Featured leaders series
Interviews to be streamed, downloaded, or read
To find inspiration, you don’t have to look far. Local leaders are making waves in business, tech, investment, media, and beyond. We’re determined to tell their stories and share their experiences – to laugh with them and learn from them. That’s why we’ve teamed up with the Power of Why Podcast.
Host Naomi Haile is sitting down (virtually) with IWW’s featured leaders to unpack their “why” and talk about the fuel that keeps them driving forward. Tune in to each episode or take time to digest each article. They’re here for you. These women have a lot to say and we’re here for it!
3/21/23 | Entrepreneurship, Career Strategies
Make Your Own Job with Lissa Appiah
What ever happened to job security?
From the Great Resignation to mass layoffs, workers are struggling to find their fit in this ever-changing market.
To succeed, shift gears.
Focusing not on your next job but your career instead, you’ll gain the skills, network and experience to reach your most audacious goals — no matter where you work.
Certified Career Coach, Resume Strategist, Founder of WeApply and one of Canada’s Top 100 Black Women to Watch, Lissa Appiah shares how.
3/14/23 | Women in Tech, Engineering
Thusha Agampodi Is Building a Legacy Her Children Can Be Proud Of
How will you be remembered?
When her parents suddenly passed away, 11-year-old Thusha saw how their devotion to others kept them alive — an unquenchable force multiplied in the hearts they touched.
Today she carries their torch, seeking spaces where her impact can grow.
Building engineering teams at BlackBerry and Magnet Forensics. Advocating for diverse representation in tech. Mentoring the next generation of women in STEM. Accelerating the adoption of sustainable energy as Aurora Solar’s Director of Engineering.
Here’s how she keeps her eye on the horizon.
3/14/23 | Venture Capitalism, Entrepreneurship
Michelle Scarborough on Building Something Bigger Than Yourself
Building a business is a team sport. You’ve got the CEO’s vision, the product team’s execution, and marketing working with sales to attract and retain customers.
But when an unstable market threatens the stakes? That’s why Michelle Scarborough comes in.
Leading two of the world’s largest venture funds supporting women-led tech businesses – as Managing Partner of BDC Capital’s Thrive Venture Fund and Women in Technology Venture Fund – Michelle is levelling the playing field: laying the steady foundation for a more inclusive, creative and resilient future.
Here’s what she thinks it’ll take.
2/28/23 | Law, Entrepreneurship
Bree Jamieson-Holloway: What Will You Choose to Embody?
Bullied, mixed-race, and living in poverty, many told a young Bree Jamieson-Holloway that hers was an uphill battle too formidable to overcome. So she turned inward.
Heartened by her grandmother’s motto to “push on, regardless,” she crafted a vision that would anchor her life’s work: travelling the world, starting a family, and helping people. Now a published author, mother, equity champion, international corporate lawyer and founder of her own firm, Bree has realised her dreams — and then some.
Last year, Canada’s Deputy Prime Minister announced her appointment as the new Vice Chair of the Canadian International Trade Tribunal.
Here’s how she made it.
2/24/23 | Women in Cleantech, Entrepreneurship
Where We See Crisis, Victoria Xu Sees Opportunity
Mass layoffs. The climate crisis. Springing, starry-eyed, from a global pandemic only to find a recession stalking our shadow. Are we lurching towards The End? Or, as impact entrepreneur and angel investor Victoria Xu sees it, are we gearing up for The Next Leap?
Decarbonizing heavy industry with deep tech prodigy CleanInnoGen, investing in future-focused startups, and empowering everyone to join the charge with i4Green League, Victoria is helping reset, regroup and shore up the resources we need to face climate change.
Humble, visionary and relentlessly optimistic, here’s how she does it.
2/14/23 | Women in Tech
Shea Cole on Forging Your Own Path and (Not) Doing it All
Under the careful heat of calculated risk, Shea Cole — growth marketer, brand builder, mentor, mom and VP of one of Canada’s fastest-growing companies, Field Effect — has forged her own path. Leaving her beloved small town to explore the world. Pursuing an MBA despite being “bad at math.” Scaling health tech darling Fullscript’s less than 30-person team to over 1,000 employees. Choosing to grow her family at the height of her career.
How’d she do it? By not trying to “do it all,” and getting focused instead.
3/17/22 | Women in STEM, 5G, Careers
Why Taking Risks Are the Best Thing You Can Do for Your Career with Dimple Thomas
As an Engineering Manager in Ericsson’s Cloud RAN Systems-DevOps, she does just that—with an eye to creating a high-speed, -bandwidth and low latency future where Zoom calls might be replaced by life-sized holograms of your loved ones. Dimple has also dedicated herself to empowering diverse leaders to succeed in tech as Theme Driver of Diversity and Inclusion at Ericsson.
Dimple shared why she’s never charted her career path, why you should take risks at work, and tech’s potential for transformational good.
3/17/22 | Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence, Investment
The Power of Data, Women in STEM, and Sponsors with Solmaz Shahalizadeh
Solmaz Shahalizadeh, Shopify’s former Head of Data Science and Engineering, became a Founding Partner of Backbone Angels. There, she channels over a decade of experience leveraging data to support diverse businesses—like bringing Shopify Capital to life and getting $3 billion to entrepreneurs otherwise neglected by traditional financial institutions.
She shares why great career paths aren’t linear, what you need to know to impress investors and the difference between sponsors and mentors (and why you should have both).
3/03/22 | Entrepreneurship, Indigenous Peoples, DEI
No, Anti-Colonial Ideas Aren’t “Radical” with Sabre Pictou Lee
Co-founder and CEO of Archipel Research and Consulting Inc. Sabre Pictou Lee is harnessing her team of experts to help organizations change for the better.
A highly acclaimed Indigenous speaker, trainer, liaison and researcher, Sabre’s company has supported the Canada Council for the Arts, Assembly of First Nations and Global Centre for Pluralism (to name a few). Today, she shares why anti-colonial ways and concepts aren’t radical, how she built her business from the ground up, and the frameworks you can apply to make yours more inclusive.
3/03/22 | Healthtech, Artificial Intelligence, Ethics
The Ethics of Artificial Intelligence and Healthcare with Dr. Ashleigh Kennedy
Dr. Ashleigh Kennedy co-founded health-tech startup Neurovine AI: combining deep tech, machine learning and the art of neuroscience to empower concussion patients and optimize their recovery process. Ashleigh joined us to share how she co-founded Neurovine from personal experience and professional need, why a values-based business is key to securing top talent, what it’ll take the health sector to adopt new tech, and how modern concussion treatment is helping patients do more than recover, to thrive.
2/24/22 | Entrepreneurship, Fashion
Here’s How to Create the Business You’ve Always Wanted With Stacey Martin
She started her career on Broadway before founding fashion startup Kania Couture Inc., whose designs were showcased at New York Fashion Week, World Mastercard fashion week, and project Las Vegas. Today, Stacey Martin is the founder of Canadian luxe loungewear company Stacey Martin Lifestyle, at the intersection of sustainability, comfort and style.
5/5/21 | Entrepreneurship, Cybersecurity
Time for a Change? How to Take Your Growth Into Your Own Hands With Mari Galloway
Mari is the master of her fate. As CEO and founding board member for the Women’s Society of Cyberjutsu (WSC) — one of the fastest-growing non-profit communities in this space — Mari is propelling the next generation of women and girls in cybersecurity, helping them take the small, critical steps necessary to grow and protect their wealth along the way.
4/29/21 | Entrepreneurship, Maternal Health
Maneuvering Life Changes & Building A Business Focused on Maternal Health with Julia Slanina
Pivots are just a part of the process for Julia Slanina. A graduate of the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs, she shifted careers from the foreign service to build stronger communities through connected, human-centred healthcare. As Founder and CEO of Treehouse Medical, she does just that — empowering maternal health care providers and mothers to raise the next generation of healthy, happy leaders.
4/22/21 | Entrepreneurship, Mentorship
Turn Your Values Into Action With Nita Tandon
Nita Tandon is changing the world, one household at a time. A seasoned sustainable health expert, Nita brings more than two decades of experience as a pharmaceutical and biotech professional to her work as the founder and CEO of Dalcini Stainless, an award-winning maker of safe, simple and sustainable storage containers and housewares made from recyclable, toxic-free Stainless Steel.
4/15/21 | Mental Health, Wellness
Stress and Recovery: Why Rest Is Critical to Your Success With Joanne Bezzubetz
Joanne Bezzubetz is on a mission to de-stigmatize mental health and substance abuse. Drawing on 20 years of leadership experience in healthcare organizations across Canada, Joanne serves as President and CEO of The Royal – among Canada’s foremost mental health care and academic health science centres. Committed to community-centred treatment, Joanne has led close collaborations with partners, clients and their loved ones, to help get more people living with mental illness into recovery, faster.
3/18/21 | Cybersecurity, Entrepreneurship
Don’t Settle On Your Dreams — Make Them A Reality With Sem Ponnambalam
Sem Ponnambalam refuses to settle on her dreams. The President and Co-founder of XAHIVE, Sem drives the businesses global operations, fuelled by her mission to empower people, businesses and nation-states from the devastating repercussions of cybersecurity breaches.
3/11/21 | Creative Entrepreneurship, Clean Water Activism, Indigenous Entrepreneur
Take Action, Build Community and Drive Change With Sunshine Tenasco
Sunshine Tenasco believes your business can positively transform your community. A First Nations mommy from Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg, this visionary social entrepreneur and author is committed to strengthening her community — by cultivating a culture of entrepreneurship within it, and drawing national attention to the critical issues they face.
3/4/21 | Business, Technology, Clean Energy
How to Embrace Change and Actualize Your Dreams With Nasrin Sadeghianpour
Nasrin Sadeghianpour wants you to do the thing that scares you most. A Senior Smart Grid & AI Scientist at BluWave-ai, she has dedicated her career to overcoming climate change by leveraging artificial intelligence — predicting the patterns of renewable energies so humanity can master this earth-saving resource.
2/25/21 | Business, Angel Investing, Equity
Chart a Mission-Driven Path and Grow Wealth — for Yourself, and Your Community With Sandra Ng
Sandra Ng isn’t going to wait for more women to access venture capital. As a founding investor and champion of Invest Ottawa x Capital Angel Network’s SheBoot, a [email protected] Law Venture Capital University alum, and limited partner with The51 Venture Fund, she’s leading the charge to bring them in.
2/11/21 | Creative Entrepreneurship, Artistry
How to Set Boundaries & Develop An Abundance Mindset With Paula Whitelocke
Paula Whitelocke is synonymous with curly hair care in Ottawa, as a professional hairstylist and the owner of Curly Hair Designs. A mentor, community builder, and musician, Paula recently performed at the National Arts Centre and launched her debut single, “Never Thought” in 2019.
We're here for all women
About the host
An intrapreneur, consultant, and interviewer.
Naomi Haile is curious about people, their paths and what drives them. So in 2017, she launched the Power of Why Podcast. Her guests have taken the non-linear path in business, venture capital and other creative professions. She invites them to share their stories, and each episode explores people’s philosophy on life and work.
As we all navigate our lives and careers, Naomi hopes that everyone she connects with – guests and listeners – can shape products, companies, and communities of impact.
Naomi is a consultant at QuakeLab. She has also started graduate school at Columbia University!