Breaking Glass – Heeding it’s own Advice

When I first founded Breaking Glass, some of my colleagues and friends questioned the name Breaking Glass.  I was warned many would default to the glass ceiling, others said it doesn’t sound like anything to do with HR, and others said it will never be found in google searches.  All of those cautions were realized, but hasn’t affected business at all!  I chose to go with what felt right.

For as long as I can remember, my advice to business leaders, as well as coaching for HR teams, has been “sometimes you have to break some glass in order to affect change”.  Plain and simple, that’s how I came to name my HR consulting business Breaking Glass.  I found myself most effective as a business partner when I worked with leaders in assessing what is holding the business back from being wildly successful, then helping craft and execute a plan to fix that.  Change can be daunting, time consuming and requires a level of leadership that not everybody possesses or wants to invest energy in as there is always something more pressing happening in the business.  Even more often, lack of change results from having difficulty finding the courage to make the tough decision required to the change.  That’s where the coaching around breaking some glass comes in.  My role is to help leaders through the daunting task of identifying the change needed, developing the plan, and building up the courage to make the tough decisions to execute the plan. Hence Breaking Glass Inc.

Great leaders can not only look at the organization and determine what change is needed, they also are willing to look internally at themselves at what may need to change in order to be most effective. Over the past several months I did just that – I looked externally at the business climate, especially with the short- and long-term impacts of Covid-19, and I looked internally at what motivates and drives me. I reflected on my own advice that “sometimes you have to break some glass in order to affect change” and as a result, I decided it was time to affect a change that I’ve been considering for a long time.

17 years ago, I made the decision to leave my hometown of Halifax, NS and with my four-year-old daughter we moved to Toronto for me to advance my career with Pepsi at the time. I am the youngest of 22 first cousins, most of which reside in Toronto, and along with some close friends and a brother two hours away in London, it was an easy transition for us. From career, family, education and social aspects, it was a very positive move for us and I’d say my daughter thrived in this environment. But it never felt like home for me. I knew someday I’d go back home to Halifax, but timing never felt right. 17 years later, with my daughter entering her fourth year at Dalhousie, Breaking Glass coming up on four years in practice, and my heart still in Nova Scotia, I made the decision to repatriate back home.

As of September 1, Breaking Glass has relocated its home base to Hammonds Plains, NS, just outside Halifax.  We continue to practice across North America with a strong presence still in Toronto. If Covid-19 has proved one thing to all of us, it’s that if you’re effective, you can work from anywhere! While travel may be limited in the short term, Breaking Glass will continue to provide HR leadership support to existing and new clients across North America.  And now I will do it with an even bigger smile, finally having my head and my heart truly aligned by being back home where I was always meant to be. I’m excited to begin this next chapter of my life, and to lead the growth of Breaking Glass in the Maritime market. Once again, I chose to go with what felt right.

Want to discuss further?

Get in Touch

Share this:

Breaking Glass is Celebrating Three Years

Amidst these very tumultuous and challenging times across the globe, it has become increasingly difficult to find reasons to celebrate and give thanks.  I have lots of reason to give thanks this week.  Three years ago I said goodbye to my corporate HR career and put out my Breaking Glass sign.  The main drivers were to create more balance in my life by spending more time with my family as well as continue to do the work I love to do, just perhaps a little differently than over my 25-year HR career.  It was a scary change to make after having a very successful in-house HR career and not having any clients lined up to kick off my consulting business, but it just felt like the right time. Shortly after making the jump, I found myself an unplanned empty nester, in the truest sense of the term – my daughter moved back to our home town of Halifax to attend University that fall (that was planned!) but my husband unexpectedly left our marriage at the same time.  That left me wondering if I should abandon my dream and go back to the corporate environment given the uncertainty and the need to pay my bills.  However, I was committed to and excited about Breaking Glass and decided that this was what I was meant to do, so I decided to stick with it!  But it was scary.

My first three years as Principal of Breaking Glass have been amazing.  I learned a lot about myself, about being an entrepreneur, and about other people throughout this journey.  I thought I’d share a few of those learnings:

    • It’s ok to not know what you’re doing all the time. When I received the first request from a prospective client for a proposal, I said with my outside voice, “Sure I’ll get you something by tomorrow”, but my inside voice said “I have no idea how to write a proposal or what to charge”.  There are so many resources out there that helped me set up my business, create a website and make many more decisions along the way.  Both online resources and even more valuable, friends, peers and colleagues that were happy to share their experiences and tools.  I went from being the one everyone counted on to have the answers, to accepting I won’t know all the answers and became more comfortable reaching out for help.  So, it’s ok to not have all the answers.
    • Networking is not a bad word.  I used to always hear the term networking when people were in transition and looking for work and often wondered if they were really networking or trying to sound busy.  I realize I love networking as it gives me the opportunity to reconnect with friends, colleagues and business partners that normally I’d be too busy to reach out to.  The three degrees of separation is amazing – everyone is so willing to meet for a coffee, give you ideas, and introduce you to others in their network that they think might be helpful.  I cannot say thank you enough to everyone I’ve connected with who took time out of their busy day to meet with me.  After three years in business, I’ve yet had to do any marketing or cold calling, as all of my business has come from my network.  So, networking works!
    • Be true to your mission, values and trust your gut. I learned this as I incorporated as some of my mentors and colleagues advised me against naming my company Breaking Glass.  They felt people will automatically default to the assumption of “breaking the glass ceiling” and pigeon hole what my business represents.  For my entire HR career, I found myself always offering the same advice to HR practitioners and business leaders – sometimes you have to break some glass in order to affect change.  It therefore felt natural that Breaking Glass would be my company name.  Granted I may need to explain that sometimes, but when I do, I get a very positive and encouraging response.  With that, the intent of Breaking Glass was always to partner with CEO’s, Presidents and business leaders to help them find the courage to make the tough decisions in order to drive the change they are seeking in their business.  I wanted to be able to focus and specialize in this executive level HR partnership and leave the specialized, more tactical (yet no less important) work to those functional experts such as payroll, health and safety, and even recruiting.  And that’s exactly what I’ve been able to do.  So, know what you want to be known for and stick to it.  Trust your gut.
    • Believe in yourself. As I grew in my career, I often received feedback that I was not “a typical HR practitioner” for many reasons.  My decision-making, my style, my approach, my business acumen, and even my sense of humor seemed to stand out amongst other HR practitioners.  I’m not sure I understood that or more importantly realized that could become a competitive advantage when I embarked on my own HR consulting business.  I continue to hear how unique I am and I actually now believe that!  As a result, I’ve gained the confidence to believe I can do this and make a difference in the working lives of so many people.   I also know there is still much I don’t know and I will never hesitate to reach out for help, or bring in subject matter experts who may know more than I do in particular areas to provide my clients the best counsel they deserve.  So, believe in your uniqueness and accept your weaknesses.

I’ve had my share of ups and downs in the past three years, however, when I hung up the “corporate” hat and put on the “entrepreneurial” one three years ago, I have never looked back.  I have also never been happier.  I have appreciated the lessons I’ve learned, and most importantly I have appreciated the support from so many friends and colleagues, old and new.

As so many businesses are gravely affected by the recent pandemic, I too am not immune to those affects.  I’m choosing to take this opportunity to pay it forward – offering support to as many businesses as I can who may not have the HR support to help them navigate through these difficult times or just need another perspective.   We are all in this together.  While I’ve learned to accept a level of uncertainty in my three-year journey so far, one thing is for certain – this crisis will pass.  If I can do anything to help now or in the future, please don’t hesitate to connect with me.

Thank you – please stay safe and be well.

Get in Touch

Share this: