Women Helping Women: A Call to Action for Leaders

This article was previously featured in The Chronicle Herald.

At the 2006 Celebrating Inspiration luncheon with the WNBA's All-Decade Team, Madeleine Albright said “There is a special place in hell for women who don't help other women." I heard this as a call to action, one that has played over and over in my head as I have had the privilege over the years of mentoring, coaching, advising and talking with women leaders. I believe there are at least two reasons that Albright’s call to women to help other women is still relevant almost a decade later:

Leader's Insight: Nancy Tower, Executive VP of Business Development, Emera Inc.

Nancy Tower saw from an early age what it looks like to jump in with both feet. Her father grew the family’s Bathurst, N.B.-based firm Tower Jewellers from a single store to 16 locations. Spending her summer holidays working in the business, and chewing through HR and marketing talk at the dinner table, ultimately helped drive her to a career in business. Today the 52-year-old mother of three, who exudes a confident, athletic energy, has risen to the highest echelons of Atlantic Canadian business.

Leader's Insight: Robert MacLeod, CEO, Invest New Brunswick

At age 26, Robert MacLeod changed jobs, packed up his belongings and said good-bye to his life in New Brunswick. His mission: criss-cross Canada as leader in sales for McCain Foods. For a small-town boy with powerful family connections to New Brunswick, the experience was challenging but deeply formative — his first entry point into the rich, multi-cultural world of global business.

Leader's Insight: Don Clow, CEO, Crombie REIT

From the outset, P.E.I. native Don Clow has been what’s known in athletic circles as “coachable.” Which is perhaps why the 49-year-old chartered accountant and CEO of Crombie REIT — Atlantic Canada’s largest property owner — has been mentored by, and worked side-by-side with, some of the region’s business and athletic luminaries, including legendary football coach John Huard, property developers Simon and Jim Spatz and the Sobey family.

Leader's Insight: Andrew Bell, CEO of The Bell Group

At 22, Andrew Bell joined The Bell Group, the firm his grandfather founded in 1933, and promptly launched what would become a career-encompassing habit: transforming businesses – as industry landscapes were changing. Today the diversified Newfoundland based firm has operations across Atlantic Canada, including St.John’s Coast 101.1 FM Radio, the 14-location furniture retailer Cohen’s Limited, Atlantic Wine and Spirits Limited, as well as the industrial service and supply firm K&D Pratt, acquired in 2003 (the year Bell became CEO).

Leader's Insight: Captain Sid Hynes, CEO, Oceanex

It was 2007 and Captain Sid Hynes was staring down the barrel at early retirement when, as they so often do, the seas changed. A mariner since the age of 15, Hynes had spent the last two decades at the forefront of Canada’s marine industry, including roles as president of Canship Ltd., and chairman of Marine Atlantic Inc. Then intermodal shipping firm Oceanex headhunted him for a job as CEO. Leading a public company wasn’t for him, but the opportunity beckoned.

Leader's Insight: Jean-Paul Deveau, President, Acadian Seaplants Ltd.

In conversation with Jeff Forbes, Vice President

What does it take to lead a company recognized as one of Canada’s 50 Best Managed Companies for seven consecutive years? Jean-Paul Deveau took over the reins of Acadian Seaplants from his father in 2002, building the company into a multimillion-dollar performer exporting to 70 markets worldwide. Not one to rest on his laurels, he is constantly focused on what’s next.

Leader's Insight: Lee Bragg, Chief Executive Officer, Eastlink

In conversation with Kevin Stoddart, Vice President

Lee Bragg, son of John Bragg, was appointed CEO of EastLink in 1999. In the decade since, he has successfully led the integration of 12 cable companies, resulting in an innovative telecommunications provider serving communities across Canada. As the company prepares to add wireless offerings to its customer base, he sees no shortage of exhilarating challenges ahead for him, his team and the next generation of Braggs.

Leader's Insight: Ron Lovett, President & Founder, Source Security & Investigations

In conversation with Mark Surrette, President

As a child, Ron Lovett earned money any way he could – shoveling snow, managing three paper routes and giving five dollar haircuts to friends. At the age of 22, he started Source Security & Investigations to offer security services to nightclubs, and for events. Eight years later, the company now employs 450 licensed guards across Canada and its credentials include Canadian Idol and The Rolling Stones.