If there is one thing Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU) alumna Lynn Cook knows about glass ceilings, it’s that they’re breakable.
Cook is somewhat of an expert on the subject. Over the past 20 years, she’s blasted through dozens of them to become the youngest female senior executive for one of the most recognizable commercial real estate brands in the world.
CFO of U.S. business for Colliers International, Cook was recently named to Business in Vancouver’s latest cohort of top 40 entrepreneurs, executives and professionals under 40 in the region.
Cook says one of the keys to her success is being “completely unaware of my own limitations” and having the confidence to leverage every opportunity.
“I realized very early in my career that if someone gives you an opportunity, it’s because they think you deserve it, and you can accomplish the goal. They have confidence in you, and you should have confidence in yourself.”
After graduating with an accounting diploma from KPU in 1995, Cook received the Governor General’s Academic Medal for Highest Academic Standing. She earned her CGA designation in 2000, and was awarded a Top 10 Student distinction.
In seven years with Colliers, Cook has held progressively senior positions that saw her lead 11 acquisitions, including significant operations in the UK and Germany, adding $195 million to the Colliers portfolio and representing more than 10 per cent of the company’s total revenue.
Recently, Cook also spearheaded 15 separate business process improvement projects, culminating in over $2.5 million in cost savings to date.
Cook jokes that she was “born with two ambition genes and no patience genes.” Although these qualities probably frustrated her mother while Cook was growing up – she played hockey with the boys and routinely came home bruised and battered after climbing trees all day – they have served her well in her professional life.
Cook’s secret to success isn’t a secret, and she willingly shares her advice and insight as a mentor to young professionals – especially women. She has been mentoring formally for 17-plus years, and has helped more than 20 individuals to achieve both career success and personal growth.
“What I try to do is mentor others to have the confidence to see themselves the way I see them. Knowing and believing in yourself can help you achieve those stretch opportunities.”
Cook travels a lot for work, and she’s spent six months at a time in places like Hong Kong and London. But she’ll be sure to find herself at home on Jan. 28 when she receives her Top 40 award from Business in Vancouver.
When she isn’t traveling for work, Cook lives in Vancouver with her husband.
Kwantlen Polytechnic University has been serving the Metro Vancouver region since 1981, and has opened doors to success for more than 250,000 people. Four campuses—Richmond, Surrey, Cloverdale and Langley—offer a comprehensive range of sought-after programs, including business, liberal arts, science, design, health, trades and technology, horticulture, and academic and career advancement. Over 19,000 students annually have a choice from over 124 programs, including bachelor’s degrees, associate degrees, diplomas, certificates citations and apprenticeships. Learn more at www.kpu.ca.
Caption: KPU alumna Lynn Cook took a selfie in Central Park during a recent trip to New York City for her work.
Media Specialist, KPU