Meet Glain Roberts-McCabe, founder of The Roundtable and 2018 RBC Canadian Women Entrepreneur Awards Micro-Business Award Finalist
Founder, The Roundtable
Finalist, Micro Business Award presented by Diversity Institute & Magnet Export Business Portal, WEST
Launched in 2007, The Roundtable is reimagining the traditional consulting firm model through an approach where participants share knowledge through group and team coaching programs. Founder Glain Roberts-McCabe designed the program to increase individual and collective impact, foster collaboration, and drive better business results. With more than 750 graduates from more than 120 companies across the country, over 80 per cent of The Roundtable clients are repeat customers, and their business continues to grow organically through word of mouth referrals.
My first job ever was… placing mailing labels on copies of the Castor Review, my village of Russell’s local newspaper. I was paid $5 for a couple of hours work. Ironically, my first job after graduating school was with the Ottawa Citizen designing retail ads. The Citizen paid much better.
I decided to be an entrepreneur because… I realized that my need for flexibility and autonomy was so high that I was essentially unemployable. I’m a big believer in working to your strengths and making sure your values are aligned with your work, so self employment has been a wonderful fit for me.
My proudest accomplishment is… the relationship that I have with my daughter Nia. We are very close and I learn so much from her empathy and insights. She has a wonderful strength and belief in herself that I just didn’t have at her age. She makes me very proud.
My boldest move to date was… leaving my full-time job while my husband was a stay at home Dad to our then three year old daughter. Taking the leap into entrepreneurship at that time was incredibly scary since we were relying on my income alone. I am grateful for my husband who supported me unconditionally in making that move.
I surprise people when I tell them… that I was born in England. I think people still expect to hear an accent.
My best advice to people starting their business is… When you focus on the financials, your business will grind to a halt. Instead, keep your focus on serving your customers and doing great work. When you do that the numbers will take care of themselves.
My best advice from a mentor was… give yourself 12 months and give it your best shot. If you aren’t enjoying yourself, you can always go back to employment. I’ve taken this to heart and each year I step back and evaluate how I’m feeling about things in my business and whether I want to keep going. So far so good.
If I could have dinner with anyone, dead or alive, it would be… my grandmother on my father’s side. She was the first woman to graduate from a university in Wales with a Masters of Science. I would love to hear what her journey was like and what motivated her to keep going despite the sexism and taunting she faced from the male pupils.
I would tell my 20-year old self… Believe in yourself and trust yourself more. And don’t take things so seriously. Kick back and have some fun. Travel more. Don’t put so much pressure on yourself at work.
My biggest setback was… Before I quit my full-time job, I had been on a very solid upward career trajectory. I made a six figure income and we were able to live a comfortable life. When I quit, the financial pressure it put on our family was heavy. I felt like I was back in my early twenties but this time we were struggling to pay our mortgage instead of rent and had a three year old to worry about. The first-year of self employment was incredibly hard. We rapidly went through our savings and each month we struggled to pay for the basics. It was tough emotionally and mentally.
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I overcame it by… recognizing that in order to really focus on building my business something had to give. We ended up selling our house and buying one in a less upscale area. I took as many ‘cash flow’ jobs as I could to help bridge the financial gap and I hired a coach to help me build a solid plan to grow The Roundtable business. I can honestly say that, although the choices we had to make as a family were tough, I have zero regrets. It’s often so easy to focus on what we think we’re losing that it’s hard to see all the possibilities and potential that come with change.
I never go a day without… taking a deep breath and thinking of three things I’m grateful for in my life. It keeps me centered and happy especially when the entrepreneurial journey can be so uncertain.
The last book I read was… Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman. I’m in a book club where we actually do read the books and I love it because it gives me a break from all the leadership books I read.
I stay inspired by… continuously learning new things. I am currently obsessed with learning about how our energy drives results and the neuroscience of coaching. Learning feeds my creativity and helps me continuously innovate the work we do at The Roundtable.
The future excites me because… it’s always changing and dynamic. I love the seasons and chapters of our lives and how, as women, we grow into our power more and more as we get older. I really believe women are finding our voices in a way that is authentically powerful and is going to take our world to a new level of evolution. It is our time.