Top Five Female Business Leaders
Canadian entrepreneurs come in all shapes and sizes, but to be the best in business you need to posses certain fundamental skills. Women at the top of the business world posses such talents and have additionally overcome societal discriminatory norms. The women at the top of Canadian business have excellent experience, business savvy, industry specific knowledge and a phenomenal rate of success.
President and COO of Solutions 2 Go Inc, Gabrielle Chevalier is a leading woman in the videogame distribution industry. As head of the Mississauga, Ontario based company, Chevalier has taken its business to new heights. Leading a company from nothing to earning three-quarters of a billion dollars in just six years, Chevalier’s success is based on her implementation of “master distribution” in videogame logistics. Credited with placing Sony games in Staples, Costco and Shoppers Drug Mart, Chevalier with Solutions 2 Go helped Sony expand to new markets. Promoting an efficient process of receiving and turning shipments around “accurately and on a dime” has additionally added to Chevalier’s success.
Coining the phrase “Food is Fashion,” Susan Niczowski, the CEO of Summer Fresh Salads, believes that food, like fashion, follows seasonal trends. Building the company from the ground up since 1991, Niczowski developed the idea for Summer Fresh Salads with her mother, thus creating a company that provides healthy gourmet dips, appetizers, salads and chef prepared foods. Guaranteeing nutritious and healthy food, Summer Fresh Salads employs microbiologists at their in-house laboratory, R&D facility and on their technical team. Starting the company in her parents’ kitchen, Summer Fresh Salads has grown into a largely successful company that is now headquartered out of a 43,500-square-foot facility.
Betty Anne Latrace-Henderson
CEO of Airline Hotels and Resorts, Betty Anne Latrace-Henderson is referred to as the torch bearer of the company’s values, vision and ethics. Latrace-Henderson took over the company in 2000 and transformed Airline into the corporation it is today. With Latrace-Henderson the family business has changed from a single property enterprise to a multi-property company earning $45 million annually in 2008. Airline Hotels, under Latrace-Henderson, runs by the mission statement “Respect, Integrity, Teamwork and Entrepreneurship.” Unfailingly committed not only to the company but the well-being of its employees, Latrace-Henderson is renowned as a President who brings a specialized, personal touch to leadership.
CEO of SIMAC, Superior Independent Medical Assessment Centres, Gloria Rajkumar has worked her way up through the insurance industry. Founding SIMAC in 2001, Rajkumar created a company that is an industry leader. Three locations, 22 employees and additional affiliations with more than 250 medical professionals, Rajkumar employs people who share her business vision for service and excellence. Growing from humble beginnings Rajkumar’s entrepreneurial success comes from her belief that it is a “content of character to want to be something better” and it’s clear by her determination that she lives by this motto.
Lisette “Lee” McDonald
Lee McDonald, President and CEO of Southmedic Inc., started the company in 1983. As a critical care nurse, McDonald saw unmet needs in the healthcare industry, specifically the lack of an Anesthetic Interlocking Device. That was just the beginning, now Southmedic Inc is a leading medical device manufacturer that lives by its passion statement “Innovative Manufacturing and Distribution Profitably.” McDonald’s leadership at Southmedic has led to annual revenues to $18 million and a worldwide reputation for quality speed and integrity. "It's our plan, and our pledge, to make a difference to Canadian healthcare," stated McDonald.
How innovation is transforming government
According to Washington Technology’s Top 100 list, Leidos is the largest IT provider to the government. But as Lieutenant General William J. Bender explains, “that barely scratches the surface” of the company’s portfolio and drive for innovation.
Bender, who spent three and a half decades in the military, including a stint as the U.S. Air Force’s Chief Information Officer (CIO), has seen action in the field and in technology during that time, and it runs in the family. Bender’s son is an F-16 instructor pilot. So it stands to reason Bender Senior intends to ensure a thriving technological base for the U.S. Air Force. “What we’re really doing here is transforming the federal government from the industrial age into the information age and doing it hand-in-hand with industry,” he says.
The significant changes that have taken place in the wider technology world are precisely the capabilities Leidos is trying to pilot the U.S. Air Force through. It boils down to developing cyberspace as a new domain of battle, globally connected and constantly challenged by the threat of cybersecurity attacks.
“We recognize the importance of the U.S. Air Force’s missions,” says Bender, “and making sure they achieve those missions. We sit side-by-side with the air combat command, intelligence surveillance, and reconnaissance infrastructure across the Air Force. There are multiple large programs where the Air Force is partnering with Leidos to ensure their mission is successfully accomplished 24/7/365. In this company, we’re all in on making sure there’s no drop in capability.”
That partnership relies on a shared understanding of delivering successful national security outcomes, really understanding the mission at hand, and Leidos’ long-standing relationship of over 50 years with the federal government.
To look at where technology is going, Bender thinks it is important to look back at the last 10 to 15 years. “What we’ve seen is a complete shift in how technology gets developed,” he says. “It used to be that the government invested aggressively in research and development, and some of those technologies, once they were launched in a military context, would find their way into the commercial space. That has shifted almost a hundred percent now, where the bulk of the research and development dollars and the development of tech-explicit technologies takes place in the commercial sector.”
“There’s a long-standing desire to adopt commercial technology into defense applications, but it’s had a hard time crossing the ‘valley of death’ [government slang for commercial technologies and partnerships that fail to effectively transition into government missions]. Increasingly we’re able to do that. We need to look at open architectures and open systems for a true plug-and-play capability. Instead of buying it now and trying to guess what it’s going to be used for 12 years from now, it should be evolving iteratively.”