No challenge is too daunting for this business powerhouse.
Justine Fedak lives by the words velle est posse—Latin for “Where there’s a will, there’s a way.” “No mountain is too high,” says the 43-year-old senior vice president of BMO Financial Group, who’s dealt with her share of adversity: She lost her first love in a car accident at age 21, and she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis 11 years ago. “I’m not saying I don’t go down for the count, but I rise quickly,” she adds. “When you experience extreme sorrow, you have a real appreciation for beauty and joy.”
Hero: My grandfather, who was head of Canada’s Ukrainian Orthodox Church, saw the world through the most welcoming eyes. He taught me that you have to forgive everyone because if you don’t, you carry that burden in your heart.
Style philosophy: I gravitate toward simplicity. I’ll wear anything as long as I feel good in it, but I also love things that have an element of vivaciousness and passion.
If I weren’t a bank executive, I’d be: A motivational speaker. I’d go around speaking and connect with people looking for a place to share their thoughts. People say to me, “You’re so open. You don’t seem to hide things, and that’s refreshing.” It’s a privilege to share my experiences.
Cause closest to my heart: The Noah’s Arc Foundation, which I’m on the board of, provides outlets for kids to connect with society so they don’t turn to violence. That feeds into my life philosophy: helping people connect to happiness.
Trademark look: My glasses. When I started wearing them, they gave me a protective shield during moments of insecurity. They still give me confidence. In 20 years, I’ve amassed 42 pairs.
On aging gracefully: Every scar, crack, and affliction I have is a testament to the journey I’m on. I wake up every morning, and if I can feel all my limbs, I’m thankful.
BEAUTY: Lancôme Dual Finish Versatile Powder Makeup in Matte Beige Camee III ($38). Macy’s, 835 N. Michigan Ave., 312-335-7700. Clarins Wonder Perfect Mascara in Olwonder Black ($25). Macy’s, see above. Tom Ford Lip Color in Flamingo ($48). Saks Fifth Avenue, 700 N. Michigan Ave., 312-799-5211. Moroccanoil Volumizing Mousse ($28). Colette Salon & Spa, 100 E. Walton St., 312-944-1409.
FASHION: Pearl top, Viktor & Rolf ($2,455). Ikram, 15 E. Huron St., 312-587-1000. Pants, Margiela ($590). Ikram, see above. Glasses, bracelets, and watch, Fedak’s own. Chair courtesy of Walter E. Smithe.