This isn’t your first time sponsoring TEDxWinnipeg, which we really appreciate, by the way! What draws you to the event? Were you familiar with TED before?
I was, and I believe that we can develop a better understanding of our community, and the needs of our community, by participating in events that shape it.
At Pinnacle we say “we know people” and TEDxWinnipeg offers us the perfect opportunity to get to really know the people making a difference in our city. Not only do we sponsor the event, but we also encourage our staff to attend in order to connect with community leaders and develop their professional skills. I love that TEDxWinnipeg is an open forum for ideas to be shared in our community, and I’m happy to encourage and participate in that process in any way we can.
How does TED and TEDxWinnipeg fit with your company values? What makes us a good fit for helping to present ideas worth spreading each year?
A big part of our culture at Pinnacle is diversity, and we have many different people from all over the world working for us, which helps us develop a diverse company culture that fosters ideas. TEDxWinnipeg, and TED in general, present a variety of ideas each year that help contribute to rich and interesting discussions.
Tell me about your role at Pinnacle; why do you do it?
My business partner (Wade Miller) and I started the company 16 years ago. We’d both worked in a variety of different places before, and we both had a pretty strong idea of what we did, and didn’t, want to do when it came to leading a business. Pinnacle is always encouraging employees to develop themselves and to add to our culture; it’s one of the reasons why supporting TEDxWinnipeg is so important!
We wanted to create a company where people could fit into the Pinnacle family, and which fostered personal and professional growth. We’ve grown to 35 people in the office, and even today we always talk about the importance of company culture. It plays a big role in all the decisions we make, and I try to adopt a “culture before challenge” mindset that helps guide our decision making process.
Personally, I do what I do for three reasons:
- To make life better for our clients
- Our candidates to come look for work
- Make things great for the people who work for us
As a Winnipeg-based company we raise our families here; our kids grow up here, and it makes sense for me as a business owner to contribute to the events that make our city a better place. I’m a big believer in the idea that “success is best when it’s shared,” so we also do a lot of charity work, supporting local teams, sports organizations, and more, because it’s important to us as a company to support positive events and groups throughout the city.
What’s the best book you’ve read lately, and why?
The best book I’ve read lately was “That’s What She Said: What Men Need to Know (and Women Need to Tell Them) About Working Together” by Joanne Lipman. It’s a book that’s so relevant to the #metoo movement, but she wrote the book two years before the movement really started to pick up steam.
It’s about what men need to know in the world now. The messaging is for men and women, how they can work together in the workplace, and I think it offers a great opportunity for men to educate themselves, get enlightened, and understand their shortcomings.
Our theme for this year’s TEDxWinnipeg is “Challenge”. What’s the biggest challenge in your industry right now, and how are you meeting it?
The biggest challenge Pinnacle is facing right now is the uncertainty about the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA.)
A lot of our clients in Winnipeg work in the manufacturing sector, and since NAFTA is a trade agreement it may have serious impact on their business model. If NAFTA doesn’t continue to be beneficial for Canada and we can’t ship our goods south of the border, then it’ll be hard for businesses to flourish without re-adjusting their business model and sending those products somewhere else in the global market.
Another challenge facing companies in our industry is succession planning. With boomers retiring and the demographics shifting there are many, many people who need to be replaced, and it’s a huge challenge to replace all this knowledge of men and women who are retiring.
There’s a huge cost involved with that as well – training in advance, hiring in advance, and taking all the steps needed to make sure that the new individual is ready to step into those shoes.
Is there one particular talk you’re especially looking forward to at this year’s TEDxWinnipeg?
I was really impressed with the suggestion shared by this year’s speaker John Janzen, who recommended the talk “The Way We Think About Charity is Dead Wrong.”
This talk is so relevant with regards to how we think at Pinnacle. We’re invested in helping nonprofits make the most out of the charitable donations they get so as much of a charitable donation as possible can go right back into the community. For example, we’re spearheading a project with the Broadway Neighbourhood Centre where we’re donating $5000, which will go towards an advertising budget to raise giving, instead of being a blanket donation.
This talk really hit home because Leah, our Marketing & Communications Director, recent started working with them to put our charitable donation to work to raise even more money that can benefit the community at large instead of just giving them money and telling them what to do with it.