International Women's Day 2020
We are moving to a very exciting time in history where the world now "expects" gender balance. The International Women's Day (IWD) 2020 campaign theme is #EachforEqual.
An equal world is an enabled world. We can actively choose to challenge stereotypes, fight bias, broaden perceptions, improve situations and celebrate women's achievements.
As Cardno celebrates IWD during its 75th year in business, we sat down with our first female CEO, Susan Reisbord to discuss the people and leaders she finds inspiring, her time as CEO, and her tips for success in business.
Q: What was your dream job as a kid and why?
In high school I wanted to be a medical doctor. I was a girl who loved math and science, and that looked like the career path for me. The alternative was engineering or accounting. My father was an engineer for General Electric Aircraft Engines. My mother was a comptroller for a large law firm. I felt like I needed more people interaction than their careers provided.
Q: What woman (or other leader) inspires you and why?
My Mom was my inspiration. She was ahead of her time. She was a professional woman (a comptroller) before there were professional women. If you saw the movie On the Basis of Sex about Ruth Bader Ginsburg … also an inspiration … Notorious RBG … my mom experienced the same kind of headwinds every single day and she persevered every single day. I had a front row seat to that action.
Q: Define a great leader—what are some traits you think great leaders possess?
Emotional intelligence, a sense of humor, and a vision for the future.
Q: What have the highlights and challenges been so far as CEO of Cardno?
The highlights are easy. I love what we do and how we do it. I am delighting in the chance to work with our Asia Pacific and International Development teams more closely. I get to meet more of our people across Cardno and get even more familiar with the projects that we are doing globally.
The challenge is the scale up from my previous role of CEO of the Americas Region. As you can imagine time demands increase when the company works around the clock. I am lucky though. We have a wonderful global leadership team, supported by strong regional leadership and a strong Board of Directors … people I know and respect. That makes any challenge surmountable.
Q: What’s one key leadership lesson you’ve learned along the way?
There is no substitute for curiosity and hard work.
Q: What advice would you give to the next generation of female leaders?
Use your voice and use your power to make the company a better place for everyone. I think the most successful companies are those that create the space for everyone to contribute what he/she has to offer. Diversity and inclusion isn’t an initiative, it is a culture of belonging and contributing. Create that space of belonging.
Let's all be #EachforEqual.
Learn more about how Cardno is making a difference to people and communities around the world. #Cardno75years