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Tara Ataya

Q&A, Forty Under 40 Winner 2021; Chief people and diversity officer, Hootsuite, Age 38

Q&A with Tara Ataya, Forty Under 40 Winner 2021; Chief people and diversity officer, Hootsuite, Age 38


Who or what is responsible for your work ethic?

My parents. They have always been my inspiration. They worked so hard for our family and yet were able to ensure that my brother and I always knew how loved and important we are to them. 

What is your guilty pleasure? 

My guilty pleasure is... dare I say it, (because it’s so cliché), reality TV. 

What is the best book you would recommend?

It’s a tie between Daring Greatly by Brené Brown and Leaders Eat Last by Simon Sinek. They are both so rich with leadership learnings and have greatly impacted my perspective. 

Now that you are (or are close to) entering your forties, what goals have you set for yourself?

To live life to the fullest and enjoy all of the moments that matter and not sweat the small stuff that I won’t think about a decade from now. Professionally, to do great work through the lens of impact and outcome — in order to help realize a lasting change within the workforce and society. 

What was your childhood career dream?

I had a few. Growing up my parents taught us to dream big and to imagine the power of possibility. I alternated between being a marine biologist, an actor and prime minister — so my prospects were quite varied, to say the least! 

Name your happiest place.

With my family. They are the light in my life and the people who inspire me to be better every day. 

What was your toughest business or professional decision?

Letting people go is always incredibly difficult. 

What advice would you give your 20-year-old self?

Don’t worry so much. You are right where you are meant to be. 

What is your best habit?

Gratitude. I am habitual about being thankful and recognizing the things that I have to be grateful for. This includes both the things I have to feel fortunate for and for the lessons I have learned from challenging situations. 

Tell us one improbable fact about yourself.

I am an introvert and terrified of public speaking! 

Best piece of advice ever received?

Be you. Don’t try to be who anyone else wants you to be. 

Biggest learning (about life or business) during the pandemic?

Change and need can lead to remarkable innovation and resilience. It reinforced my belief that organizational culture isn’t about workplace perks — it is about the matrix of relationships you have within your organization and the foundations of those relationships (care, empathy, trust). 

What career highlight are you most proud of?

The relationships I’ve developed with people along the way — that’s what it’s all about. The highlights are the small moments where I feel I’ve made an impact on somebody or bettered my community. Specific to Hootsuite, it’s been reaching pay equity, company-wide, and hearing that our people feel that they belong.