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Power 5 Interview with Maureen McKinnon, WIL Vancouver Co-Chair and Executive Leadership Coach

Maureen McKinnon, WIL Vancouver Co-Chair and Executive Leadership Coach at McKinnon Executive Coaching

Today, we are very excited to introduce you to Maureen McKinnon, who is not only a Certified Executive Leadership Coach and Certified Business Coach, but is also an integral part of the Women in Leadership Foundation community. Maureen is Co-Chair of our Vancouver Chapter, works with our Mentorship Program and was also a member with the Indigenous Leadership Circle.

What are you most passionate about?

I am passionate about empowering women to successfully advance their careers and lives. My Mission is to help balance gender equity in corporate senior leadership, I view the problem as there are not enough women in leadership roles. My solution is to help more talented women get promoted and make more money! This is the work I love.

In my personal life, over the last twenty I have volunteered with over 10 women organizations as a mentor, coach, teacher, speaker, board member and participant to help support women issues, challenges, opportunities and build community.

Currently, I am the Women in Leadership Vancouver Chapter Co-Chair and I sit on the National Advisors Committee for the Women’s Economic Council of Canada.

My life is dedicated to my passion in work and life!

Who is your greatest role model?

In life, my Dad, was such a wonderful person who tried to make life better every day, he was a great dad and grandfather. It seemed everyone in the community knew and respected “Johnny” he loved listening to their stories and made friends out of every stranger he met. Not only was he a great dad he was my mentor, coach and cheerleader, he often told me that I could do anything that I put my mind to.

In business, my first truly inspiring women leaders that I met and volunteered with at Vancouver Board of Trade. Wendy McDonald, Chairman, BC Bearing Engineers Ltd, the first women Chair of the VBOT Board of Directors 1990/1991 she was a force of nature, such a wonderful gracious, funny, strong, independent leader.

Other Chairs of the VBOT Board of Directors that include, Sue Paish, Managing Partner Fasken, Martineau, DuMoulin LLP 2009/2010, Wendy Lisogar-Cocchia, President, Absolute Spa Group 2011/2012 and Directors Carol Lee, CEO Linacare Laboratories and Evi Mustel, President, Mustel Group.

In coaching, Marshall Goldsmith the #1 Executive Leadership Coach in the world.

What is your greatest accomplishment in your career trajectory?

I’ve worked hard, smart, and strategically to make things happen and open up opportunities. I’ve had many accomplishments, and these are some highlights that I’d like to share.

In the first ten years of my career, as a young (26 years old) female business owner running my businesses I pursued education, continuous learning is one of my values, and as a means of social proof completing four professional industry designations topped off with a Master of Science in Management and Master of Science in Financial Services solidified that I was a knowledgeable experienced professional.

In 2000, I started my first volunteer role, I joined the Vancouver Board of Trade and selected the Leaders of Tomorrow Mentorship Program (LOT) to help, I sat on the executive committee and was a business mentor matched with a university student in their final year before joining the workforce. I loved LOT and often put in 10-12 hours a week at the board. I was asked and accepted the role as Chair, Leaders of Tomorrow Program in 2003-2004.. While Chair I was invited to become a Director on the Board 2003 – 2006 of the one of the most profound experiences in life, working with the directors helping VBOT membership by advocating and reviewing policy to help BC businesses and the community improve.

A totally unexpected opportunity came my way while I was Chair of LOT and a Director at VBOT, a sports event. I was invited to sit at the head table at the 2004 annual VBOT Season’s Kickoff luncheon for the BC Lions Football Club. The luncheon was a catered affair on the 50 yard line at BC Place. I was the only women surrounded by football legends Bobby Ackles, President/General Manager, Wally Buono, head coach, George Chaka VP and business titans Dennis Skulsky, Tom Malone, Bill Wildeman, and Moray Keith. During the luncheon the topic of the BC Lions Waterboys Club started the previous year came up and I asked if I could join. They welcomed me and I’ve had many interesting business experiences and opportunities.

This event launched my ongoing CFL involvement:

  • As a member of BC Lions Waterboys Club in 2005 we received the CFL Commissioner’s Award in recognition of our efforts in the community.

  • BCFC, junior football league (18-22yrs old) Career Coach 2012-2013

  • BCFC Langley Rams Director 2013-2015

  • Grey Cup Festivals 2011 & 2014, Chair for the Volunteers Orientation & Training Committee, trained 750 volunteers in each festival

  • BC Lions fan!

I’ve been an advocate for women empowerment for over twenty years and I very proud of all the work that the women associations do to support women to advance their careers, leadership and lives making a positive impact in their world.

I was very proud to be asked to join the Women in Leadership Indigenous Leadership Circle research project in the fall of 2021 you can read the final report on the WIL website.

I love my work as a Certified Executive Leadership Coach and Certified Business Coach. I’m extremely proud of my hundreds of mentees and clients for all the great things they have been doing around the world and the positive impact they have brought as current and future leaders to business. This is my true legacy, and my greatest career achievement!

What advice would you give to women who are building their careers?

I continue to talk to so many talented women who don’t realize how talented they are and if doesn’t seem to matter the role level or how senior they are. It breaks my heart.

My advice is to learn to understand how valuable you are to ANY organization so that you feel confident in your abilities to deliver or exceed the business goals desired. Confidence starts with you and your ability to share/promote and articulate your accomplishments and results you deliver.

Here are some tips to get you started:

Understand Your Value!

  1. Discover your unique abilities - your Unique Abilities are superior strengths that other people notice and value, but they come to you so naturally that we don’t even recognize that the skill/strength is special. It is so natural to us we love doing it, it energizes us, and we keep getting better.

  2. Establish the habit of recording/tracking your projects and accomplishments weekly or bi-weekly.

  3. Remember it’s not bragging if you’ve done it. It becomes part of you work experience that you should share.

  4. Start building your professional network NOW – it is an important cornerstone of your career advancement. Developing your network increases your visibility, access to resources, informal networks and people to assist you to achieve your goals. The hidden job market exists over 85% of jobs are filled by personal recommendations. It’s often not what you know but who you know.

In my experience women tend to be really bad at asking for help at home and at work. I give you permission to not take all the responsibility for everyone and everything. Believe me life is better when you surround yourself with a support group in your personal life and at work where you help and support each other to achieve your goals.

What do you think is the biggest challenge for the generation of women behind you?

I see two challenges:

  • One, the need to continue the fight for gender equity, it is estimated that it will take 135 years to close the gap.

  • Two, the technological disruptions to our work world, 85% of the jobs available in 2030 have not been invented yet.

I know that the next generation of women are incredibly talented and will be able to overcome the challenges. They are smart, agile, flexible, mobile, resilient, skilled, empathic, strong, tech-savy and build community. They are so much more, and I can’t wait to see what they do in the future!

How do people get in contact with you?

Thank you, Maureen!


1 Comment

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