Staple Series: Black Loafers + Female Leadership.

Happy April e31. friends and to all the tax people out there, happy T1 season! I would quickly like to begin by thanking all of our e31. bloggers and to you, the readers, for making March our most visited month of 2015. I’m super excited to keep the ball rolling for April with today’s post, which is another instalment of my Staple Series. So lets jump right in!

Up until now, you have probably seen endless upon endless pumps/heels worn by myself and the other women on e31. The reason being? In addition to elevating a woman’s height, there are several other pros to wearing a great pair of heels that ultimately elevates one’s confidence. If it’s okay with you, I will save all that good stuff for later and talk more about heels in a future post! So what about those days when you want to give your feet a break and allow for some breathing room?

Photos by Victoria.

[ FITDEETS | Blazer & Scarf – Wilfred by Aritzia. | Trousers – OAK + FORT. | Loafers – Michael Kors. ]

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My alternative to heels is always a great pair of loafers as they are another staple that I believe every working woman should have in her professional wardrobe. (Please note that a classic black pair of flats will also work, however, I prefer the loafer style).

I first discovered Michael Kors loafers two summers ago and have been loyal ever since. Aside from the preppy, classic look to them, my favorite attribute is the insole that is made of foam. You can imagine how comfortable they are as they cushion your feet nicely! I have found that I also love wearing these during my days off from work as they literally go with everything. They can complete the perfect work outfit or dress up more of a casual look.

If you’ve been following my posts, you probably have realized that my purchasing behavior when it comes to most clothes and shoes, is that I don’t mind paying a higher price point in order to replace less often. This in the long run has paid off for me as I do believe you get what you pay for- keeping in mind that there are always exceptions. In two and a half years, I finally had to replace my original pair with these similar ones and believe me you, I had a great run with the first pair as I literally wore them all the time. I paid between $115-$135 (CAD) each for both pairs which in my opinion, is not bad considering how long they last.

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The outfit shown here is my version of a “lazy” winter work outfit, where I still want to dress appropriately for my working environment without compromising my comfort level. I know it’s technically spring, however, if you live in a city like Calgary, you’ll know that the weather and the calendar are not on the same chapter, let alone page. (Although, lately YYC has been winning some serious brownie points in the weather category!)

Lets move on (:

A few weeks back on March 8th, it was International Women’s Day. At the Calgary Deloitte office (where I am currently doing my co-op), we celebrated by having a lunch where the office gathered as one to celebrate the firm’s exceptional women leaders. A variety of different questions were asked, but the common theme was “Leading in Volatile Times”. On the panel was Sippy Chhina, Gina Campbell and Renee Lori, who are all partners in different service lines at Deloitte.

Joining plenty of other women at this event was no surprise. What was pleasantly surprising was seeing the number of men who came to support the lunch, including the Prairie Managing Partner, Chris Lee. Chris started off the discussion by talking about one of Deloitte’s core values, “Strength from Cultural Diversity”, and how the firm truly believes that when people of different backgrounds, cultures and thinking styles work together, the member firms of Deloitte benefit. A lot of great truths were mentioned, but probably one of my favorite parts of the discussion was when Sippy discussed one of the ways women, in particular, benefit the firm. Sippy shared that a big differentiator between men and women is the emphasis that each place on relationships. For most women, their success is determined from their relationships- whether that is at work or at home- whereas men tend to be more results driven. As such, women are inclined to have a larger degree of emotional intelligence which is essential for any leader, but particularly one in a professional services firm. It was previously mentioned by one of the women that, “you are never really selling a product/service, you are selling relationships.” At this point, all the men were encouraged to bring their female colleagues to their meetings since women can bring a different insight as they sense relationship information better. Again, there is not one style that is better than the other, but when a business leverages the full attributes of its employees, everyone benefits. Diversity creates inclusiveness when the power of the two ways of thinking come together.

During my short stint at Deloitte thus far, I have truly been impressed by the number of initiatives the company has in support of its women. A few include the Deloitte Women of Influence Luncheon Series, Deloitte Women’s Initiative for Leadership Learning (WILL) and the firm’s participation of the Catalyst Accord. As stated on its website, the Catalyst Accord is a “call-to-action for Canadian corporations to increase the overall proportion of FP500 board seats held by women to 25 percent by 2017.” It has been evident that Deloitte not only talks about supporting its women and how valuable their leadership is, but they show it. Now don’t get me wrong, the ratio of male leaders to female leaders is still not 50/50. However, having worked at a different firm where there was only 1 female partner out of the 21, its been encouraging to see more women at the top! In fact, Cathy Engelbert was named Deloitte U.S.’s CEO earlier this year which also qualified her as the first female U.S. CEO of a Big Four firm.

So to wrap up today’s post, I encourage you to take notice of how or if your workplace encourages its women to take on roles of leadership. If there is little female representation at the top, question why and ask yourself what you can do about it- or if it’s a company that you would still like to be a part of. I couldn’t agree more with Facebook’s COO, Sheryl Sandberg, when she said “Leadership belongs to those who take it.”

Thanks for reading yet another e31. post. Until next time, work hard and be nice to people!

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Learn more about the Catalyst Accord here and read a fantastic interview with Cathy Engelbert here .

Also, a huge shout out to Sippy Chhina for taking the time to read this post and allowing me to reference her in it. Especially towards the end of busy season, it means the world!

(On a side note: if you are an email subscriber, I apologize for any confusion with the last minute change of this post. I was waiting on Sippy’s approval which is why I had a backup post!)

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