Saskatchewan Leaders in Profile: Prabha Mitchell, Advocate

Prabha Ramaswamy. Photo by David Carter Photography.

Driven. Tenacious. Creative. As the Chief Executive Officer of WESK, Prabha merges business and passion as she drives the vision of entrepreneurship in Saskatchewan and beyond.

At the helm of WESK, Prabha leads a team of changemakers. She pushes the boundaries of business while closing the gender entrepreneurship gap in Saskatchewan. Leading an organization of over 1,000 members and nearly twenty team members, Prabha has built decisions on business acumen, resourcefulness, and a steadfast vision of what could be. Throughout her leadership, WESK has seen great change and growth, becoming an iconic brand synonymous with scalability, efficacy, and hope.

With a MSW in Community Development, Policy and Planning, Prabha has a diverse career spanning nearly three decades. Alongside this intense career building, Prabha always makes time to serve her community as an engaged board member. She’s been a director at Saskatchewan Housing Corporation, Women’s Enterprise Organizations of Canada, Hope Restores, Hill Advisory Board, and the Saskatchewan Business Council and currently serves as Vice-Chair for the Board of Directors for Saskatchewan Polytechnic.

Driven by the principle “begin with the end in mind,” Prabha is passionate about defining a vision and steering the organization in the right direction. Fuelled by the spirit of doing the right thing, Prabha embraces courage and integrity as a leader.

Who do you look up to for inspiration?

My inspiration is my father, who passed away a few decades ago when I was very young.  In my short time with him, his impact on me was deep and profound.  He did not just live his life, or do a job; he left a legacy, the impact of which I still experience when I am back in India, decades after his passing. He taught me the importance of leaving things better than when you got/found them; he lived it as a moral and social obligation.

If you could give one piece of advice about leadership, what would it be?

A strong leader should have courage to do the right thing. The right thing may also be the unpopular thing.  A leader should not compromise on integrity of the organization or interest of its stakeholders.  It might mean navigating through some challenging, tough and chilly times internally and externally but the outcomes in the long run will substantiate the difficult decisions and choices. If you don’t focus on culture everyday, consistently, and constantly, the truth is that “culture will have strategy for breakfast”.

 What’s your favourite thing about doing business in Saskatchewan?

This “people- centric” province won my heart when I moved here 20 years ago. You don’t just ‘do business”; you “build relationships”, and from that emerges much more than business; from that comes lifelong friendships and connections. The two degrees of separation can be either a blessing or a curse. I have always viewed it as a unique advantage.