Executive MBA Program?
The Telfer Executive MBA appealed to me for several reasons. The semester-based schedule allows you to tackle the program in six-week periods, which, psychologically at least, breaks the program down into smaller bites to chew. The requirement that all candidates be in Ottawa for classes and team meetings offers unparalleled opportunities not only for tapping into a wealth of diverse experiences and backgrounds, but also for teamwork, personal and professional growth and relationship building. The wide range of courses and consulting projects will help fill in the gaps in my knowledge and skills and expose me to areas and lines of business, situations, and challenges that I may never otherwise encounter. I have no doubt that this experience will be a difficult one at times, but it will show me what I am made of and I think I will surprise myself at how much I can do… there is a lifetime of fulfillment and pride to be derived from that!
What do you admire in a leader or mentor? Do you have someone who you consider a strong mentor or leader within your life?
Leaders are all around us; some with a title and some without. They don’t try or need to be in the limelight all of the time, but they shine through nonetheless. True leaders know that they can’t do it all and that they are only as strong as the people around them. They empower and trust those around them to make decisions, they recognize talent and encourage creativity, and they give credit where credit is due. I have such a mentor in my professional life and am fortunate to report to him. He cares about me and my growth and success, as well as about the well-being of our staff and the success of the team. He can be tough but is always fair, and sets high but achievable goals. Through their daily actions, such leaders help to foster a sense of pride in one’s work, of collaboration, and of commitment to the team and its goals… All key ingredients for success in today’s ever-changing and challenging world.
Originally Posted: September 24, 2014