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Barbara Stegemann, Chitra Anand, Nicole Verkindt, Mandy Gilbert, Erin Bury, and Zahra Al-Harazi

What it Takes to Be a Successful Leader:
Part One

We asked some of our leading female entrepreneurs for advice on what it takes to reach their level of success for a four-part blog series! These speakers’ experiences range from the tech sector to recruitment firms to social enterprises, and they are each sharing lessons learned from their unique entrepreneurial journeys that brought them to the top of their game.

Today, we asked our leaders: What quality they think is the most important for a successful leader? Here’s what they said.

Zahra Al-Harazi

Values. I truly believe that a leader needs to know what they stand for and what stake they are willing to put in the ground. The company culture, the quality of the staff, the stakeholders, the shareholders, and the clients/customers will all depend on who is at the helm, and what values they stand for.

With a no-holds-barred attitude, Zahra Al-Harazi helps people and organizations realize their potential for success, drawing on her experience as a pioneering woman in the business world with a unique approach to attitude, leadership, and success.

Chitra Anand

I think that the most important quality for leadership is transparency. We often feel like we have to be different people in our work lives and our personal lives. I believe that these two should be free and fluid.

Who we are in business and who we are personally should be consistent. In the same way we need to be transparent in how we operate as leaders. The more information we share will translate into higher degrees of trust and once you have trust, this is when magic happens.

Chitra Anand is at the forefront of an important new movement in the workplace: intrapreneurship. Her engaging talks reveal how to foster that spirit, and how to stay on the cutting edge of market trends, technology, and consumer behaviour.

Erin Bury

My business coach Karl Sakas always says that great leaders need to have both warmth and competence.

Warmth is about being personable, caring about your team members, mentoring them, helping them grow, and generally leading with a positive attitude and motivation versus with fear or intimidation. On the flip side, competence is about having the skills needed to get the job done — have the tough conversations, and provide the constructive criticism and ongoing feedback needed to help the team grow.

A great leader is a mix of both — only competence, and you miss the human connection; only warmth, and you’re not helping your team grow their skills.

Named one of Marketing Magazine’s “Top 30 Under 30”, Erin Bury is a marketer, former technology journalist, and startup enthusiast who shares the ins-and-outs of entrepreneurship, marketing to millennials, creating a killer personal brand, and how to harness the latest digital trends.

Mandy Gilbert

A successful leader has to be willing to put themselves last. If you’re more concerned about reaching your personal career goals rather than helping your employees reach theirs, you are definitely not meant for a role in leadership.

This is not a self-serving position. To do it well, you have to constantly keep a pulse on your team’s morale, the company’s culture, and the individual needs of each member of your staff.

The real indicator of a successful leader rests on their team’s performance. This means targets are being met, people like coming to work every day, and your turnover is low. If you get joy and fulfillment because of it, then you’re the right person for the role.

Having successfully built two international businesses from the ground up, Mandy Gilbert speaks on entrepreneurship, leadership, culture, talent, and building a professional brand, all grounded by her own journey from a “one woman show” to founder of multi-million-dollar enterprises.

Barbara Stegemann

A belief in service to others. Sharing your gifts with others is something natural leaders want to do. It is such a joy to watch someone rise up and know you had a hand in lifting them to their full potential.

In her inspiring talks, Barb Stegemann shares her journey from launching her award-winning social enterprise, The 7 Virtues, out of her garage to becoming the first Canadian brand featured in Sephora’s new “Clean at Sephora” space in both Canadian and US stores.

Nicole Verkindt

It depends on the stage the organization is at. In the beginning, leaders that are getting airplanes off the ground need to be able to isolate what is the single most important thing the business needs to do to not go broke and then focus the team around that. For us, it was finding a potential customer and figuring out what it will take to get them to pay!

Nicole Verkindt is passionate about leveraging the talents of entrepreneurs. Speaking to the importance of disruptive thinking, women’s roles in business, technology, and innovation, Nicole shows audiences how the real key to success is learning how to push past being told “no” over and over again.