Say Magazine

Good Leadership Lifts Others Up

- By Teara Fraser and Vanessa Lesperance

Love and lift. Two words that aren’t typically associated with entreprene­urship or business. However, in the LIFT Circle, where Indigenous women entreprene­urs gather weekly, this is our mantra. The LIFT Circle is an initiative of the not-for-profit Indigenous LIFT Collective founded by Teara Fraser. The vision for the LIFT Circle is to co-create the conditions for Indigenous women entreprene­urs to THRIVE.

In our opinion, the current dominant business model is broken. Profit before planet or people. Lack of representa­tion from women or BIPOC (black, Indigenous and people of color) in executive roles or board positions. Unethical and amoral leadership. Increasing mental health leave due to workplace stress and pressure. This is not sustainabl­e, and for that reason, we need change.

The women in our LIFT Circle are leading that change. Indigenous business owners know what it takes to do business in a good way by balancing profit, people, planet and purpose. Looking at the Medicine Wheel as a guide, we know that when we approach anything—including business— holistical­ly and seek balance, that is when we increase our collective well-being.

Part of that well-being comes from being in circle with other women who support, collaborat­e, amplify, hold space and celebrate one another. This is what our LIFT Circle community represents. We don’t compete with one another, we lift each other up. For example, two women in our circle are the owners of Sisters Sage and the Yukon Soaps Company, and instead of seeing one another as competitio­n, they refer to one another as “soap sisters”. There have also been countless collaborat­ions within our circle by doing giveaways, creating gift boxes and offering Boxing Day campaigns.

A rising tide lifts all canoes—we know that when one Indigenous woman entreprene­ur succeeds, we all succeed because she is creating a path for others to follow.

Entreprene­urship and leadership can be a lonely journey; however, part of the reason why our circles are so sacred is because it is a time where women can show up and feel seen, heard, connected and supported by other sisters. Knowing you aren’t alone and you don’t need to figure things out on your own can be profound.

Good leadership is acknowledg­ing you can’t possibly know everything; poor leadership is pretending that you do. Good leadership is being your authentic self and leading with the heart; poor leadership fails to acknowledg­e our heart, emotion and spirit. Good leadership lifts others up.

Every day / We carry each other / Dreamers with good intentions / That extend far beyond our own needs / Carrying the change that will help / The next seven generation­s. Chief Lady Bird

Our LIFT Circle community is held together by love and lift, and consists of incredible Indigenous women leaders who desire a better world for themselves, their families, their communitie­s and the world. Doing business in a good way is at the core of our community and is just the solution to fix what currently isn’t working in the world of business. We know Indigenous ways of knowing and being is what the world needs in order to restore massive imbalances and mend what is broken in business practices. As Indigenous entreprene­urs, we will continue to lead the way to decolonize business by loving and lifting each other, our communitie­s and our planet.

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