Barb McGrath 0:01
I feel a strange sense of familiarity. When I talked with today’s guests, she to jump from that comfortable corporate environment where she knew what to expect on a day to day basis. She knew everyone she was going to interact with. But the entrepreneurial bug caught her. And our guest today is going to talk about how that old saying do something every day that scares you, really holds true for her. In fact, just managing her business, and being successful can be more than enough to get her on a bed each day. I am super excited about our guest today who’s winter Fedak a director at silo strategy here in Regina, and she’s going to talk about how she found her passion and her purpose for bringing people and organizations together. Welcome, winter.
Winter Fedyk 1:01
Barb McGrath 1:02
Thank you for being here. No, I have to tell you, my kids honestly asked me this question this morning when we were planning our interview. I said winter FedEx coming on the show. My daughter said, Oh, I know her name. Was she running with Justin Trudeau? And I said yes, she was my daughter’s 13. So totally impressed. And my son said, so is summer coming on the show next. Oh, brother, buddy. And that’s what he’s done. He’s 11. And he’s always got that slapstick sense of humor. So welcome. And tell us a little bit about yourself. Since I just did that introduction for you.
Winter Fedyk 1:37
Yeah, no, thank you so much. I really appreciate the opportunity to come on your show. And I really look forward to our chat today. Yes, as I mentioned, my name is winter I’m, I’ve lived in Regina for most of my life, I had a brief vote 10 years in Ontario between the ages of you know, 25 and 35. And then I came back in 2010. And started working with the government of Saskatchewan for a number of years. And as you mentioned, about a year and a half ago, I decided to to leave that role to start silo strategy, which is an independent management consulting firm. It’s it’s just me right now. And I work with organizations, as you say, on bringing people and different parts of their organization together for project management and government relations work and strategy. So I’ve been doing that for the last 18 months. Okay. And the real reason for doing that was it was less about starting that business. And it was more about trying to find an income source that would let me run for the election last fall.
Barb McGrath 2:41
Yes. So do you want to talk about that experience? I mean, I, I would be deathly afraid of putting my name in my face out there. To stand for office, whether I was successful or not like I would find that really challenging. So where did you find the courage for something like that?
Winter Fedyk 2:58
Well, I was definitely afraid as well, to be very honest, it took about a year of yoga before I decided to actually tell people that I was thinking about this yoga and, and working with an executive coach and therapist to work through all of those issues that I was having the barriers that I was putting up for myself, to get mentally and emotionally ready for the experience. And I honestly, right, right up until I did it, I was never sure I was making the right decision. Okay. And that was a really hard feeling to live with to just trust my intuition that I was doing the right thing. Even though my mind and my body were telling me No, don’t do this. It’s gonna be you know, with the politics that we’ve got right now. Exactly pretty vitriolic. I’m happy to report that my experience was much better than I was anticipating, Oh, good. But it did take a lot of, you know, it did take a lot of internal work to get myself ready to the point where I was confident enough to put myself out there.
Barb McGrath 4:01
Good for you, you know, and congratulations to you, not just for putting your name out there. But talking about the work that it took to get ready to do that. I think it’s something that as a society, you know, we’ve all got things in the background that we’re working on. But we don’t talk about the work we’re doing to be able to put something forward. Right. So kudos to you. Now, I only know you a little bit right scratched the surface. But I’m gonna say there’s a little bit of a an overachiever and a type A personality in there. Right, which is common with women who are really driven to succeed. So one of the challenges I would think for you is when you decided to put yourself out there. All of a sudden, everyone else was somewhat controlling your destiny. Was that part of your thought process was that part of what was difficult for you
Winter Fedyk 5:00
Um, you know, that’s there’s so much there to unpack. One of the things that that pre work that I did, it really got me to a point where there wasn’t anybody else controlling what was going on for me, even though on the outside, it might have seemed that way. And of course, it was, you know, my campaign manager is taking me here, the National Party office is giving me lines about what they want me to say. But part of that pre work was really trying to make sure that I wasn’t going to lose that autonomy and independence of mind. Okay, because, you know, having worked in government with the most senior, you know, at very senior levels in multiple different governments across Canada, you know, I’ve really learned that you, you have to have that you have to be true to yourself and stay centered that way, and not let myself get pulled into various directions. Because politics, that’s the death of you, as soon as you don’t own your your, your own mind and your own messaging, you know, that might help you be successful in the short term. But in the long term, I think just as on the human level, that wouldn’t be something I would be comfortable with. And so I always had to be comfortable with whatever it was I was saying or doing. And that was my line, see from my, my political team, if I would have just kind of told the line a little bit more. But at the end of the day, I think that if I resonated more with the people I was when I was knocking on doorsteps, because they could see that what I was the message I was bringing to them was authentic. Mm hmm.
Barb McGrath 6:35
You know, it’s interesting, of course, we’re, we’re in what I would call pre election time at the provincial level now. And last night, one of the candidates came to the door, I won’t name parties here, because it wasn’t a good story. So still being in COVID, we’re very cognizant of, you know, people coming and going from from the house and stuff like that, and the kids being back in school. So the doorbell rings, the dog goes cuckoo. We have a dog that’s like, let’s see if I can get this on camera. This big. Right? But sounds like he’s 75 pounds. So you know, usually when we open the door, people are kind of like, oh, boy, what’s coming out. So we open the door, and it’s the candidates, and she’s with one of her volunteers. And she starts reaching into the house, both towards the barking dog, but completely oblivious to like, hey, like COVID? And who knows, lady like, what are you doing? So I actually had to lean way back and be like, Can you just put that in the mailbox, please? Like, keep your six feet. And I thought, Wow, so. So we’re in this pre election time, we’re all still supposed to be following this rules. She has no idea what my bubble looks like, or anyone else’s bubble, where they’ve stopped along the way. So she’s now been maskless, to house after house after house. And she’s wanting to contact people. And I just thought, Oh, my goodness, like, this is such a possible disaster waiting to happen. So, you know, I think about running for election, and you have to be so acutely aware of so many different things all at the same time. Right? Because to me, it matters to the next house, it might not matter. And when you were, you know, pursuing political aspirations, well, there’s different issues. But what mattered Odin Ralph Goodale is writing and what mattered because you were Lakeview and
Winter Fedyk 8:32
South Albert. genre, then was the Yeah,
Barb McGrath 8:36
Exactly. Until what matter to your residents was different.
Winter Fedyk 8:39
Yeah, no. And that’s, you know, for Regina Lu van, it was it is one of the most diverse constituencies federal constituencies in Canada or in Saskatchewan. And so in terms of, you know, you’ve got everywhere from the big beautiful houses in Lakeview and harbor landing to, you know, some of the, the tougher neighborhoods in North Central, perhaps. So or around that area. And that was one of the most fascinating things about knocking on doors. And so I was really surprised that I liked knocking on doors, because that’s a public servant. My, my interaction with the public beforehand had been, you know, when I was working at SGI people would call when they got into an accident, and that was my interaction with the public. They were not very happy with me when they were calling in because they were in an X.
Barb McGrath 9:27
Winter Fedyk 9:29
So I wasn’t sure how it was going to go. It turned out to be the best part of the campaign, connecting with my neighbors and different different areas of Regina about what was important to them. You realize when you’re doing that, that at the end of the day, 90% of what people want is the same. And it’s the 10% of, you know, where we’ve let our political narrative get to in terms of that those wedge issues, that political party like to use and, you know, the media likes to ramp that up because they get some clicks and eyeballs talk about all of the the scandals and the various ways that people aren’t getting along. When really, you know, depending on you can be making $50,000 or $500,000. You know, you want the same things, you want a healthy community around you, for your family to raise your family, you want, you know, opportunities for your kids, you want a healthcare system that’s responsible or responsive when you when you need it. And you know, even though I think there’s a lot of moralizing, that happens in our politics, we do want our neighbors to be healthy and happy, because we know intuitively that a fish if the water is polluted around them, the fish is going to die at some point. Right, exactly. So you know, why? Why would we want to have a community or a society where we’re, you know, we’re happy with polluted water, and we’re just gonna, you know, worry about ourselves as the individual fish in the bowl. You know, it’s not gonna last very long for us if you have that perspective. And I think intuitively lots of people know that. But unfortunately, I think also there’s, you know, the challenges around social media and the lack of the ability to have a deeper conversation that that hurts us right now.
Barb McGrath 11:19
No, I agree. And, you know, I suspect that having that deeper conversation is a big part of what you’re doing now, with silo strategy and trying to bring people together. So can you talk a little bit about your work in your consulting firm?
Winter Fedyk 11:32
Sure. Well, you know, I’ll talk a little bit about the Genesis like the the evolution, because when I first started silo strategy silo actually stands for social impact leadership and outcomes.
Barb McGrath 11:45
Winter Fedyk 11:46
Yeah, because I was working a lot in social policy in government, and one of the things I wanted to do was, you know, take what I had learned, and in the, in the consulting work world, start to bring together different organizations for social program, social enterprise opportunities, because there’s a huge opportunity right now in Saskatchewan, when it comes to social enterprise and, and kind of delivering social services a little bit differently in our communities, ones that, you know, it saves money, but also produces better outcomes. So that’s something that I’m really passionate about. And I was, you know, wanting to take silo strategy that way initially. And then silo also just, you know, when I put the the social impact leadership and outcomes together, and it was silo, and that just the resonance with you know, being in Saskatchewan, but also that idea about being that connector between different organizations and systems and breaking down those silos, it just, you know, it just jumped out at me, it’s in the name and, and I went with it. My, my first few contracts through through the company have been less about social policy, and more really just project management overall, working with senior leaders, CEOs, deputy ministers, board chairs, when they have a project, often there’s a public sector angle, because that’s my area of expertise. So if you’re looking for money from the government, I’m your girl. Because Yeah, that’s what I’ve done for my career is budget submissions for Treasury Board and, and all of that. So that’s what I found. Most success in the in the early days of the company is is doing that kind of work for folks. And I think partly it’s COVID. Right? People are, yes, are really wanting to make sure that they’re accessing resources from the government to the extent that they can and so they’re, they’re looking for help for with that, like, how do I position my proposal? How do I best communicate my request to the Minister of Finance, or to the Minister, whatever the case might be? So, so that’s what I’ve been doing a lot of, since I’ve started, but I’m still really passionate about the social enterprise and, and the opportunity to, to bridge to bridge those kinds of projects with, you know, indigenous organizations or social enterprises, working with governments working with investors, and bringing all of those people together for, you know, successful community service delivery. Mm hmm.
Barb McGrath 14:18
I can tell that you’ve really chosen work that you you truly enjoyed that, that is very purposeful and meaningful for you. Because even as he started to talk about the work you’re doing, your voice went up an octave, and your voice sped up, right, like you just couldn’t wait to talk about it. And I always find it really interesting when I’m interviewing a guest, and they talk about the work they do. Sometimes it just stays exactly the same. And that’s not a bad thing. But sometimes there’s almost like wow, you know, here’s kind of what to do. And it’s like, you know what, I don’t think you found your your passion yet and I would never tell anyone that but there’s definitely people where I’m like, Okay, they don’t know, like, why they’re doing what they’re doing. And it’s hard to get out of bed in the morning, when it’s like, oh, I gotta go deal with this.
Winter Fedyk 15:09
Well, at least that was that was part of it. So I mean, there was the politics of it. But even before the politics, it was I was turning 40 soon, right? So years ago now, and I was about a year away from turning 40. And I’m not, you know, I wasn’t in love with my job anymore. For various reasons, but also, I think it was just I, you know, I’d only ever worked in government, and I never experienced what it was like outside, really. And I was always in the back of my mind, like, Am I missing out on something? And, you know, turning 40, it was kind of thinking like, so this is a pivotal point, do I want to spend the rest of my career like the next 2025 years working here? Or is this the time to finally you know, something I’ve been thinking about for about five years, if I’m honest with myself, make the leap and take that scary, scary risk. And so that was the start of the, of the thought process for me. And then, you know, and then it was just the timing of the election and my passion for public policy. And all of that kind of came together. And even just my first contract, right? It was I was having a conversation with somebody I’d worked before. And they had started a new position. And so I was telling them, you know, I’m thinking about doing something crazy. And I said, Oh, well, if you do that, I have work for you. Because, you know, there’s just so much work that I need. I had a good relationship with her. And so it just worked out really well. And it, it felt to me, um, you know, like, I’m a big believer in intuition. And
Barb McGrath 16:47
I’m healing right.
Winter Fedyk 16:49
Yeah, I’m actively trying to cultivate that a little bit more. Because otherwise, I can get to thinkI. I mean, you mentioned the overachiever aspect. And certainly, I would say that, but it’s also coupled with the, you know, the imposter syndrome might have a crippling case of that sometimes. Okay, so yeah, so that was kind of how it all came together. And, you know, and because it was a scary thing, it really had to be right. And I really had to follow. You know, I had to listen to the cues in my in my body that were telling me whether or not I was making the right decision or not, because in my mind, it wasn’t the right decision, in my mind everything right. You know, I wasn’t ever sure it was the right decision. And, and so I had to do it that way.
Barb McGrath 17:33
Yes. One of the things that I think we often do, and it’s not a I’m a male versus female thing, but we often think if I take this job, is that the right decision? And it might be the right decision for one month, one year, one decade, we never know. And I think because society has changed as much as it has related to career, people weave in and out of jobs. So frequently, when I started my business, my thought was, I needed something that was portable. And I needed something that wherever our family might go, I was going to be able to take what I was doing and go. And yes, I intended for it to be a long term thing. Did I think it was a forever thing? I don’t know that I thought it was forever. But I don’t know that I didn’t think it was forever, either. I don’t think I had really thought that far ahead. And so when I heard you talk earlier about, you know, I thought it might be a short term thing. And then you get that bug. And you know, whether you’re making more or less or the same, there’s a quality of life aspect that comes with being your own boss, and the master of your own destiny. So okay, do I get the contract, it might depend on how hard I work, and how hard I work is directly tied to how much I want that piece of work. Right? And so that’s a very freeing thing to be able to decide, you know what, I want to go on holidays this week, I know I still need to do X, Y, or Z. So I can either work extra before I can go, I can take one less job, I can work and eat right? Like all of a sudden you have so much sometimes too much flexibility because then you end up working all the time because you can but like what a freeing opportunity that I think a lot of people if they have the banana, an entrepreneur haven’t had the opportunity to experience Yeah. So if you look at your journey, is there one thing that you have found particularly there one thing that has really bit you as the entrepreneur that says, I love this?
Winter Fedyk 19:46
Yeah, I think you know, the other day I was for my first birthday as silo strategy. I joined the Saskatoon Chamber of Commerce and the Regina Chamber of Commerce and yes, that’s where we first met was on that’s right. One of those first calls With the Chamber of Commerce, and earlier this week, they had a great Saskatoon Chamber of Commerce is putting on indigenous awareness training. And so really learning about Saskatchewan indigenous, you know, the treaties and the history and how to do business with indigenous organizations. And so I, the other day, I put that on, I put my headphones on, and I got on my rowing machine, and I set up my laptop because I didn’t know.
Barb McGrath 20:25
Winter Fedyk 20:26
For the hour, I was rowing and listening to the gentleman who was presenting, and that that was kind of after I did that, I thought, you know, I don’t think I can ever go back. I know having that kind of flexibility, because the ability to really be productive hasn’t ramped up, right. But the flip side of that, I love being on a team. And I realized that over the last year and a half, that is certainly one thing that I’m missing. And it’s not necessarily because I’m a consultant, because, right for COVID, I was working in the office with a team that I’m was part of, or I am part of. So it was really COVID that split us up, but and I imagine a lot of people are going through this.
Barb McGrath 21:12
Yeah, I agree.
Winter Fedyk 21:14
Working independently, you really realize, I really realized how important it is for me to have people around me that I can trust, I can work through my ideas, because I’m, you know, I like an open honest person. I mean, I’m passionate about public policy and different ideas, and I like to debate and get into things. And when you’re alone, you know, especially in the early days of COVID, sometimes I was wondering, like, Am I still thinking correctly here? You know, because I wasn’t getting that feedback from people around me. And online or digital. It’s just not the same. There’s no, no, you can’t read body language in the same way you can’t have those impromptu conversations. So that is one thing that I am, you know, struggling with a little bit more, but it is also another reason why I decided to do things like join the chamber and, you know, to, to be very grateful to accept the invitation to this to the show, you know, because connecting with people is something that, you know, I I learned very early on in my career, that if you are the smartest person in the room, you are in the wrong room.
Barb McGrath 22:27
Winter Fedyk 22:27
Exactly. Surround yourself with people who are smarter, and you know, have been there done that a lot more than you, because that’s when you’re learning. So I need I need that. And I need to surround myself with those kinds of people. And I guess I’m doing it in a different way. But I still do miss that, that team aspect. So I’m still working through that.
Barb McGrath 22:50
Um, so you touched on something that’s very interesting to me, because I saw that same evolution with my kids. My son is very social. And that was the hardest part for him not being in school, he was so used to that social interaction, filling his cup up with social, and I’m somewhat the same, I’m a very social person. But I discovered how much my productivity went up, and how many less hours I had to work to get the exact same thing done, because I wasn’t running around town, going to meetings and doing things like that. So just watching how COVID impacted different people in different organizations, I think has been, you know, a bit of a process in itself. But I’ve often thought that we as entrepreneurs, and especially when you’re a small business, one person, three people, we need that sounding board. Because when I would try and talk to my husband about it, and here’s this idea, I haven’t What do you think? And he was like, I don’t know, if he just he didn’t have any context for the information. He didn’t have a background in the subject matter. And I’ve often thought that that group of small group of people that consistently come together to swap ideas and, you know, bounce ideas off each other, and what do you think? And how would you respond to that? I don’t know what that is. I don’t know if that’s a mastermind, because I know they’re a thing. But you need that you need your peeps to keep you going and bounce bounce stuff off. Right? So if you figure it out, let me know. I’d be right there behind you going I mean, I’m in
Winter Fedyk 24:24
Ya know, and I, you know, I have been thinking about that. And I that creating that network of people who are interested in exchanging information and learning about new ideas and ways of thinking is, you know, that’s where I want to be. So absolutely. When I find that, that group, you’re in.
Barb McGrath 24:43
Exactly. All right, you know, for when the first meeting is perfect. So believe it or not winter, we’re already out of time. I know it goes so quickly. So just before we do sign off, can I get you to share with everything with everything with everyone. Your website address and contact information for your company.
Winter Fedyk 25:04
Sure, yeah, no, it’s silo strategy.ca all one word. And you can email me at winter at silo strategy.ca. I’m also on Twitter under silo strategy. I have a book club under on Twitter as well that I’m part of, so you can find me there. But you know, just you can google me and there will be plenty of things that come up mostly political now. So. But there, the contact information will definitely be there.
Barb McGrath 25:33
Perfect. Well, that sounds good. I want to thank everyone for joining us today on 91.3 FM CJ tr Regina community radio for the Secret Life of entrepreneurs, and winter. I really want to thank you for joining us today just to talk about the work you’re doing in silo strategy, and some of the community objectives that you’re hoping to achieve through your company. Both, you know, personally, professionally, but it’s it’s exciting for me to hear the passion that is behind your story. So thank you very much for
Winter Fedyk 26:04
Thank you so much. I had a great time and really appreciate the opportunity.
Barb McGrath 26:08
Absolutely. If you’d like to be a guest on the show, you can email me at Barb at Google girl.tv or reach out on Facebook and Instagram at Above the Fold. ca. Just to reminder, you can even post questions in advance of our show on our Facebook page. I’m your host, Barb McGrath, local business owner and Google girl. Remember, you work hard for your success.
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