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Ep. 56 with Sarah Tkachuk, Nominee, YWCA of Regina Women of Distinction

By July 29, 2020July 21st, 2023No Comments

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Episode #125 with Kay Peacy from Slick Business

Episode #124 with Marc Toews from Gateway Web AR

Episode #123 with Sherry Pratt from Sherry Pratt Health Coaching

Episode #122 with Aaron Strauss from Cache Tactical Supply

Episode #121 with Cedric Delavaud from Ludoland Regina

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Episode #119 with Jeff Harmel from Realty Executives Diversified Realty

Episode #118 with Shahzad Khoja from IBITS

Episode #117 with Kathy Sabo from QC Gifts

Episode #116 with Andrea Lo from the Toronto Dating Hub

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Episode #104 with Jule Gilchrist from Cuppa'T Teas

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Episode #102 with Ronley Arnold from OSI-CAN Sask

Episode #101 with Susan Robertson from Susan Robertson Pottery

Episode #100 with Victor Roman from the South Saskatchewan Community Foundation

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Episode #77 with Karen Smith from Better Business Bureau of Saskatchewan

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Episode #63 with Mary Weimer from Conexus Credit Union

Episode #62 with Winter Fedyk from Silo Strategy

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Episode #60 with Amber Goodwyn from Regina Folk Festival & YWCA Women of Distinction Nominee

Episode #59 with Cari Bode from South Country Equipment & YWCA Women of Distinction Nominee

Episode #58 with Donna-Rae Crooks from Brain Snacks Co & YWCA Women of Distinction Nominee

Episode #57 with Michelle Grodecki from  Deaf Crows Collective & YWCA Women of Distinction Nominee

Episode #56 with Sarah Tkachuk from KPMG & YWCA Women of Distinction Nominee

Episode #55 with Dr. Sharon Leibel, YWCA Women of Distinction Nominee

Episode #54 with Doug Yaremko from Paddock Wood Brewery

Episode #53 with Madhu Kumar, YWCA Women of Distinction Nominee

Episode #52 with Eric Oelson from Mortise & Tenon Store

Episode #51 with Kim Korven from The Gentle Way Divorce

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Episode #43 Part #1 with Jess Tiefenbach from Stay n Play Parenting

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Episode #31 with Charlene SanJenko from PowHERhouse Media

Episode #30 with Dr. Vianne Timmons from the University of Regina

Episode #29 with Margaret Kisikaw-Piyesis, from All Nations Hope Network & YWCA Woman of Distinction

Episode 28 with Dr. Renatta Varma, Vitreo-Retinal Surgeon & YWCA Woman of Distinction

Episode 27 with Jo-Anne Dusel from PATHS & YWCA Woman of Distinction

Episode 26 with Dr. Emily Bamforth from Royal Saskatchewan Museum & YWCA Woman of Distinction

Episode 25 with Nigora Yulyakshieva from City of Regina & YWCA Woman of Distinction

Episode 24 with Pam Klein from Phoenix Group & Miriam Johnson from Saskatchewan Roughriders

Episode 23 with Gr. 5 & 6 Students from Argyle School

Episode 22 with Tiffany Wolf from Helium Communications

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Episode 20 with Charlene Oancia from Springer & Oake

Episode 19 with Dan Benesh from BarterPay Regina

Episode 18 with Prabha Mitchell from WESK

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Episode 8 with Candyce Fiessel from The Style Academy and Shear Escape Salon and Spa

Episode 7 with Michelle Strawford from Bella Chic Fashion & Decor and What Women Want

Episode 6 with Jordan McFarlen from  Conexus Business Incubator

Episode 5 with Cheryl Giambattista from Health Coach Cheryl

Episode 4 with Joanne Frederick from Prairie Centre for Mindfulness

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Episode 2 with Christina Carlson from Queen City Collective

Episode 1 with Sherry Knight from Dimension 11

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Sarah is the leader of KPMG’s Tax Services practice in Regina. Throughout the past 21 years, Sarah has specialized in helping owner-managed businesses and entrepreneurs as their business adviser. Working closely with her clients, Sarah provides insight to help them grow their business, minimize tax and meet their organizational objectives. She is dedicated to assisting family-owned and operated businesses to effectively deal with their unique management challenges. Her goal is to help guide family businesses in their day-to-day operations with a focus on the continuity of the family business.

In addition to her work at KPMG, Sarah is very active in her community. She has been involved in a number of organizations in the past, including the Saskatchewan Young Professionals and Entrepreneurs group in Regina, as well as served on several Boards, such as the Boards of SaskFilm, the Regina chapter of the Family Enterprise Exchange (FEX), and with the Regina Women’s Network as their Vice-President of Programming. She is currently involved with the Martin Family Initiative and sits on the board of Synchro Regina. She is also the Chair of the Regina Chamber of Commerce.

Learn more about KPMG




Barb McGrath 0:03
Our guest today has spent the past 21 years helping owner managed businesses and entrepreneurs. As a business advisor. She works closely with her clients to provide insight about how to help them grow their business. She’s dedicated to assisting family owned businesses to effectively deal with their unique challenges. As a local business, I can state for certain that having someone who truly understands what’s happening in a family owned and local business is huge. Sarah has also been very engaged in her community. And she’s volunteered for a number of organizations, including the scout twin young professionals, young professionals and entrepreneurs. She’s been on several boards, including sask film, the Regional Chamber of Commerce, FX, which is the family enterprise exchange, and the vagina Women’s Network. So we had a few minutes to talk before the show today. And we even talked about some of her involvement with our kids activities. So first off, Sara, welcome. Thank you for being here today.

Sarah Tkatchuk 1:11
Thanks very much, Barb. It’s great to be here.

Barb McGrath 1:14
Yeah, absolutely. So let’s start off, like what drives you to be so involved in the community?

Sarah Tkatchuk 1:24
Well, I think part of that is a little bit the way that I was raised, I was raised in a small town, Saskatchewan, and we know that in small towns discussion, it’s it’s very important that everybody does their part. And it’s very important that, that we all work together to build a better community. And, you know, my parents exemplified that. And I have been, you know, that’s been a pretty important part of, of my upbringing, and my involvement in this this community of Regina is I really believe that, you know, we are the people who live here, we are the people who, who, who can work together to continue to make things better in our community. And I’ve that’s been a really core core belief in my career. And, and, and something that I’m hoping my kids will, are seeing and might work towards, as well. So that’s been, it’s been pretty important to me.

Barb McGrath 2:26
Yeah, absolutely. You know, it’s so true. Because if you don’t support your community, we can’t all look to someone else to say, oh, they’re going to do it. They’re going to coach they’re going to, you know, help with a fundraising. Because eventually you run out of places to point, right. Yeah, absolutely.

That’s absolutely true. Yeah. Yeah. So and, frankly, go ahead.

Sarah Tkatchuk 2:52
I was just gonna say, and, frankly, you know, being engaged and involved in activities, you get out of it way more than you put into it. Being involved in organizations, the relationships I’ve built, the people that I’ve met, the the work that’s been done has been incredibly fulfilling. And, yeah, so So part of it is giving back to the community, but part of it is, is you do get a lot out of it yourself as well.

Barb McGrath 3:18
Yeah, absolutely. And it almost becomes like a second family, when you get to know these people, and you get involved in their lives. And especially when it’s, it’s activities that your kids are involved with, you spend so much time with these other families that they become your extended family. Yes, yeah. So over the last number of months, of course, we’ve been through COVID it’s been a crazy time. Were you still able to be involved with any of the organizations? Or did everything kind of grind to a halt? Yeah, absolutely.

Sarah Tkatchuk 3:51
Well, it’s, it’s definitely changed the way that we’ve engaged and in many organizations, you know, the Chamber of Commerce right now is doing some great work in our community to to try and promote regional businesses, and remind people that, that we’re, we’re all in this together and we need to support each other and support our businesses and in our community. And you know, that’s that campaign is actually broadened provincially and is supported by the government. And so it’s been really great to see that continue to evolve and grow even, even even in these times when we can’t sort of engage with each other in the same way that we that we normally have. So yeah, so so it’s been great.

Fabulous, people involved in these organizations, you know, particularly the Regional Chamber that’s, that’s really kind of been able to adapt and move forward and and, you know, several of the organizations that I’ve involved in I’ve just been amazed and amazed at our, you know, at KPMG, as well, how we’ve been able to really do what we continue to do what we do in in, and be very innovative about how we’ve restructured our lives. And it’s been very interesting to me having been very involved with family businesses, and you know, over the years, family businesses are very good at integrating their, their, their family lives and their their business lives and their work lives. And, and actually, we’re all getting better at that, right? Because we have to, because we’re, you know, we’re, we’re, we’re doing algebra, and we’re taking skulls and the dogs are in the zoom meetings and all these things. So I think I think really, this has been some really great silver linings to this, in that we’re all you know, I think it really helps for better balance when when our kids are popping into our team meetings, right? We kind of are able to interact as as teams a little bit better. So

Barb McGrath 6:06
Yes, I agree. One of the things that you started to say was, you know, how we’re all adapting and what what kind of caught with me was family business, local business, we tend to need to adapt more quickly, or tend to be able to adapt more quickly, then a large organization that needs to, you know, write the ship in the midst of the Titanic kind of thing. I know, my business absolutely had to, you know, do an about face, we were just about to do a large live event, when COVID was announced. And we’re certainly not the only ones until we adopted, we said, okay, how can we take this virtual? And it’s turned out to be gangbusters? Like, there’s been a ton of interest in the virtual participation. So, you know, Will people go back? Or? Or will this virtual world continue? Or will we find a new normal? You know, in the midst of this, right? What about your kid? Absolutely. I would think that for your kids, I mean, especially your daughter, so she’s pulled out a synchro and your son’s activities at 15? How have they adapted? What have you found? You know, your kids are just a little bit older than mine? And how have they adapted and, you know, found that new normal for themselves?

Sarah Tkatchuk 7:21
Well, I definitely think this has been a challenging time for kids. And, you know, lack of structure and, you know, lack of interaction with their friends, which is, my daughter is an extreme extrovert, that part of this has been hard. I’ve been very grateful. She’s she, throughout this, she was meeting with her with her teammates on zoom and doing workouts and, you know, some of that technology has been really beneficial for the kids, I think, but, you know, My son is very active in sports, and, you know, missing that, you know, I think that I think, I think they were pretty good. They’re there, they were able to adapt, and they enjoyed the bit of a summer vacation a little bit early. But, you know, I think, I think the sooner we can get back to some structure in kids lives, and, you know, and and, you know, from a work and community and business perspective, as well, it’s, it’s hard, it’s challenging for people to, to be doing their their jobs in a different way, but also trying to facilitate their kids and their kids learning.

So you know, I think, I think the sooner we can get a little bit more structure in our kids lives, the better. So

Barb McGrath 8:50
Mm hmm. Yes, I agree. And I think my son is very similar to your daughter, and that he’s a real introvert or sorry, extrovert. He relies on those social interactions. And it was fairly early during COVID. Like, I’m gonna say, it was the first couple weeks when everything was super locked down tight. And you know, dad went for groceries once a week. And that was it. And I remember trying to explain it to the kids. And, you know, here’s how it was gonna work. So my kids are 11 and 13. So they’re right around the same age as your daughter. And I remember trying to explain them and how it was all gonna work. My son got upset. He’s like, Mom, I could not spend the next five months with just YouTube. They were like, oh, who else do you think you would be spending it with? But, but even in his brain at 11 he was just like, that was overwhelming, like no one else to talk to except for the four of us for five months. Right. So yeah, totally overwhelming.

Sarah Tkatchuk 9:53
Yeah. And it’s been better in the last few weeks being able to you know, the kids go, you know, be outside More and and you know, see their friends outside and those kind of things has really helped. So,

Barb McGrath 10:07
Yes, yeah, even that little bit where they can finally be outside and it’s nice and fresh air and jump on the trampoline and go for a bike ride. playgrounds are open. Now my kids are a little bit past that playground stage, but just, you know, being able to do some of those really simple things. Like I get it now, this whole mental health piece, like the fresh air and the interaction, I don’t think we realize how much that does for mental health and well being until you don’t have it all of a sudden. Right. Right.

Sarah Tkatchuk 10:40
Right. Yeah.

Barb McGrath 10:42
So tell me a little bit about your practice at KPMG. And then of course, you’ve been nominated for a woman of distinction with the YWCA vagina, so congratulations on that nomination.

Sarah Tkatchuk 10:53
Thank you very much. That’s it’s been a real honor.

Barb McGrath 10:56
So yeah, thank you. Yeah. Did you know The nomination was coming?

Sarah Tkatchuk 11:01
Um, at the kind of at the very last minute, I was let in on the secret that it was that the nomination was going in. So yeah, it’s been good. Yep.

Barb McGrath 11:12
Good. Okay. So tell us a little bit a little bit about the talk anywhere, a little bit about your work at KPMG?

Sarah Tkatchuk 11:22
Yeah, so.

So I lead the tax practice at KPMG. So that’s sort of the basis of my career has been in working with tax and working with private companies in their, in their structuring. And there there is a state planning, work, King with companies that are selling their businesses, such as working and trying to help people work through the complicated, it an ever more, getting more even more complex and complicated, it seems as in the last few years, tax rules that are out there. So, you know, helping people deal with that. And then, you know, about 10 years ago, I got more involved in the family business side of things and helping clients with succession and the continuity of the family business. So there’s, there’s tax issues associated with that, obviously, but but more starting to focus on the governance and the family side of things. And, and I’ve found that really interesting. And and there’s been some really great work done, particularly in North America. Well, I think Europe is way ahead of us in some of these things, because they’ve had had multi generational family businesses, I think longer than we have in, in North America, and certainly in Western Canada. But yeah, you know, so there’s some been some really good work evolving and trying to understand family businesses and, and some of the things that family businesses need to do differently, or need to pay attention more so than your typical, you know, entrepreneurial, single person owned business, or public companies, which of course, are different, different beasts.

So it’s been real great working with families and helping them really address some of these issues that they maybe haven’t looked at in the past.

Barb McGrath 13:20
Do you think that part of what drew you into working with family business businesses was having grown up in a small town where almost everything was family owned?

Sarah Tkatchuk 13:28
Yeah, I do come from a family business. I, I guess, my great grandfather farmed, and that’s been handed down and my sister is now running the family farm. So seeing that transition, and, you know, seeing some situations where the transition maybe didn’t go smoothly, and some of the damage that it caused in families, and certainly, you know, something that

That really stayed with me as a you know, some of the things that families need to do to just get that communication ball rolling and avoid those misunderstandings that can be can be pretty devastating. So, yeah, so that that was a huge reason why I wanted to, to be involved in family businesses, and also really just the opportunity to you know, and I think this is something that, you know, the world of being an accountant is, is very much evolving. There’s lots of things that are automated now. You know, the the, the the ledger paper is not been a real part of my career. And a generation ago, it would have been the meat and potatoes of an account, it would have been the staple.

So, you know, we aren’t we’re not our role is changing and and what We, as accountants, what we need to do is, is help our clients navigate some of the business challenges that they face. And, you know, it’s less so about putting numbers in columns, and so much more so about, about being strategic and managing for the future.

Barb McGrath 15:19
Yes, I agree. You know, it’s funny. We, of course, are a digital marketing agency. That’s what above Above The Fold is all about. And the radio show scratches the other side of my brain, it lets me talk to people on a completely different level. So we’ve been in business for a number of years, and you’ll get a kick out of this era. In all of the years that we’ve been in business, we have had so much strife around good financial reporting. I won’t go into any of the details. But suffice to say that this far in, like I’ve kind of given up on the financial reports, to help give me information on what we’re doing. Where when I got started, I was like, Okay, well, like, I want to see the finances like where, where are we? We know, where do we have good margins? And where Don’t we? And for in my mind for what we do, the report shouldn’t be complicated. But apparently, I’m asking for something that’s not that straightforward. So I’ve stopped asking, because I didn’t make everybody upset when they started to talk about it now.

Sarah Tkatchuk 16:25
Yeah, I think, I think that what we’ve seen in the last few years is that the information that you are able to get is so much better, you can get thing, you know, there’s almost too much data out there. There’s too much information. So, you know, people struggle with how do I interpret and how, what does this mean? What does this mean, for my business? What does this mean for what I need to do tomorrow? And, you know, I think, I think that’s where, you know, we can we can help in those things. Because people who are not comfortable with that aspect of their business can be challenged by, Okay, I see a million numbers, but that doesn’t tell me anything. Right. So

Barb McGrath 17:12
Yes, exactly. And you have to be really comfortable with those numbers. Because not everyone is. Right. That’s, that’s the other thing that I’ve learned in business, just because you’re comfortable with numbers and you know, can speak the lingo so quickly, doesn’t mean everyone can. And that makes it particularly challenging. Yeah, absolutely. Um, so where do you see this going? So you’ve been nominated for an award at the YWCA? We’re like, what does that mean to you? How will that further help the community? Help the chamber? Because I know you’re the president of their board right now. What does all that mean to you?

Sarah Tkatchuk 17:56
Well, I think one of the big things that the YWCA and the women of distinction, which I think is so critical, is sell, liberate leadership and women in our community think that, you know, for for many years, I think, Well, I think we’ve continued to have challenges. And it’s so great to see over the last few years, some of the women in our community that have, have, have done all sorts of and I always love going to women of distinction awards, because you just are so get so inspired by some of the women that that are, that are, you know,

New age, chins and saw I am, and, you know, starting up just, it’s so important to tell those stories, because as it

I think it helps our daughters help the next. It helps us our husbands seen world in a different way. And it really highlights, you know, a great work that has been done by the leaders that that came before us. My mother is actually a former women of distinction award winner, and, you know, being raised by somebody who, who wanted to be a leader, and who,

You know, knew that it was her job to change the world just a little bit, right.

Has been, you know, something that I’ve learned a lot from and something that I think I can I can talk to others about you know, so everyone has to find a different way to take their path, but I do think it’s It is important that we as women celebrate each other and celebrate what we’re doing in this community. So

Barb McGrath 20:06
I agree. And I really appreciate that, Tara, because I think we’re all raised so differently nowadays. But even when I look at how I was raised and what I model now, versus how my husband was, was raised and what he models, he was raised on that very traditional farm family, he was a boy. So there was a rule that boys played in that family. And I was raised in an urban setting where, you know, both my parents worked, they really did share the household responsibility, kind of to a degree. But, but for me, there was never a, here’s what men do, here’s what women do, like, it was very much a partnership. And my husband comes at it from a bit of a different angle. Where was more traditional. So there’s been, you know, quite the process to blend those two together and, and help our kids understand that, like, no, it’s not my job or someone’s job, we’re a family, and the work needs to get done. And so we do it together. Whether that means, you know, My son and I are in the kitchen, or whether it’s my husband and my daughter in the kitchen, whatever that makeup looks like, right? I was telling one of the other guests on my show, during COVID, my son really got into baking. So there was all those flour shortages during COVID. And like, we were one of those families who were suffering, because making a batch of cookies every night. There is no weight loss. And this was happening during COVID. Me and so he got to the point. And it was the funniest thing. So he got really good at single batches. And so I said to him, you know, why don’t you try a double batch? So he tried this double batch of cookies. Well, it flopped miserably. I don’t know what he missed what he didn’t like, I don’t know. Yeah, but it was terrible. And so it took him probably a good month, or maybe even more before he was willing to try like a double batch again. But now he’s up to the triple batch. She’s like, Oh, I can make a triple batch then I don’t have to do it for a few days. Okay, whatever. You know what? You’re 11 you’re baking cookies. I’m getting hot cookies served to me on a plate, like, I’m okay with this. Do whatever you need to do.

Sarah Tkatchuk 22:26
And they’re busy. Yeah, yes.

Barb McGrath 22:29
Well, and that’s the other thing. I mean, you can only watch so many hours of TV until it’s like, come on, buddy, like get off the couch. Right? So and I remember being that age, like on those days, we need to do nothing. It was nice to veg out in front of the TV for a while. But eventually it’s like, aren’t you like, bored, stupid at this point, like, get up? And let’s do something.

Sarah Tkatchuk 22:51
Yeah, for sure. For sure. Well, and I have to say, I have been incredibly blessed. My husband is very supportive of my career and what I’m doing and he has, you know, he has as a result taken on more of a role in, you know, some of the shuffling kids around. And and, and, you know, I think my kids have really benefited from that, being able to have a dad that’s really involved in their lives and in their school and in their, in their sports. And, and, you know, we we do have a little bit of a non traditional role, but it works for us. And and yeah, my husband’s been very supportive in, in me continuing to take on new roles in the community. Some new roles aside, okay, another board, Sarah, but anyway, works. Okay.

Barb McGrath 23:50
You know, I’m curious how many generations we will go through before what you and I are calling non traditional, actually becomes their traditional, where there where there is no, she does this, he does this type of role in a family. And I’m kind of curious, like, you know, Will our kids not see what we saw as traditional as being traditional anymore? Do you know what I mean?

Sarah Tkatchuk 24:16
Well, and I actually think that this, this,

The last couple months has really taught us that we can be very flexible in our workforce. We can do things digitally, we can do things. You know, we can we can work from home. We can we don’t need to travel as much, maybe, you know, so there’s, there’s opportunities in that for, I think for for Yeah, for us to continue to improve the way we interact together as teams so that people can get the right and i i don’t love the word balance

Because I don’t think that any of this is about being balanced, but it does allow us to get the right, you know, give and take between our family lives and our work lives. And hopefully that will help us to be, you know, more figuring out what works for for our families, as opposed to having our families have to change to to accommodate our, our work lives. So Exactly, yeah, I’m optimistic that this will help us to be more innovative and creative and flexible in how we how we work out our careers.

Barb McGrath 25:38
Yeah, I agree wholeheartedly. Sara, we are actually at a time we’ve hit that magical 26 minute mark. So I need to wrap up the show. But I really appreciate that you’ve joined me today. You know, there’s not enough people who are are involved and committed to the communities like you are anymore. So thank you for everything that you’re doing. Yeah, it was a real pleasure to chat with you today, Barbara. And yeah, happy to hopefully we can carry on this conversation at some point. So thank you very much for inviting me to be part of this. Absolutely. If you’d like to be a guest on the show, you can email me at Barb at Google girl.ta or reach out on Facebook and Instagram at Above the Fold. ca. And just a reminder, you can even submit your questions in advance of the live show on our Facebook page. I’m your host, Barb McGrath, local business owner and Google girl. Remember, you worked hard for your success. Don’t keep it a secret. Bye for now.


Barb McGrath’s been cracking the online code for nearly 20 years. She helps local businesses get to the top of Google with digital marketing training, web design, SEO, online reputation and advertising. Most importantly, she’s earned the trust of Google.Barb runs the only Google-approved agency designed to show you how to turn the online “stuff” into in-store buyers.If you depend on in-person customers, you need Barb’s step-by-step, online marketing plan to generate a steady stream of onsite buyers and make it rain money. She is the host of the Secret Life of Entrepreneurs, a local radio show and iTunes and Google Podcast.