On Tuesday November 3, Bringing Women Together (BWT), in conjunction with the Hari B. Varshney Business Career Centre at the Sauder School of Business (BCC), sponsored an intimate evening with some of Vancouver’s top business leaders to share candid advice with some of UBC’s fourth year female business students.
The evening began with our panel of speakers eager to share their accumulated knowledge and experience.
Camelia Cirjoi (SAP), Eva Elofir (BC Hydro) and Linda Gully (BCC) gave a short introduction to the evening, before passing the microphone over to Mark Breslaw from Telus to kick-off the talks.
Mark emphasized the importance of personal branding. He explained in simple terms that to cultivate a successful career, an individual must define their brand promise, and then develop a track record of consistently delivering value to those around them.
Kristen Rasmussen, also from Telus, told the audience some of the things that she wished she’d known when starting out in her career. She discussed the importance of trying new things, learning from your experiences and having the patience to grow professionally. It was interesting to find out that other people had sometimes believed in her more than she had done in herself.
After Kristen, Daren Sanders from BC Hydro spoke about the importance of taking on new challenges, exploring different paths and not being afraid to follow opportunity. Career paths are not linear, and only you can define what makes you happy and successful.
The audience was happy to hear all of this great advice.
Janet Fraser, also from BC Hydro, told us of how she staked her own place in the male dominated energy sector and used her differences as a way to achieve this. Flying into remote logging camps by helicopter, she would be the only woman there and her career took her to travel to different parts of the world. Be fearless and grab opportunities, she advised.
Agnes Garaba from SAP echoed Janet’s advice of not being afraid. She spoke about her personal journey, and how she has been able to successfully balance her young family and her career. She emphasized the importance of giving and understanding that in life we can really have it all, but maybe not all at once.
Last but not least, Andy Cobbold from SAP was able to bring together many of the points made earlier in the talk and highlight the importance of discovering your passion, and finding a company whose values and priorities allow you to pursue it. He doesn’t achieve his success alone, and extolled the value of coaching.
After the leaders all had a chance to speak, the floor opened up for some great questions from the audience, spurring more honest and open dialogue among the panel members.
As the evening drew to a close, the students were given the opportunity to mingle with the executives and ask any outstanding questions they had.
A big thank you to all of the speakers, organizers and UBC Sauder School of Business for a fantastic evening!