page contents Vote Dylan Bressey, candidate for Grande Prairie City Council. Election 2017. page contents

My Perspective on Business

Every Monday, I am taking some time to tell you more about myself. Today, I want to talk more about my career. I am a director in the non-profit sector. When people hear this, they often ask “so then, what’s your take on business?”

My job has slammed home the importance of a thriving business community. It has also given me many experiences in common with small business owners and a wide perspective on our entire community.

IMPORTANCE OF BUSINESS

I am responsible for youth mentoring programs throughout the Peace Country. Being involved with many teens, I have seen firsthand the effects unemployment has in a family. I know that good jobs are crucial to a community.

Our organisation does not receive government funding. I’m responsible for fundraising our budget. Most of our capital comes from individuals and companies. What we do is important. But it would be impossible without a strong business community. I know that people starting, growing, and running businesses are crucial for non-profits to operate. Healthy business is needed to fund all the organisations, facilities, and programs needed to make our community awesome.

I’m running to “make Grande Prairie sustainable, livable, and connected.” What I mean by sustainable is having what we need to be healthy in the long term. Strong, innovative, and vibrant private enterprise is a huge part of that. My ideas about being livable and connected include non-profit organisations, public facilities, and some city led programs. These things are crucial. But they are also impossible without a strong business community.

 

MY SMALL-BUSINESS-LIKE EXPERIENCES

I’m the Area Director for Young Life in the Peace Country. Within my geographic area, I am responsible for all operations. This includes fundraising capital, recruiting personnel, and planning for growth. In this role, I have had experience with:

  • Cashflow and budgets: I set and manage our budget. I forecast our needs and resources. I make sure there is money available to fund our programs. When we need to grow, I figure out how to acquire capital. When the economy contracts and donations go down, I figure out how to cut costs without sacrificing services.

  • Staffing: I recruit, train, and supervise staff. When I have people on our payroll, I am responsible for seeing that their salary gets fundraised. I know what it is like to be responsible for others’ livelihood. I also supervise dozens of volunteers. I not only need to recruit, train, and supervise them but also motivate them without the promise of pay.

  • Marketing: It is my responsibility to present our programs as exciting to kids, worthwhile to donors, safe to parents, and attractive to partner organisations. I have experience marketing to diverse groups.

  • Going without: My salary is the last expense paid out of Young Life’s budget. When I took over this job, our local area did not have financial health. I know what it is like to tighten my family’s budget while my organisation’s capital is low.

  • Long hours: My job is never ending. There are always more people to meet, new things to learn, new programs to plan, etc… I am used to working long hours and to thinking about work while “off the clock.” Whether it is a kid showing up at my front door because he got kicked out of home or 100 kids needing a Spontaneous Summer Camp, I often have to take on big projects with no warning.

  • Worry about the future: When I moved up here, I didn’t know if I could build Young Life into a viable program. If it collapsed, my family was in a precarious position. I took that risk, and was greatly rewarded: I learned a lot, I advanced my career, and I have been part of something important. But on the way I had many sleepless nights of worry.

I have many friends and mentors who run businesses. I even have some of my former Young Life kids who have started small businesses. As I talk to them, I am always amazed at how many experiences we share in common.

 

WIDE PERSPECTIVE

I have cultivated donors from all the major industries in town. A big part of my fundraising efforts entail getting coffee and chatting. I hear about what is going on in their businesses, and they give me advice on what I am doing. This has given me insight into the operations of diverse companies.

I have also intentionally broadened my perspective over the past year. I first contemplated running for office in September 2016. If elected, I wanted to be prepared for the job. I began watching every Council meeting, observing committee meetings, and reading every document put before Council or committee. These experiences have given me a broad perspective of what the City is up to and how it interacts with private enterprise.

More importantly, I talked to lots of people. I’ve setup two or more coffees every week for a year. The point of these coffees is to ask people (often in business) for their perspective on our City and region. I have spent many days dropping in on businesses downtown. And I have knocked on 2200 doors to expose myself to people of all work backgrounds.

I have the knowledge and experience needed to serve well on Council. This includes an understanding of the needs, opportunities, and challenges of local businesses. I am seeking the chance to work hard to help our businesses and other important organisations thrive.

To read some of the unique perspectives non-profit work has provided me, checkout www.voteBressey.ca/blog/nonprofitexperience. To see how one particular aspect of my job has prepared me for Council, read www.voteBressey.ca/blog/summercamp