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Friday, March 8, 2024

Lessons from the Women at Pavilion

In honour of International Women’s Day, the Pavilion team sat down with some of the women in our community. Keep reading to learn more about their journeys through their career, insights into an impactful moment, and advice they have for other women.

Amanda Grewall, Sales Director at Travel Edge

Can you share a bit about your journey in the business world and how you got to where you are today?

After graduation, I worked at Lush and found the business world intriguing at 22, leading me to enroll in a course where I thrived among peers. Transitioning to Collette’s call center, I sought vibrancy and found it at Flight Centre, where my tenacity propelled me from the number one novice to assistant team leader. I became interested in how the little things can make a huge impact on the business, and learned a lot from my team leader on the backend during my time here.

I had a wonderful, well-rounded mentor during my time there. Upon transitioning to a new role, I began learning from someone else. Although she had much to teach, I realized the value of someone with a mathematical background. When she left to Australia, I assumed her role for 1.5 years, managing a team of four and fostering their growth—an experience that transformed me from a novice in business to a confident leader. This is where I ultimately learned I love to help shape and grow people.

Achieving top performance among 120 stores in Canada was a significant milestone, fueled by my passion for nurturing and developing my team, which interestingly comprised entirely of women. The onset of COVID prompted me to leave, but a former president’s invitation led me to my current role at Travel Edge, where I’ve served as a sales director for two years.

Reflecting on my journey, I believe stumbling into the business world was partly accidental, driven by my insatiable curiosity and a strong sense of empathy. Maya Angelou’s words resonate with me: “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

 

Can you tell us about a particularly rewarding or impactful project you’ve been involved in during your career?

Of the various roles I’ve held, my current position stands out the most. While officially titled Sales Director, I’ve spent the last six months overseeing the Travel Edge Academy, a training center I conceptualized and developed from scratch.

Leading with one partner, I crafted the curriculum, set targets, established sales numbers, and devised the overall strategy for this training program. In just six months, we’ve onboarded and trained 32 individuals, with an impressive 50% surpassing our projected targets. This success is particularly gratifying as it was an experimental venture just half a year ago. Witnessing individuals start selling within a month of joining is immensely satisfying.

Despite the challenges of conducting virtual training nationwide amidst individuals’ daily routines, including many new recruits from Pavilion, the experience has been incredibly rewarding. Being part of the journey for every person who joins Travel Edge, from sales personnel to VPs, has been humbling.

From a team of just three on March 8, 2021, to now overseeing a multi-million-dollar business with a team of 50, the growth has been extraordinary.

 

What advice would you give to other women aspiring to succeed in business, especially those facing barriers or doubts?

It has to start with believing in yourself. When I think of myself in my twenties, I almost believed in myself too much. I thank myself for breaking down those walls because no one is going to break them down for you – you have to have confidence in your capabilities. That being said, finding a mentor who can guide you towards your goals is equally as important. Pavilion exemplifies this with its diverse pool of individuals striving for success; there’s always someone willing to mentor you.

Remaining open-minded to alternative approaches is crucial. I’ve learned the hard way to set aside ego and now know when and where to use it, which comes with time and experience. Being receptive to different perspectives fosters growth and enables overcoming barriers and roadblocks.

Platforms like Monday Girl on LinkedIn provide invaluable resources for mentorship, particularly for women unsure where to begin. Free mentorship programs are everywhere online, offering diverse avenues for guidance and support. Witnessing the inclusion of women, people of colour, and LGBTQ+ individuals in such initiatives is heartening—a significant shift I’ve observed over my decade in business. It’s an encouraging sign that there are opportunities for everyone to thrive.

 

Tamara Rahmani, Senior Manager, Charity Success at CanadaHelps

Can you share a bit about your journey in the business world and how you got to where you are today?

I began my career in Journalism, landing an internship at CBC as an Associate Producer for the evening TV broadcast and then continued working full-time which was incredibly exciting. It was fast-paced and fascinating, but ultimately, I realized that my goal of making a positive social impact was not as straightforward when politics and crime dominated most of the headlines. Although it was a valuable experience, I yearned for something more directly impactful, where I could advocate for others and make a difference in people’s lives.

That’s when I transitioned into the non-profit sector, working for an organization focused on helping charities fundraise. In my various roles, I’ve always been drawn to leading customer-facing teams and providing support to clients, especially when they’re serving vulnerable communities. There’s something truly fulfilling about empowering others and advocating for their needs.

I’ve been with this organization for over five years now, initially joining a team focused on charity engagement and eventually moving into the customer success department. It’s been a rewarding journey, and I’m grateful for the opportunity to make a positive impact in the non-profit sector.

 

Can you tell us about a particularly rewarding or impactful project you’ve been involved in during your career?

I had the privilege of being involved in hiring an intern to conduct a comprehensive review of giving to indigenous-led organizations. Through this process, I gained valuable insights into the state of indigenous-led organizations in Canada. It was eye-opening to discover that these organizations receive only 1% of fundraising in Canada for their sector.

Recognizing the need for greater equity and standardization in funding distribution, we teamed up with an Indigenous thought leader. Together, we developed criteria to ensure that funds were directed towards causes that truly aligned with the needs and priorities of indigenous communities. It was an important step towards ensuring that indigenous-led organizations receive the support and recognition they deserve.

 

What advice would you give to other women aspiring to succeed in business, especially those facing barriers or doubts?

Stay connected to your intuition—it’s your true north star, guiding you in both business and corporate settings. Expressing and sharing your intuition leads to success, while suppressing it can harm you and your organization. A mentor encouraged me to embrace my intuition, which boosted my confidence and ensured my values were aligned wherever I went.

Feminine energy isn’t exclusive to women—it’s inherent in everyone. Women often emphasize collaboration, empathy, and ensuring everyone thrives. Embracing these tendencies fosters success and harmony in any environment.

 

Saschie MacLean-Magbanua, Founder at Formation Studio

Can you share a bit about your journey in the business world and how you got to where you are today?

I started my career in PR and marketing in NYC spending the bulk of it working with lifestyle, hospitality, and travel brands. While still working my full-time corporate job, I worked on what was the first iteration of what ended up being Formation Studio. While many entrepreneurs make the argument to jump in 100% to find success, I don’t think this is always the answer. 

When I first started, I didn’t have anyone close to me who owned businesses so there was a lot I had to learn. My time operating my side hustle allowed me to lay a foundation that set me up for success when it did finally come to the point where I could go 100%. I also loved my corporate career and took away so many lessons and experiences from working with and experiencing luxury travel brands and top-tier restaurants which inspired and informed the level of hospitality we share at Formation Studio.

 

Can you tell us about a particularly rewarding or impactful project you’ve been involved in during your career?

I’ve been a part of many rewarding and impactful projects but an instance that stands out in my mind isn’t a project but an experience. It was receiving a goodbye note from a client who was moving away. She shared how impactful the studio was for her in healing her anxiety and depression. It’s in those moments where we can see how we’ve literally changed the way someone moves through the world that makes me so proud of what we do.

 

What advice would you give to other women aspiring to succeed in business, especially those facing barriers or doubts?

I’ll share the advice that I often remind myself: there are no failures, only lessons that help redirect where you are supposed to go.

 

Verdiana Morais, Community Manager at Pavilion Cowork

Can you share a bit about your journey in the business world and how you got to where you are today?

In short, I spent 11 years at a multinational company in Brazil, starting at 18 and leaving at 29. During my tenure, I worked across various sectors including logistics, and operations, and spent four years in trade marketing. My responsibilities ranged from strategic planning for the upcoming year to designing campaigns to sell products, providing me with a solid foundation that would prove invaluable once I mastered English to pursue opportunities in Canada.

Upon arriving in Canada, my primary goal was to improve my English proficiency. Despite earning a degree in Business Administration and specializing in Project Management during my time in Brazil, I recognized the importance of English fluency for my career aspirations. I completed business school in Canada, conducted entirely in English, and gained work experience at Ricoh as an on-site specialist in a law office. This role allowed me to understand the intricacies of Canadian business practices through coordinating efforts across various groups.

Living on Hornby Island provided a valuable break and perspective in life and customer service experience. Upon returning to Vancouver, a friend informed me of a managerial position at Beere, where I gained significant customer service relations, proving invaluable in my current role at Pavilion as a Community Manager. The Community Manager role involves ensuring a top-notch member experience, managing daily operations, handling billing and HR tasks, organizing events, supporting sales, and developing Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) in collaboration with the Director of Operations.

 

Can you tell us about a particularly rewarding or impactful project you’ve been involved in during your career?

Over nearly a year, I was part of a national project where we conducted meticulous research on consumer behaviour and market data to shape our company’s sales and marketing strategy. This involved analyzing income levels and demographics across different regions of Brazil.

During this time, I spearheaded the implementation of our Salesforce GTM plan in Northern Brazil, travelling extensively throughout the region for eight months. From bustling cities like Sao Paolo to remote areas deep in the Amazon, it was rewarding to witness our work making a difference.

What stood out was the resilience of the people I encountered, despite facing challenging conditions. Working closely with sales teams in remote locations, we ensured consistent service for all customers, regardless of geography, and tailored our efforts to meet local needs. It was a rewarding experience that highlighted the impact of our brand awareness efforts.

 

What advice would you give to other women aspiring to succeed in business, especially those facing barriers or doubts?

Just go for it. It’s easy to doubt ourselves and think we’re not qualified for something, but more often than not, we underestimate our own capabilities. The key is to take that leap of faith and just do it. Sure, it might not be easy, but we’re more capable than we give ourselves credit for.

I remember when I first saw the Pavilion job posting, I immediately doubted whether I had the qualifications for it. But once I started doing the work, I realized that my experience was more relevant than I initially thought. That’s why I always encourage people to gather as much experience as they can – every job, no matter how seemingly unrelated, adds to your skill set.

Whether it’s working in a restaurant, a corporate office, or picking up odd jobs along the way, each experience contributes to your growth. And it’s not just about personal growth – helping others build their confidence is equally rewarding. That’s why I make it a point to uplift my colleagues whenever I can. After all, boosting others’ confidence ultimately boosts my own. It’s a win-win situation.

2024 Pavilion Cowork