Many of you may not know it but the newest member of the Bank of Montreal Millennial Leaders Advisory Council could be sitting next to you in your accounting class. Miss Dana Doswell, a New Market Ontario native and Sobey School of Business student was named to the national council in late last semester. BMO has partnered with Catalyst, the leading non-profit organization for advancing women and inclusive workplaces, to name the second cohort of students to the council, including Doswell. Part of her responsibilities is to act as an ambassador on campus and bring forward the dialogue on leadership that she has learning on the council locally. After being named to the council, Doswell traveled to meet with the other 26 members of the council in Toronto where she gave the following statement:
“Society needs to change its perspective on what we think defines a successful leader,” said Dana Doswell, a Bachelor of Commerce student at Saint Mary’s University in Halifax. “I’m inspired by our conversations about inclusion, collaboration and loyalty, and I’m ready to go back to my school with the ideas we’ve discussed.”
The SMU Journal sat down with Dana to get a better idea of what this amazing opportunity is all about.
TSJ: How did you find out about the program?
Doswell: BMO reaches out to the Deans of the Business and Engineering departments at the chosen schools, and they in turn are responsible for recommending an undergraduate or graduate student for the program that
is doing work for
women in leadership.
TSJ: What types of things have you done thus far with the council?
Doswell: In October 2016 I was fortunate enough to be flown to Toronto to attend the 2016 Catalyst Conference. The conference is in honor of four “champions for change” relating to women in business. Over the course of three days I had the chance to meet and get to know the other 29 women selected from across Canada that were chosen to be part of the council. Of the 30 women, 15 were from business with the remainder from the engineering faculty. The last night provided us with the opportunity to network with professionals from RBC, Catalyst, BMO and a variety of other large companies.
TSJ: How does it feel to be one of only two students in Atlantic Canada to be chosen?
Doswell: I would honestly like to thank Dean Bradshaw of the Sobey School of Business for recommending me for this amazing opportunity. Having the opportunity to be one of two students selected from Atlantic Canada has been very inspiring and has motivated me to continue working towards promoting women in leadership through the Lean In organization I started at Saint Mary’s.
TSJ: What do you think the most important part of BMO reaching out to Millennia’s in this capacity is?
Doswell: The most important part of this relationship is the insight that BMO will gain on the working mindset of millennia’s. One of the subject areas talked about in depth was that individuals entering the workforce aren’t looking to stay with one company for an extended period of time. We are coming into our jobs with more education and training, but aren’t feeling as though we are being utilized for our abilities. From BMO’s perspective, they are looking to find ways to increase retention rates past 3 years. From our perspective, we are looking for companies to provide more regular learning opportunities within an organization. These two goals are difficult to match and BMO is doing a great job of exploring the issue and meeting it head on.
TSJ: Do you think it makes a difference that there is all women on the council?
Doswell: It absolutely does. Navigating the workplace is challenging for all employees, but women face a unique set of issues that are harder for men to empathize with. In reference to Sheryl Sandbergs book Lean In, women are more likely to pass up a promotion for reasons such as “I might have children in two years and if I take this job I’ll be working more, and how will I balance that?”. Creating a council comprised solely of women is recognizing that these issues are derived from social issues and is making a statement that change needs to happen. The council is full of intelligent, ambitious, inspiring women who are working towards creating change through education and the empowerment of other women. Creating a strong support system and open dialogue is imperative, and I believe the council is a step in that direction.
TSJ: Do you think your experience on the Council will help you in your career goals?
Doswell: The council has already put me in contact with a number of valuable business people. Fortunately, the second student selected from Atlantic Canada has been hired on at the same accounting firm as me to complete our CPA designations with KPMG in Toronto. The council has provided me with amazing networking and learning opportunities and has inspired me to continue to work towards a more inclusive and people focused future for the world of business.
The SMU Journal is very proud of Dana, as we all should be, and we would like to wish her the best as she continues her work on the council.