Sometimes it feels like yesterday, other times it feels like a lifetime since I started writing this column. It began as a platform to discuss great business practices, leadership and the things I hold dear. As it evolved, a bigger idea was taking shape in my head.
At the time of print, you have likely heard my big news, I have officially announced my intention to run for Mayor. (If you haven’t, simply do a Google search: Brad Field Calgary and click “News”). I’m embarking on a new adventure, and as such, this will be my last column for Business in Calgary. In a time of uncertainty for the whole world, I’m jumping feet first into the unknown, it is my love of our city and the desire to lead in a manner that our citizens deserve that has brought me to this decision.
They say life begins at the end of your comfort zone. I have learned in business that stepping out of your comfort zone is the best way to elevate yourself, your product, your people and your brand. But taking that first step isn’t easy, and you need a strong team around you that has your back. I have been surrounded in my career by people who challenge me, support me, complement my skill set, and keep me on my toes. The people on all those teams, not least of which are my family, have led me to today. I am forever grateful to them.
I am asked almost daily now, “So why are you running?” Much of the answer lies in my business success and the joy of leading people toward a sense of shared purpose and important work to be done. Over the course of my career, I have created hundreds of jobs, and been responsible for thousands of pay cheques. I have felt the weight of being responsible for keeping food on the table for my employees. I know what it’s like to not take a pay cheque so that those I have hired can keep their jobs. It hasn’t always been easy, it hasn’t always been fun, but it has always been worth it.
I struggle when I hear people describe businesses as cold, heartless entities. Ninety-five per cent of Calgary companies are small businesses. They are typically led by a person who has worked tirelessly to build and create something that gives them an immense sense of pride, while also creating opportunity for others. The face of small business is the face of Calgary, and we need to clear a path for these people not only to survive but to thrive.
Business owners share a drive to build something. For me, that drive has morphed from the desire to expand a business to the desire to give back to my community. With the assets we have in Calgary – the talent, infrastructure and location – our opportunities are immense. But we need strong, inclusive leadership to realize them. Entrepreneurs know the feeling of leaping into the unknown. They felt the same nerves I feel now, and they know that it’s worth it.
While these next few months will be a whirlwind, I am taking with me the strength and courage of the Calgarians in our business community. I thank everyone who has sent me messages of encouragement and support. You have given me the backbone I need to run with this one. As I said in October, I’ll see you on the campaign trail.