MARY-ANN BELL, SENIOR VICE-PRESIDENT, QUEBEC AND ONTARIO
BELL ALIANT REGIONAL COMMUNICATIONS
“Participating in the 2000–01 IWF Leadership Fellows’ Program, the first Canadian to have that opportunity, was an outstanding springboard for me. As well as giving me access to a local and international network of extraordinary women, the experience also allowed me to see with absolute certainty that I had made the right career choice, and that continuing to invest my energy and resources in this career path would be the best way for me to grow professionally. This program helps you identify and define what you really want to achieve and become, and validating or gaining insight into your decisions can be extremely beneficial in life, namely in building confidence and having clear-cut objectives and priorities.
After participating in the program, I became more deeply involved in my community. I targeted my areas of interest (such as scientific advancements and women's progress) and I commit time and passion to them when I am able to. It's very rewarding.
I have continued to invest in my personal development, and my yearning for new knowledge and skills is, in part, something I inherited from the program.
Last but not least, I can never stress enough how precious my group of 13 fellows is for me even today. We make sure to meet at least once a year, despite the fact we are dispersed all over the globe, and thanks to the magic of the Web, we keep in touch regularly. It is a unique sisterhood of women with whom, year after year, I reflect on my personal growth. They challenge, push, advise and support me, and each one of them is an inspiration.”
BARBARA BELLISSIMO, SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT - CANADA, STATE FARM
IWF 2002 – 2003 LEADERSHIP FELLOW
“I am fortunate to work for an organization that believes in developing its people. As such, I had the opportunity to be a part of the Fellows class of 2002/2003.The Fellows’ experience at the time included four weeks of leadership development sessions including Harvard and Cambridge Universities. The opportunity to connect with the women in our class from around the globe was invaluable. We were able to share perspective, experiences and stay connected today. What sets this leadership experience apart from all other programs for me is the 'mentoring' component. I was interviewed to find out what specific needs I had at that point in my career. I was matched with an IWF member in New York who was able share perspective on business issues that I would not otherwise have had. I also had the opportunity to mentor with the late Alison Youngman and vibrant Ann Medina while helping with the IWF 2003 World Leadership Conference Toronto. A powerful program that leverages the talents of accomplished women leaders across the globe in developing women. An incredible program!”
LILI-ANNA PARESA, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, ONE DROP FOUNDATION
IWF 2010 – 2011 LEADERSHIP FELLOW
“… The time we spent at Harvard was very informative for me and going through the cases was interesting. My point of view, being the only person from the non-profit sector with a majority coming from the business world, did vary but not as much as I would have expected. My preoccupations based on justice, sustainability, equality, responsibility and solidarity are not always compatible with business imperatives and bringing back the discussions to the impact we have on our local communities and our global village must have sounded weird to some of the Harvard professors. The Harvard case approach is interesting but I felt that the program at INSEAD in France was more connected to my reality and concerns. I was certainly expecting high quality from our time in Harvard but I was extremely impressed by the INSEAD week.
As I am a very recent graduate, I cannot truly fully grasp the impact the program had and more surely will have on my career. Sharing the lives of extraordinary women, having a fabulous mentor, learning from top professors would never have been possible otherwise. So I do feel the need to share the great benefits. Therefore I shaped my legacy project with this in mind. I have created an informal peer support group of women CEOs of the non-profit sector as we face similar challenges, encounter barriers and strive to share solutions. Glass ceiling realities are quite present in the nonprofit sector even if a large percentage of women constitute the workforce. …”
ANNE SADO, PRESIDENT, GEORGE BROWN COLLEGE
IWF 2001 – 2002 LEADERSHIP FELLOW
“Taking part in the program allowed me – for the first time in a long, long time – to reflect on my career, on my aspirations and chart my next steps. The ability to do so with supportive classmates, IWF members, my mentor and “faculty” provided the support I needed for that reflection. I credit my experience as a Fellow with giving me the courage to change my career and move from the private sector to a leadership role in post secondary education. Despite a schedule that is still often intensely busy, I have now adopted the practice of regular reflection on my career and my goals. Quite frankly – the IWF Fellows experience changed my life. I haven’t looked back for a second.”