The Power of One Team: Highlighting Core-Mark’s Female Leaders
Whether you’re a new employee or a company veteran, at Core-Mark, you’ll feel like part of a family and be given the opportunity to rise through the ranks. In our series, The Power of One Team: Highlighting Core-Mark’s Female Leaders, we will be showcasing women who have made their mark at Core-Mark by inspiring and empowering colleagues.
Meet Vice President of Tax and Government Affairs Helen Hayes. Helen joined Core-Mark in 2012 after working in public accounting for several years and is based in Richmond, BC Canada. With a long line of strong, intelligent and ambitious women in her family, Helen knows that the power of women is limitless, now more than ever.
What or who inspired you to pursue the career path you’re currently on?
My mother and grandmother. My grandfather had an independent business in Winnipeg, and my grandmother did all his books. He always joked that the reason he had so much business was that everyone wanted to come in and see my grandmother because she was so pretty. My father was a doctor, and my mother did all the accounting for him by hand. I remember having to help with billing and organizing the files, and I remember my mother’s persistence, fairness and her stressing the importance of doing things right.
When I went to UC Berkeley, I wanted to be a vet but had to switch paths when I didn’t do so well in my science courses. I landed in some tax course and just loved it! Tax is ever-changing – it’s constantly a challenge and keeps you on your toes, and I like that. Besides, everyone needs help with their taxes!
What did the women who inspired your career instill in you?
My grandmother went to Stanford in the 1920s, where she met my grandfather and when hardly any women were going to university, much less Stanford. She was studying genetics, my grandfather was studying medicine and she became a school teacher. In my father’s family, my great-grandmother was one of the first suffragettes in Manitoba. My grandfather’s sister, who also went to Stanford, would have probably been a strong political figure in Canada had she been a man.
“I have two daughters of my own, and I always tell them, ‘You can do anything you put your mind to.’”
I look back at my family history, and we have had very powerful women in the family – but because of the years in which they grew up, they were held back because they were women. But I look at my grandmothers and mother and what they were able to do in the years that they lived, compared to what we can do now as women, and it’s just amazing. There are so many more options available to us as women. I have two daughters of my own, and I always tell them, “You can do anything you put your mind to.”
What has been your proudest moment at Core-Mark?
I’ve visited every warehouse at least once. It was a proud moment when I managed to get to the last warehouse in Toronto. I feel very proud because I don’t think a lot of people in the company have been to that many locations and experienced the variety that the company has. Each division president and each warehouse has its own rhythm and way of doing things.
What’s the best career advice you ever received?
“Do what you love as a hobby, do what you’re good at for your profession. Make sure it is something you like doing that will get you up every morning excited for the day ahead.”
Do what you love as a hobby, do what you’re good at for your profession. Make sure it is something you like doing that will get you up every morning excited for the day ahead.
I read a book many years ago on playing to your strengths, and I really believe in that. Why work on things and keep stressing yourself out over things you’ll never really be better at when you could focus on getting better at the things you are good at? I try to emphasize that to my team too, and we’re able to share the workload in a way that gives people a sense of ownership and builds their confidence.
What does the “Power of One. Strengthened by All.” mean to you?
To me, this means that every person can make a difference, but we can’t accomplish much without a strong team around us. I try to live by this every day and instill this message with my team. Every member of my team knows they have an important job to do and that we need each other to produce the best results. And my team is not an island. We would not function at all without everyone else in the organization doing what they do to help us get our work done. Hence, the power of one, strengthened by all.
Find your power! Join our team today.
Read more about the other women profiled for this series: Sandra and Suzanne.