Updated: Apr 26
Keri Schwebius, WIL Saskatchewan Co-Chair, Author and President at Ellevate Executive Coaching
Keri Schwebius joined Women in Leadership Foundation this past September, starting up our new Saskatchewan Chapter. In addition to being Co-Chair of the Chapter, she is also a published Author and the President at Ellevate Executive Coaching. Thank you, Keri, for all you do for Women in Leadership Foundation, while also managing a successful career. We hope you enjoy getting to know Keri a bit better as she answers our "Power 5 Interview".
What are you most passionate about?
I am most passionate about leadership. I believe everyone deserves to be happy and valued at work. There are enough challenges we face in the world over which we have no control. People spend a significant amount of time and energy at work. With great leadership we can create constructive workplaces where people thrive.
Who is your greatest role model?
My dad is my greatest role model. He works hard and has contributed countless hours to the community in a number of ways. He has donated his time and money to charitable organizations, too many to list. As a board member, he has encouraged organizations to set up RRSPs for employees. He has coordinated charitable organizations to establish Amalgamated Charities which profits from bingo across the province. As an accountant, he provides services at a lower cost to those who would otherwise be unable to afford them. As a business owner, he employs a diverse group of people, many of whom are immigrants seeking to build a life in Canada or others who need a second chance.
What is your greatest accomplishment in your career trajectory?
Although I’ve done a lot of things in my career and acquired several degrees and certifications, my greatest accomplishment has been earning the right to lead teams. I believe you have to earn the trust and respect of the people who report to you. I’ve been able to do that and now I help others do it too.
What advice would you give to women who are building their careers?
Be authentic and trust your gut. I’ve worked with women who think they have to be someone else to be a good leader. They question their ability to measure up to other leaders around them.
I would also encourage people to keep growing. You may be the greatest leader at a point in time, in a particular context, among a specific group of people but those things are constantly changing…and so must you. When you stop growing, you start becoming ineffective, or worse yet, irrelevant.
What do you think is the biggest challenge for the generation of women behind you?
I see a number of opportunities for women:
To continue to strive for equality by standing on the shoulders of those who came before them. Some studies indicate we have 150 years until we achieve gender equity. I would love to see that number drop significantly because women and men are more intentional about creating equity. Additional studies over the course of the pandemic show a backward trend in this area. There’s also potential for women to lose out on promotions in the future because women are more likely to choose more flexible work arrangements (i.e., work from home) if there is an unconscious bias towards physical presence.
Our world is becoming more complex, and change is occurring faster than ever before. Future leaders have the opportunity to inspire and empower people to work collaboratively to address challenges the world is facing (e.g., pandemics, global warming, poverty etc). The opportunities to make a positive change in the world are endless.
Technology makes it easier for people to spread negativity and hate. We have an opportunity to spread love and acceptance. We can build each other up rather than hold each other down. The same can be said for in-person interactions. We can choose to bring positivity into the world through all our interactions with others.
Keri Schwebius, along with WIL Alberta Chapter Co-Chair Heather Thomson, along with Doug Forsdick have also recently launched a new book about leadership; "Mind the Gap: Navigating Your Leadership Journey" because they wanted to help people become confident, effective leaders. Read the full blog and learn how you can purchase a copy HERE.
Thank you, Keri, helping to create positive change in the future of women’s leadership!