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“Focus on the fire” and other tips for career success for Ivey students at Ivey Leaders Forum

  • Communications
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  • Nov 20, 2013
“Focus on the fire” and other tips for career success for Ivey students at Ivey Leaders Forum

Nora Aufreiter, HBA ’81, Partner and Leader of McKinsey & Company’s Toronto office, at Ivey Leaders Forum 2013

When it comes to building a better future, it is critical to have the right tools.

That’s why leaders from a wide range of sectors – from non-profit organizations to entrepreneurs – shared their own personal tools for making a difference at the Ivey Leaders Forum 2013. 

Organized by Ivey HBA students, the two-day forum on November 7 and 8 featured an array of speakers and break-out sessions aimed to help students become better global thinkers, sustainable actors and motivational leaders.

Nora Aufreiter, HBA ’81, Partner and Leader of McKinsey & Company’s Toronto office, and Gord Lambert, Executive Advisor of Sustainability and Innovation, Suncor Energy Inc., were both keynote speakers at the event.

  • Aufreiter shared advice on being an inspiring leader and finding the right career path
  • Lambert discussed new skills and tools needed for developing the future energy sector.

Here are some of their key messages:

Embrace what makes you different

Companies spend a lot of time thinking about what makes them different from their competitors and using those distinctions to their advantage. Aufreiter said students should follow suit when thinking about their careers. She said she developed criteria for her own career search that captured what she was good at and the kind of culture she wanted to work in.

“It’s easy to chase the job trail, but you need to take the time to honestly consider what you want from your career,” she said. “It’s important to have a vision and reflect on that vision because the choices you make now will open or close doors for you.”

Be an inspiration

In addition to having a vision, Aufreiter stressed leaders need to execute that vision by communicating it effectively.

“If you can paint a picture that’s truly inspiring, everyone will stretch out to meet it,” she said.

Break down silos

Citing how differing views on the Keystone XL pipeline project have created a rift between people, Lambert said finding ways to bridge the gaps between groups is critical.

“With energy, we need to create new models for collaboration and convene different parties,” he said. “Leaders of the future need to bridge across the silos and bring people together.”

Focus on the fire in your belly

Lambert said he once came to a fork in the road on his career path when he was on track for an important role, but knew it wasn’t what he wanted. He ultimately decided not to pursue it.

“Follow your passion and define what success looks like for you,” he said.