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Gisela Carere, Executive MBA ’22 candidate, President of Benchmark Benefit Solutions Inc., on leading and growing through an Executive MBA

Gisela Carere, Executive MBA ’22 candidate, has never been one to back down from a challenge. When her daughter was six months old, she interrupted her maternity leave and left a permanent, full-time job to consult with a then-recently formed employee benefits and consulting firm – the same company she and her husband bought out 11 years later, having helped it grow from 40 to 180 corporate clients across Canada, the United States, Europe and Asia.

It was the same entrepreneurial spirit that led her to study literature at the University of Toronto when she was an undergrad because, having immigrated to Canada from Peru at 14, she wanted to improve her language skills.

And it was that drive that led Carere, now President of Benchmark Benefit Solutions Inc., to pursue an Executive MBA so she could develop and formalize her business acumen to nurture and grow the very business she joined over a decade ago.

“With all the companies that were going through challenges during the pandemic, I felt like there was work to be done and I wanted to get all the knowledge I could to help the Benchmark community in every way possible,” says Carere.

“I’m thrilled with the Ivey program because it’s so hands-on, and it’s case-based. I love the fact that you work with a team of people that bring so much knowledge and such diversity to your experience.”

The Case Method Learning, learning groups, and components like the Leadership 360 evaluation have made Ivey “the perfect ground to be honest with yourself and be honest about your strengths and vulnerabilities, in a perfectly safe space.”

For Carere, that’s translated into growth as a leader, increased self-awareness, exposure to new ways of thinking, as well as practical takeaways that she was able to apply to Benchmark right from the first term.

“As an entrepreneur, I’ve been able to apply so many different things in the past year, since I started the program, where there’s additional value to our clients – from applying predictive analytics to some of the services that we have, to leadership, to team building events and guest speakers,” she says.

“The program makes your network so much richer in the sense that you have a caliber of people who are so educated and so in tune with where they want to go. You feel like you’re a part of something bigger than just your own journey into this new career path.”

Going through successes and challenges together as a class has also created an enriching learning experience and helped Carere build great friendships – something, she adds, “you can’t put a dollar value on.”

As she looks toward the last term of the program, Carere plans to continue to use all the personal and professional lessons from her EMBA to help grow Benchmark from a well-known Canadian company to one that is equally recognized internationally. She also hopes to branch out into different industries that can use its services.

“I always concentrate on the end goal I’m trying to reach, but I feel like with EMBA, my mind has just expanded,” she says. 

“It’s made me see things from a personal and business perspective in a different way. It truly changes you.”

EMBA '22

Ivey Business School

Gisela Carere

Gisela Carere

President, Benchmark Benefit Solutions Inc.

Toronto, Canada

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