What a whirlwind the last three days have been! I’m writing this just hours after GetintheLoop’s first Wolfpack Summit came to a close on Wednesday to share some stories from the event and highlight the amazing energy level throughout the event.
It’s tough to express in words how proud I am of the work our team and network of local entrepreneurs have put in over the past year. The WolfPack Summit included three days of jam-packed action focusing on collaborative learning, team building and strategic discussions on topics like the future of local marketing, the economy and innovation in our products, while we also heard from one of GetintheLoop’s earliest customers, Michele Paget of Bentall Kennedy and Hillside Shopping Centre in Victoria.
At GetintheLoop, our team goes by the #Wolfpack and our motto is Love The Grind. Our team has achieved so much in the past year, so to launch our first-ever summit exactly one year after launching our first franchise market was amazing. Today, we have 43 live franchises comprised of 91 local entrepreneurs who are supported by over 40 dedicated home office teammates. We’re starting to spread out across Canada, but we still have that small family company feeling!
It was such a cool experience to celebrate an exciting year by bringing our local entrepreneurs, early customers and supporters, team members, investors, and advisors together to connect and learn. To say we have momentum would be quite an understatement.
I want to share some of the approaches we took to training and strategic planning during the Wolfpack Summit, it worked out incredibly well and the level of collaboration was amazing. I also want to share some key themes that our advisors Larry Pollock, Patrick La Forge, Coulter Wright, and Cliff Shillington shared.
Training/Collaborative Learning Sessions
There were two and a half days of content, and I think our team used less than a dozen or so slides. The event was led by our President, Chris Pinkerton, and featured a collaborative session on the traditional & digital media landscape, the stages of growth for our entrepreneurs’ businesses, the changing retail landscape, the local advantage and a look at our long-term vision for the organization.
Here is how we did it:
Fireside chats featuring our entrepreneurs on stage discussing what they have learned, with the whole room participating. Everyone had the stage and an opportunity on the mic, so to speak. Questions were asked from the crowd to the stage and vice versa as everyone collaborated and contributed to each other’s development.
Presentation and then fireside chat with Michele. Michele presented to our group about the ever-changing landscape happening for shopping centres and their retail partners. She showed our local entrepreneurs the value she receives from GetintheLoop and the process we took to get there. Michele has helped shape our product and the value we can add to retailers and shopping centres alike. The whole room had an opportunity to ask Michele questions and received tremendous amounts of value and advice that applies TODAY in every one of their markets.
Collaborative networking events. We made sure to spend tremendous amounts of time together, whether it be on hikes, on top of a houseboat, at a local pub, or the awards gala; we were together from the morning until late at night. We designed sessions where our entrepreneurs had an opportunity to sit down and ask any member of our team or any of our advisors questions and gain valuable advice. It’s all about the one-to-one connections everyone was making through a variety of casual and fun settings.
This format allowed everyone to become extremely close over the three days and to control their learning based on the stage of their business and the opportunities they are looking to embark on. Seeing everyone connecting and learning together was just amazing.
Throughout the event, a lot of the conversation revolved around our company’s vision for the future and the values that are important to us:
We will continue to be a company that evolves and innovates to continue to add increased value to each market we operate in. We are a company that embraces the opportunity to find innovative solutions that will enable our partners to achieve success. There is a huge need for local businesses to compete against the Amazons of the world and we will do everything in our power to help them.
We will continue to be a listening company. Our advantage is our ability to listen to our customers, to our users, and our local owners to better understand their challenges and build products that solve problems and delight consumers. Having so many local entrepreneurs on the ground is a major advantage that we will be working together to maximize.
A company that cares. GetintheLoop is built from local roots by entrepreneurs who have skin in the game and are deeply passionate about helping businesses in their community reach local customers. We are in the business of helping local businesses - who better to do that than local business owners in each market? Our mission is to build together, and we all benefit from each other’s success and growth. That passion and level of caring are extremely hard to replicate.
We were lucky enough to have Patrick LaForge, the former President and CEO of the Edmonton Oilers, give the opening keynote on Tuesday, focusing on the importance of planning when looking at winning the Stanley Cup. We then had a fireside chat with our advisors Cliff Shillington, Larry Pollock & Coulter Wright, where our entrepreneurs and CMO Jason Mann got to ask questions about the early days of Remax, banking from the “titan of banking’s” point of view, and all things in the future of GetintheLoop.
Some key themes were:
Plan to Win: The best way to achieve your goals is to plan to win. Patrick highlighted that a plan can increase your chances by five to seven times.
Commitment is Key: All of our advisors shared the importance of commitment and discussed topics like tolerance to risk when to jump as an entrepreneur and how they knew they would be successful.
Believe in Yourself: Everyone says it, but the importance of believing in yourself and staying positive during the rollercoaster ride that is entrepreneurship was iterated.
My favourite quote of the weekend was from Larry. When discussing the difference between being all-in on an opportunity and not, Larry said:
“In the morning you have your bacon and eggs. There is quite a difference between the two. The chicken is involved but the hog, the hog is committed.”
Needless to say, there were many laughs through all of the fireside chat sessions.
The main event of the summit was our first ever awards gala on Tuesday night. We had eight winners of awards ranging from Most Collaborative Entrepreneur to Rising Star, Best Social Media account, Love The Grind award and, of course, Franchise of the Year, which landed in Fort McMurray – congrats to Nate and Sean; you guys are such amazing entrepreneurs.
I can’t tell you how full of excitement and positive energy I am after the last three days. It’s been quite a grind over the past eight years, but I remain more excited now than I ever have been. Our wheels are still on the runway and this plane is going a looooong way. Thank you to everyone who helped make the last three days possible. I am so proud of the effort and commitment put in to make this event such a success. I am already excited for next year’s summit.
Cheers for now – Matty