”Having more female leaders is essential!”
As the Chief of People Services and Corporate Secretary of the Canadian Red Cross, Ann Clancy is a living example that with perseverance, dedication, and humanity, women can rise through the ranks to an executive function and thus pulverize the glass ceiling that so many women face.
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As most Canadians, Ann Clancy’s experience with Red Cross dates back to childhood and learning to swim. Red Cross swim badges were a big accomplishment in her house. In 2003, after being involved for many years as a first aid instructor and volunteer and knowing the incredible work done by staff and volunteers of the Red Cross; she left a fulltime position at another organization to take the chance with a 1 year maternity leave contract as the Director of Human Resources for the Ontario Zone in the hopes of contributing in new ways to Canadian Red Cross.

” Almost 18 years later, I have never looked back”

– Ann Clancy, Canada

Ann has been engaged with a number of Canadian Red Cross operations on various levels but the most significant was her mission to Indonesia and Sri Lanka in late 2005 and early 2006 to support Canadian Red Cross’s Tsunami operations as Regional HR delegate. She will never forget standing with local staff at mass graves on the first anniversary of the Tsunami and having the honor of hearing their stories, learning about their lost loved ones and celebrating the resilience of people as they embarked on the journey of rebuilding their lives. Over 200,000 people lost their lives in that tragedy.

Going from volunteer to First Aid instructor to Human Resource Director at the provincial and then national level, and now an Executive Officer of Canadian Red Cross, she demonstrated over the years that it is possible to grow within the organization and perform executive functions while relying on emotional intelligence and being true to personal values such as respect, inclusion, humanity and collaboration.

” Red Cross is all about people. Working with Red Cross allows you to see the best of humanity even when people are facing tragedy. Working with both staff and volunteers who give so much of themselves, their time and their talent, the sacrifices they make with their own families, is an inspiration ”, she says.

Ann Clancy is also an inspiration for women of the organization. She has always been an advocate for the people we serve and the volunteers and staff who deliver our mission day after day. She is highly committed to diversity, inclusion and belonging and makes sure it is a top priority for the organization.

Having more female leaders is essential! Ann is convinced that we need more diversity in the Movement in the form of women and underrepresented groups in leadership. Women often represent the majority of staff, volunteers and even beneficiaries at the Red Cross. To reflect that and better understand their reality, Red Cross would greatly benefit from more women in leading roles. Women leaders often bring a different perspective than male leaders and diversity of thoughts and approaches in leadership is critical to good decision making.

Working at the executive level, Ann truly understands the challenges women leaders face when taking on leadership positions. Many leadership teams are still mainly composed of men. Her message to women leaders is that they should feel confident in challenging inappropriate behaviors while also engaging positively. As women, we often lack self-confidence in our roles and tend to undermine ourselves through our own inner talk or feeling of inadequacy, although there is no reason to do so. The leadership journey is one of continuous growth and learning and therefore we should not expect ourselves to be perfect in all that we are and all that we do.

” I want young women to envision themselves in leadership roles for the future ”

– Ann Clancy, Canada

This requires women in leadership now to see them and support them. She believes that women mentoring women, helping them build confidence and opening doors to new opportunities is probably the biggest area GLOW Red can impact.

What she dreams of?
• That women feel confident to step up to leadership roles even when they may not think they ’re completely ready;
• That women have safe environments to learn and grow as leaders, make mistakes and continuously improve;
• That it is recognized that women in leadership are there because they earned it and that they truly have relevant and significant contributions to make: and,
• Most importantly that women can be in supportive environments where holding leadership roles and having the personal/family life that they wish is not only achievable but celebrated.

Women leaders need to be mentors and supporters of the next generations and at the Canadian Red Cross, Ann is showing the way to younger women.

Ann Clancy

Canada, 2003

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Did you know...

Companies where 8 out of every 20 managers are female, generate about 34% of their revenues from innovative products and services. In companies where only 1 out of every 20 managers is female, this is only 25%.

– Humanitarian Advisory Group – Drawing on our Diversity: Humanitarian Leadership Lorenzo, R. et al. (2017)

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