The week before the 2018 Calgary Stampede, Past President and Chairman of the Stampede Board of Directors, Bob Thompson took time out of his busy schedule to speak with me. You could say that Bob had the dubious honor of holding that role in what might go down as the toughest year in Stampede history. That was 2013, the year the Bow and Elbow Rivers flooded downtown Calgary and the entire grounds fourteen days before the Stampede was set to open.
Janice Webster is Senior Vice President Human Resources at Solium. For over twenty years she has been enabling high-performing organizations to excel. She admits these past three years have changed her through what she has learned from the two horses she and her husband now own. In this interview Janice explores what horses have taught her about herself, life and work. You could say it has been a fast ride!
Horses are sanctuary for the President of Arnett & Burgess Pipeliners.
Carey’s story with horses goes back a long way. When she was seven she brought home a riding lesson brochure and announced she wanted to ride. “My grandfather thought he’d start me off with a month of lessons to see if I was really interested. I never let my parents quit.”
Carey was hesitant on the question about how many horses she has “they’re a little like potato chips you can’t have just one.”
Feel, timing and balance. You can’t improve on those three words when working with a horse. You can’t have one without the other and each builds on the previous in an ongoing progression.
Feel is about the relationship between two individuals, it is the give and take in a conversation. Timing is about when to ask, when to listen and when to just sit. Finally, without balance nothing else works.
In my world, leadership and horsemanship are inextricably linked. So feel, timing and balance could also describe the role that Dave Mowat has played at ATBFinancial the past eleven years.
Timing is everything. Dave recently announced he is set to retire in June 2018 as President and CEO of ATBFinancial. The timing of Dave’s departure is most interesting, Dave is leaving when everything feels good. Through his tenure ATB’s assets have grown to $49.6 billion from $20.3 billion, revenue has doubled to $1.5 billion and branch footprint grown by 9%. That is quite an accomplishment in an economic environment that has been anything but great in Alberta for a number of years.
Terri Holowath attained the title in 2015, winning every event she and her horse Jade (Red Hot Jade) entered in the National Reined Cow Horse Association Tour (NRCHA). Not bad for a part-time rider in the non-pro two rein working cow horse category. Her other full-time position, Managing Partner/CEO with Catalyst LLP in south Calgary, Alberta.
This interview is a slight deviation from my conversations with leaders about what they have learned from a life with horses. Simply because every once in a while something worth sharing happens in The Natural Leader programs. Aside from the odd trail ride, Steve’s experience with horses is not a whole lot broader than the day he spent with us. What showed up for for Steve that day speaks to the power of leadership learning through horsemanship.
Murray is a storyteller. A skill he no doubt employed over his thirty year career in the power line industry. “I would have to say storytelling comes from my father he answered most questions with a story. You had to find the answer in the story, if you didn’t you probably weren’t ready or needing the answer anyhow.”
I’ve heard many a tale this past year and we have covered many topics, most which end back at the importance of reading a horse. We share the goal of a bridle horse, Murray just happens to be a lot further along.
If you are looking for someone to create an effective tax strategy or succession plan for your agriculture operation or small business. You might want to connect with Colette Miller, a partner with Wilde and Company Charter Professional Accounting and Director on the Board of ATBFinancial. My conversation with Colette began in her office and continued enroute to meeting with AVAC Ltd., a not for profit company she has been a Director with since 2010.
Our conversation was neither strategy or succession planning but rather how Colette’s relationship with horses has contributed to who she is today.
Colette appears to lead a full and busy life. Along with raising four kids, her partnership with Wilde & Company and the board positions she holds, Colette and Craig run a mixed grain and cattle operation outside of Vegreville, Alberta.
Horses have always been a part of his life. From the age of 12 Buck Brannaman has been starting horses, before that he was an accomplished trick roper. The past 35 years Buck has lived most of the year on the road crossing the United States, visiting Canada, Europe, Australia, New Zealand and even Japan sharing his experience and helping people better understand how to get along with their horses. In 2011 the film Buck documenting Bucks life and work, launched to critical acclaim at the Sundance Film Festival.
Buck is a leader in the horsemanship field and I have watched his progression as a teacher through the past dozen or so years. I have always said to be good with horses you have to be great with people, Buck is both. My annual trek, with and without horses, down to listen, learn and ride with him in Montana has become part of my own professional development.
After a long day in the sun, with temperatures well into the mid 30sC, as is typical of his good nature Buck agreed to answer a few questions.
For me, it is easy to get back in the saddle, it is however, more challenging to get back at the keyboard! The first half of the year for The Natural Leader has been brilliantly busy and the arrival of spring all consumed with projects that waited for six months. Early spring is the bug free season so time to catch up on those long rides!
The next conversation about leadership learning from a horse is with Luree Williamson, CEO Agriculture for Life. Luree’s life has long been influenced by horses. Her current role is dedicated to bringing a better understanding and appreciation of agriculture and it’s connection to all Albertan’s through the delivery of agriculture education and farm safety programs.