Joanne Stanley is vice-president of CATA Alliance, an Ottawa-based association for IT businesses. She’s also co-founder and executive director of the CATA Women in Technology Forum, a grassroots organization for women in IT she formed in 2005. While not a true techie herself, Stanley has worked in the IT industry for decades in various communication roles and very much considers herself part of the IT sector. “I’m not a tech woman, but I’m definitely a woman in the tech sector,” said Stanley.
After graduating with Honours in Business Administration from the Algonquin College School of Business and from York University’s Executive Management Program, Stanley started her career in communications at Crawley Firms before moving on to a 29-year stint at Bell Canada in the area of public relations, advertising and marketing. During that time, she was also director of public relations and advertising at telecommunication consortium Stentor Inc. Following that, Stanley wore dual hats as vice-president of marketing and communications at CITO (Communications and Information Technology Ontario) and vice-president of the Ontario Centres of excellence dedicated to fostering public/private partnerships in the ITC sector.
Early leadership exposure
Stanley has had a number of great mentors along her career, but she was and continues to be most positively influenced by a woman she met early on in her profession during her years at Bell Canada. Stanley said being led by Carol Stephenson who was then CEO of Stentor, now dean of the Ivey School of Business, happened at the right time.
“She was a woman in a highly dominant male situation,” said Stanley. “She came into an environment in which there was a real conflict and cultural issues and I found her really helpful.”
“To be a mentor is to be willing to create an environment and the culture where mentorships are encouraged and thrive,” said Stanley.
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