Pledge 1%’s #WomenWhoLead series celebrates female leaders who are paving the way for the next generation. While our featured leaders come from a variety of backgrounds and industries, they are united in their efforts to promote equality for all women in the workplace. We’ve asked them to share a bit about their journey to success, as well as lessons they’ve learned along the way.
What is your name and title?
Founder, Strategic Consultant and Executive Coach at Smooth Consulting Services.
Briefly (1-2 sentences) describe your current role.
My programs are a hybrid of coaching and consulting looking at everything from mindset, defining vision and values, strategic growth opportunities, offer positioning, strategic planning, financial forecasting, team planning and hiring support, change management, leadership development.
How did you get here? Please share any quick stories from past work experiences.
Having built and led high performing, diverse teams in scaling, fast paced organizations, and now in my own business, I know first hand what it takes to ditch hustle mode, and truly thrive both in life and in business. I successfully overcame my own obstacles, and I leverage the skills, knowledge and experience I’ve gained to help others realize their true personal and professional vision in their business too.
In your opinion, what’s the #1 decision or move you’ve made that has helped advance your career?
After working within one organization for nearly 11 years, I made a major decision to leave and follow my interests. I received a lot of mixed feedback about this decision but the exponential growth I gained by moving to a scaling digital agency challenged me in ways I couldn’t have imagined. The lessons I learned along my journey set me up for where I am today as an entrepreneur.
What is the most important lesson you’ve learned this past year?
Entrepreneurship required a lot of mental fortitude – investing in a diverse team with varying skill sets and interests complimentary to my own has been the best thing I could have done for myself, my business, and my clients.
What’s the number one challenge you face as a woman in your industry?
Unlearning social conditioning and redefining what it means to be a woman and a business leader who is willing to challenge the status quo.
Do you have any mentors? What does mentorship mean to you?
Absolutely – I wouldn’t be here without them. I surround myself with mentors who have been through similar challenges before and can challenge me to think differently while I grow and learn. I’m also a mentor to others and own that identity proudly because I want others to succeed and have opportunities I’ve been privileged to have too.
What advice do you have for women who are just starting their career?
Listen and acknowledge your feelings and intuition – it’s counter to what we have been conditioned to believe but it’s our natural guiding system and the more we can tap into it, the happier, healthier and more successful we will be.
What is one thing companies can do, big or small, to help create an environment that advances women into leadership positions?
Listen. I can’t tell you how often I was overlooked or dismissed for my insights and opinions – not all women are as vocal as I am and so it’s prudent that we create space for women, and marginalized groups, to share their voice in open and inviting conversations.
What is one thing you hope to accomplish in the next year?
As I continue to evolve my consulting practice, I’m also building out a lifestyle brand and hope to progress my efforts in both ventures.
Is there a cause that is particularly close to you? If so, why this cause and how did you get involved?
I’ve always been committed to giving back – most of my focus over the years has been supporting future generations. In late 2020 I signed up with Future Possibilities Canada – a Toronto-based organization focused on teaching leadership skills to young minds.
When did your company join Pledge 1%? What does your impact program mean to you?
Officially in late 2020 and it was always something I aspired to participate in prior to establishing my company. To me, it symbolizes my ongoing commitment to giving back and is a value I hold close even in the work that I do.
What do you like to do outside of the office? Any interesting (or unique) habits or interests?
I like to relax by indulging my creativity and playfulness with things like painting or drawing, dancing to upbeat music, and working out as well as get in touch with nature by going for long walks around the local parks. I also love to travel and explore new places and meet new people. I’m a lifelong learner and love reading both for pleasure and for business.
Are you reading/listening to anything interesting at the moment? Please share your most recent favorite book or podcast!
Shakti Leadership: Embracing Feminine and Masculine Power in Business by Nilima Bhat & Raj Sisodia
You Were Born For This by Chani Nicholas
Dare to Lead by Brené Brown
What’s been the one (or two!) things that have helped you navigate this past year? Any tips or tricks to dealing with remote work?
Having worked in a digital agency previously, and established my practice prior to Covid, the virtual learning curve was less impactful for me. What changed most was networking. Instead of going to places and meeting a handful of people, I’ve turned to meeting people virtually in different forums and it’s given me more reach than I’ve ever thought possible! I’ve also come to learn that video fatigue is a real challenge and I’ve had to factor that into how I schedule my time.