Here’s what we learned from local CEOs and legend Hillary Clinton

Fresh Cut - Brenlee Coates
Fresh Cut – Brenlee Coates

It was kind of an explosive start to 2015 for professional development.
Economic Development Winnipeg’s SHEday exposed hundreds of attendees to stories of failure and triumph from those who helped claim a position for women at the boardroom table right here in Winnipeg.
At a Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce event, the former first lady, senator and secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, addressed a packed house at the RBC Convention Centre Winnipeg, and called for more “small to medium-sized business formation” to aid the economy, and for potential lenders to see the importance in investing in these startups.
At SHEday, hearing local narratives made everything relatable and feel close to home – even making the speakers’ auspicious career paths seem within reach. There were many golden nuggets of wisdom to take from each speaker at the conference.
Beth Bell, a partner and executive for IBM Global Business Services, shared some of the leadership development strategies engrained in her company’s culture, laced with some advice of her own.
Be eminent
Identifying your eminence is a great starting point for becoming a leader: what sort of value do you create at your job, not just add to it? For instance, maybe you have a larger network than your boss could’ve hoped for when you started, and you manage client relationships impeccably well. Maybe you introduced social media to your company’s repertoire – whatever it is, point it out to yourself, write it down, and allow it to bring you confidence and further set you apart in your role.
Be knowledgeable
Be sure of your information so you never crack under pressure, and remain calm. Always depict this calm confidence in communication with others.
Dress for the role you want to have
Maybe this is fairly obvious, but Bell pointed out that this is the only factor in your control for achieving the job you want. Look the part, exude confidence – and it may just speed things up.
Be prepared to do things yourself
A great leader commands respect because everyone can see them walking the walk – if someone knows you’d bend over backward to get any menial task done, they’ll be happier to hop to it for you. Build a reputation for getting it done.
Be uncomfortable with the status quo
Leaders push companies and employees to grow; they’re never content with the way things are.
Sometimes, you have to be patient, but remember that a “no” means “not yet.”
Check in with your team
Anita Wortzman, CEO of Acumen Corporate Development Inc., reminded leaders to check in with those around them to find out what motivates them. Sometimes listening to an employee’s desires could save them from pursuing other employment.
Accurately, she pointed out how Gen Y employees want their work to feel like “more than a job,” and also, to feel like their job is kind of cool. (Nailed it!) Listening to employees’ aspirations could lead to minor changes that make them feel fulfilled right where they are.
Do more than manage
The keynote speaker, interim president and CEO of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, Gail Stephens, reminded us that leadership is far more than “management.” No one has ever managed someone to greatness; a leader is someone who wins hearts and propels people further.
And when it comes to all of these leadership qualities, who embodies them better than the widely respected, accomplished, and eloquent Hillary Clinton? She’s clearly won hearts in Winnipeg; her presence was undeniably buzzworthy in our city and she won a standing ovation just by taking the stage.
If she launches a presidential campaign (as many believe she will), she’s already speaking the part, looking the part, and she’s more than walked the walk during her past decades of service.
And I dare you to test her knowledge. The best parody Saturday Night Live could come up with was a woman who’s bored of being the smartest person in the room.

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