Paying Tribute to the Women Who Inspire Us (Plus, We’ve Been Honoured with an Influential Businesswoman Award from the UK!)
My team asked me a question the other day: “Julie, how do you define women’s leadership?” They wanted to know how I felt women’s leadership may be different or unique in the business world.
Interestingly, many research studies and news articles report on women’s leadership as being more transformational, more relational, more empathetic, etc., compared to men’s traditional leadership styles. We can certainly validate these patterns in our recruitment work too. However, as a woman in business myself, I’ve never personally separated my leadership style as being unique because I am female. Put simply: I am who I am, and my leadership style is a reflection of that.
My team asked me that question, because we recently found out that Acquisition International Magazine, based in the UK, just announced the global winners of their eighth Influential Businesswoman Awards (and it’s my pleasure to share with you) that I am one of their awardees this yearThe goal of these awards, according to the magazine is to: “Recognize and shine a light upon women who are a driving force for innovation, change and empowerment.” The magazine noted that it was seeking women who are guiding and elevating their industries. I am truly honoured to be given this international accolade, and to be in such great company of strong businesswomen.
We were recognized at the Stevie® Awards this past year too, wining gold for Women-Run Workplace of the Year.
So, my team’s question made me consider the women who have mentored me in the past, the women I follow on social media, and the women I generally admire for their work, principles, approach to business etc. There’s one thing that all of these women have in common. They are all women who break the mold and they don’t believe in labels. That is why I am inspired by them.
So today my team and I are celebrating women who break the mold, who do things their way, who see things differently, who break the status quo, and who create new opportunities where none existed before. Here are three of these women’s profiles we’re sharing today:
Joanna Griffiths, founder of Knix Wear Inc.: Fortune magazine wrote this about Canadian visionary entrepreneur, Joanna: “Who would have thought that leakproof underwear would be one of the most disruptive products to emerge in the past decade? Joanna Griffiths did.” I like how relatable Joanna is on social media, and how she grew her company. Joanna’s C$500 million valuation and sale of Knix marks, as Fortune noted, represents: “the largest exits by a female founder in Canadian history.”
(Incidentally, potential investors told Joanna in her early days, that her business was “too niche” to be successful. Funnily enough, we heard that all the time at BlueSky Personnel Solutions too, when people knew we were specializing in Bilingual/French recruitment. Cheers to breaking those status quo molds!)
Joelle Desaulniers, founder, JOELLE Collection – I saw Joelle recently at a conference, and she truly left an impression on me. She started her women’s clothing business in her basement, driven by this tagline: “Feel good about your clothes” (all about unpretentious fashion). Joelle passionately believes that if fashion can negatively impact women’s perceptions of themselves and their bodies, it also has the power to leave a positive effect. Joelle says in evol.ca, “Clothes have the power to improve our relationship with our body, our self-confidence, and even our interpersonal relationships.” And with that, one year later, Joelle’s clothing boutique has been described as a “runaway success” with more than 40 employees, and more retail locations to open soon. Her belief in her business concept was unwavering. I get that tenacity. That is a deep value for me too.
Pink, American singer, songwriter, and actress: For many music fans, Pink needs no introduction. Beyond her incredible talents as a performer and entertainer, she is known for her passion and advocacy for self-empowerment, and her fight for gender equality. I will never forget her words in the now infamous 2017 VMA Awards acceptance speech to her daughter, where she says: “Baby girl, we don’t change. We take the gravel and the shell and we make a pearl.” Pink never cared what people thought about her, and I relate to that completely. Pink follows her passions unapologetically. I’ve always done the same.
Women leaders often face naysayers who want to dictate the status quo to them. Consider that according to the World Economic Forum’s 2022 report on the Global Gender Gap, we are still 123 years away from fully closing the gender gap in the workforce. In Canada, women hold just a third of management occupations. And sadly, only 4%of this country’s largest publicly traded companies are led by a woman CEO.
So, my answer to my team’s question now, upon reflection, would be: Women leaders often need to believe in themselves and their ideas at higher odds than their male counterparts, because often, they have to chart new paths. Arguably to this end, their tenacity, their passion, their vision, and their perseverance make their leadership stand out.
This was our BlueSky Personnel Solutions journey too, especially when we decided to become Bilingual/French recruitment specialists. We decided that all our staff would be fully bilingual, and we were told this business model wouldn’t work. We were advised against “limiting” ourselves, but all along, we knew this was the right place for us. We believed it, and we did it.
Our hats off to all the women who break molds, and all the people who cheer them on!
If you are in the market for Canada’s top Bilingual/French talent to join your team, give us a call today at: (416) 226-3303 or email us at: [email protected]. We are connected to the best talent across the country, and it would be our pleasure to serve you!