PowHERhouse Portrait | Noreen Mahoney

PowHERhouse recently had the opportunity to sit down with academic leader, Noreen Mahoney, BComm, CPA, CA, MBA, Associate Dean of Students & Degree Programs at the Edwards Executive Education Unit, University of Saskatchewan, and talk about her story and the impact she has made with her life.

Noreen MahoneyNoreen is a facilitator and educator with over 20 years of experience leading people and developing greatness in others.  She is a business strategist that combines leading-edge and effective analytical approaches with a real-world understanding of market forces, labour challenges and financial requirements.  Recognized for having a unique ability to thrive in a collegial, complex and unstructured environment with a focus on positive outcomes for all stakeholders, Noreen demonstrates a deep passion for problem-solving, mentoring and inspiring trust.

Personal Mission: To enable greatness in individuals through relationships.

Leadership Experience:  Execution, Productivity, Education

My role as Associate Dean, Students & Degree programs is a position dedicated to expanding and enriching our educational programs and supporting and enhancing the student experience at Edwards.  We want our mission of “building business professionals” to permeate the campus and we want to prepare our students for a world of career possibilities.  Building nations speaks to our focus on the broad community around us.  Whether it be aboriginal initiatives that bring us to the heart of our First Nation’s reserves or whether it’s travelling across the world to represent the Canadian nation – we want our students to be prepared for whatever opportunities present themselves.

Tell us more about the Edwards Executive Education Unit.

The Edwards School of Business through its Executive Education Unit develops leaders that excel in an environment of constant change. We offer training in key business areas, including communications skills, board governance certification, project management, business analysis, financial management, executive retreats, half-day seminars and leadership development programming.

Since 1981, we have helped educate and train thousands of men and women representing hundreds of businesses, government agencies, and not-for-profit organizations to develop personal and professional management and leadership competence. Our programs are available to all employers and individuals wanting to gain knowledge through a fun, fast-paced and dynamic learning environment.

What is your ultimate dream for your role/business/mission and where you’d like to take it? What’s it all about for you?

Success for me is about value creation in the form of human capital and potential.  Every person who graduates from one of our programs has an opportunity to change the world.  If we provide a foundation for success in our students that enables their development, we have made a difference. 

Over the last 15 years, the Edwards Executive Education unit has empowered many women to reach their full potential through a variety of women’s initiatives. Programming such as the Betty-Ann Heggie Womentorship program, a screening of the Lunafest International Film Festival, the Empowering Women Leaders program, and the Women of Influence Breakfast Presentation has led the way in developing and inspiring women to reach their leadership capacity. Saskatchewan has a strong women’s network, and we want to continue to build leadership capacity in our province. That is why we decided to run SPEAK! Canada program in partnership with PowHERhouse which will increase a professional woman’s ability to communicate effectively to any audience. We are confident this program will help many women to find their voice and take their lead.

Noreen Mahoney

Describe what success looks like – complete fruition. 

This is a good place to share my favourite quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson.  This is what success ultimately looks like to me.  My manifesto:

To laugh often and love much;

To win the respect of intelligent people

And the affection of children;

To earn the approbation of honest critics

And endure the betrayal of false friends;

To appreciate beauty;

To find the best in others;

To give one’s self;

To leave the world a little better,

Whether by a healthy child,

A garden patch,

Or a redeemed social condition;

To have played and laughed with enthusiasm

And sung with exaltation;

To know even one life has breathed easier

Because you have lived…

This is to have succeeded.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Biggest highlight of your career/journey thus far?

Being selected as the Associate Dean, representing the Students interests, at the Edwards School of Business.   This is my dream job.  I get to do what I love every day and live my mission.

What would you say your top 3 Excellence Habits are (i.e. habits that ensure your success)?

  1. Manage your energy. Take time to renew your physical, emotional, mental and spiritual energy.  Activities that renew these dimensions must be scheduled and protected.  One of my favourite and most consistent self-care rituals occurs first thing in the morning, my favourite time of the day.  I spend 20 minutes in the hot tub with a cup of coffee and then 20 minutes doing yoga.  Time very well spent.
  2. Routines set you free! I am a trained professional accountant, so it’s hard not to love process.  I have found that in order to achieve high levels of excellence you must habitualize performance in all aspects of your life.  This applies to how you manage your affairs at work and at home.  For example:  weekly structured check-ins where employees report their top priority for the week and progress on the prior week.  Working for 3 hours of uninterrupted time each morning on your highest priority item (email and phone are off!); insisting on hot lunches and meal-planning.  Whatever is important to you, create habits and routines around these priorities and stick to them.
  3. Relationships first; productivity second.  People won’t remember what you did, but they’ll remember how you made them feel.

Describe your top 3 Time Management Tips as they relate to your Mission.

I’m a big Steven Covey fan so 10 years ago I created a personal mission statement; this is my longest long-term goal, and I use it to guide decisions around how I prioritize my time.  It is vitally important to know what you want and to focus on this so that you have a reason to say no.

One of Stephen Covey’s quotes sums it up nicely:

“You have to decide what your highest priorities are and have the courage—pleasantly, smilingly, nonapologetically, to say “no” to other things. And the way you do that is by having a bigger “yes” burning inside. The enemy of the “best” is often the “good.”

Describe collaboration and what that looks like/feels like on the ground – how does it show up in your life?

Collaboration is about creating win-win agreements and systems.  All long-term relationships must be built on a foundation of mutual understanding and mutual benefit.  As a leader, you can use your authority to get what you want but if you do this too often, it will erode trust and lead to disengagement.  Collaboration is about working together to create something better than either party could have created alone.

Top 3 things on your Bucket List.

I have a very long bucket list, which I’ve been slowly whittling away.  I cannot pick the top three, but I will say it is an eclectic mix and includes a number of big and small items like “ride a dog sled”, “learn to play the piano” and “get published”.

I’m really energized by the tiny house, sustainability movement so lately all dreams have been focused on buying a small piece of land and building a passive solar greenhouse where my partner and I can grow vegetables year round!  With that would be the design and build of an energy efficient small home.

What would be your tips for women regarding a walking their talk and a courageously approaching what is most important to them; i.e. where do we go from here in terms of supporting and inspiring women to step-up and continue moving forward with their missions… regardless of how hard it may feel at times.  #confidence  #courage  #connections #capital

Be Authentic – Own who you are as a person and the experiences that shaped you. Declare yourself worthy every day that you are exactly where you should be.

Be Trustworthy – Integrity is everything; In order for people to feel safe around you, they must know that you will be honest, fair and vulnerable.

Be Compelling – Know what you stand for as a leader, SPEAK UP!, and give people a reason to follow you.


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