As part of High Impact Lab’s month-long celebration of International Women’s Day, the company held an in-depth interview with Kryton’s CEO and president, Kari Yuers. In it, Kari shows that changing the world starts with changing yourself.
“Aim high. Take risks. Speak up. Listen intently. Do something, anything. Make friends. Be thankful for your lucky breaks. And have a good sense of humour and find opportunities to laugh a lot.”
What was your biggest learning as a leader?
My biggest learning as a leader has been that if you want to change the world around you, you must first change yourself. When I was a young manager at the start of my career, I was keen to work hard and fix problems. I was probably pretty good at some things and not very good at others. The challenge sometimes is to know what is holding you back. I was fortunate to be able to join the first Women’s Roundtable peer mentoring group started by the Vancouver Board of Trade. And later joined other CEO peer groups. Over time, I was able to better understand my own communication style, personality traits, my leadership attributes, develop skills, and have honest conversations and feedback on how I showed up. It’s tough to be vulnerable and face your limitations, but, by learning and changing myself, I found that the organization around me changed and improved. My relationships got better both personally and professionally. I learned that building great teams and having success is all about changing yourself.
What are you most grateful for in your career?
I am very grateful to have a father that raised me to know that I can do anything and that being a woman has gifts that makes us special. Although I learned this from him growing up, it was him that gave me an opportunity to come in to our family owned business and test my grit as a manager. We are in a very male dominated industry supplying concrete durability systems in construction. I am grateful that when I went to industry meetings where I was at times the only woman in the room of 100 men, and instead of feeling intimidated, I felt that I had the advantage. Being a woman helped me to stand out. So perhaps I’m most grateful for learning to have perspective.
What advice would you give to women leaders at the beginning of their careers?
I think everyone’s experience is different, but, I would share that you can do anything you put your mind to. Aim high. Take risks. Speak up. Listen intently. Do something, anything. Make friends. Be thankful for your lucky breaks. And have a good sense of humour and find opportunities to laugh a lot. I never really thought of my job as a career. I’m just doing everything I can to add value and have fun. Money is just the reward. Enjoy the journey.
Excerpted From High Impact Lab