Seed World

6 Mavericks Show What it Means to be a Successful Leader in 2023

The role of the modern CEO has evolved to encompass a wide range of responsibilities that extend beyond traditional business functions. A CEO is now expected to be a visionary, a crisis manager, an innovator and a leader.

Sarah Foster, president of 20/20 Seed Labs in Nisku, Alta., has a unique perspective on what makes a good business leader. Foster has been recognized for her own accomplishments in business — 20/20 Seed Labs was recognized by Seed World Canada as a Top Climate-Smart Company last year. She was selected by Business in Edmonton to receive its business leadership award in 2019.


She emphasizes qualities that are often overlooked in the quest for success. According to Foster, it’s about experience and paying your dues.

“You grow into leadership. Perhaps some people are trained differently and take the helm right away, but I’m sure they don’t have the history of knowing how an organization works. I’ve climbed the ladder after working in the trenches and that gives you the confidence to oversee all aspects of the business,” she says.

In Foster’s view, successful CEOs must prioritize communication within their organization.

“Always make sure that you give your people the time they need to do what you’re expecting of them. Yes, you have to set deadlines, but you also have to ensure everyone really understands the project and the customer’s expectations.”

She acknowledges that being a leader in business is hard and involves sacrifice on many levels.

“You’ve always got to be hungry and motivated. You’ve got to be looking for the next opportunity. You can never accept that you’ve arrived. You’ve always got to think, ‘What if?’ and be aware of what’s coming down the road.”

For Foster, a leader’s role extends beyond just managing the business. They need to have their finger on the pulse of their organization and the industry as a whole.

Her insights remind us that while leadership and motivation are crucial, the ability to listen, adapt and remain hungry for growth are equally vital for anyone aspiring to be a successful CEO — like our roster of top seed industry CEOs for 2023. All six were selected as examples of leaders who embody the above, and more.

Stay tuned to Seed World Canada as we reveal our six choices over the next several days.