Attendee Spotlight: Karen Simpson - Lean in Canada


Tell us a bit about what you do, and what do you enjoy most about it?

Earlier this year I began an exciting new role within TD Sourcing, championing women into their businesses.  I feel fortunate to work for a company totally committed to having equal representation across the company. It doesn’t get much better than that!


What attracted you to Lean In Canada/our last event?

I am quite active on social media and it’s been a pleasure to watch Sheryl Sandberg advocate passionately for women. Not only through her book, Lean In, but in sharing her personal tragedy a year ago, she has helped both men and women be more compassionate at work. It’s a beautiful thing.


What was one thing that most resonated with you today (at our last event)?

I love to see women standing up, leaning in and making a difference. That resonates strongly.


If you were to recommend Lean In Canada to anyone, what would you say?

Get involved! Make time for networking, build connections across industries, listen to the advice of other women and become a mentor. As a woman who has raised 4 kids ‘my way’ while working full-time in a sales industry, I know I have a lot to give back. This is the organization I’ve chosen.


How are you leaning in?

As an HR person, there has always been a ‘lean in’ aspect to my work; volunteering, coaching, mentoring, sponsoring. I’ve learned that we shouldn’t just be defined by our work selves. We can have an active and meaningful personal life, and even inspire other women. Personal me, @Karengeterdone, has stepped up her game over the last 4+ years, and has surprisingly become a motivational speaker to endurance athletes. In my 40’s, I let other areas of my life take precedence over my health, but as I approached that big milestone of 50, I decided to do some reverse aging.

My challenge, I decided to take on Mt Kilimanjaro. That experience truly opened my eyes and changed my life all at once. Since then, I’ve climbed 5 mountains around the world and just returned from Russia where I pushed my limits on Mt Elbrus. Did you know only 10% of mountaineers are women? I have also completed Tough Mudder twice, and my running journey has taken me from zero to completing my first Ultra Marathon this past May –  53km at the age of 53. It’s never too late to start making a change. We all have the power within us!


Name one notable woman you think deserves a shout out or career recognition – and what would you like us to know about her?

I absolutely need to call out my Mom, Darlene Simpson. She broke the pattern of a dysfunctional childhood to raise daughters who are stubbornly independent and successful. She wouldn’t allow us to put ourselves down, our punishment was reciting chapters from the ‘Power of Positive Thinking’. It always amazes me how the influences in our youth play such a crucial role.

Currently, I have much admiration for what Hillary Clinton has accomplished. I am also super impressed with some of the young women I’ve met lately who are having a great impact in Toronto: Heather Payne and Christina Rupsingh.  I am happy to say that Christina recently joined TD. I just know I will meet many more women just like them through Lean In.


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