Jill White is passionate about uniting people through play and social experiences. As the President of global aquatic play manufacturer, Waterplay Solutions, and two full-service playground and park amenities companies servicing Western Canada, RecTec Industries and Playworks-Parkworks, she feels that play is a right for children throughout the world, in every culture, regardless of background or preconceived notions of ability. As a group of companies, the Waterplay, RecTec and Playworks-Parkworks Teams have embraced the 10-Minute Walk Movement, an effort aimed at providing every child with a community park within a 10-minute walk from their home, as a guiding light to their passion. To date, the teams she leads have provided access to play to millions of children in the more than 10,000 projects they have been involved in, and Waterplay projects can be found throughout the world on every continent aside from Antarctica. We caught up with her ahead of her speaking on the panel at our spotlight event in Kelowna on October 21st — Following Your Passion: How to Turn a Personal Dream Into a Multi-Million Dollar Business.
My first job ever was…stuffing envelopes at my Dad’s office…the first one I got on my own was refereeing beach volleyball.
I decided to be an entrepreneur because… I grew up in a family business, it’s kind of all I knew.
My proudest accomplishment is…besides my daughter (cliche I know) yet to come.
My boldest move to date was…developing our current new office building and expanding our production facility.
I surprise people when I tell them… everything, I’m an open book, I’m constantly telling people more than they need to know!
My best advice to people starting out in business is…surround yourself with people much smarter than you and listen to them.
My best advice from a mentor was…cash is king.
I would tell my 20-year old self…not to stress about finding your passion. Make good choices and pay attention and it will present itself.
My biggest setback was…lots of little ones, thankfully nothing major…each one a time to learn and pay attention.
I overcame it by…not sweating the small stuff. Stay focused on the big picture. Always take care of people.
“Surround yourself with people much smarter than you and listen to them.”
The best thing about being an entrepreneur is… building the team with people who have strengths that you don’t so you can focus more on doing things you love, and then seeing our accomplishments.
If I had an extra hour in the day, I would…I wish I could say work out, but I’d probably use it to just try to be more organized.
If you googled me, you still wouldn’t know…anything really about me. While I’m an open book with people I know, I’m quite private and try to maintain a distinction between work and play.
The one thing I wish I knew when starting Waterplay is… I didn’t start Waterplay, but the one thing I wish I knew before taking it over was how important networking is. Again, I’m quite private and somewhat introverted so networking isn’t something that comes naturally to me. I have great relationships with people that I know, I’m just not comfortable walking into a room where I don’t know anyone. I’m trying to be better at that.
I stay inspired by…allowing myself to have free space …I need time out of the office whether it’s at a seminar or an educational session, where ideas can just come to me.
The future excites me because…there’s a real need for social connection in a world of digital anonymity and isolation. We are fortunate to work with cities around the world to provide their citizens with public spaces for physical, social and cognitive development and ultimately social connection.
My next step is…more of the same…we have a great team, great products and a desire to make the world more livable and socially just….we just need to do more of it.
Hear the rest of her incredible story at Following Your Passion: How to Turn a Personal Dream Into a Multi-Million Dollar Business. Join us on October 21st, along with BDC, to tap into the trade secrets and compelling journeys of three award-winning entrepreneurs who left secure corporate careers and turned hobbies and interests into a profitable businesses. Find out how they did it and how you can too. Tickets are available here.