Betty Ann Heggie
Blogger, Columnist, Activist
Betty-Ann Heggie, a member of Canada's Top 100 Most Powerful Women Hall of Fame, retired from her position as a Senior VP with PotashCorp 6 years ago. Since then she has devoted her time to getting more women at the decision-making table and has founded a program at her alma mater, the University of Saskatchewan to mentor working women. A popular speaker she also shares her thoughts and ideas through a weekly newspaper column, as a radio talk show guest, blogs and newsletters.
I first paid attention to this in September, at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF). When describing her role in the new film Our Brand is Crisis, Sandra Bullock told the audience it had originally been written for a man. In fact, George Clooney intended to play it, but he was too busy. She loved the dynamic part and blazed forward, asking the producers to make the lead female, rather than male. They agreed to do the gender swap, and other than changing her character's name, hardly tweaked the role at all.
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.
10/08/2015 06:08 EDT
I had a discussion about the advancement of women with the senior partner of a major law firm. Frustrated with the leaky pipeline of women in his organization, he described hiring equal numbers of men and women but found the turnover rate for female associates to be three to four times that of the males. Rather than throwing up his hands in dismay, there are things he can do to retain women employees.
09/10/2015 12:25 EDT
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.
08/06/2015 08:55 EDT
When women know what they value, they naturally become leaders. Their lives have meaning, which gives them more energy. They take more risks in the name of their cause and are more resilient when things don't go as planned. All of this adds up to more of that precious commodity known as "presence."
07/08/2015 12:15 EDT
Each of us, male or female, form our identity using a combination of who we are inside and what the outside world feeds back to us. It's the latter that creates a problem for ambitious women. When people around us make it clear they don't see our gender as leaders, through actions or lack of action, it is more difficult for us to believe it as well.
06/03/2015 05:20 EDT
We women face unnecessary scrutiny regarding our bodies. Those who weight-shame will often use the excuse that they are just concerned about our health; but rather, it stems from paternal, controlling judgement. We need to love the woman in the mirror, to embrace our individuality and celebrate our unique selves.
04/30/2015 12:10 EDT
Even though not every risk delivers the results we desire, one thing is certain: the biggest risk for a woman is to hold back and try to be one of the crowd. If we hide what makes us special and unique, our companies will suffer and so will our careers. It is a lost opportunity.
04/02/2015 12:33 EDT
On my desk is a glass paperweight with an important question carved on one side. "What would you do if you had no fear?" it says. Seeing the inquiry, a friend asked for my response, and without hesitation I answered, "Give up perfectionism." She casually suggested that that would be a good New Year's resolution, and I felt the fear rise in my chest. Could I be successful in the world without trying to attain perfection?
01/07/2015 06:08 EST
To make the most of your energy you need to know yourself. What people, places and situations give you energy and which ones take it away? In the same way that the successful sailor stops to feel the wind, you must feel your energy. What energizes each of us it is different and there are no right or wrong answers. What catches my sail might leave you stranded at the dock.
12/11/2014 01:17 EST
The guys I worked with teased me. They saw me as a hospitable female underling, lucky to be included at a sales meeting. I continued to disarm them with copious levels of service and their unconscious bias prevented them from seeing me as competition. By 1989, I was promoted to be a Vice President in head office and had leap frogged over most all of the guys in that meeting!
11/17/2014 02:51 EST
There are a number of lessons here for women. First, we have the capability to independently take our own journeys (metaphorically and in reality). We don't need a man. Next, we need to adjust our thinking about the events in our lives. Too often we ruminate on what we could have done differently or measure ourselves by an unachievable external bar, set way too high.
10/20/2014 01:04 EDT
If you are a woman working in a male-dominated environment it is easy to feel like a square peg in a round hole. You need to bring your authentic self to work to feel good about yourself, but your natural approach to situations is often different than that of your male co-workers. Rest assured that fitting in and being yourself are both possible.
09/12/2014 05:59 EDT
All over the world human beings seek a wise person to tell them a story, to give them something to believe in and make them feel that they belong to something. At their core, our world history, our family history and all major world religions are simply a series of stories, emitted by a leader, and then retold.
07/23/2014 05:12 EDT
If you are constantly monitoring and managing your time, you'll limit the ability of your special gift to come through. In your effort to control, your creativity will be stifled, and you'll do what you think you should, as opposed to allowing your true talent to emerge. The expectation of security that comes from controlling time actually limits your potential.
06/05/2014 08:23 EDT
If you always want to be somewhere else or be someone else, you'll lose sight of the fact that "peace is in the present. Thus, I have developed three techniques to place me squarely in the here and now and anchor me there.
05/08/2014 05:42 EDT
It's the time we clean our closets to get rid of things that no longer work, hoping to add something bright and colourful. By following that same practice with our behaviours we can live a more expansive and rewarding life. Start by learning to say yes to your passions and no to things that get in the way, especially items on another's agenda!
04/03/2014 01:05 EDT
The moment the first spring crocus finds its way through the earth's brown crust and stretches toward the sun, we feel the
03/07/2014 04:37 EST
A compliment acknowledges another's unique contribution, showing appreciation for them as an individual. For example, you can compliment a someone on their: sense of humour; ability to bring a meeting to consensus; dedication to the team, finding creative solutions or any number of things.
02/07/2014 12:20 EST
Do you long for the good old days of childhood when things seemed much simpler, easier, more joyful and laid back? Maybe it never was that way for you, but it can be "yet to come" by simply reinstating a sense of wonder in your life. Arianna Huffington advocates wonder as an antidote to daily stress.
01/02/2014 12:07 EST
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