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Small Changes Add Up

How Jamie Bedford discovered that small moments of appreciation can make a big impact.

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As the Regional Operations Director of Mac’s Convenience Stores Inc., Jamie Bedford is responsible for overseeing 101 stores in Northern Ontario and leading a team of ten marketing managers. Jamie’s desire to refresh her management skills and learn new and innovative ways to coach her team – push them to the next level – led her to enroll in the Queen’s Leadership Program with Queen’s Executive Education at Smith School of Business at Queen’s University.

“The Executive Education program really helped me define who I want to be as a leader,” says Jamie. “In the few months since I’ve completed it, I believe I’ve implemented small changes that have made a big impact."

“I find myself wanting to guide people to the answer rather than just providing the answer. My title doesn’t mean that I have all the solutions, but I’m willing to work with people to find the right ones. I now have a clarity and confidence about myself that I didn’t have before.”

Jamie says taking the program has not only had a positive impact on her career and leadership abilities, but on her personal life as well. “If you’re going to change something about your behaviour, it doesn’t just apply to work; it also applies positively on a personal level.”

When asked about her biggest takeaway from the program, Jamie admits it was coming to understand that “leadership is really about helping people realize just how important they are.”

“It’s truly all about the people. The people are our past, our present and our future, and I need to be a leader who pushes people to their next level, especially if we [Mac’s] want to grow,” she adds.

One of the main challenges leaders face at work is dealing with different personalities and work styles. Commenting on her key learning in this area, Jamie says, “You have to take everybody into consideration — the way that they learn and the way they react. The method they [Mac’s marketing managers] use to coach their own teams is different so I have to have a little bit of each style in me so I can be an effective leader no matter who I’m working with.”

Jamie’s positive experience at Smith led the leadership team at Mac’s Convenience Stores Inc. to hire the business school to develop a shorter, custom leadership program for its employees. The result was a two-day session tailored to the company’s needs and was attended by over 50 Mac’s market managers in Ontario. Jamie says the feedback they received from employees following the session was phenomenal.

“Smith’s Leadership program motivated me to change. Old habits die hard, but they do die. If you truly want to change your behaviour or some aspect about yourself…you can.”

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JAMIE BEDFORD

Meet the Participant

JAMIE BEDFORD
Regional Operations Director, Mac’s Convenience Stores Inc.

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