Thinking back to your childhood, was there a particular profession you dreamed of entering when you were an adult?
From the age of six to the age of twelve or so, my dream was always to be a lawyer. Not just any type of lawyer mind you but specifically a criminal trial attorney. I can remember as a child my friends making their Christmas lists and asking for nurse’s kits, dolls and other toys. My list had items like a briefcase, a wax seal, and a gavel! My poor parents didn’t know how to respond when I received a Minnie Mouse suitcase as a gift and I spent the rest of the day sobbing as what I really wanted was the leather attaché case that I had so carefully clipped from the Sears catalogue and pasted carefully onto my letter to Santa. Over time, my interests shifted and my focus moved in a different direction. While I am very happy with where life has taken me. I still feel a little pang every time I run across a scene where a self-assured attorney rises to object.
Louise, what are you looking forward to completing while in the Telfer Executive MBA Program?
I am very excited by all of the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead during the program. I believe that I will leave this program having grown exponentially as a learner, as a leader and as a person. I am looking forward to completing the journey of self-exploration and personal growth and developing an in-depth understanding of my competencies and capacities through my learning and experiences that will come over the next twenty-one months. My intent is to challenge myself to walk outside of my comfort zone and to invest the time required for the introspection necessary to achieve the understanding of self that I am seeking. I believe that a better understanding of self-will allow me to silence the inner voice of self-doubt and replaced it with an ability to express my abilities with poise, grace, and confidence. My goal at the end of the program is to have a renewed sense of purpose and a short-term, medium-term, and long-term vision not only for my career but for me.
What do you admire in a leader or mentor? Do you have someone who you consider a strong leader or mentor within your life?
Ethics, vision and balance are the essential ingredients for admirable leadership. Strong, demonstrated ethics are the foundation for a leader. If a leader does not clearly show ethical behaviours in all that they do then I am unable to offer them my trust and respect. Without this base layer a leader is not worthy of my admiration. A leader must present a clear vision to provide a sense of direction to anchor decisions, choices and actions. An admirable leader must be able to clearly express this vision effectively to all levels, allowing each individual to see how they contribute to achieving the vision in what they do in their day-to- day work. The ability to balance between growth and change fatigue; between challenging strategy and operational capacity; and, most importantly, between work and family is what differentiates a good leader from a great one. Not easily achieved and requiring the ability to carefully assess impacts not only on the business but on its people, a leader who demonstrates this delicate balance will consistently earn my admiration. My father, while no longer be a physical part of my life, will always be the bar against which I assess leadership skills and competencies.