Sonepar Asks: Shoynear Morrison

We are continuing to highlight associates in honour of their accomplishments in the Sonepar Asks series. We have asked each associate about their career journeys and the opportunity to share their experiences and perspectives with Sonepar

What position did you have when you started with the company and how did you progress into the position you have now?

I started with Sonepar Canada in 2015 as a Communications Coordinator shortly after graduating from my post-grad program at Humber College. In 2018, I was promoted to Communications Specialist and then in 2020 I was promoted to my current position of Communications Manager. In the 7 years I have been with Sonepar Canada, I have always continued working hard and accepting every opportunity given. I’ve had great leaders who really pushed me and made me feel comfortable contributing new ideas and ways of communicating. Also, continuing to have a passion for what you do will naturally assist with your career progression. My passion for my job lies within trying to find innovative ways to unify Sonepar and their Canadian OpCos through communications initiatives which utilize different types of multimedia and social platforms.

What is the most important piece of advice you have been given that supported your career journey?

The best piece of advice I’ve been given was from by my father which was, “obstacles build character,” meaning as you’re trying to progress in life, whether it’s in your career or even personally, you’re going to have to go through tough experiences which will build tenacity. As you try to obtain different goals, it’s going to be that same level of character that you’ll apply and ultimately become a more well-crafted individual. Learning how to  persevere through challenges, harnessing and applying the lessons learned is the best piece of advice I could give someone else as well.

Is there anyone that inspires you in your career?

My older sister has always been my source of inspiration. She’s been a huge driving force pushing education, faith, and all-around excellence. Coupled with my parent’s encouragement my sister was the example of how you can achieve your dreams if you persevere, are unwavering and work extremely hard. Today, she is a corporate lawyer, and she was able to attain a career goal she has had for as long as I can remember. The fact that she was able to accomplish her life’s ambition has always been inspiring to me and has made me want to live up to her expectations.

In terms of inspirations or mentors in the workplace, I’ve had many that have taken me under their wing and really helped me achieve success in my career. There have been so many so it’s hard to name drop just one. What I will say is, building connections and mentors in the workplace is very important. It creates a pipeline of learning from someone else’s experiences and fosters collaboration. You never know who your biggest advocate will be so creating those relationships with your colleagues is very important.

Why do you think diversity in the workplace is so important?

Personally, as a woman of color who was born and raised in Canada at a time where I didn’t see many people who looked like me, I view diversity in the workplace as crucial. I was the only black person in my classes for many years so I understand how it feels to be, “othered.” No person in any environment, especially the workplace, should feel like they do not belong and I’m glad at Sonepar Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DE&I) is a priority. To me DE&I is more than just hiring visible minorities and having representation. It’s about ensuring your associates feel comfortable to bring their best self to work everyday and want to actively participant in propelling the company forward. If that means, celebrating different cultures, tackling unconscious bias and micro aggressions within the workplace, then that’s a step in the right direction.  Because, when you foster an environment of acceptance you create a safe space where innovation and creativity can be cultivated by everyone.