Join Yukon Entrepreneur, Patti Balsillie, owner of Patti Balsillie Management Consulting with 30+ years as a northern and national management consultant specializing in governance, tourism, and community economic development as we reconnect since we last chatted in 2020 near the start of the pandemic.
(1:31) Patti shares their first memory of the pandemic. They were traveling for work, and Vancouver was like a ghost town, the airport and convention center were empty, and they didn’t know what a pandemic was yet, but felt grief in that something was wrong.
(4:24) Over the last couple years, looking at their business model, Patti has learned a lot about moving their business to online and how accessible it has made their business for people. Being an extrovert, they still prefer meeting in person, but they admit to there being a lot of cost savings to going online and it has meant their business can expand globally much easier than before when there was an expectation to physically travel for meetings.
(7:16) During the pandemic, Patti has learned that many of their clients have normalized the distractions that happen from working remotely such as children, dishwasher bells going off, etc. and that the increased flexibility has resulted in a feeling of enhanced productivity. That being said, they also share the effects of the ‘great resignation’ and how many people deciding to shift their careers or retire early has put strain on the teams left behind, with the tourism sector being the hardest hit and the longest to recover.
(9:57) Considering leadership, Patti has learned that leadership has shifted from a focus of profitability and growth to focusing on stability and reducing impact, especially in senior organizations. There is more flexibility, compassion, and pausing to reflect and look to the bottom for ideas and engagement. They observe that during this pandemic, leadership has had to make decisions without knowing what the future will bring.
(14:31) Patti shares the adaptation they’ve made that they are most proud of in their business is feeling very versed and comfortable in how to engage in this new online world with multiple platforms and how although these seem like solutions, there are people who are struggling with the technology that you need to factor into your planning. They share that the pandemic has us more attuned not only with safety, hygiene, and cleanliness, but also compassion and adaptation.
(19:03) Patti discusses the public health measures that have been the most challenging for them being in beginning the wastefulness of using gloves and masks and disposing of them, and then having to have multiple plans for events, especially considering audiences who do not have access to technology to be able to meaningfully engage and the negative effects of having to cancel or reschedule on everyone, especially hired businesses such as hoteliers and caterers.
(25:02) The knowledge sector allows mobility which means Patti can be anywhere in the world and do business and the opportunity this presents that may not be presented again in the future. They also discuss developing literacy in using zoom and discovering educational opportunities that can satiate their curiosity and add value to their clients and work. They share the importance of spending the time during these moments of limbo as a time to nurture ourselves both physically with adventure and our minds.
(28:56) Looking at the Yukon’s rebuilding efforts, Patti hopes that we can come together as a community even when having differing views.
(32:36) Patti’s advice for emerging entrepreneurs. There is amazing innovation happening, and they encourage people to look strongly at digitization and build you ecosystem of mentors and advisors to provide an extra level of support in an ever-changing time.
(34:47) Patti’s worldview hasn’t shifted during the pandemic, but it has come more to the forefront. They share their hopes that other Canadians, businesses, and leaders can see that we are not islands and that everybody has a story. They aspire for a kinder and caring Canada, emphasizing the need for us to continue to make our country better, not pull ourselves apart.
(37:26) What wellness practices keep Patti grounded? They have been fat biking year round (even in winter) as they found getting outside for fresh air and in nature to be one of their anchor points as well as focusing more on making shifts in their overall health, nutrition and wellness since the start of 2022.
(38:27) Patti shares their final thoughts that they are hopeful that Yukon can use it’s out of the box thinking to provide some leadership and insight to the rest of Canada as we look to recover from the pandemic.
Thank you for watching!
To learn more about Patti and their business, visit their website at: