Sarah Morgan-Silvester

Chancellor, UBC; chair, the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority; chair, B.C. Women's Hospital & Health Centre Foundation


Very early on in my financial-services career, we were assigned mentors who were more senior people in management. My mentor—and I'm not sure I should reveal his name—told me, "It's really important to enjoy what you're doing and to feel as though you're good at it."


It's something that always stuck with me, and I guess the most recent example was in 2006 when I left a senior executive role at HSBC after close to 20 years. I enjoyed what I was doing, I enjoyed the people I was working with, I enjoyed the organization, but I wasn't sure I could see myself doing that for another 20 years. I knew that if I didn't make a move soon, it would just get harder as I went along. I woke up one day in the midst of having this internal debate, and all of a sudden the risk of staying was bigger than the risk of going.

Now I'm doing corporate board work and quite a bit of volunteer work. It's been quite a shift. I've gone from a very large organization where I had lots and lots of people in my business unit to having a really busy executive assistant who happens to be me. It's a very different style of working, but I really enjoy the things I'm doing because they really do make a difference.