Her story of challenging convention

Marketing visionary Leisha Roche is senior vice-president and head of marketing at Mackenzie Investments. She attributes much of her success in finance, sales and marketing to challenging convention and encourages others to do the same. After spending 17 years in consumer packaged goods, she transitioned to the financial services industry in 2015. Here’s her story.

Don’t constrain yourself with convention

At the start of my career, the women I admired in senior leadership roles appeared to have it all together: perfect life, family and career. It was only after I connected with these successful women and heard their stories that I realized they were just like me: real women working through a variety of challenges and successes. That was pivotal for me because I realized I had created this false convention about what success looks like before understanding reality. Convention was a constraint I put on myself and I could only break free when I had confidence in myself. So, today, I try to show my vulnerabilities, as well as my successes, so others know leadership is not perfection but something any woman can achieve.

You can always choose the unconventional

In 2012, I had acquired enough confidence to break convention on a big scale. For a multi-million-dollar beverage launch, I chose a Canadian-specific campaign over a campaign tested and approved for the U.S. market by our North American CEO. In my gut, I knew our Canadian team could do better, and they knew it, too. But that would mean flipping the norm — and we had just 13 weeks before the launch. In the end, the U.S. team adapted our campaign, instead of the other way around. Sometimes you don’t know how to question convention until it’s staring you in the face and you’re forced to accept the usual or take a different path. That experience taught me that, even when it seems you don’t have a choice, you always have a choice — but make choices to improve, not just for change’s sake.

Create possibility to change the “unchangeable”

Investments is a fast-paced industry — but what was ironic to me was that the marketing of investments was less dynamic, with brands only visually differentiated by their logos. My focus was to help people see possibility — what can be — while encouraging my team to speak up and give voice to their great ideas. With a new way of thinking and support from senior leadership, we’ve pivoted to inspire advisors with compelling content that cuts through the clutter, while providing distinctive positioning around Mackenzie solutions and investments. We see Mackenzie Investments not just as an investment firm selling products, but as a brand with a purpose driving positive change by creating a more invested world, together. This experience taught me that when you show people possibility, it becomes easier to change what they see as unchangeable.

Watch for the next article in this series in May 2021

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