Grew Up Inside a Small Business – Now Helping Yours Grow
My career path can be characterized as non-traditional, marked by numerous “failures”. My interest in business operations began growing up in a family operating a small business, progressed to leaving the business world behind to become a scientist, and has come full circle in my role with New Territory as a student consultant helping small and medium business enterprises thrive. This non-traditional path is exactly what makes working with me unique and will help your business get the edge it’s looking for.
Repeated “failures” led me to gain a unique set of experiences and skills. This story begins in rural Alberta, where my family owned and operated a small business selling and repairing recreational vehicles. I spent the majority of my extracurricular hours under the roof of our family business, helping however I could (and even if they won’t admit it, likely making more work for my family than my help was worth).
My curiosity about how the business operated sowed a deep interest in and a desire to take over this business myself from a young age. But I was told I should pursue an education, so that’s what I did. This is what I consider to be my first “failure”: failing to take over the family business.
My next “failure” followed closely behind. One year into my undergraduate degree, I failed to develop an interest in anything I was studying, leading me to transfer into the Kinesiology program. Growing up playing a variety of sports, I found myself an educational home in Kinesiology; I related to the material and was hungry to learn more about the human body. It was through this program that I set my sights on becoming a physical therapist—what I described at the time as the “mechanic of the human body.”
For me, Kinesiology was a perfect fit because the type of problem solving I faced was not unlike the kind my family did when repairing recreational vehicles. It was also aligned with my interests, and it would one day lead me to operate my own business as a physiotherapist.
Just imagine my disappointment when I was waitlisted for the physical therapy program! This marked my next “failure” and led me down the path of becoming a scientist.
As a master’s student, I studied chronic lung diseases. I spent my time working to understand the physiology and determine effective rehabilitation of these diseases. This ultimately led to my pursuit of a PhD with the goal of working towards a tenure-track professor position. Once again, this role would allow me to engage in interesting work, solve meaningful problems, and run my own lab (analogous to running a business in my mind).
However, informed by the Council of Canadian Academies’ report on labour market transitions for PhD graduates, I came to the harsh realization that the prospect of a tenure-track research position is something found primarily in our wildest dreams. This marks my most recent “failure”: defecting from academia to pursue a career in the private sector.
My interest in consulting was piqued by someone close to me. I realized consulting offered me all the elements I wanted in a career: the ability to solve meaningful problems, work with subject matter of interest to me, and (with the right amount of ambition and experience) the ability to operate my own firm. This, in combination with attractive employment and career development opportunities, made the decision to embark down this new path easy.
Along my non-traditional path, I have developed a strong scientific mindset with skill in data analysis and interpretation, and have also learned the importance of high quality data (bad data leads to bad decisions).
Through my studies and extracurricular experiences, I have also gained a deep curiosity about design thinking and understanding the people within the context of a particular problem, which leads to fresh and effective solutions and benefits businesses and the customers they serve.
When working with me at New Territory, I will apply the wisdom gained along my path from business and back to offer you imaginative yet data-driven strategies to grow your midsize enterprise profitably. I look forward to working with you.