Desirée Bombenon – President and CEO, SureCall Contact Centres @SureCallInc
Desirée Amanda Bombenon has over 30 years of business operational experience. She is one of Canada’s Top 100 Most Powerful Women 2016 & 2017, Business in Calgary Business Leaders award 2018, Top 50 Most Empowering Women 2017, and a Top 40 under 40. Her portfolio includes business strategy, social entrepreneurial and culture building. Desirée is an active member of the Young Presidents Organization, International Women’s Forum, and has chaired several industry boards and focus groups. She is a past director of the National Music Centre, is a past Chair of YPO Alberta Chapter, and a past Chair of YPO Canada Region. Desirée currently serves as a board member on the Calgary Chamber of Commerce, Children First Canada, Canadian Call Management Association, and Chairs the YPO International Wine Network. She is a Harvard Alumni for the Advanced Leadership Initiative 2017 Cohort and is involved in mentorship programs in her community. Desirée has earned her CIAC Certification as a Strategic Leader and is a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt.
Under Desirée’s leadership SureCall Contact Centres – has been recognized for numerous industry awards for service excellence, ethics, and integrity. The Center for Economic and Leadership Development, in consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council, recognized Desirée as a transformational leader naming her “Champion of Sustainable Development” honouring her with the Enabler of Vision award at the 2017 UN Summit in New York.
Desirée has pivoted her company into a social enterprise and through the “GoodCall” program has established SureCall as a “purpose driven” organization. SureCall became a Certified Benefits (B Corp) in April of 2019 rounding out Desirée’s vision of utilizing business as a Force for Good.
Who is inspiring to you, and why?
There are many inspiring people. I admire strong women like Oprah and Michelle Obama, who have had to break through barriers to gain the recognition they deserve. Also, my mother worked all her life to feed five kids and survive the day today. I also get inspired by great men like Steve Jobs, who realize when they have made mistakes in their lives and are brave enough to circle back and try again. Those that dare to go beyond what others say is impossible, like Elon Musk, and those who patiently wait for the rest of us to catch up with intellect, like Gandhi. Favorites are also Rosa Parks and Amelia Earhart for their courage, and self-sacrifices to lead the way for others. My husband Marc and my children are an inspiration to me every day because they are good, kind people.
Why is celebrating and elevating female role models critical to advance women personally and professionally?
It’s a shame that we need to work so hard to elevate females – it’s almost 2020! I do realize its necessary, however, because women don’t take the time to celebrate themselves. Women just get things done; they don’t expect to be rewarded beyond the norm. When we celebrate women’s leadership, what we are really doing is bringing awareness to these achievements. We are providing inspiration to young girls all over that they can do anything, and to never give up on their dreams. We also show young men that women are to be respected and held in the same regard as successful men.
How has mentorship impacted your leadership?
I have been mentored, and I have mentored others. Either way, I find I get as much as I give, it’s been a truly rewarding experience. I am also reminded about how difficult it can be for any young leader to get the confidence and the support they need to guide them in their journey. Mentorship has helped me to be thoughtful in my leadership roles. Success means different things to all of us; many times, my eyes have been opened to a new definition of success. The best part of mentorship is the relationships that you gain and how grateful you feel for being part of it.
Why is elevating women and the men who SupportHER important?
To me, it’s clear that we all need each other. Men and women need to work together to tackle the many challenges that are going on in our world. It doesn’t matter if we are talking about business, personal, or community; we all need to work together, support and respect for each other. The World Economic Forum reports that it is now consistent with the theory and mounting evidence, that empowering women means more efficient use of a nation’s human capital endowment, and that reducing gender inequality enhances productivity and economic growth of a country. Elevating women and the men who support them are just common sense, based on the results of these studies.
What is the accomplishment you are most proud of?
Hero Girls! My Harvard Advanced Leadership project. This is a program I designed to take girls from the poorest areas in a region and provides scholarships for education. Then mentorship and micro-funding, that will lead them through an entrepreneurial program to start businesses, that will address a need in their village. Why is this important? Because it tackles the systemic issue of girls and education in these under-served areas. It provides them with the support to become valued contributors to their communities. They gain self-efficacy and confidence, and it changes the course of their lives. We launched on Oct 11th, 2018 the International Day of the Girl, and the first class of Hero Girls started April 2019. I was honoured to receive the Enabler of Vision Award at the United Nations Summit in New York in 2017 for my project work.
Share the best advice you were ever given?
The best advice I have heard that has resonated with me is that great African proverb – “If you want to go fast, go alone if you want to go far, go together”. This helps to ground me; I have stopped thinking that I need to do things my own way, on my own terms, and by myself. It’s so much better when you get to share the journey, good or bad, with someone else who has your back.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Where ever I go, I am there. I try to live myself in the now, and not think too much about years down the road. If I were to guess, I would say that I would be greatly involved in my legacy project of educating girls in under-served and developing communities. My company would be a leader in community contributions. My book on female leadership would be published, and I would continue to move the needle on gender parity, diversity, and inclusion.