my {YWiB} story - mentor highlight: Judy Brooks

YWiB would not exist if it wasn't for some amazing mentors we've had guide us along the way. We wanted to take some time to share some of their stories with you so that their experiences could help you as they've helped us. Introducing a new bio-blog series called “my {YWiB} story - mentor highlight”.  Enjoy!!

name| judy brooks social| twitter: @judybrooks

name three people you'd like to have a dinner party with

Why stop at 3?  The more the merrier!  Those who know me best will tell you that my greatest pleasure is a evening with lots of friends, cooking dinner for them, a drink or 2, lots of conversation and laughs (and maybe a game of scrabble).

But 3 people?   Dinner with my daughter Devon, my husband Denis and Val (one of the Co-Founders in Blo and a YWiB supporter) is a evening to feed my heart and soul.

you co-founded Blo Blow Dry Bar – tell us what is the one thing you need to have a great hair day every day?

I know nothing  about hair (but something about creating and growing a business).  When we visioned Blo - we knew the end goal was confidence, women feeling great about themselves.  So we were selling confidence.

Having said that, the trick for great hair everyday is a getting someone else to do it!  Get your hair blo-ed!

a lot of people fear taking the chance to start a small business. Did you experience that in the midst of the plans for Blo?  How did you overcome that fear/apprehension?

Blo was my 3rd business,  so I have had more than a bit of experience in the feelings that come with founding a business -the good and the overwhelming!  In starting a business there are always those moments when you think " What am I doing here?  Is this going to work?  Can I make payroll?".  You have to have the stomach for it.  And just like everything that takes commitment, tenacity is key.  Lots of people would say choose something your passionate about - Blo Co-Founders Val Litwin, Devon Brooks and I would say figure out your core values, and make sure they align with what you are doing.  Then when the going gets tough, and it will, you will know why you are doing what your are doing and you can bring the energy it takes to achieve success.  Check our our Passion Conspiracy Blog for more on that!

what is your favourite part of your new role as chief of staff at nurse next door?

Always, always my favourite thing about a business (whether it is mine or not!) is the people - seeing the team learn, grow and execute.  It is the most awesome of experiences.  At Nurse Next Door I have had the opportunity to watch this gem of a company and these incredible people take off; from Co-Founders, to VP Team to Care Services Centre Specialists and Franchise Partners, everyone is focused on the same vision of care.  Being trusted to help the team to organized and ready for their next stage of growth is interesting, fun and a privilege.  Besides, who can resist a business whose purpose is Making Lives Better?

why do you think YWiB and the YWiB philosophy is important for females in Vancouver (and beyond)?

Any organization that supports personal growth, that allows you to gain confidence, helps you connect and build relationships and gives you access to mentors, serves a valuable purpose.  YWiB does that.  I have had the honour of being on the Board for YWiB, speaking at their events, moderating panels, and getting to know past and current YWiB'ers - I love the transition, as someone starts in the YWiB, to when they really start to understand the power and influence they have in a room when their voice  gets heard.  Magic.  When companies ask me if I have anyone to refer for positions in their organizations, YWiB is one of the first places I reach out to.

I wish I had the kind of connection, mentorship and access YWiB gives when I was starting out.

chatting with...val litwin

val litwin is a ywib kinda guy!  he doesn't shy away from anything different, which has led him on varying career paths - from non-profits to co-founding blo blow dry bar to operations guru at nurse next door.  we had the chance to chat with val about surfing, ice cream and everything in between.

name three people you'd like to have a dinner party with. First would be Dane Reynolds, my favourite surfer.  Then I suppose we’ll need a good chef for a good dinner party, so naturally I think Gordon Ramsey would have to join us, for the food and spicy conversation.  My third guest would be British philosopher Alain de Botton.  I know there are a lot of dudes at this table, but all three of these guys are really opinionated, hedonists and enjoy good drinks, so I’m sure we’re have some pretty interesting discussion.  Afterward...well, I’ll leave it at that.

so, english lit major - what's the last classic you read? Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson.  It’s a brilliant story, a classic for a reason.  I'm into gothic thrillers as a genre, and I think everyone's human nature has that kind of dichotomy that we see in Jekyll and Hyde.  I like books that kind of make us see ourselves in the story.

fill in the blank: i wish i could stop eating ice cream but i just can't!  I just discovered toasted coconut at whole foods, and i’ll tell’s delicious.  Because it’s not just coconut.  It’s toasted coconut.

what kind of advice you would give to someone wanting to make a major career switch, like you did (ie. from brand to operations)? Be fearless!  Even if you’re not, act like you are.  And if you’re hesitant about it...just do it!  Of course, that said, you need to be as prepared you can.  You would be foolish not to plan for it.  Perfect your craft and stay supple and flexible in your learning.  Your mind needs to stay stimulated to grow.  Keep stretching yourself.  Always keep stretching yourself.

favourite vancouver moment? That's an easy one! There is a little yellow boat anchored off Jericho Beach, and in the summertime, I swim to it and back, every day.  That’s my little daily ritual, and that would be my favourite Vancouver moment.  Actually, last summer, there was a mother and baby seal that would follow me out whenever I swam out there.

what's the hardest decision you've ever had to make? how did it turn out? Well...I grew up on the island, and only moved to Vancouver 5 years ago – that may not have been the hardest decision I ever made, but definitely the most significant one.  And obviously it’s turned out well, because if I didn't, I wouldn’t have been able to have the career I have now.

what do you wish for your future self? Happiness and lots of physical adventure (tons of surfing, lots of time in the water).  I’d like to be able to look back and say that I've taken care of the people that are close to me, as well as had a stimulating career in which I’ve grown something and made a difference.

want more on val?  check out this year's Business in Vancouver's Top 40 Under 40 list: he made it!