HighlightHER: Lori Williams

As a granddaughter of Jewish immigrants who fled Poland after WWII, Lori’s story is about how hard work pays off, but also one about being confident and open enough to ask for and receive help when needed.

Lori had her first job at the age of 13, working after school at a bakery. By the age of 15, she was working over 20+ hours per week and though there were social activities that were traded off for more work shifts, she was able to become self-sufficient and had some financial freedom to make her own choices.

Her work ethic continued through with her during her college years, where she attended McGill on a full scholarship. And at the age of 24, she was accepted into the University of Chicago’s MBA program – as the second youngest student in the program that year.

This has all led her to hold leadership roles at Coca Cola, LoyaltyOne, Bell Canada, and KPMG. Today, she leads her own company as founder and President of ROAR Beverages Canada.

What has been the most significant barrier in your career? How did you surpass this barrier?

Hands down conscious and unconscious sexism is the biggest barrier I’ve faced and continue to face in my career. From being told, “Lori no wonder you are smart, you have handwriting like a man” by a  partner at a consulting firm to being talked over in meetings I’m leading, you name it, it’s all happened.

I thank my childhood for the skills to think on my feet, to know what I’m capable of, and to stand up for myself when boundaries are being crossed.

How would you encourage young women not to give up on their dreams?

Life is beautiful and full of change. If you are facing a tough time, think of it like waves in the ocean. It too will pass, but what will remain is what you learn from it and how you grow.

The most important thing is protecting you – your safety and mental health while going through life’s uncomfortable moments. Find a space where you can see or seek comfort in those moments.  Find someone to talk to.  

What advice would you give to the next generation of female leaders?

We do not have to navigate our course on our own. Many women have gone through many challenges and roadblocks, but with the help of mentorship, those periods of uncomfortableness or change can be less stressful – they can even be beautiful learning experiences.

Women can be our own worst enemies. Embrace differences and other women’s successes so that too will support you (and other women).

At EmpowHERto, we want to remind our gxrls that success will never be a straight journey but of course, a lot of ups and downs. However, if you stay the course, you will always win. We have asked several outstanding and successful women from the community to share their journeys with us, from the beginning to present. 

Their stories need to be told and to you, our girls – your success journey is just beginning at EmpowHERto. 

Stay tuned to our bi-weekly feature of HighlightHER. 

EmpowHERto provides young women with the life skills and leadership to break boundaries and exceed their expectations in life. 

Our new SponsorHER program allows you to sponsor a girl to complete an entire year cycle of programming for less than a dollar and thirteen cents a day

Besides providing incredible educational opportunities, we create a safe space for young women to express themselves and lean into their character development. 

Creating multi-week-long programs instills accountability and responsibility in our girls, making SponsorHER a unique opportunity. 

SponsorHER is uniquely designed to sponsor one girl to complete an entire programming cycle. This is over 40 weeks of events and educational courses- changing a young woman’s life trajectory. Help launch our future women leaders on their journey to a bright, successful future.

visit https://empowherto.org/sponsor-a-girl/

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