Managing Partner, Shadow Lake Group
My journey in business began when I graduated from Queen’s University in 1986. At the time, I was naively unaware of the gender-based challenges that I would be faced with — many of which persist today. Over the years these challenges fuelled frustration, despite my fondness for working alongside male colleagues and the fact that the majority of my mentors have been men.
I view the gender gap and associated barriers as a complicated issue that necessitates time, education, persistence, and strong role models for progress. Hindering this progress are several key issues:
- A lack of respect and value for traditional feminine skills, approaches, and perspectives which are different from traditional masculine ones.
- Women’s perpetuation of agreeing to more subservient roles and acceptance of being treated as less valuable.
- Men not understanding what it’s like to be discriminated against and the deep negative impact it has on personal confidence.
- Discomfort from both genders preventing the exhibition of traditionally masculine traits or assumption of positions of power by women.
- Inequity of sharing childbearing and household tasks for working mothers.
- A continued lack of female role models in senior and non-traditional positions.
Where I’ve landed on how to best contribute to change is to lead by example — to work and conduct myself as if those barriers don’t exist. The best way to prove oneself and get respect is through results. As an entrepreneur, I’ve built three financially successful companies and I’m not done challenging myself and my amazing Shadow Lake Group team.