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May 25, 2020

Jennifer Menard’s life has been about reinvention, regardless of her circumstance. She openly shares her life story growing up in a broken home but perseveres to become a successful entrepreneur. She found her path through a mentor who employed her and then subsequently encouraged her to buy the business she helped build.  She rebrands, brings in a partner and Staff Shop is now staffing events across North America and even the Caribbean. Her business is guided by purpose and all is promising until COVID-19 cancels every event. 
Listen to how Jennifer responds by pivoting her business, earning the admiration and advice from Stephen Shaw who has produced for the Rolling Stones and Oprah Winfrey; Joe Jackman who has helped some of the worlds largest brands pivot and Kiruba Sankar, Global Leader, Global Procurement - Corporate Social Responsibility, RBC.
Small Business Matters series, presented by RBC.

A troubled start  (01:04)
Jennifer shares her story growing up in a troubled home. The chaos and trauma impacted her personally but by surrounding herself with the right people and the right resources, she managed to survive. Leaving home in northern Ontario at 18, Jennifer moves to Toronto, lands a job at MLSE and begins to rebuild her life.

From strength to strength  (03:51)
Two years later Jennifer connects with Geoff Bagg and joins his company, The Bagg Group. Her path to entrepreneurship and success begins when Jennifer is given an opportunity to start a hospitality and event division at The Bagg Group, eventually buying the division to start Staff Shop. She builds a successful business, staffing events across North America.

Making the pivot  (07:45)
Then COD-19 hits but Jennifer is not deterred. Although events are shut down, cutting off the lid blood of her business, she rapidly pivots to focus on staffing for essential services. Considering the future of Staff Shop, Jennifer has some fundamental questions she needs answered: how much does she pivot, how far, how fast and for how long?

The experts weigh in  (12:20)
Joe Jackman: “Be really good at not only selling your proposition but executing it and getting credit for what makes you different.” In order to grow her business, Stephen Shaw advises Jennifer to pinpoint growth industries and land a key client. Kiruba Sankar from RBC acknowledges Jennifer's certifications allows her access to opportunities, but those with the best method win

Tony’s closing thoughts  (25:51)
Tony believes clients will indeed pay a premium for Jennifers offer of full-time versus contract staff. Competing on price is a race to zero but competing with a premium offer is where you'll find a higher purpose, better employees and better clients.

Links and References

Jennifer Menard -
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Stephen Shaw, Principal, Round Room Live -
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Joe Jackman, Founder | CEO, Jackman -

Kiruba Sankar, Global Leader, Global Procurement - Corporate Social Responsibility, RBC
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Supplier Diversity -
RBC Business page –
RBC COVID-19 Financial Relief page -
Future Launch -

Follow Tony Chapman

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