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Selene Yuen, '97 BDes
The beauty of a kaleidoscope community

Mentorship team:
Ken Cantor, Paul McElhone, Roberta MacGillivray

Knowledgeable, insightful, practical. Generous, caring and human.

I see these characteristics whenever I spend time with someone from ThresholdImpact VMS. This vibrant community is like a kaleidoscope—mixing its core traits into distinctive patterns. The patterns change and shift to support the entrepreneurs who are lucky enough to be part of the magic.

VMS’ impact on Selenium’s little world has been timely and serendipitous. On introduction, our company was in the midst of a disruption created by a brave new move to a larger location. We faced the challenge of scaling up while catching up—it meant that we had a lot to do in a short period of time. Throughout all of this, we had the guidance from our mentorship team as well as specialized help from other VMS Mentors-at-large. VMS helped us make better choices on critical issues, while surrounding us with an inspirational cohort of peers.

These peers make all the difference! Through our Mentors, I’ve learned all kinds of new and delightful things, but as my financial Mentor John Pinsent would say, “You’re drinking from a fire hose.” When the day has simply been overwhelming, chaotic and full, it helps to know your VMS friends are on an equivalent path with similar goals. And when you can’t quite figure out what your very accomplished (and slightly intimidating) Mentors are trying to coach you towards, it helps to have mates who’ve had the same questions and found their own answers.

Edmonton has a warm, resourceful business community—VMS shares many of the same strengths found in other local business organizations, but it stands apart in the way it helps both entrepreneurs and Mentors grow. Somehow, within the mandate of helping entrepreneurs run their businesses better, VMS simultaneously manages to make us stronger as people.

VMS Creates so many ways for its members (including Mentors) to learn

Remarkably effective at skill-building, VMS creates so many ways for its members (Mentors including) to learn. The first lunch and learn I attended was led by fellow mentee and UofA pal, Blaine Bertsch. There, I realized that VMS is a place where everyone contributes. The last workshop I attended (before Covid-19) was The Practice of Coaching, led by Roy Group, which is a phenomenal two-day session that catapulted mentees and Mentors to a higher level of connection and awareness. On both occasions, the food and conversations were great! In one fell swoop, VMS fed our brains, our bodies and our spirits. It’s a subtle but highly intentional way to celebrate the diversity in our midst. We can learn from each other, and we can learn together—no matter where we’re at in our careers. This is so encouraging, and it fosters the kind of reciprocity that adds great strength to our community.

This synergy was well established before the devastating impact of Covid-19 rippled through our province. VMS already had an engaged, invested group of people whose first aim was to help, plus well-functioning delivery methods that were quickly adapted to the virtual world. Still, I was impressed and grateful at how quickly VMS re-grouped to support its own. From Zoom Drop-ins with Guest Speakers, to Friday Beer + Chats and Mindfulness Breathing Sessions, VMS rallied to ensure its community stayed together when times felt weird and out of control.

These days, there’s a refreshing new spirit of helpfulness within the Edmonton business community—we know we need each other. But hey, VMS already had it goin’ on, y’all; the gift of deep knowledge from our Mentors, channels of connection through our Management Team and friendship and goodwill between Entrepreneurs.

We have what we need. Let’s make the most of it.

Selene Yuen
VMS entrepreneur since 2018
Mentorship team: Ken Cantor, Paul McElhone, Roberta MacGillivray

Photographed above with John Saunders