Brittany Anderson, '12 BCom & Rob Davy
When decisions get tough, the tough get mentored
Blaine LaBonte, Greg Zeschuk, Ken Cantor
We were in expansion mode and were about to sign a lease for our Calgary location, so having a team of experienced Mentors to bounce questions off was very helpful. They were also there to help during the incredibly stressful build out of that location and were there as we tried to figure out how to manage a team in a different city.
One of the most powerful things about our mentorship team is they understand the core business we're running. It’s not about the day-to-day tasks—they're there for the bigger picture conversations and strategic decisions.
For example, we were wrestling with the idea of adding Virtual Reality Escape Rooms and eSports Gaming to our facility. Both of these products would take a lot of resources and we didn’t know if we should do both, just one, or noneat all. We couldn’t decide if we should just focus on the products we already deliver and not get distracted. We just couldn’t quite figure out how these products fit in with our current offering.
AND THEN IT ALL JUST CLICKED
After we explained the situation, one of our Mentors said “ I don’t see what the question is, you are really good at bringing groups of people together and making sure they have fun, whether it’s laser tag or video games, it doesn’t really matter. Creating experiences for groups of people is what you are set up to do.”
And then it all just clicked.
For some reason we hadn’t thought of these new products in this context. But hearing someone else say it made it all make sense. It was one of those ‘can’t see the forest for the trees’ situations. So we went forward with both eSports and Virtual Reality.
And thank goodness we did, because those are the only products we were able to provide as the covid pandemic disrupted our business. In mid-March both of our facilities were fully closed and our revenues immediately dropped to zero. We realized we needed to quickly pivot if we wanted a chance at surviving the shutdown. We started offering our VR equipment for home usage so people could have fun in their living rooms, and we pivoted eSports to our Online Minecraft Day camps for kids—which we never would’ve done if we hadn’t started doing eSports a few years back.
When covid hit, VMS was there. This community rallied around everyone and helped in every way they could. Resources were being shared like I’ve never seen before. It was so comforting to know I had access to not just my Mentors but also the entire Mentor community; a group of diverse business leaders who could help and answer some of my questions. With the ever changing policies that were coming out at the beginning of the pandemic, I posed an HR question on the VMS slack channel, and one of the Mentors in the program responded back within the hour with a thorough and helpful response specific to my situation. I was floored.
I’m so proud to be part of the VMS community. It has provided me unparalleled opportunities to grow, introduced me to some of my closest friends, and allowed me to learn from some of this city's brightest minds. And for that, I am thankful.
Brittany Anderson & Rob Davy
VMS entrepreneurs since 2016
Mentorship team: Blaine LaBonte, Greg Zeschuk, Ken Cantor