Shantal Fentham is president and CEO of Stiris Research Inc., a clinical trial management company. Feltham ranked #23 on the 2015 PROFIT W100 Ranking of Canada’s Top Female Entrepreneurs, despite a personal crisis that prevented her from working in her business for significant stretches the previous year. She explains how her absences actually made her company better.
I’m probably the only person who will say, “Wow, did cancer ever do a whole lot of good for my company.” But it’s true. I’d been talking to some of my senior people for years, telling them, “I want to take you to the next level.” But, almost to a person, they said, “No, I’m not smart or experienced enough.” I didn’t push them.
When I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2014, everything changed. I would come into work during my treatments, and my team was very respectful and wanted me to feel involved, but sometimes I just couldn’t work. Eventually, they started taking things off my plate. I didn’t resist. They saw all the things I saw in them but that they’d never believed were possible.
Now they never ask, “Am I strong enough?” They just say, “I got this.” I can now do what I do well: Work on the company—not in the company—and make us better.
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Have you ever had to balance the needs of your business against a personal crisis? Share your experiences using the comments section below.