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Celebrating 20 Years of Impactful Consulting

Updated: Oct 5, 2023

Wow, I can’t believe that HIP Strategic Consulting will be celebrating its 20th Anniversary in October 2023. The concept behind HIP started as a pipe dream in my mid-twenties – to be a self-employed consultant working with Non-Profits. Fast forward to my early thirties after the birth of my daughter, a move to the Lower Mainland, and a job market that left little room for balancing a professional career with raising a young child… and suddenly, the timing was right.

With a green light from my Mentor (my mom, an Accountant), who finally felt I had the knowledge and expertise to go out on my own and accepted into the Douglas College Self-Employment program, I was ready to begin my consulting journey. After six months of research, business assessment and planning, and much learning about how to run a business, I was off and running.

Even before the 6-month Self-Employment program ended, I had my first client in New Westminster. Eager to get started, I dove in, helping them with marketing, community research, grant writing, and project management. The relationships I built while working with my first client led to referrals for new clients… I was on my way!

In 2005, I took on my first community contract doing community development – learning about local neighbourhoods by hosting neighbourhood walkabouts and community conversations. I heard about the frustrations and joys of those living in the various neighbourhoods. Then, I worked with them to create activities to unite the residents and strengthen their sense of community. My family attended grassroots Easter Egg Hunts, plant exchanges, and movie nights as part of the neighbourhood groups – we’d been adopted!

As a relatively new resident of Maple Ridge, what a great way to connect with other families and truly get integrated into the community. As my skills and expertise grew, I was invited to coordinate larger and more collaborative community projects involving multiple agencies, shared goals and assets, and collaborative conversations. I asked residents to participate and share their ideas. I thrived in this cooperative, connective space and found immense joy in co-creating with like-minded non-profit, community, and neighbourhood leaders.

During this phase, my focus was on grassroots initiatives. I realized that the past 15 years of working in non-profits helping individuals find work, develop businesses, and build community were part of a more significant sector – community economic development. Recognizing that the work I’d been doing was something I loved, I set out to earn my Certificate in Community Economic Development from SFU. I completed this in 2009 (a minor break in there with the birth of my son!). I was enthralled with the schoolwork and how my learning applied to everything I did daily.

Alongside this work at the community level, I continued to work on projects with non-profits, supporting their projects, assisting with research, writing grants, facilitating strategic discussions and processes around social enterprise, strategic planning, and marketing. Balancing the community work and the referrals I regularly got from non-profits I’d work with, I steadily grew my business. As my business grew, I narrowed my niche. I focused on facilitating strategic discussions and community engagement initiatives where my skills and expertise were of greatest benefit – where my magic came through!

As COVID hit, I pivoted. I knew the non-profits I frequently worked with would struggle with the pandemic. Many would close their doors – at least temporarily; others would focus on keeping essential services going; few would look at the type of work I traditionally did with them.

I made a strategic decision and decided that NOW was the perfect time to test out the for-profit sector to see how my skills held up in this world, garner new skills and insights from the for-profit industry that I could translate into the non-profit world and make connections outside of my traditional marketplace.

A short job search led to an offer. I accepted a job as a General Manager in the home healthcare field and honed my operational, human resource, and leadership coaching skills. I learned a ton and am forever grateful to Carol Lange at Nurse Next Door – Maple Ridge for taking a chance on me and mentoring me to achieve my best in the for-profit sector.

With the ease of COVID restrictions, it was time to step back into my zone and apply what I learned in the for-profit world and apply it to my non-profit work.

As I navigate the final months of HIP’s 19th year, I marvel at the entrepreneurial journey I’ve been on. The things I’ve learned, the people I’ve met, and the impact my work has had on the communities and non-profits I serve. I am thankful that I crafted a natural balance between the demands of being a consultant and my family's needs. I feel blessed to have worked in my community, making connections from home on my own schedule, on work that I loved and fed my soul. I’m not sure I could have asked for a better 20 years!

Thank you from the bottom of my soul for being part of this journey!

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