FEMALE LEADERSHIP AT THE HELM OF LOCAL RECOVERY
The National Capital Region is privileged to have strong female leadership talent to help steer it through both the good and the challenging economic times.
“There are so many female entrepreneurs in our local economy – and it keeps growing,” says Anjali Dilawri, CPA, CA, a partner with local accounting firm Logan Katz LLP and 2020 Businesswoman of the Year Award – Professional recipient.
Beginning with fostering a culture where women’s contributions are valued, recognized, and celebrated within the firm, Logan Katz branches this out into the community, supporting several initiatives aimed at showcasing successful local female entrepreneurs.
Opportunities have increased for women aspiring to leadership roles over the past several years because more and more people in the business community recognize “that we have many of the natural traits that position us as great leaders,” says Christa Gillis, CPA, CA, a Logan Katz tax partner.
“We are nurturing and empathetic by nature. We have emotional intelligence – the ability to relate to how others are feeling. We help with team building by promoting members’ skills and strengths,” elaborates Gillis.
Those personal and professional attributes are also especially valuable as Ottawa businesses step up to the plate and provide support to a local community that is fighting the devastating effects of the worst global pandemic in more than 100 years.
“It’s well known that women are carrying more of the burden of business, children and the home. We’ve always done that. So now fold in a pandemic. Our ability to act as leaders in multiple facets of life is where we shine,” says Dilawri.
She also points to the critical leadership of locally based health professionals like Dr. Vera Etches, Ottawa’s medical officer of health, Dr. Supriya Sharma, chief medical advisor to Health Canada, and Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s chief public health officer.
But while Dilawri believes the National Capital Region and Canada are moving in the right direction in terms of providing leadership opportunities for women, she wants to see more done, faster in an effort to rid society of old thinking and stereotypes.
“We are all products of a patriarchal society. It is loaded with inherent unconscious biases about what is valued in a man and what is valued in a woman. Traits like powerful, successful, and ambitious are considered very positive when you’re describing men, but not women,” says Dilawri.
She actively encourages women at Logan Katz and elsewhere to be bold and outspoken about their ambition to get ahead, and to also express pride and take ownership of their success and accomplishments.
Brenda Valente, CPA, CA, a principal with Logan Katz, believes that task has become easier with the technology available at everyone’s fingertips.
“I think social media over the past number of years has allowed us to be more celebrated, and to make our issues more well known, and to also realize what other women are doing,” says Valente.
This creates a virtuous circle because as the growing list of accomplishments by women in business and other fields earns more recognition, this also buoys the optimism of other women about what they too can accomplish, she elaborates.