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Uncorking The Corker Co.

An Interview with Upcoming WOW Guest Speaker, Steph Corker from The Corker Co.

A "corker" is defined as a remarkable or astonishing person or thing. On November 27th, Whistler will be welcoming TWO Corkers as guest speakers at our next WOW event. Sibling duo Steph and Matt Corker of The Corker Co, will share their inside tips and tools that have allowed them to create remarkable and astonishing results as a family, as business owners, and as active community members.

In anticipation of this event, our Women of Whistler (WOW) team recently caught up with Steph Corker to dive into some details that you won’t be able to find on their website or on their Instagram feeds!

WOW: On your website it says, “it all started by falling in love with a different version of our futures…”. Where is that quote from and what is its significance to your business?

Steph Corker: It’s actually a quote from bestselling author Seth Godin, who is a good friend of Matt and I. There have been several moments in life, different choices and turns, that have lead Matt and I to where we are today, in business and in our personal lives. We both felt that this statement from Seth speaks to us from a place of seeing possibility when we face those choices and turns. It’s a reminder that there is a future of possibility, as long as you are open to it. I often get asked, “how are you always so positive”, and the truth is I’m not! I just approach life seeking the opportunities that are out there.

WOW: Working with a friend and/or relative can cause many challenges, so much so that some people avoid mixing businesses and friendship/family altogether. What were the checks on the “pro” or “yes” list that gave you confidence this business was worth risking family feuding?

SC: Being an entrepreneur is tough in general and adding business partnerships make it very tough. You are faced with challenges every day that affect both you and your business. One thing that we have on our side is that Matt and I have always been very close. Before The Corker Co. we had worked in similar corporate jobs and understood that world of business. When I wanted to start this business I knew I wanted it to be with Matt. When we discussed it, Matt actually agreed that if the company still existed after 1 year of me starting it, then he would join.  Thankfully it did! But with that, Matt and I will both tell anyone that it hasn’t always been easy.

There are two things that have helped us the most: One is “worst case” business planning - everything we do is written with worst case in mind, so every detail and possible outcome is clear. Throughout our entire working relationship, we have never counted on “family gets you through”. We count on clear communication. Number two: Therapy! We have had some tough patches where therapy was what got us through. It has been so important for us individually and as business partners. We have our business hills to tackle, and also big personal challenges and goals that therapy has been essential in supporting. It helps us show up as our best for each other.  

WOW: Balance and growth seem to be pillars in your business that you and Matt hold high importance for.  What systems and tools do you use to ensure you reach your balance and growth goals?

SC: In terms of business systems, Matt and I are both lucky to have worked for two of the same larger corporations that had great tools in place for business growth planning. We have adopted those systems from those companies, SAP and lululemon, and have incorporated them into our business. Matt did his MBA while at lululemon so he has always been our guiding light in terms of business systems. I have always been the one hunting for business for us, more of the sales lead.  And like any business we follow a structure of monthly, quarterly, and annual business goals and meetings. Honestly the biggest thing is knowing your own strengths and utilizing them, which we do very well.

WOW: You have a podcast! And it’s almost at 100 episodes, congratulations. What have you learned from running a podcast?

SC: It’s been an interesting experience! We launch one podcast a week and have been for I guess, almost 100 weeks! It is called UNCORKED and the goal of the podcast is to “uncork” stories of leaders that you can’t find on google or Instagram. It has been a fun challenge for me. As an Athlete, I am used to training being a very routine and consistent practice. I think other than that, this podcast has been the most consistent thing I have done! And doing anything with consistency is an art. The fact that I am curious and LOVE asking questions and learning keeps me going with it. I love learning new things from each guest we have on.

WOW:  Well thank you for answering those questions Steph! We are so excited to have you and Matt in Whistler on Nov. 27th. Is there anything else you would like to share?

SC:  Thank you! It has been fun and Matt and I can’t wait to speak in Whistler. I think our core beliefs are a pretty rad thing to share with the WOW audience. They are the root of The Corker Co. and will provide a good understanding of who we really are. Here they are:

  • Time is precious. Change your life today.
  • Healthy leaders lead healthy businesses.
  • Our money is meaningful and our profit is purposeful.
  • AND is the future.
  • The status quo is meant to be broken in every area of our lives. #medicoreout
  • Full self-expression is the best way to live.
  • We choose to leave it better than we found it. 

The Corker Co. will be speaking on November 27th at our WOW event, hosted at The Audain Museum in Whistler BC. This event will leave you feeling empowered to succeed in managing your people, and with new ideas to help you in developing a corker of a team!

 

 

 

 

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THE CORKER CO – BUILDING THE DREAM TEAM

A "corker" is defined as a remarkable or astonishing person or thing. The Corker Co, consisting of sibling duo Steph and Matt Corker, will be coming to Whistler on November 27, presenting as guest speakers at the upcoming Women of Whistler event. The Whistler of Women speaker series consists of four events per year that vary in guest speaker and topic subject.

Steph and Matt Corker will share the things that have allowed them to create remarkable and astonishing results - as a family, as business owners, and in their communities (spoiler alert: allowing each other to be unapologetically themselves has been part of their secret sauce since day one). Guests will leave feeling empowered to succeed in managing their people, and with new ideas to help in developing a corker of a team!

“We renovate what’s possible in your life so that you love every hour of your life, even the tough ones.” – The Corker Co.

The Corker Co is a human capital consulting firm based in Vancouver, BC, dedicated to crafting people strategies that put the heartbeat into business’ bottom line. Through innovative talent acquisition, transformational talent acceleration, and impactful e-learning, Team Corker delivers programs and people that take companies to the next level. Steph and Matt Corker have worked with leaders within multiple industries – from apparel companies like lululemon athletica, Outdoor Voices, MEC, Aritzia, Knix, and Stitch Fix, technology-based companies like Google and Blackbird Interactive, and service-based organizations like The Westin Resort & Spa and WestJet. The common thread is that they truly care about their people. ​

This event will be taking place at the beautiful Audain Art Museum in Whistler, BC on November 27 at 5:45pm. Women of Whistler and The Whistler Chamber emphasise that tickets will not be available at the door, and to please register to guarantee your seat. Men are always welcome to attend any Women of Whistler event.

 

About Women of Whistler

Women of Whistler, powered by the Whistler Chamber, is driving development for businesswomen in Whistler. WOW is an informed, inspired and influential network of women striving for excellence in business and personal success.  Leverage the power of our local, national and international resources to learn, mentor and share ideas in a supportive environment. For more information, visit www.womenofwhistler.com

About the Whistler Chamber of Commerce

The Whistler Chamber is making business easy.  Representing a robust 50% of the community - with over 700 members – we are the voice of business in Whistler and to the World.  Whistler Blackcomb, Tourism Whistler and the Resort Municipality of Whistler are our closest collaborators and partners.  Whistler comes to the Chamber for timely support. We lift as we climb, building a community of leaders and elevating Whistler’s businesses. 

For more information, visit www.whistlerchamber.com

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Get to Know Paulina Cameron

Paulina Cameron is a force to be reckoned with: a CEO, founder, keynote speaker, board director and mother, she also became a bestselling author with Canada 150 Women: Conversations with Leaders, Champions, and Luminaries. As the CEO of the Forum for Women Entrepreneurs, there is no one better than Paulina to lead a discussion about where women in Canada are at (with data) and what’s on the horizon.

The Women of Whistler is excited to welcome Paulina to the stage as our first guest speaker of 2019 for her presentation on The Power of Women in Canada: Inspiring stories and observations from talking with 150 of Canada’s most influential women.

To give you a taste of what’s to come, we chatted with Paulina to get some insight into her experience, and what to expect from of her talk on Wednesday, February 13.

Meantime, make sure you grab your tickets before they sell out! Register here

 

What inspired you to write this book?

 I am constantly inspired by stories of ambitious women around me - I think we all are, right? And, I know how hard it is for each of us to toot our own horns - I’d way rather talk about my amazing friends. So this book was a way to combine both: be a source of inspiration and celebration. Canada is also a very humble country and we are home to incredible leaders that I wanted to highlight. I also frequently hear that there just aren’t enough women - well - I have a spreadsheet of about 1,800 of them in addition to these 150… and I know there are many more!

 

150 women - I’m sure there were lots of differences, but also probably quite a few similarities amongst these inspiring women. What were some of the most common traits you saw repeated?

Many women emphasized how much their community meant and mattered to them. There was also one very specific theme that many women, especially those over the age of 50 expressed. You’ll have to hear about it in person, I don’t think I’m allowed to swear here on the blog… 😉

 

You’re a mother as well as a business woman. Did what you learned while writing this book change who you are as a mother? The topic of our last talk was “The Personal is Professional.” Do you believe that, and vice versa?

I had a one-year-old while writing this book, which was wild. I’ve always felt a blend of personal and professional, and that works well for me. I’ve never thought of myself as “career-driven” but rather “impact” or “purpose” driven, which translates to all aspects of life. One of the narratives that I desperately wish there were more examples and stories of is women who, after having babies, feel even more ambitious and driven. All I heard while pregnant was that my life, and priorities, were going to change. And while that is certainly true, at the same time my ambition and clarity got way stronger and I’m even more focused and targeted with my work and the impact I can make. Also, the phrase “it’s not personal, it’s business” has always been strange to me. We’re all walking bundles of emotions and energy, of course everything we do, whether at home or at work, is personal! We’re humans!

 

How did you come up with the questions? What different layers of these women’s personalities were you trying to reveal, and why was this important?

I had a set of questions each woman answered, and then some that were tailored based on aspects of their story I wanted to draw out. Also because they were live interviews, either via phone or in person, I could just ebb and flow with the conversation based on what came up. Thanks to this, two women decided to open up and for the first time publicly share that they were victims of domestic violence and abuse, and the effects of those stories have continued to be tremendous to date.

 

And, borrowing from one of your questions: If you could have dinner with any woman, alive or dead, who would it be, and why?

Such a hard question to answer!  Currently on my mind is Arlan Hamilton of Backstage Capital - she’s a fierce women advocating for causes I’m totally aligned with, and I’d love to talk with her about resilience, ambition, dreaming big, and building community.

 

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Get to Know: Carol Borghesi

With a career that’s spanned 30+ years and taken her around the globe, to say that Carol Borghesi has learned a lesson or two along the way, about both work and life, is an understatement.

Navigating changing standards, shifting expectations and different cultures, Carol did the only things she knew how to do: challenged convention, took on change without fear, and made it work. In doing so she found great professional success and, unexpectedly, found her way home to herself.

We can’t wait to welcome Carol to the stage as our second guest speaker of the 2018/2019 Women of Whistler season for her presentation on The Personal is Professional.

To give you a taste of what’s to come, we chatted with Carol to get some insight into her experience, and what to expect from of her talk on Tuesday, November 27.

In your bio it says that you’ve moved through moments of “getting it right and getting it spectacularly wrong.” Which do you think have been more powerful?
That’s a toss up. I was and continue to be motivated by positive outcomes. Yet I wasn’t always as open to learning as I was in my younger years. It was later in my career when I had to learn the hard way, thanks to the curse of knowledge. The curse of knowledge is the limiting assumption that you’re usually right when you’re a so-called expert - even if its only in your mind. I made mistakes - some willfully as I thought being right was more important than having people with me. Being knocked back really taught me the most vital lessons in humility and leadership, but it took me longer than I would like to admit to change my approach.
 
Did you have a lightbulb moment in your career where you realized you could be yourself AND successful? Or did this come over time?
I did! When I worked for BC Tel Mobility in the late 80s, I attended a fundraising event which featured a speech by one of the sponsoring companies. He was the first funny, irreverent and extremely good business event speaker I’d seen. I was hooked from then on in: why not be myself instead of a version of professional that struck me as woefully out-of-date. I used my sense of humour and irreverence for hierarchy and bureaucracy to call out the need for innovation and fresh thinking. This came after exposure to the changing leadership theory of that decade. The old command and control model was beginning to fall out of favour. So timing was on my side. In any event, feedback was that I was down to earth. That translated to being approachable, even as I was promoted to increasingly more senior jobs. In turn, I benefited from access to employee feedback. And that made all the difference in our success.
 
Do you still have moments where you struggle to find balance between personal and professional?
Yes. It's progress not perfection - a mindset that took me many years to embrace. I think we are under pressure to be successful in the very narrow sense of the word: financially. We are convinced we need more and better so we work more and harder. I am seduced by it myself because that’s what I did. Very driven, very focused and very tightly wound. And I lapse into that persona every now and again. When it does, my ego takes over and I'm less connected to others.

It is insidious: individualism means we are all leaders when that’s just not the case. Everyone is a follower in some area or another in their lives. Yet we don’t honour that role in popular culture, let alone business literature. Collectivism, social connectivity, and concern and care for community is as much a part of a successful life as our own personal growth.
 
What do you think men can learn from your talk?
The same messages as women. I have masculine characteristics which I value as much as my feminine characteristics. I believe everyone does to some degree - human characteristics are a continuum not separate categories. I know this from working with men and women. I know what expectations and the pressure to fit in can do to people’s behaviour at work. No one is immune to going along to get along. Be aware of why you have the views you have and make room for others ways and means; redraw competition as a collective effort and be human. That is to say fallible; vulnerable and available to others.
 
Why do you think this is an important topic for business women and men in Whistler to hear?
I am concerned for people that are working extremely hard under challenging circumstances. We can lose ourselves in the race to succeed. Becoming someone else is a real and present danger. I think having this discussion about the value of being authentic reminds us to really live.

Make sure you grab your tickets before they sell out! Register here.

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Get to Know: Devon Brooks

To put it simply, Devon Brooks changed the game. She co-founded Blo, the world’s first and largest franchise chain of Blow Dry Bars. The company now spans four countries, with 100+ locations, and has attracted collaborations with international mega-brands like Mattel, Guess, Topshop and Gwyneth Paltrow.

Since then she’s spent a decade supporting hundreds of creatives, professionals, start-ups, and founders in articulating and realizing their goals as a business coach, and now has her sights set on disrupting the personal-development landscape with her newest venture, Sphere, enhancing the experience of personal coaching.

We can’t wait to welcome Devon to the stage as our first guest speaker of the 2018/2019 Women of Whistler speaker series season for her presentation on The Conversations It Takes to Grow.

To give you a taste of what’s to come, we chatted with Devon to get some insight into her experience, and what to expect from of her talk on Thursday, September 27.

What are some of the highs and lows that’ve been a part of your journey?


Starting my first business, Blo, was one of the richest experiences of my life. I was experiencing tremendous wins at work with my co-founders - as our business had such early success. Whilst simultaneously going to through the judicial process after experiencing two major traumas and processing a PTSD diagnosis. I was about 21 and it was a mosaic of highs and lows.


What is a challenge you continue to face?


One of the hardest parts of being the leader of an organization is having to make big decisions often, and sometimes with less information than you'd like. That's why questions are so important - because you have to ask the good ones.


If you could give a piece of advice to your past self when she was starting out on her entrepreneurial path, what would you say?


The best indication of how someone will behave in the future is how they are behaving now. 



The subject of your talk is “The Conversations it Takes to Grow.” How has conversation been transformational for your business?


Because every time we ask questions and have questions asked of us we face a mirror. We face ourselves.

Make sure you grab your tickets before they sell out! Register here

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You Don’t Hate Mondays. You Hate Your Job.

By Tracy Hutton

When I share with people that I’m a professional strengths coach, they usually give me a cursory up and down look and I easily read their bewildered minds as wondering “Really? You don’t look like you’re super ripped. You look sorta mushy.” Of course, they’re too polite to say what’s on their minds, so I always offer an additional distinction, “I’m not like a (flexes arms) strength coach, I’m a strengths coach – emphasis on the plural. By that I mean that I support people in discovering their comparative advantage and how to offer it up in service of others. You know, I help people love their work.” Which is always met with an, “Ohhhhhh,” and then “I could really use some help there.” Read More

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Take a Coffee Break – it’s Good for Business

I’ve always made a point of scheduling a coffee ‘meeting’ at least twice a week. - one is with someone new that I’ve just met and the other is usually a colleague that I haven’t seen for a while. I’ve made it part of my weekly routine and business plan.

More than ever, especially in these uncertain economic times, connections and relationships are worth their weight in gold because you do business with people, not things. No amount of cold calling, sales promotions, or advertising will equal the amount of business you can acquire from someone who knows you, trusts you and will recommend you to their customers. These are the people you want to be with. These are the people you want to do business with. Read More

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Nonna Pia’s – From Whistler to the Biggest Success in Dragons’ Den History

Whistler, April 26, 2017 – How do you go from being a physiotherapist in Whistler to the biggest success in Dragons’ Den history? This April, Natasha Strim, co-founder of Nonna Pias Gourmet Sauces, will share her fast-growth success story with the Women of Whistler. This event is being held at Nicklaus North Golf Course & Table Nineteen Lakeside Eatery, from 6-8pm on Wednesday, April 26. Tickets start at $40 and can be bought online: womenofwhistler.com Read More

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Vision and Determination… made in Whistler

When I first arrived in Whistler, in the fall of 2009, a friend took me to the Farmer’s Markets. I still remember my first visit to the Nonna Pia’s stand and my first taste of the delicious balsamic reductions on offer. The fresh bread on offer to dip into the thick reduction that coats your tongue with a sweet, yet tart, richness of flavour. Since that day, my cupboards have always been stocked with their strawberry fig edition.

When you look at successful people, those that inspire you, more often than not, you can only read about them in magazines or watch interviews on the television – they’re not typically in your backyard. That’s why I was so excited when I heard that Natasha Strim of Nonna Pia’s Balsamic Reductions was going to do a talk at the next Women of Whistler event. Her product is a firm favourite on my shelves at home, I’ve seen her and her family at the Whistler Famer’s Market, as well as on Dragon’s Den, but I haven’t heard the full story. As an entrepreneur myself I’m intrigued to hear what it takes to get it to the level of success they’ve achieved.

How do you go from taste tests at the Whistler Farmers markets to marketing throughout North America? What has been their biggest mistake? Their biggest challenge? How do they stay true to their business ideal? What has been their most joyous moment? Are they still just two normal people from Whistler?

What’s so relevant about Natasha’s story is that they started right here in Whistler. Just two normal people with the vision and determination to make their business work – it kind of reminds me of another couple who opened a pie shop. The fact that their business grew from Whistler roots makes me excited to see what I can learn from Natasha – not only in a business sense, but also as a person who works closely with her family and still takes the time to enjoy life in the mountains.

Kerri Jones - Peaked Pies

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The Science of Health, Happiness and Productivity

Whistler, January 31, 2017 – This February, Women of Whistler Powered by the Whistler Chamber is bringing speaker Catherine Roscoe Barr, BSc Neuroscience and founder of The Life Delicious, to Whistler for an exploration into the science of health, happiness, and productivity. The event is being held at the Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre, from 6-8pm on Wednesday, February 15. Tickets start at $40 and can be bought online: womenofwhistler.ca Read More