A candid, smart, and insightful leadership book from two women pioneers
Martha Piper and Indira Samarasekera had vastly different career paths on their way to becoming the first (and so far only) female presidents of two of Canada’s largest and most respected research universities and directors of some of the nation’s largest market cap companies, but what they had in common was their gender, their willingness to take risks when leadership opportunities presented themselves, and a work ethic second to none. It was not always easy, pretty, or fair, but it was always the result of choosing to answer the call to lead. A call that in the authors’ view, too many women still turn away from.
In Nerve: Lessons on Leadership from Two Women Who Went First, Piper and Samarasekera share their personal and professional stories, offering guidance for women leaders of every age and at every stage of their career. Nerve is a must-read for any woman who is leading today, considering leading, or thinking about life after leading.
The first women to assume the presidencies of two of Canada’s largest research universities — the University of British Columbia and the University of Alberta — Piper and Samarasekera share their insights and perspectives on the dilemmas and opportunities women confront as they take on leadership positions.
Sales and Market Bullets
Indira Samarasekera served as the first woman president of the University of Alberta and is a director of Magna International, TC Energy, and Stelco and has served as a director of the Bank of Nova Scotia. An Officer of the Order of Canada, she was born in Colombo, Sri Lanka, and lives in Vancouver, British Columbia.
Martha Piper served as the first woman president of the University of British Columbia and has been a director of the Bank of Montreal, Shoppers Drug Mart, and TransAlta Corporation. An Officer of the Order of Canada, she was born in Lorain, Ohio, and lives with her husband, William Piper, in Vancouver, British Columbia.
“Martha Piper and Indira Samarasekera rank with Canada’s most accomplished leaders of their generation, having led at the topmost levels in higher education, government policy-making and corporate boardrooms with legendary results. Now they tell us, with compelling stories and wise advice, how they did it to inspire women to answer the call to lead and follow in their footsteps. These are great lessons not just for women but for all of us who can learn to lead from their remarkable example.” — Rob Prichard, President Emeritus, University of Toronto
“This book is a gem. Nerve could easily be titled Grit and Grace, two entwined values dramatically explored through its pages. It tackles the unique challenges facing women leaders with compelling practical advice and imaginative resilience of two extraordinary women. It is a valuable manual for anyone — female or male — interested in the anatomy of leadership.” — David Johnston, Governor General of Canada (2010–2017)
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