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Thank you to the 1646 leaders who’ve generously done the 7 questions! I hope reading 7 Questions with

Ingrid Wilson

helps you in your leadership.

Ingrid Wilson

Ingrid Wilson

Name: Ingrid Wilson

Title: Founder and Principal

Organisation: GridFern Strategic HR

Ingrid Wilson is a Senior Human Resources Executive & CHRO and Equity and Inclusion Strategist, with over 30 years of global experience in corporate human resources strategy, board, and business strategy. Ingrid is a recipient of the Top 25 DEI Person of the Year Award, 2021, The Canadian Multicultural Group and LINKEDIN DIRECTORY OF 1000+ WOMEN WHO INSPIRE THROUGH THEIR WORK, Jul 2022 and TOP 100 HR Professionals, National Diversity Awards 2023. She serves on non-for-profit, community and advisory member boards and committees, including as a Board Director, Governance and Audit at the Canadian Association of Black Insurance Professionals (CABIP).

Ingrid has organizational experience with crown corporations, non-for-profit, public sector, private and public companies, in regulatory environments, and with global expertise working for organizations with diverse operations. She has a deep knowledge and understanding of Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity through lived experiences and working with vulnerable and racialized communities. She develops and executes on strategies through inclusive talent management strategies, inclusive leadership development and strategies, culture assessments and focus groups, speaking circles, interactive awareness programs and webinars, and accessibility strategies focused on identifying and eliminating systemic racism issues, and physical, and technological barriers to foster inclusive, equitable, and respectful workspace environments.

Ingrid has pursued excellence in human resources, board, and leadership strategy through the CHRP and CHRL designation, and through programs at Queens University and the Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto where she currently serves on the HR Advisory Group for Executive Development programs focused on HR Leaders. Ingrid also currently serves on the Appeals (Regulatory) Board Committee, Human Resources Professional Association.

1. What have you found most challenging as a leader?

I would say that is balancing the people centric responsibilities of leadership with the requirements to deliver on profit and business strategies and goals. This is especially more challenging now when expectations from employees require a focus on empathy and providing space for self-care and wellness and cultural awareness. All of this when we have not prepared leaders for developing the skills and awareness to become empathetic and cognizant leaders.

2. How did you become a leader? Can you please briefly tell the story?

I have always focused on delivering with excellence and building knowledge - always proving myself again and again and taking on synergistic projects to help me learn the business. Under that premise - a founding CEO in the insurance industry sponsored me into a leadership role adding on more scope and responsibilities along the way and allowing me the space to develop - and sometimes fail - but always supporting me on my career journey to this day.

3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?

I plan my work day as much as possible keeping in mind that there are always interruptions which requires adjustments to my work plan - especially with multiple meeting requests. I always start my day early with a run outside and/or the gym to clear space and build focus and then work through any urgent emails, requests, and deliverables. My evenings are often used to prep for the next day and pre-schedule delivery of emails and project deliverables. They are often long days, requiring a lot of multi-tasking. However I do shut off my computer as much as possible by 8pm and no Friday evenings and weekends unless it is extremely urgent. I have found over the years that there must be time to recharge, rest and spend time with family and friends

4. What's a recent leadership lesson you've learned for the first time or been reminded of?

As leaders we must always be open to learning and we must be active listeners. Otherwise we fall into the trap of the status quo

5. What's one book that has had a profound impact on your leadership so far? Can you please briefly tell the story of how that book impacted your leadership?

I am always reading and learning - either historical books or books for self learning. One recent book that resonates with me is "The Bold Ones: Innovate and Disrupt to Become Truly Indispensable" by Shawn Kanungo. As a Black Woman and senior Human Resources Executive - a linear career pathway has not always provided the same opportunities that are often available to others. To move forward with these opportunities required disruption of the status quo and creating innovation protocols, programs and methods to deliver on projects - building niche specialty skills. It was interesting to see reference to such in this book and recognize that disruption and innovation can be a positive leadership tools.

6. If you could only give one piece of advice to a young leader, what would you say to them?

Always take the time to question the status quo and find your space - what is it that you have to offer as a leader?

7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a leader, so far?

For me that story is now. Having the opportunity and the time to turn around and lift up those young people who are coming up behind me into leadership roles and building space for equity and inclusion. In a recent meeting someone called me the "Social Justice Waldo" - showing up in several spaces to build sustainable change for our communities. I will take that moniker!

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