Starting in the fall of 2017, Gildan launched a women’s leadership series featuring inspirational and empowering stories shared by successful women. These sessions were designed to foster the development of Gildan’s employees, but even more importantly to emphasize women’s unique and important place in society.
The workshops took place in two phases, the first being a larger session with 300-400 women who attended the speaker presentation. The second session was a smaller group of high-potential employees who received additional one-on-one training. The objective of this series was to provide guidance on developing leadership skills as well as key elements such as taking ownership over one’s career.
Sylvia Montero formerly SVP, Human Resources at Pfizer was the speaker for the first Women’s Leadership event. Following a brilliant career, she now dedicates her time to sharing her journey with the goal of helping women grow professionally and overcoming challenges along the way.
Montero immigrated to New York from Puerto Rico with her parents, where she faced a number of challenges that minorities often face. She hopes that by sharing not only her story, but her challenges, she can inspire others and help them attain their own professional goals. Her wish is for women to see that anything is possible, regardless of their path or how humble their beginnings might be.
Montero shared her experience of beating the odds. “I was able to get a good education and was fortunate to have mentors both at school and in the corporate world,” said Montero. She said that along her path there were also a number of successful women and men who supported her and who made the decision to take a chance on her.
Much of Montero’s presentation focused on leadership in the corporate world, while also addressing issues that may affect working mothers. She believes that leadership is really about exceeding one’s objectives through the performance of others. “This requires an innate respect for people and the willingness to seek out feedback – both positive and negative,” said Montero. “When things don’t go right, get over yourself and ask for the feedback that will help you grow,” she added.
“These types of events are very fulfilling for us women” said Claudia Zúniga, Manager, Purchasing. "Ms. Montero is a great role model and it reinforces our dreams and the opportunities we believe we can pursue, both at a professional as well as at a personal level.”
Montero’s motivation for delivering these workshops is to give back to the community. “If my story helps one person, then I have been successful,” she said.