When the Forks started turning a corner a few years back, from tourist tchotchke shops to upscale destination, I remember thinking, “I wonder who’s making that happen? Somebody behind the scenes is pretty smart cause that shit is golden.”
Turns out, it had a lot to do with Larissa Peck and Amelia Laidlaw. Larissa was the marketing lead at the Forks; she oversaw the rebrand of the whole site in 2018 and managed all marketing and communications for three years. Amelia was the leasing and building manager, which means she curated the physical changes we’ve seen in the past years: new local businesses settling into the market and the outdoor Commons, among others.
These women were going places. Change-makers, decision-takers, leaders, and then…Covid. After several months in limbo, they found out they’d been laid off permanently. Nothing like a pandemic to make you examine your priorities.
Larissa says, “I was someone who was climbing the career ladder. I was on the lookout for the next big role, the next title and that had become really tied to my purpose.” The pandemic and the grinding halt it brought to the economy gave her plenty of time to think about what she really wanted. She’d go on socially distanced walks and talk things out with Amelia, who she admits was her work crush.
(This small shift could have been about finding your work soul mate and never letting go, because from my perspective, these women are infinitely more powerful because they chose to work together. Ladies doing it for themselves! But I digress.)
Meanwhile on those walks, Amelia was also wondering if she had been after the wrong thing, too. “You’re thinking about, ‘what’s the next title,’ and looking for a pat on the back from your boss, but if you’re not careful, you start rely on that. It starts to be what drives you.”
Those walks included a lot of brainstorming, and eventually, Tandem Collaborative was born. They found the courage to do what they’d knew they could do all along: support local businesses. They’re now a one-stop shop for marketing and business development. Amelia owned a café for six years in Toronto, she knows small biz like the back of her hand. Larissa can spin you a brand in her sleep. All they needed was the guts to step up and offer their services to the world (or at least, their part of it).
No more chasing titles, they’re now chasing a dream. The shift in perspective has brought them both new opportunities and a healthier outlook on life. “When you’re a business owner, your title never changes,” says Amelia. “You focus on growth and ideas.”
In other words, you focus the right stuff. The stuff that’s going to push these ambitious women to new heights and launch a dream into reality.
small//shift: Growth, not titles. When you let go of chasing a promotion, you start chasing your dreams. Give yourself room to grow, room to imagine what else life might have in store for you and watch exciting things start to happen. And keep an eye out for kindred spirits with complementary skillsets; sometimes two dreamers are better than one.