Ivey Alumni Panel Offers Sound Advice on Leadership to Students

Ivey alumni panel

The Ivey School of Business at Western University Canada published an article on a discussion held at its annual HBA Leadership Day featuring a panel of alumni sharing hard-won lessons from decorated careers in business.

Panel members included The Source President Charles Brown (MBA ’83), TD Bank Group Head of Canadian Personal Banking Teri Currie (MBA ’98) and Walmart Canada Senior Vice President of Logistics John Bayliss (HBA ’99).

The trio spoke of practical advice that has consistently propelled them to success. “The perceived risk is always 100 times greater than the actual risk,” Bayliss said. “You have two ears and one mouth for a reason,” said Currie.

When asked how they learned how to effectively lead, Brown responded with an Augusten Burroughs quote he has etched on the front of his notebook: “I myself am made entirely of flaws, stitched together with good intentions.” In other words, he continued, “The sooner you learn that you’re flawed, the better off you’ll be.”

Currie was asked about the hardest lesson she’s learned in her career. Her response? “You cannot possibly do everything you’re asked to do. You have to have a great team who is better than you at the things you need them to get done. You have to be able to rely on them.”

Bayliss explained that discomfort is often an enormous barrier to success, but “when you’re not outside your comfort zone, you’re not learning.”

On the question of “what can derail a promising leadership career?” Currie said, “Not taking the time to listen.” Bayliss responded with, “Fear of failure. Acknowledge you’re going to have some real mess-ups throughout your career. It’s what you do in that moment of failure that matters.”

In concluding statements, Bayliss advised students to “stay humble and hungry,” Brown urged them to “take care of everybody else first,” and Currie encouraged them to “be patient and pay it forward.”

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