In an interview with Insights Success, Siobhan Calderbank, an experienced Director of Talent Management at LCBO shares her leadership insights, personal journey, career challenges and passion for learning. In parallel to her key role in the organization, she is also a keynote speaker, recognized Learning Leader, consultant, and award-winning author.
In this very issue entitled, “The 10 Most Influential Businesswomen to Follow in 2020”, Insights Success takes pride in featuring such an avid personality.
A brief about Siobhan
Siobhan has over 20 years of progressive experience in transforming businesses, leading change and developing leaders. She has spoken to diverse groups and thousands of people from 71 countries at conferences, events, seminars, and planning sessions to motivate individuals to work more collaboratively.
Siobhan is a Universal Women’s Network 2019 Women of Inspiration Award recipient for Diversity & Inclusiveness. She is the Founder of Butterfly Ladies – a Mentoring Program committed to helping develop the careers of women and youth, especially visible minorities. She was also voted Top 10 Finalist for Women Entrepreneur’s 2019 Inspirational Female Entrepreneur.
At LCBO, Siobhan focuses on talent development, learning, change management, and diversity and inclusion. As an advocate of change, she has integrated change management strategies with learning and developed a 4-step process to increase engagement, innovation, performance and resilience of people during times of disruptive change.
Below are highlights of the interview:
What people, what books, what life factors have influenced and impacted you?
I have been fortunate to have many great coaches and mentors such as Priscilla Fraser, Gregg Brown and JT Foxx that have shown me how to adjust my approach to become a better leader and to embrace mistakes. My friends and family members have been a huge support network in my life, especially during challenging times of a divorce and being a single parent. My husband, Chris, has been one of my biggest advocates and constantly encourages me to grow.
Books such as “Start with Why” by Simon Sinek and “Becoming” by Michelle Obama have provided clarity on knowing my purpose and have inspired me to not silence my voice, but rather to tell my story. As I reflect on my life, my greatest teacher has been my mom. She overcame adversity coming to Canada from Trinidad at 17 years old and became a college professor. She taught me to be grateful for what I have, to always do my best even if I think no one is watching, and that my words are powerful – so always speak positively with purpose and intention.
What is your vision for your role at the LCBO for the next five years?
Over the next five years, I envision the Director of Talent Management role to evolve learning, talent and change strategies to further increase employee engagement. Selfservice learning options could be expanded to improve onboarding, overall leadership, skill development, and enhance customer service experience. I also see the integration of artificial intelligence technology with learning to identify and develop key talent to fill the succession pipeline. Lastly, I envision the expansion of the LCBO’s diversity, inclusion and belongingness initiatives.
As a keynote business speaker, what are some of the vital attributes that every leader should possess?
One of the most vital attributes of a leader is effective communication and the ability to express commitment to their vision in a way that is compelling enough to inspire others to act. Having the courage to be authentic and show vulnerability is also critical for a leader. Lastly, a leader needs to show empathy, compassion and respect to others. This is especially important during uncertain times, when people look to leaders for understanding and to demonstrate resiliency while navigating disruptive change.
How do you maintain balance between your professional & personal life?
Maintaining balance can be challenging, especially when you have children who demand your time and competing work deadlines. I prioritize the most important tasks such as spending time with my family, meditation and personal development. Time management skills and having supportive people in my life are key to maintaining balance and remaining centred.
As a Director and leader, describe a challenge you overcame.
Being a female leader can be challenging when attempting to express your opinions in a room filled with men. The desire to be assertive, engaging and influential is more difficult for me since I’m an introvert. However, I remind myself that being introverted in no way means I should silence my voice, but rather focus on the value I bring and that we all have a right to be heard. To break down barriers, stereotypes and biases, I remain committed to change and confidently state my views, even when I am nervous, to be seen as a role model for others.
What one thing, more than anything else, do you want to accomplish in your career?
To be able to help accelerate the advancement of women in the workplace. We still have a long way to go and are making progress with the help of men advocating for change. The most successful organizations recognize through simple changes to their approach to attracting and developing talent, they can engage women and all employees to thrive and reach their full potential, thus cultivating an environment in which everyone can succeed.
How do you sustain your entrepreneurial/leadership spirit in this changing technological era?
I am constantly seeking new opportunities to learn, develop myself and help lead others to do the same. For some people, change can be challenging. However, embracing technology allows me to find new ways to be productive, collaborate with others and develop better processes to enable learning and enhance engagement.
What advice would you like to give to the emerging business leaders?
Make sure that you have a mentor, a coach and a sponsor to help propel your career forward. A mentor will provide the guidance you need as you move up in your career and encounter new experiences. A coach will offer suggestions to adjust your leadership approach and help you build critical skills. However, a sponsor will advocate for you in the boardroom with their peers and highlight your contributions so that you get noticed. All three of these individuals play a vital role in your career development and progression.
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