Recognizing and celebrating women leaders at Seasons


March 8 is International Women’s Day, an important opportunity to celebrate women’s achievements while calling for greater equality. At Seasons, we believe that celebrating the contributions and talents of our team members is important in making our employees feel valued. 

Chief Operating Officer, LeighAnne Voll says, “Seasons, like the retirement home sector in general, is a predominantly female workforce. There are countless women who go above and beyond for our residents or their fellow co-workers, all while balancing the pressures of work and home. We appreciate these efforts year-round, but International Women’s Day gives us an opportunity to shine a spotlight on the specific contributions of the dedicated women who work for us.”

In honour of International Women’s Day, we wanted to highlight some of our female executives by sharing their thoughts on what the day means to them, advice for women of the future, and where they find their own inspiration. Seasons sat down with Ogenna Maduekwe, Maribeth Gregor, Nicole Almost and Stephanie Sanborn pictured above from left to right.

(Seasons): In your own words, tell us about your current role.

(Ogenna): As the Senior Director of Financial Services, I lead a team of six fabulous women in accounting and finance. Going on five years, I feel grateful for still being able to learn something new each day, being given opportunities to prove myself and to be led by an amazing management team.

(Seasons): What woman inspires you and why?

(Ogenna): My mom is my biggest inspiration in many ways, but one example is how she took care of her own mother until she passed on. She ensured that my grandmother was comfortable and cared for in her later years. I know that if I can do half of what she did, I would have been a great daughter.

(Seasons): What advice would you give women leaders of the future?

(Ogenna): Embrace who you are and be yourself, imperfections and all. In doing so, you will find acceptance, confidence, and strength.

(Seasons): How important is it to encourage, support and empower other women in the workplace?

(Ogenna): This is so important, more so today than ever. Women of all backgrounds need to have a seat at the table. We need to be able to celebrate our differences while supporting each other. We need to have strong voices to represent us. I do my best to support and empower women of colour, especially through the Black Female Accountants Network.

(Seasons): In your own words, tell us about your current role.

(Maribeth): I’m the Senior Director of Sales at Seasons, which means I support and coach the Leasing Managers, General Managers and teams in our homes to build relationships and make connections with prospects, families and community partners, along with monitoring our residence occupancies.

(Seasons): What is the best piece of advice you received from a female mentor?

(Maribeth): I have been so fortunate to work alongside a number of very strong women in my career that I consider mentors. Instead of advice, I would say that their combined encouragement helped me succeed in the field I am in today. When I couldn’t see my own potential, they motivated, elevated and inspired me to take the “leap.”

(Seasons): What does the International Women’s Day #EachforEqual mean to you in your work life?

(Maribeth): This theme means to me, that as a female, you shouldn’t have to be more or do more to achieve more. We need to lift each other up, rather than comparing ourselves to one another. We all have strengths and weaknesses, but as a combined team – you can get the job done and do it well!

(Seasons): Do you consider your field male-dominated? If so, what advice would you give women struggling in this type of environment?

(Maribeth): I find that the corporate side of business can be male-dominated. Earlier in my career, I felt that my enthusiasm and passion for my work was perceived as a weakness; that it was somehow too emotional. In fact, my enthusiasm was a reflection of my dedication and willingness to devote my time to something that meant a lot to me. My advice is to surround yourself with people who understand you, empower you and who all want to rise in your area of expertise, together.

(Seasons): In your own words, tell us about your current role.

(Nicole): I am the Senior Regional Director of Resident and Guest Services for the Seasons Retirement Communities in Alberta. In the simplest terms, my job is to make things easier for our frontline team members and provide a great home for our residents. This could mean operational support, coaching and mentoring, handling resident and guest relations, and so on. No two days are ever the same!

(Seasons): As a woman who has advanced her career, what has been the most significant barrier you have faced? How did you overcome this barrier?

(Nicole): Perception. I came to realize that people still have a lot of preconceived notions about women in the workplace, especially young women. I’m ambitious, versatile and have worked hard for the opportunities that were presented to me; my age shouldn’t matter and neither should yours.

(Seasons): What advice you wish you could have given yourself at the beginning of your career?

(Nicole): Your story is something to be proud of! Often, in the beginning, I felt a lot of pressure that my life should look a certain way. It took time for me to accept that my path is my own and it shouldn’t look like anyone else’s. That’s what makes us unique.

(Seasons): What advice would you give women leaders of the future?

(Nicole): Be fearless and stay the course. Be accepting of the fact that your journey won’t be a paint-by-numbers path. You have to take the dips and curves in the road as opportunities to learn and grow; they truly build character and strength.

(Seasons): In your own words, tell us about your current role.

(Stephanie): I’m the Director of Innovation and Education at Seasons, which means I focus on building strategic partnerships with academic institutions influencing age-related research and work to expand knowledge around the rewarding career paths within our sector. I also work to expand technology-based learning modalities for staff that will reinforce our values and culture, and enable them to have a deeper understanding of providing person-centered care to our residents, such as a virtual reality 360-degree dementia training experience.

(Seasons): What woman inspires you and why?

(Stephanie): I can’t name one person, but women as the collective. I have worked alongside many resilient women who have managed to navigate through a lot in their lives and still maintain authenticity to be themselves. Women who have worked hard to find a position that gives them purpose and meaning while managing life’s external factors; like single mothers who manage their household while making important decisions and traveling the nation, women who work through cancer treatment, women who go back to school mid-life to advance their career, young moms who balance babyhood and work commitments, women who have a full-time career while caring for aging parents, and new immigrants working hard to afford to bring their entire family to Canada. It is these women who inspire me.

(Seasons): How important is it to encourage, support and empower other women in the workplace?

(Stephanie): It’s so important to rally around women, especially when they choose to speak up at meetings or offer ideas and solutions to challenges. I think the best way to show this support is to stop yourself and listen wholeheartedly to these women as they share their thoughts and enthusiasm. Allow them to be their true self, let them express what is important to them. It takes confidence to use your voice.

Along with celebrating and recognizing the women of Seasons, the organization as a whole is participating in the Shoebox Project for Women. All 20 of our senior living homes, in addition to the corporate office, are working to collect and distribute gift-filled Shoeboxes to women impacted by homelessness in communities across Canada. The initiative is running from March 2-9.

Discover Life at Seasons. Book a Personal Visit Today.