2022 Best & Brightest Executive MBA: Julie Dell’Aniello, University of Toronto (Rotman)               

Julie Dell’Aniello               

Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto

Age: 49

“I lead with disruptive energy turning vision into reality while nurturing a positive environment.”

Hometown: I live in Toronto, Ontario (Canada) but originally from Montreal, Quebec.

Family Members: I have a son (19 years old) who started business school as I was completing my EMBA and a daughter who is 16 years old.

Fun fact about yourself: I lived in New York city for 3 years and my mother tongue is French. I cannot throw a ball!

Undergraduate School and Degree: McGill University, Civil Engineering

Where are you currently working? Martin Brower of Canada, Role: President

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles: Outside of work, I love hosting friends and family for a nice meal. I like to read novels (fiction and non-fiction) and travel!

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? I set out a goal of running 20 km per week despite being busy at work, at school and managing my family. I am proud to say that most weeks, I succeeded which greatly helped keeping me somewhat sane and balanced!

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? The achievements in my careers are all about how I contributed to the growth of others. For me, this is what leadership is all about – giving back.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? This is a difficult one… I enjoyed both our Finance courses as both teachers were absolutely fantastic. Dragan Stojanovic made Accounting so interesting! But I must say that I loved Jim Fisher. His first strategy course was such an eye opener and confirmed that embarking on my EMBA journey was the right decision for me. But I cannot forget our Power and Influence course! I use teachings from Tiziana Casciaro almost on a daily basis!!!

Why did you choose this school’s executive MBA program? I loved the proximity of the school and the idea of not only getting a world-renowned  degree but developing a professional network in my own city.

Give us a story during your time as an executive MBA on how you were able to juggle work, family and education? I got into the habit of making micro decisions on what I was going to do and what I was not going to do. At work, I did this by involving my team, delegating and giving opportunities for others to play a larger role. At home, I was upfront on when I was free and when I was not. Having teenagers was an advantage, as they rarely get up before noon on weekends so I would get up early on Saturday and Sunday to do some school work. I could write an essay or read 2 chapters of Accounting before they were ready for breakfast!

I became EXTREMLY diligent on my time management – redoing my “To Do” list every single day, re-prioritizing and including work, school, family and friend commitments as well as physical activity. I also became opportunistic with my time – I went for 20-minute runs in the middle of the day if a meeting got cancelled instead of reading e-mails. I was upfront on what I could commit with everyone, e.g. I told my school teammates that if the meeting was lasting past the agreed time, I had to leave to spend time walking with my daughter. I set timers on how much time I was going to spend on an essay to make sure I was able to enjoy dinner with close friends.

Bottom line: I survived by setting clear expectations and holding myself accountable. This was not easy but it worked!

What advice would you give to a student looking to enter an executive MBA program? Make sure you embark on this journey for the right reason. It is a lot of work and if you are doing this only to get a better job, I am not sure you will fully enjoy the experience. Doing an EMBA has to be about partly your career aspirations but mostly about your own personal development and learning aspirations.

What is the biggest myth about going back to school? Going back to school is not only difficult, it is fun!!! Learning is energizing. Although it is also time-consuming and sometimes overwhelming, it positively impacts your work and your life as you are doing your school work. I got better at managing conflicting priorities, saying no to certain meeting, and being ruthless about my calendar! I must say it also brought some great conversations with my kids. I love the fact that they would ask me how my Finance test went and bragged to their friends about their mom being at Rotman!

What was your biggest regret in business school? To only have had one week face-to-face with fellow students and professors! The online journey was difficult. On the other side, it totally made me appreciate the efforts my teenagers had to put forward to continue to get good grades in a virtual environment…

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? There are too many to pick one!!!! Sorry.

What was the main reason you chose an executive MBA program over part-time or online alternatives? I loved the smaller cohort, the compressed timelines and the level of experience of fellow students.

What is your ultimate long-term professional goal? This is simple, to be the absolute best leader that I can be to maximize my impact to both the people I work with and the company I serve. To accomplish this, I make sure to challenge myself every day, I practice being uncomfortable and continually learn.

What made Julie Dell’Aniello such an invaluable addition to the class of 2022?

“Learn. Apply. Reflect. Improve. These are the principles that Julie Dell’Aniello uses as she leads her organization and develops herself and her people. It’s no surprise that she was promoted to acting President of Martin-Brower of Canada Co. in the middle of the Rotman Executive MBA program and then offered the role permanently, repeatedly proving her resilience, and appetite to learn and grow as an executive. Humble with respect to her knowledge and status in the class, Julie continually partnered with her classmates, looking for their feedback on how to improve, and served as a sounding board, giving her time and energy willingly. She was able to take the academic content of the program and apply it practically, both strategically in her long-term planning and talent management, and tactically in helping her organization deliver business results. Julie understood the complexity of the leadership role and worked hard to integrate new business knowledge. Her bias for action and ‘get it done’ attitude, coupled with her focus on business fundamentals and people, made her a sought-after resource within the class. We look forward to following Julie’s career and her positive impact on the business world.”

Rocca Morra Hodge
Executive Coach – Leadership & Careers
Executive MBA Program, Rotman School of Management


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