#BeAnOriginalHuman is a series featuring humans who are embracing what makes them original and what being an original human means to them.
Kristen Dyck is the person behind Avro Creative who lives being an original human in both her work and personal life. We were lucky enough to catch Kristen at the New Central Library in downtown Calgary to chat about life, business and what being original means to her!
Name: Kristen Dyck
Ok, first things first. Tell us a little about yourself:
“I am the founder of Avro Creative and I founded it about two years ago.
In a nutshell I work with ambitious women to help them reach their goals using a unique personal branding process that i created.
I started that based on more than a decade worth of marketing communication and brand experience that I have and I also recognize the need to help women really showcase who they are and what they do, tell their stories to the world.
Whether they are an entrepreneur or they are employed by someone and they are looking to climb the ladder of their career in their organization, I want to be able to help them do that.”
Describe your skin care routine in three words:
“Well if I’m being really honest and this is embarrassing to admit to you, but lately it has been inconsistent inconsistent inconsistent.
I was on a pretty good skincare routine, but I had a baby 9 months ago and I am running a business and I have a three year old, and so some nights I just fall into bed. So if I wash makeup off my face then I am happy with myself.
On the nights that I do wash my face and I put on my Baobab Original Human Serum then I'm feeling really good. I also feel that the nights that I do manage to do that, I make up for the nights that I don't do it because, ya, there are definitely nights that I don’t and I wake up really dry in the mornings.”
You mentioned you have branched into owning your own business - you now work independently with two little ones. What inspired you to make that jump?
“A lot of things inspired me and continue to inspire me. The biggest thing that inspires me is pushing forward for gender equity in Canada.
I know that sounds like a big broad visionary thing but that is honestly one of the things that really keeps me going and I believe that what I do is one small way to help move that forward.
I think there is no question that based on the all the research that we have seen that gender equality is necessary to our society. The benefits to our economy are huge, the benefits to all of us, men and women, are huge.
I think that for some businesses and organizations it’s sort of like, how do we get there? And so I try to be one of the solutions—there are many, it’s multifaceted—but that is where I see myself fitting in.
Obviously my kids too, in creating a life where I have... I don't like to call it balance because that makes it sound like if work is going really well then family life isn't going really well and vice versa... so I think of it more as a synergy kind of a thing.
I can kind of create what that synergy looks like and I can work when it fits my lifestyle. I think a lot of my clients are in a similar space as well. They have either kids or more than one business or they are really passionate about their field of work so figuring out times to work that works for everyone is pretty cool to be able to do.”
Being able to tell your story effectively is one of the barriers with women moving up so is that where you see the difference? People are more able to effectively to communicate their story and are more able to go for that promotion and able to communicate what they do?
“That is definitely a big part of it. It’s that story piece and a story is something that is so memorable to a lot of people. But even more basic than storytelling, just being able to communicate their value and connecting the value that they bring to the business goals, that is a really really big thing.
There is research and studies that have shown that when women are getting feedback—whether it’s at their annual review or more informal feedback and in contrast to the type of feedback that their male counterparts get—women aren't given feedback that is in line with the business plan.
They are often given feedback on more interpersonal communication styles than giving an indication on what they need to do in their day to day work, or what skills they need to build in order to help increase their profile in ways that show that the work they do is moving the business forward at small and large companies.
And so that is one of the things that I help women do, is connect what they do on a day to day basis to how they are moving the business forward and being able to share that with people.
That is a really, really big thing and once you can make that connection and once you can bring that into conversations with your colleagues and with your boss and your boss's boss, it can be a game changer for them.
Just the ability to advocate for themselves is a really big part of it too. You sometimes think that your boss is going to do that for you but she is advocating for herself. She is advocating for other things she wants the team to do and so it is really your responsibility to do that for yourself. If you are not going to do that you can't just bank on anyone else doing that for you.”
One of the aspects that would be a big part of branding is finding what makes somebody unique or what is that original piece they want to tap into, so what does being an original human mean to you?
“That is such a cool question, I love that!
It means a lot of things but to me, being an original human means being yourself and owning who you are and sharing that with the world.
It means trying new things in your business and in life and really sticking to your principles even when other people don’t understand it.
For me, I get asked once in a while—but I know people are thinking it more often than they are willing to ask—why do I mostly work with women and that is for all the reasons I said. I am so passionate about driving forward equity and equality in the workplace and in the business world.
There have been questions about that and I am happy to talk about it and have a well-rounded discussion around why that is really important.