Former dean Carol Stephenson brought 40 years of leadership lessons and insights to the soldout inaugural Women of Ivey Network (WIN) Breakfast event in Toronto on October 3.
Stephenson delivered the keynote speech, where she reminded the audience of the three Cs of leadership that were developed by the Ian O. Ihnatowycz Institute for Leadership during her time at Ivey: competency counts, character matters, and commitment is critical. While most literature stresses the importance of competency, a truly good leader needs all three to be successful, she said.
Stephenson shared the top leadership lessons she learned over her 40-year career, while working in both the private and public sectors. Here are a few key takeaways.
“First and foremost, always be willing to investigate an opportunity, even if it isn’t an obvious thing for you to do,” Stephenson said. “Some of the jobs and assignments that I took on, some of which my friends told me would be ‘career enders,’ turned out to be the best decisions I made.”
Be open to feedback.
“Everyone needs good mentors at critical points in their careers. But to be a good mentee, you must be open to feedback,” she said.
“Have courage. Although I displayed courage, I never really thought of myself as a courageous person,” Stephenson said. “I think courage is a muscle that is strengthened by practicing it in both our professional and personal lives through our everyday actions, decisions, and choices. Courage shows up in our daily lives in acts that are large and small. Courage for me is knowing myself, and acting on my beliefs and convictions. Live your lives with courage. I know courage will be tested at the most unexpected times.”
Stephenson ended her talk with a call to action that Ivey alumnae continue to be supportive of one another.