06/30/2014 05:44 EDT | Updated 08/30/2014 05:59 EDT

What Empowerment Means to Me


I love this word and everything it means to me:





The word makes me feel strong. It allows me an element of control over my professional and personal life. It gives me the confidence to believe that I deserve to have the same opportunities as men. It holds me responsible and accountable for my own happiness and the direction that I take my life. It gives me the strength to refuse to be victimized.

Encouraging and nurturing behaviour that empowers others is important to me, and something I work on every day. Professionally, I have tried to foster a culture that empowers both men and women.

As President of Jones Apparel Canada, I continually strive to build a culture of high performing individuals who take accountability for their work, behaviour, and for the ongoing success of the organization.

I respect creativity and the individual, and I encourage people to take control over their destiny and potential!

Allowing freedom for individuals to take personal responsibility for their actions and results can be incredibly empowering--the key is to ensure the guardrails are communicated and mutually respected. Offering individuals in your organization the freedom to pave their own paths to success can encourage creativity and inspire a sense of personal accountability.

Information is power and it's vital to share it and be generous with it.

For men, it can be uncomfortable to share the influence or power that they have traditionally controlled.

For women, it requires the courage to push for more access, for a seat at the table, and to be heard.

For all of us, it requires bravery and commitment to challenge the status quo.


By Carrie Kirkman, President of Jones Group Canada and member of the Global Advisory Committee to G(irls)20. She is a native of Australia but has called Canada home for over 35 years.