Women of Wisdom is an ongoing series featuring women living their full expression and leadership best.
We are delighted to share the wisdom of Emily McNair, a millennial woman leader, from Regina, SK
What calls you to lead?
Ever since I was a little girl, I have always looked for opportunities to lead others. I have such distinct memories from my youth where I played school with my sister so I could be the teacher, and others where I coordinated group performances for our parents… my sister was really great for putting up with my antics! While I may not have recognized it back then, it’s clear to me now that those moments – along with many others – helped contribute to my passion for being a leader.
I am extremely fortunate to be leading an extraordinary team of individuals each and every day. They are excellent at what they do, are passionate about our team’s mandate and are all working towards our north star. Their level of commitment inspires me and makes me want to be the best leader I can be for them. I strongly believe that in order for a team to be successful, they need a strong and confident leader that sets clear direction, removes roadblocks, provides support and motivates them to reach their full potential. I am working hard to be that leader for them.
What motto do you live by?
There are two main mottos that I remind myself of and tell others often. The first is that “you won’t know unless you try,” or similarly “you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” When I was pursuing my Masters in Leadership, one fascinating concept discussed was an analogy for candidates looking to apply for a senior level position. In this scenario, it was discussed that men are more likely to apply for the position regardless of how many qualifications they meet in the job posting. Women, however, are much more critical and may talk themselves out of applying because they believe “they’re not ready,” even if they meet all but one of the qualifications. This is ultimately one of the reasons as to why there are more men in senior leadership positions than women.
This leads to my second favourite motto, which is “the worst they can say is no.” What’s the harm in applying for a position that you’re only partially qualified for? Why not ask someone out on a date? Why not ask for a promotion or a raise? At the end of the day the worst they can say is no… but they could also say yes!
What is one key leadership lesson you have learned in your career and life ?
The biggest leadership lesson I’ve learned so far in my career is that leaders have to be adaptable. Not all team members require the same leadership style, and what they need from you may even change over time. A leader must be able to adapt to the needs of their team, be open to feedback and be agile enough to change their leadership style as often as necessary.
What is the next step in your leadership development?
The amazing thing with leadership is that I am learning – often multiple things – every single day. Each day comes with it’s new set of opportunities that challenges me to learn and grow.
Aside from learning in my career, I am currently exploring a doctoral degree in leadership with specific emphasis on the realities of millennial women in leadership. This topic fascinates me! The challenges I face as a millennial woman leader include stereotypical comments and judgements I receive about being a woman in leadership, and also about being a millennial. At the same time, I am experiencing and seeing the incredible opportunities for women millennials. If they are not already in management, they are the up and coming leaders. They bring a relational approach to leadership and much energy and enthusiasm. It is a great time to be a women, millennial, and a leader!
What words of wisdom would you give a young emerging woman leader?
It’s important for young emerging woman leaders to know that we have all of the tools that we need to be successful leaders – we just have to be comfortable enough to use them. If you want to be a leader, then be a great leader! There is nothing holding you back.
Emily McNair is a Marketing Manager at SaskTel where she is fortunate to lead an amazing team that focuses on SaskTel’s website, self-serve digital platforms and mobile apps. She holds her Project Management Professional and Certified Management Consultant designations, has a Masters in Leadership as well as a Bachelor of Business Administration degree (entrepreneurship and marketing). Emily is a passionate volunteer in her community, is a sessional lecturer in the Hill School of Business at the University of Regina and teaches young children to dance at Dance City Inc on weekends.
Contact Emily at firstname.lastname@example.org
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