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IWIB Awards: A Q&A with Leah Nguyen

The chief investment officer of InBC Investment Corp. will be recognized at an event on International Women's Day

BIV will recognize five exceptional leaders at its annual Influential Women in Business Awards event on March 8 in Vancouver.

The following Q&A with award recipient Leah Nguyen, chief investment officer of InBC Investment Corp., was originally published in the Feb. 27 print edition of BIV.

Nguyen is the inaugural chief investment officer of InBC, a recently created Crown corporation with a $500 million investment fund.

In her role, Nguyen leads the development and execution of InBC’s investment strategy to deliver on the organization’s triple bottom-line approach of investing for people, planet and profit.

Previously, Nguyen was an investment director for the Telus Pollinator Fund for Good, one of the world’s largest corporate impact funds.

What career highlight are you most proud of?

Launching InBC’s investment strategy and completing our first three investments have been highlights, and we’re just getting started! We’re in startup mode, building the organization while also making things happen. We’ve got a big mandate to drive investment opportunities for a more inclusive, sustainable and prosperous British Columbia.

Your toughest professional challenge?

My toughest professional challenge is balancing a busy career with having quality time with my family; they inspire me to want to make a meaningful difference in my work. The balancing act requires a truly supportive partner and constantly prioritizing my personal and professional time to be there for what matters.

Greatest advice ever received?

I remember debating whether to apply for a job I was excited for but worried I wasn’t qualified for, versus accept another opportunity. My husband asked me two simple questions: “Do you want the job? Do you think you can do the job?” It was a great reminder to not underestimate what you are capable of.

What do you wish you knew when you were first starting out?

It’s okay to not be perfect and have all the answers right away. As I’ve progressed in my career, my ability to ask questions, adapt to changing conditions, work collaboratively, solve problems and always be learning has helped me accelerate my career, as opposed to having the “perfect” background or experience.

What does it take to be a leader in 2023?

To me, being a leader is about fostering a collaborative environment that unlocks the full potential of your team to want to do their best work and make a difference. Foundational to that are trust, communication, empathy, adaptability and having a sense of humour.

What are you looking forward to personally and professionally this year?

I am excited to transition from the past year of launching InBC’s investment strategy to now making investments in funds and entrepreneurs that are aligned with InBC’s impact objectives, provide strong benefits to B.C. and have the ability to drive financial returns. Personally, my husband and I are celebrating 15 years of marriage!

What is your best habit?

Always being curious and asking lots of questions!

A book you would recommend?

Becoming by Michelle Obama for inspiration, or The Design of Business by Roger Martin on how to embed innovation in an organization.

One surprising or improbable fact about yourself?

I’ve run five half-marathons.

A female leader or woman in business you admire?

I’ve had the fortune to go school and work with Reshma Mehta (a 2019 BIV Forty under 40 winner). She is someone who inspires me in her leadership and collaboration.

A cause or non-profit you support?

The Lower Mainland Christmas Bureau.

What do you do to relax?

Reading a good book or doing craft projects with my kids.

A top tip for staying organized?

Lots of post-it notes, to-do lists and shared calendars.

A favourite quote?

“Because you are alive, everything is possible.” – Thich Nhat Hanh.

Celebrate Nguyen and BIV's four other 2023 Influential Women in Business Award recipients on International Women's Day, March 8. Tickets and event details are available here.