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The Secret to My Success – Ivey Dean Carol Stephenson

January 22nd, 2013 by ajoldersma

Many thanks to this week’s guest blogger, Ivey Dean Carol Stephenson. Dean Stephenson will be on the panel at our Women in Management Panel and Reception on February 6.

“Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.”
– Lucius Annaeus Seneca

Having leadership roles ranging from CEO to business school dean in an era when women are the exception in such positions, I’m often asked why I was so lucky in my career. My answer: luck had nothing to do with it.

Although luck may play a role in life, I believe the words of the Roman philosopher Seneca are more fitting when describing my rise to leadership: I prepared myself through education and hard work for potential opportunities so I could seize them when they came.

And being ready to answer the door when opportunity knocks is just one reason why women today consider getting an MBA. An MBA opens doors because it expands your knowledge, skills, perspective, and network. The more diverse skills you have, the more valuable you are to an employer and the easier it is to build your career.

The value of an MBA for women is the focus of the upcoming Ivey MBA Women in Management Panel and Reception in Toronto.

The timing couldn’t be better. With so many changes taking place in the world today, there is a real opportunity for women to make a difference. Companies now recognize that having women in top jobs is a competitive advantage. In fact, Ivey Professor Alison Konrad’s groundbreaking research in 2006 found corporate boards perform better when there are three or more women. It’s no coincidence I only serve on boards with three or more women. I’ve seen, first-hand, the impact they can make.

Although I’m proud to be considered among those women leaders making an impact, I could never have foreseen that destiny. In fact, I was shy as a child and may have seemed an unlikely candidate for leadership. But, even at a young age, I had high standards and a burning desire to make things happen. To do this, I often had to move out of my comfort zone. I worked hard to gain confidence. One of the biggest boosts to my confidence came through gaining a formal business education later in life. Being among people from around the world who were the cream of the crop made me realize that I was as capable as they were. That experience gave me the inner confidence necessary to seize the opportunities ahead.

So for those of you, like me, who strive to make a difference, don’t wait for your luck to change.

Instead, keep in mind the old proverb: The day you decide to do it is your lucky day.

Register for Women in Management.

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