PAULINE STEVENSON – CARVING A PATH OF HER OWN

Pauline, at 18, grew up in a small community, being told that having a ‘good job’ for a lifetime of security represented success. She knew her path would be one she would have to carve herself. Though encouraged by her mother to become a strong and self-sufficient woman, this did not include dreaming beyond working at the local sawmill.

BY J.M.LEE

“Finding ways to expand your comfort zone leads to transformation and eventual confidence is her message to all young women in business.”

Pauline, at 18, grew up in a small community, being told that having a ‘good job’ for a lifetime of security represented success. She knew her path would be one she would have to carve herself. Though encouraged by her mother to become a strong and self-sufficient woman, this did not include dreaming beyond working at the local sawmill.

With a core belief that she had more to offer the world, she formulated a plan to offer her time in exchange for training. She was accepted into a local accounting firm. It was considered cutting edge at the time. Pauline forged her path by continually taking on responsibilities outside her comfort zone, propelled up the ladder at an exponential rate.

Being a young female in a male-dominated industry all her adult life required Pauline to continually overcome gender and age biases. Often being perceived as the ‘boss’s daughter,’ clients reacted in shock when they realized she would be the one training them in such advanced technology for the time. Transformation and eventual confidence is her message to all young women in business.

As Pauline matured and grew as a leader, her genuine authenticity shone through. What started as a Corporate Training business has grown into what we now know as Excel Career College (Excel), where Pauline continues to lead with authenticity and passion. Her vision for creating a space to raise leaders within the community has now become an internationally recognized institution.

Being a female leader in the 80s, she often met with resistance. She developed a personal vision by focusing on creating an inclusive environment where all individuals feel seen and heard. This led to a culture of neutrality towards gender at Excel. Accepting that there might be resistance when cultural power positions are shifted, she embraced it, including the discomfort, helping her to grow even more as a leader.

Women are not just leaders in business but also in our families, schools, and communities. They play a vital role in society. The path to world peace includes the number of women in leadership. Hearing this from the inspiring, Honourable Iona Campagnolo, ignited a passion in all she does. Historically, women take up less space finding the strength that their voice is valid. Thus, Pauline encourages women to assert their ideas so their voices can be heard. Imposter Syndrome has shed light on self-limiting beliefs and behaviors that can dim the leadership spotlight on otherwise skilled and qualified females. Lifting and supporting women, we become an example to the next generation of young women.

Pauline encourages the next generation of women to change the dialogue around many of the feelings we have that are often seen as barriers to leadership. Instead of seeing fear and anziousness as an insurmountable barrier, she would love to see people move through their fear and expand their comfort zone by normalizing the feelings of fear around uncertainty. Leadership isn’t about being fearless but rather being courageous despite one’s fears. Strive for bravery over fearlessness—every day!

For more information about Pauline and the Excel story, visit: www.excelcareercollege.com/the-excel-story

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