TEC Canada speaker Renee Russo is a champion of personal growth and overcoming life’s obstacles. As an entrepreneurial business coach, leader in a local technology business and public speaker, Renee brings a balanced perspective and deep insight in the human struggles of managing through adversity. In her work as a Professional EOS Implementer, Renee works with entrepreneurial leadership teams to help them implement the Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS) tools and disciplines across all levels of their business. EOS helps these organizations get organized, aligned and achieve more of what they want in their business. This week, we sat down to discuss her life’s hurdles, her commitment to positive change and her journey to come into her purpose.

TEC Canada: How do you remain in control of something you can’t or believe you can’t control?

Renee Russo: In my life, whether it’s leading teams, facilitating teams or parenting, I’ve come to realize that there is very little that I can control other than how I respond to any given situation. I’ve learned that in order to make the best decisions, I need to create some space and choose the best response. To quote renowned psychologist Viktor Frankl, “Between a stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”

As a leader and coach, I actively work to set clear boundaries and distinguish between the issues I am empowered to solve and those that I am not. It can be tempting to want to take on the problems of others, but I know that it is important for others to own their issues and implement the solutions.

TC: What systems, technology or processes have you implemented in times of uncertainty?

RR: I know first-hand that every entrepreneur needs two things: a peer group and a strong operating system. In the presence of uncertainty, the right operating system will create stability, order and get you what you want from your business. I’ll expand on my journey below:

When I immigrated to Canada to build a life with my husband, a visionary entrepreneur, this was the biggest risk I had ever taken in my life. I grew up in a blue-collar household with a tremendous amount of stability, so a leap into the entrepreneurial world completely shook my reality.

To add to the burden, my husband got cancer in my first year in Canada. His diagnosis taught me that I don’t always get to control what comes up in life or the outcomes.  As I watched him struggle through the chemo and trying to keep a grip on his business, I made a promise that one day I would find a way to run a great business and have a great life.

Within a year, my husband recovered from his illness and in the 5 years that followed we built a healthy young family of 3 children. Thankfully, during this uncertainty, my brother introduced me to TRACTION by Gino Wickman. The book contained a road map to run a better business and build a better life. The entrepreneurial operating system gave our business a common language, simple tools and sustainable practices to turn our business around. For the first time we were able to get Vision, Traction, Healthy.

Vision – clear about where we were going and how we were going to get there.

Traction – fully accountable at all levels of the business and working together to execute on the vision.

Healthy – working together cohesively with a strong culture.

TC: Can you speak towards being misaligned and how to realign yourself?

RR: I learned a deeper appreciation for personal awareness and mind-body-spirit alignment in my experience of becoming a yoga and meditation teacher. My spiritual journey has taught me that all things are connected. From a personal perspective, the mind, body and spirit are deeply connected and when they are in alignment I am at my best. From a professional standpoint, I have learned that core values are what connects each of us, when team members are 100% aligned in our core values we are at our best.

As a practice, I actively seek out professional and personal relationships rooted in authentic core values. Within my teams I consistently hire, reward and fire by our core values to ensure that we have the right people on the bus in the right seats.

TC: When a co-worker is handling a difficult situation(s), how do you assist them without over-stepping?

RR: When someone on my team is struggling, I first let them know that I “see” that there is something going on. I give them space to be in their moment without jumping in the dark hole with them nor trying to put out the fire with my garden hose (it is difficult to resist sometimes). Before assuming anything, I ask if they would like to talk or what I can to do help them through the hardship. In most cases just being a compassionate witness and letting them know that I am in their corner is enough.

TC: How do you see work-self and personal-self aligning?

RR: I once thought the professional and personal self were separate things. This belief was rooted in the misconception that I needed to measure up to the expectations of others to be “someone” in life. As a junior accountant at KPMG Melbourne, I tried so hard to meet the expectations of others. After moving around the firm, I realized that the work did not feed my soul and I fell into deep personal-professional conflict. I had worked so hard to achieve this amazing opportunity, but it wasn’t what I wanted to do deep down, so after 2 years I made the brave decision to leave the firm. Over the last decade I have come fully into my true self, the one version of me that does not need to measure up, fit in or have it all figured out.


Renee Russo, founder of Rise-Up Business Coaching, works with entrepreneurial leadership teams to teach, coach and facilitate the implementation of the Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS). She helps leadership teams build their vision and align all the human energy in the business to execute on the vision with discipline and accountability. Along the journey, Renee helps leaders become their best and work together in a healthy and cohesive way to achieve year-over-year business success. As a TEC Canada speaker, Renee captures the room through captivating personal stories, genuine understanding and practical guidance to help TEC members learn how to run better businesses and lead more fulfilling lives. She speaks from first-hand experience in an open, honest and highly relatable way to deliver maximum impact.

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