Growing up as the only girl among four brothers and working in traditionally male dominated sectors hasn’t stopped TransLink’s CFO Cathy McLay from reaching top jobs and being recognized as an inspiring leader.
“I remember when I was working in forestry and I was at an executive dinner. One of my colleagues leaned over and asked me if I was ever uncomfortable working with all these males. That’s when I realized that I was the only female at the table,” says McLay who is one of 100 women from across Canada from various disciplines to be named 2016’s Most Powerful Women in Canada by the Women’s Exchange Network (WXN).
Cathy’s refusal to let her gender dictate her career is something she attributes to the strong work ethic she learned from her mother and grandfather. When McLay was living in Prince George and a mother of two small children she completed her Accounting designation by correspondence without any outside help. Her tenacity lead to her quickly rising the ranks during her 15 years in forestry and later in transit.
This latest award is one of many McLay has won over the years. One of them being a BC CFO of the Year award for her efforts in corporate growth, strategic decision making, solid business principles and overall performance excellence and financial reporting.
When asked if she had any advice for women who want to follow in her footsteps McLay replied with some words of wisdom,
“Women need to take calculated risks. When we [women] look at taking on new responsibilities we sometimes look at the things we have deficiencies in, rather than the strengths we can bring to the job. I would encourage women to value the contributions that we bring and know that we need to allow ourselves the luxury of learning along the way.”
I hope you can join TransLink in congratulating Cathy in another well deserved honour!
Author: Robert Willis