Leadership Insights by Jay-Ann Gilfoy

A way forward toward exponential impact

Being a leader of an organization that wants to put the tools of finance in service of addressing big issues like affordability and climate means that we need a different WAY to do things.

Success means building a coalition of cross sector relationships that will accelerate change. With this coalition comes a way of being that sharing knowledge, tools, resources will develop into a lasting exchange of value for all

Reciprocity is a way to BE where trust and integrity are key.

It is a lens from which we ask the question, "How can I be most generous with my ideas, time and energy not because I expect something in return but because I trust that something much bigger will be created for the benefit of all as a result?"

Let's look at some examples:

  • Cooperative organizations

Look at Vancity; Mountain Equipment Co-op; Modo Ca-sharing; FCL. All of these are successful businesses on their own, mutually owned by members who care about the success, built on principles that are inclusive and cooperative.  In essence they operate in a way that demonstrates and leverages reciprocity for the benefit of the collective.

  • Indigenous communities 

Indigenous communities provide an amazing model of circular relationships celebrating reciprocity - stronger together than independently with a perspective that the leaders of today are here because of the many generations before them and have a role to play for generations to come. We have much to learn from these community examples.

  • Women-led organizations

If you dissect many women-led businesses, their way of growing business is more naturally akin to creating an ecosystem rather than something that is grown transaction-ally.  As part of a women-led organization and part of a women-led club at Verity in Toronto, I see the natural ways women work to support each other in growing their business, networks and leadership capabilities. And some of them are doing exceptionally well!

Untitled design (2)

As a "practice" to realize the full power of reciprocity in our leadership, these are the things that I endeavour to keep in mind:

  1. Open Source your ideas, knowledge and experience, give whatever your capabilities are to others and something will come back to you out of it.
  2. Give Love! Build trust as a core foundation of reciprocal relationships.
  3. Connect Networks. Look for intersections and how they can best be filled for the greater good, exponential impact.
  4. Celebrate success. When we see new pathways emerge we should amplify them and show our appreciation.


"Your potential is way bigger than you.

Your success, your well-being, and your performance are all connected to that of the people around you!"

~ Shawn Achor, Big Potential


*Definition source: https://www.reciprocalmentoringlab.com/

Jay-Ann Gilfoy, a visionary senior leader who develops high-performing teams with a future-oriented focus on people, purpose + profits all operating at their highest potential. Learn more about Jay-Ann here.

Learn more about our PowHERhouse AMPLIFY program for senior leaders here.

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