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Telling Our Stories: Leaders

“Don’t take it personally. Don’t let someone else decide whether something you are offering has value. If you are genuinely doing what you should be doing, stick to your guns. Do your best.”

Maureen Hanley - Navigate Food Safety Solutions

Look around you. Who are the five people that you spend your time with? Are they people who build you up or are they people who tear you down? “If you are around people who do not embrace you and encourage you, you need a new circle of five. The circle of five is powerful.” Maureen Hanley is a big believer in the circle of five. One of her greatest strengths is the ability to recognize the potential in others. She is a team builder. The kind of person who gets really great people figures out where they go and pours everything into them. Throughout her career, she has made a point of surrounding herself with the best people. The people who embrace change and push the boundaries, just like her.

“I love going to work and needing to bring all my party tricks and being required to find a few new ones. I love a challenge.” Never one to sit still for very long, Maureen recently embarked on a new adventure, partnering with her husband on Navigate Food Safety Solutions. After seven years working with Chef Michael Smith’s company and managing his team, in partnership with Smith, it was time for a change. “True entrepreneurs like to create chaos.”

Maureen, a graduate of the Propel ICT program, had been pitching in where she could with Navigate while still working full time with Chef Michael Smith. But it wasn’t too long before she knew it was time to make the shift. “First step is believing that you can make a change.” And change is what Navigate Food Safety Solutions is all about.

Over the years Maureen has lived in or visited over 20 countries, but PEI has always been her home. An Islander born and raised, her family has been on the same homestead in Campbell’s Cove for ten generations, she estimates that she has traveled 300,000km to get her to where she is today. A serial entrepreneur there is no one who embraces change quite like Maureen.

In addition, the work that Maureen is currently doing with Navigate Food Safety Solutions she is also an active mentor, volunteering her time to the PEI Business Women’s Association’s pilot project Women on Track Mentoring Project in 2016 as a mentor. “Everywhere I look I see potential. I love to be able to share my experiences. Share the shortcuts I’ve learned along the way. People get in trouble because they are afraid to ask for help.”

2017 is going to be a year of growth for both Navigate Food Safety Solutions and Maureen Hanley. In addition to the work that she does with the company, Maureen is also active with Rotary and The Gold Mine campaign. In fact, the company allots a percentage of employee time that is external to holidays etc. that allows them to work on something that feeds their soul and pays them social dividends. These projects can be whatever they want, volunteering or professional/personal development. Having an arrangement like this allows Maureen and her team to be more than who they are at work. Being active in your community is vital to growth.

“Being your own best-kept secret is not a good business model. It isn’t bragging to get yourself out there to say, ‘we’re really good’ and ‘we can make things better’.”