Talking business and journalism with Tess van Straaten

In this episode, Dave and Paul chat with award-winning journalist Tess van Straaten about her role at Chek News and as a columnist at Boulevard Magazine. She shares the origin story of how Chek News became North America’s only employee-owned TV station and explains how the pandemic has impacted the everyday work of journalists.

Tess highlights the significance that both values and passion play in local entrepreneurship and encourages us to stay positive as we continue to live under provincial restrictions.

Tess van Straaten
Island Thrive
Island Thrive Podcast
Click here for the full transcript

Paul: And welcome to Island Thrive this week. Joining me as usual is Dave Monahan, President of some offense. How are you doing, Dave?

 

Dave: Great Paul, thank you how are you?

 

Paul: And I’m doing great. My name’s Paul Holmes, also with Smart Dolphins, and we have a very special guest with us today on today’s show, and that is Tess van Staaten. And she is a reporter at check news as well as a columnist at Boulevard Magazine, writes the business class, column them there. Tess, How are you today?

 

Tess: I’m good, thanks, Paul. Thanks for having me.

 

Paul: Yeah. Thanks for joining us, and I know one of the things you do at Chek is the weather and weather it’s been very newsworthy.

 

Tess: It has been crazy.

 

Paul: We appreciate you taking the time. What’s new with chek news during this crazy time?

 

Tess: It’s just been such a crazy time, I think for everybody, but especially for those of us who are in essential services, and news is considered an essential service. We couldn’t just stay home and not work early on in the pandemic, we had to find a way to keep things moving. But a way to do it safely. So very early on, management saw what was happening and they formulated a plan to get as many people as possible out of the building and working from home. So that meant setting up everyone with the laptop, setting up with the ability to voice stories at home, edits stories at home, and then we just had a really essential personnel, like her anchors who had to come into the building for the studio, only those people coming into the building, they were all separated, so they were distanced and everything was just done really safely. Protocols were put in place right away. We learn new ways of doing things. I’ve never done so many Zoom interviews in my life before.

 

So I’ve been working from home now since last March, and in the beginning, of course, there were lots of kinks, but you work the kinks out and then you find efficiencies and you find ways that there are things that actually work much better now that we’ve done from necessity. Necessity is the mother of invention. So we just really adapted, and being a local independent station, it was easy to do that, we could just change plans adapt right away. All of our advertisements needed to change their advertising right away because things have changed, so we supported them in doing that, and then of course, all the virtual concerts…Chek really stepped up with the rock for relief concert to raise money, raising a huge amount of money to help people struggling on Vancouver Island, and then the symphony, the Victoria Symphony, and all of those kind of things people are missing. We found a way to bring it to them through their TV set so they can stay safe at home and enjoy that.

 

Paul: And I know that you guys hosted the Chambers Business Awards last year as well, which was really neat. We had the Chamber CEO on a previous episode talking about that, so I thought that was a great production, maybe even better than the live one, because we didn’t have all the long speeches, everybody got cut off.

 

Tess: You can edit it down. I actually MC’d the Victoria Leadership Awards, which we did that way as well, we just had the winners in person distanced, and then we just live streamed the rest of it, and it was a unique experience, but a great that Chek stepped up and do that and fill that void.

 

Paul: Yeah, it’s neat when you can make it work, for sure. Are you still doing reporter live on location in your role at all, or obviously you have other reporters who do that, but are you sort of being dispatched to different places now?

 

Tess: Yeah, so right now we’re all working from home. We have the camera crews and our VJs who shoot and report their own stories there out in the field, and so we’ll just coordinate with them, we’ll do… We actually do interviews a lot of time through FaceTime, so the camera man goes on location to meet the person because we can’t ride in the same car together anymore, and then they phone us or FaceTime us. And then set us up on a phone on a stand, so that the interviewed subject can look at us on the phone.

 

Paul: How interesting.

 

Tess: And we ask the question on the phone, then they either stream the video back or bring back to the station and ingest it.

 

So it’s actually much more efficient because you would spend a lot of your day is a reporter driving around the city, especially in the capital region, where it can be 30-40 minutes between locations. So now you can do the interview and then get right on to writing the story or lining up the next interview. So we’re really embracing technology and using it, I’ve actually been using my phone to shoot weather on the weekends, so we are doing six to eight minutes of weather a day on my phone, which is incredible, just with… You can attach mics to it, I have a light, I have a special holder it goes in, and if you have a high quality iPhone, it’s amazing what you can do with it.

 

Paul: The robots are taking over.

 

Tess: Actually, it’s my children or my partner who support me, I can set up the pod and shoot it myself.

 

Paul: That’s incredible. Wow, it’s so funny because we have this robot at work at our office where it can drive around and go to meetings and stuff, if somebody needs to come remote, and it was kind of this as… We’ve had this kicking around for what, a couple of years, right Dave? It sounds like you’re doing exactly that only probably using tablets or something.

 

Tess: Right, sometimes the… A lot of time, we’ll get an email saying, “Oh, tell Tess her lighting man has the light a little bit too bright on her today,” and it’s funny ’cause it’s actually my 14-year-old son and we’re standing in my backyard.

 

Dave: That’s hilarious.

 

Paul: That’s funny. Yeah, before we switch topics, so Chek itself has a very interesting story, which I’m not sure everybody knows the story, but Chek is really in all senses of the word a local business. Do you want to maybe tell that story quickly about Chek?

 

Tess: Absolutely, I think anyone who was living on Vancouver Island in 2009, we’ll know the check story because the community has played a huge part in survival and our success. Everyone rallied to save us when Chek was going to be closed down in 2009 at that time, we were owned by CanWest Global. We’re actually British Columbia’s oldest private broadcaster. So we just celebrated another big anniversary in the fall, and it’s amazing to see how long Chek has been around and what an important role we played in the community. But when lots of cuts were coming in 2009, Global was closing stations and they said they couldn’t find a buyer for Chek, so they were going to close this down, we were going to fade to black in the summer of 2009, and we just started a letter writing campaign, people called Canwest, people rallied to support their were save Chek news t-shirts. The business community rallied to save us and then in the end, it was Levi Sampson of Harmac, who has stepped up with a couple other investors, and we formulated a plan, thanks to our General Manager, Rob Germaine, who had this idea that we could become employee-owned like Harmac, and if all the employees kicked in and some investors kicked in and we could buy the station ourselves because they told us they couldn’t find a buyer, so okay, we’ll do it. And that’s what happened. And it was crazy. We got the phone calls, “okay, they’re going to accept the offer run to the bank.” And you know how much money can you get out of the bank machine today kind of thing. So all the full-time and part-time employees, they are just only around 40 of us at that time because of all the cutbacks over the years in media, we’ve been slashed back. Now we’ve just grown, we keep adding staff and programming and our commitment to the community and local just continues to grow every year. This past year with the upside, we’ve just done incredible work with the pandemic, just being going out to local businesses, rallying to help them shedding a light on all the great things on the island, you can experience all the restaurants and businesses, you can go to. So we saved the station and we celebrated our…okay, I have to do math. This year will be our 11-year anniversary, right? Twelve or eleven.

 

Paul: Twelve years because 2009 was the campaign.

 

Tess: It was our 12th anniversary this year then.

 

Paul: Yeah, I was just getting on Twitter at the time, ’cause Twitter was this new thing, and that was back when it was good.

 

Tess: Back when Twitter was a positive thing.

 

Paul: Yeah, and I remember the hashtag… Well, I don’t even know if we had hashtags, but I remember the campaign to save Chek was one of the first things on Twitter locally with all the people rallying around. It was really great, I really felt part of the community. I remember showing up and doing a couple of things at the station and stuff, so yeah, it was really, really neat time, and it’s a really cool story. I’m glad you shared that. I think for a lot of people, they just think it’s just a TV station whatever, right. No, there’s definitely a really neat local business story there.

 

Tess: We’re employed owned and we’re the only employee-owned TV station in North America, and we’ve actually had other stations and other companies contact us to ask us how we did it and to see if it’s a model that can be emulated. Because we’re still seeing cuts and media just last week, we had cuts on the radio side of things across Canada, and it’s terrible to see because now more than ever, we need the media, this pandemic is showing us, we need our local news, so the fact that Chek is growing and thriving shows you that it is possible to do it.

 

Paul: We’re going to talk about your column at Boulevard magazine, and it’s called business class which I assume is business class as opposed to business class, are we talking about the part on the airplane or are we talking about the school?

 

Tess: We’re talking about all the wonderful businesses in the Greater Victoria area for the Victoria edition of Boulevard and I also write for the mid Island edition of Boulevard so all of the businesses there as well. So it’s just telling those stories, those success stories of businesses to see how they did it. I remember interviewing the guy who started Phillips Brewery and he told me no one would give him a loan, so his business plan was just to put everything on his visa and hope for the best, so he just maxed out credit cards to launch the business and then look how successful things are now. So I’m not necessarily saying that’s something you should do, but it’s interesting to hear what all these different business leaders…You might know them or their business, but you don’t know their story. So we talked about their stories, get behind the mistakes they made, ’cause I think you learn more from your mistakes then your successes, and also the pivotal moment for them, why they’re so passionate about what they do, why they love it, and their advice for other business owners, which is always interesting. And every single person I interview, I’ve been doing this for three years now, so you would think after a while people say the same thing…No, every single person I interview, I learn something from, and it’s just fascinating to hear how they got to where they are. And how many people their goal was to be something else, an accountant or a hockey player, where they went into sales and then they ended up doing something completely different and found their passion.

 

Dave: That why we’re doing the podcast, I’ve found the exact same thing. Everybody’s got a different story. And it’s just great, I’ve learned something every time.

 

Paul: They say that you’re not a real entrepreneur until you’ve had that moment where you’ve had to put your entire payroll on your credit card, so… I do remember having to do that once a long time ago.

 

Dave: …Getting a few more credit cards.

 

Paul: It’s probably been a while since we’ve done that?

 

Dave: It’s been a while, at least two, three months.

 

Tess: Well they say anything worth doing, it takes work and grit and determination, and really the overriding factor is they have to be passionate about it and love it, ’cause if you’re not, it’s going to be hard to make it work and you’re not going to be willing to make the sacrifices, especially early on, that you have to make on the encroached that we would survive past five years, which is usually a big milestone to get past as a new business, so for us as an independent business. And there were days I was walking around the building, turning light switches off, we cut back everything we could possibly cut back for expenses. We took a pay cut to make the station work, we all pitched in to help out, and I think you have to do that to be successful.

 

Paul: And you’ve seen some unique stories happening as a result, obviously, you got your finger on the pulse of the business community anyway in your role at Chek, but also at Boulevard with your column. There’s been new businesses that have started in the middle of a global pandemic… What’s that all about?

 

Tess: I think that’s what has surprised me the most, not just that new businesses have started but how many new businesses have started in Victoria and all over Vancouver Island, and it’s counter-intuitive, ’cause you see other businesses struggling and you think, “oh gosh, why would I start a business right now we’re in a crisis,” but that old thing, opportunity in crisis is true for a reason. So if you have the right business and if it’s something… I wouldn’t be starting a tourism business right now given the current conditions and the tourism sector, I just have to say my heart was up to them ’cause they have just been decimated by this pandemic, and it’s hard to be innovative when your customers aren’t coming and you have no one to share your product with. But other businesses that are catering to a need actually are incredibly successful right now and have seen a huge response during the pandemic. One example is Casey’s Chocolates in Oak Bay. A longtime chocolatier, he’s a fantastic chocolate maker, decided to take over that store front and start a chocolate shop, which would think, “well, why would people be buying chocolates in a pandemic?” Lots of people have lost their jobs or had to cut back, but he’s found that people actually buy more chocolate, and he’s been doing this for over 30 years, he’s found we buy more chocolate, probably the same way we buy more wine during bad times, because we want that comfort. So he has a takeout window and he has these fantastic fresh made chocolates with the best ingredients that he sells out of almost every single day because there’s demand for it.

 

Another one is Moden in Sidney, a women’s clothing store, they were opening right before the pandemic, and she thought, “Oh gosh, what are we going to do?” But it turned out people actually want to support local right now because of the pandemic, people are going to their local businesses, they’re not wanting to go to a packed mall, they’re not wanting to go where lots of other people are around. So they feel much more comfortable going to the small local business where everything’s distances, there might only be one or two customers at a time, and also where they can get that personal service. So she’s actually had a huge response from the community and is now opening a second store next door because of it.

 

And there’s been other businesses like that as well throughout the capital region that have opened despite the odds seemingly being stacked against them, but if you have the right product and you’re meeting a demand, then you can see success even in the toughest of times.

 

Dave: It’s great. You get the back story too, do you find a number of these people are starting out of necessity, they’ve lost their jobs, so they’re looking for those opportunities, or is it more opportunistic… Are they serial entrepreneurs? It’s probably mixed, but I wonder what the mix would be…

 

Tess: Yeah, most of the people I’ve interviewed, either of the plans were in place before the pandemic started, or they’d already had the ball rolling, so they just decided, “okay, we’ll just go for it.” In the case of Casey’s Chocolates, he had other chocolate shops, he actually had retired and thought, “okay, I’m bored at home. What am I going to do?” So he did it because he didn’t want to be retired. I haven’t yet interviewed anyone who did it as a result of the job layoffs, but I know that is sort of a wake-up call for people where, “okay, you know what? Maybe this is the chance I do what I’ve always wanted to do, or maybe this is the time I do something completely different.”

 

Dave: Definitely lots of reflection from pandemic.

 

Tess: Yes, right.

 

Dave: It puts a lot of things in perspective. And so I could see that being a new chapter for a lot of people.

 

Tess: Right, yeah, I think a lot of us have looked inward, a lot of people have had a lot more time at home and a lot more time to sort of think and decide what their priorities are, and it’s taught us really what matters the most. Your family, your health, friendships, the things that we’ve missed out on this past year, being a part.

 

Dave: A return to values. Yeah, for sure.

 

Tess: And also the realization that the world can change tomorrow. You coast along thinking everything’s not going to change too much, but look how drastically everything changed on us and how we’ve had to adapt. Things we thought were given like the tourism sector being number one in Greater Victoria for the economy, just the bottom can fall out without any warning, so I think that does make people think “well, what do I want to do the rest of my life? Am I happy doing what I’m doing now? Can I do more? Can I do less? Can I do something different?”

 

Paul: There’s a big push, I think, to support local businesses, and I think that we talk about this, I think almost every episode, you see it, you hear about it. One of the side effects, of course, of this pandemic is people started ordering a whole bunch of things online, and there’s certain companies which won’t name that dominate in that space and they’ve become very rich and very valuable, and that potentially at the expense of local businesses that the people might have done business with before. And you’ve seen some interesting initiatives, I know the Downtown Victoria Business Association had a delivery initiative, I’m not sure if that’s still going or not, but we’re going chat with the upcoming episode as well, but what sort of things have you seen around this push for a local business that maybe is unique or caught your eye?

 

Tess: I just first would like to say, I really think the light switch went off for a lot of people about support local because of the pandemic. AT Chek we’ve been involved with the campaign for years now, but it was really when people realize local businesses could shut down if you don’t support them, that people went, “oh wait, no, I love that business, I’m going to go support them.” And I know it’s really easy to sit at home and just click order and something gets shipped to your door from far away. But that money doesn’t stay in our community. So when you’re making all of those orders, it’s not just that big company that benefits, it’s where they’re based and where their tax dollars go, that also benefits. So if you’re supporting local, you’re supporting your whole local community, because those businesses then pay taxes, their employees then spend their money in the community, and it’s just a cycle that goes around supporting the island. And I think a lot of local businesses have adapted so well with curbside pickup with coming up with unique campaigns of ways you can do things. I had never done online grocery orders before, I would always just go to the store, I want to pick up my own produce or it’ll be easier. But I have learned it is much faster, especially with Reorder, if I just order from a local grocery store, show up, they put it in my truck and I can drive away. And it’s been great.

 

And we’ve seen that with Hierloom Linens, they started curbside pick up for their customers. Some businesses are doing free deliveries around town as well, so it’s great to see the businesses adapting and then even more heart-warming to see the community support them. Because if we don’t report them, they’re going to be gone, and we’ve already lost so many restaurants, so many businesses have had to close because of the pandemic that. If you’re not comfortable going and eating in, you can get takeout. That’s why at Chek, we had those “take-out Tuesdays” and we’ve been to casing all the different businesses and what they offer so that people can go and support them and make sure when this is all over, that they’ll still be there for us.

 

Paul: I want to talk a little bit more about delivery because it’s such a unique challenge, the small companies do not have the same buying power for delivery companies as some global companies and national companies do right. Have you seen any unique approaches there that are worth talking about, or how do they make it work, how the local companies that are being successful with us to make that work, do you know?

 

Tess: Well, Heart Pharmacy, for example, has prescription delivery, which is really helpful for seniors in particular, and they’ll just bulk the delivery time so that they’re not running around all day, they have a certain time, they go out and deliver that for you. Local florists will deliver as well, and some local stores have found ways to make delivery work or they’ll charge a small fee. Oh and that’s the other thing, for restaurants, it’s much better to either pick up the takeout order or pay the delivery fee to the restaurant if they’re offering delivery than giving it to some of those DoorDash and Uber Eats and all of those companies because they charge a really high fee to the restaurants to be on their service, if they’re local restaurants, the national chains get a big break on those, so all the big guys, pay very little, if anything, sometimes for those services, but it’s the little guy, your local restaurant who has to pay a high fee to have it delivered through those services. So you’re much better off paying their delivery person trying lots of restaurants, and we have a favorite Chinese food restaurant we order from, they deliver either it gets over a certain amount or you just had a small delivery fee on and then that money goes directly to the business.

 

Paul: Yeah, it makes sense. If you have a local restaurant that you want to support, try them first, right, because all the services are very convenient and everything else, and you can still support a local business, they’re taking a big cut.

 

Tess: Absolutely, and some restaurants will actually give you a discount if you pick up the order, they might give you 10% off if you pick it up as well, so usually not that far to go pick it up.

 

Paul: Sometimes it’s just good to get out of the house, put your mask on.

 

Tess: That could be your only outing going to get your take out.

 

Paul: That’s right. Obviously, the other thing, test is you’ve got your finger on the pulse of the local culture, and I know you in your role, you work with a lot of non-profits and that sort of thing, and obviously that’s a huge part of not just the local culture, but also the local economy as well. And so we’d love to chat with you a little bit about that. I know fundraising has been a particular challenge this year during the course of the pandemic, maybe we can start with some unique stories that you’ve seen where people have stepped up to meet that challenge.

 

Tess: Sure, yeah, it’s been such a huge hit to the non-profit sector because most of their fundraising dollars come from having events, so they’ll have the polar plunge or they’ll have a big Christmas event, lots of people getting together, which of course we can’t do. So they’ve seen their fundraising completely drop off in some cases, and they’ve had to get creative to keep it going. The Polar Plunge is one for Special Olympics. It’s actually on right now. So instead of a day where everyone gets together, I’ve been at Willows Beach for it, and we’ll have 100 people there, they’re having everyone do their own Polar Plunge individually, so go jump in the ocean, take a video pour an ice bucket over your head, and then make a donation, get pledges, so they’re stretching it out over two weeks instead of a one-day event that people do with their families in their family bubble. A lot of charities, marathons are doing that kind of thing as well. TC-10 is going to go ahead with a plan where you do it on your own, this year. BC and Alberta Guide Dogs, they’ve gone online to have virtual Bingo night, so you pay an amount, it’s a donation to the charity to play.

 

Other charities have found creative ways to have online concerts or things where people can make a donation, but that’s really being incredibly difficult for them, and they’ve really had to adapt to find new ways to bring in that money because a lot of the programs are needed now more than ever, yet, their biggest fundraising avenues have disappeared. For Habitat for Humanity Victoria, their biggest fundraisers always the gingerbread showcase where all these incredible gingerbread houses you can go look at, usually they’re all together in one small space at a downtown hotel, which of course they couldn’t do this year, so instead, they just put them in a local store fronts and spaced them out so you could do a walk and take a look at them safely at a distance, and then scan the QR code or go online and make a donation and vote for your favorite? So they saw less money come in this year, but they still saw money come in. And most charities had to cancel all of their Christmas events because there was no way they could find a safe way for them to go ahead.

 

Paul: I know Kidsport did a really cool online fundraiser where you could participate in the auction, and they actually had a program where a proportion of the proceeds actually went to the business, so a business could donate a gift card and they would split that with the company so the company would actually make some money, that charity would make some money and yeah, it was because everybody names the money, right now. Yeah, so that was great, and I had a chance to participate in that, and at Smart Dolphins here, we’ve worked with Kidsport over many years, and most of the staff got behind that as well, so very exciting.

 

Tess: That’s great, yeah, I think that’s the other thing people might not realize or think of is our local businesses contribute so much to the community. They’re always asked for prizes or raffle items. Wilson’s Transportation has been such a massive supporter of the community and non-profits and they’ve been absolutely decimated this year with what’s happened with tourism. So think of all of those donations that non-profits and charities would normally get from local businesses that they may not be able to get in the last year because of what’s happened.

 

Paul: So you foster kittens, we hear…

 

Tess: That’s been my new pandemic apology, I guess.

 

Paul: If you don’t follow Tess online, you need to go and follow Tess and see all the pictures of the kittens.

 

Tess: Early on in the pandemic I thought, “Okay, you know what, my job on the Twitter…” On social media, but Twitter in particular use Twitter’s become so negative and hateful, I thought “my job on Twitter is to brighten people’s day, so I’m going to post pictures of lovely weather shots that people email us a Chek news, I’m going to post kitten videos, I’m going to post flowers whatever I can to just…” You see that post and you feel better after it, instead of so many posts, you feel worse after it.

 

But when we started fostering kittens last April, our 18-year-old cat Winston passed away and it left a void and we were quite sad. And I thought, “you know what, we need kittens because I go to Pet CHEK every Sunday on Chek news, and you always feel better after cuddling kittens or puppies or whatever animal comes on. It’s just… It’s true. Your spirits are lifted. It’s therapeutic, so I thought, “we need some kittens because puppies, I love them, but oh my gosh, there are so much work. I can’t handle that with my busy life, but I can handle kittens.” So we started in April and we’re on our fifth litter right now. And yeah, it’s great. I have them in my home office, usually with me, ’cause that’s their room, and then they have company during the day while I’m working, and if I’m having a stressful day, ’cause part of my job is to socialize them and make them cuddly, I just take one and they’ll sit inside my hoodie while I’m working, and immediately I can feel my stress level go down and I feel calmer and happier.

 

Paul: And that segment is on when?

 

Tess: That’s Sunday on Chek news. We call it Pet CHEK Sunday. And that’s another thing we’ve launched, it was one year in September, so we’re about a year and a half into it now just to do that community commitment and brighten people’s day and help the animals, there have been hundreds of animals on Pet CHEK, and we partner with Victoria Humane Society, every single animal from the Victoria Humane Society you’ve had on has been adopted, which is just such an incredible thing to know and a gratifying experience.

 

And then once a month, we have a different rescue come through, so Cat’s Cradle Animal Rescue. We’ve had Broken Promises, Amy’s Bunny Barn, the BC SPCA in Victoria, the Nanaimo branch, and CRD Animal Control as well as parting with … and several other ones as well, so if people have ideas for rescues, we should have one. Please let me know.

 

Paul: I’ve really enjoyed seeing your posts on Twitter, and I just kind of backed away from Facebook a little bit myself, but I know it’s great to see something positive happening and all the work that you do in this community to brighten things up, and we thought, you’d just be a great addition to this ’cause we’re really trying to highlight what’s positive and what’s coming up, so what’s your inspirational message for the leaders of our community that are tuning in today, I guess

 

Tess: My message would be not just for the leaders, but everybody, there’s been so much negative in our lives for the last year, and so much uncertainty and so much anxiety that I think it’s really important, especially for those of us who are leaders, to put positive things out there because there’s enough bad stuff. And so I really think each post you put to social media or each interaction you have, because we have seen, especially with service staff, people screaming at them over masks, over the regulations, over the arrows, I’ve seen people get into a yelling match in the grocery store, ’cause someone went the wrong way. I think we do need to follow Dr. Bonnie’s advice and just be kinder to each other and just realize a lot of people are struggling right now, even if they still have their job and it’s not a financial issue, people are struggling with how hard this is, how isolating this has been, especially people who live on their own. I have a busy house with kids, and so it would be great to have an hour of quiet, but at the same time, I think, “gosh, what if I was stuck at home all by myself all the time, I couldn’t see my friends, couldn’t do all the activities I normally do, how hard that would be.” And we’ve seen that with the overdose crisis. Last year was the worst year on record, and people are drinking more, they’re turning to recreational drugs more because they just want to feel better and get out of the reality, I guess we’re in right now.

 

So my message to people would be just, what can you do to brighten someone’s day today? What can you post that will make people feel better not worse. Someone cuts you off in traffic maybe they’re having a bad day. You don’t need to step your finger up and scream at them, right, maybe they realize they needed to turn there, they’re in a different area of town. If someone’s going the wrong way in the grocery store do you really need to call them out and yell at them? My kids have experienced that is people walking, people yelling at them for not moving over far enough on the street. It’s just how you approach it right? You can approach it with kindness or you can just let that anger… The people have come out. But letting your anger come out on other people right now. It’s not going to make the world a better place.

 

Paul: And I think everybody has their own story too right when somebody approaches you in a negative way, you know, trying to have a bit of empathy to say that they’re obviously struggling in some big way and not to take it too personally.

 

Tess: If someone’s angry, it’s hard not to react in anger or your guards automatically out, but if you just think, Wow, they must be having a really bad day and de-escalate it.

 

Paul: Yeah, I think that’s great advice and yeah, definitely something I would very strongly agree with Dr. Bonnie Henry on is the “be kind,” if we could all just try to be a little kinder to each other, I think we’ll get through this, I think we’re most of the way through knock on wood.

 

Tess: I don’t know if I’d agree. And even when everyone is vaccinated, I’m not sure it will be “back to normal, back to normal.” Bonnie said early on she’s running a marathon, not a sprint. And I know I found I felt like I was sprinting through the first part of it, and then it hit me like a wall about eight, nine months in, I was just like… And you just have to tell yourself, if I think when you set those short-term goals, it’s like, “Oh by spring, it’ll be better by summer ‘ll be better,” if it’s not better, you’re going to feel worse.

 

Paul: Yeah, well, thanks so much, Tess, for joining us today, and it’s really great to see you and it’s lovely to see your posts of kittens online and all the great work you guys do a Chek and your column at Boulevard, so keep up the great work. And yeah, thanks, thanks again, Dave.

 

Dave: Yeah, thank you, Tess, that was great.

 

Tess: Well, thanks for having me, and it’s great you’re doing this podcast to look at all the businesses doing great things and talk about the issues they’re facing and showcase what’s happening right now.

 

Dave: Thanks.