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One of the things that comes to mind on International Women's Day is the opportunities e-commerce creates for passionate female entrepreneurs. Recently, I connected with three exceptional female eBay sellers who've taken charge of their own paths to success by harnessing the power of the Internet.
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Jamilah Taib Murray founded Sakto Corporation, one of Ottawa's foremost property development and management companies. She is a long-time philanthropist with a particular dedication to fostering education for women and children, and female empowerment through promoting participation and leadership skills building
Clearly, a STEM education is not the only way to work in or lead a technology company. So while we work to get more women enrolled in STEM programs, we can also work to increasing gender diversity in the tech sector by attracting women with a variety of backgrounds at all levels. It all comes down to a change in culture.
From earliest childhood girls are cautioned about taking risks while boys are encouraged to court danger and seek new experiences. It is a socialization pattern women need to overcome to reach their true potential. Only by ignoring fear and taking action, will women find leadership courage.
The most important message I could share from my experience growing up and coming over to Canada is that being a refugee doesn't last a lifetime. It's an experience that lasts but a few short years and opens the door to a life full of opportunities to learn, grow and succeed.
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If you are a working mother who is struggling for the perfect gift, rest assured that you are giving your children gifts every day. Not only are you an invaluable role model for them, you are teaching them talents that will last their lifetimes.
Most of the adult children of working mothers that I spoke to felt they actually thrived due to their mothers' careers, learning invaluable skills, such as resilience and work ethic.
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Women have a habit of apologizing regardless of the situation. We over-apologize, and society expects it from us. Constantly saying "sorry" lowers our status, reduces our credibility and makes us seem like doormats.
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If trying to walk and talk like the guys isn't working, it's time for women to be themselves, be confident applying your own strengths, and network with focus, to make yourself heard.
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The best female leaders have very high expectations for themselves and constantly raise the bar by seeking constructive criticism. Then, when told where they made mistakes, rather than berating themselves, they treat the feedback as an opportunity for growth and improvement. That constructive narrative enables them to separate criticism from feelings of self-worth.
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Women today are blessed with choice. Women in the Western world get to choose whether they want a career, to have kids, or both. It seems to be a rule of law however, that whatever choice a woman makes today someone is ready to point out that her choice is the wrong one.
There are many lessons aspiring women leaders can learn from sports coaches and managers. First, there's the importance of connecting with others to build a cohesive team, then there's using positive self-talk to enhance performance, and finally there is looking forward, rather than backward, when the opposition scores a goal.
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"I think the world is full of examples of people who found themselves in the circumstance that forced them to discover resources within themselves they never knew were there."
Over the years that I spent in various roles, I saw evidence of the impact in changing culture. Transformation of human resource policies made the path for women's advancement less fraught with pitfalls and unconscious bias. Images of women's role and abilities became more positive. I remember being told that I was very "ambitious" as if it was something to be ashamed of as a woman.