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Michelle Hunte

Program Manager, Walmart Canada

Sector: Private Sector
Discipline: Portfolio Management
Year: 2023

Michelle Hunte

Program Manager, Walmart Canada

Milestones in a career and life are a wonderful way of inspiring our emerging young leaders. Please share a proud or “magic moment” that shaped your journey?

An important milestone in my career and life was being accepted into the Toronto CREW mentorship program. As a mentee, I received guidance and support at the early stage of my career and it provided professional development opportunities that helped me build up my confidence and increased my knowledge of the industry. Also, I was able to access an amazing network of female leaders, many of whom developed into meaningful friendships. The mentorship program was the best investment in myself and it was the catalyst for future leadership roles within the organization. This opportunity helped to shape me into the professional I am today.

Who were your major influencers/mentors (up to 2) and what were the key lessons you gained from them?

One of my major influencers is Bonny McCloud, who was the mentor I was matched with at Toronto CREW. She is one of my biggest cheerleaders. Bonny sees my talent and reminds me of my value even when I am filled with self-doubt. She always provides great insight and perspective. For example, she explained to me the impact that a global company can make and what it means to be a leader in sustainability. At the beginning of my career, she taught me how the different areas of expertise within real estate are interconnected. Another key lesson Bonny taught me was the qualities of a leader. She exemplifies the type of leader I want to be and embodies the values that I admire such as respect, patience and kindness. She is an accomplished and well-respected person and I am fortunate to her have as a mentor.

Another major influencer on my career and life is Farrah Khimji. She has been a great advocate, continually motivating me and pushing me beyond my comfort zone in order to helped me grow. She convinced me to start and lead Toronto CREW’s committee that is focused on diversity, equity and inclusion and then encouraged me to become a Board of Director. Both of these experiences have been fulfilling and rewarding. Both opportunities have improved my leadership and communication skills, elevated my strategic thinking and creative problem-solving skills, helping me become a more confident and effective leader. Farrah has taught me the importance of discovering my purpose by tapping into my passion. I am inspired by her bold leadership and she has taught me what it means to be a trailblazer.

What do you think are the next big challenges we need to tackle as an industry and as a successful city-region? Are there specific things you think we should be doing to meet the challenges?

The next big challenge is gender pay parity. To tackle this challenge, different tactics should be deployed such as increasing the implementation of gender parity policies and improving transparency of data by encouraging more companies and employees to participate in industry studies and surveys that report on the gender and diversity. Also, showcasing employers that have an advancement strategy for women and marginalized employees and are leading the way towards an equitable future.

Tell us how you champion others in the industry.

I champion women and people of colour by encouraging them to take leadership positions and I find and/or create opportunities for them to be moderators or panelist. I also create and volunteer my time to initiatives that help to diversify the talent pipeline in to the industry, such as Real Jobs Day and CREW REV Bursary summer program and 2020 – 2022 Board of Director of CREW Network Foundation.

What is your secret talent no one knows you have?

I can make a delicious Thanksgiving turkey.

What is the best word to describe you? And Why?

Determination because I accomplish any initiative I put my mind to.