By Suzanne Bowness
This year marks the 25th anniversary of the Centre for Research and Education on Women and Work (CREWW) which offers a part-time professional program for women to enhance their leadership and management skills. Graduates from the program will be profiled over the next few weeks.
To say that the Sprott School of Business‘s Management Certificate for Women (MCW) has boosted Tara Sutorius’s career, might be an understatement. Since she finished the program in March 2016, she embraced more responsibility in her position as manager of Program Coordination for the operations branch of the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA) and launched a sideline life coaching business that she’d been thinking about for years.
When she signed up for the certificate, Sutorius had been looking to formalize even further the skills she’d learned on the job over her 18-year career with the Government of Canada. She’d spent the first 12 years of her career at the RCMP in corporate communications before moving in 2010 to CATSA, where she manages the office of the vice-president of Service Delivery, in charge of passenger, non-passenger and baggage security screening at all 89 Canadian airports.
Management Certificate for Women: Opportunities to Meet Women Executives
Sutorius liked the fact that the MCW offering was local and the environment familiar (her undergraduate degree is from Carleton). As a single mother of two boys, she also valued the manageable Friday/Saturday class schedule and, as someone who has mostly worked alongside male executives, the potential for meeting more female executives.
“I liked the idea of being surrounded by a lot of female leaders because I haven’t had as much of that throughout my career,” recalls Sutorius.
She says there were many standout parts of the program, including a segment on managing people that she liked because she has an affinity for people leadership, and the accounting unit because she does not have a great deal of experience with numbers. She also learned a lot from a unit on negotiating.
Forging Lifelong Friendships
Sutorius adds that the program provided many opportunities to bond. A year later, Sutorius keeps in touch with several of her classmates—among them, someone she now considers one of her dearest friends, and another whom she invited to be a coach in her new business. “I really forged some lifelong friendships. We shared a lot of life experiences throughout the seven months we were together,” she says.
Her new life, leadership, fitness and wellness coaching business is also progressing, with 47 clients and counting. She credits the program with helping her move the dream forward. “I don’t know if I would’ve got it off the ground if it hadn’t been for what I learned at Sprott. It gave me that confidence to say, ‘I can do this. I can launch my own business,’” she says.
Sutorius has already recommended the program to co-workers. “It’s a real confidence builder. There’s nothing out there that’s packaged quite like this,” she says. “I am grateful for the amazing support my employer gave me so that I could round out my management skills and, in turn, be better prepared for leadership opportunities – both personally and professionally.”