Supporting high performance and highly engaged teams nationally and internationally, Suzanne Trusdale, VP of small business solutions, is a champion of diversity and inclusion at TELUS.
Along with her passion for seeing her team members develop and succeed, Suzanne is the Global co-chair of Connections, a women's network focused on the career growth and progression of women at TELUS as well as the executive sponsor for Spectrum Ontario, TELUS’ resource group for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and allied (LGBTQ+) team members.
To celebrate International Women’s Day, we connected with Suzanne on the impact of diversity within an organization and the importance of entrepreneurship in Canada.
Given your longstanding investment in the professional development of team members at TELUS, what changes have you seen in the rise of women into leadership roles and business success?
I have always been very passionate about the role and the impact that women make within an organization and I think that women walk the talk and bring a different perspective to the table. And while gender is part of diversity, we consider diversity a far bigger spectrum.
At TELUS, we are intentional about reflecting the customers that we serve and I’m incredibly proud of the work that we’ve done so far. It’s exciting to see the incredible strides and amount of change that’s taken place over the years on how diversity is incorporated into the very fabric of all our decision making and how we support one another as team members.
We will continually and purposefully focus on incorporating higher levels of diversity, including more women’s voices within the organization.
Given your previous experience as an entrepreneur, what advice do you have for other women entrepreneurs?
I’ve always had a passion for business and by the time I was twenty-seven, I had my own restaurant and was fortunate enough to expand it into a successful catering business.
It’s amazing to see the shift happening in women becoming self-employed, perhaps entering into something that allows them more flexibility and balance, or following a long-standing dream of doing something on their own.
Entrepreneurs, and especially women, must have the courage to stand behind their beliefs, and have their voices heard.
One of the most important pieces of advice that I’d give is how essential it is to understand your strategy and lay down a plan to stay focused. Owners often have to take on many roles within their business and I often say, “beware of the tyranny of the urgent.” Perhaps a fire comes up and they’re caught off guard, or the market dynamics shift, or maybe they see a competitor do something a little differently – the focus is drawn away from the core strategy. As a business owner, you must have a very clear vision of where you see your business moving forward in order to achieve success.
Second, Attracting and keeping talent is often difficult whether you are a small or big company. It’s essential to help employees develop and grow and how they impact the business as an employee and individual.
Last, don’t be afraid to ask for the help you need, you’d be incredibly surprised at how many people want to listen and help. Be courageous and stand behind your vision.
How has TELUS supported entrepreneurship in Canada?
At TELUS, we believe that small business ownership is a big deal. With 70 per cent of new jobs created in the last five years by small businesses; we recognize the importance they play in a thriving Canadian economy.However, 66 per cent of Canadians cite access to funding, mentorship and guidance as the largest barriers to starting a business.
TELUS Pitch is Canada’s largest small business contest, a unique platform to shine a spotlight on entrepreneurs, celebrate their success and to do our part to give back to this important community in the form of funding, mentorship and exposure on a national scale.
I’m incredibly encouraged and inspired by the thousands of amazing business stories we’ve heard over the last eight years and look forward to the many more we’ll here in years to come.
To learn more about the TELUS Pitch, visit telus.com/pitch and sign up for the latest contest updates.