03.07.2019 By: Tulip Retail

International Women’s Day at Tulip

Today marks International Women’s Day. At Tulip, one of our founding values celebrates Diversity, Inclusion, & Community. In honour of the day, we’re featuring some of our female talent in conversation about their careers, leadership, and who has inspired them in their careers and personal journeys. 

Happy International Women’s day to women of the world. Tulip is proud to be among the growing number of global entities shining a light on gender and diversity goals.

 

Deborah Surrette, Chief Revenue Officer

1) What do you see as the role of female leaders in tech and business in general to move the dial for early professionals to grow in the workplace?

In the technology business, we are seeing companies like IBM and SFDC set a great example for all by building a culture where diversity and inclusion are aligned with their corporate objectives. Linking action on diversity and inclusion to company culture and professional growth is a responsibility that all leaders need to “own” as we hire, enable, promote, and recognize our teams, including but certainly not limited to women.

2) What are some traits in your career that have contributed to your success as a leader?  

I value curiosity, optimism, empathy, humor, and a willingness to engage at all levels as some of the most important traits in any leader. It’s been my experience that these things evolve over time for all of us.

3) Who is a fearless female leader you admire and wish to emulate?

I’m a little skeptical of the word “fearless.” I do believe that many female leaders have grown into their roles and have learned to let “fear” work for them by turning it into courage, either in the moment or for a lifetime.

For me, I love the example women in large enterprises are setting for all of us. Mary Barra (CEO CM), Indra Nooyi (Former CEO Pepsi), or Melinda Gates (Gates Foundation) make controversial decisions, share their voice and are successfully heard because they have the courage to be authentic.

Nothing is more important in a leader than being authentic with your voice and your actions.

 

Cheryl Nicholson, EVP Customer

1) What do you see as the role of female leaders in tech and business in general to move the dial for young women’s opportunities to grow in the workplace?

I think all leaders play a role in paving the way for young women’s career development. Female leaders have many important roles to support emerging leaders. It’s important that we set examples of professionalism that others can follow. Personally, I find it rewarding and important to be both an informal and formal mentor.

Women leaders have a responsibility to create corporate cultures that provide opportunities for all women to continuously learn and advance.

2) What are some traits in your career that have contributed to your success as a leader?

One of my greatest traits is that I’m not afraid to be nice. Being a genuine, collaborative business partner is not a sign of weakness.

3) Who is a fearless female leader you admire and wish to emulate?

“Without courage we cannot practice any other virtue with consistency. We can’t be kind, true, merciful, generous, or honest.” Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou transformed from a childhood trauma to a woman who worked for Dr Martin Luther King and 2 presidential campaigns. Poet, teacher, activist… I strive for a portion of her courage.

 

Saeideh Fard, Chief Financial Officer

1) What do you see as the role of female leaders in tech and business in general to move the dial for young women’s opportunities to grow in the workplace?

Mentorship, Advocacy, and Networking Support are ways that leaders (male or female) can help to develop and promote the work of women.

Mentorship is crucial for understanding the development steps and tactics required to hit certain ranks. Knowledge gifted from mentors often translates into boosted confidence which builds inertia and momentum in careers.

Advocacy is shining a leadership light on great talent by helping other leaders in positions of power to notice the potential in select employees. Advocates have the power to create leadership development opportunities and to move careers along with added depth, breadth and speed.  

Networks are crucial for navigating career ladders and lateral move opportunities. A great contact can help uncover opportunities and bring options to the table that were never before possible. This is an immensely powerful tool.

2) What are some traits in your career that have contributed to your success as a leader?

I have a financial background as a Big Four CPA but have specialized largely in transformation in the last decade. While transformation sound like a buzz word, there isn’t one industry or company unimpacted by the accelerating pace of change today. I feel I’ve embraced change as a positive force for good and have tried to mentor others to understand its impact and plan to benefit from it.

Dealing with transformation a lot in my career has required grit to last, collaboration to learn, and decisiveness to keep moving forward during periods of uncertainty.

3) Who is a fearless female leader you admire and wish to emulate?

I am in awe of Malala Yousefzai. As a daughter to Iranian- Canadian feminist parents who raised me to want so much more for other women, I see a ferocious lioness in her that is changing the world with mainly her pen, her perseverance, and her refusal to fear failure.

 

Souyma Shukla, Sr. Product Manager

1) What do you see as the role of female leaders in tech and business in general to move the dial for young women’s opportunities to grow in the work place?

It is absolutely heartening to live through this ongoing transformation of workplaces. I believe that we might be at the inflection point where women leaders could tip the scale for our future leaders (men & women):

  • Make more dents and break the glass ceiling

Young women need role models. Female leaders should continue working hard and aiming for the top job

  • Empathize and lend a hand

Play an active role as a mentor and in communities. If it is not always possible to find the time for coffee chats and lunch meetings, I would recommend female leaders to play an active role in online communities such as Facebook groups or Slack channels for women in tech, women in product, women who code et al.

  • Collaborate with male leaders to set the right examples

Both young women and men benefit from role models who respect family time, take vacations or have a hard stop to pick up their kids from day care. These small and seemingly innocuous changes in workplace habits make younger women feel like they won’t have to face a hard choice in their future. As they say, things change gradually and then suddenly

2) What are some traits in your career that have contributed to your success as a leader?

I joined the workforce over a decade ago as a program manager in an automobile manufacturing plant. Very quickly, I realized that in order to stay relevant, I would have to be both assertive and unabashed about asking for help. Since then, I have worked in many different sectors and roles with increasingly high responsibilities. It became possible because I had learnt that speaking up does not mean offending and asking for help is not a sign of weakness. These fundamental traits have allowed me to ask for the jobs I wanted and promotions I deserved. ‘Asking for help’ in particular made me more effective as I was able to build closer relationships with my colleagues to get things done faster and better.

3) Who is a fearless female leader you admire and wish to emulate?

Indra Nooyi became the CEO of PepsiCo in 2001 and remained President & CEO until 2018. For a woman born and raised in India of the 1950s, I find her rise spectacular and inspirational. I wish to inspire women from disadvantaged backgrounds or gender disparate societies to have faith and follow their dreams. The way Indra did for me.

 

Winnie Giang, Marketing Manager

1) What do you see as the role of female leaders in tech and business in general to move the dial for young women’s opportunities to grow in the work place?

I see female leaders in tech and business as today’s modern day role model. Young women and girls no longer have to look up to Hollywood’s models and celebrities as their only source of inspiration. By featuring more stories behind the leading women in tech and business, that can inspire a whole new generation of leaders in the workplace. And by sharing these stories, I hope that it will spark some interest and inspiration for mentorship within the workplace to further empower young women’s opportunities.

2) What are some traits in your career that have contributed to your success as a leader?

Taking ownership and being confident in my work has definitely progressed my career in the past few years. When working in a startup environment, your role and responsibilities span beyond what is stated in your job description. In order to be successful, you need to be proactive in the projects you take on, and be ready to react to changing priorities. I believe that the environments I’ve been working in, and taking ownership over my own projects and responsibilities in a team, have contributed to where I am today.

3) Who is a fearless female leader you admire and wish to emulate?

Constance Wu is an iconic woman to me. Not only did she star in Crazy Rich Asians last year, a movie that has featured (for the first time in 25 years) an all Asian-American cast in Hollywood, she is a huge advocate for Asian-American representation in public media. Growing up as an Asian-Canadian, I never saw many people who looked like me on the big screen. Or if I did, there were many stereotypes that were being portrayed that the Asian-American community did not relate to. I believe that this is only the start of a movement for Hollywood to be more inclusive, and she is one of the strongest female Asian-American women in the industry to lead it.

 

Raine Qian, Director of Product Design

1) What do you see as the role of female leaders in tech and business in general to move the dial for young women’s opportunities to grow in the workplace?

Motivation and Mentorship! Motivating young women to think bigger and building action plans, especially for designers. The design leadership career path is not as clear as other professions. Many young designers don’t know that they have the potentials to be a future leader. Helping young female designers build vision and action plans will help them grow faster.

2) What are some traits in your career that have contributed to your success as a leader?

It’s empathy. I have been doing design for 11 years. As a product designer, empathy is important for designing the right solution for the user and business within constraints. As a leader, empathy helps me understand the needs and challenges of the organization and the motivations and strengths of my design team. With a deep understanding of the problem and reality, I can better empower teams and better collaborate with others to help the organization grow.

3) Who is a fearless female leader you admire and wish to emulate?

I am deeply inspired by fashion designer Coco Chanel (1883 -1971). She is hardworking, strong-willed and courageous. In the male-dominated fashion industry, she challenged the traditional norms of fashion design and revolutionized womenswear for comfort and liberating female identity. From a cafe singer to an iconic fashion designer, her success taught me that there is no shortcut to success but persistence hard work and determination.

 

Saira Zia, VP, Global Retail Excellence and Client Success

1) What do you see as the role of female leaders in tech and business in general to move the dial for young women’s opportunities to grow in the work place?

I think it’s important for female leaders to lead by example and mentor every individual the same regardless of gender. I think that inclusivity is an important thing for young women to look up to and emulate for future generations.

2) What are some traits in your career that have contributed to your success as a leader?

Being a manager of people has been one of the hardest but most rewarding parts of my career. I take pride in the people that I manage and the work that they do. I believe it’s important to always keep in mind that a team is stronger than any one individual, and I think this has been a big part of my success as a leader.

3) Who is a fearless female leader you admire and wish to emulate?

My mother is the reason I am the leader I am today. Watching her build our family business, while being a high school teacher and raising 3 kids was an inspiration to me. She’s very driven and has a way with people that I’ve always admired.

 

Wynne Elmitt, Senior Manager, Retail Excellence 

1) What do you see as the role of female leaders in tech and business in general to move the dial for young women’s opportunities to grow in the work place?

I believe that everyone has the potential to do great things. The role of female leaders should be to bring awareness to young people of the opportunities available, and support and mentor them as they continue to grow in their careers regardless of gender.

2) What are some traits in your career that have contributed to your success as a leader?

Some of my success as a leader comes from knowing that things never stay the same. Accepting change and embracing it has allowed me to pivot quickly and guide teams through the change management process and come out stronger on the other side.

3) Who is a fearless female leader you admire and wish to emulate?

I really admire Olympian and Aboriginal advocate Waneek Horne-Miller. Her messages of overcoming adversity and never letting your circumstances prevent you from fulfilling your dreams are incredibly inspiring and motivational.

 

Winona So, Senior Graphic Designer

1) What do you see as the role of female leaders in tech and business in general to move the dial for young women’s opportunities to grow in the work place?

I think the role of female leaders is to inspire and to mentor. Young women need to have someone to look up to, ask questions, and engage with at a higher level. Keeping that channel of communication open builds trust amongst peers and allows for greater growth.

2) What are some traits in your career that have contributed to your success as a leader?

My determination and drive have propelled my success as a leader. I’ve never been a person to sit on the sidelines, and I will try to take action where I can to drive projects and groups forward. This constant drive to do better and move forward has been key for my growth as a leader.

3) Who is a fearless female leader you admire and wish to emulate?

I admire Agnes Baden Powell and Olave Baden Powell, two key women in the creation of Girl Scouts and Girl Guides. They created opportunities for girls all over the world in a historically male-dominated area of adventuring, the outdoors, and survival. They had bravery in driving forward ideas and projects in areas where it may be difficult to do so.