Leadership Winnipeg Through the Eyes of Carley Smith

by Admin 17. November 2014 07:49

Is There a Recipe To Successful Leadership?

Being new to my leadership “career,” I have always wondered if there is a recipe to successful leadership. Is it as simple as one cup of this, tossed with ½ cup of that, combined on low speed? Or is it a style? Is it a personality? A team? Or is the key to successful leadership, that there is no key at all?

As we drove up and towards, then down the looped driveway of Government House, I felt a flood of mixed emotions. I couldn’t believe that I actually had the opportunity to attend a day at Government House in the presence of His Honour Philip Lee, Lieutenant-Governor of Manitoba. Or were the emotions due to the realization that I, along with our Leadership Winnipeg 2014-2015 team, would have the additional opportunity to hear directly from five leaders, who themselves have inspiring stories to how they have become viewed a community leader, whether intentionally or not. I thought about my first day at Leadership Winnipeg, when we were asked to reflect and share individually to the group who our heroes were and I replied: “Anyone who can tell their story.” Beyond excited, best describes the most prevalent emotion.

We were divided into teams and moved to our designated area for the day within the historic home.  With no guidelines or agenda for hosting the conversations other than to take this time to listen, ask questions and find out if there was a key to success for Pat Bovey, Damon Johnston, Paul Jordan, Ida Albo and Tyler Gompf.

The day completely flew by with stories one-by-one of their journeys throughout their careers. Words filled with passion, optimism, a strong belief for what they do, coupled with one liner quotes filled my coiled book of notes. We gathered back in the auditorium and I was reading the inspiration within the lines of what I had written. I hadn’t realized at the time the five different conversations were happening, but they spoke a common trend. Five leaders. Five different people. Same recipe?

The expected words like vision, team support and passion were all interlocking common pieces. However, time and time again, the words “remove the silo” were written on my page. Knowing the intention of the use of silo was not likely as a noun, being a tower to typically store grain, I Googled it.   What was the true definition behind this word, used as a verb by all five of our presenting leaders, all with exceedingly different accomplishments and backgrounds, that drove such a passion when speaking about breaking down the silos?

  Definition of Silo              

               Verb:      isolate (one system, process, department etc.) from others

 Which got me thinking, what is the literal definition of leadership, after which I, of course, Googled it.

            Definition of Leadership

                            Noun:   the action of leading a group of people or an organization

It dawned on me. This idea surrounding the benefits to removing the silos really begins within the early stages of our lives, much before the understanding of the word leadership. We teach toddlers to share and be fair, elimination of cliques and bullying within schools and in our latter years, equality within the work force. Even within an article I was reading about the G20 Summit 2014, it made mention of the increased push for our world leaders to recognize and work towards removing current barriers. The verb silo can really relate to so many stages and life experiences.

These five presenters unconsciously became some of Manitoba’s well respected leaders because they had and continue to have the ability to understand that leadership is defined as leading a group of people or an organization and yet as leaders we are quite often expected to lead in an environment flooded with silos. That is why their stories are so moving, they are triumphant. They are raw. They are reality. By working towards removing barriers and silos in their personal and professional lives they have created an environment where accomplishments can flourish with help built from that success.

Think about that for a moment and I challenge you to self-reflect if there’s room for improvement with your leadership recipe.

 

Carley Smith

 

 

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Meet One of Our Newest Members

by Chamber Staff 14. November 2014 10:45

We are pleased to introduce one of our newest members,Yvan Boisjoli, a partner in Bold Innovation Group.

What does your organization do?

We do a few things. We started off with apps – more like Web plugins – for Shopify. We gained a good reputation with Shopify customers and about 1 ½ years ago, we started getting requests for custom themes, apps and full websites. So now, we have two departments: Bold Apps and Bold Commerce, which specializes in custom, full e-commerce websites. We’ve also got a third focus. When we started the company, we wanted to follow the same approach as Google and put aside 20 per cent of our resources to innovate. One of our new products to come out of such innovation is Picticipate, a secure and private online photo-sharing tool that allows people to easily share high-resolution, print-ready pictures and videos with groups of people.

What company or business person most inspires you?

Shopify. We built a strong relationship with them and built our company around them. Shopify influenced how we manage our company, our mindset and our culture, which also reflects what you’d see in Silicon Valley. Every Friday at 4 p.m., we shut down for drinks and chatting. We encourage a fun, relaxed atmosphere … we have an arcade, a keg, TV, playstations and a fridge full of food, so people want to come to work. Not many companies in Winnipeg can match what we do.

How did you get the idea for your business or why did you choose to go into this business?

We have four co-founders/partners – Jay Myers, Stefan Maynard, Eric Boisjoli and myself. Jay ran two online stores – one of which was on Shopify. As he used their platform, we noticed it was lacking in some functionality. As a result, we started building apps that generated revenue for store owners, many of whom were only using utility apps. As entrepreneurs, the rest of us also had side companies … this was just another idea that we took on and made it through to action.

What is innovative about your business?

We introduced a new concept to Shopify – apps that generate revenue. We also believe that if you’re not ahead of the curve, you die. We try to instill that innovate-or-die mentality in all of our guys. We host our own version of Hack Days every six months, which we refer to as #InnovateOrDie Days.

What’s the most difficult part of your job?

Our growth. We’ve grown from 0 to 37 people in two years. The big issue, especially when we weren’t well-known, was trying to find people willing to work in Île des Chênes. It’s become easier now … people are starting to know us.

What’s the most important issue facing business today?

Keeping up with technology. People who are set in their ways are not going to last long … they’ll lose sales. A good example is Blockbuster versus Rogers.

Why did you join The Chamber?

Part of it was to find out what resources we had available to us as a new company. As a start-up, you don’t hear about resources until you start going to events and meeting people. We also wanted to be part of the Winnipeg community.

 
BREAKING NEWS: Bold received two national awards this week. It won in the Young Entrepreneurs category of the Lauriers de la PME entrepreneurial awards, open to all Francophone businesses outside Quebec, and it won in the Young Enterprise category of the Saint-Boniface Chamber of Commerce's entrepreneur awards.

 

 

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Meet One of Our Chamber Board Members - Lori Robidoux

by Chamber Staff 14. November 2014 06:44

LORI ROBIDOUX, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP

Why did you get involved in The Chamber?

I believe in the City of Winnipeg and support local business – The Chamber is a good way to do that.

What’s the one thing everyone needs to know about The Chamber or would be surprised by?

The value that can be created by attending Chamber events and capitalizing on the networking opportunity.

What’s the most important issue facing business?

Being competitive – keeping up with technology and regulatory standards, and succeeding in international markets.

What’s the best business/career advice you’ve ever received?

When I started on a new career path, someone said to manage it as if you own it.

What would people be surprised to learn about you?

That I have a really good sense of humour. Stereotypically, people think accountants are dry and boring – I’m not.

What do you love most about Winnipeg?

Summers. Also, the new zoo – it’s awesome and makes me very proud of our city and all the new development we’re seeing.

 

 

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Leadership Winnipeg Through the Eyes of Nancy Parker

by Chamber Staff 12. November 2014 07:43

Leadership Winnipeg is about shaping tomorrow’s leaders today – bringing together participants from a wide variety of sectors and providing experiences that will inspire and help them develop their skills, knowledge and understanding of themselves, their community and their role in it.

Leadership Winnipeg – the beginning of the voyage for the class of 2014/15. We met Nov. 7 at Government House, where the class was divided into five groups and throughout the day spent time with five outstanding individuals, who spoke to us about their journey and what leadership meant to them.

Marty Linsky instilled in me a dislike of the use of the word leader as a noun. Many people in positions of formal authority may not demonstrate acts of leadership, while so many people without formal authority have made global impacts with their acts of leadership.

All of our Leadership Winnipeg guests demonstrated the word used as a verb – acts of leadership. We heard about their activism, risk taking and creativity to develop new businesses and services, leadership in maintaining excellence – keeping the fires burning, and bringing people together around crisis moments to create something even better.

When our group (“Risky Business”) met with Damon Johnston, he spoke about the importance of his personal journey that is reflected in his leadership style. This theme continued as all of our presenters spontaneously connected their early experiences and family influences that inform their work. Our other speakers: Pat Bovey, Paul Jordan, Ida Albo and Tyler Gompf gave a rich reflection of the diversity of ways they have all influenced Winnipeg and plan to continue doing so into the future.

I applied to be part of this class as a way for me to reconnect and learn about my community after being away from Winnipeg. Listening to His Honour Philip Lee, Lieutenant-Governor of Manitoba, and being in Government House with all the pictures of former lieutenant-governors, I felt surrounded by the reflections of a parliamentary democracy. After living 30 years in a republic system, I have a deep appreciation for the flexibility and balance and checks of our government. I appreciated the opportunity to pose beside the uniform of the office of lieutenant-governor. It is an echo from my past, and resonated with the theme of the influence of family. It is good to be home.

Nancy Parker

 

 

 

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Leadership Winnipeg Through the Eyes of Hernan Popper

by Chamber Staff 12. November 2014 07:07

Leadership Winnipeg is about shaping tomorrow’s leaders today – bringing together participants from a wide variety of sectors and providing experiences that will inspire and help them develop their skills, knowledge and understanding of themselves, their community and their role in it.

Our second Leadership Winnipeg session was held on Nov 7, 2014. We were invited by His Honour Philip Lee, Lieutenant-Governor of Manitoba, to have it at his private home.

With kind words, His Honour addressed the group and shared his ideas about the program and its benefits for Winnipeg. It was an honour to be there and live that experience.

This session was all about leadership, not as an abstract concept, but as real people and real life stories.

Five recognized leaders of the community joined us and gave us their perspectives about this topic.

They were:

  • Pat Bovey - executive director emerita, Winnipeg Art Gallery; and adjunct professor, University of Winnipeg
  • Damon Johnston - president and CEO, Aboriginal Council of Winnipeg
  • Paul Jordan - CEO, The Forks North Portage Partnership
  • Ida Albo - co-owner of Yoga Public and The Fort Garry Hotel, Spa And Conference Centre
  • Tyler Gompf - president, The Gomption Group

The group was divided into five teams, and we had the opportunity to have intimate discussions with each of them.

Personally, I was highly impressed by some of the stories shared, as these leaders demonstrated how they overcame incredible personal struggles and transformed such experiences into positive outcomes.

The common theme among all discussions was the consistency, perseverance and determination to keep going even when everything seemed to indicate it wasn't worth it anymore. I clearly learned from them that their vision and passion were stronger than the hurdles they faced.

Once we finished our discussions, the group was presented with the details of this year’s project, and both an editing team and a book launch team were selected.

I look forward to our next sessions with great interest in further developing my leadership skills and add value to the community at large.

Hernan Popper

 

 

 

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Meet One of Our Members Celebrating 25 Years

by Chamber Staff 10. November 2014 08:57

We are pleased to introduce Kelly Crerar, senior vice-president, Strategy and Business Development, IC Group, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary

What does your company do?

At the end of the day, the easiest way to describe what we do is that we’re a technology and marketing services company, which specializes in building and managing promotions and loyalty campaigns for large companies. We manage the consumer relationship for a brand. We’re also an underwriter for Lloyd’s of London, so we protect budgets for companies and brands doing large-exposure risks.

This year marks our 25th anniversary. The sorts of changes we’ve seen include rapid growth in employees – we now have about 100 employees in Canada (our head office is in Winnipeg) and the U.S. We have also seen a rapid change in technology, which has challenged us to always be ahead of the curve.

What company or business person most inspires you?

Jackie Stone. She’s marketing vice-president for Spanfeller Media Group. She’s one of the most dynamic marketing professionals in our industry today. She has an understanding of how big brands and small brands work within our entire marketing ecosystem.

How did your company choose to go in the direction it did?

Having done many of the Scratch and Win paper games in the early ’90s for Fortune 100 companies, we realized there was an opportunity to take these same games into a digital space. Ten years later, we realized the value of data and began re-setting the organization as a major player in data collection, management and analysis, helping brands take the next step to better consumer relationships.

What’s the most difficult part of your job?

Getting paid for what we do … we’re always having fun. He laughs and says the toughest part is really turning off your brain, so you’re not always thinking about how to solve client marketing issues.

What’s the most important issue facing business today?

Brands not knowing their consumers well enough or collecting data in a way to solve that. This eliminates a brand’s ability to carry on a conversation and create loyalty with their consumers.

Why did you join The Chamber?

To get access to other Winnipeg companies the same size as us and to gain exposure for our services in the Winnipeg and Canadian markets. We are all about supporting our local community, businesses and events … joining The Chamber was a step towards enabling that.

 

 

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Meet One of Our Newest Members

by Chamber Staff 30. October 2014 06:34

We are pleased to introduce one of our newest members, Deanna Hansen, founder and CEO, Fluid Isometrics

What does your company do?

Fluid Isometrics is a body-work system that melts through scar tissue and compressed connective tissue. We teach Fluid Isometrics block therapy classes and train and certify individuals as block therapy instructors. We have also created educational materials for people to access in the comfort of their home.

What company or business person most inspires you?

Jack Canfield, author of Chicken Soup for the Soul. He’s passionate about teaching others to find balance and success in all aspects of life. While reading his book “The Success Principles,” I felt he brought in a yogic philosophy to his teaching that inspired me to look further. I am currently enrolled in his coaching program, which offers the tools, personal assistance and accountability to ensure success in all endeavors.

How did you get the idea for your business or why did you choose to go into this business?

It was a fluke that changed and saved my life. I didn’t develop Fluid Isometrics, it developed me. It came to me over a number of years of self-application. I had a successful athletic therapy practice, but I was on a destructive path personally. In the depths of the scariest anxiety attack I have ever had, I dove my hand into my abdomen, only to discover it was full of pain and scar tissue. In that moment, I found a solution to my anxiety and a realization as to why I couldn’t lose the extra 50 pounds of weight I was carrying. That moment was the seed for what was to become Fluid Isometrics.


What’s the most difficult part of your job?

Teaching people that there is more than one way to view the body. We have been influenced by the status quo for so long that we believe what we are told without exception. Fluid Isometrics is a system that teaches that oxygen is the most important nutrient our cells require and we have the ability to pull in six times the amount when we breathe consciously. The frozen fascia that blocks blood and oxygen flow, however, needs to be melted to access the diaphragm muscle, which is responsible for proper breathing. Fluid Isometrics focuses on melting through these blocks, which accumulate through time causing pain, disease and the aging of tissue, and allow the body to access this very powerful muscle.

What’s the most important issue facing your business today?

Finding the resources and money to continue to educate and create materials. As a pioneer in this very competitive field, I have made it my life’s mission to teach this work and provide the information I have gained over the past 15 years. Being able to reach influential people, who will be an advocate for Fluid Isometrics, is my current focus. Providing proper research to validate my work and creating teaching tools and opportunities to educate all require much time and money. As a small business owner, it is taxing to take on this monumental mission.

Why did you join The Chamber?

To create opportunities to network and to find the resources available to help me move forward. I am so immersed in my work and introverted by nature, I need opportunities that will help me connect with people and companies that can assist me on my mission. I am excited about the future and the success that is ahead and to be a part of such a committed organization can only help to advance my goals.

 

 

 

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Meet One of Our Chamber Board Members - Jan Belanger

by Chamber Staff 24. October 2014 12:46

JAN BELANGER, Great-West Life, London Life and Canada Life

Why did you get involved with The Chamber

I’ve been indirectly involved as co-chair of Leadership Winnipeg’s Advisory Network and have followed The Winnipeg Chamber’s leadership and evolution for many years. I was honoured to be asked to join the board a few years ago. 

What’s the one thing everyone needs to know about The Chamber or would be surprised by?

The Chamber provides so much more than membership privileges. It is a catalyst and facilitator for many local initiatives. Membership means access to and connecting with those who are moving issues forward in our city.

What’s the most important issue facing business?

As businesses and citizens, we need to ensure we are developing people and skill sets to shape our growth and prosperity. How do you align education systems, social and economic environments, and career opportunities to help advance the creators, thinkers, leaders and doers?   

What’s the best business/career advice you’ve ever received?

Take your work seriously, not yourself. 

What would people be surprised to learn about you?

Good question! That I’m full of surprises?

What do you love most about Winnipeg?

This is a city that reveals itself once you get involved. There’s a lot of depth and variety in a relatively compact centre. It’s cosmopolitan and cultural, accessible and connected. I appreciate the mix of different people, different perspectives.


 

 

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Meet One of Our Newest Members

by Chamber Staff 17. October 2014 08:07

We are pleased to introduce one of our newest members, Derek Rolstone, consultant, Knightsbridge Human Capital Solutions

What does your company do?

We prepare the newly unemployed for the emotional and physical hurdles of job search, while minimizing the reputational and legal blow-back for companies. Basically, we help companies say goodbye better and help ex-employees with the next chapter of their lives.

What company or business person most inspires you?

Tom Peters – he’s all about engagement and getting discretionary effort out of employees. He talks a lot about earning employee loyalty.

How did you get the idea for your business or why did you choose to go into this business?

Knightsbridge is a large company with 22 offices and 400 employees across Canada. Our presence in Winnipeg has been a bit more limited, so we brought onboard new people and are spreading the word about the kinds of services we have to help companies, including smaller organizations, which might not have an HR department, but want to make change.

What’s the most difficult part of your job?

Anytime you’re dealing with people who’ve lost their jobs, it’s a pretty stressful time. They just got bad news, it’s not easy, and you’re having to help them work through it. It’s rewarding, but challenging.

What’s the most important issue facing business today?

Turnover – many companies expect loyalty, but they don’t always provide their employees with job security or professional development. I think trust on both ends is at an all-time low. However, it’s an opportunity to build the relationship.

Why did you join The Chamber?

I want to be near Brian Bowman (chuckles).

 

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Meet One of Our Chamber Board Members - Jim Bell

by Chamber Staff 14. October 2014 08:40

 

Why did you get involved in The Chamber?

I saw the impact The Chamber could have on our city and I know some of the people on the board. It’s exciting to join them and to do something for our city in a small way.

What’s the one thing everyone needs to know about The Chamber or would be surprised by?

How much people in The Chamber care and how devoted they are to making our city a better place.

What’s the most important issue facing business?

Taxation. I understand taxation is part of life and business should pay its fair share, but we need to draw a line in the sand. Business drives the economy and grows our city, but taxation can be encumbering.

What’s the best business/career advice you’ve ever received?

To make a difference – find your passion and apply that to what you do in your career. It’s a guideline I try to think about every day.

What would people be surprised to learn about you?

How competitive I am, even though people see me as laid back. I get this from my background in athletics. I like to put my best foot forward in any game and even in business. I like to play fair, but hard.

What do you love most about Winnipeg?

The people and the community, absolutely, that’s an easy question. The fans and the community are the wind at my back.

 

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