Women in Business – Advice from our CEO
Being a woman in business, even in 2021. can still be a challenge. So each year our society fights to make progress over gender disparities and skepticism, and each year we get closer to the goal of eliminating those biases and inequalities. There are many stories of success and victory for female leadership – Kamala Harris being elected the first ever Vice-President of the United States, Whitney Wolfe becoming the first female CEO to take a company public, to stories in our own backyard: Jennifer Denouden being a leader for Canadian CEO’s to Jacqueline Tisher, who has built a legacy for children in Saskatchewan.
As a successful, provincial wide non-profit, we are proud to be led by an inspiring, passionate, and hardworking CEO who is choosing to challenge those biases every day. Not only did Jacqueline build Hope’s Home from the ground up, she also built it without any framework. Since Hope’s Home is the first ever medically integrated daycare in Canada, there was no blueprint for how to do it. With a team of equally as driven and passionate females – they filled a gap in our community that has helped change and improve the lives of countless families.
So today, on International Women’s Day, we sat down with Jacque and asked her about her journey as a business woman. We ask her about her victories and her setbacks, and her advice for every young female entrepreneur out there.
Did you have any fears in the early stages of Hope’s Home? How did you overcome them?
Facing your fears is a part of taking risks. Hope’s Home was the first of its kind. There was so much to learn and research to do, to figure what was the best way to support families of children with complex medical needs. Taking this risk meant leaving a secure job at the hospital, which I loved so much! Starting a new business meant facing my fear of losing job security, financial security, and professional security as a nurse. It meant rising above that fear and embracing my burning passion for children with diverse needs. Passion is empowering. Passion creates dreams and smashes fear. Passion gives you the freedom to take risks that will make a difference in the world. Yes, it has been scary at times, but Hope’s Home is worth it!
Did anyone ever doubt you as a female CEO and your ability to run a provincial wide organization? If so, how did you deal with that?
If anyone doubted me as a female CEO – I did not hear it or listen to it. I believe my passion for advocating for these children, my business mind, and my ability to build strong relationships has made my role as CEO successful. I surround myself with mentors and strong leaders – from my mom, who is my hero and an incredible leader/businesswoman, to other business leaders, entrepreneurs, coaches, and professionals – who I lean on for advice, support, and guidance. Great leaders have a circle of support who strengthen their weaknesses, provide transparent and honest feedback, and build each other up to be the very best in life.
What were the biggest lessons you learned while running and growing Hope’s Home?
Oh, so many Lessons! When I think of the lessons I have learned in the last 16 years, I hear these quotes in my head:
- Policy doesn’t change the world…passion changes the world.
- Walk before you run.
- It’s easier to ask forgiveness than to beg for permission.
- People leave managers, not organizations.
- Your values determine your actions.
- Our children are our future – they are worth it!
- Listen to your heart.
- People first.
- Life is too short to be bitter…make the world better.
- Life is fragile. Make memories. Enjoy the journey.
- What mark are you making in the world?
Hope’s Home is about people. It is about our children, family, and our staff. Every decision we make as an organization needs to keep our children in the center. This is who we are and why we do what we do.
Do you have any advice for young women? Aspiring female entrepreneurs?
Dream big. Discover what your passion is. What keeps you awake at night? What makes you excited? What gives you purpose? I would encourage young women and aspiring entrepreneurs to ask yourself these questions to set your sight on the goal. It will mean you will have to face your fears and take a risk. It means you may fail. These are the greatest lessons! Never give up or be scared to challenge the norm to follow your dream. As I told my daughter Acacia who lived her life from a wheelchair – focus on what you can do, not on what you cannot do. It is important to be an ever-learner. Seek knowledge and wisdom in those that have journeyed ahead of you. Love yourself first and live out of this place of strength and purpose.
This years theme for International Women’s Day is “#ChoosetoChallenge gender bias and inequality.” What does that statement mean to you?
I believe each human is unique, born with special gifts, talents, and abilities. Discover those gifts that make you special and those around you unique. Treat each other with respect, kindness, and love. Challenge injustice, prejudice, and care for the people of our world. Embrace and celebrate our differences – this is what makes humanity so incredible.
Feeling inspired on International Women’s Day this year.
Today makes you feel inspired about the future and reflect on all the amazing women who have pathed the way for future generations. Jacqueline Tisher has certainly made a difference to all the young women she has met and the people who have heard her story. Which women have made an impact on your life? Tell us about them in the comments! And don’t forget to share your own #ChoosetoChallenge story. Happy International Women’s Day!