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Janet Bannister, HBA '92: Stories that move

  • Ethan Milne
  • |
  • Nov 27, 2018
Janet Bannister, HBA '92: Stories that move

Janet Bannister, HBA '92, General Partner at Real Ventures

Ethan Milne is an HBA ’20 candidate with aspirations of attending law school. He attended the final keynote address of the 2018 Ivey Leaders Forum on November 23, by Janet Bannister, HBA '92, General Partner at Real Ventures, and blogged about the experience.

Janet Bannister’s stories of persevering through adversity were not just inspiring. They also taught me important lessons about leadership. More than that, her honesty and genuine passion for her work as General Partner at Real Ventures shone through in every story she told. This highlighted for me the importance of storytelling in business.

In her speech, Bannister identified three areas to focus on for success in the modern business environment: making your own opportunities, managing your career path, and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

Make your own opportunities

To make your own opportunities, it helps to hustle. Bannister has hustle in abundance. At 15, she started her first business – selling muffins to stores so she could save for university. In hope of getting her first start in the tech industry, she cold-called, emailed, cold-called again, and emailed again – until the CEO of a major venture capital firm finally relented. She immediately seized the opportunity and transformed a 30-minute chat into a meeting with the CEO of eBay. She secured a job in business development at the company. While at eBay, she was at the forefront of new business development in Canada and abroad, including the creation of

Manage your career path

Soon after her successful launch of Kijiji, Bannister left eBay to spend time with her family. She told us the biggest decisions are made with your heart, not your head. This was a surprise to me and I think to a lot of people. Too often we idealize the sacrifice of one’s personal life in pursuit of financial gain. Bannister’s path shows a different way. Your job does not define you, it is simply something you do. We are more than the prestige of our titles or the salaries that comes with them.

Maintain a healthy lifestyle

Managing your career path to better reflect your priorities is essential to maintaining mental health, but Bannister also noted the importance of physical health. Taking care of your body gives you the stamina to put in the hours your job requires, and lets you live a longer, happier life.

Bannister’s successful pursuit of a different path and her advice for achieving it will go a long way for HBAs as we consider our future careers.