Women in business talk about key skills

Influential women in business reveal the skills they own and ones that they aspire to acquire

Christine Therriault-Finke and Tamsin Snodgrass, owners of Movin’ Mountains Therapy in Trail, B.C., pour their skills and their passion into improving lives in their community

Christine Therriault-Finke and Tamsin Snodgrass, owners of Movin’ Mountains Therapy in Trail, B.C., pour their skills and their passion into improving lives in their community. — Carmen Adams, Fresh Photography

It takes more than just showing up every day and doing your job. To be recognized by your peers as an influencer takes some important intangibles as well as dedication to the job and the bottom line. It takes skills and the willingness to learn them, it takes a deep well of determination and energy, and it takes an irresistible vision or passion that, sometimes, isn’t about work at all but is about keeping things in balance.

The women we feature here were included on the 2017 Kootenay Business magazine list of influential women in business, and we set out to learn a little more about them. The question we asked was: What new skill are you learning?

Christine Therriault-Finke and Tamsin Snodgrass, owners, Movin’ Mountains Therapy

From a therapy perspective, our team is in the process of attending courses to expand our knowledge in many different areas, so that we can serve the needs and gaps within our community. We really want to provide the services that our community needs. We are also learning all the ins-and-outs of business development. This includes workplace culture so that our staff are supported and happy in their work here as well as exploring the many different ways we can meet our client’s and community’s needs.

Michelle Forbes, co-owner, Kimberley City Bakery, Kimberley

Michelle Forbes stitches medieval garments and modern sentences to unite a community.

“It's amazing how many new skills can be learned at different times of our lives. I learned to sew when I was young, although I never had the precision or patience with sewing of those who taught me. When I started sewing for the medieval festival, I discovered that my rudimentary sewing skills were enough to make the costumes needed for the medieval festival, as I learned the different styles that were common over hundreds of years to help the medieval festival look more authentic.

“The other skill that I have honed is my writing. Being able to communicate effectively on paper (or electronically) is a skill that is so critical, whether in business, in promotions or as a creative outlet. I used to wonder if having an English major in university would actually help me in life, but with the amount of communication that is now done through text messages, emails or online on websites, it is a skill I am glad I learned and that I am always working to further refine.”

Brenda Palmer, owner, Mrs. Palmer’s Pantry, Cranbrook

Being in business is a never-ending learning curve—you have no choice but to learn new things. For me, financial analysis is a big thing: making sense of the data that I’m seeing, applying that to my business and making adjustments going forward.

“Work on your business rather than in it” takes on a whole new meaning when your business is growing and you have to change your focus. In the beginning we’d make our product and we’d make a sale. Now, it’s about nurturing the business as a whole—it’s more than just the product that we have to think about.

Jodi Gravelle, chief operating officer, ʔaq̓am Community, Cranbrook

I am forever learning more Ktunaxa words and phrases and it’s my hope to one day master the “morning song” that is sung by the ʔaq̓amnik students at our school each morning.

Andrea Wilkey, executive director, Community Futures Central Kootenay, Nelson

Through my work with a High Performance Coach (Charlotte Ferreux with Change by Choice), I’ve been working on improving productivity, presence, persuasion skills and being clear on my purpose.

Tersia de Jager, co-owner, Columbia Gardens Vineyard, Trail

Interesting question! With my winemaker husband's "regular" job as general mine manager for a company in Golden, B.C., he is away from the winery for 10 days at a time. Needless to say, I had to learn numerous skills very fast, including driving the tractor! With all the different tasks I have my hands on, I would say that time management is probably the most valuable skill I had to master.

Rose Hoeher, independent contractor, Nelson Economic Development

I'm learning to code.

Leanne Jensen, president, New Dawn Restorations Ltd.

I’m working toward a better work-life balance. I’m always aware and trying to learn more effective time management techniques. It feels like I could always do better—like there’s just not enough time. We have a limited budget of time, and we need to be careful how we spend it.

Suzanne Thompson, owner/operator, Kootenay Therapy Centre

I’ve learned some leadership skills. In health care, we may be excellent clinicians but not good leaders. Leadership skill with clients or patients doesn’t necessarily translate to leadership skill with employees, so as a business owner I needed to learn the skills. When I started doing some reading on leadership, I thought, this is kind of like parenting—you have different styles for different situations and different personalities. I actually did a research project on if there are similarities between parenting and leadership, and guess what—there are!

Marie Milner

Marie Milner is a writer and photographer for Kootenay Business magazine and several other publications. She appreciates the inspiration that she gets during her interviews and hopes to share that inspiration with you. View all of Marie Milner’s articles

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