Diamonds in the rough: Samu on the value of intentionally recognizing the potential of those around you

October 31, 2022

We’ve all been captivated by the beauty of a diamond, but rarely do we consider the process the original rock had to go through to get to the state we admire. It takes a visionary to see something that may not be obvious to everyone else.

We are all diamonds. In my case, I believe each stage of my career has mirrored some of the work and techniques a diamond undergoes before it can be used for its intended purpose. Every program, mentor, coach and sponsor I’ve been fortunate to have in my life has done their part in identifying something valuable in me—many times before I could even see it in myself.

Samu and her family

The latest of these influences is the Women in Leadership (WiL) program at PwC Canada. WiL is an award-winning program that empowers women with the confidence and skills to lead as their authentic selves and take ownership of their careers, while cultivating a robust network of support. WiL helped me take my seemingly unconnected life experiences, ideas, values, strengths, weaknesses and passions and put them together over a nine-month journey to a destination I can only describe as empowered.

But it doesn’t just go one way: we all play a critical role in shaping others in turn. Throughout my career, I’ve had the privilege of partnering with many talented and hard-working people who have gone on to achieve remarkable milestones in their careers.

If you’re a people manager in any context, take the time to notice the potential in the people on your teams and ask yourself how you could further develop them. Make sure you’re not inadvertently looking someone over for a project, stretch assignment or opportunity because they could do with more time or polishing. Don’t get me wrong: the person needs to have the raw goods and be willing to put in the work, take on challenges and seek out their own development. But each of us also has a responsibility to partner with those around us in creating an environment in which people can be their best selves.

Play your part—and then sit back and marvel at what people can become!

Samu is a senior manager in Assurance in St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador. She’s also the national co-chair of PwC Canada’s Black Professionals Inclusion Network.