Anne Giardini is the chancellor of Simon Fraser University and a winner of the 2018 Influential Women in Business Award.
What advice would you offer women pursuing leadership positions in their fields?
My best advice is to be curious about and take an interest in the goals of your organization, and seek out opportunities to advance the tasks that need to be done well to achieve those goals. Seek out roles outside your comfort zone and then work hard to contribute.
What is your definition of success?
A large part of leadership is promoting the best people and ideas. This means taking an interest in others and seeking their success along with your own.
If you could start your career again, what is one thing you would do differently?
There were several years when I know I worked harder when I could have worked smarter. There were missed opportunities to systematize work or to divide it so that it could be done more efficiently, freeing up time and energy to think more strategically.
What has been the greatest challenge you have experienced as a leader and how have you overcome it?
The greatest challenge for us all is feeling as if there aren’t enough hours in the day. It helps to reframe time as abundant rather than scarce. This realization has made me a better worker and a lot happier.
What are the keys to advancing equity, diversity and inclusion in higher education?
For me the key to inclusion is to think in terms of generosity and abundance, rather than fear and scarcity. There are countless ways to contribute to research, teaching and learning. We are smarter, more resilient and capable of achieving more when we include others meaningfully. This means listening better and being open to new ideas and approaches.
Universities Canada celebrates International Women’s Day 2019 by recognizing the achievements of Anne Giardini and her unique path to leadership.