“It’s important to be self-aware about what you know, what you don’t know, and what you need to know.”
– Vania Sakelaris, Executive in Residence, U of T Scarborough Management
Vania Sakelaris specializes in catalyzing, supporting, and advancing change. This includes working in the capacity of CEO, as a provincial planner and funder, as an entrepreneur and Executive Coach. Building on more than 25 years of progressive senior leadership, Vania has established and demonstrated effective knowledge of good governance through her work with boards in the for-profit and not-for-profit sectors.
She is committed to lifelong learning and providing mentorship to university students and entrepreneurs. Learn more about Vania’s vision and values below.
Department of Management: Vania, we are thrilled to welcome you in this dynamic portfolio. Let’s get to know you better: where did you grow up? What are some of your greatest achievements?
Vania Sakelaris: I grew up in Scarborough! Both of my parents were entrepreneurs. I am incredibly proud of becoming a CEO in my 20s and successfully leading a multimillion dollar health care facility with more than 150 staff.
M: What is the best advice you received from a manager or a mentor at any point in your career?
V: When the door opens you must walk through it. Watch for the keys along your life journey that help to unlock doors.
M: Describe your pathway to success: did you relentlessly pursue a single career goal, or did you adapt and pivot along the way?
V: I maintained a balance between mind and passion, and pivoted as required; I used my values to guide my actions and choices, and I leveraged my strengths and my network along the way. As a U of T science grad with a passion for seniors, never did I envision myself as a member of an executive team of a $5B agency, or founding a company with global reach and impact.
M: If you could recommend one book for all business students to read, what would it be and why?
V: I find myself often referencing a book I was introduced to during my executive MBA studies: Strategic Analysis & Action by Crossan, Rouse, Fry, and Killing. It outlines the basic general management skills and frameworks required to help you understand business.
M: What is your main message at this time for Management students at U of T Scarborough?
V: It’s important to be self-aware about what you know, what you don’t know, and what you need to know—and develop plans to proactively address those learning or skill gaps (e.g. training, coaching, mentoring, networking). It’s always best to avoid being reactive in business and in life.
M: When it comes to engaging with U of T Scarborough students, what are you most looking forward to?
V: I am excited, honoured, grateful, and privileged for the opportunity to influence, inspire and empower students in support of their goals!
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