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Do what you love, love what you do: Jannalee Anderson, HBA ’94 and MBA ’99

  • Communications
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  • Sep 17, 2015
Do what you love, love what you do: Jannalee Anderson, HBA ’94 and MBA ’99

During her days at Ivey, Jannalee Anderson, HBA ’94 and MBA ’99, didn’t fit the old business student stereotype. Her interest in working for nonprofit organizations and passion for helping others took her down a different path.

That’s the beauty of the HBA program. There isn’t just one mold for an HBA student.

Do what you’re good at. Do what you love

As the keynote speaker at this year’s Opening Gala, the first official event for Ivey Orientation Week and for the new HBA Class of 2017, Anderson acknowledged the program has changed over the years to make interests like hers more accessible.

“Back in my HBA, nonprofit was sort of a bad word. Sustainability was not on the list of subject topics,” she said.

Anderson now works in corporate philanthropy as the Vice President of Business Development at Opportunity International Canada. The organization builds partnerships with Canadian businesses, foundations, government, and donors that want to help expand entrepreneurial opportunities for people living in poverty.

“Even though I work for a nonprofit, all of the for-profit lessons that I learned here at Ivey still apply,” she said. “It’s great if you have passion for a mission or a cause, but if you can’t pair that with a business skillset, your nonprofit, just like any other business, is going to be in trouble.”

During Anderson’s HBA2 year, one of her professors told her class that it didn’t matter how much a job paid. If you can’t get up in the morning and love what you are going to do that day, he told them, you need to find a new job.

Anderson took that advice to heart. She followed what she described as a “bizarre career path,” spending time in both the for-profit and not-for-profit worlds before landing at Opportunity International Canada. Her current job is both the hardest and the best job she’s ever had.

“Life is too short not to do what you’re good at and not to do what you love,” Anderson said. “So figure out what you’re good at and what makes your heart sing. And as you go forward through HBA, keep that in the forefront of your mind.”

Three lessons in leadership

Ivey taught Anderson valuable lessons over the years, some that she didn’t understand until later in her life. She shared some lessons in leadership with the incoming HBA class, encouraging them to follow her advice and inspire others to do the same.

  1. Lead with grit. Gritty people can overcome any obstacle in their way and gritty organizations are unstoppable. Grit will differentiate you.
  2. Lead with integrity. Make sure you are a loyal, trustworthy, and wise leader. Keep your promises and lead by example.
  3. Lead with no regrets. Lead in such a way that when you look back at your life, you will be proud of your track record, and you’ll be proud of your legacy. Do the right thing for the right reason, no matter how hard it is.