Transparency. Open lines of communication. Diversity. For Arielle Meloul-Wechsler, Senior Vice President, People, Culture and Communications at Air Canada, these aren’t just buzzwords. They are the basis on which she has built a successful career and that helped her lead a major transformation within the airline.
Her work was recently recognized as she was named to WXN’s list of Canada’s Most Powerful Women: Top 100 for 2019 in the Corporate Executives Category.
Meloul-Wechsler has been a member of Air Canada's Executive team since 2013. She has oversight for all human resources and culture change initiatives across the company, labour relations, customer service training as well as internal and external communications. She is also Air Canada's Champion of Official Languages and has oversight over the Air Canada Foundation as well as Air Canada's CSR Reporting.
“To me, power is actually more about empowerment. I would say it’s about having strong teams, having strong teams feel empowered to make the decisions they need to make,” Meloul-Wechsler said. “We work together. We are only as good as our teams, so to me it really is about creating that safe environment where people feel empowered to be powerful to make those decisions together or individually.”
“Through her example of integrity and hard work, Arielle is a tremendous mentor and role model not only for women but for everyone at Air Canada. As a trusted member of the senior leadership team, she has helped guide the transformation of Air Canada,” said Calin Rovinescu, President and Chief Executive of Air Canada.
For women who want to follow in her footsteps, Meloul-Wechsler had some advice.
“It is very important to know what you don't know, to ask for help and to be more forgiving towards yourself. Women tend to be very hard on themselves, to always want to do better, never to be satisfied with their achievements. And it's very important to understand that you can't always be perfect and it's okay to not always be perfect,” she said.
During her tenure, Air Canada has been named for several consecutive years, among Canada's Top 100 Employers, among Montreal's Top Employers, one of Canada's Top Diversity Employers, in addition to being named one of the Top 10 Most Admired Corporate Cultures in Canada.
“Diversity is increasingly important for all companies. As a global company, we want to represent our customers. We also want our employees to be comfortable in all forms. When they come to work, we want them to feel good, to feel included, and we work very hard on that. And we are very lucky, because at the highest levels of the company, everyone believes in it and it's very sincere, and we're very proud of all the diversity and efforts that Air Canada is making in this regard,” she said.
The WXN Top 100 Award recognizes the accomplishments of women and increases the visibility of strong leaders in order to inspire future generations. It focuses on diversity and inclusion, two very important ideals for Air Canada. Previously, Lucie Guillemette, currently Air Canada Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer, was named to the Top 100 Most Powerful Women list for 2017.