This summer I met with an amazing lady who has done it all. From humble beginnings in P.E.I., Jessie Inman has since travelled to over 70 countries around the world, climbed several mountains, dog sledded across northern Greenland, hiked many of the best treks in the world, and sailed to Antarctica — twice.
Her management experiences are diverse, as well as global. She has worked in many countries around Europe, Japan, and almost every state in the USA while working for External Affairs and International Trade. She has even lived long term in Indonesia and Australia.
She was Canada’s investment adviser to Indonesia. For the first six years in Jakarta and then Semarang, Central Java where she was president director of PT Palliser Indonesia. During her time in Indonesia she was also vice-president of the Indonesia-Canada Chamber of Commerce. During this time she was able to help many Canadian companies become established in the area.
As an investment adviser she learned that the relationships you develop are everything. At first, she believed the culture in Australia was more macho than in Canada, however, she discovered that it actually wasn’t. A lasting memory is the chairman saying, “Jessie, you have the total respect of the sector here and that’s unusual.”
Being an entrepreneur with a strong desire to create teams came naturally for her. Working collaboratively with individuals, corporations and boards is her strength. She brings insight and experience to inspire organizations and people to new heights by helping them develop and refine their goals for success.
She believed from an early age that her strength was leadership. Which for her means leading teams, creating a collaborative vision, following through, and getting things done in a timely manner.
In 2009 Inman and her husband, Allan Hart, returned to P.E.I. where she became the first female CEO of Confederation Centre of the Arts. Some of her achievements include staging Evangeline, renovating the theatre mainstage and returning the original Samuel Holland map from England. While participating in the Dream Catchers project she developed a desire to work with Canada’s Indigenous people.
Since attending the directors course in Australia, much of her career has been involvement with boards of directors. After returning to Canada she became certified by the Canadian Institute of Corporate Directors. This resulted in her serving on numerous boards and most recently guided an improved governance structure at Confederation Centre for the Arts.
She is a certified corporate director, motivational speaker, movement instructor, and world explorer. In 2019, she went to Ecuador and became a certified yoga teacher. It was yoga and meditation that brought stability in her fast-paced life.
Recently she became involved with the Royal Canadian Navy, through their CLaS (Canadian Leaders at Sea) program. This past summer, she officially became an “ambassador” of the RCN and speaks extensively about their mission.
Inman learned that teamwork and creating a shared vision with the senior management are the most significant of all management roles. Always ensuring the interests of others on the team are equally important as your own.
She believes it is critical to always listen and follow the advice of others. When things do not go as expected, it is the whole team who must pick up the ball and together discuss, plan, find solutions, and create a Plan B, so that the organization comes out the other side in a constructive manner.
As her legacy, she would like to be remembered as a person who never stopped learning, never stopped reaching for her dreams, and faced head-on her fears. Her practice is to constantly ask others for help, be tenacious, and always be committed to the success of others as well as your own.
One final note: Just as I was finishing this article, she received an appointment to the board of governors of Holland College.
My question for managers: Do you truly listen to, and encouraging your team, so that when things do not go as expected, they will have your back and support you when required?
Joe Sherren is an international business transformation specialist.