Vanessa Kanu, senior vice-president of finance, Mitel

2017 Forty Under 40 recipient

Vanessa Kanu
Vanessa Kanu

Age: 39

Company: Mitel provides business communications solutions to enterprises around the world.  

Education: Bachelor of science degree in international and financial economics, Hull University (1998)

OBJ360 (Sponsored)

Charitable involvement: Network of Black Business & Professional Women

Biggest biz achievement: That’s a hard question, because I don’t feel like I’ve reached my biggest achievement quite yet. That said, I have been quite pleased with my experiences at Mitel. From being involved in the firm’s IPO many years ago, to M&A transactions since then, to many other projects in between, I have learned a lot and grown professionally.

Biggest obstacle: Earlier in my career, I often had to challenge many of the more experienced managers in the business. Some of them assumed that because I was new in my role or young, I couldn’t possibly have enough knowledge to challenge them. This was difficult at first, but you get through it, you prove yourself and it eventually made me better at what I do.  

Biggest influence: Without a doubt, my mother. As a busy university professor, she showed me what the model of a working mother looks like, and she did it with grace and ease. I couldn’t have asked for a better role model.

First job: Flipping burgers at McDonald’s

Advice I’d give the younger me: Relax, it will be OK. I’d say that to my present me too!

Favourite pastime: Family movie night with our two girls.

Favourite song: Anything by Bob Marley

Favourite local pro sports team: Ottawa Senators

Favourite local summer event: Canada Day

Preferred social media platform: LinkedIn

Get our email newsletters

Get up-to-date news about the companies, people and issues that impact businesses in Ottawa and beyond.

By signing up you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. You may unsubscribe at any time.