By Dave Veale
Check out my quick video interview with Judith Mackin, a creative, artistic Saint John serial entrepreneur. Judith is the owner and founder of Punch Productions, Punch Inside and soon-to-open Tuck Studio.
Here’s the interview with Judith Mackin in my Leadership Unleashed column that appeared in the Telegraph Journal on Thursday July 19, 2012…
‘PUNCHY’ ENTREPRENEUR HAS A CREATIVE APPROACH
Whenever I think of creative entrepreneurship, Judith Mackin immediately jumps to my mind. Owner and founder of Punch Productions, Punch Inside and Tuck Studio (read all about these ventures at JudithMackin.ca), Judith began her entrepreneurial career in 2000 with a clear mandate “to – whenever and wherever possible – incorporate visual art, literature, film and music into projects.” Judith fell into becoming an entrepreneur and feels that it’s not something you choose, that it’s part of your personality. A self-proclaimed control freak, she sometimes found it hard to work under other people, so it was a natural progression to go “out on her own”and try a different path.
I am, along with many members of the business and arts community in Saint John, very happy that Judith decided to take the uncharted entrepreneurial path because I have witnessed first hand the many incredible creative talents she brings to her endeavours. One day she is breathing life and energy into creating a company brand from an abstract business concept and the next day planning an upscale corporate event or sharing thoughts on fine art and design.
Not surprisingly, our conversation began with the topic of creativity … Judith: You don’t have to be an artist to be creative – you actually just have to be a creative thinker. I see a lot of creative thinkers out there in business, in arts and in non-profit organizations.
Q: What was it that helped you become an entrepreneur?
A: I think it was two things. A lot of it has to do with my upbringing. My parents were very influential in creating and instilling confidence in me. The love that they showed me was that I could do anything. Whether that was true or not I believed it and, really, Secondly, I didn’t actually start off as an entrepreneur. I started off as a volunteer and gained a lot of skills doing what I love to do in the community as a volunteer. Then people that I respected – people that I created relationships with in that same community, in the business community – said, “Why don’t you consider doing this for a living?” At the time that was just preposterous to me.
Judith Mackin on her green roof, part of her new and modern home: ‘I see a lot of creative thinkers out there in business, in arts and in non-profit organizations.’ PHOTO: KâTé BRAYDON/TELEGRAPH-JOURNAL
Q: What are the opportunities and challenges associated with being a female entrepreneur?
A: I’ve always stayed away from the female card, even though I might be a feminist. I’ve never tried to remove myself from the rest of the business community. I think the minute you start to remove yourself you begin alienating yourself. I just look at everything as one collective unit. I love working with men as much as I love working with women. The one benefit of being a woman in business is that women are very emotional. I always try to run my business like I run my life. I’m nurturing to the people that I work with.
Q: Have you found any advantages to being a female entrepreneur?
A: This may sound a tad cynical, but sometimes it works in your favour to be a female. People, at times, have tendencies to underestimate you even if they’re not even aware of it. You’re always at an advantage on some level because when you do good work – something that’s not necessarily expected – it’s even more of a surprise to people.
Q: You interact with a variety of people on a daily basis, is there someone who you believe demonstrates great leadership qualities?
A: A leader that impresses me is Mel Norton. He just said in the recent election, “It takes a team of many to be a leader.” That guy is inspiring. I stapled myself to his back on his recent campaign to become Mayor of Saint John. I strive to be like Mel in terms of humility and service – that, to me, is a leader.
Q: What is your philosophy when it comes to leading a team?
A: Attach yourself to great people and be part of the team, give credit where credit is due and if something great comes out of it don’t take all the credit for yourself. Share the love with everyone.
Q: What are the biggest lessons you’ve learned as an entrepreneur?
A: Rely on yourself for money. Take out the money thing and what are the biggest lessons? It really is to make sure that you disassociate yourself with negativity and attach yourself to positive people.
Q: What is a piece of advice that you’d give to someone considering becoming an entrepreneur?
A: Never go into business thinking that you’re going to have certain job description. When you’re an entrepreneur, you are the person that cleans the bathrooms, runs to get ink, writes cheques and spend a lot of time doing all the things that you thought you would never do.
People will say, ‘It must be so great to work for yourself.’ Are you kidding me? I haven’t had a day off in nine months! But I love what I do, so it’s beautiful.
Q: Who inspires you, Judith?
A: My parents, Bert and Mary Mitchell, were “my everything.” They inspired me in many ways. They’ve been gone for five and seven years, respectively, and every day I always bring things back to the teachings of my upbringing.
The kind of people who inspire me are fearless leaders who are energetic and creative thinkers. I’m also very inspired by the people who surround me.
Q: I know you as extremely community minded. What do you see in the future for Saint John?
A: I’ve been in Saint John for a long time. I almost feel emotional when I think about how we’re on the cusp of great leadership right now. There’s a whole collective synergy of people right now that are just ready and chomping at the bit to move this city forward.
Dave Veale is a leadership coach and founder of Vision Coaching Inc. in Saint John. He can be reached by email at Dave@VisionCoachingInc.com or via Twitter@Dave_Veale. To read past columns and watch videos go to www.LeadershipUnleashed.ca.