Island Thrive

Season 1: Navigating the pandemic from Vancouver Island


Covid-19 rushed into our lives. For some business leaders, the impact was immediately devastating; operations ceased and layoffs were initiated. For others, the experience was manageable but required speedy innovation. Our vision is to create a space where local leaders can have frank conversations about the ups and downs of doing business on Vancouver Island. Our focus in the first season will be about navigating both the opportunities and challenges that the pandemic presents but as time moves forward our focus will shift as businesses evolve. And to be clear, this isn’t a podcast just about technology, it’s more about business, specifically business on the Island.

Every road leads back to caring about the people who are our business partners and our customers. 

Victoria Shannon

President, Hansbraun Investments

Get independent legal advice…every business is different, every employee is unique. 

Sheridan King

Lawyer, RLR

Island Thrive Podcast
Island Thrive
Episode 7: A conversation with Andy Spurling: Leading a business through a pandemic, generational change and work-life balance

Guest: Andy Spurling, President of Proline Property Management

During this podcast, Andy shares his experience of growing up and then leaving the Island to pursue a law career on Bay Street in Toronto. Like many islanders, he returned years later to work at his family business. He shares with us his interesting journey to eventually becoming president of the company.    

Andy talks about how the pandemic forced Proline to quickly innovate by removing paper-based processes so that they (and others in their industry) could operate remotely. He uncovers some of the challenges and successes of transitioning to a fully-remote workforce and then describes the return to the workplace — a return that has put into question the very purpose of an office space. This reconciling happens just as they embark upon the construction of a new head office on the Westshore, which may carry unexpected consequences. 

Dave, Paul and Andy speak about the generational shifts in management and underline the importance of focus, setting goals and finding meaning outside busy business lives. 

Episode 5: Building BC: Innovation, collaboration and safety amid a pandemic

Guest: Chris Atchison, president of the British Columbia Construction Association 

In episode 5, we speak with Chris about the impact of Covid-19 on the construction industry in British Columbia, as well as their own association. Chris highlights how the recognition of the construction industry as an essential service paved the way for innovation, collaboration and heightened workplace safety.

Episode 3: Making sense of layoffs amid a Pandemic

Guest: Sheridan King lawyer at RLR

In this episode, Sheridan outlines constructive dismissal, severance obligations under the Employment Standards Act and provides some general guidance on how to approach your employees when it comes to layoffs. She raises some key concerns related to the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) and emphasizes the importance of employment agreements and frank discussion between employers and employees

Episode 6: Navigating crisis with innovation: How Covid-19 impacted the Victoria Women’s Transition House

Guest: Susan Howard, Development Director of the Victoria Women’s Transition House 

In Episode 6, Smart Dolphins Virtual Chief Information Officers Paul and Ty talk with Susan Howard, development director of the Victoria Women’s Transition House (VWTH).

Susan shares the ways in which the organization has had to make major adjustments in how they deliver services. Some of these changes include, relocating women and children from their regular communal housing to a hotel to allow for social distancing. Other transitions include setting up staff to work remotely and implementing a digital platform so that women will continue to have access to counselling.

In the midst of these operational changes, the organization has had to deal with an increase of calls from women fleeing violence here on Southern Vancouver Island — a reality that is unfortunately, very common in times of crisis.

Susan gives thanks to the community for the ongoing donations and highlights the generosity of local businesses who are helping to raise funds for the VWTH.

Episode 4: The three stages of the work from home transition

Guest: Ty Hedden vCIO at Smart Dolphins IT Solutions

In this episode, Paul and Dave welcome Ty, Smart Dolphins Virtual Chief Information Officer (vCIO) onto the podcast. They uncover what they have identified as the three stages of the work from home transition. They talk about collaboration, business continuity, productivity and cybersecurity. They paint a picture of the workplace of the future-one that is no longer confined to the four walls of an office and unpack the competitive advantages of embracing the cloud.

Episode 2: Leading with Values

Guest: Victoria Shannon president of Hansbraun Investments

Tune in to find out how Hansbraun, a local commercial property management firm embraced their business values to navigate the economic fallout from the pandemic. She unpacks how they had to quickly innovate and attributes much of their success to their business values and strong workplace culture. Victoria is optimistic long-term and predicts that we’ll see a revival in the “buy local” movement. Listen now to learn more about this awesome business making a difference in our community.

Episode 1: The rush to work from home

In our launch episode, Paul and Dave chat about both the opportunities and the challenges that the pandemic has created. They raise key questions about the digital transformation of the modern office, cyber risks within the remote workforce, innovation and productivity. Dave highlights the results of the Business Outlook Survey and they tease the audience with what is to come in the first few episodes.