Together We Rise: How WE@OSL Empowers Women at OSL

At OSL, we recognize that inclusion and empowerment are not just buzzwords, but essential components of a thriving business. The imperative to foster female empowerment in the workplace transcends mere corporate social responsibility—it is a moral, economic, and social imperative. An individual must feel seen, valued, and respected in order to truly harness their full potential. For us, as a people-first agency, helping each and every member of our team reach their full potential is mission critical.

In recognition of International Women’s Day, we are thrilled to share the steps we have taken to meaningfully support the women in our workforce and ensure they have the tools and resources needed to flourish.

The centrepiece of our efforts to cultivate a culture of real equality and professional advancement for women is Women’s Empowerment (WE) at OSL. WE@OSL began as a casual conversation in the cafeteria in 2020, and blossomed through video calls during the pandemic, into today’s women-led employee resource group that has already positively touched the lives of many women at OSL.

WE@OSL is driven by a clear and bright vision of a workplace environment that not only sees women thriving, but also assuming more leadership positions. Specifically, the aim of WE@OSL is to see 30% women leaders at OSL by 2025. This year’s focus is divided into three strategic areas, designed to support WE@OSL’s foundational vision:

  1. Training
  2. Relationship Building
  3. Resources and engagement

Over the last four years, WE@OSL has facilitated engaging events and activities designed to inspire and lift up the diverse women of our multifaceted team. From special guest speakers like comedian Kate Davis and gold-medal Olympic hockey player Cheryl Pounder, to celebrating internal stories of female success at OSL through HerStory, a virtual fireside chat, and curating LinkedIn Learning resources centred on women-centric professional development, WE@OSL is committed to proactively offering practical tools and resources designed to supercharge women’s professional advancement.

As for feedback on the important work of WE@OSL? It’s been incredible.

There have been many highlights in the four years since WE@OSL’s inception. One of the brightest has been the mentorship program made possible through Femme Palette. This six-month initiative saw 13 corporate OSL employees receive one-on-one personal mentoring from external mentors.

Feedback forms were distributed to OSL mentees at the end of the six-month period and 100% stated that they would like access to mentors again. Further, mentees rated several aspects of their mentorship experience on a five-point scale. Collectively, the average mentor session rating was 4.93, average mentor rating was 4.72 and overall average program rating was 4.44.

Let’s think of these ratings in a different way – by taking a look at what the mentees themselves had to say about this opportunity:

“My mentor helped me uncover a lot of blind spots in my thinking and helped me build capacity in strategic thinking.”

“I’ve learned that the ability to be adaptive and agile is crucial to growth and expansion in your career.”

“She taught me lessons in effective communication – especially with the executive leadership team – which has helped with my overall confidence.”

“I have seen my leadership skills improve due to gaining great feedback and support from my mentor.”

“I have learned to prioritize and set boundaries to have work-life balance. I’ve also learned not to fear change, as I’ve had professional growth since adapting and being open to new challenges.”

The success of the WE@OSL mentorship program has not only reaffirmed the importance of WE@OSL’s mission and efforts, it has also infused the committee with new enthusiasm and passion.

As WE@OSL looks forward to another year of inspiring, developing, and motivating the women of OSL – both personally and professionally – there are many events and initiatives to be excited about. A series of leadership development workshops centred on the specific needs of women in the workplace (covering topics such as communication skills, building your professional brand, and leadership for non-managers) and an expanded version of the original six-month mentorship program are only two examples. “Together we rise” is often said on International Women’s Day. It’s a phrase that beautifully captures the spirit of the occasion, no doubt, but it also serves as the guiding force behind everything WE@OSL does year-round.

Together we can build a more inclusive and equitable workplace for all.

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