Oct. 17, 2023

Redefining leadership to match the future of work: Introducing the 2023-24 Jarislowsky Fellows in Business Management

How co-fellows Karen Radford and Irfhan Rawji are helping Haskayne grad students prepare to lead and embrace uncertainty in the ever-changing world of work
The 2023-24 Jarislowsky Fellows in Business Management, Irfhan Rawji and Karen Radford.
The 2023-24 Jarislowsky Fellows in Business Management, Irfhan Rawji and Karen Radford. Marnie Burkhart for Haskayne School of Business

The world is accelerating at a rapid rate, and the world of work is changing, too. From the adoption of digital technologies including AI and automation, to an increase in remote work and a growing shift to e-commerce, the workplace is more in flux than ever before. As such, the workforce has a greater need for leaders who fully embrace agility and curiosity, promote equity, diversity and inclusion, exude empathy, adopt a growth mindset and have a propensity for change.

Understanding that leadership is not a linear journey, the 2023-24 Jarislowsky Fellows in Business Management Karen Radford and Irfhan Rawji are keen to help mentor Haskayne students on how to effectively lead in these disruptive and often turbulent times to ensure organizational success and long-term viability.

Diverse in experience, united in mentorship

Each year, the Canadian Centre for Advanced Leadership in Business offers the Jarislowsky Fellowship in Business Management to MBA and Executive MBA students. The fellowship provides a unique opportunity to elevate Haskayne students’ experience through engaging successful business, social sector and public sector leaders as role models and mentors. Beyond their distinct experience, selected leaders bring forth rich perspectives and invaluable learnings to help increase the depth and breadth of students’ learning experiences.

Returning co-fellow Radford has more than 30 years of experience in the energy and telecommunications industries, previously serving as president and EVP at Telus and EVP and chief transformation officer at Enbridge. With one fellowship year already under her belt, Radford is even more excited to embark on her second year after experiencing the students’ high level of engagement and commitment to their studies.

“I had so much fun with my co-fellow Patrick and the students last year,” says Radford. “I am expecting the same enjoyment this year with Irfhan. Energy — our own and that which comes through our interactions — makes the world go around. The more involved you can be, the better the outcome.”

Newly appointed co-fellow Rawji currently serves as managing partner at Relay Ventures, an early-stage venture capital firm that invests in the future of fintech, mobility, proptech and sportstech. He considers his new role as co-fellow a privilege and is honoured to join in Radford’s and former co-fellows’ footsteps.

I hope that I can help actualize Mr. Jarislowsky’s aspirations in establishing the program — specifically to broaden business students’ perspectives in areas outside of business, such as the arts, global affairs, journalism and politics — while also offering access to pragmatic, real-world perspectives, to help bolster what is taught in the classroom,” says Rawji.

In her final year, Radford hopes to instil more confidence in her students in terms of who they are and who they want to be as leaders, afford them time to reflect on their own identities and allow them to carve out a clear path or plan of what impact they hope to make through their work and community leadership.

Leadership that compliments the future of work

As the workforce continues to grapple with the effects from the pandemic such as supply-chain issues, a labour shortage, growing demand for hybrid work styles, and a mental health crisis, leaders are asked to lead during a time no one has ever experienced before — something Radford and Rawji are quick to recognize and strive to impart the skills and knowledge to help students with this transition.

“The way in which we work, otherwise known as the ‘future of work,’ continues to evolve,” says Rawji.  “The increasingly fragile nature of our world, with growing ‘fear of the other’ is accelerating. These factors combined with our deep international dependence have created a more difficult macro context than we have seen in decades — perhaps not since the Second World War.

“I think curiosity, adaptability, a desire to learn about things less known or less familiar, in total combined with hard work is a potential recipe for success in this environment.”

Radford adds that today’s leaders need to place more emphasis on self-awareness and authentic connections. “With work from home and more movement between companies I believe it is more critical than ever for people to be find and invest in true connections.

“It’s also pivotal to have a healthy understanding of who you are and what you are learning right now — and knowing how these contribute to your personal definition of success. We must remember, we are always in choice.”

There’s no doubt Radford’s corporate and community leadership experience paired with Rawji’s innate networking abilities to connect people with ideas and make bold moves will make for another successful fellowship year — adding immense value to students’ educational journeys and professional development.

Haskayne MBA student, Gordon Sinn at a Jarislowsky networking event.

Haskayne MBA student, Gordon Sinn at a Jarislowsky networking event.

Kelly Hofer for the Haskayne School of Business

Over the past year, participating in events organized by our esteemed co-fellows has been nothing short of transformative,” says Gordon Sinn, MBA’24. “These experiences have ignited a fire within me to be more audacious and inquisitive, drawing inspiration from the wealth of knowledge acquired through workshops, book recommendations and engaging speakers.

This experiential learning approach has been instrumental in refining my professional demeanour and in enhancing my ability to eloquently convey my thoughts and perspectives,” he continues. “The fellowship has helped me cultivate a robust network, allowing me to create connections with accomplished individuals in the Calgary business network. Their valuable insights and unique career paths have provided me with confidence and courage to explore and envision my future career trajectory.”

In addition to various one-on-one events, the Jarislowsky Fellowship in Business Management is set to host its signature Jarislowsky Dinner and Discussion on Nov. 3, where Haskayne MBA and EMBA students will have the chance to connect in person with Radford and Rawji. Additional events are being planned for the remainder of the fall and winter semesters.

Learn more about the fellowship and this year’s co-fellows, and stay up to date on future offerings.

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