Discussing Leadership with Stephanie Fontaine
This month Allies gathered to discuss #leadership with Stephanie Fontaine. We exchanged ideas & stories on the journey of leadership & the many forms it takes, acknowledging a leader isn’t necessarily the individual to start something, but the first ally to support them.
Stephanie shared her expertise as an industry leader in Supplier Diversity. How she is leading by doing despite the barriers she has faced along the way - many of us related closely to.
She kept the conversation going, providing insight on ways she is opening doors for diversity by the work she is doing with Teal Book, WBE Canada, Move the Dial & more.
We explored the different positive & negative attributes used to describe male & female leaders & assessed the biases found in an article published in the Harvard Business Review last year on “The Different Words We Use to Describe Male & Female Leaders”
As history has proven, many leaders don’t always see or benefit from their efforts - but pave the way for those to come. Frequent attendee Lillian Yee - who recently started a new chapter in leadership with the launch of her new concept business Liberty Dental Hygiene, proudly shared that her daughter’s Systems & Design Engineering class of 2021 at The University of Waterloo is comprised of 60% female students for the first time ever! This is a great example of how statistics are changing and a reminder to celebrate the positives.
One of the main take away’s from this month’s meet up was how these issues are not always top of mind. First time attendee & advocate for Women in Tech Lara Manqui (All the way from Amsterdam!) shared - until she looked back and reflected on the negative experiences as a minority in her former Tech field, she realized it was what ultimately lead to her stepping away - despite her interest & ability. This resonated unanimously with the entire group, as Lillian Yee described it as “1000 paper cuts” - how it often isn’t just one incident, but many little things over time we are unaware are wearing us down. This is why showing up is so important - to be mindful, conscious, aware - & Dare to Lead.
Krista Sayer - AIT