A Perfect Storm, Growth of a Lifetime, and Fresh Beginnings

A Perfect Storm, Growth of a Lifetime, and Fresh Beginnings

Four Years!

I ran a business for four years. It was great, and I am tired.

Growing up, I remember admiring people who owned their own businesses. That was likely sparked by my own family: My grandma, Edith Boyle, owned a store in Exeter, Ontario called Boyle’s Ladies Wear, and my dad, Rick Boyle, owns (yes, still owns at 72 years old) a business called Rick’s Hairstyling (aka Rick the Barber) in London. So, thanks to their inspiration, I guess it was inevitable that I try my own hand at it; it’s in my blood.

What an amazing journey and experience it has been.

I’ve worked with leaders (both nonprofits and for-profits) across the province with strategic planning, social enterprise development, leadership training & coaching, business model development, facilitation, conflict management, and union/labour-relations consulting.

Over four years, I generated hundreds of thousands of dollars in revenue and donated a great deal in pro bono work to local and provincial nonprofits, as well as individuals who needed support with coaching. I served on two boards of directors, lending my time and experience.

The problem, though, is that all that comes at a great cost. After four years without a vacation and averaging sixty-hour work weeks, I’m simply tired. One person, a sole breadwinner, working that many hours is simply unsustainable long-term.

Life is challenging.

I knew taking the risk of running my own business, as a single mom, was inherently going to be a challenge. When you add the fact that I've had to deal with a broken mental health care system—and without benefits or a regular paycheque—it made the challenge that much more difficult.

After twenty-one years of supporting my kids, alone, through many traumatic situations, I have begun to have some health challenges of my own that can be directly linked to stress. These health problems would make running my own business, at the pace I was, an even greater challenge moving forward, so new choices needed to be made.

Even though my business did well on the surface, the challenges of my life situation, health concerns, lack of structure, and inconsistent cash flow created a perfect storm which has brought me to today.

New Beginnings.

I’ve always been a believer in the notion that ‘things happen for a reason’.

Every step of my journey has led to the next most logical step, even when it didn’t seem to make sense along the way. Having worked twenty-nine years in the nonprofit sector, the next step that has revealed itself to me is to leap to the ‘other side’ of business and try the corporate world. <insert fear faced emoji here>

I’m so excited to share with you that I’ve accepted a position with London Life as a Leadership Program Manager, and I’m thrilled to share what I’ve learned over the years in a new arena.

Thankfulness.

I have learned from each and every person along the way.

My leadership skills have grown profoundly. When I teach anything, I feel as if I learn more from participants than I give to them. Each individual I’ve met and have spent time with has altered my life for the better, and I thank you.

I can’t speak highly enough.

The nonprofit leaders who have shaped me and cared for me as I grew into the leader I am today, have a very special place in my heart. The warriors of the sector who work tirelessly every single day helping our community’s most marginalized, those who help keep our local arts and culture scene flourishing, those who teach and lead our children, those who help to keep our environment healthy and our animals safe, those who help employ people who need help, and many many many others….I applaud you. It is incredible what you do, each and every day. I see you and I know your struggles.

Specifically, to Judi Fisher for being an amazing mentor for over nearly twenty years (your job’s not done yet), to Andrew Chunilall for showing me that I can dream bigger than I thought possible, to Louise Pitre who gave me a chance and has always believed in me, to Janet Frood who partnered and invested in me, to Michelle Baldwin who supported me, encouraged me, and challenged me to be my best self, to Sean Quigley for nudges of encouragement and mental health support, to Michelle Hurtubise for the initial kick in the pants (and the ongoing kicking I needed), and to Chris Janssen for always reminding me I’m amazing, and for being so willing to learn and grow. Each one of you has transformed my life.

Some other amazing people I’ve been blessed to learn from along the way are listed here. You’re all very special to me:

  • Albert Brule
  • Andrea Dicks
  • Andrea MacKenzie
  • Andrea Topham
  • Anna Hendrikx
  • Brian Lester
  • Caitlin Villeneuve
  • Chris Janssen
  • Colleen Sharon
  • Dave Cook
  • Dave Schaller
  • David Billson
  • Dean Sheppard
  • Glen Pearson
  • Ian Bird
  • Jean-Paul Mouton
  • Jennifer Kirkham
  • Jennifer Murray
  • Jodi Hall
  • Joy Birch
  • JP Bervoets
  • Kate Wiggins
  • Kathy Navackas
  • Katie Miller
  • Kristen Loblaw
  • Lee Rose
  • Lesley Inglis
  • Leslie White-Eye
  • Lina Bowden
  • Lore Wainwright
  • Margo Richie
  • Marty Levesque
  • Matt Ross
  • Michelle Navackas
  • Nick Soave
  • Nick van der Velde
  • Nicole St. John
  • Nikita Miller
  • Rebecca Khouri
  • Sara Lyons
  • Shawn Adamsson
  • Sheila Simpson
  • Skylar Franke
  • Steve Giustizia
  • Suzanne MacDonald-Aziz
  • Vinod Rajasekaran
  • Willie Van Klooster

After typing a list like that, I’m sure I’ve missed many people, so to each of you who know you worked with me, I’m grateful beyond words.

New Beginnings.

Onward.

Here. We. Go!

Early Reflections on 2017 and Business Changes

Early Reflections on 2017 and Business Changes