Dr. Karen Ho (MD), chief resident of Internal Medicine program at Regina campus. (Submitted photo)
Dr. Karen Ho (MD), chief resident of Internal Medicine program at Regina campus. (Submitted photo)

Women in Leadership: Karen Ho

In her experience as the chief resident of the Internal Medicine program at the Regina campus, Dr. Karen Ho (MD) talks about the important qualities within a leader, and how those can be used to build respect.

March 8 is recognized as International Women’s Day, and the theme for 2021 is “Women in leadership: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world."

Taking our cue on that theme, we are profiling women in leadership at the College of Medicine, selecting from a variety of positions including learners, staff, faculty, and senior administration.

What is your current position and/or leadership role/title?

I was the Chief Resident of the Internal Medicine program at the Regina campus.

Describe one barrier you experienced, and something that helped you overcome that (or another) barrier, in your journey as a woman in leadership?

I think many people’s perception of a leader is someone who is at the head of a crowd, with a fist in the air, leading the charge. As someone who is more soft-spoken and introverted, I initially struggled to see myself in that role, which made me doubt whether I could be a good leader.

Fortunately, I have learned that there are different kinds of leadership. I am able to use skills that I excel at—having patience, soughting feedback, finding compromises—to foster a sense of respect and cohesiveness within the resident cohort. To recognize and build upon my innate leadership skills is an important lesson I learned.

How do you think COVID19 has affected women's progress in your field or the workplace in general?

While COVID19 has been challenging for everyone, I think it also offered valuable opportunities for women in the workplace. A large proportion of the healthcare workforce is comprised of women, and the courage and dedication that we have seen in frontline workers in leading this fight against the pandemic are being recognized. Furthermore, the adoption of technology has broken down time and geographical barriers, allowing women more flexibility in fulfilling their many roles, both professionally and personally. I hope to see that we can build upon the progress that we have made.

What advice would you have for people (of any gender) in leadership who wish to be allies in advancing women in the workplace?

Listen more. Be more receptive to points of views that differ from your own.

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