How influential women achieve success at Seasons


To celebrate International Women’s Day, Seasons asks three influential women – Jessica Poling, Senior Director of Employee Services, Danielle Stevenson, Senior Regional Director of Guest Services and Allison Stapleton, General Manager of Seasons Welland – about their successes, challenges and advice for future female leaders.

A little about them…

Jessica Poling: Has a background in Political Science and Labour Relations. After realizing a career as a political scientist was questionable she decided to pursue further education in HR. Jessica started at Seasons as an intern and came back as an Employee Services Coordinator. As the business grew, she was promoted to  Generalist, Manager and is now the Senior Director of Employee Services.





Danielle Stevenson: Started her career as a Health Care Aide and climbed up the ladder. She worked in activities and became an Activity Manager, General Manager and achieved her current position as the Senior Regional Director of Guest Services.






Allison Stapleton: Began working at Seasons as a server and cook. After a few years, she took the opportunity to work at the front desk. Her knowledge and experience launched her into the position of the Business Manager where she set the goal to become a General Manager. An opportunity came again in the form of Leasing Manager, so she applied and was successful. Allison’s perseverance and hard work paid off – Today, she is the General Manager of Seasons Welland.

How did you attain your current role?

Danielle: “I was fortunate to have many great mentors and leaders in my life. I started out in the business as a Health Care Aide and moved up the ladder. Was in activities and then an Activity Manager, General Manager and now my current role as the Senior Regional Director of Guest Services.”

Allison: “By embracing opportunities as they came and learning as much as I could in each role I was in.”

Jessica: “Grit. Persistency. Resiliency. I have been presented with great opportunities and doors that have opened. Sometimes it is luck, but you absolutely have to work hard for that to happen. Being humble is important but, I can feel great knowing I work hard and push forward when faced with life challenges or adversity. Taking the hit, or identifying the “No” is easy. Getting up and getting to “yes” takes intelligence and hard work.”

Obstacles women face today

Jessica: “Society struggles with women who are independent and assertive. When Prime Minister Trudeau issued the landmark phrase, “because its 2015,” it was fresh and affirming. But we still hear people and institutions saying women have to lead to hit quotas or to make the workplace seem equal. Politics aside – women are leaders because of merit. We are going to school, graduating, leading, working hard and getting results.

Danielle: “Respect from others, self-confidence and feeling the need to prove yourself to others. I tell my daughter that you have to be confident in who you are before others will be confident in you.

Allison: “Gaining respect from others. Women still need to be more assertive with their leadership style and need to make their expectations overly clear to get the same message across.”

Has progress been made?

Jessica: “Slow, but definite signs of progress have been made. There are many examples of women in politics, sports and the business scene who are role models. Look at the recent success of Canadian women at the 2018 Winter Olympics. We are seeing the results of strategic thinking, funding and recognition. Yes, women sweat, have kids and work. And yes, they can claim a spot on the podium. #BossLadies”

Danielle: “Yes, but society in general still finds it hard to see a woman in an authoritative position because we are still talking about it which means it hasn’t become the norm.”

Allison: “Yes, I currently get to work with a fantastic leadership team made up of men and women who respect the skills and expertise of each person regardless of gender.”

Challenges future generations face

Jessica: “Achieving success and equality and then having the ability to let it go. I’m in a different place in the employment atmosphere than women 10-15 years older than me or my mother. They faced a different work and social ecosystem and it’s important to remember and recognize their struggles, challenges and success.”

Danielle: “That you must start at the bottom. You have to work your way up to a leadership role. It’s important the next generation understands that not everyone is going to like you. You can’t delete a photo because you don’t get a high number of likes, being a leader is not a popularity contest and you have to be OK with that.”

Allison: “Accessing career advancement opportunities. The job market is competitive and with technology becoming more prevalent, people are more protective of their jobs.”

Career advice

Jessica: “Surround yourself with the right people. Create your own personal Board of Directors. Surround yourself with people who encourage, support, push you forward to be your best self – and know that you want to do the same for them. People who are looking out for you will have your trust and they will be brutally honest with you and push back and challenge you if necessary. Know when to be selfish and when to be selfless.”

Danielle: “Like what you do! It makes it so much easier to get up for work in the morning.”

Allison: “If you want to achieve something don’t wait. Start setting goals and taking the steps to get there. Look for opportunities and take them, don’t be afraid of change.”

The Statistics Canada Labour Force Survey (LFS) reports that in 2017 an estimated 593,400 Canadian women occupied management positions compared to 572,300 women in 2013. These findings signify a change in the way society is employing Canadian women and a shift in the perceptions of traditional gender roles. While there is still much work to be done to eliminate gender disparity, progress is evident.

With strong, smart and powerful women like Jessica, Danielle and Allison, the future is brighter than ever before. Happy International Women’s Day and thank you to all the women who work hard every day to forge women’s advancement.





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