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HBA Toronto October Member Spotlight: Margaret Gunarsons

What is your current job title?  
Commercial Lead, Rare Disease at Takeda Canada

Why did you join the HBA? 
I joined the HBA to meet women in the healthcare industry and expand my horizons beyond my role at Takeda. I was impressed with the access to a wide variety of development programs and the diversity of the HBA’s membership. I volunteer in the program development team and this experience has exceeded my expectations by bringing important learning opportunities to me and to participants. I wanted to use my significant network to connect with others who have similar goals.

What do you enjoy the most about volunteering? 
I enjoy meeting new people and leveraging my network to bring important discussions to HBA programs. My first spotlight program was on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I). This assignment allowed me to learn, grow and meet fascinating speakers who have inspired me to learn more about this topic. I engage with unique opportunities to dive deeper into how we can all be allies and ensure a diverse and inclusive workplace. I have also volunteered to be part of a task force at work on DE&I.

What are your interests outside of work and the HBA? 
My biggest passion outside of work is to travel to seaside destinations. There is nowhere I would rather be than by the water. The beauty and calmness inspire me to be creative and dream of possibilities. I love to create, whether it’s interior design and renovation, landscape design, or problem-solving.

What or who inspires you? 
My late aunt inspires me. She had the courage to live her life outside the typical stereotype of her generation. Born in 1924, she always made her own decisions, supported herself financially, and accepted everyone for their unique potential.

Fun fact about you? 
Diversity was always a part of life for me. My family members married spouses who were from many countries around the world. During family reunions, you can often hear eight languages spoken.

What’s your favourite quote? 
You must be the change you wish to see in the world” - Mahatma Gandhi

What’s one thing you’ve learned recently? 
I have learned to be more curious. With a focus on DE&I, including diverse opinions and voices around the table is critical for better outcomes. This can only happen when you are curious and ask more questions than providing answers.