Women of Influence http://www.womenofinfluence.ca Fri, 27 May 2016 21:17:51 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.5.2 Women of Influence Evening Series – Lesley-Anne Scorgie http://www.womenofinfluence.ca/2016/05/27/women-of-influence-evening-series-lesley-anne-scorgie/ Fri, 27 May 2016 20:07:35 +0000 http://www.womenofinfluence.ca/?p=157071

“The biggest financial obstacles for women aren’t their actual finances; they are their mindsets.”

On May 4th, 2016, we welcomed Lesley-Anne Scorgie to the podium at the Women of Influence Evening series to discuss her career as a best-selling author and financial guru.

From the age of 10, Lesley-Anne has worked to build her net worth and become right by 30. Along the way, she has become a go-to financial advisor helping women learn to manage their money.

Check out some of the key takeaways from the keynote address:

  • How did Lesley-Anne make her start as an entrepreneur?  Aside from investing her first Government Savings Bond at the age of 10, Lesley-Anne also babysat, had a newspaper route, and worked at the local library.
  • Lesley-Anne’s key tip for financial success: Do not rely on one source of income. “Get your hustle on, use your talent, and go make extra money!”
  • Advice for real-life obstacles: What did Lesley-Anne learn when her money dried up from her book sales? To budget your money, use your talents, make good quality investments, and seek out financial advice.
  • The importance of financial literacy: Lesley-Anne spoke to the importance of teaching financial literacy in schools. Thankfully, we were hosting two volunteers from Malvern Collegiate, who started learning early how to manage their money!

For more information and insights from Lesley-Anne, check out her feature in Expert Advice.

Photography by Clix Visions Photography

5 career tips from the trenches of entrepreneurship http://www.womenofinfluence.ca/2016/05/26/5-career-tips-from-the-trenches-of-entrepreneurship/ Thu, 26 May 2016 19:55:41 +0000 http://www.womenofinfluence.ca/?p=156977 run_400x400By Amy Laski

Have you ever tried running along a sandy beach? The refreshing sea breeze, the mist off the water, sun drenching your hair…

It sounds glorious. But running on sand is hard work. It’s difficult to gain traction, the wind is often much stronger by the ocean, and at times the beach can be so wide, it proves hard to navigate.

My experience working in a big corporation felt like running on sand. While I found it fascinating to be working alongside colleagues from around the globe, as someone who likes to move swiftly to make and implement decisions, it often felt like I was running hard but not really getting anywhere.

The best thing to come out of my time working in a large corporation was that I experienced first-hand, as a client, the shortcomings of the traditional PR agency model. So when I was contemplating the next step in my career, I seized the opportunity to turn this agency model on its ear and founded a virtual communications and content agency, Felicity.

Now that I’ve been in the entrepreneurial trenches for more than four years, I thought I would share some of the learnings from my journey thus far. These can, in turn, be applied to any career. Whether you’re looking to amplify your performance within an existing position, make a move up the corporate ladder, or start something newthese five tips will help ensure your success along the way.  

Related: How can you take lessons from big brands and apply them to your personal brand?


  1. Have well-toned resilience muscles, you’ll need to flex them

I’d heard the saying, “when one door closes, another opens.” Nobody forewarned me, however, just how many doors may close, and how many others I’d have to knock on, in order to achieve success. No matter how trying things become, knowing how to pick yourself up and move beyond challenges to identify opportunities is key to career success. Whether it’s a boss, a client, or a colleague with whom you are looking to align, you alone control how you react to challenges. Rally your supportersthose people who opened the door for you, even a crackand leverage their support to help open other doors on your behalf. This can be as simple as asking for a connection via LinkedIn, or seeking their advice or mentorship while navigating a tricky situation.

  1. Ask the right people the right questions—and pay attention to their answers, even when it’s something you don’t want to hear.

Know your strengths, and equally important, your weaknesses. These may change over time as you grow, as your needs change, and as the business environment changes around you. Constantly re-evaluate your relative position, then surround yourself with people who complement your strengths and weaknesses. The ability to tap into your own intellectual curiosity, ask poignant questions of these “complementors,” and listen attentively to their answers, will deepen your understanding of any complex issue or challenge you face.

  1. Never stop expanding your network, and nurturing it.

No matter what field you’re in, consider yourself Chief of both Sales and Marketing for your personal brand. Filling your funnel means having a vibrant and relevant network that’s working for you at all times, even in the background. Keep in contact with your network, provide value where you can, take the time to comment on and share their posts via social media, and meet in person whenever possible. The more effort you put into maintaining your network, the easier it will be to reach out without feeling intrusive. No matter if you’re happy in the position you’re in or looking for something new, a great deal of your power lies amongst the people you’re connected to.

  1. Keep the big picture in mind.

There’s no better time to think about the big picture than when you’re perfectly comfortable with where you’re at. They say if you don’t know where you’re going, any road will get you there. Always have a list of long-term goals you’re working toward, and keep your short-term decisions and objectives tied to these.

  1. Love it or leave it.

You’ll know when you’re doing something that’s right for you and you’ll know when you’re not. There’s nothing worse than working for a company or in a role that doesn’t make you happy. Leaving a position is not about failure, it’s about organizational fit and professional growth. Finding a role where you provide value and your work is valued, is satisfying and motivating in and of itself. Trust your gut, and act upon it to build the bridge to your next move.


Amy Laski is founder and president of Felicity [Inspiring Communications], an award-winning virtual integrated communications and public relations agency, where clients pay for brains, not bricks. Teams are comprised of seasoned communicators driven by business minds, and are custom-tailored with the right experts based on client needs. Felicity partners with clients to leverage public relations in support of their overall business strategies, to optimize reputation, inspire action, and drive bottom-line results. Felicity associates thrive on doing challenging work within a flexible work arrangement. Happy workers = happy clients. For more information about Felicity, go to www.felicitypr.com



Women of Influence Luncheon Series – Women in Wealth http://www.womenofinfluence.ca/2016/05/26/women-of-influence-luncheon-series-women-in-wealth/ Thu, 26 May 2016 16:07:27 +0000 http://www.womenofinfluence.ca/?p=157050

“Diversity is a fact. Inclusion is a choice”

On April 28th, 2016, we hosted the Women of Influence Luncheon Series in downtown Toronto, featuring a panel of Women in Wealth. We sat down with Zabeen Hirji, Charyl Galpin, and Colleen Johnston to hear about their rise to the tops of Canada’s leading financial institutions.

What we learned:

  • Charyl Galpin’s advice for work-life balance? Set boundaries. Charyl made it a priority to be home every night for dinner with her family, and organized her work life accordingly.
  • “Judge success by your own standards”, was Zabeen’s piece of advice for maintaining a healthy career perspective.
  • How has the corporate landscape changed for women? Colleen reflected on the lack of female role models in the financial industry when she began her career, but is thrilled at the number of women now entering the field and holding senior ranks.
  • Charyl spoke of how she has changed the frame of reference for how she thinks of her career. When making decisions, she consults Charyl Galpin Inc
  • How did Zabeen overcome gender bias in the workplace to kickstart her career? She spoke up and made herself known to a recruiter when her boss told her that she  wouldn’t be considered for a new role.
  • The importance of sounding boards.  Colleen reminded us that women tend to take things more personally. We need a good sounding board in order to keep perspective on what’s in front of us.
  • What do these corporate leaders do for fun? Charyl knits, Zabeen practices yoga, and you can often find Colleen checking out a new restaurant.

Congratulations to Cathy Cobey of E&Y!  Concluding the afternoon events, we announced the winner of our VIP Membership Experience Giveaway. Thanks to the generous contributions from our sponsors, Cathy has access to a spot at the short-format executive education programs offered by the Smith School of Business, a one month executive membership at the Adelaide Club courtesy of the Cambridge Group of Clubs, and back up child care from Kids & Company.

Photography by Tom Sandler Photography

The basics of cybersecurity for your small business http://www.womenofinfluence.ca/2016/05/24/the-basics-of-cybersecurity-for-your-small-business/ Tue, 24 May 2016 11:33:29 +0000 http://www.womenofinfluence.ca/?p=156891 Does your business use the Internet? Do you have a cybersecurity plan in place? If you answered ‘yes’ to the first question but not the second, it’s time to give your network security some more thought.

The days of grammar-challenged emails from fake foreign princes are in the past. Cybercrime is on the rise, hackers are becoming more creative, and regardless of the type of business you run, you have information that they’re looking for—from customer records to banking information.

As a business owner, you should be considering these risks in the same way you would take any threat to your bottom line seriously. You don’t need to be an expert (though talking to one is a good idea), but basic knowledge can help guide you towards an effective strategy. These questions are a good place to start:

Related: Ask a tech expert: How do I set up a virtual office? 

Are your cybersecurity policies clear for employees?  Write them down, specifying what types of network activities are allowed and which ones are prohibited. Include guidance on how to handle everyday communications, like email and attachments, how to create strong passwords and protect them, and how to safely access the network remotely.

What are your most important digital assets, and who uses them? It could be customer records, or intellectual property. Anything of value should be evaluated to determine what they are worth, where they reside, who has access to them, and how that access is controlled. Think about what a security breach involving these assets could do to your business—from disruptions to service, to hard financial costs. Also consider how you would survive a cyber attack. Do you have backup and recovery capabilities to restore information if necessary?

What security do you have in place right now? Take an inventory of your current security measures. Do you have antivirus software, to help protect the network against common threats like viruses, worms, and Trojan horses? Do you have a firewall, to keep unauthorized users off your network? How about a virtual private network (VPN), to give employees, customers, and partners secure access to your network? The most effective solution is a comprehensive security device that lets you control access to network resources, which helps protect business data and maximize network uptime. Your security solution should integrate firewall, virtual private network (VPN), antivirus, and other security technologies. Look for a solution that’s designed for small and medium-sized businesses, is easy to use, and can grow with you as your business and security needs evolve.


Looking to learn more about cybersecurity? Fill in a short survey to register for the free virtual training from the Cisco Networking Academy, and sign up for Introduction to Cybersecurity. This informative online course covers trends and insightful material on computer network security.



Why you shouldn’t focus on maximizing shareholder value http://www.womenofinfluence.ca/2016/05/11/why-you-shouldnt-focus-on-maximizing-shareholder-value/ Wed, 11 May 2016 12:11:31 +0000 http://www.womenofinfluence.ca/?p=156550 Catherine_BellBy Catherine Bell

Catherine Bell is the founder of BluEra, an executive search and team transformation company. She’s also the best-selling and award-winning author of The Awakened Company, a thought-provoking read that explores how treating businesses as communities can transform them for the better.

Whether you are working for a private or publicly-traded company, you are likely familiar with the concept of maximizing shareholder value. It’s a business model that was born in the eighties, and three decades later, it’s still widely regarded as the ultimate measure of success. Unfortunately, most CEOs I meet with solely focus on financial metrics, simply because this is the mantra they have grown up with.  

The model is indicative of a pervasive mindset across the business world: “business is business.” The purpose of a company is to make money, and whatever it takes to do so is okay—as long as it’s legal, at least quasi-legal, or can be gotten away with. While few would admit this publicly, the impact it has had on our economy is impossible to deny. And few would argue that “business as usual” is working well.

The evidence is clear: maximizing shareholder value is a failing concept.

It brought about the global financial crisis of 2007 through 2009. Fed by a drive for “more,” for decades a select class of investors increasingly used its clout to defang regulations and aggressively engage in high-risk activity, bringing the world’s most powerful economies to the brink of a narrowly-averted global depression.

It has led to corporate scandals—from Enron to Goldman Sachs—that have been met with far fewer repercussions for the perpetrators than for the people they negatively impacted, giving little incentive for corporations to change.

Most importantly, it has ruthlessly sacrificed the broader workforce, by creating a stressful, unfulfilling work environment that prioritizes profits over their welfare. Workplace dissatisfaction is on the rise, while the middle class is steadily shrinking.

Why do we assume that to increase shareholder value is of utmost importance to businesses, when the reality is that increasing shareholder value benefits the few, not the majority?

There’s another option: maximizing stakeholder value. That includes end-users, employees, management, and shareholders. It includes our suppliers, competitors, the communities and countries we operate in, and the planet earth.  We need to put value and emphasis on the quality of our experiences and the joy we are cultivating moment to moment.  

This new mindset requires that businesses focus on innovation, improving the wellbeing of their community, and making decisions for the longevity of the company and its team. It enables employees to come into their own, in a fulfilling and creative life. And for all those of you who are still wondering about profit: for the companies that have already shifted into this mode of operation—from Patagonia to Zappos—the financial rewards for the leadership, the team, and the shareholders have been substantial.

I call this being an “awakening company”—an organization that has moved from “me” to “we” in its thinking and practices, and that sees their employees, the communities they serve, and the planet itself as more than mere resources. I’ve seen the benefits in my own business, and I’ve interviewed experts and business leaders who have achieved the same results. So if you’re still focusing on maximizing shareholder value, it’s time reevaluate where that’s taking your business.


Ready to awaken your own business? Get your copy of The Awakened Company, and learn how companies are achieving a new standard of success. A best-seller within a week, one of Eight of the Best Business Books of 2015, and a Nautilus Silver Medal Winner for Best Business Book for 2015, it explores a new way of doing business: incorporating mindfulness and wisdom traditions to ultimately benefit companies, those involved in them, and the planet itself. It has earned praise from business leaders and industry experts, and is the blueprint for the successful executive search and team transformation company, BluEra.



Ask a tech expert: How do I set up a virtual office? http://www.womenofinfluence.ca/2016/05/09/ask-a-tech-expert-how-do-i-set-up-a-virtual-office/ Mon, 09 May 2016 12:27:05 +0000 http://www.womenofinfluence.ca/?p=156492
: I’m the owner of a small marketing agency. We’ve been renting an office, but I’d like to offer flexibility to my staff (and have it for myself), and save on rent. I know it’s possible to “go virtual,” but I don’t really know what is required. How do I set up a virtual office?


A: Going virtual is an excellent option! You’ll soon see it can serve your business needs now, and can even help you expand your recruitment reach in the future. With this kind of flexibility, you can attract and retain employees from any geographic region, including professionals with special skills. According to several human resources studies, work/life benefits, such as teleworking and flex-time, are among the most valued benefits a company can offer.


Here are some things to consider when you are looking to enable you and your colleagues to work from anywhere:

Adding a VPN and firewall enables the security you need. The technology behind remote access is called a “virtual private network,” or “VPN,” and it establishes a private, secure network connection over a public network, such as the Internet.

VPNs use secure firewalls and well-tested security measures at every network point of entry, to help stop worms, spyware, or hackers from attempting to disrupt your business network or steal sensitive information.

Here’s the beauty of a VPN: Once it’s installed, you can add as many employees in as many places as you need. You don’t have to worry about expensive provisioning in each branch, office, store or site; a PC and an Internet connection will do the trick. The VPN software handles all security and user authentication.

There are several types of VPNs from which to choose. Talk to an expert—like a Cisco Certified Partner—who can evaluate your business requirements, and present the most appropriate solution for your business needs today, as well as provide a growth path that will meet your business needs tomorrow.

You’ll also need a phone and conferencing system that can work with remote and mobile employees, and that means using a data network.  Look for a phone solution that:

  • Can be set up so phone numbers can ring simultaneously on multiple devices (such as an office, home office, and wireless phone), to end “phone tag”
  • Enables customer calls to be routed automatically to available employees, regardless of where they might be.
  • As an added bonus (and this is available with Cisco SMB solutions), make it possible for employees to check all their messages—voice, e-mail, and fax—in one simple-to-use browser-based window.

You may also want to consider additional collaboration technology to keep your employees connected anytime, anywhere. A unified communications solution that is cloud-based (like Cisco Jabber) can bring together remote workers with instant messaging, desktop sharing, and conferencing—across any device, and from any location. With conferencing solutions (such as Cisco WebEx) you can add voice and video conferencing as well as application sharing into each meeting. It really gives a new meaning to the word “meeting.”
With today’s solutions to stay connected, you can bring the right people together, even without an office.

Are you setting up an office? If you’re ready for a business-class network using a simplified approach, the Cisco Entrepreneur Xperience solution features everything you need to get your business communicating, collaborating, and connected. Customized for your business size and needs, the product bundle is simple to deploy and cost-effective. Fill in this quick form to receive more information on this “Office in a Box” offer.


A Roadmap to Financing Your Business http://www.womenofinfluence.ca/2016/05/09/a-roadmap-to-financing-your-business/ Mon, 09 May 2016 11:54:19 +0000 http://www.womenofinfluence.ca/?p=156486 Paola_Girotti_400x500By Paola Girotti


Paola is the founder and owner of SUGARMOON, a sugaring business with three salons, take-home sugaring and organic body care lines, and the SUGARMOON training academy. In this instalment of her Women of Influence web series, The Truth About Entrepreneurship: My Life on the Moon, she shares her experience and advice on financing your business.

As an entrepreneur, I have often heard the advice: “pull yourself up by your bootstraps.” But how does that work? We are often left holding our bootstraps and searching for someone to help us get them a little higher when we start a business. In running SUGARMOON, I have learned a lot about how my bootstraps alone aren’t going to cut it when it comes to financing, supporting, and growing my business.

My Roadmap

My financing journey began with a $10,000 loan from my mother to open the first SUGARMOON salon. How many of us have relied on family (or personal savings) to take the risk of turning our dreams into reality?

A few years later I was able to secure a line of credit from a bank to move and expand that salon. My home equity and good credit history allowed me to secure that funding—a luxury many of us don’t have as entrepreneurs.

A few years after that success, I accessed funds from a merchant lending group, Thinking Capital funded by CIBC, to fund further expansion and product development. These funds came with a large interest rate but I was lucky to generate the profits required to take that financing risk.

The next stage of my journey came with financing from the Business Development Bank of Canada to launch store number three. They supported SUGARMOON with expansion dollars for consulting and technology.

Throughout my journey, I have faced many challenges, and learned a lot about entrepreneurial financing in the process. My financing roadmap has been less than straightforward; it has been filled with potholes, uphill climbs, and enough smooth sailing to make the ride worth the effort. My chief regret: not accessing enough money to make a capital investment in SUGARMOON’s product in order to maximize profits.

Here’s what I learned from my experiences that can help you with financing your own business:

Big Banks

In order to secure financing from banks, entrepreneurs are assessed on their personal credit. How are we supposed to access the funds we need to establish and grow successful businesses if our personal credit is less than stellar? What do we do if we don’t have enough equity in our homes? What happens if we don’t have a guarantor/cosigner? Many of us are left without financing when faced with the banking lending rules.

I was lucky enough to have good credit, but I could not rely on banks to access enough capital to finance SUGARMOON’s growth. For those of us with cash flow-based retail and product development businesses, we may need to look for alternatives when financing our entrepreneurial dreams.

Merchant Lending

These lenders are a decent option for cash-flow based businesses with established profitability. Although I paid hefty interest rates on the funds, SUGARMOON’s profits offset some of the losses. If you use this financing option, bank on smaller profits. Do your research before taking this financing road.

Business Development Bank of Canada

The BDC really focused on helping us move from planning, to execution, to long-term success. They helped to calibrate my entrepreneurial GPS and to keep my business vision crystal clear while accessing the capital I needed to succeed. This is a great option I wish I had accessed sooner!

Other Options

If these options don’t work for your unique situation, there are alternatives. These may include putting in personal savings, or approaching family members (I was lucky to have a supportive mother at the start of my business). You can also seek a cash infusion from a venture capitalist or angel investors, but be prepared to prove your business case.

Whatever option you choose, stay focused on your business vision and financials to guide you along the way. When you find the right financing, you’ll be pulling up your bootstraps to keep your feet comfortable along the path to success.


During her fourteen years as the owner of SUGARMOON, Paola has experienced both the triumphs and the trials of being a female entrepreneur. In her Women of Influence web series, The Truth About Entrepreneurship: My Life on the Moon, she’s sharing stories and lessons from her journey as a business founder and owner. From financing, to expanding, to balancing motherhood, Paola offers a candid view and valuable insights for aspiring and fellow entrepreneurs.

Interested in more? Read other articles from Paola’s web series, or learn about her business at sugarmoonsalon.com


From international cosmetic brands to entrepreneurship, meet Linda Stephenson http://www.womenofinfluence.ca/2016/05/06/from-international-cosmetic-brands-to-entrepreneurship-meet-linda-stephenson/ Fri, 06 May 2016 14:01:48 +0000 http://www.womenofinfluence.ca/?p=156445

Linda Stephenson is the ultimate beauty guru, and has the education to back it up. With an honours degree in chemistry and biology, with a minor in botany, Linda put her degree to use and oversaw product development for world-class cosmetic brands. However, after becoming a mom, she realized her skincare regime was too time consuming. Putting her knowledge to good use, Linda sat down and rewrote the beauty formula. Mèreadesso was born: a single-step solution that rendered her own regime obsolete. It is now carried online at mereadesso.com, at select Nordstrom locations, and at nordstrom.com. We asked Linda about her journey into entrepreneurship.


My first student job ever was…

Tutoring high school kids at my school. I offered a guarantee—if the kid didn’t score two grade levels higher than they did before I started working with them, I’d give their parents their money back! Word spread like wildfire. I had to turn kids away.

I decided to be an entrepreneur because…

I love the autonomy with decision making and the flexibility with work hours, especially when I became a Mom. You can’t find that in corporate culture. Someone once said that the only way a woman could have it all is if she is in charge of her own schedule.

My proudest accomplishment was…

Hmmmm…. I’m still working on it—not done yet! But I’ve had a lot of proud moments along the way.

My boldest move to date was…

Starting my own line of skincare (Mèreadesso) and now competing with all the majors in the marketplace.

I surprise people when I tell them…

I am a graduate of Second City Improv and I was on a national television comedy show.

My best advice to people starting out in business is…

That the first cheque you write should be to your Patent and Trademark Lawyer. It’s not fun or sexy but it will save you a lot of grief in the long run to make sure that there are no challenges to your brand’s identity.

Related: Meet the woman that designs celebrity baby nurseries, entrepreneur Tori Swaim

My best advice from a mentor was…

This is from my Dad: when making personal choices for business; always choose the path that leads to the most learning – not the most money or recognition. He always said that would come later.

Linda_400x400My biggest setback was…

When a supplier let me down by discontinuing my packaging without any prior notice.

I overcame it by…

Scrambling to find a plan B and being honest with the consumer and moving forward.

I balance work and life by…

Surrounding myself by amazing people—both family and colleagues that support me in the tough times. Somehow by the grace of God, it all gets done.

Being a woman in international business is…

Exciting but sometimes challenging. Exciting because you’re learning about new consumer preferences, yet challenging because you’re dealing with a variety of cultural expectations from women in different parts of the world.

Working with larger brands before starting my own line helped me…

Tremendously in order to understand the big picture. It helped me see the path from where I am now to where I want to be in the future.

If you googled me, you still wouldn’t know…

Laughter is like air to me, I love to cook and I’m a little obsessed by cooking reality shows involving adults and kids.

I stay inspired by…

Creating new products and having people love them and want to buy them.

The future excites me because…

Mèreadesso will be opening with Nordstrom in my hometown (Toronto) which should be a lot of fun!



Interested in getting access to more role models like Tori? Check out our upcoming event speakers to gain insights and inspiration from powerful women.



From COO of Scotiabank Puerto Rico to Toronto: Meet Enid Pico http://www.womenofinfluence.ca/2016/05/02/from-coo-of-scotiabank-puerto-rico-to-toronto-enid-pico-takes-risks/ Mon, 02 May 2016 12:42:01 +0000 http://www.womenofinfluence.ca/?p=156158 Enid_400x550By Shelley White


Enid Pico has never been afraid to make a big career move.

In 2010, she made the leap from a top job in her home country as President and Chief Operating Officer of Scotiabank Puerto Rico to a challenging new role 3,000 km away in Toronto.

“It was a big risk and looking back, I totally underestimated the degree of change,” says Enid, Senior Vice President and Head of International Operations and Shared Services at Scotiabank. “Coming to Toronto, it was a different culture, work environment, and climate.  I arrived in October and was so excited to be here. On the first day, I remember looking out my window and seeing snow. I didn’t have a coat or boots. The only things I had were high heels and dresses, but one learns fast!”

Despite the drastic change in climate, Enid thrived in her new environment.

“At that point, my attitude was, ‘I’m going to succeed no matter what’. So every time anything came up, I’d say, ‘I don’t care, I’m going forward,’” she says.

Now, Enid oversees critical operational and compliance risk management for all of Scotiabank’s international retail and commercial operations, which serve 13 million customers in over 30 countries across Latin America, the Caribbean and Central America.

“I come from a pretty remote area of Puerto Rico, the western part of the island, two hours away from the capital, so for me to even move to the capital to work in banking was a big thing,” she says. “I never dreamed that I would be in Toronto and looking after the international operations of Scotiabank.”

Enid’s journey to success started as a sports-crazy kid in Mayaguez, Puerto Rico. Growing up with an art teacher mother and a university professor father, education was a focus. “In my family, you could go without a lot of things, but not without an education,” she says.

Her grandmother was a major role model.

“Like in a lot of Caribbean or Latin American countries, she was the matriarch of the family so she taught me the meaning of family, how important it is to be connected,” says Enid. “Also that things don’t always go the way you want them to, but you have to be strong enough to accept it and make the best out of it.”

Outside of her family members, Enid says she looked up to powerful figures like U.K. prime minister Margaret Thatcher and basketball star Michael Jordan. “How [Jordan] alone could make a difference in a game, it was so incredible, and also to see that he took on all that responsibility. He was accountable for it, but also he had a way of making everybody around him be better.”

Though she had an early dream of sportscasting (“There was no ESPN at the time, so I had no career path,” she laughs), her love of numbers led her to pursue an accounting degree. Enid joined Scotiabank Puerto Rico when a job in the finance department opened up.

She recalls her early days as a working mom, when she had to learn how to combine caregiving with a demanding job as Vice President of Finance.

“I remember saying, ‘How am I going to balance everything?’, because a lot of the meetings were at 5:30 or 6:00 p.m. and I had to go pick my son up [at school] at 5:15 p.m.,” says Enid. “I remember at that point [my superiors] saying, ‘Enid, don’t worry we will accommodate you.’ They remodelled my office and I had a table for my son. If there was a meeting, I would say, ‘Excuse me, I’ll be right back,’ I’d pick him up, then he would do his homework and I would continue with the meeting.”

“Even then, the Bank looked for ways to accommodate me. And if my boss at that time wouldn’t have done that, I probably would have had to leave the Bank to take care of [my son]. So I try to pay it forward.”

After 20-odd years of rising in the ranks at Scotiabank Puerto Rico, Enid made the move to Canada in 2010 when an opportunity came up to be in charge of shared services for the Bank’s operations in the Caribbean and Central America.

Enid says an important part of her decision to take the job was that she reached a point in her personal life where she was very comfortable making the move. Her son had graduated from high school and decided to pursue acting in New York City, which made moving to Toronto all the more appealing. “Everything lined up,” she says.

In the years since that big move, Enid’s impact on Scotiabank and the larger banking world has continued to grow. In addition to her current role as Senior Vice President, Enid sits on the Inclusion Council at Scotiabank and is the Executive Champion for HOLA (Hispanic Organization for Leadership and Advancement) Scotiabank, an employee resource group focusing on Latin cultures and Latin markets expertise.

Enid says that she’s honoured to take on a role that promotes diversity in her industry. In her view, championing inclusion is not only the right thing to do, it’s the smart thing to do.

“We have to reflect our clients. In International Banking, we have over 13 million clients, so we have to make sure our people and our staff know those clients so they can serve them better. If you have a diverse client base, you need a diverse staff base,” she says.

“And it’s been proven time and time again, when you have diversity of thoughts, you are able to be more efficient, more productive and more effective.”
Enid says it’s been an “awesome ride” to see how Scotiabank’s international presence has grown over the years. When she first started at Scotiabank, they did not have a significant ownership position in any bank in Latin America. Now, over 50% of Scotiabank’s more than 89,000 employees are working in our international operations. She’s also proud of Scotiabank’s commitment to the advancement of women in the workforce.

“When I started working, I’d go to meetings and my bosses were always men, my peers were always men,” she says. “When I look at the Bank now, we’ve made tremendous strides. Here in Canada, my boss is a woman. When I go to a meeting today, 50 to 60% are women.”

When it comes to advice for young women looking to succeed in their careers, Enid’s message is characteristically bold.

“Take a risk and be fearless,” she says.

“You have an opinion, voice it. Take a risk, be relentless and be confident that you bring to the table a perspective that nobody in that room has.”

Mental health habits that can boost your career http://www.womenofinfluence.ca/2016/04/29/mental-health-habits-that-can-boost-your-career/ Fri, 29 Apr 2016 19:17:22 +0000 http://www.womenofinfluence.ca/?p=156051 Whether dealing with the daily demands of your job or looking to make a big move up the ladder, you’ll be better equipped to meet any challenge that comes your way when you’re at your optimal health. That’s why we’ve partnered with SHOPPERS LOVE. YOU.—Putting Women’s Health Firstto provide tips and advice that will help you achieve health and balance in mind, body, and spirit. Because you’ll be at your best, in your personal life and your career, when you LOVE.YOU.


Often we only think of mental health as mental illness, but there’s far more to it than that—it’s about how we all think, feel, and act in our everyday life. It includes how we cope with adversity and balance daily pressures and challenges; how we engage with our friends, family, coworkers, and community; and our enjoyment of the many different aspects of our life, from personal to professional.

Numerous studies have linked emotional well-being to work performance, but it’s really about the whole picture: your mental health is an important pillar of your overall health, and taking steps to reach your optimal health enables you to be at your best—whether for work or play.

So how do you go about boosting your mental health? These basic habits are a great place to start.


Manage stress before it becomes an issue.

Stress is only one aspect of mental health, but it’s an important one: according to Statistics Canada, employees who considered their work to be quite a bit or extremely stressful were more than three times as likely to suffer a major depressive episode, compared with those with low general stress. And even if your main source of stress isn’t your job, studies show that outside stress gets taken into the workplace, where it can affect your ability to perform. There are several self-care tools you can use for managing stress, many of which will have a positive impact on your overall mental health.

Keep your social networks going.

Limiting your social activity is a sign that you’re suffering from poor mental health, but it’s more than just a symptom—isolation can actually lead to serious mental health issues. Why? Because our social groups offer support and a much-needed sense of belonging. Whether it’s your family, friends, coworkers or a community group, cultivating relationships is integral to your well-being.

Be mindful of your diet.

It’s no surprise that anything that falls into the category of “comfort food” is generally high in fat, sugar, or both. Numerous studies have shown that stress and other negative emotions lead us to reach for less than healthy options, or, for some people, to not eat enough. But it’s at these challenging times that our body needs its best fuel. Try these strategies for mindful eating to help keep yourself back on track.  

Make time to exercise.

Exercise causes us to release endorphins—brain chemicals that literally make you feel good. More than that, it’s a great way to alleviate some of the symptoms that are associated with mental health issues, such as fatigue, lack of energy, anxiety, and poor concentration. Hand in hand with a nutritious diet, you’ll see it proves the saying: healthy body, healthy mind.

Get your best sleep.

Even if you aren’t able to fit in the recommended amount of sleep each night (the suggested range is seven to nine hours), you can still take steps to ensure you are getting the highest quality of sleep possible. There are several strategies you can try for improving your sleep, like avoiding caffeine late in the day, and sticking to a schedule for going to bed and waking up.

Give back, and you’ll get back.

Studies have shown that generosity has a side benefit: it positively impacts your own mental health. If you’re looking for an opportunity, the SHOPPERS LOVE. YOU. Run for Women is a great choice. Not only is running statistically proven to improve mental health the event also combines support of local for women’s mental health programs with some fun socializing and exercise. There are races in 15 cities and distances to suit every ability, so sign up for a day of awesome inspiration for your mind, body and spirit.

Know when to seek help.

Women are three times more likely than men to suffer from depression, and research indicates that one in four women will experience some form of depression in their lifetime. If you think you might be suffering from a mental health issue that you can’t alleviate with self-care methods, it is important to seek help from a trained professional. Talk to your physician, a counsellor or a mental health professional to get the care you need.


What is SHOPPERS LOVE. YOU. all about?

We truly believe that when you put your health first, you’re giving the people close to you the best gift of all—a better you.

SHOPPERS LOVE. YOU. – Putting Women’s Health First – is our commitment to helping you stay focused on being your best in body, mind and spirit. It shares the expertise of our partners and connects you with others in support of local, community-based Women’s Health initiatives across Canada. Find one that moves you and join our journey to strengthen Women’s Health across Canada!

If your charitable group has a program to help women in your community lead stronger and healthier lives, we may be able to help.


This information is not intended to replace the medical advice of your doctor or healthcare provider. Please consult your healthcare provider for advice about mental health concerns.