Lisa Lisson – President, FedEX Express Canada | 2020 Women of Inspiration™ Inspire Award
Lisa Lisson started her career at FedEx Express Canada as an associate marketing specialist, and rose through the ranks to become president in 2010. Over this time, Lisa has become one of Canada’s most powerful and influential transportation executives. As the leader of 7,600 employees across 68 locations, Lisa has helped build FedEx Express Canada into the most reliable courier network in the country, allowing consumers and businesses to connect Canada and the entire world with uncompromising speed and reliability. Lisa has become a renowned public speaker in Canada and the United States for her revealing discussion about becoming the first woman and first Canadian president in FedEx Express Canada history. With the sudden passing of her husband at a young age, Lisa was left to raise their four children as a single mother, while managing to build a successful career. This has enabled Lisa to acquire many insights and advice that she regularly shares with her audiences with openness and frankness.Every year since she was appointed president, FedEx Express has consistently ranked highest among all transportation companies in Canada on leading published reputation indexes. Lisa starred on the award-winning TV show Undercover Boss and is a best-selling author of a memoir called Resilience.
What is Your Definition of a Woman of Inspiration?
For me, a woman of inspiration is someone who makes a conscious decision every day to live with happiness and gratitude. My mom is a tremendous source of inspiration for me. She has always told me that “life is not about what happens to you, it’s about what you choose to do with what happens.” Even in the darkest moments, a woman of inspiration can find a reason to smile. It is not always easy, but few things in life worth having are.
What Does Being Resilient Mean To You?
The capacity to deal with adversity, or when uncertainty is the new normal, and bounce back even stronger than ever before.
What is the biggest Lesson You Learned During Covid?
For me, the COVID-19 situation has just reinforced the importance of family and friends and looking after each other. When it comes down to it, it’s these relationships that sustain and carry us through everything in life, so it’s important that we nurture them and be more “present” in them every day. I think this situation ended up bringing many people closer together – and in some very creative ways.
What does being recognized as a Woman of Inspiration mean to you?
I was both honoured and humbled about my nomination as a Woman of Inspiration. I am a big believer in seeking out inspiration and surrounding yourself with people, places and things that inspire you. The more surrounded by inspiration you are, the more likely you are to act upon it. That’s why I dedicate myself to sharing my story and experiences through speeches, interviews, and books. I love when women inspire each other, as I feel it is vital for us to support and nurture one another. As much as I believe we need to advocate for ourselves and do the best we can, I don’t believe it should ever be at the expense of others. Women who lift one another up will shatter that glass ceiling. And truthfully, it doesn’t matter who shatters it. It just matters that it breaks.
Our support system plays a critical role. Please tell us about your support and SupportHER champions in your world.
Over the years, I have been the benefactor of many amazing mentors and sponsors. Whether it’s a formal mentor through a mentorship program at your company, or an informal mentor that you seek out yourself, you will never regret making this connection. A great mentor will share their playbook with you, tell you what worked and what didn’t in their own careers, how to navigate sticky situations, and how to identify and bridge gaps in what you need to know and do. I have found that when I go to mentor meetings prepared with scenarios and questions that I would like to discuss, I always come away with good advice and important feedback.
A sponsor is someone within your organization who identifies you as a bright light, and shepherds your career by giving you opportunities to shine. Unlike a mentor, you don’t seek out a sponsor – they find you, and when they do they can change your entire career. Sponsors have your back and they can sometimes see your future better than you can. For example, when I was the director of marketing, one of my male sponsors said he’d put my name forward to run the global customer experience strategy at FedEx. I may have never identified myself for that role, but he saw something in me and pushed me towards it. I ended up getting the project, and it got me in front of the senior executive team, worldwide. This gave me the exposure, access and opportunity that would eventually propel me to the next level. While you’re not in control of naming your sponsor, you are in control of being a sponsor yourself. If you’re sitting in the C-Suite, or in a leadership role, think about what you can do for the up and comers around you.