Dr. Barbara Orser recognized as one of 150 Canadian Women of influence

Dr. Barbara Orser is many things. She is a Deloitte professor in the management of growth enterprises at the Telfer School of Management,she teaches entrepreneurship and services marketing at the University of Ottawa, and most recently, she is featured in the book Canada 150 Women.

The aim of book, which was made in the wake of the 150th  anniversary of Canada’s Confederation, is to celebrate influential Canadian women and raise awareness about their diverse leadership capacities.

This isn’t the first time Dr. Orser has been recognized for her work. In the past, she has been recognized by the Women’s Executive Network as one of the 100 Most Powerful Women in Canada and the International Alliance of Women World of Difference 100 Awards. At the U of O, she received the Telfer School of Management Award for Service, Teaching and Research in 2011.

Orser, who is featured in the book alongside women like Governor General Julie Payette, journalist Lisa LaFlamme, federal Green Party Leader Elizabeth May, and Olympic hockey player Hayley Wickenheiser, was recognized for her work that promotes fostering feminist values in business practices. Notably, she is an active advisor to the federal government and the former chair of the Taskforce for Women’s Enterprise Growth, which looks at how the government and young women can leverage feminist values to create new businesses, products, and services to effect change for women and girls around the world.

“It has been a great honour,” Orser said about being featured in the book. “(The profile) speaks to where I have found courage in my life and some of the challenges that I have faced in my life and how those challenges affect my feminist perspective with respect to the work that I am doing at the university.”

Orser is a two-time cancer survivor, and although her health is not something that she usually talks about, she thinks that it is important because it motivated her to pursue her current work.

It was during her recovery time that it dawned upon her that most of her caretakers were women. “This really got me thinking,” she said. “So, I got into some classic reads to better understand feminist literature and values.”

Orser combined her previous background in business school and began to apply it with feminist values, explaining,“When I was in school, we never discussed women in management and the issues surrounding it.”

The profile in Canada 150 Women is unique because it takes a personal, rather than professional approach to highlight the qualities of successful Canadian women. “I commend them,” said Orser about the editors of the book. “I think that it is going to be a really important book for Canadians because it peels back the façade of success. It speaks to the real deal.”

She adds that the message of her profile is about “how and where you find courage.”

She is also very proud to have a quote on the landing page, which reads, “Women are using feminist values to create wealth and social change, including in technology and capital markets.”

Further, Orser says that “if there’s one message out of this, it’s that academics can play an important role in effecting change.”

“Often it is by engaging with the community, it is not just about landing grants and writing academic papers. It’s the engaged scholar that is a really important role that sometimes we underestimate.”

The book can be purchased at Chapters, Amazon or at the Canada 150 Women website.