Aufreiter: Make your own luck

Nora Aufreiter, former Senior Partner and Director of McKinsey & Company, was awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws, honoris causa (LLD) at the Tuesday morning session of Western’s 311th Convocation.

Aufreiter spoke to graduates from the Ivey Business School, encouraging them to make their own luck in a world where success hinges on flexibility, ingenuity and innovation.

“When you ask successful leaders what drove their success, the answer is often hard work, focus and luck, in some form or other. How do you become lucky? You make your own luck,” said Aufreiter, the first woman partner of McKinsey & Company in Canada who was among the first dozen senior partners elected globally.

Three ingredients are necessary for making one’s own luck, she noted. Graduates must have a purpose, the right people, and be willing to pay it forward.

“Clarify the purpose of what you are trying to do over the next few years and why it is important to you,” Aufreiter said.

Graduates will have a lot of opportunities in the years to come and making the right choice will depend on knowing the desired purpose.

“Look for your people and find mentors and sponsors who will help you succeed and take risks so you can make your own luck,” she added.

In paying it forward, graduates will make their own luck, she continued. By investing in others, we build networks and support systems that encourage and bolster success for all involved.

“You get as much as you give,” Aufreiter said.

Aufreiter is a member of the Board of Directors of the Bank of Nova Scotia, The Kroger Company, Cadillac Fairview Corporation, Neiman Marcus Group, St. Michael’s Hospital and the Canadian Opera Company. An Ivey alumna, she is a member of the Dean’s Advisory Board.


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