Debby Carreau

Recently recognized again as one of Canada’s Most Powerful Women™, Debby Carreau is a proven leader helping businesses deliver superior business results by making better decisions about human capital. As CEO and Founder of Inspired HR, she uses her experience as a senior executive in Operations and Human Resource Management to advise businesses on optimizing the workplace experience and becoming an employer of choice. She helps businesses implement strategies to get the most out of their business’ most valuable resource: people.

Debby-Carreau_P1 - CopyMy Definition Of Success | Success means waking up and doing something every day that I love and knowing it makes a difference in the lives of others. Over time, I have learned that true joy and fulfillment comes from helping others, not personal success alone. When I was younger I was really focused on how to grow my career through my own personal hard work and achievement but now I wake up and make decisions based on how I can make a difference in society.  This broader perspective has also significantly helped my business because I view everything on a larger scale now.

The Difference Between Good And Great | Risk taking and having enough belief in themselves to take big bold steps. The bolder the move the bigger the win and the further apart it sets you from the crowd. It takes dramatic leaps to move ahead of the pack instead of fighting for a spot near the front highly successful people look at how they can break out of the pack instead of fighting for a spot within the pack. The old adage “greater risk, great reward” is still true in the world of business; taking no action at all often ends up having worse results than trying and failing.



A Key Talent | Courage. Every day I do something that intimidates me or most people would shy away from. I usually know these moments because inevitably someone always remarks “I can’t believe you are doing that” This can be small things like going to functions alone or large like starting the first Angel Investment Network in our country for women.
Think about what you want to achieve in your life and what is holding you back. If is it is something uncomfortable or you are afraid of it is probably something worth doing. I encourage everyone to start their day by saying “If I wasn’t afraid, I would do XXXX (fill in the blank) and then do it.

The Characteristics Of Success | Planning. All the advice in the world is meaningless if you don’t have a plan. I encourage people to think about three things as they plan their career journey: design your life, make the most of your education and plan for change. Studies have shown that none of us do enough career planning. Often times we follow career paths prescribed to us by our managers or firms instead of being strategic about plotting our own course. In addition, the modern worker is projected to hold 15-20 job changes during her time working. In other words, a successful career hinges on both great planning and the ability to be flexible. This means you must make thoughtful, professional choices. Look at the six key elements (passion, economics, values, lifestyle, skill, and demand) to strategize and choose a career path or course-correct if they have found yourself off-track. Explore and define what success means to you personally and take on the task of being honest with yourself in aligning visions of success with their desired lifestyle.
Principles I Live By | Trust and integrity. You are only as good as your word and your reputation. Especially today in this hyper-connected world we live in, even one misstep can cost you your career and your reputation.

Lessons I Have Learnt | The biggest lessons I have learned are from failures, not successes. One of the big failings of business schools, talent development programs, and even parenting today is that we don’t teach people how to fail. This is ironic considering resilience and grit are critical success factors in business and life.
Over time I have redefined failure in my mind as part of the journey, not everything will always go as planned. I also encourage others to ask themselves what is truly the worst that can happen? When attempting to encourage them to take greater professional risks. Failure is an inevitable part of the journey and should be expected.

Performing At My Peak | Wow this is a tough one. I am constantly on the go and definitely sometimes feel like Icarus sometimes flying too close to the sun but I manage my energy carefully planning my calendar to avoid wasted time, eating well, making fitness a priority and taking time with my husband and children family because I know that is what recharges me.

Resources I Use To Stay Inspired | I am constantly reading and talking to people. I read almost every business magazine and newspaper out there. Early in my career someone told me a great leader can learn from anyone at anytime from a busboy to a CEO. I took that advice to heart and am always listening to everyone I meet and trying to see the world and issues from their perspective.

My Future Dreams And Ambitions | The research today shows us that the average person today spends over 50% of their waking hours at work, commuting, returning emails or thinking about work which makes workplace issues critically important. I really want to do a TV show about renovating workplace culture to demonstrate how great workplaces are not only profitable and help their employees, they also help society. I believe to make a fundamental shift you need to reach as many people as possible and TV is a great way to do that. I also have my first book The Mentor Myth: Why you need to take charge of your own success, this is something I am really excited about.

The Best Advice I’ve Received | Recognize you are not normal and don’t expect everyone else to be like you. Do not expect that everyone else has the same motivation, discipline and ambition you do. Everyone has their own unique situation and do your best to understand where they are coming from and what motivates and inspires them.

Advice On Building Wealth | Focus on growing wealth by building wealth as opposed to focusing on cost savings. Not unlike many countries, it is easier to get out of debt or grow wealth by growing income than cutting costs. Don’t get me wrong, you need to be responsible but I find too many people will spend so much time driving across the city to save a few bucks when they could have made considerably more than they saved by picking up an extra hour of work or spending the time building a side business. (Especially when you factor in the cost of gas driving across the city)

I Am Inspired By | Because of my South African roots Nelson Mandela has always been someone I admire and have been so inspired by.

The Legacy I Would Like To Leave | I would like to know I have played a part in ensuring both my son and daughter ( and everyone else’s children) have an equal opportunity to fulfill their ambitions.

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