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Toughest Call Ep. 108 – Finding Harmony between Personal and Professional Ambitions - TRANSCRIPT


Heather Byrne  00:06

It was emotional. It was emotional people definitely felt like it was out of left field.


Chaz Thorne  00:13

Welcome back, or Welcome to toughest call a podcast for organizational leaders where we hear stories from your leadership colleagues about career defining decisions. I'm your host, Chaz Thorne. In this episode, I'm talking with Heather Byrne about a tough call, she faced deciding to leave an organization she cared deeply for to relocate closer to her extended family. Heather is the executive director of Alice house, a provider of safe second stage housing and support for women and children leaving situations of intimate partner violence. Many of us struggle with finding and maintaining a healthy balance between family and career. At times, it can feel impossible to reconcile our personal and professional ambitions. Heather talks about how taking care of what made her feel, allowed her to become an even more effective leader.


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Finding Harmony between Personal and Professional Ambitions

It Starts with being Grounded in Who You Are

In every professional’s life, there’s a moment where you second guess what chasing the dream really means. In those moments, you realize the cost that professional ambitions can have on your personal ones.

That’s the position Heather Byrne found herself in after a move to Saskatoon.

After relocating to the city from Eastern Canada, Heather and her husband were crushing it professionally. They each had jobs they loved with significant potential for growth.

The problem was they were missing the family connections that were an integral part of their values and identities.

Feeling Isolated

Heather says that even though she and her husband often exclaimed how pleased they were with their career trajectories, they started to have deeper conversations about how isolated they felt.

“We always said that family was the most important thing to us and finding a place to put down roots for our kids,” says Heather....

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When Family and Career Collide

How knowing YOU can make all the difference

We all have moments when we re-think what success really means. When executive Heather Byrne and her husband moved out west to chase the ultimate career path, they found out that all that glitters isn’t gold.


Despite their professional success, they felt increasingly isolated from the deep family connections and traditions they left behind.


The solution finally revealed itself when Heather and her husband had an honest talk about their personal values and agreed that family really did need to come first.


In the end, the move not only proved to be a blessing for their family but their professional careers as well.


Here are four things we can learn from Heather about how to make your next big move the right one: 


  • Tune out the noise.

When enough people tell you you’re lucky for your lot in life, it’s easy to believe them. But, while you may be lucky, the real question to ask is,...

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Toughest Call Ep. 107 – Breaking with tradition and forging your own path - TRANSCRIPT

Jonathan Torrens  00:04

There are always different avenues you can take and of the traditional one isn't working. Find a way. It's sort of the entrepreneurial spirit. And most people I know that have achieved some level of success had some donkeys on the road to get there.

Chaz Thorne  00:21

Welcome back, or Welcome to toughest call a podcast for organizational leaders where we hear stories from your leadership colleagues about career defining decisions. I'm your host, Chaz Thorne. In this episode, I'm talking with Jonathan Torrens about his decision to take control of his career and work by striking out on his own and leaving behind the suffocating notion of that's just the way things are done around here. for 30 years, Jonathan has been a mainstay in Canadian TV with resume credits that includes street sense john division Trailer Park Boys, Mr. D. This hour has 22 minutes to grassy Royal Canadian Air Force and Letterkenny, a multiple Screen Award winner, Jonathan has...

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How Canadian TV Star Jonathan Torrens Changed his Strategy and Wound Up on Top

If you’re Canadian, there’s a good chance you know Jonathan Torrens. He’s been a mainstay of Canadian TV for decades, with credits in hits like Street Cents, This Hour has 22 Minutes, Trailer Park Boys, and Letterkenny.

As his success matured, he followed the path countless Canadian stars took before him: he moved to LA to see if he could take his talents to the international stage.

Not having a vote

Making it the “traditional way” in Hollywood meant he’d be less directly involved in his success.

Jonathan says the thing that frustrated him about Hollywood was he was always so far away from the nucleus of every decision.

“I had a manager who had to call an agent who had to talk to a casting director who had to talk to the director to see if they'd consulted with the producer to see if I had a shot at this thing,” says Jonathan.

“So, as a result, in addition to not having a vote in my career, I also wasn't booking enough of the...

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Finding Your Path: Four Ways to Find Fulfilling Work from One of Canada’s Best-Known TV Personalities

When it comes to Canadian TV personalities, you’d be hard-pressed to find someone more steeped in our culture than Jonathan Torrens.

With an impressive list of credits from some of Canada’s most popular TV shows (including Royal Canadian Air Farce, Trailer Park Boys, and Letterkenny), he’s been a mainstay of this country’s entertainment scene for decades.

Like many stars before him, Jonathan decided to answer the big “what if” question by making the move to Los Angeles in pursuit of bigger things.

As part of the Hollywood machine though, Jonathan quickly realized he had to put his trust – and his career – in the hands of others.

In the end, Jonathan decided to return to Canada and embark on an entirely new strategy that put him back in the driver seat, and back to creating work he was truly passionate about. 

Here are four things learned from Jonathan about how to build success through meaningful work:  

  • Be honest with...
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Toughest Call Ep. 106 – How you choose to do the work IS the work (with Jewell Mitchell) - TRANSCRIPT

Jewell Mitchell  00:05

I just needed to make sure that I was prepared. Should it not go that way?


Chaz Thorne  00:12

Welcome back, or Welcome to toughest call a podcast for organizational leaders where we hear stories from your leadership colleagues about career defining decisions. I'm your host, Chaz Thorne. In this episode, I'm talking with Joel Mitchell about a challenge she faced when she felt the process for a large capital campaign was becoming disconnected from the organization's vision and values. Julian nonprofit leader with a particular belief in and focus on supporting the potential of women and children. Individuals can have very different approaches to decision making. And when you put these different approaches into a group process, conflict can erupt. jewel talks about what she learned from this difficult experience about the leaders role in setting up these group processes for success and how to keep your team on track as you move forward.



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The Value of Putting Your Foot Down – Even When there’s a Chance you Might Shoot It

At some point in our lives, we all get caught up in projects that are a little beyond our comfort zone. That’s the position that Jewell Mitchell found herself in while she served as the Executive Director of a YWCA on Canada’s East Coast.


Jewell had never embarked on a capital campaign before, but it was something she’d have to take on to create the proposed housing and support center envisioned to support young moms.


Pulling together the dream team


To kickstart the campaign, Jewell pulled together a taskforce made up of experienced fundraisers and local movers and shakers. It turned out to be an impressive crew with deep connections to local businesses and affluent residents.


But even with the dream team in place, the journey got off to a rocky start.


Lacking experience in capital campaigns herself, Jewell allowed the experts in the group to take more control of the project. Without realizing it, those stepping up to command the...

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Four Tips to Keep Your Committee on the Rails

While serving as the lead on a massive capital campaign, Jewell Mitchell made one of the toughest calls of her professional life. She stopped a “dream team” of fundraisers dead in their tracks when she felt like the organizational values were being compromised.

It was a high-risk manoeuvre that could have seen millions of dollars walk out the door.

But in the end, it all worked out, and she learned a lot about the importance of sticking to your guns, even when it means potentially shooting yourself in the foot.

Here are 4 tips Jewell’s story can teach us about keeping committees on the rails:

  • Create a clearly defined operating framework. Make sure everyone on the team knows their individual roles and how they support the overall mission. And ensure they all understand the role the group plays in the success of your organization. That way, if things go sideways or if people encroach on other’s roles, you’ll be able to course correct without ruffling any...
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Toughest Call Ep. 105 – I should have just stuck to the plan (with Zach Selch) - TRANSCRIPT

Zach Selch  00:04

And I'm going to go on and say, fuck, you know, we have this nice package for you, we're gonna do this. And he literally like turns his head and throws up on my shoes.


Chaz Thorne  00:15

Welcome back or Welcome to toughest call a podcast for organizational leaders where we hear stories from your leadership colleagues about career defining decisions. I'm your host, Chaz Thorne. In this episode, I'm talking with Zack selge, about a tough call that he made and regretted around the firing of a non performing employee. Zach has been an international sales executive for over 30 years and is the author of global sales, the practical playbook on how to drive profitable growth. Having to let go of people is often one of the hardest things to do as a leader, that ensuring we have the right people in the right jobs is a defining part of a leaders role. Zach's story is instructive in that he allowed himself to be swayed toward a decision that he instinctually...

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