Leading with empathy and compassion: Erika Jansons of PBA proves staying steadfast to your values is the key to career success. 

This International Women’s Day, PBA is proud to put the spotlight on a few of the women who are critical to the success of our business. From their tenacity and expertise to their leadership and passion, these women are truly raising the bar for the next generation – and breaking barriers along the way. 

Erika Jansons, marketing and communications lead at PBA is responsible for overseeing various aspects related to brand development, marketing strategies and communications. Erika plays a pivotal role in maintaining the consistency of messaging across all marketing and communications channels, forging a cohesive alignment that authentically reflects the values and purpose of PBA. Although she’s only been with the company for two years, the impact she has made on our business has been truly remarkable, showing the strength of her experience, expertise and passion.  

Upon leaving university, Erika didn’t have a defined career plan, but she was resolute that whatever path she chose needed to provide her with the chance to fully embrace her creativity. This focus led her to work for several notable creative agencies in Europe and North America, fuelling her passion. Eventually, she took the leap from agency to client side, and she never looked back.  

“Working on developments from the ground up means I see projects from inception to conclusion while shaping the final product,” she says. “I get to work alongside brilliant professionals while also shaping the community I live in – that’s some inspiring stuff and what keeps me coming back. I wouldn’t change it for anything.” 

In a career spanning more than two decades, Erika has witnessed gender inequities, noting that most senior leadership is male, sometimes making it difficult for women to find their voices and a strong network of advocates. 

“Sometimes, I was looked at as inexperienced because I wasn’t a man, however, I chose to surround myself with exceptionally bright, compassionate and progressive individuals,” she says. “I’m fortunate to be raised by parents who celebrated me being a woman while having a partner that champions me at every opportunity – I’m grateful to have such a solid and caring foundation.” 

In fact, Erika cites her mother as her greatest inspiration: “She grew her career during a period many women of her generation didn’t have the opportunity to do so. She always told me to take risks and speak up for myself and the people around me. Being confident in who I am will open many doors, while also taking ownership of my own journey!” 

Erika was determined in who she wanted to be as a leader, so despite any adversity she faced, she remained steadfast to her principles: “Leading with compassion and empathy wasn’t well respected when I started my career, but I knew I wanted to stay true to my values and that has opened countless doors for me and provided determination during any challenging times.” 

While Erika is elated to see more and more women assume senior leadership roles, she emphasizes that there is still considerable progress to be made asserting that “affording more opportunities for women and minorities isn’t a nice to have, it is a must.” 

Her advice for all women navigating their careers ties back to Erika’s core values and serves as an important reminder, especially for those struggling to find their confidence and direction: “Be you, be proud, encourage others. Be kind to people and yourself. Surround yourself with people who are smarter than you, who encourage you and who want the best for you. Most important; take that RISK!”