I was born a hustler. My earliest hustle was at 6 years old – bribing kids with popsicles at recess to let me be the boss. Later on in life, I found that I didn’t need to resort to bribery to lead – I’d developed natural leadership skills as a result being a frequent language broker between my deaf family and the hearing world. When I found myself without employment while attending Simon Fraser University, I started my cleaning business called Jiffy Jeanie Cleaning (we all have to start somewhere) and grew it. In 2008, I began training as a certified professional coach but didn’t feel confident in my skills to sell the service I was providing. That would come later.
At the end of the day, even if you fail at your businesses, if you can take what you’ve learned and improve your own life or someone else’s, you are a success. If you know you were not born to work for others, prepare to work the hardest for yourself. Prepare to hustle with all you got.
After nearly losing my husband in 2012 to medical negligence while we were living in Dallas, we decided to return to Canada and pursue our dream businesses for one year. I attended business development classes, launched my coaching and speaking business full time and developed JOY Bootcamp. He founded One More Story Games. In 2014, I joined him to manage operations and to raise money for our innovative startup. At the outset, I was the hustler to his hacker, evangelizing his vision for a platform designed for writers to create interactive storytelling games. Blair was our first CEO, I its first COO. As the company has evolved so have our roles. Blair is now its Chief Techology Officer, and I am its Chief Executive Officer.
I don’t recommend startup life to couples. It is incredibly difficult to start a business and much more so with your spouse. That being said, if you can clear those first hurdles and find a way to work through the challenges, you’ll be a stronger couple for it. We celebrated 20 years together in June 2016 and are thankful for the opportunity to work together, every day.
Together we have:
- Raised over $500,000
- Trained 18 programming college students
- Signed #1 NYT best-selling author Charlaine Harris to adapt her “Shakespeare’s Landlord” novel from the 5-part Lily Bard series
- Recruited hundreds of amateur and established authors to transform their stories into story games
- Finalist, IGDA’s Serious Games Sig “Community Leadership” award, 2018
- Girls Make Games GDC scholar, 2018
- 2017 Game of the Year, tied 1st prize for Best PC Game, Danielle’s Inferno
- 2016 Game of the Year, 1st prize, Mandatory Upgrade: X-Marks the Spot, 2nd prize, Hard Vacuum Lullaby
- Young Entrepreneur of the Year, Simcoe County Young Professionals Association, 2017