In this Red Swan Spotlight, we feature Emily Delisle, an accomplished leader in the TIC industry. With over 18 years of experience in building and managing certification bodies, Emily shares her journey and perspective on the industry's biggest challenges.
CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT YOUR BACKGROUND AND HOW YOU GOT STARTED IN THE TIC SECTOR?
Upon graduating from university, I embarked on a unique journey in the TIC sector. My father, who had previously worked in consulting on ISO 9001 , transitioned to starting his own accredited certification body, and I decided to join him in this venture. Initially intended to be a short-term commitment, I spent the next 18 years building a thriving business that I am incredibly proud of.
At the start, as with any start-up, I did whatever was needed to get the business off the ground. We partnered with a larger Certification Body, becoming their Canadian office, and during the initial four years of this structure, I gained invaluable knowledge of the industry. I even obtained credentials to conduct audits myself.
As we decided to become independent, I continued to learn and grow alongside our organization, ultimately assuming complete responsibility for managing our accreditations. When my sister-in-law, Vanessa, joined the family business, my father decided to take a step back, and I took on the role of CEO, while Vanessa took over managing our accreditations.
Last year, after much consideration, my family and I decided it was time to sell our Certification Body. This led me to my new position as Area Manager, USA & Canada for DNV, where I have the honor of leading a talented team with overall responsibility for Business Assurance in the US and Canada.
BEING A YOUNG WOMAN RUNNING A CERTIFICATION BODY IN AN INDUSTRY THAT HAS A COMPLETELY
DEMOGRAPHIC HAS BEEN MY BIGGEST CHALLENGE.
I believe it is the need to attract and retain a skilled and diverse workforce. The industry is facing a shortage of qualified professionals, and many people are unaware of the opportunities available in the TIC sector, particularly in accredited certification auditing
HOW DO YOU PRIORITIZE AND MANAGE
YOUR WORKLOAD TO ENSURE SUCCESS?
I focus on areas that will have the most significant impact on our goals. I ensure that I am fully present in every moment, not only to manage my workload but also to maintain a healthy work-life balance.
WHAT IS YOUR APPROACH TO LEADERSHIP AND TEAM MANAGEMENT?
I give my employees clear and concise direction driven by deliberate planning, but I also allow them to take that direction and have ownership over their own roles. It is important to ensure your team understands what it is you are trying to achieve, because when someone understands, they care. And when you provide concise direction, individuals feel the attention and care you are giving them as part of your team.
I listen to all our interested parties continuously and take that information to drive improvement. That means ensuring you have excellent communication and channels to receive feedback with your employees and your customers. But it also means you analyse the information you get and use it to adapt as needed.
I believe that you must invest in training at all levels of your organization. Especially in a technical industry like ours. And most importantly I make decisions driven by facts and data, but I lead with empathy. I take the time to understand every aspect of the business and how that impacts those involved.
HOW DO YOU SPEND TIME OUTSIDE OF WORK?
Outside of work, I enjoy spending time with my family. We love traveling, skiing, biking, hiking, and making memories at our family cottage on Lake Huron.
IN THREE WORDS ONLY, WHAT IS THE SECRET TO YOUR SUCCESS?
NEVER STOP LEARNING.
• SUCCESSFUL LEADERS IN THE TIC INDUSTRY
WE WORK IN AN INDUSTRY THAT MUST BALANCE CERTIFICATION WITH CUSTOMER EXPECTATIONS.
CAN YOU SHARE WITH US A SPECIFIC PROJECT OR ACCOMPLISHMENT THAT YOU ARE PARTICULARLY PROUD OF AND WHY?
One of my proudest accomplishments is building our family-owned and operated certification body from scratch. We established a strong reputation for providing exceptional services that met the needs of our customers while maintaining high standards for accreditation. Our success in this area was due to the business model we developed that ensured customer satisfaction while balancing the demands of the industry.