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June 11, 2013Welcome to the latest in our series of #WomenCan profiles, highlighting executives who are Catalysts for change in their careers and their companies. This week, the spotlight is on Chantal Glenisson, Senior Vice-President, Operations, Eastern Canada, Walmart Canada Corp., who learned about diversity at a very young age!

MEET: Chantal Glenisson, Senior Vice-President, Operations, Eastern

Canada, Walmart Canada Corp.

Early influences: I was born in Casablanca, Morocco to French parents, and spent my early years in Casablanca and in Tarbes, France, where my father was a baker. When I was seven, we moved to Quebec, Canada, so my father could fulfill his dream of having his own baking business. We came to a new country and had to fit in, which helped me learn about diversity at a very young age.

My dad taught me: If you have a dream, reach for what you want. Even if there are obstacles, be resilient and keep going. He also taught me that your customers are your boss. He loved his customers, and his passion is why I’m in retail now.

Career path: I studied Business Administration at Ste Croix College in Montreal, and in 2010 completed my WM EMBA in partnership with Harvard Business School. Before joining Walmart, I spent several years with Provigo Inc./Loblaws Companies Limited, one of Canada’s largest food retailers. There, I held many key leadership positions in several different areas of the business. I joined Walmart Canada in 2006, and now provide leadership for 65 stores and 13,000 associates.

Paying it forward:  In 2010, my CEO and COO asked me to handle Walmart’s initiative to develop women talent in Canada, so I implemented the Women in Retail project. It started small, with just 45 high-potential women. We held listening sessions and asked them questions like: ”How come you’re not comfortable reaching a leadership role in the organization?” “What is stopping you?” We learned so much from those sessions, and now have a three-year plan to make changes. We have implemented training sessions, webinars, and mentorship and sponsorship programs to empower these women across the company. The success of this great program has enabled us to promote an average of 30 percent of its participants. The project snowballed throughout Canada, and is now global.

Best advice: Have passion and confidence, put your mind on what you want to accomplish, and surround yourself with people who can help you. And be yourself. I did not try to be special because I was a woman. I was myself…I was Chantal…and I had something to bring to the table.

Few women feel 100 percent comfortable being themselves in the workplace, but Chantal believes this is crucial to success. What can companies and individual leaders do to help make you feel more comfortable bringing your “whole self” to work? Share your comments below.

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Hear more of Chantal’s comments  from the Catalyst Connects panel at our 2013 Catalyst Awards Conference.

Read our other #WomenCan profiles:

 http://www.catalyst.org/blog/catalyzing/womencan-spotlight-abbe-luersman

http://www.catalyst.org/blog/catalyzing/womencan-spotlight-shachi-irde

See how one mom and daughter shared a #WomenCan moment.

Watch and share our #WomenCan Video.

Learn how others are Catalysts for change at IAmA.Catalyst.org. Sheryl Sandberg is a Catalyst. How about you?