Introduce yourself to our audience. Tell us who you are and what you are currently focused on.
Hi! I’m Ada Barlatt, Ph.D., P.Eng. As the owner of OperationsAlly, I help successful professionals develop their businesses through systems thinking, data analytics, and key metrics. My background in Industrial and Operations Engineering has equipped me to identify and implement personalized systems for my clients. And my teaching background makes me uniquely capable of translating complex ideas in ways that resonate with business owners. My clients see me as a cheerful, trusted advisor — as one of my clients puts it, I expertly combine “a rare mix of practical business savvy with creative strategy.”
How would you define your professional mission?
Like many others, my mission is to make the world a better place. Specifically, I do that by helping inspiring, innovative entrepreneurs achieve their dream careers and visions for their lives. In helping others recognize how to build a life they love by making smart decisions and taking action, I’m truly living out my dreams.
We’d love to hear more about your career path. What led you to where you are today?
My career path has been all about self-discovery and satisfying my curiosity by saying “yes” to many different opportunities. After finishing graduate school at the University of Michigan, I moved to Canada for my first job as a university professor in the Department of Management Sciences at the University of Waterloo. My move to Canada was a big catalyst for self-discovery. After a few years, it became clear that I didn’t want to spend the rest of my career in academia, so I kept asking myself questions. What do I want to do? What skills should I explore? What new things do I want to learn? I knew engineering gave me the capacity to improve whatever area I was passionate about, so I was open to trying new paths. Eventually, those paths led me to I start my business OperationsAlly, and I’m so happy that I did!
What legacy do you hope to leave through your work?
I want to leave people feeling empowered to do the work they want to do and to impact the world however they see fit. I wish everyone the opportunity to focus on their strengths and (with the right partners) achieve great things.
What is it about your job that makes you feel it’s the right fit for you?
My work allows me to balance my technical background with my desire to truly help others, my love of getting to know people and of building long-term relationships with them, and my passion for taking quick and decisive action to make things better. What I do now is a lovely combination of all my major strengths.
What would you say your personal superpower is?
Ha. Wow! That’s a tough one! If I have to pick, I would say that empathy is my superpower. It allows me to see myself in others and that helps me communicate more effectively.
What does success look like to you?
Success means living a life that you love, pursuing you dreams, and avoiding regrets. I believe that all of this is within everyone’s reach, but it takes conscious attention. Success requires taking time to really reflect on what you want out of your life — which is not easy given so much noise and so many distractions in this world. Additionally, success requires being willing to try new things and to put ourselves out there. Every day, we are challenged to take the constructive feedback we receive and use it to fuel our quest for becoming better people.
Is work-life balance a problem for you? What is one no-fail tactic you use to create balance?
Everyone seems to have something to say about finding that elusive work-life balance. But from my perspective, I don’t see two things that need to be “balanced.” I’m me. Whether I’m at work or at home, I’m the same “me.” I aim to stay true to myself in every moment, to be as honest as I can with myself and others even as I juggle different areas of my life.
The systems expert in me approaches this problem using two tactics: (1) Be kind to yourself. Remember, there is only so much time and energy you have to give each day. It is okay to ask for help doing things you aren’t particularly well suited to do. (2) Start with a vision of what you want to achieve and who you want to be while achieving those goals. Put systems in place to keep you on track and keep you moving forward.
What is the best career advice you ever received?
The best career advice I received came from two dear friends. They said no one can beat you at being you, so there really isn’t any need to worry about competition. As long as you make an effort to be a better you today than you were yesterday and act each day on tasks at which you excel and which bring you joy, you have already achieved wild success!
Tell us about your favorite Ellevate Network memory or success story. Why are you a member?
I found Ellevate without really knowing that I was looking for it. I was on sabbatical, spending the winter in Philadelphia, PA and happened to come across an Ellevate event. I was looking for a welcoming community of supportive and serious individuals intent on achieving amazing career success. What I found in Ellevate was an amazing group of helpful and friendly women. The connections I made during that first event continue to this day. Now, I’m back in Canada and was happy to find an Ellevate chapter in Toronto as well. I love to travel (especially cruising) and look forward to meeting Ellevate members around the globe!