May 18, 2016
By: Ron Bettin
Over the past few years, our company, Fitneff, has grown from the concept, design and manufacturing of the WalkTop Treadmill Desk into a firm that sells a large selection of active solutions for productive lives. Our goal is to make it easier for busy people to make healthy choices. With our head office in Calgary, Alberta, we have witnessed, first hand, that the recent economic downturn due to the decline in the energy industry means that many people are facing more difficulties than just physical health at work. Making a positive difference is more challenging in this environment.
About one month ago, I was discussing this issue with a friend, Bill Scott. We found it discouraging to know so many people who have been laid off and so much empty office space where thriving businesses once existed. The downturn has also affected Bill’s environmental company, forcing him to lay off talented staff. It is very personal to know so many people that are out of work and scared for their future. In Alberta, this problem has become even more acute with the recent fires in the Ft. McMurray displacing thousands and forcing additional people out of work.
As we explored opportunities to make a difference, we realized that we may have an answer to some to the problems facing so many technical professionals in Calgary: create a collaborative workspace for engineers, geoscientists, and technical professionals. From this conversation, ReSourceYYC was born.
The goal of ReSourceYYC provides a co-working space where entrepreneurial professionals can “re” source their skills. We are working with Calgary Economic Development on a strategy to make Calgary a Global Talent Hub to promote the skills of Calgarians worldwide, and create opportunities across Canada. In a very short time, this initiative has grown substantially with many partners joining to provide support including Final Frontiers IT solutions and large software providers like geoLOGIC Systems. Many more companies and organizations are now signing up to partner with this positive initiative. Fitneff is proud to have supplied sit-stand desks for the geoscience workstations.
A key learning for me has been that for successful companies, ensuring that your employees have a “healthy workspace” is important for a positive work environment, but for challenging times, just having the opportunity to be part of a healthy workspace can make a significant difference to a person’s wellbeing and future opportunities.
If you are interested in becoming a partner or member of ReSourceYYC visit the web page at ReSourceYYC.org. Memberships are free until September 1, 2016.
Ron Bettin is a Canadian entrepreneur with more than 25 years of management and entrepreneurial experience. As a co-founder of several companies he a strong understanding of the importance of building shareholder value and the creation of successful teams. He is a graduate of the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology and has an MBA from Queen’s School of Business.
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Today, on International Women’s Day, I have chosen to profile Laurel Walzak, the female co-founder of Fitneff Inc. Laurel has been successful in so many areas of her career - first as a trailblazer in the sports business industry, then as an entrepreneur and most recently as an Assistant Professor of Sports Media at Ryerson University.
Laurel also spends a great deal of her time and energy outside the office in efforts to advance the careers of young women who are making their start. I asked Laurel some important questions about the role of women in business, and the role that she plays in advocating for other women in her life.