With a lot of dedication and a strong sense of self, Suzanne Murray has launched two successful businesses and raised a family, all while giving back to the community. And she’s done it all without compromising her belief system.
“First and foremost, I’m a woman and a mother of three teenagers,” she says. “It’s critical that I balance womanhood, motherhood, and my entrepreneurial spirit. I want to ensure that my children, as well as other youth I encounter, recognize their roles as individuals and as citizens of our society.
Murray says she is an advocate for collaboration and believes that, by way of achieving, people can come together to create more. In 1997, she followed her belief system and founded AXDEV Group Inc., a strategic research and consulting firm that helps companies optimize performance and collaboration.
“My commitment is to support our youth to recognize their roles as individuals and as citizens of our society.”
Suzanne Murray, Founder & CEO
“Our early mission was to look at various stakeholders in the medical field and create opportunities for them to collaborate, embrace change toward teamwork and efficient working methods, and look for ways to improve health systems,” she says. “That was 16 years ago; nobody was talking about improving health systems then.”
By facilitating cooperation, Murray found success with her Canadian venture. AXDEV has won several awards, including recognitions with the Mayo Clinic and the American College of Cardiology.
As a woman, mother, and entrepreneur, Murray has dedicated her life to supporting many professionals, her community, and youth. In her efforts, she recognizes the importance of embracing complex change, collaboration, and differences to optimize balance and performance in the many roles that leaders must fulfill.
“Our work has also been published in scientific journals, which is unusual for a small private company,” Murray says. “That means we were officially recognized by scientific community worldwide, which gives us credibility, rigour, and value.”
In 2000, Murray expanded her company to include the United States, where she says the environment is moving faster in improving health systems. The real-world research her company was doing for the health-care industry eventually provided a great segue to facilitate collaboration in the business world.
“We specialized in looking at human behaviour in health-care decision-making,” she says. “Then for-profit companies, such as financial companies, aerospace, and transportation, started asking us to do good diagnostics around how their leaders and employees were functioning and on the culture of their company. They wanted to know why certain changes were not being well integrated. And so we look at the barriers on the human side of things. Many big consulting firms assess processes; our small firm, rather, decided to go toward complex areas and to focus on human capital.”
As a result, AXDEV researches and evaluates initiatives used to improve the way a business functions.
“We are brought in as credible, collaborative leaders,” she says, calling her company’s work high-end complex facilitation. “Psychologists or other experts in leadership, teamwork, and professional development and transformation facilitate sessions of dialogue to ensure that the different players can collaborate on different types of initiatives.
“I have a strong belief that people should appreciate and recognize various disciplines, cultures, genders, and age groups within teams,” she says. “It’s important to learn how to collaborate with different minds. As our world becomes more global, we see a lot of resistance, but it’s time to work together.”
Murray believes it’s important to challenge the status quo.
“People often underestimate their own potential and set limits,” she says. “I like to help others evolve their own thinking. Some might say I’m bold, but others call me a professional provocateur.”
Murray’s commitment to facilitating change reaches beyond the business world and into her community. She and her company give back through financial donations as well as by volunteering time. Each year, the company chooses an organization to support. Under the leadership of Murray, AXDEV helped the Scouts of Brossard build a school in Nicaragua in conjunction with Terre Sans Frontières. The AXDEV team participated in this humanitarian initiative by calling firms and businesspeople and engaging them.
“It’s important to get involved in community work, not only in your own backyard, but also abroad,” says Murray. “You learn about working with other cultures.”