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IWIB Awards: A Q&A with Lillian Tummonds

The vice-president of office operations at Cadillac Fairview 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 Lillian Tummonds, vice-president of office operations at Cadillac Fairview, was originally published in the Feb. 27 print edition of BIV.

At Cadillac Fairview, Tummonds has overall responsibility for more than 5.5 million square feet of space in Vancouver and Calgary.

Tummonds has been in property management for over 26 years – with more than 22 of those years at Cadillac Fairview – working in a variety of roles.

In addition to serving as past chair of the board of the Building Owners and Managers Association of British Columbia, Tummonds serves as chair of the Museum of Vancouver’s board, and volunteers in mentorship capacities with Ascend Canada, Minerva BC and the YWCA.

What career highlight are you most proud of?

I was able to significantly improve employee engagement by 30 per cent (reaching a 77 per cent score) within one year of taking on a new team. That meant to me that the team was happier, which made me happy. 

Your toughest professional challenge?

Sometimes spreading myself too thin and accommodating everything that I am asked to be part of. 

Greatest advice ever received?

Every day is a gift: Make the most of it. 

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

I used to take things so personally and would spend a lot of time analyzing situations – every moment is a learning opportunity.

What does it take to be a leader in 2023?

Being kind, thoughtful, authentic and honest.

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

I am looking forward to more opportunities to volunteer and give back to the community, which I find very rewarding; gaining new perspectives when you expose yourself to different environments.

What is your best habit?

I try to get eight hours of sleep and usually am in bed by 9 p.m. (Yes, I know – so boring.) 

A book you would recommend?

The Collective Wisdom of High-Performing Women: Leadership Lessons from The Judy Project.

One surprising or improbable fact about yourself?

This is very revealing and personal: I was born with a very rare congenital disorder – Mayer-Rokitansky-Küster-Hauser (MRKH) syndrome.

A female leader or woman in business you admire?

Whitney Wolfe Herd, founder and CEO of Bumble.

A cause or non-profit you support?

BC Pets and Friends – volunteer pet-therapy teams sharing the love with people in hospitals, care facilities and universities since 1982.

What do you do to relax?

I love going for a good run with my dog Daisy.

A top tip for staying organized?

Having a very organized inbox and calendar. 

A favourite quote?

“Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you're going to get next.” – Winston Groom, Forrest Gump.

Celebrate Tummonds 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.